How you spend your money says a lot about you. But did you know that it can also show how present you live? What am I talking about? Read on if you want to learn how to be in the “flow” of cash flow.

What is “Flow”?

Originally coined by Mihály Csíkszentmihályi in 1975, flow is a mental state characterized by the complete absorption and hyper-focus in what one is doing, often resulting in the feeling of time slowing down. Someone experiencing flow has energized focus, full involvement, and enjoyment in the process of the activity. There is no fear of the future and no guilt from the past. They are completely present.

What does Flow have to do with Money?

Spending money is done 3 mains ways – meeting past, present, and future needs and wants.

  • Past Obligations are your debts. These are things you’ve bought with credit and are still paying for like houses, cars, and stuff.
  • Present Needs are your current day to day expenses. Most of these involve food and utilities. They also include wants like entertainment.
  • Future Needs are payments you make to your future self. Think financially independent, living your best life.

Most of us are not living our best life. We’re paying off debt. Worrying about the future. And seldom experiencing a state of flow. To get to a state of flow with your relationship with money, you would live as if money wasn’t a problem. You’d have financial independence.

Behavior economist Sarah Newcomb says that the path to freedom is to direct the flow of income labor toward investments in land and capital. This land and capital can eventually replace your current income, making you financially independent.

Her model makes it easy to see that making payments on debt (past obligations) makes it tough to become financially free. It also shows that spending too much on current wants can also lower your success.

How can You Save for the Future & Still Be Present with Your Cash Flow?

Be the person you want to become. If you want to become a millionaire, act like a millionaire. Not the millionaires on TV. But the people that built their wealth over time and get rich slowly. Read The Millionaire Next Door. Do you want to be the traveler? Do it presently. Don’t put it on your credit card and pay for it over a couple of years. If you don’t have the money, save it.


In order to be in the “flow” of cash flow, spend the majority of your money on present needs, and wants while making sure you are putting money away to become the person you want to be. If you can’t afford something, save for it. Don’t acquire debt to have it. As you do this, you’ll become more in the flow with your cash flow.

Rich Feight, CFP
Rich Feight, CFP

Hi, I'm Rich Feight I'm a fee-only Certified Financial Planner, successful business owner, and self-made millionaire that knows how to beat the system and become wealthy. I have a lot of clients that have done it too. I'm also pretty good at finding that ever-elusive work/life balance so many of us strive for. Lucky for you I have an abundant mindset and give all my knowledge away on my blog. So if you want to know what it takes to become a millionaire, follow me.