A healthy focus on money is important.
Lose track of your finances and you’re on a sure-fire highway to crippling debt.
However (as my Fiancée likes to point out) sometimes too much focus on money can be a problem.
Sometimes it’s better to simply let go – have that expensive cocktail once in a while, buy those shiny shoes that you’ve been staring at for a year.
As a lifelong follower of frugality, this can sometimes be tricky for me!
Someone recently said to me (not mentioning any names) “You know, you can be a little Scrooge McDuck“.
This caused me to stop and contemplate… Do I put too much emphasis on money?
What about you? Have you ever been accused of having a money obsession?
Let’s talk about focusing on money and think about how much is too much?
Money On My Mind - Am I Money Obsessed?
Admittedly, I do think about money and money related issues a lot.
Without this “obsession” this blog would never have been created… And you wouldn’t be here right now; a sad thought for sure!
I would also argue that without financial literacy and a conscious grasp on my finances – I’d be in a much worse place in my life.
Whether my behaviour constitutes focusing on money too much is debatable.
Of course, the “Scrooge Mcduck” accuser was making a joke, but every joke does has a grain of truth in it. How much should you be thinking about money as a personal finance blogger, nerd, enthusiast? Fairly impossible not to in this line of work!
Think about your own focus on money – How much do you obsess over it? Do you focus on your own current finances or are you daydreaming about lottery ticket wins and Rolex’s?
Unpopular opinion: You Should Be Focusing On Money!
Of course, you shouldn’t be obsessed with money.
Money itself is “infinite” and with no end point. The endless pursuit of more money will never bring happiness.
However, I will always stand-by my argument that money can bring freedom. The more money you can acquire, the more freedom you will be able to “purchase”. Money can buy you the ability to be free of employment (and your boss). It can also grant you the ability to travel the world and live wherever you’d like. Conversely, by obsessing over money, you will never be free.
This is a fine balance that all financially (or retirement) motivated people must walk. Too often you hear the stories of the banker/entrepreneur/investor who’s expanding greed leads to their downfall.
This is why having an end goal is so vital. It can stop you from obsessively accumulating more and more. You need a safety net, something to break the unhealthy pattern of a constant focus on money.
I know how difficult this can be though! When I started investing in cryptocurrencies, I told myself I’ll just wait for it to hit and I’ll take my profit. However, as the numbers soared past my “goal” I continued to hold out for more. Until. Inevitably. They crashed! My greed cost me big time… the price I had to pay for that particular lesson.
Another thing I learned from this is that to break your focus on money – do not have easy access to your investments on your phone. Checking the crypto/stock market charts every hour is NOT healthy. It starts out fun but can very easily start to dictate your mood for the rest of the day. That’s the power of money!
Do Your Thoughts Default To Money?
In those quieter moments, what does your mind drift to? Your hobbies? Your family? Or money?
If more often than not, it’s Money – perhaps you are putting too much focus on money.
Yes, by focusing on money you are indirectly thinking about your family… but they should really be your first thought. When striving for more freedom, we mustn’t lose sight of the reasons we’re doing it.
Money is intoxicating and it’s easy to lose your “why”.
Personally, during the day I frequently work as a hospital physician. This takes a lot of time and can be mentally, emotionally and physically draining. However, I recently realised that every time there is a (rare) idle moment, I start thinking about money. When I go out for a run, I clear my mind… and immediately start thinking about more ways to make more money.
Ok, one might argue that I’d be a pretty rubbish entrepreneur if this wasn’t the case. After all, when I’m not at the hospital it is my job to think about money (whether here on the blog, or when running my businesses). However, clearly there has to be a point where you can just “switch-off”.
Maybe my partner was right – Am I obsessed with money?
The answer – no, I don’t think that I put too much focus on money (denial?).
I may on the other hand be slightly obsessed with business, entrepreneurship and the pursuit of “success”.
I enjoy the process of building a business, probably more than the anticipation of potential monetary rewards. I also try to stay focused on the end goal – financial independence. Not to obtain money, yacht’s and multiple girlfriends (my fiancé will be glad to hear) but to achieve true freedom over my time.
What’s your take on this topic? Are people too obsessed with money?
Talking About Money
Talking about money is completely different to thinking about it.
Know your audience!
To you guys on the blog, I can talk about money all day long. Equally, to my friends and colleagues who I know have a keen interest in the subject.
Constantly talking about money in other social environments is probably not ok.
A lot of people still (unfortunately) treat money as a bit of a taboo topic. You can also come across as a bit of a bore if all you talk about is money.
It’s also a great idea to use your social time as a much needed break. Enjoy that BBQ/sporting event/drinking session without being addled with thoughts of Bitcoin, Tesla or Vanguard. You’ll thank yourself in the long run and are far less likely to burn out!
So how much focus on money is too much?
I’m afraid this will vary from person to person.
For me, focusing on the acquisition of infinite money or material items (designer goods, cars, houses) is certainly too much. None of these things can buy happiness and you’ll be embarking on an endless quest for more.
However, you may disagree and think that my pursuit of early retirement is equally unhealthy.
Really, too much focus on money is probably when yourself or your family start to suffer as a result. If you’re stressed about always needing more, or never spending time with family in order to earn more – you’ve probably overshot.
Remember, Ambition is healthy. Obsession may not be.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on this subject!
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