The Keys To The Good Life – Health & Money
I can already take a guess that many of you that read the title of this article are rolling your eyes. You are thinking to yourself “is this guy really about to tell me that money is one of the most important things in my life?”
Well, I am and I’m not. Confused yet? I hope so, keep reading.
Before I tell you why money matters, specifically understanding how it works, let me preface all of this with a couple of points that I think are truths.
- Your net worth doesn’t define who you are.
- If you are fulfilled by the job you do, your paycheck is not the most important thing.
- At the end of the day, no one really cares what you drive, what your house looks like, or the clothes you wear.
- Understanding the basics of how money works and how to use it as a tool is one of the keys to a happy life.
This is a personal finance blog and because of that I really try to dive deep into some topics. For many of you, this is too much detail and instead you need the high level, big picture ideas that you can use for yourself.
This is similar to your health. We focus on diets like Keto, Vegan, or Carnivore when we know that we just need to have a balanced diet and exercise routine.
Why do we over complicate these topics or avoid them altogether when we know exactly what we need to do to get decent if not above average results? In this article, we’ll examine how understanding your health and your money can lead you to a good life.
Where This All Started
Recently I was listening to the podcast Infinite Loops which is hosted by Jim O’Shaughnessy and he had Morgan Housel on as a guest. Now I don’t expect you to know either of these people but their content on money and investing is fantastic. I’ve been following Morgan specifically for a long time and he even has a new book, The Psychology of Money: Timeless lessons on wealth, greed, and happiness, coming out soon (no I’m not getting paid to plug it).
This episode of Infinite Loops was a rather casual talk between Jim and Morgan but some of the things Morgan said have stuck with me, even a week later. What I want to specifically reference in this article is how we need to focus on our health and money in order to have a good life.
The word good is open to your own interpretation. Similarly to the words rich, wealthy, happy, poor, and so on.
When I think of my version of a good life, I think of one where I’m doing what I want, with who I want, whenever I want. I want to travel and experience different cultures. Along the way learning as much as I can about many different topics so I never have a problem conversing with interesting people. I don’t want anyone to be able to tell me what to do and have the freedom to choose who I take advice from. And I want to do all of this while building meaningful relationships with good people.
Your idea of a good life may be completely different than mine and that’s okay. No matter what it looks like for you, there are two things you need to make it happen; health and money.
Let’s Talk About Health First
Obviously health is important. In this very unusual year of 2020, it’s even more apparent than ever that we, as a species, value our health pretty high. Which makes sense, right? In order to live my idea of a good life, I need to be healthy. If I’m sick or have a debilitating disease, it is going to be a lot more difficult for me to do the things that make me happy.
If I’m overweight and don’t have the energy to get out of bed in the mornings, I probably won’t feel like going exploring in a new city.
Health encompasses mental health as well. If I’m in a toxic relationship or I’m depressed, my mental health is suffering, thus putting me further away from my goal of living a good life. Sometimes these are hard truths but we can’t begin to be our best selves until we look in the mirror and figure out exactly what is holding us back.
When it comes to being healthy, we know what to do. Diet and exercise is the not-so-secret, but seemingly difficult secret.
Since we have all been on a stay at home order, many people are doing more workouts at home. Exercise improves your mood, is good for your body, and can be really fun if you’re doing something you like. We’re also cooking at home more often and have more time to meal plan. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve still had some take out and ice cream. Part of keeping up your mental health is doing everything in moderation. But at the end of the day, I always feel better when I’ve completed a tough workout and eaten a good meal.
*Disclaimer: I am not a medical professional. If you are concerned about your health in any way, shape, or form, please see your doctor and make a health plan that is right for you.
Why You Should Understand Money
We live in a world that has chosen money as a tool of trade. I give you money and you give me something in return whether that is a good, service, or experience.
It all costs money.
As you can probably guess, I enjoy the topic of money and personal finance. I don’t take it as seriously as I do just because I enjoy it though. I take it seriously because I know it will have a direct effect on me living my idea of a good life.
