Recently my apartment came up for renewal. While the place I was currently renting was perfectly adequate for my life and needs, there was something inside of me that was looking for more. I had discovered that there was a new apartment/townhome complex being built in my community. All the bells and whistles one could hope and wish for in a rental home. Resort-like amenities. Perfectly manicured streets. I felt like the shiny new home was something I finally deserved after getting myself out of debt. I had worked hard to get myself in a position where I could afford extra luxuries.
Then I read my friend Jason Vitug’s book You Only Live Once: The Roadmap to Financial Wellness and a Purposeful Life and attended one of his pit stop events in Chicago on his Road to Financial Wellness road tour. In his book, Jason talks about creating the life you want to live now by making financial choices that allow you to do so. The biggest takeaway I got from the book was the question I needed to ask myself: Am I choosing to spend my money in a way that aligns with my life goals? This question really made me stop and think about the decisions I was making about money. Sure, I had gotten out of debt and was contributing to retirement funds but did the additional increase in rent (which was quite a bit more than I was currently paying) align with my life goals?
Money is finite. There is a limitation on how much anyone can spend. Even people like Oprah or Bill Gates have limitations on how much they can spend. What we have to decide with our money is how we are aligning our spending with the goals that we have set for ourselves. Is having a house important to you? Once you get out of debt and have an emergency fund, you should be focused on saving a healthy down payment. Is living a life with lots of travel important to you? Then you may need to focus on finding a career that not only allows you the flexibility of time off but also allows you to save money for a travel fund. Is your heart set on working as a missionary? Then paying off debt and learning to live on a lot less should be your priority.
I had to decide whether that brand new rental townhome was aligned with my financial goals. Putting that decision through the alignment filter helped me recognize that my main goal is to grow my business Every Single Dollar. The extra dollars I would be spending in rent is money that I could be investing in my business. I would rather forgo the nice new townhome with all the amenities now to focus on building something that will be much bigger. That’s what the decisions with money are all about. What are you willing to sacrifice now in order to attain your financial goals? What are your life priorities? Once you know the answers to these questions, making decisions about your financial options becomes very easy.