True Wealth – What should you expect if you reach the end of the gold paved road to financial freedom?
If you have a million dollars, will you be satisfied? What about 10 million? Is true wealth a numbers game or do other factors enter into the equation? What is your definition of wealth beyond reason?
Ebenizer Scrooge of Dicken’s The Christmas Carol was very wealthy for his time, but before meeting the three ghosts of Christmas past, present and future, he lived a miserable life, too cheap to even heat his own apartment.
Meanwhile his clerk, with his many children, was portrayed as happy and loving – a great father.
Of course this is fiction, but is there any truth to the story?
Many people will work incessantly trying to accumulate more and more wealth, but a trite joke is that their last words are never: “I wished I spent more time at work.”
For some people the only answer to the question; “True Wealth”, is money pure and simple – the more money the better.
Others would be content to say that true wealth is having the peace of mind of being free of debt.
Another will say he is truly wealthy if he can lead the lifestyle he chooses regardless of cost.
Others might say true wealth is being healthy and surrounded by loving family and caring friends.
There are probably as many answers to this question as they are people to answer it.
You could live in a big house on the hill, have two Mercedes in the garage and a million in the bank and not enjoy life as much as the guy who works in the gas station and lives in a two room furnished apartment.
True wealth is what one perceives it to be. And if it were not so, we wouldn’t have policemen, firemen and soldiers who risk their lives protecting us rather than trying to work on Wall Street, making big bucks.
We wouldn’t have doctors who travel to third world countries, just to try to make some difference, rather than to stay at home with a thriving practice and a comfortable life.
We wouldn’t have all the volunteers this country has, who are ready and willing to help the sick, infirm or destitute – or who suddenly turn up at disaster scenes willing to do anything to help.
This country wouldn’t have the millions of people who donate billions of dollars annually to the charities of their choice.
So even thought we concentrate on financial matters, it’s good to step back and realize there is more to true wealth than money.
I believe that having enough wealth to live a comfortable life makes lots of other things possible.
I also believe that being in debt is merely transferring your wealth to your creditors. While it may make them, or their shareholders rich, it really contributes little to your true wealth.
So my answer will be adopted from Mr. Spock’s famous Vulcan greeting: “Live Debt Free and Prosper.”
About The Author
Chris Cooper is a retired attorney. Aided by his wife Aileen, who has an MBA in Finance they endeavor to provide personal financial planning advice. . For more personal finance articles, visit credit yourself.