I’ve been lucky and successful in life in many ways. Certainly I’ve worked hard, may long days and nights, but plenty of others have as well. In fact, there are plenty of people I know that have worked more hours, but been less successful. Conversely, I know some that have worked much less and been more successful. It’s hard to know what the best way is for each of us to examine how to move forward in life, but it’s also not really helpful to compare yourself with others as a measurement. What I’d note you should do is decide if you think you’re becoming more or less successful and find your own path.
This could mean very different things to different people, and that’s fine. I don’t want to live other people’s lives. I want to live my own, learning from positive and negative things that happen to others, but following the path that best suits my wife and me. I include my wife because we’re a partnership. We decided to spend our lives together, and that means we work with each other, sharing success and sacrifice, making joint decisions. It’s worked out well for us, and I am looking forward to the next few decades of continuing on that path.
I got inspired to write this by Troy Hunt’s 10 Personal Finance Lessons for Technology Professionals, which is better written than what I’d do if i wrote it. My wife and I haven’t been as focused as Troy has, but we’ve gone through a similar set of thoughts and execution in our careers. We were less money focused, and we don’t live on the Gold Coast, but we’re pretty happy with where we are. We’ve made a few real estate investments, along with some traditional ones, and I think we’ve been fairly successful.
What inspired me, however, isn’t the advice about how to make money as much as the need to understand what money means to you and the implications of your choices. I do think money is necessary, at least some to live in the US. I also think money can make life better, but you have to learn to enjoy life first. Money should help you with things you enjoy, not make you buy things you think you (or others) will enjoy. However, to ensure you can make the choices you want to, learning a bit about money is useful.
Most of us don’t get good financial literacy, and more importantly, we don’t think about what money really means. It’s a representation of time, and your time is the most valuable asset you have. I don’t advocate that everyone try to be rich, or retire at 40, or save every penny/pence/shilling/lira/yen and live like a pauper.
Enjoy your life as you live it and learn to appreciate the small things that touch your days. Along the way, learn a bit about money so you can make choices. Develop a hobby outside of work, and enjoy the moments with friends and family. Life is short. Try to actively live to enjoy it.