Wealth – “an abundance of valuable possessions or money.” When we think about wealth, we tend to picture someone with fancy possessions. We usually picture a million-dollar house filled with expensive items. Maybe a Ferrari or two. A vacation house on a private island and maybe even a private jet.
While this is definitely a valid picture of wealth, it’s not appealing to me. I think it’s time we embrace a new idea of wealth. One where we don’t measure our success by how much stuff we own. With that being said, you get to decide what wealth means to you.
Millionaire Dojo’s concept of wealth.
My idea of wealth is having the freedom to make decisions without thinking about the financial implication of those decisions. Have you ever thought about how many of your decisions are controlled by money? It’s probably a bit of a shock the first time you do it. What if there were a way to break free from the barrier of money? Thankfully, there is.
See, the type of person described in the first paragraph will never have enough. They feel like they need to replace things they own to stay on top of the latest trends. The need to have the latest and greatest will result in always needing more income. They’ll end up having to continue working and increasing their income until they finally conclude that they have enough.
That’s where my idea of wealth kicks in. If you’ve got everything you need, and have enough money invested to cover your spending, you’re wealthy. You’re also financially independent which means you don’t have to work for money.
Wealth shouldn’t be determined by what you own.
In my opinion, you can be wealthy and literally own nothing but the clothes you’re wearing right now. If that’s all you need, you’re wealthy. Last year, my wife and I traveled to Jamaica. We observed the population and got the impression that most of the people were living in severe poverty. Everyone seemed happy though.
The mindset in Jamaica seemed to be if we’ve got a roof over our head and enough to eat, we’re all set. They do enjoy smoking their legalized weed over there though so that’s probably part of the reason they seem so happy.
Wealth can come and go.
Although the theme of this blog is to become a millionaire, you don’t necessarily have to be one to be wealthy. You don’t even need to be a millionaire to be financially independent. You’re likely to become a millionaire if your goal is to become financially independent indefinitely though.
Wealth doesn’t have to be a permanent thing. You could be like Jim Collins and accumulate enough wealth to take a year off work. Once you run out of money to live on, you’re no longer wealthy and have to go work some more to become wealthy again.
Wealth is different for everyone.
Just like the concept of wealth, the concept of financial independence varies from person to person. Some may feel like they need $10 million saved up before they can retire while others might need less than one.
Since wealth is a moving target, the mindset of “we’ll always be in debt” or “you can’t take it all with you” are really just excuses to waste money. The statements should really be worded as “I think we’ll always be in debt so I’m going to blow this paycheck.” Or “I’m going to die someday, and I just want to spend all of the money I make on myself so there’s no need to save any of it.”
You become what you think. The same person who thinks they’ll always be in debt could just as easily be the person who pays off their debt, gets fired up and starts their own company then eventually becomes a millionaire. It’s all in where your focus is, not your circumstances.
Wealth frees you to work on what’s most important.
Ever since I started thinking of financial independence, I’ve begun to question a lot of things. What would I do if I didn’t need to make money? What is the most important thing I could work on if I didn’t have a job? Obviously, spending more time with family and friends is at the top of the list but aside from that, what’s the noblest thing I could spend my time doing?
I still haven’t come to a conclusion, but I still have at least ten years (unless my income explodes somehow) to think about it. That’s my end goal though. To be working for a cause greater than myself and to help as many people as I can. Since Christianity is a huge part of my life, I’m sure I’ll end up devoting a lot of time to help the church/ministry.
The reason I want to hit financial independence as early as possible is so I will have the maximum amount of time to devote to things outside of a career. Sure, I like to work. And I’m sure I’ll end up working for a company that works towards a cause I truly care about. I just think it’d be really cool to not need to earn money and really be able to donate my time and energy freely.
What does wealth mean to you?
Let’s get a discussion going in the comments. What’s your idea of wealth and what do you see yourself doing once you’ve become financially independent? I’d like to hear from everyone who reads this. With it being such a dynamic topic, I’m sure everyone has a unique idea of wealth and financial independence.
Nathan created Millionaire Dojo to document his journey to reaching a million dollar net worth so that others may be inspired to follow the same path. He and his wife reached a net worth of one hundred thousand by the age of 25 and has been featured on Business Insider. His blog focuses on practical advice that can be implemented immediately in the form of saving money, earning more, and investing to create passive income.