Is wealth all about money?

Wealth: The first of four dimensions of my life that I will focus on in the next few days. The header might already give you a hint on where I am going with the topic today. My objective is to make a distinction between wealth and money, as I consider these extremely important elements of our lives that we confuse as one and the same.

In my opinion, as you may already suspect, wealth is not money and money isn’t wealth. Michael Masterson’s latest article on Early to Rise gave me the confirmation I needed (coming from a millionaire’s thoughts on the subject, that means a lot!). His story about discussions with his friend Jeff were interesting to say the least. I’ll let you in on some of their points further down.

So… what is money?
Money is the currency that allows me to buy stuff. Money is important in purchasing or temporarily acquiring everything and anything, from the essentials to luxury items. Generally, money is a major motivator in our efforts to work and sometimes of our choice of career paths. I know money is a huge decision factor in my employment since I have to provide for my children.

Making more money means having the ability to buy more things, to afford bigger and better, to hire help instead of working. I have the choice to work harder, longer hours or to search for innovative ways to increase my revenue. Making more money though sometimes goes hand in hand with spending more money too, therefore the effort and search for an increasing amount may never stop.

Making money and acquiring things has no emotional value in itself. It is ultimately what the person does with the money that will make the difference.

And wealth is not about having money?
No. Wealth is more about the experience. How do I use the money I make, no matter how much? How does it make me feel?

At any point in my life, if I am making enough money to support my basic needs and those of my family, I can start doing things to feel wealthy. Money is not so much a factor in the experience of wealth. Conversely, the feelings associated to wealth aren’t automatic to those who have a lot of money. The feelings I am talking about, among others, are comfort, leisure, self-esteem and love.

I may have the money to buy a fancy sports car (costing me an arm and a leg in insurance and fuel), I get excited about it at first but soon find it not so comfortable and I get annoyed with requests for rides because the car looks so cool.  BUT I feel comfortable and wealthy in my sedan, on a sunday drive with my spouse, riding through the mountain roads, heading for the picnik area up on top where we will enjoy the magnificent view.

I finally have enough money to buy a mansion, leaving behind my smaller home. In this new neighbourhood, it seems nobody talks to eachother though, everybody drives a luxury car, with at least two more in the garage, the landscaping has to be impeccable and I have to install mega security systems because I heard there have been several burglaries recently… my home in the suburbs was so much more comfortable and back then, I had friends!… Now I’m stressed with the constant upgrades.

I think you understand my point. You feel wealthy when you are comfortable, when you have the opportunity to rest, refuel and spend quality leisurely time with your loved ones, when you are self-confident, when you can pursue the projects you want to pursue and when you are surrounded with genuine friends to share this wealth with. You don’t need to have the bling to experience these feelings either. Savouring moments will provide you with the same wonderful emotions. Consider these examples, some from Jeff and Michael:

  • taking the time to sip a really good coffee on a terrace one sunny morning, forgetting all else, enjoying the moment (instead of grabbing a drive-through coffee to drink at the office) – Michael likes having an espresso and enjoying his cigar after lunch, on a patio, in good company.
  • buying a good mattress for maximum comfort (this one is from Michael) and I will add to that getting Egyptian cotton sheets, soft unlike any other, providing the sensation of silky rich.
  • slowing down time like Jeff to savour the restaurant experience, checking out the delicious plates described on the menu, speaking with the Maitre D, enjoying a good wine, relishing in each bite.
  • for couples… scheduling a date, a special night out with your spouse to enjoy eachother’s company (without the kids), dressing up and doing something really out of the ordinary.
  • for women… buying a very pretty ring (any ring as long as you find it really pretty, I found mine for $10!) , going for a manicure and voila! end result: the hands of a duchess!
  • searching for exotic vacation spots on the Internet and loving all the beautiful places that technology allows me to see today. I may not even want to go there, but I smile at the sight of such gorgeous photos!

These are just little ideas that allow me to feel wealthy… and happy. Try some of these suggestions and let me know how you feel. These will absolutely help you maintain an amazing energy balance too!

So this is my theory about making money and feeling wealthy, within of course TheNewHappyMe way of doing things. If I work hard at what I do, if I always strive to learn and grow, if I understand that money alone will not bring me happiness and if I experience wealth in my own way, then I am successful and I am without a doubt very happy!

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