Money Happiness

The 5 Commandments of Money Happiness

The 5 Commandments of Money Happiness | www.TheHeavyPurse.comGratitude has always played a significant role in my daily life, and as we enter the holiday season its impact magnifies. Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays and my oldest daughter, Lauren, celebrates her birthday this month. It’s a time of incredible blessings and a chance for me to reflect upon the past year. There are thousands of little lessons that I want to teach my daughters, but if they leave home financially confident and able to mindfully create joy for themselves and others, I’ll be a happy and proud Mom.

What is Money Happiness?

Personal finance is personal. We say it all the time in the finance community. But what does it really mean? To me, it means finding your money happiness. To use your money to create the life you want for yourself and your family without concern of whether everyone else agrees with all your choices. Because it’s likely they won’t. Seriously — when has 100% of the population agreed on anything? What matters to me, may or may not matter to you, and its value to me should not lessen because it doesn’t matter to you or vice versa. Our obsession with what everyone else thinks is what robs us our happiness.

5 Keys to Finding and Maintaining Money Happiness

Thou shall follow these five commandments and find your money happiness forevermore.

1. Money is a Gift

My father taught me money was a gift, but often times we tend to equally view it as a curse. A curse because we have less than others or are miserable due to debt. Typically the curse mindset stems from believing money creates happiness through having lots and lots of things. Whereas those who believe it is gift know that money happiness comes from how you use your money or the purpose you give it.

How Do You View Money?

  1. How does money make you feel? Do you tend to hoard it? Or give willingly. Does it make you jealous when others can do or have things you can’t? Do you feel self-righteous because the way you live is the “right” way? Are you afraid of losing it and being destitute? Do you feel guilty for having too much when others have so little?
  2. How do you feel when you spend money? Do you feel good about what you buy in the moment and later? Or just in the moment and the happiness is fleeting? Do you hide or lie about the things you buy? Do you spend more emotionally (i.e. “I deserve this”) rather than mindfully on things you intended? Do you feel as though you must justify what you want and buy?

Be honest with your answers. You want clear insight into your views on money, not the answers society would deem appropriate. Many people assume they have positive money beliefs only to discover that they have lots of guilt, fear, anger and jealously tainting their money perspective. Do not feel bad because you feel those emotions, but instead figure out what brings them out in you and understand how it affects your spending habits.

2. Figure Out What You Value

To make money truly a gift, you have to use it on what you value, and most people have trouble articulating what their values are. Inside they know, but when asked, they stutter and fall silent. They never really thought about it before or made sure they were honoring their values. You should know what your values are and be able to prioritize them. What things are important and matter to you?

Some of the things we value in our home are: family, friends, travel, college education for the girls, being healthy, gratitude and financial literacy. You may value many of these things as well, although how we value them may differ from one another and needs to be respected. Because I know my values, I know where to spend my time and money to create a fulfilling life.

3. Set Goals Based on Values

Knowing what you value or what you want from life is half the battle, but in order to make them your reality, you need to set goals around them. We took the time to figure out our values and what they mean to us. So for example, not only do we know how we’d like to spend our retirement, we also know how much money we need to save to make it a reality. It’s a goal of high priority, so we treat it accordingly.

We also tend to value/want things of a more materialistic nature, which can make people uncomfortable, as though they are bad for wanting such supposedly frivolous things as nice clothes, gadgets, cool cars, etc. There is nothing wrong with wanting or admiring those things. What you need to figure out is how much they mean to you and where they fit in within all your other goals.

4. Make Value-Based Decisions Based on Goals

The reason people often feel guilty about their spending is because they are not honoring their values. They are either spending emotionally or spending money based on another person’s values (i.e. the “keeping up” mindset). If you want to feel good about how you use your money, you need to use it in alignment with your values and goals. It was a principle my father taught me, and I found making value-based decisions changed my money perspective from guilt to joy.

Always keeps your goals and values front and center. When you find something you like, they act as your barometer and help prevent mindless spending. It forces you to slow down and think about your goals. I feel confident about money choices whether it’s investing for my retirements dreams or buying that new pair of shoes I want.

5. Let Go of Judgment

This is the hardest commandment. By nature, people are judgmental. We instantly decide if we like something or don’t. We label things right and wrong and good or bad. We worry about how others will view our money choices and values. Or we judge how other’s use their money and their values. Yes, people make foolish decisions with their money and make mistakes. Sometimes it annoys me too, but no one is perfect, including myself.

Do not waste your time and energy putting down others for the things they value or how they choose to use their money because they differ from your values. Respect that others value things differently than you do and focus on making sure your own choices appropriately reflect your values. There is nothing wrong with promoting or being proud of your way of life, but don’t assume it’s the only way to live. Because you will never find your money happiness if your attention is on what others do, both wrong or right. Focus on what you can control, which is your own life.

