No matter which dictionary you consult, you’ll find that each describes contentment to be a state of satisfaction and ease.
Some closely related words are delectation, gratification, and happiness, all of which inspire a soft smile.
Contentment feels like a full and relaxed breath. Perfectly at peace.
Your financial life should position you to find contentment in your golden years.
How can you achieve this coveted mindset?
What Does Financial Contentment Look Like?
Financial contentment, like any element in your life, is personal. Each individual author can construct its definition, similar to the saying “beauty is in the eye of the beholder.”
One couple may be content to live on $60k per year, whereas another couple wouldn’t be content with $150k per year. It’s all about the lifestyle you’ve grown accustomed to and the best way to structure your retirement resources to bring it about.
How will you know what contentment means to you?
Let’s take a step back from the dollars and cents to determine where you find contentment.
You may find contentment in different areas of your life than another person. Perhaps you discover contentment in your church community, your spouse’s smile, or your granddaughter’s laugh. You may also find it in time spent volunteering, reading, or creating.
In the wake of the pandemic, many people had an opportunity to reexamine their priorities and discover what truly mattered to them. Those moments of truth and clarity should guide where your money goes.
Change Your Mindset from “Enough” to “Complete”
Financial contentment doesn’t necessarily mean that you never worry about money again. Rather, that your money and other resources are supporting the best things in your life. So often, people ask themselves this question:
How much money is enough?
But challenge yourself to reframe this idea. If you put your money in terms of “enough,” the answer will likely be “never.” There will never be enough money to satisfy absolutely every single thing that pops into your head. If there were, you wouldn’t have to make any tough financial decisions.
Chasing the idea of enough could lead you to adopt a sacristy mindset—a perpetual state of never enough.
It’s time to flip the script.
Instead of searching for “enough,” search for the things that make your life feel complete. Ask yourself,
- Where do you find fulfillment?
- Are you spending your time, talents, and resources on those areas?
- How can you better align your financial and personal habits to your goals and values?
Be sure to walk through these questions with your spouse. You may be surprised to find that some answers differ. Married couples need to construct financial plans and futures together. Carve out time to make sure you’re aligned on the larger vision for your life and your money; then, you can work towards it together.
Make financial contentment a choice by understanding what it means to you and structuring your finances to support that message.
Your Values Are The Cornerstone of A Purposeful Plan
What does it mean to align your money with your core values?
It means that every dollar has a purpose.
The extra money you’re saving for retirement will help fund your dream house, vacation, lifestyle, etc. The money and time you donate throughout the year help support causes and organizations that you care about.
Bringing the “personal” into personal finance is critical to establish a plan that truly means something special to you and your family.
Every aspect of your money, from spending to investing to saving to giving, should be rooted in your values. Doing so brings purpose, meaning, and fulfillment to every dollar. By structuring your money to further the things most important to you, contentment is right around the corner.
Set Intentional Goals and Act On Them
Your goals should be directly connected to your values and vision for contentment. Start with your values, then reverse engineer them from there.
If one of your values is giving to the church, then perhaps you regularly donate throughout the year in addition to giving your time and talents to a committee, fundraising effort, or another event. Remember, giving your time can be just as valuable as giving financial support.
It could also mean that you reframe your investment strategy to better reflect your goals and values. Faith-based investing—investing in ways that uphold the tenets of your faith—could be an avenue to consider.
Perhaps cultivating a solid relationship with your family is another goal. How can you connect your finances to support this goal? You might want some funds set aside to travel to visit your children and grandchildren a few times per year, or maybe move closer to them. Maybe you want to help set aside money for your grandchildren’s education, or be sure that you can plan and attend a meaningful experience together each year.Your values can be a springboard for action. Our team at Step by Step seeks to help you make deliberate decisions that encompass your goals and values. If you’re ready to find financial contentment, let’s talk about it together.