Once you’ve abandoned the pursuit of balancing money and life in favor of integrating the two, the question still remains: Now what? How the heck do I better integrate money and life? Like most personal finance dilemmas, the answer is simple, but not easy.
It’s simple because it doesn’t require many steps. What’s more, it’s advice you’ve likely heard before, perhaps multiple times. But it’s challenging because you have to do some work—interior work. And then you have to make some difficult decisions.
Before I share the process, it’s imperative that we recognize a fundamental financial truth, often shrouded in a sea of marketing, misinformation and self-help rubbish that’s more sales than psychology.
RULE: Money is a means, not an end. Money is a tool—a neutral tool that is neither good nor evil. It may, however, be used in pursuit of either good or evil, and everything in between. Money can be well-utilized in the pursuit of goals, but it makes a very poor, lonely goal in and of itself.
Understanding—and believing and applying—this rule is the aim of the following systematic four-step approach to better integrating life and money: