If life is a game, then how do we level up? I seek to answer this question and propose different levels available to us in all aspects of life. I'm going to call this Levels of Development. Just some guidelines and goals to work towards, and thinking about what's possible. What level are you at, and where do you want to be? What is your own take on these levels?
In today's post I'll be covering what's possible financially. Note that some of these are not linked to how much money you have, but rather how you feel about it. You can be the richest person in the world but still feel like you don't have enough.
Level 1: Bankruptcy/Insolvency
You have so little money that you are bankrupt, and you can't repay the money you owe.
Level 2: Unwanted Debt
You are in debt and paying it off slowly, but you can't quite do it. For example, repaying the minimum sum on overdue credit card bills.
Level 3: Paycheck-to-paycheck
You are able to pay off your recurring debts - credit card bills, student loans, mortgage, and other big purchases. You are also able to meet your needs. However, you don't have enough savings at the end of the month.
Level 4: Savings
You have a little bit left over to save and slowly build up finances. However, your budget is tight and you have to think twice about buying things that you value.
Level 5: Investing
You have enough left each month to invest some portion of your money, and you are able to build up emergency savings too. You are able to spend a little more on wants.
Level 6: Comfortable
You're able to spend on daily necessities and other things you value without worrying about it. You're starting to see that money is an exchange of value, and don't value it for its own sake anymore. Also, you start to donate a portion of your income to charity.
Level 7: Seeding new income streams
You start creating alternative income streams and start to see some results. These can be a side hustle, renting, or money from investments.
Level 8: Growing streams
Your extra income start to cover at least one major bill that you have. You start to see your efforts paying off, and you no longer worry about losing your job (if you had one in the first place).
Level 9: Passive income
Your time is completely decoupled from how you earn money, and you are free to do what you like. You start to see money for its true nature, and no longer feel pressure to keep earning more. Your income streams may also be growing exponentially (as is possible with some methods of earning money).
Level 10: Flow
You earn enough to cover your expenses and many times more, in the exact way you want to earn it. You're used to seeing the numbers change - it's a normal part of your life now. You no longer think about money as a constraint to what you can do, but rather as a tool to achieve your goals. You recognise that money comes in and goes out, so as long as you can do what you want, you don't sweat the details. Most importantly, you no longer feel attached to money, and cost does not influence your decisions anymore.
Some of these levels don't have to be in order - you can get to level 10 without having to create new income streams, for example. Level 10 is where I want to get to, eventually, and you'll notice that level 10 is more about your attitude towards wealth.