I always thought I was very money motivated and wanted to be rich. I remember the moment over 14 years ago that I discovered this wasn’t true. I was shocked. Earning great money and aspiring to have a top job had been the story of my university and school days. I’d always worked and I earned much better money than the average student wage - I taught aerobics and made the equivalent of 10 hours work in a bar or shop in one hour (all whilst dancing, shouting and wearing a microphone!). I also spent a lot of money!
In the first few months of my graduate training programme at HSBC we had to fill in a motivation grid in which we had to compare and rank multiple factors against each other, e.g. having colleagues who become friends, meaningful work, a supportive boss, flexibility to go to the gym etc. As I compared each factor to a big salary, I realised there was so much more that was important to me. Needless to say my career in banking didn’t last long; the money was good but I just didn’t enjoy the work, the people, the culture and the drinking.
I moved on to a job which gave me so many more of the things I was looking for. It was not my dream job, but it had a culture which believed in education, flexibility and intellect. It was a decent salary, but not the heady heights of 100% + bonuses and “I’ll just pop out and buy a Mulberry handbag in my lunch break”. Since then, at each point in my career, I’ve had more confidence to follow the advice of a wise (and very wealthy man) who has built his own successful business... “Do not chase the money. Do what you love and everything else will work out”.
Could I be earning 3 or 4 times more than I do now? Yes. Would I be happy? No. I used to equate success with money, but as I’ve grown older, and a little bit wiser, I realise success is about doing what you love.
What is your biggest struggle with money?
Having worked for myself for many years, I always found it hard to work out how much money I had coming in each month and how to budget for the year. I have a completely YOLO philosophy to life so always say yes to stuff and worry about the consequences later. When you aren’t sure of your income, this can be a struggle.
What is your tip to help others save?
eBay - work out your size in your favourite brands and then put an alert on eBay (for me it’s “Diane Von Furstenburg wrap dress”) – I’ve just bought a £450 Diane Von Furstenburg dress for £70! (It's the leopard print one in the picture).
Charity shops - enjoy pottering around the amazing charity shops we now have on the High Street (Mary’s Living and Giving shops are little designer boutiques at a third of the cost) and congratulate yourself on doing charity work whilst shopping! Everyone's a winner.
Patience - you don’t need it now you need it when it’s at the right price.
This money story was written by Lucy Mullins.
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