Find out how to make meaningful connections between your money and your goals with some simple life hacks.
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Hey, humans. I’m Michael Liersch. This is the About Money podcast, presented by Wells Fargo. I’m a behavioral scientist with a PhD in cognitive psychology who loves openly talking about money to help humans better understand their money behaviors.
In Season 4, we’re going to get real by sharing money situations and scenarios that happen all the time to millions of us. Real stories. Relatable and usable. We’ll also be sharing valuable life hacks you can use to stay on track, or get back on track, with your finances. So let’s get into it.
In this episode, we’re going to talk about how can I connect my finances with what I want out of life?
You know, it’s interesting. We get this question a lot from clients and human beings in general. And ultimately what this comes down to is that money is simply a tool to get us to where we want to go in life. How do I add more meaning to my life, not just add more money? Because I think we all know that more money doesn’t necessarily equate to a better life or more meaningful interactions in our life.
I know it seems like a deep thought, but we’re going to make it very practical because it’s really not that difficult to connect meaning and money. And here are a few stories to make that clear.
Some human beings that I work with, they have jobs, for example, that they don’t really like. So perhaps when they were younger, they dreamed of being a musician or an astronaut or something in their minds that was extraordinary. And what I do is I talk to them and I say, well, what attributes of those jobs were appealing to you?
And what’s always interesting, and I want you to think about this, is, you know, what they’ll come back to me is why I liked math or I liked science or I like to help people. And so you think about that. Well, those are all attributes of jobs that don’t necessarily need to be in the categories that I just mentioned. They can be a part of almost any job.
And so when we think about this idea, I want you to write down the job that you have. You know, what parts of it that you like and that you don’t like. Because when you think about that, you know, money, jobs, they are connected. And when you do more of what you like in a job, you oftentimes are more inspired, you’re more motivated.
That can lead to promotions, that could lead to salary increases. It can lead to so much, financially speaking. And interestingly enough, it can also lead to more meaning in your life. You’re more likely to want to get up in the morning. You’re more likely to do what you want to do.
So no matter how you feel about your job today, again, write down the things you like, write down the things you don’t like, and slowly chip away at that. How do you start eliminating things you don’t like? So perhaps there’s an aspect of your job that you don’t like. Maybe it’s as basic as the commute.
Then look at the things that you like doing, and perhaps there are things that would give you pleasure, like helping other people.
Then there are things like intellectual stimulation that people like. People like to be challenged.
And so how do you increase or enhance those ideas? Do you ask for special projects? Do you really dig into, you know, elements of opportunity for the company you work for or the small business you run, whatever it is that you’re doing, where you can add some extras that give you that challenge or give you the ability to help other people.
And so what we call this is job crafting. So you can job craft, make more meaning out of your job, which can actually lead to more money and financial rewards.
The second thing I want to mention here when it comes to finances is outside of employment, think about the things you’re doing with your money. Are you focused on items, buying things, filling your house with furniture, toys, whatever it is? Or are you focused on things like experiences?
And there is evidence and emerging evidence in the research community that human beings really like anticipating things that they’re looking forward to. So how can you, very similar to the job crafting idea, how can you focus less on things that you need or things that need to be purchased and more on experiences and time spent with others?
But in the families I’ve talked to, and I’m thinking of one family in particular, you know, they got caught up, especially when it came to birthdays, holidays, you know, their family members. They were shopping online all the time. You know, what can I give? You know, everything was consumed with this idea of gift giving.
And so they all got together as a family and talked about it. We’re all so focused on giving each other things, and we’re missing this opportunity to spend time together. And so this particular family started setting up traditions. They all went to dinner together and then to a show. So a movie in this case. And they started doing things like that. It ended up being less costly for the entire family. And then they had more anticipation and shared experiences to remember together, which completely changed their financial life and also made their life more meaningful.
The last thing I want to mention here is when you think about finances and what you want to get out of life, in the spirit of helping others, a lot of people do think about giving to the community, you know, sharing their money with others.
There is some evidence that people who have less money or even money that they don’t or aren’t able to share, they end up being, relatively speaking, more likely to give more of their money. So think of this, people with less money give more of the money they have than people with more money.
I really encourage you instead of thinking of money when it comes to giving, think of how you can share your time and your, think of it as your experiences, what you know, your knowledge with others, with other people.
And it can be simple as a text. There’s some evidence that even being thoughtful when it comes to people about, you know, what’s on their mind, if they’re having problems or issues, you just send them a text, say, I’m thinking of you. That can really be as extraordinary as giving them a gift or giving them money.
Again, going through your finances, figuring out what actually matters most to you and starting to take away, whether it’s a job, whether it’s what you’re doing in your family, whether and what you’re spending on, whether it’s how you’re sharing your money in the community, how do you start chipping away at all the things that you’re doing from a money standpoint that may not be as meaningful or impactful as you want it to be or it should be? And how do you start spending more of your energy, your time, and your experiences on those things? It can just help your life become meaningful and help you from a financial standpoint.
That’s it for this episode. If you really like the episode, please share it with your family and friends. If you have a topic you’d like us to address, email us at AboutMoney@wellsfargo.com. The About Money podcast is produced by Wells Fargo.
This information is provided for educational and illustrative purposes only.
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