Most of us would love to be rich – but wealth isn’t just measured by a healthy bank balance, says business guru Garrett Gunderson
There is wealth and then there is quintessential wealth. Wealth can be impartially measured and the type of questions we use to evaluate this are, ‘how much do you earn?’; ‘what investments and savings do you have?’; ‘do your assets outweight your debts?’ Using these yardsticks, it is relatively simple to compare how you are faring financially to anyone else.
Many of us were raised to view money and wealth like a game of Monopoly, where the objective is to accumulate as much cash and assets as possible. The player who has the most at the end, wins.
But the game’s instructions never offer an explanation as to why Monopoly money has value – other than to buy more properties and cushion yourself for those inevitable turns when you land on the high-rent squares controlled by your challengers. Do Monopoly players enjoy their hotel stays? Are they there on honeymoon, enjoying a reunion or holiday? In the real world, life is a balance of work and play, a truism that is too often overlooked by those ensnared in the pursuit of conventional wealth.
Quintessential wealth is also about net worth, but it extends beyond numbers and decimal places to elements that are not so readily quantifiable. These include how richly you live your life; how passionately and consistently you pursue your dreams; and how much better you leave the world because of the contributions you make to it. Quintessential wealth encompasses five areas.
Identify your soul purpose
There is an important distinction between the questions, ‘What’s my job?’ and ‘What’s my purpose?’ Going to work to pay the bills and save for retirement is an energy drain. In time, your job diminishes your stamina and exhausts your affection for what you do.
By contrast, pursuing your mission in life – your soul purpose – is a labour of love, to which you bring heartfelt passion, integrity and unique strengths. It is invigorating. It generates enthusiasm and vitality.
Often the nature of the work you do when pursuing your soul purpose may be identical to the work you do when in a job. The crucial difference is your perspective and outlook. When you strive daily toward a clear objective you’re far less likely to suffer a financial setback. That’s because your energy and enthusiasm for your business grow steadily.
Your soul purpose is about who you are, not what you do. It is what you were meant to be in life. It’s the career you pursue – not because you’re good at doing something, or because your parents or spouse encouraged you to do it, or because it’s what you’ve always done – but because it makes you feel fulfilled, important, aligned with your highest values, and creates a legacy that long outlives your productive work life.
Use it wisely
No matter how much you earn and save, you can never afford to be caviler with wealth. Prosperity is too central to facilitating your life’s soul purpose. Yet virtually every small business owner, usually unwittingly, wastes money. Often this arises from overpaying tax, missing opportunities to, ill-advised investments and failing to properly assign risk. Identifying where you are oozing money and taking all necessary steps to stem the outflow is incumbent on everyone who seeks true mastery of their financial destiny.
Make money work for you
Do some business owners emerge from university, dreaming of socking away funds for a few decades in a pension? When money sits for decades in accounts it’s not just the money that stagnates.Money should be put in motion. Instead of investing in a savings plan, reinvest your profits back into the business that generated them. Or buy yourself and your employees more training. Hire more or better staff. Buy and grow another business that uses your experience and expertise. Fund your soul purpose.
Be rich now
Perhaps more noxious than any other type of procrastinators are those who hold off on enjoying their lives and incomes, awaiting some day in the far off future when they’ll feel sufficiently financially secure. Reality seldom delivers on that distant promise. If you live life with a ‘fear’ mentality there doesn’t usually come a time to relinquish that fear.
Of course, it is prudent to have a plan for later life. Disability and long-term care insurance, along with life insurance, are just a few of the safety nets that I highly recommend. But regularly setting aside a portion of your income to spend on life’s many pleasures in the immediate future, is absolutely essential to realising your soul purpose and living a more rewarding existence. I suggest putting three per cent of your income in a ‘living wealthy’ account to enjoy eating out, travelling and treating yourself to things you truly desire – you deserve it and it will re-energise you to go further with your business goals.
Thinking beyond yourself and your years is a secret ingredient for making your ‘now’ a richer experience. Consistent with a soul purpose, those who act on their will while they are alive – by working on family relations, businesses, foundations, collections or charitable causes that will one day serve as their legacy – enjoy seeing their own bequests in action.Knowing that your life’s work will continue on and that you will leave this world a better place for having been an active contributor to it, makes each day more meaningful, rewarding and inspiring.
Be a winner
What becomes of profit seekers who ease up on the gas long enough to contemplate how they’re earning, spending and perpetuating their wealth? Do their revenue-generation machines grind to a halt? Do they lose their drive and sense of urgency? Hardly. Those who make the active choice to become quintessentially wealthy – not just Monopoly money wealthy – often discover that their economic engines actually run more efficiently and productively than ever. They no longer merely roll the dice, pass go and collect £200; they relish the journey and the bounty of riches it brings.
Garrett B. Gunderson is founder of Freedom FastTrack (freedomfasttrack.com) and author of Killing Sacred Cows