What if it’s not all about the money, money, money

Gail Bainbridge
Nov 20, 2018 · 6 min read

For 20 years I was an accountant – technically I still am – but that’s a work in progress. In those 20 years I never met anyone who was happy with the amount of money they had.

Some people were trying to just earn a living.

Some wanted to be rich.

Others just wanted to make a difference in the world.

The one thing they all have in common is that money causes them an undue amount of stress.

With the majority of the entrepreneurs I know, they tend to put themselves last, putting the needs of others before their own. They often pay their staff and suppliers first and sometimes what’s left is not enough for them.

Entrepreneurial Poverty

Believe it or not, it’s a thing.

I’m not suggesting that all entrepreneurs are starving or on the brink of homelessness, but many of them would earn more if they had a salaried job.

The problem for entrepreneurs – the ideas people, for visionaries, for the misfits and the business hippies – is that they find no joy in large corporate institutions. They don’t fit the mould. They can’t breathe.

Which leads me back to the title – the evidence seems to suggest that, lo and behold, it’s not all about the money!

Let’s instead, consider that it is actually all about wealth.

And when I say wealth I don’t mean the money in your bank account – I mean the wealth that you feel in your life.

I found this quote recently and it really aligned with the thoughts I have been having. I was really surprised to find out that it had been written in 1860, since it seems we are still grappling with the same problem today.

Think of all the people that you know that are out there trying to make a difference in the world.

  • Imagine if they weren’t constrained by the worries they have about money, if they had in fact ‘perfected the functions of their own lives’.
  • Imagine they felt so much wealth in their lives, that they looked after themselves and participated in activities that aligned with their values.
  • Imagine that they were resilient enough to get up everyday and keep going.

Imagine that world.

Reality Check

Okay so it’s not that we don’t need money, we do – clearly we need money to cover our basic needs of food, shelter, security, and possibly for some of our other needs too.

Yes the current system is broken and weighted towards the rich getting richer (I could rant about that all day long but that won’t make any difference).

Yes we can fight for a fairer system, and there are people doing that, but we cannot put our lives on hold waiting for it.

You cannot live a life inside of I’ll be happy when……… or I’ll travel when……… or I’ll rest when………

You can only live now in the present moment.

Living A Wealthy Life

So how do we live a life of wealth in the now?

I would say that the first step is to know what that looks like, what do you want a wealth of?

Do you want a wealth of love, of friendships, of adventure, play, wonder, generosity, choice, independence, freedom, innovation, inspiration, beauty, challenge, passion?

The possibilities are endless and although as humans we share the same values and needs the importance we put on each of them is unique to us.

Finding Your Values

Whats Important to You?

I want you to try an exercise, close your eyes and take a few deep breaths and ground yourself. Now think about what you value in life;

  • What brings you joy?
  • When was the last time you felt happy or fulfilled?
  • What were you doing?
  • Who was with you?
  • What was it about that that had you feel happy, fulfilled, joyful?

If its helpful you can look at a list of Universal Human Needs and Values, and see which words you are drawn, words that you connect with as important.

My Wealth Values

  • For me wealth is found in connection, in my relationships with family, friends and communities.
  • It’s also in freedom, in travel and exploration and taking time to slow down and admire the beauty and awe of the planet.
  • It’s also in helping others, in being a contribution either with my time, attention or money.
My Wealthy Life

So here’s the crazy thing, since I sold my business and took to my life on the road I have reduced my monthly spending by over 50% but I can happily say that the wealth I feel in my life has more than doubled.

4 Things For You To Think About

There’s a few key thoughts I have based on my time, experience and reading:

1) There’s a time/money trade off

When you have more free time it’s much easier to spend less money. When you can experience the joy of life by taking a 5 hour stroll or by whiling away an afternoon lost in a book or whatever it is that would bring you joy, you spend less money on trying to escape your life. Think of things that you can do for free that are inside you values and would leave you fulfilled. Do more of them.

2) You don’t need all that stuff.

Stuff gets in the way, you just spend time cleaning it and tidying it up. Stop buying stuff. It won’t make you happy (there are lots of books on this). As an added advantage you’ll be helping the planet!

3) Only spend money on things that line up with your values.

We started to look at what your values are. Look back at your list of values, compare it to your bank statement, does your bank statement reflect those values or is it telling a different story? Is there anything that immediately jumps out that you could stop paying for today?

4) Have a simple system that helps you do this.

I have different bank accounts set up for my values and one for my day to day spending. When my money comes in, it is automatically split between these pots. When your day to day spending account only contains some of your money, it’s much easier not to spend it all. Our brains aren’t always that smart, if you can’t see it you don’t spend it.

If you are interested I currently have 6 bank accounts:

  • Day to Day spending — no standing orders or direct debits just what I have that I can spend this month on general living costs.
  • Recurring payments — Where all the bills and Direct Debits get paid from.
  • 4 wealth pots — Travel & Adventure, Growth, Gifts & Donations and my Freedom Fund.

A Note About Growth

I’m not suggesting here that it’s not appropriate to want to earn more money and that can indeed be a goal, having more money can make life easier and can allow you to have a greater impact in the world. What I’m saying is find balance in where you are now, because now is all you have. Stop waiting for the ‘when I have enough money’.

What Next?

I am currently writing an online course about managing your personal money and prioritising your Wealthy Life. I will be running it initially with a beta group which will included 1 to 1 time with me for feedback and questions. If you are interested in finding out more please get in touch.

The Happy Startup School

Build a life and business rich with purpose

Gail Bainbridge

Written by

Living the dream! I’ve done it I’ve sold my business, bought a motorhome & set out on an adventure to explore both me and this magnificent island I call home ❤️

The Happy Startup School

Build a life and business rich with purpose

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