Building "True Wealth"
To prosper is to thrive, to flourish, to be successful, to do well. Experiencing prosperity in all areas of life will not only require that you take responsibility for your financial security, but also take responsibility for the happiness, well-being, and intrinsic rewards you experience. “True Wealth” will only be realized when you direct your time, energy, and financial resources toward reaching the goals that are most meaningful to you, and when you continue to grow and develop in all areas of life.
Therefore, as you plan for your future, it is important to consider what material wealth can and cannot do to bring those plans to reality. There is a lot of truth to the old adage, “Money can’t buy happiness.” However, what money can buy is options— more alternatives to choose from as you design the life you want to live—now and in the future.
The authors of Invest in Yourself: Six Secrets to a Rich Life wrote, “Wealth is having more than you need, and poverty is having less.” At every stage of life, wealth can increase your housing and location options, your health insurance and healthcare options, and your leisure and travel options. In addition, wealth can increase the number of ways you are able to support friends and family members when they have needs and give to the causes you really care about. The examples are endless.
In addition, “having more than you need” puts you in the driver’s seat of your own life. You get to pick the lifestyle YOU want—whether your choice is a luxury apartment in the city with all the excitement that metropolitan life can offer, or a modest farm house in rural America where you practice simple living and explore the art and science of organic gardening. Wealth will also give you more options in the way that you respond to bumps in the road of life including health problems, disability of a loved one, or a catastrophic event such as a flood, fire, or hurricane.
And last, but certainly not least, wealth will offer you more freedom to explore your potential. Are you still longing to go back to school, live in a foreign country, or take art classes from a master? How about an unfulfilled dream such as joining the Peace Corp? Idealism can burn just as bright at midlife and beyond. What are the causes that resonate with you? Child safety, the environment, literacy, the arts, animal welfare, equality, homelessness, and medical research—the possibilities are endless. It all depends on what you really care about.
Therefore, to get the very most from what you earn, spend, give, save, and invest, it is important to view your money for what it is—a tool for achieving. “True Wealth.”
In The How of Happiness: A Scientific Approach to Getting the Life You Want, Sonja Lyubomirsky wrote:
We can choose to become never-satisfied janitors of our possessions, or we can use our money in ways that improve our worlds and, as a bonus, supply us with genuine and lasting well-being.
In other words, experiencing “True Wealth” will give you more opportunities—at every stage of life—to invest your time, energy, and financial resources in ways that matter most to YOU.