How To Find Fulfillment When Saving Money

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[The following is a partial transcript of this episode of The Scott Alan Turner Show. Listen to the full episode to hear this story, listener questions, money hacks, and inspiring stories of people that are changing their financial lives. Subscribe to the free podcast on iTunes or Google Play]

A New Jersey special education teacher has stunned her coworkers by donating $1m to her former school district – seven years after her death.

Genevieve Via Cava she was a teacher for 45 years, when she died at age 89 she had a secret fortune worth over $1M.

There are plenty of unassuming people who, despite working regular jobs—think: janitors, secretaries and teachers—have amassed serious wealth over their lifetimes. And you’d never know it by the way they lived. – CNN

Life has three stages of stuff:

  1. Wanting stuff
  2. Buying stuff
  3. Getting rid of stuff

Which is odd when you think about how that follows the three stages of money:

  1. we’re in debt and have less than zero
  2. we’re out of debt and buy some stuff
  3. we have all the stuff we want and start looking for more purpose and happiness, so we save more

It’s interesting (and weird) when I hear from people in the getting out of college age how much of myself I see in most of them. They want the new car, the house, the stuff. Then when they get the first house they start thinking about the next bigger house. If you’re dream right now is the new house, I’m with you.

If you have no clue what you want, I’ve been there too. It’s ok if you don’t have everything figured out. It will come with time.

People who are much older than me, most of them have come around to already having all that stuff. They just want to down size.

Kids are out of the house, let’s get a smaller place. Let’s sell it all and go live in an RV.

  • less maintenance
  • less to clean
  • less expenses
  • less hassle

The third stage of life seems to be one of simplifying.

Katie & I are on that fence. Some days I’d love a bigger house. Some days I’d love a smaller house. Through experience I’ve come to realize more stuff doesn’t bring more happiness, but I still want more stuff sometimes.

One you have your hot & spicy spending plan in place, you get to decide where to put your money.

  • save it and now, let it grow so you can have a lot more to spend later
  • fund a kick but retirement, or financial independence
  • buy a house, a new car, a trip to Costa Rica

What will you do when you save up $1M? Or $10M? For my new college graduate listeners who will be alive another 100 years, What will you do with your $25M?

When people get older the start thinking of the legacy they will leave behind. What’s that going to look like?

Remember that one teacher you had in elementary, high school or college that sticks out in your mind because of how they encouraged you in some way? What they said to you that made you who you are today, that’s part of their legacy.

Everyone has a legacy.

Your legacy started probably as a teenager. That’s when you had the potential to impact someone’s life. Someone remembers you.

Maybe not for the best, but they remember you. You had an impact.

Legacy doesn’t begin when you die. It’s right now. It’s in what you give. Talent, treasure, time, tribute.

  • when you can write a check and make the problems for your friend or family go away
  • some people want to have a new hospital wing named after them. Others could have their name on a park bench. Or an ongoing scholarship program.
  • buy band instruments for a low income school

Tony Robbins says

I’ve always taught that success without fulfillment is the ultimate failure.

Katie & I have given funds over the years to organizations overseas that buy cows, chickens, goats, to families so they can have a better life. We get a picture once in a while, I’ll never meet those people.

You could buy and donate a chicken today, that could be your legacy to someone overseas you’ll never meet. You will be appreciated by a complete stranger. Give the gift of a live chicken. Or take someone out to lunch and buy them some chicken fingers. That would be appreciated too.

Did you ever think that chickens don’t have fingers, so why would someone call them chicken fingers? Kinda like Buffalo Wild Wings. Buffalos don’t have wings.

Food for thought. Literally and figuratively.

Ultimate happiness has more to do with the legacy you’re building now and what you’ll do with your money, rather than how much money you have, or will have.

Your legacy is just one chicken away. What are you going to do with all that money?

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