If you’re not reading the Carnival of Wealth put on by Control Your Cash every Monday, you are truly missing out. Most carnivals are as boring as the 14,389,452 personal finance posts about coupons. THEY ALL SAY THE SAME THING, YET YOU PEOPLE INSIST ON CONTINUING TO WRITE THEM. CYC actually reads each post they get in, and dispenses either praise or scorn, depending on the quality of the post. It’s entertaining, it’s legitimately funny, and it’s at least 79% better than every other carnival I’ve read, excluding the ones I’ve written, which are better than a threesome with two hot chicks while eating a cheeseburger at the same time.
While reading said carnival yesterday, I was brought to a certain blog post. There’s no need to link to the specific article, since a full half of personal finance blogs have written something similar. Stop me if you’ve heard this one before.
Do you know what true wealth is? No silly, it’s not living in a nice house, or driving a nice car, or even owning assets that spin off enough investment income so you don’t have to go work for the man anymore. Nope. Moron. Wealth is being able to spend time with your friends. Wealth is spending time doing things you enjoy with the people you love. Wealth is being able to watch the sunset with your significant other. It’s all so sickeningly sweet.
With apologies to all one of you that’s still offended by bad words, (Hi Mom!) fuck the heck are you talking about man?
First of all, that’s not the definition of wealth at all. Wealth is purely a financial statistic. You may feel blessed that you’re able to enjoy a lemonade on your patio with your friends, but if you’re swimming in credit card debt, you’re some non-wealthy guy who happens to be drinking lemonade. Being lucky enough to enjoy meaningful experiences isn’t really belonging to an exclusive club either. Most of us manage to get close enough to people to do meaningful things with them. Being wealthy is meant to be an exclusive club, since it’s a representation of all the hard work you’ve done to get there. Or the hard work someone else has done to get there, if you’re an heir.
We all have different definitions of wealth. Some people think you’re wealthy if you have a net worth of above $1 million. Others think the magical threshold is if you can afford to quit your job and live on your investment income. Then you have the guy who thinks being wealthy is simply the ability to be able to have nice things, even if you finance them. Don’t listen to that guy. In fact, kick him in the nuts for me.
Have you ever heard the expression “I’d rather be happy than rich?” I’m sure you have, it’s been said by poor people for years now. I have all sorts of problems with that saying. First off, why do the two have to be exclusive? Isn’t is possible to be both happy and rich? How many rich people do you know who walk around brooding all the time? Sure, they have bad days just like the rest of us, but every single rich person I know is generally a pretty happy person. Guess what – their wealth doesn’t inhibit their ability to be happy.
If you’re a poor guy who’s looking for a closer relationship with your parents, or true love, or whatever, you’re going to be kinda bummed out about it. So you’re telling me that a rich guy looking for the same is somehow more sad because he’s got money in the bank? Yeah, no.
Whenever I hear people throw out sayings like that, I know they’ve given up on becoming wealthy. Maybe they just don’t have the knowledge to get ahead. Maybe they’re not willing to put in the work to get ahead. Or maybe they just don’t even think it’s possible. They look at their meager RRSP and throw up their hands. They’ll never get anywhere at that pace. So they give up, get into debt, buy more house than they can really afford (at least they’ll save money with a home insurance quote) and do whatever else they can to effectively shoot down their ability to grow wealth.
People who think that wealth is non-monetary are a big part of the problem. If everybody thinks that being wealthy is playing checkers with your nephew, then that’s all anybody will aspire to do. Getting wealthy is hard, yes. But so is anything worth doing in life. When you liken it to some sort of experience, you cheapen the word and all the work it takes to get there. Acquiring wealth is hard. Having fun with your friends isn’t. Don’t be ashamed to be rich. Don’t be scared to be rich.
And just think of how much better those experiences will be when you don’t have the underlying worry of having enough money.
I’m not saying acquiring wealth should be the be all and end all of your life. But if it isn’t, don’t justify like that. And don’t pretend you’re actually wealthy because of some experiences you’ve had. You’re just not that important.