Money Happiness is a Choice

You hold the power to achieving your money happiness. It is not dependent on having more money than anyone else, but on how you use your money. When you form value-based goals and make value-based decisions, you’ll find that you spend your money with true joy.

How do you find your money happiness?


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November 3, 2014  •  33 Comments  •  Money Happiness

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  1. Monday, November 3rd, 2014
    It's interesting how two people can look at money in two different ways. I can hand someone $100 and someone will save it all and the other person will spend it all. The value is the same and it is the same piece of paper but we are the one's who assign it value as to what it means in our own life. At some point in life you have to look at money that is part of life but not the most important part of life. If money is the most important part of life you will never be satisfied. If it is a part of your life you have mastered your desires and found happiness in other ways. It can take a long time to learn the lesson, but money is just paper or digits on a computer screen.
    • Shannon Ryan
      Monday, November 3rd, 2014
      Absolutely, Lance. Everyone's values differ and we need to honor our values and respects others. Money is just paper and the purpose we assign it what absolutely gives it value.
    • Monday, October 26th, 2015
      Hey Shannon, I agree with you. Goal setting is one good thing, but wisely using money and making decision at the right time for the right cause is the real matter. And, btw I love your writing. Gonna add it in my pocket reader.
  2. Monday, November 3rd, 2014
    I spend a lot of time reflecting and being grateful- for money and everything that money affords me. November really is an incredible month. I feel like I'm already overwhelmed with thanks for all the incredible opportunities I've had this year- plus the first of the month is when I get paid so that helps :)
    • Shannon Ryan
      Monday, November 3rd, 2014
      That's a great attitude and mindset, Stefanie. A lot of people focus on what they lack and don't appreciate or recognize all the good things in life. I am so grateful for what my money affords me too and I never take it for granted. You've had an amazing year, Stefanie and I know you worked very hard to bring all these wondering opportunities to your door. And yes, pay day is always a happy day! ;)
  3. Monday, November 3rd, 2014
    Love what you said about money being a gift. Too often, we have been viewing it as a curse here, thinking we don't have enough. Time for a change in attitude. Thanks, Shannon. :-)
    • Shannon Ryan
      Monday, November 3rd, 2014
      A lot of people view as a curse, but it truly is a gift. I'm glad you've recognized that and are working to adjust the attitude. It will make a difference!
  4. Monday, November 3rd, 2014
    "Money is a gift" is the most important lesson on this list for me. If you change your view to money is a gift, then even with tremendous wealth, you'll be responsible, giving, and remain humble.
    • Shannon Ryan
      Monday, November 3rd, 2014
      Absolutely, Natalie. Whether you have a little money or a lot, when you view money as a gift, it completely changes how you use it and view it. There are people with significant wealth who are miserable because they are not using it a manner that aligns with their values.
  5. Monday, November 3rd, 2014
    I love these Shannon! I could not agree more on the money is a gift aspect. Far too often we don't view it that way and can really skew what we're inclined to do. That said, I really love #2 and #3 as that really starts to put meat on the bones in my opinion. Having those goals can really help drive you and bring more focus and thus more success in the end which we all should want. :)
    • Shannon Ryan
      Monday, November 3rd, 2014
      Thanks, John! It's true - our money views really skew how we use it. And I know for me personally, viewing money as a gift makes me appreciate what I can do, rather than focus on what I cannot do/have. Yes, #2 and #3 are key. Knowing what you want makes a huge difference in how you make decisions with you money.
  6. Monday, November 3rd, 2014
    For a long time my money was not making me happy and that was because I had no specific goals for it, at least not any that made me happy. Once I established goals for my money, everything seemed to fall in place and now goal setting is once of the biggest things I do with my clients. It not only gives them a clarity around their choices, but it also alleviates stress and brings them more joy because they now have focus.
    • Shannon Ryan
      Monday, November 3rd, 2014
      Isn't it amazing how much of a difference true goals make? Suddenly it's not punishment to save money for the things you want, but something you look forward to achieving. Goal-setting is critical and it really changes how we (and our clients) think about their money.
  7. Monday, November 3rd, 2014
    Like you Shannon, I feel so blessed in life in general and being able to earn income to direct towards goals and experiences that help to enrich life even more. It is important that we tell our money where to go, so to speak and give it a true, meaningful purpose.
    • Shannon Ryan
      Monday, November 3rd, 2014
      Being focused and aware of our blessings is so important. It's easy to get caught up on what we don't have or what's not working and forget how fortunate we truly are. Like you, I am so grateful to be able to use my money in way that enriches the lives of my family and others. Giving my money purpose and seeing it become a reality is such a genuine thrill.
  8. Monday, November 3rd, 2014
