Is Getting Rich the Answer?

February 3, 2014 — 6 Comments

You know what I’m talking about when I say that, right?  We always talk about nice it would be to get rich – then we’d be happy, or then we’d finally do what we want, whether it’s quit the job you hate, travel the world, or pursue what makes you happy.  Getting rich must be the answer.

However, as the old saying goes, wish and one hand poop in the other and see which one gets filled first!

After I sent out the post about how Drake’s rich father handles money, another reader emailed me his story.  Basically, he’s rich now because he recently sold a business for millions, and now he’s trying to figure out what he wants to do with his life.  Here’s what he said – let’s break down each paragraph:

I have it pretty good and it’s hard to bitch about a job and work environment that you created but it definitely makes me ponder what I would want to do differently next time.  I know these things for certain:  I hate  commuting, but I don’t like  working from home all the time; I hate sitting in front of a computer all day, I like working out at lunch, I like being creative and building a real product, I like selling at first but hate the repetition of doing it over and over again.

After I received his email, I asked him what his exact situation is and he told me he sold the business, but he now works for the company who bought it, remaining in charge of his area.  So even though he’s now in great shape financially, he has many of the same problems as we all do.  So, next I asked him why doesn’t he just quit and do what he wants!  Here’s his reply:

I suppose I could retire and maintain my existing lifestyle which is a great feeling, but the idea of that makes me feel like I’m not challenging myself and that sounds pretty miserable.  I want to find the perfect balance of challenging myself, not stressing too much, finding a mission (job, whatever you want to call it) that is noble and interesting enough to pursue, and a way to continue to grow my wealth while accomplishing all the above.

As I mentioned before, he’s rich now, but isn’t he saying the same thing as many of us who wish to be rich?

Until we can figure out what we truly love and what truly makes us happy, we need work.  We need it to feel accomplished and most of us need it to get out of bed everyone morning.  In fact, even Pope John Paul II reiterated that point when he said:

“Work is a good thing for man – a good thing for his humanity – because through work man not only transforms nature, adapting it to his own needs, but he also achieves fulfillment as a human being.  Work expresses his dignity and increases it: It provides him with the wherewithal to have a family, and it links him with his neighbor.  Not to mention also contributing to the wealth of his neighbors.”

Once you find what you truly love in life, you figure out how to do work that supports it or encourages it, or you find a way to live your life without work.  My parents retired from work a few years ago, and there’s no way they’d go back to work because they found a routine they love.  However, it may take retirement age for most of us to get to a point where we can be content, satisfied, and fulfilled.  Until that time, most of us will continue working.

While reading Walden by Thoreau, I found this quote,

Is getting rich the answer?

Thoreau found happiness living by himself in the woods for two years…

“The spending of the best part of one’s life earning money in order to enjoy a questionable liberty during the least valuable part of it, reminds me of an Englishman who went to India to make a fortune first in order that he might return to England and live the life of a poet.”

When I first read that quote, I didn’t truly get it.  In fact, I agreed with the Englishman who first thought it was necessary to get rich before he could do what he wanted in life!  It wasn’t until we took our own trip around the world that I realized it’s possible to do what we want in life… and to do it now.

That being said, you still need to be in good shape financially to do it.  We made a great investment in a house that we fully renovated, lived off of one income for three years, paid off our debt, and took control of our money before we could take the trip of our dreams around the world.

Even though it may seem that getting rich is the answer, often times it still isn’t.  Instead of wishing away our time wishing we had something we didn’t, we need to learn to love what we find, while continuing to pursue what we love.

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6 responses to Is Getting Rich the Answer?

  1. I’ve had the chance to do exactly what I’ve always wanted to do: write. However, in the interim of building a freelance editing business and going through multiple drafts of my novel, I am continually shocked by how bad I feel because I am not making the income I used to be making. It’s so hard to find the “magic” balance between how much we work and how much we live and all the factors that go into that inevitable give and take.

  2. We spend so much time and energy thinking and pursuing the idea of wealth that we tend to forget how to live with what we have.

    I met a couple people years ago who were traveling around the US. They kept material possessions to a minimum and went from job to job. By most ideals they didn’t have much to be considered “wealthy” but they were doing something most people dream of doing.

  3. Having the financial freedom to pursue a dream is always a good goal. But to your point, know what it is you want. Once that is determined, the path is clear. The next step is to move towards that goal/dream. The wealth is in the knowing. Wealth will follow. 🙂

  4. Money does not make you happy, people just think it does. Being ‘rich’ means being able to do what you love without worrying about money. Not many of us have achieved that status yet.

  5. I agree that money is not everything (though it helps) when you are pursuing your passion. I often think to myself, “What would I be doing if I were a millionaire?” and the answer is “Pretty much what I’m doing now!” but with maybe a bit more lobster and crab in my diet!

    Staying true to who you are as a person is where the real wealth lies, if you ask me.

  6. Money buys freedom in many ways; them who says otherwise simply don’t have enough of it, and worst of all are the defeatists who crow half-truths like “money doesn’t buy you happiness,” in a thinly veiled attempt to appear to have the moral high ground.

    I put it to you: what if it just so happens that what makes some people happy is jet-setting across the world, staying in nice modern hotels while taking epic road trips across entire continents? Show me how money doesn’t buy the tickets to happiness in this case, and I’ll show you a liar.

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