Is Your Financial Cup Half Full or Half Empty?

Dec 1, 2020 | Executive Coaching

At inclineHR, there are four “legs” of our coaching model which include: physical, mental, spiritual, and financial health.  We have found that when one of the legs of the “stool” becomes partially severed, totally broken or even non-existent, it becomes difficult for our clients to balance on the other three legs. 

With the holiday season upon us and marketers working overtime to get us to part with more of our greenbacks on things that we “need,” your friends at inclineHR would like to provide a few thoughts on financial health from an employment context.  So, is it true, can one buy happiness?  Research shows that money can bring happiness, but only to the point of taking care of basic needs- that is food and shelter, not the shiny 911 you just envisioned in your driveway. 

So why is it that so many people endure the pain of longing for bigger jobs, more stress, longer hours, and doing what they don’t necessarily want to do, in a geography far away from their loved ones, just to make more money that they don’t actually need?  How do you define success- being rich or having tremendous balance?   Do they need to be at odds with each other?  What if you could find symmetry between having plenty of money and having plenty of time to enjoy the fruits of your labor?   

Focusing too much on wealth accumulation, or not enough, can have adverse effects.  It is important to remain balanced, understand your needs versus wants, and build a career plan to help you achieve your realistic goals- without sacrificing the other facets of your health.  That doesn’t mean throw caution to the wind and follow your childhood dream to become a salamander breeder- it means determining what skills you have that you both enjoy and where reasonable market demand is present.

The first case, a female executive, Amelia has her financial house in pristine order.  She is a multimillionaire and easily saves half of her yearly income.  She has ample emergency savings, her primary residence paid off, and has no consumer debt. 

However, Amelia has reached financial “success” at the expense of her mental, physical, and spiritual health.  She has taken fast-track jobs that have caused her to constantly relocate.  She doesn’t take vacations and rarely sleeps more than 4 hours per night.  She rarely dates, sees friends, or spends time with family as they do not live close by.  She has clearly built her life around her career and in recent years, blames her employer for her lack of balance and happiness.  She has no personal boundaries; she rarely gets a chance to get in a good workout or even go for a walk, let alone set aside time to go for her annual health checkups.  Her spirituality has been left unattended to- she rarely meditates, goes to church, or thinks about her greater purpose for being.  Her career has left her feeling stressed out and empty.  She feels anything but successful.

How can Amelia protect her financial health but over-index on the other areas that leave her feeling empty?

The second case, a male executive, Alex, is a financial train wreck.  He has been pushing himself hard in his career to earn more at any costs, including the potential repercussions of not tending to his own mental, physical, and spiritual health.  Alex and his wife Angela earn a combined $600,000 per year, but struggle to get by, live paycheck to paycheck, and have a negative net worth.   

Unfortunately, both Alex and Angela are big spenders.  Evidence of this, they recently accepted an invitation to join the Tony country club in their neighborhood, costing them $50,000 per year that they simply do not have. Their four children are in private school at a cost of $130,000 per year.  Both he and his wife lease fancy German cars and park them at a $2M lake residence they secured with an interest-only mortgage. They currently have over $200,000 in unsecured credit card debt.  To add insult to injury, they just purchased a big boat and are still paying off their own deferred Ivy League school loans.  They currently do not have any savings account or access to cash in the case of an emergency.  They already cashed out their 401(k) plans.  They are one step away from foreclosure.

Alex feels hopeless and doesn’t feel like he has anyone that he can confide in.  The façade is befuddling.  Alex is desperately looking for bigger jobs so that he can make more money to help he and his wife dig out of their financial nightmare.  Unfortunately, Alex’s doctor has added concern about his recent biometric screening.  Alex’s blood pressure is sky high and his tank is close to empty.  He is embarrassed, frustrated, and stressed out.  It is time for Alex and Angela to stand in their truth. 

In both examples above, anything taken to an extreme can have negative consequences.  Whether you have prioritized wealth creation or keeping up with the Joneses, both are very much affected by the mindset that you have adopted; neither extreme are healthy or balanced.  Outside of earning a living, when someone is in a career that matches their interests, pulls from their rich experiences, and gives them a feeling of purpose, they tend to be happier and more satisfied in their work.  An old adage that seems to ring true yet again, “when you have a job that you love, you never have to go to work again.” 

Helping you understand your strengths and weaknesses, while digging into what drives your passion and excitement, can be powerful ingredients to foreshadow what’s next for YOU.  inclineHR can help you achieve your dreams- whether that is helping you to land a dream job, get promoted, negotiate a pay increase, or plan the final chapters in your professional career or retirement.  Working because you want to feels so much better than working because you have to.  We build exceptional, and financially responsible, leaders.

Is it time to chart your incline?  Take your next step with your Talent Accelerator Quotient.