what makes you happiest

What Makes You Happiest and Why Money Matters

Erik Basics, Financial Education, Thoughts of a Mastermind 6 Comments


At The Mastermind Within, I love to talk about personal finance, financial freedom, and ways I’m working to increase my wealth.

April is Financial Literacy Month in the United States and as a result, this month, I’m going to be sharing with you my best personal finance tips and tricks, talk about financial independence, and inspire you to grow your wealth.

Before getting into these posts, I want to first ask you about something I’ve been thinking quite a bit about: what makes you happiest? Why do you do the things you do? What would you do if you had all of the money in the world?

In this post, I will be providing some food for thought on the question what makes you happiest, and look to answer the question why money matters in your life.

Go Down That Rabbit Hole

why money mattersOver the past few years, I’ve gone down many rabbit holes.

Starting with a simple Google search, I’ve now become quite knowledgeable in the personal finance space and am on my way to building wealth.

“How do I make more money?”, I asked Google.

Suddenly, I was swept into a whole new world: a world of spreadsheet nerds and money conscious beings.

How do I make money turned into how do I save more money. How do I save more money turned into what should I invest my money in. What should I invest my money in turned into what is the best asset class for investments. What is the best asset class for investments turned into how can I save on 401k fees and how do I buy rental real estate.

A simple question turned into a life long pursuit of optimizing my finances and building my wealth in a smart way.

On Optimization and Going Down Rabbit Holes

Over the past 6 years, I’ve tracked my income and expenses, purchased stocks, real estate, bonds, and even some crazy cryptocurrencies, and spent hours each week looking to learn just a little more about the world of personal finance.

Once you go down 1 rabbit hole, you start to go down all rabbit holes.

The first few months of 2018, I’ve been going down the web development rabbit hole (I’m learning ReactJS for a work project).

A simple search for how to build a website using ReactJS resulted in a similar journey to when I went down the rabbit hole for personal finance.

How to build a website using ReactJS turned into how do I create a website using ReactJS, NodeJS and how do I connect the two technologies. How do I create a website using ReactJS, NodeJS and how do I connect the two technologies turned into what is a ReactJS component? What is a ReactJS component turned into how do I interact with data with ReactJS? How do I interact with data using ReactJS turned into how I do dynamically update a React component in real time?

I’m currently deep in that rabbit hole… and I’m getting off topic.

Improving in All Areas of Your Life

I’ve noticed something interesting: once I got the self-improvement bug, I started to question everything I did and looked to improve my life in every area.

Why did I eat certain foods? Why did I go to bed and wake up at a certain time? What would a perfect day look like?

With each of these questions, I started to experiment and test. I stopped eating breakfast and experimented with intermittent fasting. I stayed up late some nights and went to bed early other nights. For a month, I stopped eating bread and became carb conscious.

All of this was to improve a little bit each and every day.

Recently, I’ve been thinking a lot about the question, what makes me happiest? What actions, things, and tasks make me happy and are the most enjoyable to me? Who are some of my favorite people, and how can I spend more time with them? Why do I enjoy these things? What is stopping me from doing these things all day and every day?

For many of us, the last question is the reality check and put a damper on this line of questioning.

Many dreams are just that; dreams are an escape from reality and may never come true.

That being said, I don’t like thinking like this though; my dreams will become a reality because I’m going to make them a reality.

What Makes Me Happiest?

I’m happiest when I’m spending time with like-minded individuals and talking about my passions: personal finance, self improvement, accomplishment, and entrepreneurship.

I’m happiest when I’m helping others unlock their full potential and reach their goals.

I absolutely love coding and connecting the dots between data sources, algorithms, and a presentation layer.

Unfortunately, my days right now are not 100% filled with these things.

But Erik, why not? Why can’t you structure your time to do this 24/7?

At this point, even though I love doing these things, I still need to make money. Maybe someday I can do these things for pay, but, for now, I have to keep learning, building my nest egg, and gaining experience.

What is the Purpose of Money?

At a basic level, what do human beings need to live?

Shelter, clothing, food, and water.

Going a step further, some other needs include education, sanitation and relationships.

Unfortunately, there’s no such thing as a free lunch, and all of these things cost money.

The purpose of money, in my opinion, is a tool for us to facilitate the purchases of our needs and wants.

Money is a tool.

Why Money Matters

good at making moneyIt’s Wednesday night and I’ve just finished up dinner with my girlfriend.

In 12 hours, I’ll be waking up, showering, and getting on the bus to go to work.

I have to go to work tomorrow because I have a mortgage to pay, a mouth to feed, and investments to purchase.

I’d love to stay at home and read a book. Or take a nap. Or work on learning some more programming techniques.

At this point in my life, I can’t afford to not work – I need the money.

Money matters because money can set you to be free. Financial freedom is my ultimate goal in the next 5 to 10 years. I don’t want to be a slave to the bank, a slave to my employer, or a slave to anyone else.

Financial freedom will allow me to spend time the way I want to spend it. Financial independence will allow me to pursue my passions for pleasure or profit, and I’ll be able to help millions with my talents.

There are so many problems to be solved out in the world, and I’m excited to be able to dive in and contribute to the solutions.


With more money, you have more options. With more options, you can do the things you want with your life. You can live out your dream and you can be the person who you were born to be.

All it takes is a simple decision.

Will you make that simple decision today to join me on a personal finance journey here in April?

Each post in April will be a post focused on personal finance here at The Mastermind Within. As I mentioned above, I will be sharing with you how I grew my net worth, how to track your income and expenses, other personal finance tips and tricks, and look to take you to the next level in your finances.

I’m excited to make this Financial Literacy Month a great one!

Readers: what makes you happiest? Why do you do the things you do? Why does money matter to you? What is the purpose of money in your life? 


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Comments 6

  1. Great post! I too tend to fall down rabbit holes 😉 some lead to great things, others… lead to me finding out that 3 hours has passed and I haven’t gotten anything done I needed to!
    I’m lucky to have a job in the field that I am passionate about, so I get to spend my days doing a lot of the things that I love – I still don’t want to HAVE to work for money, though!
    I’m excited to follow along with your journey!

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  2. Now that I’m married, I love spending time with my wife and planning our future together. Money is just a tool so that we can have the amazing future we envision. It’s not an ends in itself.

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