Money is an empty victory

Money is an empty victory

What drives you to build wealth? If I deposited $10 million in your bank account today, what would you do differently tomorrow? Do you think money will solve any (or all) of your “problems” and/or fulfil all your dreams?

The answers to these questions will reveal how you think about money. And how you think about money determines what sort of investor you are or will be.

My own story

For as long as I can remember I always dreamed about owning a particular sports car. In fact, when I started ProSolution back in 2002, I cut a picture of the sports car out of a magazine and stuck it up on my desk at work. I looked at that picture every day and I would envisage (dream) how wonderful it would feel to own such a car. I don’t think I’ve ever been a really materialistic person, but I probably was in this instance – I loved that car!

Approximately three years ago I purchased a second-hand, 3-year-old model of this car. I was certainly very appreciative of being in the position to buy the car but, to be honest, the feeling of owning the car was probably one tenth of what I thought it would be many years ago when I dream of buying. The chase and the dreaming was certainly a lot more exciting than the achieving. (I don’t have it anymore)

It is best when you don’t have everything you want

Some of the most exciting times in business occur in the first few years – because so many things are uncertain, even the smallest of victories mean so much and there’s a big difference between losing money, breaking even, and making a profit (all of which you experience in the first few years).

The same is true with our personal finances. We really should enjoy the journey of building wealth because, in my experience, we typically greatly overestimate how good it will feel when we reach the destination (achieve the goal).

We might not have the financial resources to buy and experience everything we want today. But it is exactly this tension between what we would like and what we can afford the creates much of the purpose, motivation and drive that we need in our day-to-day lives.

The best ‘why’ when it comes to financial planning

For the vast majority of people, building wealth is not about money. Money is merely a scoreboard. However, too often we are blinded by the score and can’t see anything else.

I propose that building wealth is more about creating satisfaction and experiences. You need to enjoy where you are today financially. Of course, you might like to improve your financial position but I believe you should appreciate that the tension between desires and affordability ultimately create a lot of satisfaction.

Building wealth therefore is more about the journey. The drive and desire to build wealth should be more about creating fun experiences, freedom, and security now as well as in the future.

The best way to achieve this is through balance. That is, it’s unrealistic to save every dollar you earn and invest it for tomorrow. It is also foolish to spend all your income today and not invest for the future. The best solution is to find the middle ground that works for you and enjoy the process of building wealth. Realise that accumulating money in the bank and/or assets (“things”) are often empty victories. Success lies in enjoying what we have and don’t have today.