If there’s one thing that everyone wants more of, it’s money. It’s for this reason that millions of people play the lottery every week, why we strive to climb the corporate ladder and why we give up going out with our friends to build a business that will help us escape our 9–5 job. In short, we all have certain financial aspirations, many of which involve making more money and that’s great. However, I do believe there are certain reasons why wanting to make more money will actually hurt you more than it will help you, so let me now dive into why this may be the case!
You see, when I was in my early 20s, the only thing I ever thought about was money. I thought about how much money my job paid me, how much it would cost to take that girl out on a date and what I could do to make more of it. Now, I didn’t have this obsession with money because I had some sort of spending problem. No, in fact the opposite was true. I was an adamant saver and strived to put every dollar I earned to good use. However, the trouble was that at that time, my income was terribly low so making any financial progress in my life was extremely difficult. Hence when I was always thinking about finding ways to make more money.
Now, I will admit that always having money on the brain did in fact help me make financial strides in my life. If I didn’t care about making money, I probably would never have started making content on YouTube or working with clients in my freelance business; both of which have been incredibly rewarding experiences to date. With these experiences, of course came more money but the problem was that after I hit a point where I was earning more than enough to keep myself financially afloat, my drive to make more money didn’t slow down. In fact, when I first started stringing together consistent 5-figure months, I found myself wanting to make more and more money as if it was some sort of game.
Unfortunately, this is where things started to take a turn for the worse and I slowly started to experience many of the downsides of trying to make more money which definitely didn’t outweigh the benefits of seeing my bank balance rise just a bit quicker. What are those downsides? Let me dive into them right now!
If you ask me, one of the ultimate signs of success is someone who not only has ample money to their name but is able to maintain a healthy lifestyle at the same time. Unfortunately, for many people, they can manage one but not the two in tandem and often they experience one monopolizing their time to the point where the other is absolutely neglected.
Unfortunately, I saw this happen a lot during my time working in management consulting. My colleagues at the time were all very bright and hard working individuals who for the most part had lofty financial aspirations as well. If you’re unfamiliar, the world of management consulting is all about long-work hours, big contracts and climbing the corporate ladder. Unfortunately, this lifestyle, while lucrative, does not always lend to you being able to live a very balanced life. I know for myself it wasn’t uncommon to be working at the office until midnight numerous times a week and let me inform you that overtime pay simply doesn’t exist in this field of work.
Now, in small quantities, this overextension of work hours isn’t so bad but as I started to work in this field for a couple years, I noticed a trend. People would join the company, begin to work more hours than they ever had before and while they were making good money, everything else in their life started to fall apart. Their friendships withered, their marriages collapsed and as you guessed their health also went into a decline.
I used to see some of the most fit and vibrant individuals enter the company and after a year or two they were tired, overweight and unhappy. This was all in an effort to make more money.
This is why I think it’s so admirable to see someone not only crushing it financially but health wise as well. It’s not easy to balance the two and if you ask me, I think that this cautionary tale should act as a warning sign for people going down this same route. As I always say, “without health you have nothing” and when you’re sick, no amount of money can help you. Therefore, sure it’s great to pursue higher levels of income but not to the point where making more means sacrificing your most important asset which is your good health.
The second way striving to make more money can throw a wrench into your lifestyle is by restricting your freedom. You see, I like to define wealth as meeting three criteria or the 3 Fs: Fitness, Freedom and Finances. We already talked about how important fitness is for your overall well-being and of course making more money should improve your financial state so we need to discuss how it impacts your freedom as well.
If you ask me, there is a very delicate balance between your finances and your freedom. You see, many people want to make more money to be free down the road. This is why most of us, which should be all of us, put away money every month to save for our later years. We give up a little bit today to have a lot more tomorrow. This is what I would call being on the conservative side of the finance/freedom line.
Fortunately, or unfortunately, depending on how you see it, when you step on the more aggressive side of the finance/freedom line, you start to prioritize your financial success over your freedom and this is where problems start to arise. How do I know this? Because I’ve experienced it in the past and continue to struggle balancing the two to this day.
