This episode is about the relativity of money.
This thought came from a recent conversation I had with Leisa Peterson of WealthClinic.com, but we were talking about scarcity mindset. We were talking about how often, there never seems to be enough money no matter how much we make.
Following that conversation, I thought some more about it. No matter how much money I’ve earned, I’ve always been able to live relatively comfortably within my means. I haven’t always been able to buy all the things I’ve wanted, or travel wherever or whenever, but I feel like I’ve been pretty lucky.
Whenever I’ve come into extra money though, it seems that my lifestyle would quickly absorb that extra income.
The other side is also true. When I’ve earned less, my lifestyle seemed to automatically adjust to compensate for having less money coming in.
Three examples come to mind immediately.
First, When I took a job as a teacher, I took roughly a $10,000 pay cut from what I was earning in the corporate sector. Oddly, I needed more education to become a teacher too. Go figure. That’s how we currently value education in our country. Maybe that will change. I became a teacher because I wanted to help students see different ways of solving problems. I wanted to teach them to become better consumers of information, and I wanted to help to instill a lifelong love of learning. As justified, the pay-cut was worth it.
Well, I hardly noticed the cut, oddly enough. Everything I needed was still taken care of.
Caution: don’t set your lifestyle standards so high that you can’t afford breathing room in your budget…
The second example came later when I went through my divorce. My ex wife made about $15k more than me per year, and we were living with two incomes. Every month, we spent what we earned (we hadn’t mastered saving quite yet. We always had enough, but we cut it close every month. Toward the end of our relationship, I ran an experiment and began funneling $500 every month into a savings account. I assured my ex that it would be there if we ever needed to tap into it. Oddly enough, once it was pulled out of the account every month, we never needed it. It was a classic situation of out of sight outa’ mind…
A third example: Well, things eventually didn’t work out for us and I ended up moving out. I was now living with my kids on less than half of our income as compared to when I was married. The expenses when I was the sole earner (on less than half of what we were pulling in before were’t all too different. The biggest difference was that I was saving $250 in rent because I didn’t need as big of a place. Anyway, although I was very cautious about spending at first, I didn’t notice much of a difference in the amount of money at the end of every month. I was even able to start putting aside 10% of my income without much of a hit.
The point is that, within reason, our income vs expenditures is relative. We all have wants, and those wants will always stretch beyond what we can afford. If we are making more money, we tend to spend more and if we make less money, we tend to spend less.
Maybe mindset has something to do with it as well. No matter what, I’ve always had the view that I’d have enough and that I’d be OK. The universe will provide…
The trick is to recognize this tendency and then to always pay yourself first.
Jim Rohn, my unofficial mentor talked about the book “The Richest Man in Babylon. When I first heard him talk about it, I went out and got that book. It’s so simple, yet so profound. George S. Clason talks about paying yourself first from all of your earnings and using that money to work for you in providing for your future.
Remember that we truly do live in abundance if we are willing to see things from that perspective. Pay yourself first and you probably won’t even notice you’re living on less.