As we gather with friends and family for the holidays, break bread and share laughs, it's a perfect time to reflect on the many things to be grateful for. From family and friends to health and happiness, there's no shortage of blessings to count. While it’s easy to appreciate a good meal or family vacation, what's overlooked is the role that money plays in all of it.
Money is often the tool that opens the doors to much of what we are thankful for, yet it goes underappreciated and even demonized.
Today’s message is all about remembering to mahalo your money and the life it affords each one of us. For those of you that don’t know, mahalo means “to express your gratitude for, or thank you” in Hawaiian.
I distinctly remember reaching a point in my career when I realized that I had more than enough money to travel anywhere in the world for an extended period without worrying about my financial security. Not that I had a ton of money, but it was enough to give me a sense of freedom and security. How empowering this realization was is hard to describe and something I wish everyone could experience. The best part, it doesn’t take as much as most people think and often comes down to a practical perspective shift or a deeper dive into the role money plays in each of our lives.
For me, money provides security and freedom; for others, it might signify power and status. Money means different things to different people. There's no right or wrong way to appreciate money. However, getting clear on what money means to you is an essential step in cultivating a positive relationship with money and developing a money management system that aligns with your values and aspirations.
Today I want to share five of the most common reasons I believe people should mahalo their money.
Money acts as a safety net, providing a buffer against life's uncertainties. Imagine a world where you don't have to worry about paying the bills, putting food on the table, or having a roof over your head. This sense of financial security should bring incredible peace of mind while significantly reducing stress levels. Unfortunately, many who have achieved this level of financial security take it for granted. It’s like forgetting how much of a luxury having running water or electricity is when there are many people around the world who have neither. If you have food on the table, clothes on your back and a safe place to sleep, I think it’s worth taking a moment to say mahalo to money and what it affords you.
One of the most crucial aspects of financial security is the ability to handle unexpected emergencies without causing financial distress. Whether it's a sudden medical expense, a car repair, or a home maintenance issue, having the financial means to address these challenges promptly can prevent them from turning into major crises.
Financial security enables you to think long-term without having to worry about basic human needs. You can save for retirement, invest in your children's education, and create a legacy for your loved ones. It allows you to focus on your long-term goals and aspirations, knowing that you have the resources to support immediate needs.
Money affords you choices and the ability to live life on your terms. It's the freedom to pursue your passions, explore new opportunities, and savor the joys of life without being held back by financial constraints.
Imagine a life where showing up to work is optional. You work because you genuinely want to, not because you have to. Having financial freedom grants you the flexibility to pursue other passions and hobbies. If you want to travel, go for it. If you want to play videogames all day, that’s fine too. You have the freedom to choose.
Financial freedom provides the power to say no to commitments or situations that don't resonate with you. You can make choices that align with your values and desires, whether it's taking time off to spend with family, embarking on a new adventure, or dedicating yourself to a cause you're passionate about.
Money can be a source of power in your life. It opens doors to opportunities and resources that can help you achieve your goals and make a positive impact on the world. It's not about flaunting wealth but having the means to access valuable networks, education, and experiences.
You have the power to invest in personal development, acquire new skills, and expand your knowledge. You can attend masterminds, take courses, or go to seminars that can elevate your personal, professional, and social life. In the investment world, having money can open doors to more investment opportunities by qualifying to be what they call an accredited investor. Ultimately being accredited gives you the power to choose from a wider selection of investment opportunities.
The power money provides us extends further than what we can do to grow it. It can also provide options to help the causes that matter to you. Whether you're supporting charitable organizations, investing in initiatives aligned with your values, or backing social projects, your financial capacity can be a force for good in the world.
For some, money can be associated with a sense of status. It may grant access to exclusive clubs, private communities, or a lifestyle that reflects your achievements. While status isn't solely defined by wealth, money can provide the means to participate in certain circles or experiences.
Have you ever desired being a part of a prestigious country club or private organization? Such memberships often come with networking opportunities, social events, and access to resources that can enhance your personal and professional life.
Huge caveat here! I believe it's essential to remember that status should be a byproduct of the value you provide to family, friends, and the world at large. Financial success, without valuable contribution, does not buy status in my eyes (although I am sure there are people who would argue with me on this one). To me, chasing money for status is not the primary goal. That to make money you need to solve problems for other people and the money you make is a reflection of the magnitude of problems you help solve for others. True status lies in your character, values, and the positive impact you make on those around you and not the balance of your bank account.
Financial autonomy allows you to control your financial decisions and provides the ability to shape your life according to your vision. As obvious as it sounds, most people that I meet with prefer to have options so they can choose what course of action aligns best with their life vision and values.
Financial autonomy allows you to self-govern, whether it's pursuing a career you're passionate about, starting your own business, or embracing a minimalist lifestyle. It means having the resources to invest in experiences and adventures that enrich your life. From travel and leisure to personal growth and education, financial autonomy gives you the ability to create a life that truly reflects who you are.
Through both my personal and professional journey I have learned that the subject of money is complex. That it’s not only about numbers, but impacts almost every aspect of life. That the way we feel about money has nothing to do with how much money we have and that working to have a positive money mindset and relationship with money can be priceless.
As we celebrate and give thanks during this holiday season, let's also take a moment to appreciate the role money plays, both big and small, in all of our lives.
Ethan- Your Financial Advocate