There is a growing interest in the concept of minimalism as a lifestyle choice. It involves developing a deep focus on things we truly value in life.
At the same time it also involves removing things from our lives that distract us from these core values.
In other words – A lifestyle that believes in keeping things simple.
Minimalism on its part can mean different things to different people. What we value at our core can differ from one person to the next.
Even if you don’t adopt this 100% as a personal lifestyle choice, the concept can be of great use for your financial wellbeing.
The benefits though not obvious at first can be significant and long lasting.
A Minimalist Lifestyle for Your Personal Finance Life
Our approach to personal finance mirrors the stage of life we are in.
Take a look at young kids – They are happy keeping things simple. Kids can spend hours keeping themselves entertained with just a metal spoon and plate that can make some noise.
As parents we might think that is not a good enough way for them to be entertained. So we go and buy some expensive toys from the local store.
To our dismay the kids may still pick the spoon and plate over the expensive toys. They just value the sound the thing make – That is at the core of their entertainment.
At the other end of the spectrum are our parents. They are just happy to see you when you visit them. The expensive gifts you picked up for them on the way in are nothing in comparison.
At the core of their happiness is the simplicity of your relationship with them.
Between these two stages of life is where the complexity kicks in. This includes the complexity we build up in our personal finance issues as well.
More Financial Products Does Not Mean More Money
Given the world we live in, having money is important.
Leaving aside the philosophical arguments around it, money allows you and your dependents to enjoy a certain quality of life.
We live in a world that constantly tells us that having more of something will make us happier. A bigger car, house, smartphone will somehow make you happier than you are right now.
We take the same philosophy and adopt it in the way we manage our money. As a result we end up with multiple versions of various financial products – Credit cards, bank accounts, mutual funds, insurance policies, online wallets, and many more.
The list goes on.
Some were impulse decisions, some others the result of an aggressive sales pitch and yet others that were offered for free initially (but now you are paying for them).
All this while your mind was tuned to the same noise – More of something will be better.
As a result you end up with a big basket of financial products that leave you overwhelmed. Not exactly what you intended when you started your personal finance journey.
More financial products does not mean more money. On the contrary, they may end up leaving you worse off financially.
All those fees, interest payments, commissions and the likes can quickly add up.
Clearing up the clutter in your financial product basket is what you need to consider. Minimalism in dealing with your money matters will help you see what is really important.
It will allow you to focus on things that are really important for you right now. If making more money is important for you, then you need clear visibility in your financial life to reach that objective.
It may be time to de-clutter your financial lifestyle.
How to Adopt Minimalism for Your Personal Money Management
Similar to making any change in life there are a few ways of going about it. You can either DIY (Do It Yourself), get some help from a good financial adviser or work with a coach.
There is no single correct way of going about it. It is a purely personal choice depending on what works best for you.
But it starts with the recognition that your current financial lifestyle is not working out. It is not letting you see a clear path from where you are to where you want to go.
The process involves identifying where you are, the obstacles in your path and the steps you need to take to clear those.
Do you really need 5 credit cards or 15+ mutual fund schemes for your personal finance journey?
A minimalist approach will help you clearly identify the extra baggage/distraction of multiple financial products that is slowing down your personal finance journey.
The Subtle Benefits of a Minimalist Money Lifestyle
Minimalism at its core is about living your life the way you want to live it.
It is about not living the life that the world wants you to live by painting a picture of the future that it wants you to see.
More Time for Your Core Values in Life
Money is important but not because of what it is. It is important because of what it allows us to do in other parts of our lives.
We live busy lives with many things competing for our time and attention. In the ideal conditions we want to spend more time on things that are important to us.
Spending less time navigating your money life (once you have simplified it with fewer financial products) will allow you to spend more time on things that you truly value.
This will free up more time for pursuing your favorite hobby, volunteer work or any other cause that is close to your heart.
Lower Stress Level
We face challenges in various aspects of our lives on a daily basis. The workplace, the daily commute to work, health issues, family related concerns all lead to a rise in our stress levels.
In addition to all of those, personal financial issues are one of the main sources of stress for corporate professionals.
By adopting a minimalist approach to your personal finances you can reduce your money related stress to a large extent. Once you have a proper financial plan in place and in motion, it can significantly reduce your personal finance uncertainty.
Saying No Will Become Easier
Once you develop minimalism in your approach to personal finance your internal world will change. You will have much more clarity on your financial journey ahead.
However, the world around you will continue as usual. You will still be bombarded with offers of new financial products promising to make your life merrier.
With clarity of your thought and purpose when it comes to making financial decisions, you will find it much easier to say NO to this future onslaught.
You will no longer have to suffer the regret of missing out on some great deal or the other if it does not fit in with the minimalist money lifestyle.
We are overloaded with information and stuff all around us. Cutting through the noise will help you live a more fulfilling financial life, while still enjoying the material pleasures the world has to offer.
Our financial lives tend to follow the same pattern our personal lives do. We start with a simple childhood, develop a complex adulthood and then transition into the simple golden years.
We have the choice to reduce the complexity of our financial lives during our adulthood. A minimalist approach can help in simplifying your personal finance journey.
And there is something else – A simplified personal finance lifestyle will have a positive impact on the non-financial aspects of your life as well.
Dushyant Choudhary is the founder of dushyantnomics, an early retirement blog for professionals. Dushyant retired early from his 9-5 corporate life after a successful international career. He brings his knowledge and experience to his current role where he’s dedicated to helping professionals achieve a fulfilling retirement.