Most of us have been in such a situation that leads to one or the other: more money or a better work-life balance. Even more of us have played with the idea that the best version of our career will have one or both. Although most of the time that’s not the case. In my experience, the most successful (and often most paid) individual also happens to be the busiest. Which is of course to be expected when more often than not it feels we no longer are paying for our bills, food, clothes, taxes, entertainment etc. in currency, as much as hours of our life. I mean I get it, without that currency it’s our personal lives that end up feeling quite dismal, and if we only were getting paid more those troubles would disappear. This is true, provisionally.
So let’s take a look at what it takes to actually be successful “enough”. Most of you, I’m sure have heard of the national study at Princeton by Daniel Kahneman and Angus Deaton which states, in short, that making more than 75,000 bucks a year won’t significantly improve day-to-day happiness. Right of the bat, I can tell you that’s going to be much easier for a stem major. Of course that’s where the hard work comes in. Calculus, physics, electronics, and programming don’t come naturally to some people. Then again it’s a skill and like all skills it takes practice. Practice four to five hours a day every day for a year and you can do anything. Did you laugh at that last sentence? Did you say “who has the time for that?” Well the thing about hard work is that it’s not easy. I know it does not make it any easier if you have a family or something else that takes time away. Maybe you have a learning disability and it’s difficult to pay attention or learn something new. You don’t deserve wealth or that dream job any less if you’re willing to put forth the effort.
Let’s look at this from a different approach. Save, save, save. Most Americans are not saving enough. Statisticbrain.com brought together data from the U.S Census Bureau, the Federal Reserve, and the IRS, in order to form some idea of the American financial situation. The percentage that are not saving for retirement- 40%. The percentage of families who are not saving at all- 25%. The average amount saved for retirement by those that do- $35,000. The percent of Americans who postponed their retirement this year – 24%. I will not even touch on our debt situation but I’ll provide the link for all the studies and surveys I mention. So, as you know, the Federal Reserve sets the interest rates for all banks in the U.S. and right now it’s pretty low and that’s because they don’t want you to keep your money in banks. They want to entice you and me to put our money in investments that’ll save this economy so they make it less enticing to leave them in banks. Consider investing in the market. Start off slow and easy, of course I would recommend talking to a broker about non-taxable state bonds. Bonds are always said to be the safest investment and those that I’ve heard disagree with that are those that have seen cities going bankrupt all over the country such as the Detroit situation. Well the good news is states aren’t allowed to go bankrupt. So consider some safe investments that have a higher interest rate than what our average inflation rate which is about 2% annually. If the market is not the place for you consider looking into an IRA for retirement. This advice won’t make you rich because the market is a casino and you win big if you risk big which is not something that I’d advocate to beginners. In summation, finances are a big part of our lives and affect every facet of them. Take the time to learn about it before it ruins your personal lives.