The main reason most people go to work is to make money. The main reason we make money is to provide our family with a quality life where they can thrive and be productive. If we’re too busy living with a scarcity mentality of saving, saving, saving, is it really worth all the work?
Sleep is a big deal for me. When I don’t get enough sleep it really impacts my day. I know some who don’t need more than four hours of sleep every night. I know others who need seven hours of sleep but function pretty well on five or six. That’s not me. So one of the things I did to help my sleep is bought blackout shades for my bedroom. One of the things I love about going to hotels are the blackout shades. I find myself sleeping more soundly and not waking early because of the morning light. It was a modest purchase. I would say that when measuring the cost and the benefit, it was a steal. The enhancement to my quality of life is significantly greater than the financial burden.
Let me tell you about my kitchen. I’ve mentioned in past episodes that we do a lot of hosting. My wife does a tremendous amount of cooking. Not only does she prepare a home cooked dinner for the entire family every night, we host many guests for the Shabbat and Jewish holidays. She’s easily cooking 80 meals on any given weekend, and we’re not talking macaroni and cheese. We’re talking about at least a four-course meal. Bottom line, the kitchen is a very important room in our home for both personally for our family and for our communal work. The kitchen as it was when we bought the home, was working. It wasn’t great, it had a number of limitations, and it worked.
We decided to invest tens of thousands of dollars into entirely gutting and redoing our kitchen so that it would be fully functional and make my wife’s efforts as productive as possible. We keep kosher, so we separate our dairy and meat products. This means two sinks, two ovens, two microwaves, two dishwashers and double the counter space. We added proper lighting. The guy at Lowes Home Improvement was shocked. He had never laid out a kosher kitchen before. Now there was one detail we needed to figure out. The funding. Thankfully, we were able to get an interest-free loan which I’m paying off monthly over 10 years and the monthly payment isn’t pocket change. Oh, and few years prior, we finished our basement which I pay for monthly. I won’t bore you with all the details there.
What I’m getting at is this. A quality of life has high value. It’s the way we experience our day-to-day living. The main reason most people go to work is to make money. The main reason we make money is to provide our family with a quality life where they can thrive and be productive. If we’re too busy living with a scarcity mentality of saving, saving, saving, is it really worth all the work? What it demonstrates is that our fear of not having enough is greater than our value for a quality life. We must also realize that our quality of life usually improves our ability function more productively, making us more productive at work. Some will argue and say, I get a quality of life by knowing I have a lot of security in the bank. This is definitely true. However, this is only true when we let our fear lead us. I understand that sometimes we just don’t have the money. There are plenty of things I can’t do to enhance my quality of life because I simply can’t afford them and it would be irresponsible of me to invest in them. I understand that by putting ourselves out too much, we’ll be stressing ourselves which greatly impedes on our quality of life. I know that stress very well. What I’m talking about is making an assessment of the quality of life versus money and seeing if we have simply become a victim of finances or we still remember what the finances are truly for.
The extreme example might be when I can buy my spouse the exact gift she would love for $10 more but don’t because there’s a cheaper one available even though it’s not their favorite color. Think about the purpose of the gift. Who is it for? How will the proper gift enhance your relationship? I suspect the proper color is worth far more than $10 to the relationship. Think of it this way. When will you be ready to love your spouse more than $10? Clearly, at this time, they are not worth the $10 investment.
So you may say, “Oh no, G-d forbid. I absolutely love my spouse. What are you talking about? It’s just that the color doesn’t make such a big difference.” I will challenge that comment by encouraging you to ask yourself, “When I say the color doesn’t make such a big difference, who am I really thinking about, me or them? For them, it does make such a big difference. It makes such a big difference if for no other reason than them knowing that their spouse will overcome their own preference just for me.
A less extreme example. Should I hire a trainer to help me with my exercise? Should I hire a coach to help me with my business? Assuming that we need help in these areas, how much would more success in these areas contribute to our quality of life? When we are led by money as the be-all-end-all, the answer is simple. Don’t spend the money. When we envision our overall happiness, health, and productivity, it may be a very wise investment. Sometimes a significant investment in our children at a young age can do more for them than most of the other things we do for them. I spend a tremendous amount of money giving my children a private education which offers them not only informational education but also an education of values. I know that my children’s quality of life will be much more enhanced down the road if they have values. Information and careers have a smaller impact on quality of life.
My point is, we are particularly vulnerable in our decision making when money is involved. For most people, it raises instinctive fears. Next time you need to make a decision that involves money, pause. Give yourself a moment to properly assess what your decision truly is. Don’t trade quality of life for a few dollars. A quality of life should have an extremely high value. Ask yourself this question, “Is my money owning me or do I own my money?”