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Mindset for money

The most fundamental element of radical retirement planning is your mindset.

If you have read some or all of the articles on this subject you could be thinking you could not give up so much convenience, luxury and enjoyment. But, the point is that it’s not about giving up but getting.

A smoker who wants to quit is better off thinking of all the benefits they are going to get (like good health) rather than thinking they are giving up the enjoyment of smoking. It’s the same with our expenditure.

Radical retirement planning starts by understanding that we have a built in programme which gives us an insatiable appetite for MORE of everything. This is not a mental disorder or a moral shortcoming, it is just part of the way we are from way back.

Our ancestors were insatiable. They always wanted more food, more social standing and crucially more security. They achieved this with more mates and by having more children.

Insatiability was great for survival but in the modern world we don’t need to be so worried about being killed by our enemy. Insatiability does not lead to more happiness; in fact it can lead to the complete opposite.

To experience happiness today, we have to trick ourselves into being happy by buying things. But, as soon as we buy something there is a drive to buy something else.

There is a good argument that most of us waste our lives in a pointless pursuit of happiness. We have goals and desires that we start to chase but the problem is that each desire or goal achieved is just replaced by a new one.

After a lifetime of chasing we can end up no more satisfied than he was at the beginning despite all the consumption along the way.

The answer to this catch 22 could be known for a long time. Back in Roman times Stoics worked out to learn to want the things you already have. A technique that helps you achieve this is Negative Visualization.

Close your eyes and think about your life with not having something you have, perhaps not having your eyesight. Imagine how your life would be day-to-day. Now, open your eyes and be happy that you can see. Appreciate the colours and the expressions on your loved ones faces.

If you practice Negative Visualization, you will appreciate your current life much more and be truly happier without spending a penny.

The next great trick is the one that allows you to eliminate anxiety about the present and the future. This comes from the book The Power of Now.

The mind is always working, thinking about the past or future. They key is to quieten the mind and focus on the now. So, instead of worrying about what may happen in the future with your health or money you simply focus on now. If you don’t have a problem this second, enjoy not having a problem. If you do have a problem, go and do something about it.

The third trick is to seek out discomfort by doing things that make you feel uncomfortable. A simple example is not turning on the heating on a cold day or booking a camping holiday with a tent when you could afford a luxury mobile home.

It sounds weird but doing this helps you expand your comfort zone. The complete opposite philosophy is someone who becomes irritated if they ever have to travel in less than a first-class, stay in less than a five star hotel or drink anything but Champagne.

By using voluntary discomfort, we appreciate far more of our life, and can be content with a much simpler and less expensive way of life.

Understand your mind and take control. Use your mind to create happiness and put yourself into uncomfortable situations so you can enjoy the simple things in life.