Suppose you’re contacted by an estate attorney with word that a distant relative has died and left you 18 million dollars in his will.  Never mind the fact you hardly knew your Mom’s second cousin other than by name.  The attorney tells you that in the end, your relatives biggest regret was amassing his fortune at the expense of family and friends.  His dying wish was for his massive estate to be spread amongst all those whom he felt he neglected.

You mourn the loss of this person you never knew, but eighteen million dollars is an 18 followed by six zeros and two commas!  This is an exciting turn of events to say the least!  Sure, you work a good job and make decent money but with all your expenses, paycheck to paycheck living has become a routine.  

Until now!  

With this windfall, you’ll be able to get your financial house in order, quit your job and realize a sustainable state of well-being and dare I say, happiness.

Once the money hits your bank accounts, the house that you have loved up until now starts to feel a little cramped.  So you find a real estate agent.  She sets about selling you on a mansion that has a backyard equipped with an Olympic-sized pool, a pickleball court and plenty of room left over for family reunions, birthday parties, heck, weddings if you’d like.  This perfect new home comes in at a cool 15 million.  You have abundant funds to make a cash offer so you do.  Not having a mortgage for the rest of your life sounds like a dream come true.

But that real estate agent isn’t done.  Knowing the size of your pockets, she connects you with a great agent in Maui, your favorite place to travel, who flies you out to look at a hot new property that won’t last long on the market.  It’s on the coast with an immaculate view.  At just under a million, it’s a fixer up, but you are up for the challenge.  You return home to buy yourself a well deserved Porsche and all the luxury furniture and fixings you could never afford before.

While each of these decisions has some logic given your new financial reality, you start to feel like you did when you were a kid and Grandma Kate gave you a crisp fifty dollar bill for your birthday.  You felt extremely rich until you spent $30 of it on comic books, another $15 on baseball cards and the remaining $5 on candy.  Though you didn’t know the term then, that’s where you became familiar with the awkward feeling of buyer’s remorse.  You quickly realized you would have to go back to cleaning the garage and mowing the yard so your folks would keep giving you allowance money.

A few months before you received your inheritance, in a budgeting frenzy, you calculated that you could live comfortably on $7,000 a month.  With that number in mind, you open your calculator app, crunch some numbers, and realize that you could have withdrawn $7,000/month from your $18 million dollar inheritance for well over a hundred years had you not been so hasty to improve your life in such drastic ways. 

You crunch a few more numbers and factoring in property taxes, getting the vacation home spruced up and normal maintenance and repairs, you’ll need to reach out to your former boss and beg for your old job back.  Yes, you have two beautiful homes and a fast flashy car but you don’t have enough cash flow to actually enjoy them.

This tale begs the question – What does creating sustainable, financial well-being ACTUALLY look like for you?

 I know it’s making me re-examine my perspective.

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JASON FREEMAN is a Professional Speaker and the proud owner of a Speech Impediment.  He is also the author of “Awkwardly Awesome: Embracing My Imperfect Best” and a Perseverance Coach.

He excites and encourages his audience to break through the barriers of their own limitations using a method he created, called “Doing your Imperfect Best ™”.

His Imperfect TEDx Talk can be viewed here.