# You Influence Your Satisfaction
Things in your career and life don't always go as expected. Maybe you didn't plan, or maybe you had some assumptions about how everything would work.
It is always good to have mentors and family in your life to help you through rough times, but even with support, climbing out of the hole can be challenging if you don't have the right foundation.
When we have a good foundation that supports our long term goals we are free to grow. That foundation provides confidence and satisfaction in our decisions, particularly when there is personal risk involved. The foundation is influenced by many things, but your financial stability is one of the big ones you control.
# The Problem
Think about your reference point in relation to your finances. Do you see your income but not the bottom of the iceberg that is your expenses? Titanic anyone?
That new car, the fancy apartment, the meals out, that comic collection and the coup de grâce television package all add up. All of these things on their own probably don't negatively impact your satisfaction all that much, but combined they can cripple your vantage point by sacrificing the foundation of your life.
We started by doing research.
Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University strengthened our understanding of exactly how much of our expenses were below the water.
Mr. Money Mustache (opens new window) helped us realize how health and finances are linked and that we can be happier and healthier spending less money.
The Minimalists (opens new window) helped us realize that stress can come from too much stuff.
As we consumed the available resources on #theinternet we looked inward and asked ourselves questions about all of the things we had, and more importantly all of the things we wanted.
# The Design
As it turned out, many of the things we wanted were being blocked by the things we had. Start with why to gain maximum traction.
- We want to focus more on long-term goals instead of worrying about potential emergency expenses so we will build an emergency savings fun.
- We want to make sure that large expenses are well thought out and don't cause us more debt stress, so we will save for future purchases and plan ahead for major expenses.
- We want to stop paying to keep things we don't want and reduce the burden of clutter so we will get rid of things we don't really want or need and stop buying new things without assessment.
- We want to be healthier and live longer so we will change how we look at food and cook at home.
- We want to live comfortably after we no longer want to work so we will invest in our retirement.
- We want to take personal risk in our careers and feel like we aren't risking our foundation so we will create a savings and investment fund.
This wasn't a whole-sale change. It took many iterations and a ton of retrospection to arrive at a set of design goals that made us feel great!
"life isn't about money", my friend told me early in our prototyping.
I think my friend was both right and wrong. The perception of others was that we were reducing our spending simply to amass a large sum of money for retirement, but internally, we were actually looking at our costs and evaluating their worth. What we found was that many of them were dark spots on our lives that didn't deserve the effort or the dollars.