Money Can Make You Happy, If You Change the Way You Think About It

How to cultivate a more positive relationship with your finances

Ken Honda
Forge
Published in
6 min readJun 21, 2019

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Illustration: Andrea Chronopoulos

SoSo many of us think of money as the enemy, this dark force that is keeping us from living the life we’re supposed to have or doing the things we love. So few of us see the potential that money has to bring us joy, gratitude, and happiness — especially when we give it away freely and with the same positive energy as we received it.

There are several ways to create a happy flow of money, including donating to a charity, giving money to friends, and sending gifts. Here are some other unusual ways to interact with your money in a way that will make your relationship to your finances more positive.

Give something extra — always

If you give something — anything — always give something extra. When we are in a situation where we need to ask for help or to borrow something, we usually ask for less than what we really need because we feel shame in “not having.” So when someone comes to you and asks for something, try to understand where their need is coming from and respond by giving more than they asked for. If someone asks to borrow a pen from you, give them a notebook, too. If you are a boss hiring a new employee, give them a bit more than the salary they ask for. If you are negotiating a job with a client, see where you can throw in an extra service for free.

Giving extra in these situations transforms the reluctant, anxious energy into a positive force that leaves people feeling like they are cared for and loved. It is like making an investment in the emotional well-being of yourself and your community.

Pay more than you are asked

This is the surprising one for a lot of people. When I get a bill, I pay as soon as possible. Sometimes I pay a little more than I was asked, to show my appreciation. This surprises a lot of people. They say they have never received more money than they asked for in their entire careers. When they get less than they ask for, they get upset. But when they get more, they are shocked.

I found it fun to pay more simply to see their reactions. People are not used to getting…

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Ken Honda
Forge
Writer for

A wildly successful money manager, author, and podcaster in Japan, Ken Honda’s books have sold over 8 million copies. Learn more about Ken at kenhonda.com