It’s easy to assume that all money worries can be sorted by simply getting more money. However, just as it’s important to have money, and use it responsibly, it’s also essential to have a healthy relationship with it. The Japanese concept of happy money enables a relationship with money whereby, instead of stress and worry, having money is something to be grateful for.
Happy money is conceptualized by Japanese author Ken Honda, in his book Happy Money: The Japanese Art of Making Peace With Your Money. It helps with maintaining peaceful and joyful feelings towards money. Financial advice focuses on creating wealth, having savings, making wise investments, and focusing on retirement goals. However, having a lifelong financial agenda doesn’t help manage any stress and anxiety that comes with dealing with money.
Happy money vs. unhappy money
Happy money is full of warmth, gratitude, and love whereas unhappy money is signified by fear, anxiety, and despair. Honda insists on focusing on the journey to financial success rather than the destination. Happy money requires money emotional quotient. Understanding your financial attitude helps you determine how to use your money EQ to achieve financial zen.
Appreciating those who made sacrifices to enable you to be where you are makes it easier to maintain gratitude. Happy money encourages readers to become money magnets who attract wealth and handle it responsibly. Making your money EQ remain in harmony with your financial goals helps maintain a positive relationship with money.
Happy money looks at bills, not as a burden, but as an appreciation for services provided. When buying gifts for your children or friends, think of how it will make them happy, not how much the cost will stress you. Money spent on experiences or self-improvement is an investment in your well-being and future, not mere expenses.
Money EQ differs from money IQ, which is financial literacy. Most financial training focuses on money IQ. No one ever really teaches you how to feel about money. Having high money EQ increases generosity, happiness, and fulfilment, regardless of wealth status. Money EQ means not using stress to make your financial decisions. If you’re a parent, only focus on passing on financial responsibility rather than debt. As an underpaid worker, learn how to advocate for a higher income or more benefits. Budget responsibly without denying yourself ways to enjoy your life.
Happy money requires an acceptance of money flow rather than trying to hold on to money. Don’t be held back by a scarcity mentality. Use it as a resource that should be used as needed. Save to invest in your future rather than thinking of denying yourself what you want. Invest in ways of self-development such as going back to school or getting extra training at work. Create a saving and investing habit to cultivate a sense of abundance.
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How happy money works in practice
1. Think of savings like free time
Honda’s book helps readers find a way to be happy with their money. Managing your finances wisely helps reduce the burden around money management. Having a way to get extra money through savings, or secondary incomes provides more freedom. Imagine it as how you have extra time when you finish your work or studies before schedule. The extra free time gives you a chance to relax, indulge in a hobby, or connect with friends. Having extra money gives you access to more resources to manage your life, such as hiring support.
2. Be grateful for extra income
Financial security should be a gateway to zen. If you can pay your way without debt, you should be grateful that you are managing your finances well enough. Worrying about what you still lack or how you compare to others increases anxiety. Happy money helps you focus on what you have and be grateful for whatever little income you have access to.
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3. Account for your spending
Having financial intelligence is more valuable than having a large bank account. Ensuring that every cent is accounted for and not wasted on frivolous whims provides financial peace. Extremely wealthy people have money that makes them more money. They have the option to be wasteful but these are very few people. The majority of people can only ensure that they spend their money wisely. Finances are also tricky because, unlike your chosen career, you don’t get financial intelligence training. Happy money makes learning personal finance management more valuable.
4. Is your work making you happy?
Happy money helps you interrogate whether your job is giving you joy or not. Should you consider a career change or a job switch? Is there a way to improve your current working environment? Finding joy or fulfilment in your job makes it easier to enjoy your income.
One of the best ways to ensure you experience joy with your money is to visualize what you will do with the money that you’re saving. Thinking of fun ways to spend your savings makes it easier to reach your financial goals. For example, you can think of saving for a luxury ocean cruise rather than thinking of saving to reach a certain percentage of money to make an investment. Thoughts of the luxury cruise are more motivating and make it easier to stick to your financial goals. Happy money helps make being responsible about your financial future fun.
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6. Spend what you can
Happy money also makes it easier to live within your means. If you’re an over-spender or live outside your budget to survive, you may need to find ways to cut back. But like dieting, cutting back can be difficult. It’s important to create a habit of living within what you can afford.
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7. Be patient
Growing wealth is a gradual process. Taking time to develop extra wealth means you take your time before spending money. Oftentimes, people who get a sudden influx of money spend most of it, such as lottery winners. Lacking the financial intelligence to turn a windfall into a steady stream of income spells disaster for them.
8. Be grateful
Gratitude is a great way to experience joy with the money you have, no matter how little it is. Being thankful helps improve mood, and brightens your outlook. Be grateful to those who have helped you get where you are and those who have helped your future.
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9. Compare yourself with yourself
Avoid comparing yourself with others and only compare your past with your present. Regardless of where you are in life, you have experienced growth and progress you wouldn’t have otherwise gotten. You will never be as effortlessly wealthy as a Kardashian. But you can measure your wealth according to your personal growth. Noting any improvements you have in your life will help you maintain financial happiness.
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