“People who live far below their means enjoy a freedom that people busy upgrading their lifestyles can’t fathom.“
— Naval Ravikant
Money can sometimes be a mysterious and anxiety-inducing topic, as it’s intimately connected with both our ability to care for ourselves, and even our self-worth in some cases, but it’s also often confusing and has an air of being out of our control – generally not a recipe for peace and equanimity. Add to that, a world seemingly obsessed with money – what it can buy, and how happy it will make us, along with how hard we’re hustling for it – and there’s little wonder it’s such a triggering topic for so many of us.
During my 30 year career in the investment industry, I’ve learned that people would often rather talk about anything else than talk about their money, just because it is a topic that can hold so much emotional intensity based on one’s expectations of and relationship to money, and that of one’s family of origin.
What is your level of financial knowledge, understanding, and literacy?
Are you comfortable with building a saving, spending, and investment plan that is comfortable, achievable, and sustainable? Are you fearful of running out of money, or of what others think about you, in regards to how much you earn, or what you own? Does money mean safety or self worth to you? Do you use money to dull pain, or to fill an emotional hole? Did your family place inherent value on how much one earns, or did they place no value on financial stability at all? Was money spoken about easily, fluidly, and factually, or was it a source of anger or anxiety in your childhood home – or in your home now? Was money used as power, or as love – or was it a source of shame that there was either too much or too little?
Examining our core relationship with money, and finding ease, stillness, and quiet around one’s financial situation, consumption habits, and earning power can be one of the most powerful tools in building a life of ease, leisure, and rest, because when money is in chaos our lives will often follow suit.
“It’s good to have money and the things that money can buy, but it’s good, too, to check up once in a while and make sure that you haven’t lost the things that money can’t buy.”
— George Lorimer
What is quiet money?
It’s when we educate ourselves on financial basics and best practices, and also accept that money is simply one of the tools we have in building a happy and contented life – not always the most important one – but that it has no inherent value, except that which we place on it. It’s knowing money can do a lot of things, but it cannot make us happy, healthy, or successful – and it’s releasing the need to prove our worth with what we earn, or with what we purchase. And it’s when we find peace and equanimity with the uncontrollable nature of money, just as we do with that of health and love, that we begin to value it properly for what it can and cannot do.
In working with our one-on-one coaching clients to uncover and challenge harmful money scripts, or damaging money habits, and replace them with peaceful practices, we use the following strategies:
- Empower financial literacy and endorse best practices in managing financial assets.
Knowledge is power, and no where is that more true than in understanding the basics of one’s financial earning power, and time-tested money management skills, such as using the 50/30/20 system and also in refusing to level-up one’s lifestyle as earning power increases – or earning or buying to impress others or to dull feelings.
- Identify and challenge the subconscious moneyscripts at play.
What we believe to be true, whether knowingly or not, can prevent us from having a calm, still relationship with money. As such, we work together to rewrite them and integrate supportive tools to accomplish one’s targets, both financial and otherwise.
- Accepting the transient nature of money and financial success.
Building support structures that keep money in its rightful place – as one of many important aspects in meeting basic human needs, and many wants, but not in being one of the components necessary for happiness.
- Making peace with one’s own unique financial situation, living within one’s means, and remaining grounded in who we are, rather than what we have.
This applies whether we live in financial abundance or want, as I’ve seen as many financial crises in the wealthy as I have in lower-income households.
There are many more of us living in financial plenty than ever before in history, with lifestyles that were once the domain of only the very wealthy – meat, sugar, and fruit every day and more than 3 outfits to choose from – but there are also many more of us living in unhappiness than ever before, as well—and especially in the western world. One of the reasons has been traced back by researchers to the financial and consumer-centric nature of our lifestyles, with the belief that work, financial security, and purchasing power will make us happy; to the neglect of the things which are proven time and again to be the drivers of ease—being present, being socially connected, being a life-long learner, giving back, and restorative play. The study of quiet money helps us return to those principles, so that money can be used for its very limited right purpose, which is to feed, shelter, and clothe us, whilst we pursue the passions, purposes, and practices that align with the scientific data on human happiness.
Our favourite books on the subject of quiet money:
- The Wall Street Journal Guide to Money and Investing by Kenneth M. Morris
- Why Didn’t They Teach Me This In School? by Cary Siegel
- Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert T. Kiyosaki
- The Psychology of Money by Morgan Housel
- The Millionaire Next Door: The Surprising Secrets of America’s Wealthy by Thomas J. Stanley & William D. Danko
If you’d like to explore your own money philosophy and financial literacy further, you can learn more about our 1:1 coaching programs here.