needs vs wants

“Wealth consists not in having great possessions, but in having few wants.” Epictetus.

Needs are basic requirements that are necessary for survival and well-being, such as food, clothing, and shelter. Wants are desires for goods or services that are not necessary but improve quality of life, such as luxury items or entertainment. In general, needs are considered more important than wants because they are essential to life, while wants are more discretionary and can vary based on personal preferences and changing circumstances.

In our pursuit of financial freedom, we need to carefully define our needs and wants. It’s possible to satisfy all our needs but it’s impossible to satisfy all our wants. This is because our wants are ever-expanding and endless but the things necessary for our survival are quite few and limited. So if we keep chasing our wants we shall forever be dissatisfied.

We should also be careful not to overstretch our needs. Food is a basic need. However, a full-course meal from a fancy restaurant is a want. Shelter is a need. But a huge mansion financed by an expensive mortgage is a want. Transport is a need. An expensive shiny car is a want. Intimacy is a need. A huge wedding you can’t afford is a want. The truly important things in life like clean air, sunshine, healthy relationships, and a calm mind, don’t cost much.

Financial freedom lies in satisfying our needs while taming our wants. And like Seneca said; “It is not the man who has too little, but the man who craves more, that is poor.” So before you spend your hard earned cash consider whether you are satisfying a need or a want.

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