Wealth versus Money

20 December 2014
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Categories: Dollars & Sense

I have a series of posts that I was going to start on, but then I realized that it would be good to take a look at the big picture early on. And what I’m talking about the big picture, I’m talking about the BIG picture. Highly philosophical. Meaning of life type stuff. The reason for this is because I really want to establish context for our discussions on money. With that in mind, I want to introduce the idea of differentiating between wealth and money, because I think it will help us establish the role that money has, what can and cannot do, and give us an approach to think about what we really want, which is to be content, satisfied, and happy.

As I’ve been thinking about this, I was reminded of a point in Scripture where Christ is talking to his disciples, and he asks them “…what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul?” Now, I’m not going to go into a spiritual discourse here, but the principle is the same. What good will it be to you, your loved ones, friends, and staff if the quest for money makes you a poor companion?

Yet, at the same time, having sufficient money for shelter, food, security, education, and pleasure is important. Without it, we become worried, hungry, and hopeless! So money really is an important part of the equation, but I find that financial wealth is only a part of it. With that in mind, I would like to suggest these breakdowns between money and wealth:

Money provides:

  • Freedom—of mobility and choices
  • Greater peace of mind
  • Opportunity—to help ourselves, and to help others

But in order to become truly wealthy, we also need to seek:

  • Relationships
  • Recreation
  • Time to recharge
  • Activities that bring us to life

I really want to focus on that very last point. I find for myself that there are certain things that I do that take me to a new level of life. When I do these things, it doesn’t feel like work, and by the time I’m finished I feel a great deal of satisfaction that I have contributed to the world. Sometimes, when I’m with friends, or even clients, and we’re talking about the big picture, I’ll ask them, “What gives you life?”

You see, I believe that the more time we spend in that zone, the wealthier we become overall. Admittedly, some of it is not financial wealth. But you know what? That’s okay! If you’re going to become the greatest version of you, then you will spend time pursuing those things.

Now, you might be saying to yourself, “But Jonathan, how on earth can I have time to do those things when I’m trying to stay out of financial hot water?”  I very much understand, since I’ve been through it myself. My suggestion is simply this: find a way to get a day away from your normal environment—somewhere that will let the creative juices flow, take with you a journal or blank notebook, and like an artist’s canvas, paint a picture of life lived to the fullest by answering two questions:

  • What brings me life?
  • What do I want out of life?

Several months ago, on a cool fall day, I asked myself those questions at a monastery in the Hudson Valley, and it has already made a tremendous impact on my life and my business, because I have a much greater focus on what I should be doing for myself and to help my clients.  In fact, I consider it such an important exercise that I included it in Stop Living from Check to Check, my course on how to increase monetary wealth.  It’s my hope that you can do these exercises like I did, realize the same benefits that I am seeing, and indeed, become wealthy in all senses of the word.