Updated: Feb 11, 2021
When we talk about setting financial goals, it is not unlike setting goals in other areas of life. Want to lose 10 pounds? Want to learn a new skill? Want to start a new business? Goals are a great and necessary part of planning in life. But when you set goals, there has to be a worthy reason and a true desire to achieve the goal. We’ll call this our “WHY”. Knowing our ‘why’ can help us to truly focus our drive to succeed in our goals.
“No one cares about your success more than you do”
(https://www.theladders.com/career-advice/6-things-you-must-organize-to-be-healthy-wealthy-and-happy). It’s harsh but true. Discovering your ‘Why’ is up to you and you alone, to help motivate you and make your goal a priority in your life. No one else is going to do it for you.
I remember when I was a kid and all I ever wanted was to be exactly like everyone else because I felt like I grew up in a “weirdly frugal” family where we did things differently from everyone else. For example, we didn’t have a minivan; instead we had a station wagon which also made us super weird. The tragedy and the embarrassment of 1994! I lived in a town of only 1000 people and my “crazy” parents thought it was a great idea to walk everywhere (there were only a total of 10 blocks in the town) instead of driving. I thought they were crazy for not driving me everywhere like all the normal people. How dare they expect me to transport myself on my own two legs! Oh the torture! In the end, realizing that doing things differently than everyone else, also brought different results, especially when the frugal element is applied to money! By the way, according to the book The Joyful Frugalista,
“Frugality isn’t about being a cheapskate”], [It’s about honouring and valuing your most precious resource.] [Frugality is enjoying the virtue of getting good value for every minute of your life energy and from everything you have the use of.][It’s transforming. Frugality means we are to enjoy what we have.] Very wise words to live by especially when discovering your why.
(The Joyful Frugalista: grow your cash, be savvy with your money and live abundantly: Serina Bird)
Thankfully, that desire to be exactly like everyone else has faded just a tiny bit. My desire is to follow what God wants for my life and using the talents that He has uniquely gifted me with in this short life, has become more my priority instead of being like everyone else. Make sure your “why” isn’t just to impress others or follow others because that won’t be strong enough to sustain you in the long run.
One of my “Whys” for paying off my mortgage in 10 years instead of twenty years came out of the desire not to pay $40,000-60,000 or more in interest fees, which has the ability to allow me and my family to become radically generous, both with our finances, but also with our skills and time. We dream of working aboard Mercyships, the largest NGO hospital ship on earth. We hope to start this journey in June 2021 and volunteer for two years as a family. This has been a personal goal of mine for the past 18 years. My family has taken hold of this dream and we have been planning for the last 5 years with it in mind.
My why has changed slightly from 18 years ago, but now includes exposing my kids to a wide range of various cultures of the world. To see how the other part of the world lives. To see peoples’ lives being healed and changed by Jesus’ love. To be exposed to experiences that have the potential to fill them with a sense of purpose when they graduate. Experiences that inspire them to know that their strength, courage and compassion can add to the beauty of this world. It’s difficult to graduate from high school and know exactly who you want to be and what you want to do in life. I hope this experience can help to prepare them a little more, so they can figure out their “why” as they transition into adulthood.
I enjoy running but am by no means an extreme runner like those few that I admire. The reason that I am not an ultra marathon runner is because I have no “why” or desire to do it. I admire the time, dedication and the lessons learned while training for it but I have no “why” to do it. This dream of going aboard Mercyships has now become like my ultra marathon. I view paying off my mortgage early, like running a half marathon. It got me part way to my dream.
A second part of my “why” for living frugally is the freedom that it provides to not have to stress about payment after payment for more “stuff” that I don’t need. I work to feel a sense of contentment in what I already own, learning to enjoy what I already have without having to add more. I also want to pass this on, helping my kids learn how to live in contentment through frugal living.
My why is linked heavily to how we deal with our money, but the money in and of itself isn’t the why. Though I wanted to be like everyone else when I was growing up, I now want to live differently. As Dave Ramsey says “If you will live like no one else, later you can live like no one else.” My ‘why’ for becoming debt free: to gain the ability to become radically generous, to learn how to be thoroughly content and to be able to offer the world around us our skills, time and energy, without worrying about how we’re going to pay for it!
Now Go and Be Intentional!