ROI or ROL? Have I Been Looking At This Wrong?

I don’t typically spend a lot of time talking or thinking about money, yet I’ve been really fixated on it lately based on the current economic climate we’re in. This is the first time in my life that I actually feel there’s a direct impact on me and my family.

Despite all that is occuring, I believe it to be a positive one and here’s why:

We’re all to familiar with the term ROI; Return on Investment but what about ROL; Return on Life?

It is important to balance Return On Investments with Return On Life (ROL). Jeff Griswold defines ROL as, "How well you are doing in living the life you want, with the money you have.”

Most of what you’re going to read below are Jeff’s words, not mine. He articulated it better than I could so I used it and give him the credit. That’s a positive ROI and ROL IMO as why waste time trying to say the same thing differently; let’s just get on with it as it’s 7:52am on a beautiful Sunday morning, coffee is warm, dogs are ready to walk and there’s a day to make the most of.

Here are some key ROL indicators:

  • Living well within your means

  • Investing time, energy, and resources in people and engagements that energize you

  • Allowing yourself to have experiences and fulfillment whenever possible

  • Not comparing yourself to others who may live with a different set of circumstances

  • Living purposefully

  • Not allowing your identity to be defined by numbers

Since money is a vessel that can help you navigate where you want to go in life, it is important to control your money, instead of letting your money control you. When you focus on ROL, your investments serve you, not vice versa. Too many people feel as if life is little more than “getting ahead” of someone else’s definition of what a successful life ought to be.

“Who and what really makes me happy in life?” and then arrange your finances to keep those people and experiences front and center in your life.

This “Lockdown” allows us to take stock of ALL of these things unlike any time that I’ve ever experienced before.

When it comes to our life ROI, we have to recognize that our investment is our time.

Are we trading our time purely for money?

Are we making life decisions based on monetary value alone?

Your values and principles with money are not the same as everyone else’s, nor should they be. The most important aspect to be derived from the numbers is to achieve the quality of life you desire. The numbers do not exist to drive life but to support it.

“The price of anything is the amount of life you exchange for it.” — Henry David Thoreau

When you achieve balance––and as a result, true financial freedom––you will still be confronted with issues that organically arise with age. These manifold issues include the following:

  • How you best spend your time and energy

  • How you address your personal health and well-being

  • How you continue to challenge yourself

  • The role you play in your parents’ and/or children’s futures

  • The kind of legacy you want to leave

  • Your definition of success

It is important to understand the impact of money on every area of your life. By engaging in a financial planning process focusing on what’s happening in your life––adjusted financially to facilitate those happenings––you will reach the ultimate goal of using your money to create a better life.

Stay Healthy, be happy and spend time and money wisely.


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