So, I was catching up on my regular financial reads when I came across an insightful blog post by SG Young Investment about “Less being More”. I’m sure that many of us have came across this phrase but living in a relatively materialistic society means that it is a challenge for most of us not to get caught in the endless pursuit of money and material possessions. Very often, we are easily convinced that the answer to happiness and fulfillment can be something purchased from the retail stores. The more we earn or climb the corporate ladder, the more tempted we are to splurge on material goods. Of course, there is absolutely nothing wrong with buying the latest gadgets or branded bags to make us happy (hence, the term “retail therapy”) but on the flip side, does this form of momentary happiness last for long? I’m a subscriber to retail therapy (albeit small ticket items) but in the long run, it doesn’t help solve the root of any problem. At best, you just blew money to cheer yourself up. At worst, you fall into a recurring debt to fund your luxurious lifestyle. At the end of the day, does having more money or material possessions fills the empty void that we have in our hearts?
I have a complicated love-hate relationship with money, the epitome of a “Relationship paradox”. One one hand, I enjoy making money because it gives me the power to spend on things I want and reassures me of a financial safety net. Yet, I must confess that I’m equally guilty of being a slave to money because it is one of my greatest fear to live a life of a pauper. Fortunately, thanks to my grandma’s constant preaching about the importance of saving, I must say that I don’t splurge unnecessarily these days other than on travel (can’t help it), skincare (vain pot) and recently, cab transportation! Nonetheless, like most impressionable young adults, I had my fair share of extravagant days where I splurged on the latest fashion trends and brands to boost my ego and impress others. Those were the days where I would buy loads of items, only to throw them aside once they have outlived their function/ novelty, sometimes even in a matter of days! Did my purchases result in an immediate spike in happiness within me? Yes. Did it add any measurable value to my life? No.
Nowadays, I’m no longer in awe when friends or colleagues talk about the latest brands or tech devices. I take public transport almost 85% of the time (partly also because I don’t have a driving license, haha), buy second-hand clothes from Carousell, re-wear my 4-5 pairs of shoes to the extent that they become too tattered to be worn and spend the weekends exploring Singapore or going on free heritage tours instead of hitting the malls. Truth to be told, I’m quite contented with this lifestyle. No need for keeping up with the Joneses. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not advocating you to live life to the extreme and forgo the occasional indulgence. No. More than anything, I would like this inspiring video to be a reminder to you that we do not need to measure the things we have to our self-worth or what defines a successful life.
My own experiences and discussion with older folks has made me realised that a happy life is beyond wealth and superfluous comforts. Essentially, it is really the meaningful relationships that we have with people and valuable life experiences that form the foundation of happiness.