This episode takes you through my process of figuring out what is a true need versus a deep desire and want and how to tell the difference between.
It’s important to be able to tell true needs and wants apart, and then take the appropriate action to meet them. We all know about taking care of our needs, but wants and desires have to be taken care of too, this brings us pleasure in life and we’re all here to have fun with life too!
It’s not always clear what is your true need that must be met and what’s really a want. Sometimes, our brains can rationalize and convince us that a want is really a need, and that’s how we can end up making bad financial decisions or decisions in general. So learning to tell them apart is important. And not just tell them apart, but also being able to prioritise which need and want you’ll meet first and gathering your strength and courage to defer other less pressing needs and wants.
As mentioned in the episode, the worksheet is available HERE.
Hello and welcome to another episode of the Financially Free Woman Podcast!
Today, I wanted to share with you my experience figuring out what’s a need and what’s a want, then making decisions around meeting your true needs, rather than chasing all your wants.
Because, as Karen McCall says, you can’t get enough of what you don’t need.
Not being able to differentiate between the two is the cause for a lot of financial problems.
It’s easy for us to confuse our wants as needs, then go out and spend money we don’t have on our wants, thinking it’s something we need.
This past couple of weeks, I’ve been thinking about whether I should invest a significant amount of money in an accreditation course that’s being taught by someone I really look up to and have been for a long time.
This course would help me make the career switch I’ve been wanting to make for several years, so it’s something I really wanted.
To figure out if it’s something I needed or wanted, I worked with my money coach who really helped me learn a way to differentiate between a need and a want - and I’d like to share it with you.
She asked me, what’s something in my life that I know for sure is a need. For me, that’s providing for my family, giving my kids the best I can, including supporting their passions and interests.
Next, she asked how that felt like in my body, and which part of my body in particular did I feel it in, and how did it feel like?
For me, it was right at the core of my body - in my stomach, where your gut is. It’s a solid certainty that if I had to really protect one thing, providing a good life for my family is it.
Next, she asked me to think about this course I wanted to do. What did it feel like in my body and which part did I feel it in? It felt similar to how I felt about providing for my family. So this is how I knew it was a need for me.
When it comes to needs, there can be a priority of meeting your needs. Some needs you must meet immediately for the safety and well-being of yourself and your family, like health and food.
Providing for my family is at the top of my priority list of needs.
Some other needs can wait - like getting the accreditation.
That still doesn’t make it easier to say no to a need just because it’s a less pressing need.
When I looked at my numbers again and saw that I wouldn’t be able to pay for the course right now without going further into debt, I realised I would have to say no to this need for now.
And that can be hard - saying no to something you know is a need, but it’s really not something you can meet right now because you have other more important needs to meet for the moment.
It was interesting to observe how our minds play tricks on us. Because all throughout the week, I was going through all the rationalisation and arguments for why I must do the course now, how it would help me switch my career and eventually retire from my corporate job in the next 3 years.
If I don’t invest in myself now to start planning for my career switch, when am I going to do it?
Do I want to look back 3 years from now and realise I’m still in the same place I am today because I didn’t invest in making that transition?
I looked at all the possible different payment options I could use to pay for this investment. All of them led to me having to get into more debt.
Will I be able to make the money I invested back? And my money coach said one thing that we all know, but when you’re caught up in your own rationalising thoughts and emotions, it’s easy to lose sight of it. And that’s - ‘nothing is guaranteed’.
My biggest fear and doubt was, it’s not the first time I’ve invested in courses and education, what makes this different? My money coach asked me this, ‘were your previous investments worth it?’ The honest answer is they were all totally worth it when it comes to my personal growth. In terms of whether they actually resulted in helping me make my career switch and make money from my new career - no. While they set many wheels in motion and taught me a lot about what it takes to start a business, as long as I’m still in a corporate job, I’ve always been limited in the time I have to actually dedicate and grow the business to become self-sustaining.
So in reality, this just wasn’t the right time for me to invest in a course that would significantly set me back financially.
Perhaps you’re listening and thinking, isn’t it clear, if you don’t have the money to pay for it upfront, then you can’t afford to do it. This is how my husband thinks and although he said he’d be supportive of whatever decision I make, I know he knows me doing this would stress out our family finances, just when we’re gaining ground. In this regard, he’s a lot better at saying no and dealing with disappointment than I am.
I share this today because if you’re dealing with a need that’s got a lot of emotions wrapped around it like I do, I want to share that saying no to a need can be very, very hard.
It’s disappointing and it makes us sad. I literally cried about having to say no to this because it’s something I want so much. It almost feels like a break up with someone you love.
The comforting thing is that I know there will be another in-take next year which will give me time to plan and save up for it. It’s also comforting to know that by saying no to meeting this need right now, I’m saying yes to ensuring my family is well taken care of, and that my emotional and mental well-being is protected because I would be in a much better situation financially than if I had incurred this debt.
I hope you gain some insight by sharing my process of differentiating between my needs and wants and tapping into my body wisdom to help me make the distinction between needs and wants. And that you see that you’re not alone in struggling, debating, defending, arguing and finally accepting walking away from something you really, really need and want.
If you’re going through something similar, I’ve put down a few questions which you can answer that will help you get clear on what’s a need and what’s a want, and whether you should spend money on your needs.
You can also download these questions at https://twopointzero.me/needswantsprompts (I’ll link this in the show notes)
Is this a need or a want?
Our bodies contain a wealth of information. In our fast paced society, it’s easy to take our bodies for granted and see it only as the physical vehicle for us to do things. When you start getting present and pay attention to your body, it will give you direction and point you to where you should be paying attention to.
Saying no to something you really want right now is hard. It’s heartbreaking and disappointing. You may even feel grief and cry when you have to walk away from it. It’s okay and normal. You’re not frivolous or shallow for feeling this way. Honour your feelings and sensations in your body. Every single one of them. They are unique to you, and there to help you.
To help you get through this disappointment, think about what you’re saying yes to, when you say no right now to meet a need that can wait.
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The Financially Free Woman Podcast Host
The Financially Free Woman Podcast was launched in November 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic to share the stories of everyday people making a living doing what they love. While training her students in leadership and mental resilience, Sharon noticed the rising level of financial stress and anxiety experienced by many of her students. It dawn on Sharon that this was an opportunity for her to share how she overcame her own financial anxieties triggered by her personal experience with a 6-figure business debt and being let go from her job as the family's primary breadwinner. She began sharing everything she learned about mastering not just the practical side of money but also her mindset around money. Through this work, Sharon began meeting and building a community of women creating and living their dream lives. The Financially Free Woman Podcast is a collection of stories, practical tips and strategies to help you discover your passions, and use them to make a lucrative living. Imagine a life where you spend your time doing what you love and getting paid well for it! That's exactly what these women featured on the podcast are doing and they tell you how! Get inspired and start creating your own your dream life!