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Stoic Wisdom: 6 Key Insights to Make You Happier Today and Wealthier in the Future

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Stoicism, the philosophy of enduring hardship with inner strength and tranquility, is having a moment right now. So, let’s dive in and explore key points of Stoic wisdom and how they can be applied to improving your financial wealth, security, and confidence.

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Here’s a little background on Stoicism and six lessons from this ancient philosophy that can pave the way to a wealthier and more secure financial future.

About Stoicism

Everyone from Silicon Valley entrepreneurs and Wall Street investors to college kids have recently turned to Stoic wisdom as a guide for navigating the complexities of life, including financial matters. A description of Nancy Sherman’s book, Stoic Wisdom: Ancient Lessons for Modern Resilience, says: “Stoicism has become the new Zen, and a mega-industry for consumers seeking self-help.”

Stoicism originated in ancient Greece around the 3rd century BCE and found its most prominent proponents in thinkers like Seneca, Epictetus, and Marcus Aurelius.

The philosophy focuses on achieving inner peace and resilience. It teaches individuals to recognize the distinction between what is within their control and what is not, emphasizing the importance of cultivating virtues such as wisdom, courage, self-discipline, and justice. Stoicism encourages accepting inevitable hardships with equanimity, and finding contentment in one’s own character and actions rather than external circumstances.

Ultimately, Stoicism offers a practical framework for leading a life of purpose, tranquility, and moral integrity, irrespective of the challenges encountered along the way.

Practice frugality and moderation: Focus on what is important to you

It does not matter how many books you have, but how good are the books which you have. – Seneca

It is the nature of the wise to resist pleasures, but the foolish to be a slave to them. – Epicetus

Extravagance is its own destroyer. – Zeno

Stoic wisdom advocates for living simply and in accordance with nature. Applying this principle to finances means embracing frugality and moderation in spending. However, frugality in modern life does not necessarily mean living without the things that are important to you. It means prioritizing how you want and need to spend your money and time and letting go of all the extras.

By distinguishing between wants and needs, you can allocate your resources more efficiently, ensuring financial stability and resilience while focusing on what makes you happy and satisfied with life.

Focus on what’s within your control

The more we value things outside our control, the less control we have. – Marcus Aurelius

One of the central tenets of Stoicism is the dichotomy of control – distinguishing between what is within our control and what is not.

When it comes to finances, this means focusing on factors like budgeting, saving, and investment decisions, while accepting external market forces beyond our influence.

Building and maintaining a holistic financial plan using a tool like the NewRetirement Planner empowers you to focus on what is within your control amidst the uncertainties of life. By strategizing and allocating your resources, you can prioritize saving, investing, and budgeting—actions directly influenced by personal choices.

This proactive approach enables you to mitigate risks, seize opportunities, and adapt to changing circumstances with greater confidence and resilience. Rather than being overwhelmed by external forces, a comprehensive financial plan serves as a guiding framework, aligning aspirations with achievable goals and providing a sense of purpose and direction in navigating financial decisions.

Log in or create an account for the NewRetirement Planner. Evaluating your holistic financial plan monthly or at least quarterly can help give you this sense of control.

Practice deferred gratification

If you wish to be rich, do not add to your money, but subtract from your desire. – Epicetus

No great thing is created suddenly. – Epicetus

For both your finances and your health, it is important to understand that the decisions you make today have a huge impact on your future. Being able to make choices that are satisfying in the moment while also being good for your future is a skill that sets you up for long term financial security.

Stoicism teaches the importance of delaying immediate gratification for long-term benefits. Applying this to finance entails disciplined saving and investing, prioritizing future financial security over short-term indulgences.

Embrace volatility and adaptability

How ridiculous and how strange to be surprised at anything which happens in life. – Marcus Aurelius

You have power over your mind – not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength. – Marcus Aurelius

Stoics recognize the inevitability of change and volatility in life. Similarly, financial markets are characterized by fluctuations and unpredictability. By cultivating adaptability and resilience, you can navigate market turbulence and capitalize on opportunities that arise amidst uncertainty.

You can’t predict the future. Things are not going to happen exactly the way you think they are. Planning for your future and having back up plans for how to maintain your peace of mind and quality of life when things go awry is key to feeling a sense of confidence about your future financial security. Use the NewRetirement Planner to create your plan and back up plans.

And, here are some resources to help you plan for potential volatility:

Keep emotions in check

We are more often frightened than hurt; and we suffer more from imagination than from reality. – Seneca

Emotions are not rational thoughts. And, when it comes to financial decisions, it is usually advantageous to seek a rational decision rather than one based on feelings.

Stoicism emphasizes maintaining emotional equilibrium in the face of adversity. In the realm of finance, this can translate to avoiding impulsive decisions driven by fear or greed.

Fear and greed are the two emotions that often cause irrational decision making when confronted with highs and lows in the financial markets. For example: Fear can make people sell as a stock is tumbling downward. Greed can cause someone to hold onto an investment and not enjoy gains.

By cultivating a rational and composed mindset, investors can make more objective and sound financial choices.

Learn more:

Practice gratitude and perspective

When you arise in the morning, think of what a precious privilege it is to be alive – to breathe, to think, to enjoy, to love. – Marcus Aurelius

Stoicism encourages cultivating gratitude for what one has – especially those things that give meaning and purpose to life – and maintaining perspective amidst challenges.

In financial terms, this means appreciating wealth as a means to live a fulfilling life rather than an end in itself. By aligning financial goals with personal values and priorities, individuals can find greater satisfaction and contentment regardless of their net worth.

Use Stoic Wisdom to Achieve a Well Ordered Financial Plan

As the world grapples with challenges and uncertainties, the timeless wisdom of Stoic wisdom offers a guiding light for navigating life’s complexities, including financial matters. By embracing principles of virtue, resilience, and rationality, individuals can cultivate a wealthier and more secure financial future while finding deeper fulfillment and meaning along the way.

In a world marked by constant change, Stoicism reminds us that true wealth lies not in external possessions but in the tranquility of a well-ordered mind. And, a well-ordered financial plan enables a well-ordered mind. Check in on yours today with the NewRetirement Planner.

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