There are many things people say that I don’t care for. Here is an incomplete list:
- Money doesn’t buy happiness.
- My emergency fund is fully funded!
- Dividend growth investing is where it’s at!
- I’m going to buy a condo in Toronto.
- I’m truly wealthy. I have a loving family, great friends, etc. Just no money.
I have a good life. I have a job I enjoy. I have a girlfriend who (mostly) tolerates my
terrible awesome jokes. I regularly stick six-inch subs into my mouth. I get to go on at least a couple of trips per year. I have a family that treats me well. I even have friends. These are all things that I think we all strive to have. Nobody wants to go through life without people to spend it with, even guys like me who generally don’t like people.
But that doesn’t mean I’m wealthy.
Much like the early retirement people, these people have hijacked the definition of wealth and repurposed it to serve their own selfish means. No, early retirement doesn’t mean being financially independent and working on other things. Just like having wealth doesn’t mean having great friends and a supportive family.
Wealth means money. It doesn’t mean that you have cute children. It doesn’t have anything to do with those feelings you get when you hold your new baby for the first time. Nor does it have anything to do with your awesome significant other. Those things are all good, but they don’t make you wealthy.
Let’s face it, that’s a copout statement. Why do the work of getting rich when you can just throw out some vague statement and pretend you are? It’s a lot easier. It’s just not true. But it makes us feel better, which is why we do it. Everybody wants to be rich. Financial security is a good thing to strive for. Most people aren’t willing to put in the work or sacrifice things when they’re young. So they don’t do it, but still want to join the club.
Wealth means money. That’s it. It doesn’t mean you shouldn’t strive for personal relationships, or that you shouldn’t have leisure activities, or find that special someone. Of course you should. But there’s no monetary value placed on that. I won’t deny the benefit of having a support system in your life, but I will debate the monetary value these things have. Because while I think it’s beneficial, there are plenty of single loners out there who are on the path to riches. And most people with a support system aren’t rich. There’s little relationship between the two.
The person who uses that statement has given up all hope of actually building wealth. And hey, that’s okay, if their goals are different than yours or mine. But that doesn’t make that statement correct, or something you should ever say. Building wealth and building relationships are two completely different things. You should strive for both. But don’t get them confused. They are two separate things, and you should treat them as such.