So what can Michelle Obama teach us about financial wellbeing?

A woman, who many would say has it all, teaches us that money and status are not enough for happiness.

What comes to mind when you hear the name Michelle Obama?  Strong, powerful, mother, teacher? 

Stuff doesn’t make you happy

In the latest instalment of ‘The Michelle Obama Podcast,” the former First Lady shared she’s been dealing with “low-grade” depression.  It’s always a moment to celebrate when someone with her platform is able and willing to share their struggle.  In the previous episode, chatting with her husband, she shares some things she learned at an early age.  One lesson, “stuff doesn’t make you happy,” is a guiding principle of financial wellbeing. At least that’s how we think about it at Cheddr.  

Never enough

Ms Obama talks about “never enough” in the context of her family not having much money growing up.  She recalls a time when her parents bought her vanilla ice cream and her responding by wanting a different flavour.  Struck by her parent’s annoyance and their response that she “was never satisfied” the story has stayed with her.  She talks about passing this teaching on to her children and being annoyed that they weren’t satisfied and “never enough”. Especially as her children have had the opportunity to do some “pretty amazing” things.

Happiness and money

The feeling of always wanting more or not being satisfied with what we have is one reason many of us aren’t happy, especially with our finances.

It’s not that simple, of course, but recognising this behaviour in ourselves can be extremely helpful.  It enables us to spend our money on the things we think are important, avoid problem debt and hopefully find happiness.  In today’s society, being happy with what we have and not seeking to keep up with others isn’t all that easy.  Television, social media and the interconnectedness of our world can put real pressure on all of us.  And, we’re probably not being completely honest by telling ourselves this pressure only affects young people.

Hopefully, the last few months have taught us all something about what’s important and how we can be happy with less.  If you’re looking for more inspiration, I would highly recommend listening to her podcast, which is free, although you do need a free Spotify account.

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