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Why Making Money Should Not Be A Life Goal

Once in a while, we get philosophical.

(Editor’s Note: DIYInsurance is now MoneyOwl. MoneyOwl is Singapore’s 1st Bionic Financial Adviser where human wisdom and technology come together to deliver best-in-class financial advice that integrates national schemes. Visit today.)

Recently we attended a networking session hosted by Christopher Tan, CEO of Providend. If you don’t already know, Christopher and his team from Providend are the good folks behind Do-It-Your-Way (DIYInsurance), which is Singapore’s first Life Insurance Comparison Web Portal.

The session was insightful and got us thinking. Since we are approaching the end of 2015, we thought it is worth spending some time being philosophical about money, and sharing what we really think it means to us with our readers.

Money, By Itself, Is Not The Final Goal

Often, when we hear people share their financial goals, they will be seeking for a higher paying job so they can buy more; others just want to earn more so that they can save more. Then there are also those who constantly seek for opportunities to generate passive or supplementary income in addition to their salaries.

Financial advisors talk to their clients all the time about the importance of setting financial goals.

Here is the thing. Money, by itself, should not be the final goal.

It is simply an enabler.

An Enabler Helps You Accomplish Your Real Goals

An enabler is something that helps you accomplish the real goal(s) that you have in life.

If you think about it, this makes sense. If you are rich and can do whatever you like, you would still need to spend or use the money on something. And that something which you spend or use your money for would be linked to your actual life goal(s).

Aside from money, you would also need to be healthy to to accomplish your goals. Health, like money, is also an enabler.

All the money in the world wouldn’t be enough if you don’t have the health to carry out what you want to do. For example, if your goal in life is to simply travel the world, you would need good health (in addition to money) to be able to do so. If your goal is to start a foundation to help special needs people in Singapore, you would also need good health to be able to drive the initiative forward.

Wealth, without health, is useless.

There is a 3rd enabler we require to accomplish our real goals. It’s the acquisition of knowledge and skills. Very often, this is also mistaken as a goal in life. Some people want to get a degree, an MBA or a PHD. There are also professional qualifications such as CFA that people strive towards.

These knowledge and skills you acquire are not goals by itself. Rather, they are enablers that are meant to equip you with the right skillsets to help you accomplish your actual goal(s).

So What Are Some Actual Goals In Life?

We have spent some time explaining why money isn’t actually the end goal. There are many different types of life goals that people can have. They commonly fall into the various categories.

Family Goals

Examples include taking care of your elderly parents, providing for your special needs sibling, providing for your children. You would notice that to do all of the above requires a combination of both health and money.

Family goals could also be as simple as wanting to spend more time with your parents when they are older and your children when they are growing up. Again this requires both money (so that you don’t have to work so hard) and health.

Community Goals

This does not sound too fanciful compared to making million of dollars but it is an equally legitimate goal for people. For example, your goal could be to help the elderly and less privilege people in Singapore or around the world.

These goals usually require both good health and knowledge for a person to be effective. Money while useful (you can make bigger donations and quit your job to spend more time helping) isn’t always a pre-requisite.

In fact, a social worker that makes this his or her life goal will also be paid a monthly salary for doing so. In this case, we can clearly see that money is not the goal by itself.

Professional Goals

Most people think of their job as a means to make money. However, it is perfectly fine for your job to be the actual goal itself.

A great example would Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook. As an entrepreneur, he genuinely wants to create a better and safer online community for the future. This is obviously linked to his work at Facebook. He is insanely rich but that appears to be a by-product of his success, rather than the actual aim itself. In his case, knowledge and skills are vitally important for his success.

What Are Your Life Goal(s)?

This is a question with no right or wrong answers. Each person would have a different desire and a different goal in his or her life.

However, what we want to impress upon you today is to look beyond making money or attain certificates and instead ask yourself, what are you doing this for?

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