Do you need to plan for retirement? Yes. Do you need a rainy day fund? Absolutely. But do you really understand what drives how you spend vs. save, and have you considered how a purposeful spending plan might make you happier? Read on to find out how to skip the boilerplate formula and start living life to the fullest.

Written by Carly E. Howard for Brickell Magazine

As an Estate Planning Attorney and Wealth Strategies Consultant, I’ve spent an entire career working with clients preparing for the financial consequences of death. Death and taxes. That’s my thing. I’ll spare you the countless deathbed stories of clients who wished they had worked less, traveled more and spent precious time with their family and friends when they had a chance. We’ve all heard those stories. But what can you do now so your story is different?

Well, it’s time to start thinking differently, purposefully and spiritually about your finances. So many people are saving because of fear. They think having cash in the bank will make them feel safe and give them freedom. The reality is that wealth is a moving target, and money can be taken away at a moment’s notice.

Other people are spending unconsciously out of habit. They drone through life, swiping the credit card, calling “Alexa” countless times a day, building a fortress of things around them and substituting real human interaction with cha-ching. Their lives are filled with stuff lacking meaning.

So what would happen if you started saving money for the sole purpose of enjoying life to the fullest instead of fearing it? What would happen if you had a conscious plan to spend money on things that really matter to you? If you’re like so many people, squirreling away out of fear or living like a consumer zombie, it’s time to put some energy toward a new way of living wealthy. True wealth is not about money at all. Wealth is a conscious state of being that comes from making choices that bring reality and dreams together.

Money is just a tool. We use it to accomplish something we want, and until a “green energy exchange” is made from buyer to seller, cash has no real value. For many, saving money is a function of fear. They’re afraid they can’t retire, they’re afraid they’ll lose their job, they’re afraid the market will crash, they’re afraid their kids will spend it all. The possibilities are endless. Don’t get me wrong, these can be valid concerns. But backing logical planning with the emotion of fear cuts us off from enjoying the true fruits of our labor.

What if you shifted your thinking to allow for more self-love? What if you redefine what wealth really means based on your core values and dreams? Then you can run the numbers, plan accordingly, and still have room to live a little. Am I suggesting you rush out and buy that new shiny toy you know you can’t afford? No way. I’m suggesting you allocate a portion of your income to experiences that make you a wealthier person in your soul.

For most people, that’s probably travel. For others, it’s starting a new business, learning a new hobby, getting better education for their kids, seeing their family more, engaging in philanthropy…the list goes on. So think about it: What experience would you enjoy if you had some extra cash?

Unhitch from the fixed expenses that keep you fearful of working less and living more. Hire a financial planner who can run the numbers and give you a target for savings, a reasonable and comfortable cushion. Then open your heart — and extra cash — to making your wildest dreams your current reality.

As for me, I just traveled the globe for 6 months. I sold almost everything I owned and worked remotely as a consultant for income. Sure, I definitely dipped into savings. But I don’t regret my decision to experience the world for one moment.

Read more at Brickell Magazine

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