| Angela Ward

3 important financial lessons I learned from Happy Money

It's not uncommon for people to shy away from the topic of money, especially women. People might find be confused by financial jargon, overwhelmed by the flood of information out there or uncomfortable with sharing financial struggles. Overall, people can be downright afraid of finances.

But we don't have to feel this way. There are so many articles, courses and books out there that do a great job of eliminating the fear of money by providing you with the information you need when it comes to better understanding and managing your money. 

Recently I've taken a lot of important lessons from the book Happy Money: The Japanese Art of Making Peace with Your Money by Ken Honda. Also known as the Zen Millionaire, Ken Honda is a self-development writer from Japan whose work encourages readers to pursue both wealth and happiness through self-reflection.

Before reading Happy Money I held negative and self-limiting beliefs on money. Aside from practical financial know-how, our mindset plays a big role in our financial life. When I read his book, I realized that my negative mindset was acting as a blockage to my feelings of gratitude, joy and generosity when it came to my money. As a result, I wasn't enjoying my money like I should have been.

Here are 3 simple but powerful financial lessons from Happy Money.

#1 Emotions influence your money

"There are so many emotions wrapped up in our money!"

-Ken Honda, Happy Money

While having financial knowledge is important, Ken Honda says that it's just as important to have knowledge of your emotional reactions to money. He explains Money IQ (intelligence quotient) and Money EQ (emotion quotient). It's important to understand our emotions in relation to money because they often strongly influence our financial decision-making.

Ken Honda’s advice is to look at the ways in which we receive, enjoy, feel about and share our money. He says that we can imbue our money with more positive energy by being mindful of the present moment, being more trusting of others and of life, and being generous when receiving or sharing money.

This has especially helped me when it comes to spending money on myself and others. I used to worry about the costs of gifts but when I learned to tap into the joy of giving to myself and others, the cost of these gifts became less of a concern. My spending became more intentional and in line with my enjoyment of giving thoughtful gifts to others.

Action Steps:

Ask yourself: what emotions influence your decision-making with money? Why?

In what ways can you add more joy to your financial life?

Try journaling to get a sense of where you're at with your Money EQ.


#2 Gratitude leads to even more abundance

"I am going to share a little something with you: it doesn’t matter how much you have or make. It is your feelings about money that determine your wealth."
-Ken Honda, Happy Money
coffee with macarons

An unhealthy attitude about money often stems from a scarcity mindset, which is the belief that resources and opportunities are scarce. We’re usually taught to compete and that there’s only “one winner.” This scarcity mindset can make us feel anxious and fearful. But with this mindset, we’re less likely to collaborate with people, celebrate the success of others and feel good about ourselves.

The opposite of a scarcity mindset is an abundance mindset, which is the belief that there are ample finances, resources and opportunities out there for everyone, including yourself.

Similarly, Ken Honda stresses the importance of practicing gratitude in your financial life. Research shows that practicing gratitude enhances your mental and physical health.

As Ken Honda says, we're not in control of external factors such as the economy or stock market—but we are in control of our thoughts and feelings. He suggests thinking of all the ways money benefits you, others and the world at large. It could be as small as having the means to pay for your favourite latte or as big as having the funds to buy a house.

When I started practicing gratitude, I started feeling more wealthy, both financially and emotionally. Feelings such as worry or dissatisfaction can sometimes act as distractions, blocking the flow of money, resources and opportunities to us.

Action Steps:

Start a daily gratitude practice today. Write down 3-5 things you're most grateful for in your life.


#3 Aligning your money with your values is important

"The important deciding factor in becoming a Happy Little Millionaire is to align your money with your values and convictions."
-Ken Honda, Happy Money

When it comes to increasing money, Ken Honda believes it’s about more than just investing. Rather, he believes it’s about finding a cause you care about and investing in that. This could be your own business, activities you enjoy or a charitable cause. He says that downturns and crises in the market won’t be your main concern because if you invest in what you value, your top priority is supporting the people who share your values. Markets always fluctuate and eventually turn around anyway.

Investing money in things that are important to you not only makes you feel great, it imbues your money with positive (happy) energy and helps causes thrive. As an example, I used to donate indiscriminately to every cause, not stopping to think if it aligned closely with my values. I’ve applied this way of thinking to the charitable organizations I make donations to and my actions feel much more meaningful. I’m much more discerning about which organizations I donate to, making sure that they align closely with my convictions.

Action Steps:

Think about what activities or charities you'd like to support. Do they align with your philosophy?

This is a great book to read because it encourages you to think about where you might have negative money beliefs and offers practical advice on how you can change them for the better. Here are more books to read to get you started on your financial journey.

So the goal is…

Examine your emotions around money. Practice gratitude to feel wealthy. Make sure your investments match up with what you truly value.

Do you use mindful money mindsets? Share your thoughts and comments with us on our social media. We’re just as much inspired by you, as you are by Eve and Elle.


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