    Great post Shannon! You are so right. 100% of people will NEVER agree and personal finance is personal, so we need to make sure we are working toward the goals we have for ourselves (and our families). Great reminder! :)
    • Shannon Ryan
      Monday, November 3rd, 2014
      Thanks, Kayla! Absolutely, we need to work towards what we truly want and makes us happy. We can never make everyone happy and honestly, don't need to either.
  9. Monday, November 3rd, 2014
    Great questions to ask under "How you view money?" I've been pretty good with saving and investing my money...but that doesn't necessarily mean I have the best relationship with money. I do really need to sit down and figure out what I value and set goals based on those values. Excellent point about money bringing happiness based on how you use it and the purpose you give it.
    • Shannon Ryan
      Monday, November 3rd, 2014
      Thanks, Andrew! Many people don't really consider how healthy their money relationship is and it's important to honestly assess how you feel about money. Many have lots of hidden emotions and triggers that can pop up and derail our money confidence. Money happiness isn't how much money you have but truly how you use it. The best part is you don't need to have a ton of money to have money happiness.
  10. Monday, November 3rd, 2014
    Great article Shannon! I think about money totally different than I did three or four years ago. I think I let money control me…even back before that when I had a full time job. I never felt in charge of what I was spending money on, or how I could make it work for me or value it more. So many things have changed since then and I'm please that I've naturally progressed to these commandments organically as I've been on my own financially healthy journey!
    • Shannon Ryan
      Monday, November 3rd, 2014
      You were not alone, Tonya. Many people let money control them and don't even realize it. Love that you're living these commandments and embracing your own financial health!
  11. Monday, November 3rd, 2014
    I try to be appreciative even if I am feeling lousy. Actually, scratch that. I ESPECIALLY try to be more appreciative if I am feeling like sh*t. I think it is very important to try and get yourself out of that funk.
    • Shannon Ryan
      Tuesday, November 4th, 2014
      Me too. When I'm feeling low than I make an extra effort to be appreciative and look for things to be grateful for. They exist if you look for them.
  12. Monday, November 3rd, 2014
    I like the idea of setting goals based on your values. If you can align the two you are much more likely to be happy.
    • Shannon Ryan
      Tuesday, November 4th, 2014
      You got it, DC. It makes a world of difference in your happiness level. If I don't feel happy with how I'm using my money, than it's sign to reevaluate. To make sure it's in alignment with my goals and values.
  13. Tuesday, November 4th, 2014
    Money is happiness when I no longer think of debt and I see myself that everything like my spending, goals, and savings is according to my expectation. Shannon, I am enlightened by your last point: let go of judgment. Actually, I am sometimes affected by the judgment of others. But, I am learning to refocus my attention on how I can manage my money very wisely. It takes determination and commitment, really.
    • Shannon Ryan
      Tuesday, November 4th, 2014
      Glad I could help, Jayson. We are occasionally affected by the judgement of others, and sometimes we don't even realize it. Refocusing your attention on your financial situation is definitely what you need to do. You are in control of your money happiness!
  14. Tuesday, November 4th, 2014
    Great post, Shannon, and I agree about money being a gift! Once I started thinking with that mentality and making value-based decisions, it felt more abundant than before (not so much the actual amount, but my perspective of it, I suppose). I do admit, I can still get pretty judgy at times, mostly with loved ones, but it is something I work on (it doesn't stop me from trying to help, especially if I see it's beyond their means, but it's something I handle gingerly).
    • Shannon Ryan
      Tuesday, November 4th, 2014
      An abundance mindset makes a huge difference, even when you actual income/wealth doesn't dramatically increase. But how you feel about money and use it changes dramatically. Letting go of judgement is tough. And it really tough when you have loved ones who are careless with money, especially since in most instances it's due to a lack of knowledge. You want to help, but sometimes it's not welcome. And don't forget - wanting to help is a lot different than putting down their choices because they differ from yours, which many people do.
  15. Tuesday, November 4th, 2014
    #5 is so important. Sometimes I don't want to tell anyone something I've bought because it might not make sense to them, and I do find myself sometimes judging other peoples' spending. We all need to determine our values and not worry about everyone else.
    • Shannon Ryan
      Tuesday, November 4th, 2014
      Judgement is the hardest habit to break because I think it's almost impossible. It's very easy to make judgements about other's spending or worry about what others will think about how we spend our money. It's a game I try to avoid because it just ends up making me miserable. Like you said, focus on our values, rather than what everyone else is doing.
  16. Thursday, November 6th, 2014
    These are completely different outlooks on money. It is interesting what a change in perspective can do for you.
    • Shannon Ryan
      Thursday, November 6th, 2014
      A change of perspective can make a huge difference in how you look at your money.
  • Meet Shannon

    "As a Certified Financial Planner, it is my passion to help individuals and families build a healthy relationship with money. I look forward to helping you raise financially confident kids.” - Shannon Ryan