The difference between money & wealth is huge.
If somebody were to ask me if I was wealthy, I would have to answer “yes”. However if someone asked me if I was rich, I’d definitely answer “no”.
I would describe myself as wealthy and I think I have been for some time.
… but I wouldn’t describe myself as rich (although I have probably been relatively close, or at least on the way there before I traded money for life).
That’s right – we ditched rich. I quit my well paid job and moved with my family to the countryside, downsizing and simplifying our lives considerably. We love it and we haven’t looked back since. You can read more about our move to the country here if you like.
I’m not sure I really like the idea of ‘rich’. Rich to me talks about excess, fast cars, fancy restaurants and expensive lifestyles.
I far prefer wealthy.
Wealthy Is Much Easier Than Rich
The funny thing about it is, whereas a lot of people perceive ‘rich’ as the goal, wealthy is much better than rich – and it’s easier too.
Wealthy kicks Rich’s a$$.
Wealthy is much easier to achieve.
As I said, anybody can be wealthy.
Wealthy incorporates ‘means’, wealthy incorporates ‘mindset’.
You can ‘feel’ wealthy, with nothing.
With life itself, we can feel wealthy.
In fact, if you pause for a moment, whatever your situation, think of what life has to offer. Hopefully you’ll agree there are treasures that we have which make us all wealthy, none of which require money. Let me tell you how some of those treasures look for me.
Some Examples of My Wealth – Freedom & Simple Pleasures
Today I went out walking with my dog.
The weather was outstanding.
My dog, Jess, (a working black labrador) had an absolute ball. I love to see her having such a good time.
As I was walking, I saw in an adjacent field another man with a dog. He had a whistle and was training that dog (which was actually another working black labrador – you see lots of working dogs such as collies, labradors & spaniels here in the countryside).
What can I say? I love dogs.
Not only that but the walk through the countryside itself was most enjoyable, the fresh air, the sound of the birds, the sound of that guys dog whistle in the background (here – listen for yourself if you like).
Even the sound of the traffic in the streets far below the hills where I’m walking. Because the air is so clear in the countryside, even though the noises are distant you can hear them quite clearly.
All of these small things I’ve experienced before but often taken for granted.
Often I return home after a nice walk and think ‘that was a nice walk’ but without really pinpointing why.
But now we’re thinking about it – here are my thoughts on the matter…
It’s time alone – as quick or as slow as I’d like to take it.
Time to think.
Time to breathe.
Time to relax.
Time to enjoy the gentle exercise and the beautiful scenery.
Its good for my health, good for my mind and back to the point of this. I feel really lucky to have this.
This is definitely part of my wealth.
The freedom to enjoy this simple pleasure. The added beauty of this treasure is that it’s free.
3-4 years ago, I was still working in London. I had a great job (on paper), a pretty good life, but no dog, no cat, no countryside, no fresh air, limited time with my kids (now that’s unlimited time). I could get fresh air at weekends (not as fresh as the air around here though).
What About The Bills?
“What about the bills?” I hear you say.
“What about the cost of living?”
Well, in my case I do make money from various means (investment mainly) so that is all taken care of. However, even if I didn’t, then what I’ve found is that if you simplify your life, bills and expenses are amazingly small.
Here are some of the bills that I have cut out of my life:
- Gym subscription
- Unnecessary insurance
- Mobile phone monthly bill
- Gas insurance
- Electricity insurance
- Expensive Car insurance
- Expensive car maintenance
- Restaurant bills
- Travel bills (e.g.commuting)
- Opticians monthly bills
- Expensive Golf subscription – I still play golf, in fact, lots of golf
- Telephone bills
- Satellite TV Bills (Sky +)
- Monthly payments for games
- Expensive private school bills
- Petrol bills (for school runs)
- Mortgage Bills
We live in a small house that we can afford. We don’t have a mortgage. It’s all paid for. Why is it that people accept so readily having a mortgage? Even as they get to the time that they have paid off their mortgage, they think that they can afford a bigger house. So they buy one and have a mortgage all over again. Why are mortgages seen as normal?
Here are the regular bills we still have:
- Home insurance
- Car Insurance
Everything else we just pay when we need to.
So, as I said in the simple, not cheap post, I’m really not talking about being frugal. On the contrary, I am talking about wealth. If we remove the excesses from our lives, then we make space for what we really want. Now, with all of these bills gone, I live well within my means. Considerably within my means.
I never wanted to be rich. I’ve never been driven to be rich. Not even affluent. Though ‘Comfortable’ doesn’t quite sound enough either. What I like the idea of and have always liked the idea of, is ‘Wealthy’.
These days I’ve designed my life to maximize the time I have doing whatever it is that I want to do. For me this is primarily spending every moment possible with my family. Personally I think it’s crazy that most people work through the time their kids are growing and developing (missing most of this evolution) and then retire just after the kids have left home.
What About Working Hard to Support a Family?
I get it.
I get that you want to work hard to support your family.
To provide them with a secure future, to keep them in the manner that they are accustomed.
I understand both of those arguments.
I do think however, that you can take both of those arguments too far. What if it doesn’t work out as well as you’d hoped? The pension isn’t as great as you’d planned, the pay rise doesn’t come. The bonus you thought you were getting is miniscule or has just been cancelled. The pay and the reward isn’t quite up to scratch. So you keep chasing it. Chasing it might even cause you some stress. Chasing it might even cause arguments in your family.
The same family you are working hard to support.
What if keeping your family in the manner that they are accustomed means keeping up to date with the bills, keeping them able to live a certain lifestyle with excesses and pleasures at the end of the day that don’t really mean anything like TV, a gym you never use, a fancy car you rarely get to drive… and all of this WITHOUT YOU THERE 80 % of the time (or at least 80% of the time you could really enjoy these things together whilst the sun is out or there’s still daylight, time when you’re not exhausted from working).
Just a thought.
Is It Really Worth It?
If you’re still not convinced, maybe there’s a half way between. Just don’t turn around one day and find that the family you were supporting don’t recognize you and have left home. The pension is getting closer and the thing you have to look forward to is your retirement.
What If You Love Your Work?
Well, if you love your work, that’s just great.
At the end of the day, for most people, work is often nearly half of your waking life. So if you’re lucky enough to have work that you love, then perhaps you’ve cracked it.
One small caveat: if you love your work and work is really, truly and genuinely your priority, then make it your priority with no regrets. However, if you love your work but your family is your main priority, and your work takes you away from your family, make sure that you find a way to do the work you love so much but without forgetting to take time for your family. It is possible to have both.
Whichever of these situations applies most to you, whether you love your work, or hate your work, whether your priority is life, family, wealth (I’m afraid I’m not going to allow you to say money) or freedom, I would encourage you to take a moment, write down all of the things that you want out of life and assess what your true priorities are. Then take a further moment to reflect how closely aligned your life is to those priorities.
A fantastic blog I came across fairly recently is Ramit Sethi’s ‘I will teach you to be rich’. From what I’ve heard Ramit has been very successful. I really like his straight-forward style. I think we do probably share the same values about wealth creation, certainly when it comes to investment and the right ways to invest. However (though it may just be semantics) you will never hear me tell you “I will teach you to be rich“).
I can teach you to be wealthy though.
The good news it it’s much easier than you think. If you want to know more feel free to join our email list below and drop me an email.