I have suggested that well-being is what people enjoy who have mastered the secrets of health, wealth and happiness.
In previous pieces I wrote about health and happiness. What about wealth? The basic components are pretty obvious: get a good education and training – and practise lifelong learning – develop positive attitudes (like alertness, honesty, resilience) and accept the first decent job offer (to gain experience) – without expecting the moon. Then work hard, work smart, and work with good will. The rewards will come.
Manage your finances sensibly: never spend more than you earn. This difficult rule requires control both of income (if you want more, earn more) and appetite: learn to control your wanting. Those ‘three Hs’ – the herd (other people’s behaviour), our habits (‘what I always do!’) and the lure of pleasurable ‘highs’ (like a new car, or expensive holiday) – all too easily lead us astray. Only ever borrow against sound security (like a house). Never forget that neither our parents, nor the world, owe us a living. That’s our responsibility.
What works (the only test) is to prioritise spending: ‘must-haves’ (home and food) before ‘should-haves’ (clothes and transport), both before ‘could-haves’ (holidays and entertainment). Make a budget and stick to it. Before spending on anything else, pay your taxes, provide for a pension, give something to those worse off than yourself. I have a rule about shopping: make a list before leaving home, and never yield to the temptation of buying anything not on the list!
How much is enough? The living wage provides about £15,000 a year; the average income is about £25,000; double that and you can afford the luxuries you have dreamed of (a world-cruise?); triple it and can feel pleased with yourself and secure for life. Beyond that, you should understand that you have more than enough, and give the excess away to those who are less fortunate than you are – by supporting worthwhile and well-managed charities (like Brathay). You will find, as others have, that those who grasp that ‘enough is enough’, and act accordingly, earn happiness in return for their service to the community.
A sufficiency of wealth provides wellbeing; less, or more, is troublesome. Take care of your wellbeing – and humanity. Good luck.