17 Oct You’re rich… now what?
We’ve heard the saying all too often… “Rich doesn’t equal happy”. Some people would respond to that statement saying “Yeah, but I’d rather be crying in my Mercedes, than on the street”. I guess both statements have truth to them, but having money as your main goal in life can be a serious problem.
Imagine for a second that you have all the money you need.
Congratulations, you’ve made it. You have millions in assets and in the bank. You are practically shitting money. Now what? Even though you might laugh, that is a legitimate question everybody should be asking themselves. Finding an answer to this hypothetical scenario can put a lot of things in perspective
You have the money. Now what?
You could do the stereotypical thing and live lavishly or you could be rational (or some would say boring) and invest it all, spending only a very small part. Giving it all to charity is perhaps also a viable route and it sure as hell might make a big impact (Bill Gates is doing a similar thing). All of these are legitimate options and they have their pros and cons for you and society in general. Furthermore there are a lot more paths that you could take, the ones named here are just a few examples. However, the most important question, regardless of what you choose, is WHY did you choose to do it? Let’s take a look at some hypothetical “why” answers in these three scenarios.
The stereotype scenario
If you choose the stereotypical thing with the partying, cars and lavish lifestyle, that’s completely fine. Furthermore, if you answer the “why” question, perhaps you will find out a few things about yourself. For example, you find out that you believe life should be lived to the max and in the moment. Life is short and money comes back, but time does not. Congratulations, you just found out a useful piece of insight about yourself. Why not apply it to your life outside this hypothetical scenario? Start living according to that, because you said it yourself, life is short. Maybe you will have the money, maybe not, but at least you made the best of it and lived according to your rules.
Maybe you find out you don’t really care about any of that stuff and you are just trying to impress those around you, or you are trying to artificially boost your self-confidence and feeling of self-worth. If so, find out where that comes from and act on it. Again, I’m not judging, I’ve had similar issues myself. The important thing is to understand your underlying motivation.
The investor scenario
In this scenario you might find out that you are very future or long-term oriented. Perhaps you value the long-term freedom that the money will provide, or you are thinking about the financial security of your family. In this case you can understand that peace of mind and taking care of your family are your utmost values. Are you doing that today, regardless of the money?
Do you truly believe this is the route you want to go, or are you doing it just because you think it is? Maybe you are going down this route, because you are afraid to be labelled as a money waster by those around you, but in reality you want to live a little. I’ve faced this exact issue and finding the balance can be very difficult. Still, it is a valuable insight into your psyche and you need to start aligning yourself according to it in your actual life.
The charity scenario
If this is the path you choose, perhaps you will discover that money does not matter. What matters is the impact it makes on improving the lives of others. Maybe you are an empath and altruism is the only thing that drives you. You could also choose this path, because you want to make an impact, you want your legacy to be something positive. Perhaps you don’t care about money at all and your values lie elsewhere.
Are you living your living your real life in the same way, or are you just slaving away at a job, because you think it’s what reasonable people do?
The moral of the story
The way we were raised and our life experience very much defines our answers to these questions. Of course, life is never that simple as having just three choices. There can be many paths or combination of paths that are all viable options.
I believe we would be living much more balanced and happy lives if we asked ourselves hard questions every day. Otherwise we end up living the way parents, friends or society in general want us to. We live in a way we think is right, but deep down we might not feel or believe that it is. So what are those questions? One such question is hidden in the title of this article.
- What would you do, if you had all the money in the world? When you know your answer you can just go ahead and do that. Don’t make excuses.
- Imagine you are on your deathbed. Maybe now, or in 60 years. Do you have any regrets? What do you wish you had the time or guts to do? How will the people around you remember you?
- What is my definition of success? WHY? The “why?” being the key part here (for really deep insight).
- What am I grateful for? Why?
- Are there any highly toxic or extremely negative people around me?
Now, there are many others (or different variations) of these questions. These are the questions that can have the most profound and long-term impact on your life if you decide to act on them. Obviously all of these can be broken down into sub-questions, but you have to start from the big picture first. I’m just trying to make you think about this stuff. Hopefully then you can start moving towards them in your own way.
You can also find a lot of books and posts on these topic. Here are a two articles that reveal a lot of similar questions. The first article is from a blog called personal excellence the other from purpose fairy.
Truth be told I know the answers to my questions and I have not acted on some of them. Not because I make excuses, but because I can’t find the appropriate way to act (yet). I guess that’s also fine, but the important thing is that I (or you) keep them in mind. Above all, we need to be moving towards them, even if it is very slowly.
Back to the three stereotypical “life stories” from before. Here’s my take.
I personally always aim for balance. I try to make something meaningful of my life, contribute to society and have a “legacy”, but that wouldn’t stop me from splurging on something silly from time to time, taking a week off or enjoying the little things. At the same time I always try to be sensible and invest my savings as much as possible. I guess balance is my philosophy and it might not get me as far as focusing all my effort in one spot, but that’s fine with me.
It’s never simple. There are always many sides to a choice. Did you ask yourself all of these questions, or do you just blindly follow those around you?