a version of this article was published in March, 2010
Enjoy Life First
“Buy what thou hast no need of and ‘ere long thou shalt sell thy necessities.” Benjamin Franklin
There is a ton of junk online and in print. I spent a good part of this morning reading a book called Millionaire Fastlane which proclaimed that the traditional “get rich slowly advice” is false and that anyone can get rich fast.
Get Rich Quick is a Fallacy
I’ve had the good fortune to know many very wealthy individuals. They include large real estate developers, business owners, even the CEO of a fortune 500 company. I’ve also read extensively of others experiences and it is the rare individual that gets rich fast. Sure, it can happen, you make a groundbreaking invention, you sell your company to google, you hit the lottery, you become a professional athelete; it is possible to get rich fast. But it is rare.
If you are interested in developing financial wealth, it will take some time. If you want to get rich overnight, you can stop reading right now, because I don’t have a clue about getting rich fast!
That said, I have some ideas about how to get wealthy over time, and how to enjoy the journey. My personal experience is that the process is more fun than the outcome!
A Dilemma and A Solution
One of the great challenges today is balancing your present needs and wants with those of the future. It requires quite a bit of introspection. While almost every Ben Franklin quote oozes wisdom, this one in particular, speaks to the reality that if you go overboard consuming recklessly, you will run out of money, fall into debt, and end up in a bad way!
There is much said about saving for this and saving for that and a lot about sacrificing and giving up something today so you have money for tomorrow. And of course, you all know that in order to have money to buy stuff later, a car, a home, a vacation, etc.; you have to save. But, who has actually sat down and figured out; EXACTLY what you will want in the future and just how much IT WILL COST?
Before you even think about how much money you need later, there is an important step to take first.
Life is Uncertain; What to do?
Figure out what makes you happy.
Simply put, spending time and money on things that improve your life is the way to have a better life!
Trent, from The Simple Dollar site wrote a fascinating post on February 5, 2010 about change called, “What’s Coming Next?” He surveyed his life over the past several years and compared his LIFE EXPECTATIONS (take some college classes and work in a factory; work at Microsoft; remain in debt, unmarried, and childless) with his REALITY (work in a genetics lab, a non-profit, become a full time writer, get some books published, get married, get out of debt, and have 3 kids). His post reminded me that life is uncertain. And this two year old article still holds important wisdom. Trent has gone on to grow his website and work on writing fiction as well. He certainly was not an overnight success yet he is an inspiration to those who want to follow their dreams.
Plan for the Unexpected
Yet, in spite of this uncertainty, it is important to plan and set some goals.
Because, if you don’t figure out what you enjoy, and make some effort to get more of those pleasurable activities in your life, it just won’t happen.
Realize that stuff happens. Keep your personal information protected and check out the ID theft blog for safety tips to combat the “what ifs.”
Life is best led striving to do what you love.
By becoming a full time writer and published author, Trent turned his passion into cash. And that is a life lesson for all!
Figure Out What Fulfills You
If you don’t already know what you are passionate about, take some action to figure it out! Life is much better when you spend time on activities which are important to you. Having a job you like is fabulous, because it doesn’t feel so much like work! So if you aren’t sure what you are passionate about, check out What Color is Your Parachute by Richard Bolles. Also, think about the times in life when you lost yourself in what you were doing? Ask yourself, “Can I do more of those types of activities?”
Spending more time on satisfying activities equals more pleasure!
You may discover that some of your passions cost money or even more schooling or training. Maybe you want to transition into another career, learn to sky dive, take an art class, or explore Asia. And of course, most of us realize that we want the option to have some cash when we retire to enjoy our potential longevity. But if you don’t consciously explore your passions and set some goals, you are left with little possibility of achieving them.
I went back to graduate school in my 40’s and it was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. It set the stage for my life today.
Wealth is an Attitude
There are those with millions, unsatisfied with their lot and looking at those who have more. Turn your glance inside for a minute or two. Take some time to determine what you value, and then set on a course to get what you want. After you know what direction to head, figure out the dollars and cents of your aspirations.
In part 2 of Enjoy Life and Make Money, learn about the abundant ways to increase your income and net worth. But, while you are pursuing your financial goals, remember to drink in the enjoyment of the wealth and good fortune you already have.
Get a notebook label it: “(your name) Personal Finance” and keep it by the computer. Use it for all of your personal finance goals, thoughts, activities, and plans.
1. List 25 activities you enjoy.
2. Practice one from the list daily.
Which activities give you the most wealth in your life?