What Does Wealth Mean To You?

When my sons were young they used to talk about the cars they would buy when they grew up.  One wanted a Porsche, the other a Lamborghini.  Luxury items were high on their “wants” list.

The whole lottery business is aimed at “living the dream” and the commercials show winners with their own private islands, yachting around the world and playing games with their helicopters and motorboats.  Nice fantasies indeed.  But most people really wouldn’t change their lifestyles at all.

If you listen to interviews with lottery winners they say they want to pay off their bills, purchase a new house or truck, take a nice vacation and help out their families – statements common to almost all of them and pretty boring actually.  There’s never any mention of pursuing anything extravagant.

What Does Wealth Mean To You?

What constitutes “wealth” is relative.  Some people think they will be wealthy when they attain a high income or a net worth of a certain dollar amount.  Others associate money with being successful and attempt to show how important they are with a display of opulence by living in a large estate, driving a fancy car and joining the best clubs.

In fact there are more than a few people that earn a six-figure income or more who live paycheque to paycheque and are as stressed as those living at poverty level.  It becomes a race to have it all and someone will always have newer and/or better and it’s hard to keep up.   Also, job loss is a real possibility these days – then what?

The pursuit of wealth and riches by working long hours can be detrimental to health and relationships.  There are a lot of millionaires who are alone in the end miserably counting their piles of money.

There are those who take awful risks to strike it rich – gambling on dubious financial schemes as well as games of chance.  There are the Bernie Madoffs of the world who take advantage of the gullibility of others to make themselves rich.  And of course there’s always someone who expects to get something for nothing.  Greed rears it’s ugly head and makes them targets and surprised victims of scams and con artists.

The book “Millionaire Next Door” by Thomas J. Stanley examines wealthy people who are not extravagant and don’t need to show their wealth to the world.  They go about their business quietly and do whatever they want to do with their lives.  They know what it takes to become a millionaire.

I think that most people want enough money to feel a sense of security – no more worries about monthly expenses and unexpected bills, the ability to pay for some luxuries and live life on their own terms.  Some aren’t satisfied until they have it all.

How much money do you need to be wealthy?  It’s a personal choice.  It’s whatever feels right to you.


8 Responses to What Does Wealth Mean To You?

  1. There is nothing like a nice walk in the woods, curling up with a good book on the couch, or meeting friends for dinner. One doesn’t need a lot of money to do those things.

    • Hi Larry. There are a lot of worthwhile life experiences that are free or inexpensive and are enjoyable. As long as you don’t have to worry about meeting your basic needs you don’t need a lot of wealth to be happy.

  2. A friend of mine growing up enjoyed a rich family life that involved a lot of time spent together canoeing, camping, x-country skiing, time at the cottage, and the odd trip, usually local. His idea of wealth, based on this upbringing, was stated roughly as: “Wealth is not gobs of money lying around and fancy cars; wealth is the ability to do what you want.”

    Now, his father was a doctor and his mother was a teacher, which in Nova Scotia added up to a comfortable financial picture at the time, and no doubt still does most places today. They were not extravagant and enjoyed the financial security that allowed them the luxury of such a motto. If you are living in poverty, such a motto mocks your state as many choices are forced upon you by financial necessity. For most families, if not caught up in the rampant materialism of consumer culture, this living by this motto leads to a rich life.

    Patrick Smith
    http://holisticfinancial.ca

    • Hi Patrick. I agree with that motto. Most people are not really that extravagant or purely materialistic. Financial freedom is the ability to have choices and I think that is a worthwhile goal (or dream).

  3. Having the freedom to do whatever it is I want to do, each day, whether it costs money or not.

    It is being able to enjoy life, and by that I mean the simple pleasures that a 9-5 steal from us, but as well as experiences that do require money. Things that require money are not necessarily extravagant either. They may be things that are much needed such as medication, quality groceries, everyday items that don’t break 2 days after purchasing them, etc. Wealth also means the end of trading your time for money.

    My wife and I have been through many difficult things in our short lifetime. I’m barely past thirty, but feel like I’m 65…..hopefully many won’t have to experience or will only experience some of the things when they’ve had a very long and enjoyable life. Our experiences have shown us that life really is too short to waste on the goals & dreams of an employer who in the end cares very little of its employees. I’ve come to realize that a “job” and real freedom usually cannot truly co-exist. When push comes to shove, the “job” will not make room for your life.

    Many people chase materialism and status, as a false achievements of wealth. At the end of the day when you’re life is almost up, these things will probably not be what you won’t think about as real achievements. It will all come down to the relationships & experiences you’ve shared with others, and the achievements of pursuing your own true dreams (whether or not they have been accomplished or not).

    • I couldn’t agree with you more. I have also experienced difficulties in my personal life and had to quit a long term career for my mental health. I’m still not as financially well off as I would like to be and there are many experiences that I still dream of doing, but whatever happens, I still manage to land on my feet somehow. I’m grateful for my family and friends and everything I have now in my life and I would consider myself happy and optimistic for the future.

  4. Good post.

    Wealth for me certainly means the freedom to choose how I spend my days. Unfortunately, for the next 15 years, looks like it will be working at some things Monday to Friday I don’t necessarily enjoy :( I’ve (finally) figured out that is not so good, hence, why I want to be more vested and hopefully better control of my financial future :)

    In closing, I just want to be comfortable.

    Cheers,
    Mark

    • Hi Mark. I’m glad you have things figured out. As previously mentioned, I left high stress employment and now work part time earning considerably less income. But, at the end of the work day I can leave the job behind and enjoy my leisure time.

Leave a reply