May 19, 2024

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It’s harder than it sounds to feel happy, or at least satisfied, with your current income. It may be discouraging to read about financial happiness and feel you are coming up short, or compare your earnings to what family members or friends make and wish you were making a little more.
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The added challenges of the current inflationary landscape may have us thinking if we only earned XYZ dollars each year, then our lives would be complete — we would be happy. Would we, though?
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Are our lives actually richer when we make more money? Or, is there a way you could be quite happy with your current income and simply not realize it. Here are a few signs your current income is actually making you happy.
Scarcity is the opposite of abundance. In a scarcity mindset, you may struggle to think about non-money related topics. Your focus is keeping your head above water, but it’s hard to do so. This is especially true if you carry a lot of debt or feel buried under the weight of too many financial responsibilities.
Laura Barker, career coach at Laura Barker Coaching, said a sense of abundance is a sign of happiness with your current income. You can’t buy abundance. It’s a felt sense of freedom and spaciousness. 
The way one changes from a scarcity mindset to abundance requires changing your thoughts. In an abundance mentality, you see there is enough for you and everyone else.
Barker uses the example of a pie. Those with an abundance mindset never see a pie shortage. The pie must get bigger to accommodate more slices.
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Try playing the “yes and” game to help change your mindset. You can begin playing by using any situation. Instead of inserting a “but” into your situation, which introduces the scarcity mentality, you replace the thought with the word “and” to better focus on abundance affirmations.
Let’s go back to the pie example. “Instead of saying ‘this pie is delicious but too many people want a slice so my slice is too small,’ try saying ‘this pie is delicious and I can’t wait to bake more pies,’” said Barker.
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Most people can generally be happy with their income if they are able to pay for basic expenses, save for retirement and not incur consumer debt. Those who live their personal values, in addition to taking care of their financial needs, often tend to experience true happiness.
Rachel Duncan, MA and financial coach at We Figured Financial Coaching, has clients in touch with their personal values who seem to exhibit more contentment with their income and financial behaviors. We can find contentment by being self-compassionate and turning inwards. Often, this can be through trusted relationships where your values are reflected back to you.
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How do you know your personal values? Duncan recommends finding out by writing a money biography. 
“This is a way to harness self-compassion for how you were raised, the messages handed down to you and be honest about the arbitrary yardsticks your family measured life by,” said Duncan. “This starts the process of taking stock of what messages serve you and which don’t.”
Once you write your money biography, you will be able to identify personal values and look for how those values play out in your community. 
Look to your friends across all income levels as examples. Ask yourself questions such as these:
“More often than not, our personal values exhibit themselves outside of financial behaviors,” said Duncan. “We can distill these existential values which often do not cost money to experience: love, safety, beauty and connection.”
When you’re comfortable in your own skin, you feel happy with the income you earn. Pausing to compare yourself to others introduces the scarcity or lacking mentality. And it never feels good or ends once it begins, either.
“There will always be someone richer, more successful, more [insert comparator here],” said Barker. “If you feel better than Joe because you earn more than Joe, then you’d better believe there’s another person down the pipeline — Jane — who earns more than you. Comparison is a never-ending cycle which only perpetuates this state of scarcity.”
Whether you earn a lot or a little, being happy, truly happy, has nothing to do with money. Many believe money will make us feel good, but happiness isn’t about money. It’s about feeling good and loving ourselves.
“Happiness comes from within, loving yourself,” said Barker. “The ironic thing is when we truly love ourselves, abundance comes easily — and this is when the money flows in.”
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Heather Taylor is a senior finance writer for GOBankingRates. She is also the head writer and brand mascot enthusiast for PopIcon, Advertising Week’s blog dedicated to brand mascots. She has been published on HelloGiggles, Business Insider, The Story Exchange, Brit + Co, Thrive Global, and more media outlets. 
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