Have you ever felt this way about your goals?
- Once I get promoted, I’d feel good about my financial progression. I’d have more control over my work.
- After I buy my car, I’d be able to show that I’m doing well. I’d feel more respected.
- When I make more money, I’ll be financially secure enough to do things my way. I can pursue more work-life balance.
These are common financial goals. BUT when you attain them, you’d soon realise that
Promotion often means more work… not control over work
Buying a car does not solve any insecurities… people still judge you
Making more money only opens the door to more expectations… not work-life balance
Moreover, the excitement of attaining these financial goals is often fleeting.
When you don’t have it, the goals seems like the real deal.
When you attained it, you’d realise it does not seem like a big matter at all.
Is this the same feeling you get when you attain financial freedom?
Do you yearn for financial freedom and plan to attain it in the next 10-20years?
If you do, you may have seen some promises on happinesses from articles, videos and advertisements.
Financial freedom is often portrayed as life on the beach or working on your free time… etc.
I’ve written on this topic myself and you can check on this link below for tips on how you can work towards attaining it for yourself
BUT I’ve this question for you below…
I realised that few actually speak about it holistically.
IF indeed financial freedom is a financial goal, you will likely experience the same quick loss of excitement when you actually attain it.
Just as any of your previous financial goals, it isn’t such a big deal after you have it.
This is the problem of the “Arrival Fallacy”
The “Arrival fallacy” and how it explains the loss of excitement when achieving a financial goal
The “Arrival Fallacy” was introduced by positive psychology expert Tal Ben-Shahar in his book Happier.
In his explanation, in the process of working toward a goal, you come to expect that you will in fact reach it.
Anchoring on a future goal triggers reward centers in your brain that induces a cognitively soothing effect.
It can be a financial goal or it can be a lifestyle goals such as to lose weight.
No matter what, that feeling of accomplishment becomes part of your day-to-day identity.
However, you readily adjust to this new state of being so much so that actually attaining a goal turns out to be less satisfying than expected.
It’s like expecting the holiday brought more happiness than the actual holiday (the goal) itself?
You’d that feeling before?
Financial satisfaction is fickle
In an office setting, pay is a sensitive information that the Human Resource (HR) holds.
That’s because it is hard to keep everyone satisfied.
You’d immediately feel under-paid and unsatisfied if you knew your peer got a better pay raise than you. It did not matter what you where drawing last year.
In a social setting, talk on pay is taboo. So financial status is expressed through where you live (house) and what you drive (car).
This is true story of a private client of mine.
I’ve known him for years and his financial goal was to buy his own house.
2 years back, he collected keys to his 3 room HDB flat and there was an excitement to it then.
How to renovate it? Baby’s room? The luxury of some privacy?
But when I met up with him recently, he had complains.
Suddenly, the house was too small and it seemed like the excitement of owning his 3 room HDB flat has long gone.
He was curious about upgrading and I sense he wanted a new house that fits his new pay scale.
Some reflections towards financial satisfaction and chasing financial goals
I wrote this post not out of leisure but of deep reflections.
We’ve all been trained by the school system to always aim for a bigger goal. Once you get one, move on to a bigger goal.
While setting an objective to work towards is often a powerful motivator that drives you to progress, it could also keep you hooked on this endless game of wanting more.
The truth is there’s always someone who has more of what you want.
Got a 5-figure passive income? There are some with a 6-figure or 7-figure passive income.
Bought a HDB house? There’re many friends who stay in a condo.
Bought a condominium? There’re those who stay in bungalows.
I’ve a previous post below on how much it takes to own a $5m home below if you are keen.
If you seek goal after goal, hoping that will make you happier, it probably will not.
Instead it could reinforce a cycle of self-doubt and a lousy feeling of adequacy.
Hence, I’ve the follow suggestions for you…
Find out more here
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