My friend—let’s call him Jim—is a complete and utter coffee geek.
He buys green beans, roasts them to his liking, grinds them to the perfect consistency, and measures the exact amount of ground coffee (in grams) for each serving. He—lovingly—prepares his coffee-making machine, making sure the water is at the right temperature before introducing it over the grinds. He stirs, counts, and plunges with the exactness of a neurosurgeon. Each sip is smelled, tasted, and savored; he is in his happy place during the entire process.
I watch his face light up when I bring the cup he’s made for me to my nose, absorbing the aromas of this very special nectar. He waits expectantly, like a master chef, for my first taste.
My mouth fills with exotic notes of cherry heightened by a level of acidity that enhanced the experience. It was as fine a moment for me as it was for Jim.
Wouldn’t it be awesome if more people felt Jim’s coffee passion for their money life?
Granted, it’s not the 30-minute time span that it takes to transform green coffee beans to a steaming hot cup of coffee. When it comes to using your money to live life with purpose, you need a longer perspective and some decisive moves. There’s a lot more at stake than a pound of coffee.
And chances are, calculating the optimal time to take social security benefits is a lot less interesting and a lot more complicated than pursuing your favorite hobby. Trying to muddle through financial research, methodologies and the multitude of blogs, articles and opinions is a waste of time because there is no one “right” answer.
So let’s start with a simple concept that is fun and rewarding to undertake. Let’s call this exercise: My Life and What Would Make it Spectacular.
Begin the first line with:
In five years, I envision my life to be__________________.
Do the same exercise using 10 years, 15 years, 20 years, and during retirement. Imagine every aspect that would make your life spectacular, rich, and fulfilled. Write about your family, work, health, leisure, money, and community. Memorialize what you want it to look like. And come back to it on a few occasions, to make sure you haven’t left anything out.
Got the vision firmly planted?
Now, record what your life is like today, in each of the areas. Which areas do you value most? What motivates and excites you? What can you celebrate? What can you savor? There might be aspects that are less than perfect but are important to you. This presents you with the starting point to create a life of purpose and joy.
Remember, like coffee, you can have a bad batch or botch up the calibration on the grind. Life has bumps, but moving towards financial satisfaction and happiness is like brewing the perfect cup. It’s a series of steps that help you achieve your most cherished outcomes. Begin with your destination firmly in mind, get help where it falls outside of your real knowledge (or interest), and strive to enjoy your journey. It’s worth every sip.