Being Rich Is Not Being Wealthy

You can always create more money, but you can never create more time.

The key to real wealth is the ability to create and allocate discretionary time. The freedom to work or play, laugh or sing, rejoice or grieve, as we see fit when we see fit, is the real indicator of true wealth.

Money is merely a means to an end. Although I write books with “mercenary” titles, such as Million Dollar Consulting, the truth is that money simply fuels our lives. Too many people maximize their intake of money but lead boring, horrible lives. If you’re making millions, but seldom see your family and take calls 18 hours a day, and haven’t seen a play or a sunset in two years, you’re poor.

Wealth means the ability to support the lifestyle you choose, which is balanced and nourishing. It’s the ability to say “no” and the ability to fire a client or walk away from a job. It’s the antithesis of “quiet desperation.” It’s a life of no whining.

Money can pay bills but wealth provides happiness. Therefore, managing money, saving money, allocating money, contributing money, and so forth and so on, should be done commensurately with your personal determinations about wealth in your life. Arbitrary advice, such as creating trusts for children, may not make sense if you’d rather spend the money to enjoy common experiences with your children in the present and believe that leaving a large legacy is not part of wealth. Buying property, fixing it, and turning it over for a profit may be a lucrative business, but if it consumes you and doesn’t add to your real wealth, why do it?

TIAABB: There is always a bigger boat.™ I’m convinced that an incessant drive for the biggest and best, largest and showiest, is not about wealth but about insecurity. We all probably desire nice things. I know I do, and I often acquire them. But they are part of my wealth philosophy and not in response to someone else’s. There will always be a larger home, a more expensive car, a grander vacation, a greener lawn. I don’t care.

Amassing large amounts of money for its own sake is about competition and battling personal demons. Using money to enhance your personal idea of wealth is about self-actualization and true happiness.

I could make more money, if I chose, but at a cost that would decrease my wealth.

© Alan Weiss 2007. All rights reserved.

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