Understanding True Wealth And Riches

There is probably no other subject people want to know more about – than money. How do they acquire it. How do they get so much they can roll around in it like some caricature portrayed in movies. All the while I’ll venture to say 90% (if not more) have really no clue what they would do with it once they had it.

The problem with most perceptions is their “perception” is usually unhinged from the true reality of wealth, riches, and yes – money.

I once heard Dr. Alan Weiss author of Million Dollar Consulting (McGraw-Hill) ask a very pointed question to an audience seeking insights on money and wealth. (I’m paraphrasing) “What would you do with your second million dollars?” There’s more to how one answers than most think.

The reason? Everyone “thinks” they know what they want. However, once you buy the cars, the house, the jewelry, what ever. Then what?

This is where the rubber hits the road in my view. If you can’t sit down and list out what you’ll do next with all that “extra” money, then I’m here to tell you not only will you probably never attain the first million, your chances at true wealth or riches will be even less attainable.

Wealth and riches are not about a bank balance. Bank balances have absolutely no relevance to wealth or riches for one’s life. (Yes I said that) Wealth, true wealth is what you can or can not do with your time as you see fit. Period.

I know more than half of you right now are shaking your heads, or groaning in displeasure. Fair enough. So I’ll ask this: Who is wealthier, and even richer?

A person earning $1000.00 per month with no bills with the ability to do what ever they decide with the day ahead of them. Or?
A person earning $100,000.00 per month with $90,000.00 worth of bills yet, has to report to someone somewhere or they can be fired? (And yes, I deliberately made the example to leave person #2 with 10 times the amount of free cash at the end of month than person 1. It’s not a math error)

I would venture to say a great many of you looking at this example did two things right off the bat before you truly contemplated how you would answer. I’ll wager many in a knee jerk form questioned things like, “What about retirement savings?” Or questions that pertain to that subject. Others immediately went to the $10K left over and thought how that would change everything and prove them right because investing that amount of money, making X% for blah, blah, blah.

Believe it or not it’s knee jerk responses to money questions such as this that prove more often than not why most have so many issues with accumulating wealth or riches.

Money is a tool. The amount is determined by the size of the tool needed. Knowing what tool, what size, and how to properly use it is the only way to wealth or riches. Not the other way around. (I would advise re-reading that last statement and letting it truly sink in. Yes, it’s that important.)

The person represented first is far wealthier and richer than the second. Why? Because, they are in direct control of their life. Person two is in a situation where far more of their time and resources are controlled externally. If both were to be on the beach for a week and both wanted to stay for another week person one just stays. That’s probably not an option without hurdles so high to clear “The Hoops of Fire” at a carnival look easier to maneuver for our second person.

Now don’t assume I’m insinuating working and making a million dollars a year is flawed or there’s something inherently wrong with it. Far from it. What I am saying is most don’t realize what earning a million dollars really entails. From the responsibilities of work, tax obligations, employees. subordinates, and more.

You might be trying to obtain a dollar amount that you set arbitrarily because it sounded good years ago. Or, that was a figure you grew up with which represented wealth or riches to you back then.

A million dollars doesn’t buy what it did 10 years ago nor, does it throw off even half the income it did just 5 years ago. Maybe you now need 2 or 5 million dollars to obtain that lifestyle set as a goal 10 years ago. Either way less or more – do you know?

The reason why this question became forefront in my mind is for reasons taking place currently in my own life.

As of this writing I am in the middle of moving from my residence here in Lexington, KY and moving to Columbus Ohio. There are opportunities there my wife wants to take advantage of so – off we go.

Unlike most where this would be the equivalent of bedlam and mayhem uprooting families, selling property and more we’re relaxing and looking forward to it. The reason?

We are in control of what true wealth represents. Complete control of our time and choices. There is no dollar figure now on this planet worth giving that up. Nor, is there a dollar figure that fits everyone to obtain it. It’s a personal choice made by sitting down and contemplating what you truly want out of life. Not some thing arbitrary.

We personally have done this type of contemplation or thinking that I suggest or ask you to do. And, we live the actual results. Not something I read in some “guru’s” book that they read from someone’s book and now profess their opinion as some “expert.”

I’m also aware there are many here new to my writings or, my way of thinking and want to see or hear something tangible. Something they can see or believe that represents to them “Why listen to you?” It’s a fair question, so I’ll offer this brief example. (There’s more than one point in here however, take away what you like and apply it to your own thinking.)

In 2006 I asked my wife a question, “If we were 62, would we stay here retired?” (We lived in a beautiful home in one of NH’s top ranking towns.) The answer came back, “No, I’m done with snow.” So I said, “Then why are we here now? Why don’t we go  where we would be then – now?” That was the first question that opened the door to question, 2-3-4-5-6-7, and so forth. However, that is the question that has the same weight or equivalence to asking, “How much money does one need to do X?”

Once we answered our questions we “moved.” I did some research and with the equivalent to throwing a dart at a map Lexington, KY was our choice.

One of the questions we asked was,”Why should we buy another house or plan around taking vacations any longer? Why don’t we move in a complex that is like being on a hotel property with no worries like maintenance and more. This way we enjoy the pool rather than cleaning it.”

And with that we moved onto an exclusive property that has had an almost unheard of 100% occupancy rate since I’ve lived here. This property has also won “Best Property” for appearance, staff, amenities, and more on a  consecutive basis since I’ve been here. I’ve seen so-called “resort properties” that aren’t as clean or maintained as well as this property. With our new residence looking equally as attractive.

All while not needing to pull the hair out of our heads lining this date up to that date in regards to our next move. If something has to be Wednesday 10:30am or Thursday 1:15pm. its no issue on our end. I needn’t call someone as to ask permission if I can have time away or available because I need to do this, that, or the other thing. It’s mine to decide. No one else. (Can one put a price tag on that?)

However, although some might shrug and say, “So what.” It’s in the other finer details. i.e., The ability at will to sit by the pool writing articles like this at 11:00am because I decided that was what I decided to do. Rather unlike so many others whom are running around wondering if they can get an extra day of vacation time just in case their plane gets caught in an unexpected layover. Causing them to be late for Monday’s meeting. (Is there a $ amount one would give for this one alone?)

That is just one facet of true wealth or riches that needs to asked honestly by oneself in order to actually obtain it. Because, if you don’t ask the right questions you’ll end up trying to catch flights to make it back to the rat race without a day to spare. Instead of being able to call the hotel saying you decided to stay an extra week because – you can.

That is when you know you have reached true wealth and true riches. Bank balances don’t cover it. Until then, you’re probably running around like the proverbial chicken running around not knowing which way is what any longer.

No matter what amount of money you have in the bank, or trying to accumulate. Without knowing the right questions to answer to oneself that give clarity for what you want. You’ll never attain it. Again – regardless of your bank balance.

Money is a tool. And all tools have one thing in common.
Tools are only efficient when it’s the right size, at the right cost, for the right purpose.

Knowing – makes all the difference.

© 2013 Mark St.Cyr

For those who believe a picture is worth a thousand words. Her’s my old summer office (on left), and my new. Personally you can keep the so-called coveted “corner office.” The best most can do is maybe open windows. If they’re not sealed shut.

Pool Old Pool New