Finding Your Financial Ikigai: The Japanese Art of a Balanced & Purposeful Life21 November 2023 by
Finding Your Financial Ikigai: The Japanese Art of a Balanced & Purposeful Life
In a world that often measures success in financial terms, the Japanese concept of Ikigai offers a refreshing perspective. Transcending the boundaries of culture and geography, this philosophy loosely translates as "a reason for being". Ikigai is a convergence of what you love, what you're good at, what the world needs, and what you can be paid for. It's an approach that represents a broader view of prosperity, encompassing joy, purpose, and contentment. As financial advisers, we find this particularly compelling. This article delves deeper into how Ikigai can not only enrich your life but also inform your financial decisions for a more fulfilling journey.
What is Ikigai?
Ikigai lies at the heart of Japanese longevity and happiness, a concept deeply embedded in their daily life. It's the intersection of four primary elements:
- What You Love (Your Passion)
- What You Are Good At (Your Vocation)
- What The World Needs (Your Mission)
- What You Can Be Paid For (Your Profession)
When these elements align, they create a sense of purpose, fulfilment, and balance. This framework isn't just about finding a single life purpose but discovering multiple aspects that contribute to a well-lived and fulfilling life.
Ikigai isn’t a new fad; it's deeply rooted in Japanese culture, dating back centuries. It’s tied to the Japanese longevity and their renowned work ethic, where work isn't just a means to an end but a path to self-fulfilment. Understanding this cultural context enriches the application of Ikigai in our daily lives.
Ikigai encourages us to find harmony in our relationships, health, hobbies, and work. It’s about finding joy in everyday activities, fostering relationships, and pursuing lifelong goals...
Ikigai and Holistic Wellbeing
The pursuit of Ikigai isn’t limited to professional fulfilment; it’s about overall wellbeing. It encourages a balanced lifestyle that nurtures the physical, emotional, and financial aspects of life. In Japan, Ikigai is often associated with long, fulfilling lives. It encourages us to find harmony in our relationships, health, hobbies, and work. It’s about finding joy in everyday activities, fostering relationships, and pursuing lifelong goals – principles that can significantly impact one’s financial health and stability.
While the traditional Ikigai model focuses on the individual, expanding it to include community and environmental factors can add depth to your financial strategies. Consider how your financial decisions can contribute to societal wellbeing and environmental sustainability.
Integrating Ikigai with Financial Planning
How does Ikigai relate to financial advice? Subtly, yet profoundly. Here are a few ways to integrate this concept into your financial planning:
Investment and Passion Alignment
Go beyond traditional investment strategies; consider impact investing or ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) funds that reflect your personal values and passions.
Skills and Savings
Reflect on what you're good at and how it can be channelled into augmenting your income or savings. Perhaps a hobby could turn into a side income, contributing to your financial goals.
Contribution and Spending
Align your spending with what the world needs. This could mean supporting local businesses or investing in community projects. Such spending not only contributes to a greater cause but also brings personal satisfaction.
Earning with Purpose
Your profession should not just be a source of income but also a reflection of your Ikigai. A career aligned with your Ikigai is likely to be more fulfilling and less stressful, which is crucial for long-term financial stability.
By finding your Ikigai, you’re not just planning for a prosperous future; you’re also creating a fulfilling present.
Practical Ways to Implement Ikigai
Ikigai is not just a lofty goal; it’s about daily practices. We can explore simple daily routines or habits that can help align your life with the Ikigai philosophy, such as mindful spending, regular reflection, and community engagement.
Start with introspection. What are your core values? What brings you joy? Understanding these can guide your financial decisions. Journals, workshops, or even counselling can facilitate this process.
Create a Balanced Life Plan
Ikigai is not just about financial gain; it's about balance. Draft a life plan that incorporates your financial goals, personal aspirations, and wellness strategies. Regularly review and adjust this plan as your life evolves and ensure your financial goals don’t overshadow your personal well-being. Unsure where to start? At Lifetime we’re all about creating life plans, reach out to one of our Financial Advisers to get started.
Adopt a Long-Term Perspective
Japanese culture values long-term benefits over short-term gains. Apply this to your financial planning – think long-term investments, retirement plans, career planning, personal development and sustainable spending habits.
Lifelong Learning and Adaptability
Embrace new skills and knowledge, both in your personal and financial life. This can open doors to new opportunities and investments.
Involvement in community activities can enhance your sense of purpose and can also lead to networking opportunities, beneficial for both personal and financial growth, and a greater sense of belonging and purpose.
Embracing Change: The Lifelong Journey of Ikigai
Ikigai is not static; it evolves as you move through different stages of life. From young professionals to retirees, understanding how Ikigai can guide each stage provides a framework for continuous growth and satisfaction.
Ikigai offers a holistic approach to life and financial planning, one that emphasises balance, purpose, and sustainability. As your financial advisers, we encourage you to explore and embrace your Ikigai. It’s a journey of discovering what truly matters to you and how you can align your financial strategies with these values. By finding your Ikigai, you’re not just planning for a prosperous future; you’re also creating a fulfilling present.
At Lifetime, our purpose is “To create greater financial certainty through all life stages.” So let’s begin your Ikigai journey together. Connect with our team for personalised advice that aligns your financial planning with your life's passions and goals. Let's explore how your financial decisions can be a reflection of your unique Ikigai, creating not just wealth, but a life rich with purpose and joy.
Disclaimer: This article has been prepared for the purpose of providing general information, without taking into consideration any particular person's objectives, financial situation or needs. Any opinions contained in it are held by the author as at the report date and are subject to change without notice.
Unlocking Financial Harmony: Navigating the Symphony of Life with Mindfulness
In the hustle and bustle of daily life, the concept of mindfulness often finds its place in discussions about mental health and stress reduction. However, its impact on financial wellbeing is a hidden gem worth exploring.
A 2021 survey by the New Zealand Retirement Commission ranked New Zealand’s overall financial wellbeing as 61 out of 100. In this case, financial wellbeing is defined as “a combination of meeting commitments, being financially comfortable, and resilient for the future.” The area in which New Zealand scored the lowest was preparedness for retirement, with a 43 out of 100 which highlights that around one in three New Zealanders are concerned that they will not have adequate savings to last through their retirement.
Market & Portfolio Update - October 2023
Global share markets declined 2.6% in local currency terms in October, as they were impacted by rising long-term bond yields. However, the NZ dollar also weakened by a similar amount, providing a significant offset for NZ-based investors.