By Younas Chaudhary
Did your car recently break down and did you not have enough money to fix it? When you are living paycheck to paycheck, less money coming home means daily financial struggles, lack of money issues, and more stress.
What if you were financially stable? In a recent study, Harvard Business School Professor, Jon Jachimowicz, tells us that financial stability reduces stress and helps people escape everyday hassles of life like getting a broken car fixed or taking care of a faulty air conditioner at home.
I have been poor, and I have also seen a lot of money. My life’s lessons have taught me what it feels like to live on both ends of the spectrum.
Raised in rural Pakistan, my parents were land rich but cash poor. Cash flow at home was unstable and my father went through day-to-day stress to maintain the family home. I recall the stress I faced as a child when I used to open the door at home to face an unhappy man who is asking for your father to return the money he had borrowed. Some would leave with veiled threats, others would say we can no longer lend more money, and some would quietly go away but return a few days later. We lived frugally, and mostly ate local seasonal vegetables and beef as it was the cheapest meat in those days. Our family barely got by.
The economic stress of maintaining a family impacts you when you are living on the edge. This continued during my early days after I moved to Edmonton as my pay was low and I had to take multiple jobs to make ends meet. I was trying to save money, so I would delay payments here and there. I struggled to make payments including utility bills, auto loans, and so forth. When we went to the supermarket, we had a lengthy list of things NOT to buy even if we were tempted. Often, we left with the cheapest cut of shank meat, and I wanted to get out of this miserable existence like nobody’s business.
Once I moved from Edmonton to Wichita, Kansas, the initial days were hard as I did not have money to start up my oil and gas business. This led me to seek investors and, thanks to rising oil prices, I later bought them out and started making profits. The tide turned fast, and I could see economic prosperity was on the horizon. However, it never came easy as I worked seven days a week often traveling from place-to-place seeking deals. I would travel long distances in old cars, spending long hours of driving looking for deals. I could not afford a plane ticket and I stayed in the cheapest hotels.
As I made money, daily hassles like paying home loans, utilities, and cars payments were taken care of, and I could feel the relief both physically and mentally. My mind was happier. Money became a friend, and I did not need to worry if the lights would be disconnected, or the water supply would be switched off, or about paying my home loan. As my business prospered, banks started trusting me and a $100,000 bank loan those days was like getting a million dollars today!
The stress of not having enough money is painful. Money is fundamental to our existence and the emotional stress caused by the lack of money drains you physically and emotionally. The nervousness, the worry, and the shame of not having enough tortures you every moment. I’ve gone through it all. To make ends meet, people with lack of money must rob Peter to pay Paul as the saying goes.
The naysayers will always tell you that money is not important, money makes you greedy, the rich are bad, and so many negative things. I have gone through that phase, and I can clearly tell you- it is a dog’s life!
Now, let me tell you about my life with an abundance of money. Seven years ago, my wife was unexpectedly diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, and this was very sudden and stressful. However, I was not worried about her medical bills and giving her the best home care. I can afford caregivers, have doctors make house calls, pay for all her daily medications and she has the best quality of life possible at home. Imagine if I had not had the resources…I would have grieved each day.
The point I am making here is that we should strive to make enough to live a decent life so that we can forget daily nuisances like a car breaking down, or not having enough to afford health insurance, monthly rent, or mortgage, or any unexpected expenses.
There is no magic pill to making money to live a decent life. The first step is to involve your immediate family in committing to your goal to make more money and developing a good habit of saving money every month. Remain positive and take daily baby steps, work hard, be consistent, and never back off from your goal. When you are young and healthy, think of a wonderful future you can have if you really invest time and effort in making money.
At the end of the day, a giving hand is much better than a taking hand. Always stay humble. Blessings!
The views, thoughts, and opinions expressed in this article are my own and do not represent the opinions of any entity with which I have been, am now, or will be affiliated. Further, I make no warranty regarding the accuracy or effectiveness of my recommendations, and readers are advised to consult other advisors as well as their own judgments in making business decisions.