It would seem that popular society, in its current state, places a high value on material wealth. This can be seen all over mainstream news channels, reality television shows and neighborhoods across the United States. Such a great importance is placed on material wealth, that the perception of wealth has become a priority over, and became confused with, living a great life.
Any individual’s stance on this issue is none of my concern, as I do not intend to project my ideals and beliefs on anyone. However, I do think that certain behaviors, as described below, affect the long-term prosperity of individuals and families. I would like to convey the financial impacts of these decisions and how they can affect your financial plan.
Living a Rich Life
It is my personal opinion that a rich life is one full of challenging experiences, adventures and hard work. These elements of a great life can be accomplished with or without large sums of money. While money can provide the freedom and time to live a rich life, it really doesn’t help much beyond that.
Living a great life is more of a matter of attitude than financial resources. Those that set and complete realistic and achievable goals, enjoy the satisfaction of accomplishment. It is when we being to compare ourselves to others, when we lose our sense of value and self-worth.
If you feel as though you need to change your life in order to feel happier, then I suggest making a list of your life’s goals and objectives. List the things that you want to accomplish and what’s important to you. This exercise should help you begin to design a satisfying life. In addition this exercise will provide a foundation to prioritize your financial resources in-order to life the life you want.
The Costs of Perceived Wealth
The expenses accumulated while maintaining the perception of wealth undermines every conceivable attempt to accumulate real wealth (both in a material and quality of life sense). This spending behavior eventually creates a financial situation that is very difficult to turn-around, leading to the potential of a unfulfilling life.
Making short-term financial decisions without understanding (or completely disregarding) the financial impacts over the long-term plagues most of our decision-making processes. This is not only evident in individuals and families, but also corporations and budget appropriators in Congress. Making the least savvy financial decisions on a regular will eventually erode the rich life you could’ve had, no matter how small the amount.
Making Financial Sacrifices
More often than not, small and usually short-term, sacrifices are required to enable long-term success. This is true if you would like to improve your athletic performance, grades at school or financial future.
While making financial sacrifices will most likely reduce your ability to maximize the perception of wealth or success in the short-term, in a few years you will be much better off than you would’ve been. This is the largest benefit of creating and implementing a financial plan; living a fulfilling and rich life.
Financial wealth is not a measure of a rich or successful life. A great life is lived through the accumulation of rewarding experiences, helping those around you and hard work. Despite it’s popularity in mainstream culture, having money is different from being happy.