Jose Mujica of Uruguay is considered by many to be the “world’s poorest president.” He lives on a farm, gives away ninety percent of his $12,000 a month salary to those in need, and thinks other world leaders should follow his example. President Mujica was recently interviewed by the BBC and had this to say about what people think of him:
“They say I am the poor president. No, I am not a poor president. Poor people are those who always want more and more, those who never have enough of anything. Those are the poor, because they are in a never-ending cycle and they won’t ever have enough time in their lives. I choose this austere lifestyle. I choose not to have too many belongings so that I have time to live the way I want to live. […] When world leaders talk about sustainable development, what is that growth based on? It’s based on pushing people into mass consumption, but then you face an economic crisis like the one we see today.”
“We often hear it, but how true is the phrase ‘Money can’t buy happiness’? Is there a correlation between the two, and if so, what can we learn from it?”
You can watch the video to see what their answer is:
In my life I find it most accurate not to say money can buy my happiness, but having money makes it simpler to be happy. I am sure this is true for many people. Even if you are a generally lighthearted and happy person, debt and financial insecurity can create background stress and distraction. I know from experience the buzzing at the back of the brain that comes when financial issues arise. Especially when those issues cannot be resolved quickly.
Here are a few tips that I found especially helpful in my money management endeavors:
– If you don’t already have one, create a budget. Plan your spending months in advance, not days or weeks.
– Set aside money in your budget to have fun with (a “Play Budget”). For some people this might not be possible, but it can make a huge difference when trying to stick with your budget. It does not need to be a large amount.
– When you do spend from your “Play Budget,” buy experiences, not stuff.
– Set attainable financial goals and stick to a plan once you have one. There is no sense in creating impossible objectives. Not reaching the targets you shoot for can be more stressful and discouraging than just lowering the bar.
– If you have never budgeted before ask for help. My fiancé was and continues to be a valuable resource in this area.
Debt aside, the amount of money you need to be happy depends on your living situation and only you can decide what that number is.