Five Reasons You Are Financially Unhappy


I’ve encountered a good number of both financially happy and unhappy people over the past four years of being a financial adviser. In the next couple of columns, I will try my best to document my observations about them. Hopefully this will allow readers to assess where they stand and provide tips on how they can make a shift and become more successful. For the first part, here are some of the reasons that may make you unhappy with your financial situation and some tips on how to adjust.

You don’t love what you do. Ever tried working just for money? At one point in my life I did and it was never
fulfilling. I ended up just spending my money because it became a response to my depressed state at work.

Since I didn’t enjoy what I did, I tried to satisfy my hunger for fulfillment by spending on things that provided short-term gratification — travelling, dining out or just buying stuff I didn’t necessarily need. I was earning a good amount but had no savings because I continuously found ways to look for joy and fulfillment in material things/or expensive experiences that I couldn’t really afford. Try looking for some sense of purpose (other than money) in the work you do. Focus on working to make a difference for the people around you.

You don’t value money. A very successful businessman once told me: “Money should not be loved but it should be valued because it is not easy to earn them.” Most of the time, people who are financially unhappy don’t value the effort they put in earning the money that they tend to just spend on things they don’t really need. Money is not the end goal but we have to acknowledge that it is important to reach our long term goals and our purpose in life.

Try paying your future self first by saving some of your income as soon as you get the paycheck you worked hard for.

You focus too much on what you don’t have and less on what you have. Gratification, they say, is the key to happiness. I noticed that a lot of financially unhappy people were focused too much on what they didn’t have, which caused them more misery. Shifting the focus from negativity of scarcity to positivity of abundance will allow you to be wiser in your spending. Try taking five to ten minutes of your time everyday recalling all the things you’rre grateful for and you’ll feel a lot better about your financial state.

You focus too much on others. Envy will not bring happiness but rather gives us reason to love ourselves less, be depressed and regret the things we do. This includes spending on things we don’t really like or need. As Dave Ramsey puts it: “We buy things we don’t need with money we don’t have to please people we don’t like.” Most people who focus on another’s success tend to lose sight of their own goals and end up not reaching their dreams. Needless to say, they also lose control of their own financial situation. Try saving money. One intangible benefit is that it gives you more confidence.

You hate money. What’s the famous quote? “Money is the root of ALL evil.” Let’s be reminded that it is also the root of a lot of good things. Instead of focusing on the negative things it can do, try to think of ways you can make a positive difference when you have money. You will not only uplift your life — you can uplift others as well.


Jeremy Jessley Tan is a registered financial planner of RFP Philippines. To learn more about personal financial planning, attend the 68th RFP program this March 2018. To inquire, email or text <name><e-mail><RFP> to 0917-9689774.


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