You’d be reasonable to think money can buy happiness.
After all, a lot of things that make us happy can be bought with money. An ice-cream cone on a perfect summer day. New red shoes for your daughter on her first day of preschool. A beautiful home. A trip to New Zealand.
These moments made you happy. Money, therefore, buys happiness. Or at least, money makes our lives happier.
Makes sense, right?
But there’s a simple reason why money doesn’t always buy happiness, and it’s this: If money was the only contributor to happiness, there would be no unhappy rich people. Yet there many of them – and in fact, wealthy people report being more unhappy, on average, than those who make a moderate income.
How can that be?
Every year at tax time, you break into a cold sweat.
When someone asks about your long-term financial plans, like when you plan on retiring, you change the subject quickly.
You won’t even calculate how much debt you have – it’s just too scary.
The good news is that you’re not alone. Many people have a crippling fear of finances, and it’s no wonder:
Every time something catastrophic happened in life, one of the first thoughts you probably had was how you were going to pay for it. You might even have felt that devastating feeling: the sinking realization that you can’t afford the crisis at hand.
That can make you want to keep as much distance between you and your finances as possible.
There’s just one problem: That’s the wrong move.
In a previous article, we explained why it’s essential to conquer your fear of looking at your financial situation so that you can know where you are, understand it better, and do something about it.
If you don’t know the problem, you can’t solve it. It’s impossible to map a course from point A to point B if you don’t know the starting point.
Assuming you’ve already taken the advice of that first article and figured out your current financial situation, it’s time to figure out your second step toward mapping a better life for yourself: setting money goals.
You need financial goals. Everyone does. Financial goals take you from where you are now to where you want to be.