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64 Edgewater Close
Swanhaven, NSW 2540
(02) 4068 3990 *******
I'm intrigued by the various cohorts of business folk I've met over the years. Not classifications, like plumber, financial planner, or chiropractor, but cohorts, like those who are entrepreneurs because they think it's sexy but aren't making any money, and those who are entrepreneurs because their personalities are such that nobody would hire them as employees, and those who are entrepreneurs as a hobby because their spouses make six-figure incomes. One of the most interesting cohorts is the entrepreneur who sacrifices every waking moment to work on his business, doing work he's not particularly passionate about, to sustain a lifestyle he can't really afford. He drives a BMW because he believes it makes people think his business is successful. He's constantly messaging on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and a number of other social networking services because he's terrified that he will lose touch with prospects and referral buddies, even though these services have not contributed to a single sale. You'll see him in restaurants and bars, emailing and texting on his Blackberry, periodically ignoring his family or friends, never living in the moment, always looking for the next prospect. When you speak to him, he'll try to sell you on his products and services, even if he's just met you for the first time. He'll say things like "time is money" and "no pain, no gain".
He looks successful when he is. But even if he isn't.
I met many people like this when I was in the mortgage business. They would have high-end leased cars, $700,000 houses and some commercial or residential properties. They would work endlessly with me, trying to squeeze another $50,000 out of their financially-maxed-out properties, trying to talk me down in my fee to save a few bucks. I could see the stress lines in their faces. Their businesses owned them and the only choice they had was to keep working their businesses until they could turn them around or until they crumbled under a crushing debt.
Lifestyle drove the business. But the business drove the lifestyle, too.
It's the same with those who have jobs. Lifestyle and income go hand in hand. The house, the expenses, the wardrobe, the travel, and the cost of a lifestyle increases proportionately with income.
Sort of.
Ironically, debt increases disproportionately to an increase in income. The debt of the average person making $100,000 per year is more than double the debt of a person making $50,000 per year. For many people making a six-figure income, john spencer ellis image there's no turning back. If they love what they do to make the six-figure income, then "well done". But if they aren't happy, there aren't many options for making a career change while maintaining the six-figure income lifestyle.
Which brings us back again to the main tenet. Lifestyle drives income, even while income drives lifestyle.
So the starting point is to evaluate, or re-evaluate, your lifestyle.
If you had a clean slate, how would you spend your days? What really brings you joy in life? Do you need a big house, or just an apartment? Do you need an expensive car, or just a reliable car? After all, happiness research studies suggest that happiness levels increase quite a bit when someone moves from an unreliable car to a reliable car, but the increase in happiness is infinitesimally small when moving from a reliable car to a high-end reliable car. When you evaluate what really makes you happy, you may find that it doesn't actually cost all that much. What makes most people happy - quality relationships, meaningful work, a feeling of contribution, health, vitality, personal freedom, positive thinking - usually requires very little in the way of income.
Which begs the question, "Does more income mean more happiness?" Well, you bet it does. At least to a point. People making less than $40,000 per year tend to be more miserable than those making more than $40,000 per year. And of those making $40,000 per year, 70% consider themselves to be happy. But when income increases to $300,000 per year, happiness levels only increase to 77%. The suggestion is that once your basic needs are met, increased income only affects your happiness marginally.
So I invite you to dwell on these three questions:
• How do I want to live?
• What am I passionate about?
• Can my passion financially support how I want to live?
Happy pondering!