Money is the tool that is going to give me freedom. Freedom to do the things that I have included in my version a good life. Freedom to travel, to tell people no, and to work on things I want to.
On the other side of things, I don’t enjoy things involving health as much. I used to participate in competitive powerlifting so I focused on what I put in my body. That hobby has since passed and the intensity I had with weightlifting and counting calories went with it. What I know, and most of you do as well, is that I need to take my health seriously because it will also have a direct effect on my good life as I described in the last section.
Something that really stuck out to me in the podcast episode was Morgan’s approach to managing his own family’s money. Morgan knows more than most about markets, sectors, hedge funds, and everything in between but his approach is the opposite of what you would expect.
In the episode, he revealed that he is a risk-averse person (doesn’t like big risks). Because of this, he invests primarily in index funds and that’s it. Investing in index funds is to understanding money what a simple diet and exercise regimen is to your health.
He could choose to invest in real estate, cryptocurrencies, startups, and all sorts of other exotic investments but he doesn’t. He sticks to the basics.
Simple and effective.
If you’re looking for a 2-minute course on personal finance and how money works then click the image below. The kid in the video understands more about money and personal finance than 99% of Americans.
I don’t share that to put anyone down but rather to make you see that you can learn these topics too. If a kid can do it, so can you. Just because we can’t see something like we can with our health doesn’t mean we should avoid it.
Why We Avoid Money
Money is a taboo topic. In fact, one of my first articles How Making Money a Taboo Topic Will Make You Broke talks about this (it’s not the best-written article but the message is there). It’s a conversation I wish we could all have but I don’t see it changing anytime soon. There are just too many issues we run into on a large scale.
The biggest reason I think we avoid the conversation of money is that money is invisible. Obviously not actually invisible but when I look at you, I can’t see your bank account, debt, or net worth. What I can see at first glance though (for the most part), is if you’re overweight or sick. Hence why its easier to watch fitness bloggers than reading money management articles.
That may seem like a harsh statement but it’s true.
It’s easy to run away from the topic of money. We tell ourselves we will make a budget next month. Or you’ll stop buying the whole bar a round next week.
Except you never do.
Weeks pass, then months, finally years and before we know it we are stuck in a job we hate. We know what we need to do but why don’t we do it? Why do we avoid taking money seriously and put off living our good life?
Money Made Easy
The plan wasn’t to use this article to sell my own product but I honestly think I would be doing a disservice to you, the reader if I didn’t. I created Money Made Easy for this exact reason. I didn’t want to build a course that dove into all of the numbers and complicated formulas.
Instead, I wanted to build a course that could teach you the things that you NEED to know. Money Made Easy is to personal finance what a simple 5-day workout routine is to health.
It lays the groundwork and tells you why we do it. Along with that it shows you exactly how to do it. Instead of watching a tutorial on how to squat, you watch one on what an index fund is and how to use it.
To some, this may sound boring. Think about it this way though. Would you trade a weekend taking a boring course if it meant you would get a lifetime of essential skills out of it bringing you closer to your good life?
That sounds like a great trade to me.
The Bottom Line
Sit down and think about what you want out of your life. What does a good life look like to you and how can you get there?
I’d be willing to bet you need to have your health and an understanding of money in order for you to reach it. If so, the obvious next step is to do something about it. It is time to stop avoiding doing the things we know we need just because it’s inconvenient.
- Set a goal to take a 30-minute walk around your neighborhood every day.
- Start with choosing one day a week to not eat fast food. Then try two. Then see how many days in a row you can go without.
- Consciously move $100 into savings this month. That’s just a little over 3 dollars a day.
- Open an investment account and set up a monthly automatic deposit from your bank account. Even if it’s just $10 a month, it’s progress and you’re building habits.
Take a small step every day towards the things you want and it will all add up.
Every person is going to have different wants, but I think we’re all trying to get to our good life. We’re all taking different paths to get there but a basic knowledge of money management and leading a healthy lifestyle are only going to get you there faster. Embrace the difficult, inconvenient tasks and set yourself up to enjoy that good life you earned.
If you liked this post then please share by hitting the icons above and if you want to read more articles here are my latest:
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