One of the things that I pride myself on is being honest with the readers of Saving Without A Budget. I try my best present a viewpoint you’re not likely to get from slightly more “upbeat” personal finance blogs like The Simple Dollar or Get Rich Slowly.
Don’t get me wrong, these are great sites that I read daily, but it’s not too often where you read one of their posts and you feel like you’ve been smacked back into reality.
With this in mind, I’ve started another series here that will focus on money myths that we have be conned into believing are truths. Be sure to keep coming back to read the rest of this series, as well as check out the 10 Pillars of Financial Success and the Tough Love Financial Lessons series.
Without further ado, here is money myth number one we all need to stop perpetuating:
If you do what you love the money will follow.
The idea of do what you love and the money will follow is a very romantic idea, rooted in the notion that you will be rewarded for your passionate efforts with a very fruitful and fiscally rewarding career.
Unfortunately, for most of us, it’s also a very unrealistic idea, and the reason is simple: there are a lot of jobs that we would love to have and would be passionate about doing that simply do not pay enough money to support the lifestyles we either want or have become accustomed to.
Obviously, if you happen to love being a plastic surgeon, lawyer, or business executive you’re kind of going against my theory. You get to do something you love and make a lot of money. And you know what? I applaud you for that and wish you all the success in the world.
However, for the remaining 99% of us the facts are, in order to get the money, more often than not we engage in an internal trade-off or negotiation; the more we get paid, the more willing we are to work a job that is less than ideal and certainly not something we would consider ourselves passionate about.
Some of us are willing to tip the scales in favor of our passions and accept less money. People like teachers and social workers come to mind. While they love what they do the money most certainly has not and, most importantly, will not follow. At least, not to the degree we have been led to believe that it will.
On the flip side, some of us are willing to tip the scales in favor of our bank accounts and work a job we generally loathe. These people are easy to spot, they’re the ones who look like zombies when they leave the subway station to walk to their BMWs. They might have lots of money in the bank, but they are generally dissatisfied with and unfulfilled by their chosen career path.
Most of us are somewhere in the middle, working a job we neither like nor dislike in order to make enough money to be comfortable. We are neither passionate about our jobs, nor do we make enough to get off the hamster wheel as quickly as possible.
For all parties involved – except for the plastic surgeon-types – this myth underscores the importance of living a frugal lifestyle (you knew I would have to tie it back to this and try to end the article on a somewhat less somber note).
If you are able to truly live below your means, make smart financial decisions, and not have money as the primary stressor in your life, you can a lot more easily and justifiably tip the internal negotiations in favor of your passions as opposed to the money. But, even in this case, it’s not that the money has followed, it’s that you have adjusted your lifestyle to the amount of money coming in.
In the next post in this series, I will be writing about the myth that having more money allows you to live a happier life. Please be sure to come back to Saving Without A Budget to read the post.
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