Common Money Worries: Tips to Overcome Financial Problems From “Happy Money” Author Ken Honda by Ken Honda
Regardless of how big or small our bank accounts may be, no one is immune to money struggles. Even those who have inherited large trust funds have worries and complaints.
If our problem is money, then why isn’t a big bank account the solution?
I have friends from all walks of life. I have friends who live as far away from money as possible and are enjoying their life in a forest. They grow their own food and spend only $1,000 a year. I have friends who are extremely affluent and think nothing of spending $1,000 on wine or a casual lunch. No matter who I talk to, when I am interviewing them, they share with me about their lives and ask me for advice. Without exception, both the rich and the poor have similar worries and concerns, and almost all always feel overwhelmed by money – but for different reasons.
The 4 Most Common Money Problems
- Concerns About Future Finances: The super-rich don’t worry much about money at the present moment, but they worry about their future. Many are afraid their success won’t last forever. They also worry that their children are not handling their money prudently.
- Not Enough Money to Meet Today’s Demands: People in the middle class are generally frustrated that they don’t have enough money to meet their expenses. This is exacerbated if they have kids. They worry that they won’t have enough to pay for their children’s education, and that they won’t have enough saved for a comfortable and happy retirement. Sometimes it feels like every waking moment is spent either working for money or worrying about money.
- Being Undervalued by Employers: Many people feel taken advantage of by their employers and undervalued – both when it comes to recognition and salary. They don’t think that the rich people who hire them realize the sacrifices they make to work hard for so little pay, while the rich enjoy the fruits of all their labor.
- Struggling to Get By: For those living at or below the poverty line, each day is a struggle to survive. Money is not for enjoying life, but just for living. To someone who can’t afford food or a home, a rich person’s problems don’t seem so terrible.
We all know the saying, “Money can’t buy happiness.” Then why are we all trying so hard to obtain more of it? No matter how much is in our bank accounts, people have financial woes, and strive to produce more income. What is the solution?
Regardless of our situations and our wealth status in life, we all are affected by money in one way or another. And how we react to our situation can make us happy or unhappy.
The Zen Approach to Happiness and Money
It turns out the solution to our financial woes doesn’t have anything to do with money. The Zen approach to happiness invites us to think about ourselves not in terms of what we do, or what we are worth, but who we are. What does that mean? It means:
- Choose Love Over Fear: There are two approaches to money: love or fear. When you earn and spend money, you do it either with love or fear. Many people are afraid of money: that they may not have it or that they may lose it. Love is the opposite of fear. Fear looks, sounds and feels like control. Love, on the other hand, feels like the opposite. It is unconditional acceptance. It’s a willingness to trust that things will work out.
- Don’t Let Money Define You: Whatever your income, you can have a good relationship with money. Don’t let it define who you are. Don’t stress about what you can’t control in the future. Believe that there will always be enough of what you need when you need it. Don’t believe that having a bigger house or flashier car will make you happy.
- Live in Gratitude: By shifting from an attitude of deprivation to one of gratitude, we completely change our relationship with money. Instead of believing there is never enough, you begin thinking, "I have all that I need, and I am so grateful for it all." When money comes in, you say thank you or, as we say in Japan, Arigato. Even as money leaves you, express gratitude for how it served you or what it is bringing to you now.
- Be Present in the Moment: If you’re present in the moment, you’re not regretting the past or experiencing anxiety about the future. Most of our stress, anxiety and unhappiness about money comes from thinking about our mistakes in the past, harm done to us, and needless worries about what might happen in the future. Focus on the joys of the present instead of thinking about what you might have.
It’s true that being able to pay one’s bills can bring comfort, but it doesn’t guarantee joy and contentment. With a zen approach anyone can overcome their financial concerns and invite in abundance, regardless of their income.
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