Personal finance often serve as great resources for those seeking to build wealth and improve their financial standing. The best bloggers offer practical advice and actionable tips while creating a welcoming community for anyone interested in money matters.
Another way bloggers help is by leaving all their details on the table. Money used to be considered a highly taboo subject; now, in the open, highly accessible digital age, we can see real-life examples of the where, what, when, why, and how of other people’s finances.
This is helpful because it provides us with a benchmark. But it can also be a little frustrating, because it’s all too easy to fall into the comparison trap.
It’s easy to get down on yourself and your own finances when you compare your net worth with personal finance bloggers who bare it all — and feel like you’ve come up short. Way short, in some cases.
This is especially frustrating when you feel like you’ve already tried to make an effort to increase wealth: you’ve cut overpriced services like cable. You’re paying down your debt so you stop losing money to interest. You’ve increased your retirement contributions or have moved some of your liquid assets into investments so they can start earning you a return.
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What else can you do?
If you’re feeling stuck on the progress you’re trying to make to increase wealth, you may need to consider wanting less.
Increase Wealth by Wanting Less
You can make an instant, positive impact on your finances by making a simple shift in mindset. You should simply want less.
Sure, that is easier said than done. Wanting stuff has become a behavioral habit. We’re trained to want to acquire more things; we’re encouraged by society and our culture to accumulate as many things as possible.
We buy bigger and bigger homes to fill with more and more possessions. We need larger cars so we can haul all of our goodies around (and to have something to put the latest and greatest stuff in to take back home).
And it’s hard to blame us for having this mindset. For some reason, we tend to think that looking rich is the same as being rich, and this couldn’t be farther from the truth. The majority of those that you might consider wealthy tend to keep their money where it’s working for them — in the market, earning returns, compounding, increasing that initial wealth year after year — instead of driving it, living in it, or wearing it.
We’re constantly sold to, as well, via marketing campaigns, advertisements, and commercials. We’re lead to believe that this product or that service will instantly improve our lives somehow or make us better as human beings. But the things that lead to true happiness, satisfaction, and fulfillment usually can’t be bought.
When we want less, when we stop worrying about what a mass-consumer society thinks about our lack of desire to acquire more stuff, we can start increasing wealth.
Why Does Wanting Less Mean an Increase in Wealth?
When you want less, you’re likely to spend less on things that don’t provide some sort of tangible return for you. That’s more money in your pocket that you can then use to increase wealth.
Money is a tool, and it’s true that you need money to make more of it.
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The easiest way to do this is to take the money you’re no longer spending on stuff, and put it into investments. This could mean buying index funds, investing in a business (with the long-term goal of increasing income and therefore available money to invest in the market), or purchasing real estate to provide you with another, potentially passive source of income.
Strategies for Changing Your Mindset
So how do you actually change how you think and how you perceive what you need? How can we get in touch with what we truly value, so we can prioritize spending and ensure our money is going towards purchases that are actually important to us?
Here are some ideas you can put into action now so you can start wanting less — and start increasing wealth by eliminating frivolous spending:
- Practice gratitude. Appreciate what you do have instead of single-mindedly focusing on what you don’t.
- Find joy in more than material goods. We may get a flash of happiness when we purchase something new. But then the novelty wears off and we’re no longer happy (instead, we go searching for the next thing to buy to try and capture that fleeting happiness again). Stop wasting time and money chasing something that can’t provide true happiness. Instead, find joy in the experiences you have. Find joy in spending your time with the people you care about.
- Think about purchases in terms of time, not money. Most of us have to work to earn money. And many times, we exchange our time and efforts to receive that money (in the form of a paycheck from an employer or a payment from a customer or client). So when you spend that money, remember that you’re not just exchanging cash — you’re exchanging the time you worked to earn that cash in the first place. So, for example, if you made $10 per hour, and wanted to buy an outfit that cost $100 total, consider that you would have had to work for ten hours to make enough money to pay for those clothes. Are they really that valuable, that you’d give up 10 hours of your time to have them? Most material goods simply aren’t worth that price. We can’t make more time, so make sure both your time and money are being utilized in the best possible way.
When you want less, you free yourself from the obligation to accumulate more stuff. You don’t weigh yourself down with the unessential. And you have more disposable income to put towards investments that will actually help you increase wealth.
If you wanted less, could you free up more money to utilize to increase wealth and your net worth?