You see, for the most part, making more money requires using the resources you have at your disposal. For some people, this is their time as they trade their time for money at the jobs they work at or in the businesses they own. Money is another resource many deploy to increase their wealth and we see this when people hire others to increase their company’s output or when they invest their money into the market and watch it grow! Unfortunately, given that most people don’t have the money it takes to reduce their time investments into making more money, time is the ultimate income lever they must pull to increase their earnings.
This means working late nights and getting up super early and as you can imagine, when you’re putting in those kinds of hours, your access to free time, which essentially freedom really is, is minimal.
I know in my own quest to make more money, I have had to sacrifice an incredible amount of freedom to get to where I am today. From having to miss parties in my college years to study for big exams to having to limit my social time in my later 20s to build my online businesses, when striving for greater wealth, there is always a trade off to be made. Now, do I regret having made these sacrifices? No, however as I get a bit older I am becoming more aware of the cost of these experiences I’ve passed on and this is another reason why you may not want to go all in on making more money.
At 30, I can tell you that life goes by fast and from what I can tell, as you age, time only seems to speed up. As such, sure, it’s important to work to increase your income because without it you will ultimately miss out on a lot of experience life has to offer but giving up free time when you’re young for free time when you’re old doesn’t really make sense.
It’s kind of like comparing being offered a Ferrari now versus when you’re 70 years old. If you had a fancy car now, you could enjoy it by driving your friends around, picking up girls or using it as a tool to network with other successful individuals. However, at 70, sure you could drive it around but many of its uses would no longer apply. Time works in the same way. The time you have when you’re young is not equal to the time you have when you’re older. So, this is all to say that you need to find your own balance between freedom and finances and earn accordingly.
At this point, we’ve talked about how wanting to make more money impacts two very important factors in your life: your health and your freedom. However, I would be remiss if I didn’t explain how wanting to make more money actually impacts your finances so let’s get into that right now.
With how stagnant most people’s salaries are and how much more costly everything is becoming, it makes total sense that people would have a strong desire to make more money. This is why we see that roughly 64% of millennials have or have had a side hustle in the past and why more and more people are warming up to the idea of making money outside their regular jobs. If you ask me, this is great to see. I love when people don’t just accept the dire situations they find themselves in and instead fight to improve where they are in life and going out and making more money through a side hustle, a side business and the like are perfect examples of that.
Unfortunately, many people take this desire to make more money a bit too far and end up doing more harm than good. I’m sure we’ve all known someone or been someone who’s fallen victim to get-rich quick schemes, risky investments and the like. A great example of this is when we saw people loading onto the meme stock bandwagon last year. While some people did make a killing on these stocks, many more lost and this is because they wanted to make more money too quickly.
The reality is that getting rich and staying rich takes time. There’s a reason that most people never achieve any real amount of wealth because they possess either the patience or the skill to become rich but never combine the two.
One great example of people making the mistake of prioritizing fast money over big money is often seen in many people’s career decisions. I’m sure we all know someone who passed on the college route to start working right out of high school. Of course, for those who chose this path, it likely would have led to making more than their studying counterparts in the first few years after high school but as you can imagine, it would be the more educated who would eventually make the bigger bucks down the road.
Now, I’m going to be honest, most people these days do go to college so perhaps that example doesn’t resonate as much as this next one will so make sure you sidestep this mistake if presented. Another example of where people go for quick wins in their career is picking a job with a higher pay over one that can offer more opportunities for growth.
For instance, say you have a choice between a job as a data entry clerk or a salesperson. The data entry job pays double what you would earn as a salesperson and to many people, having a higher paying, more secure income is the path that would appeal more to them.
However, the salesperson job is one in a fast-growing company with plenty of upward potential. Sure, your base salary will be low and as a new salesperson your commissions wouldn’t be anything to brag about but over time the potential to make big money would be there. The reality is that few people would take that sales job because they are more focused on getting the money now than the money they could earn later. Again, lacking patience is their downfall because a data entry clerk can only earn so much but with sales, your earning potential is limitless. This is why, if you ask me, you should always chase income opportunities for growth and not speed.
In summation, should you work to increase your income? Absolutely! However, never at the cost of your health, your freedom or your long-term financial success!