The Correlation Between Money & Personal Growth

What is the relationship between financial success and personal growth?

You’ve probably heard about the recent studies that show definitively that money isn’t everything. One report from US News and World Report cites plenty of studies that show making memories, achieving personal growth goals, and living by your own value system are much more important to happiness than having all the money in the world. In fact, these studies often show that once you reach a certain point, more money is likely to make you less happy instead of more happy!

The Correlation Between Money & Personal Growth

But the real truth shown by these studies is that having a comfortable amount of money and growing personally are often correlated. You don’t necessarily have to grow personally to earn money, and you don’t necessarily have to have money to achieve personal growth – but they do seem to go together for most people!

Personal growth is more important than money. . .

As the studies show – and as anyone with even a teeny bit of knowledge about human nature knows – personal growth really is more important than money. People who pursue the Almighty Dollar at the expense of personal growth in relationships, wisdom, or living by their own values often end up filthy rich and incredibly unhappy.

We all know this at heart. We know that taking a job that offers a bigger paycheck but less opportunity to grow or to do something that we love is a bad idea. And we know that sometimes the happiest people are the ones who barely have two nickels to rub together but who are pursuing an occupation that they love.

. . . but more money can help with personal growth

But on the other hand, if you know much about the world, you know that having a certain level of income can help with personal growth. If you’re having to work four jobs just to pay rent and put food on the table, you’re not going to have time to build a career in something you love or to pursue hobbies and relationships that are truly fulfilling.

According to Nobel-winning psychologist Daniel Kahneman, the magic income number for Americans today is about $75,000. When a person makes around $75,000 per year, he is free from the financial worries that come from poverty, but also free from many of the problems that plague the super-rich. Plus, this figure is generally more than adequate to take care of all the basic needs of life and to provide a little extra for hobbies, travel, and memory-building activities that allow a person to grow personally.

How to find balance

So how do you find balance between personal growth and the pursuit of money? One of the main keys to finding balance here is to find a career that allows you to grow but that also has the potential to make a decent amount of money. If your dream job pays less than that magic $75,000 per year, it’s probably still worth pursuing, as long as it makes you happy, stretches you professionally and personally, and covers at least a little more than your basic financial needs.

For most people, the key to finding both financial freedom and personal fulfillment is to pursue a career that they love, and to make that career earn money. Sometimes this means moving up in your career and taking on more responsibility, but be careful here, too. You don’t want to take a promotion just for the paycheck, and end up getting promoted to a job that you actually hate!

Once you understand the correlation between your own personal growth and the amount of money you’re making, you can strike the perfect balance. Don’t pursue money for the sake of keeping up with the Joneses, but pursue a career and a lifestyle that allows you to grow personally while remaining comfortable financially.