When we hear the word “wealth” many of us view it from a lifestyle perspective. We visualize cars, homes, boats, exotic vacations and other pleasures seemingly reserved for a privileged few. Others hear the word “wealth” and experience it from a much different perspective. For them, the word wealth represents greed, betrayal, excess, power, oppression, control and separation. This perspective fueled the recent 99% movement. Still others view the word “wealth” from a religious perspective. Some actually believe that it is “sinful” to yearn for monetary “wealth” and many religious zealots will refer to scripture in order to remind us that a “rich man getting into heaven is far more difficult than a Camel passing through the eye of a needle”. They may also exclaim that “money is the root of ALL evil”. It is safe to say that each of us will define “wealth” based on our current perspective.
Creating “wealth” is a growth process. Money (or the lack of) is a bi-product of this process. Who we BECOME as a person during our “wealth creation” process determines whether we die rich or poor. Each of us must define what “wealth” means to us. One person may desire to create a $10 million dollar fortune while another desires to maintain $10,000 in savings at all times. For someone else, “wealth” may be described as living a debt free lifestyle. Your definition of “wealth” is entirely up to you and will be in direct proportion to your beliefs around “wealth”.
What We Learn Along The Way Is What Matters Most…
Willpower. Achieving significant results in any endeavor requires willpower. Willpower is “staying power”. How long we “stay in the game” will depend on how badly we desire to achieve our goals. 15 years ago I quit smoking cigarettes. Every time I craved a cigarette I had to summon the willpower to get me past my urge to smoke. Eventually, my willpower overtook my cravings and I developed “staying power”. I have not smoked a cigarette in 15 years. The same “staying power” is necessary if we desire to reach our financial goals. Our old friend, Benjamin Franklin said…”spend a little, save a little and give a little to charity”. Ben was a wise dude! One of the key questions I ask myself before making a purchase is…do I NEED this item or is it something I simply WANT? Asking myself this question has routinely enabled me to harness my willpower and re-direct my spending habits.
Ego Management. We live in a world of plenty. The “toys” available to us today are bigger and better than ever! Our Ego is screaming at us to TAKE THE PLUNGE and buy it all! The Ego is very clever in it’s ability to convince us that to truly be a person of value we must portray a certain image. Many of us go into debt trying to live up to this illusion. In order to create true wealth we must take our Ego out of the decision making process. Our objective should always be to create a new stream of income before we open up a new line of credit. If not kept in check, our friend the Ego will drive us down a very undesirable financial path.
Accountability. It is not enough to establish financial goals, we must be willing to hold ourselves accountable to their achievement. I recently read an article that stated by the year 2020 the average cost of a 4 year college education will be approximately $400,000. That’s $100,000 per year. It’s mind blowing to say the least! Multiply this amount by the number of kids you desire to send to college, subtract a few thousand dollars of potential scholarship money and the remaining balance is your reality. In order to reach our financial goals we will need a rock solid financial plan and we will have to become extremely accountable to our spending and saving habits.
Leverage. As we move forward on our wealth creation journey, we will undoubtedly learn the power of leveraging our time and resources. It is always wise to seek professionals who can provide us with the expertise necessary to maximize our time and resources. Many of us will choose to allocate a portion of our time to create an additional stream of income. Others will leverage their time to earn an advanced college degree enabling them to command a higher salary/ benefit package. Others will allocate a portion of their salary toward a retirement plan and countless others will leverage the stock market. Leverage is a key component of “wealth creation”.
Transformational. Regardless of the size of our financial goals, anyone who is engaged in the “wealth creation” process is bound to be transformed. In other words, who we were when we started our journey and who we became in the end will be vastly different. The skills we acquire, the habits we form and the philosophies we adopt will become new guiding principles around “wealth creation”.
Habits. Our habits are a direct reflection of our beliefs. For example, if we believe that health is important we tend to adopt and practice healthy food and exercise habits. If we believe that financial security is important we will develop and maintain healthy spending and saving habits. Our habits effect our results. If we are over weight our diet and exercise habits are usually a contributing factor. If we run out of money before we run out of month our spending and saving habits are more than likely a major factor. Changing our habits will almost always improve our results.
Everyone’s journey will be different. These are some of the things I have learned and continue to learn on my journey. The first step toward any goal is always the hardest but once we start moving forward a sense of purpose kicks in and we find the energy to keep moving on.
As always, I look forward to your thoughts and feedback.