Ricardo Redd Cavalli finds out that everyone has a number for how much money would make them “feel” rich or wealthy. Is it $100,000… $1,000,000… $10,000,000… £$1,000,000,000?
Regardless of your magic number, why do you want to be rich? Do you want to have status in high society or do you want to make a difference in the world? Most people want that mega-mansion, the luxury cars, the expensive vacations, and a little bit of notoriety as well. But is a privileged existence really worth the stress and agony? While there are billions of people living in poverty with no access to the fabulous life, there are millions still staying at the finest hotels, buying multi-million dollar yachts and purchasing the most exclusive penthouses in the world. This isn’t to bash anyone. After all, who doesn’t strive for financial security? The point is to really assess why you want to be wealthy and then to determine if your desires are truly valid and rational.
We often hear that money doesn’t buy happiness, and if anything, it comes with more problems than being financially comfortable. Comfortable meaning someone has a clean/safe home and neighborhood, a job that pays well with benefits and insurances, a car that looks good and runs well but isn’t necessarily a luxury brand, extra savings in the bank with no worries, and a retirement account protected from stock market volatility. It’s goals like these that everyone should focus on, and if anything, these ideals should come before marriage and children. There are too many divorced women with children out there, with no skills and no money only because they decided to be the stay-at-home mum and let the man pay the bills. Financial independence is very important and one should never have someone else be the sole provider financially. This is the real world, not some la la land folks! Unless of course, that provider is a multi-millionaire who ignored the prenuptial agreement.
Our society tends to base wealth on one number, $1,000,000. We see it on television shows, in movies, game shows, and more. But is $1,000,000 really necessary? One thing I find interesting is the number of non-millionaires who complain that $1,000,000 isn’t what it used to be when they aren’t even close to reaching that dollar amount. How can someone justify a wealth statement without ever achieving such wealth? A million dollars is still a lot of money, and if it were easy to achieve everyone would have it. When I say a million dollars I don’t mean home equity either. I’m talking about cash, savings, and investments; liquid assets that equal $1,000,000 or more. So if you mortgage a home that supposedly makes you a millionaire, I’m afraid I have some bad news…you are not a millionaire no matter what the bankers tell you.
I believe the cause of wanting to be rich has a lot to do with the media and corporations. After all, everything is a business, right? If someone is a billionaire or multi-millionaire, the average middle-class person wants a taste of their lifestyle. So they take out the expensive mortgage, they purchase the luxury car on credit and they fake it but never actually make it. Those “items” make people feel rich or a part of the elite club in some form or fashion. Instead of trying to keep up with the Joneses and the Gates, how about keeping up with yourself? When the market crashed in 2008, we saw so many “seemingly” high-net-worth individuals losing their mega-mansions, their expensive luxury cars (because they never actually owned these items in the first place), and their relatively low wealth was completely wiped out.
Now, let’s suppose these people rented their place, bought their car with cash, had more savings in the bank, had fewer “things,” and were financially comfortable. Would their situation have been different? Really assess why you want to be rich and why maybe $500,000 in cash versus $1,000,000 doesn’t sound appealing. Don’t work so hard all your life and never enjoy the wealth that you create for yourself and your family. Learn all you can about personal finance, rather than giving a banker all your cash so they can lose it. Focus on yourself and your goals and dreams, but focus on why you have them. Maybe you’ll conclude that having a comfortable lifestyle with fewer zeros is not so bad after all.