What does life on your own terms mean?
I grew up poor. To explain, I was raised by my grandmother living off her social security check in my great grandmother’s home. Consequently, neither of them drove or owned a car. I could go on but I think you get the picture. As I married and moved out on my own I wanted a different life. One where money wasn’t a hindrance to everything but a support. In short, I wanted to live life on my own terms.
After learning that I was entitled to Veterans benefits from my father, I decided going to college was the answer. Naturally, studying finance seemed like it would help solve the money problem. It didn’t hurt that I had a knack for math and the career tests indicated it was a good fit. The money did flow and life seemed to flow with it. For the most part, I lived life on my own terms. However, I realized how much influence society had on what I thought were my terms when the money flow stopped.
Life goals before money goals
For the most part, I lived my life in pursuit of the money goals and let them determine the life that I had. As a result, there were many nice cars, vacations, and an ever growing in size home. Don’t get me wrong it wasn’t a bad life. Life was really good. However, this focus kept us with more debt than we would have liked even though we were mindful of debt. As I’ve redefined what life on my own terms means I’ve discovered that life goals must come before money goals. When money goals come first life doesn’t always end us up where we intended to go.
As a simple example, one of my life goals is freedom. Freedom means many different things. For me, it includes freedom from debt. Freedom to do work that I enjoy regardless of the income it generates. Freedom to drop everything and have lunch with my husband or daughter. Freedom to take off on a Friday and spend the weekend riding my horses. This one life goal alone would have changed the money goals that we achieved. There would have been fewer new cars and the gradual increase to a bigger home than needed likely wouldn’t have occurred.
In the final analysis, life is about relationships, health, and meaningful work. Understanding our life goals and the money goals needed to support them is what gives us the freedom to live life on our own terms.
Grab your journal; it’s your turn to grow
Take a few moments and reflect on the life you want to live.
- Journal one of your most important life goals and why it is important to you?
- Now list any of your current money goals? Are they in alignment with your life goals or opposition?
- What adjustments do you need to make to put your life goals ahead of your money goals? How can you set money goals that are supportive of your life goals?