The Money Spectrum
More to That gives an interesting framework called the Money Spectrum in his piece, Money is the Megaphone of Identity.
Where things get interesting is the Freedom-as-Leisure, Freedom-in-Work, and Freedom-in-Attention.
Your basic needs are covered and you have leisure time to express your tastes and preferences. Maybe you might go on a vacation in Hawaii or purchase a nice meal at a restaurant. The problem is that you have to work significantly more hours for each hour of leisure. This can be quite miserable if you don’t like your job.
Here, you don’t see money as the goal but rather as a means to give you the freedom to build what you want. Maybe you work part-time as a software engineer, not let lifestyle creep affect you, and work on your passion projects in your spare time. The difficult part of this stage is defining what “enough” means and staying diligent, patient, and rational with your passion projects.
Freedom of attention means you’re doing what you love and money is not an issue. In fact, you make a lot of fun doing something that you’d do for free.
If the average person doesn’t ruminate about money because he knows he has everything he needs, then he is wealthy:Financial freedom isn’t about money, it’s about attention. The less you have to think about money, the more free you actually are… Once you get to the top of the Freedom phase, you are using money in a way that serves you. It is a tool that has enabled you to do the things you love, and has drifted out of focus when it has fulfilled that specific purpose. This is the sweetest spot in all of the Money Spectrum, and if we didn’t have any other aspirations or desires, then we’d be wise to stay here for a long time.
Where on the money spectrum do you want to be?