When you think of rich, what comes into your mind? I think of a life of bountiful joy, of sincere goodness, filled with great worth and value. Also, I think of abundance, of meaningful, productive lives and profitable business. I think of rich as being financially sound and secure. Billionaire J. Paul Getty, once the richest man in the world, said, “Richness is at least as much about character, philosophy, outlook and attitude as it is about money.” Money may be the scorecard, the easiest barometer of success to measure, but it is only one component of success.
Money is simply a means to an end – that end being a richer, fuller, more exciting and dynamic life. Money in and itself is not evil, but rather gains its meaning from the ways in which it is earned and the ways in which it is utilized. The richest men and women agree that a mother lode of money without personal fulfillment is bona fide failure. They constantly search of true fulfillment, not just financial riches.
Webster’s defines money as “a medium of exchange for goods, services, and the necessities of life. Others said that money is a tool in attaining material goods as well as a means to achieve fulfillment and pleasure for yourself and others. Perhaps you see money as the path to power, prosperity and unlimited luxury. However you may define money, it is a fact that the meaning and purpose of money in your life must come from inside you. How you want it to work in your life – whether it’s for spiritual, economic, material, or social uses.
What is the difference between money and wealth? One relates to your income, the other is defined by what assets you collect and how you use them. True wealth has nothing to do with an obvious display through the clothes you wear, the car you drive, or the bulge in your wallet. True wealth comes from the self-assurance and sense of well-being that comes from knowing you have money and you have used it well.
Wealth is not the same as income. If you make a good income each year and spend it all, you are not getting wealthier. You are just living high. Wealth is what you accumulate, not what you spend. Wealth is more often the result of a lifestyle of hard work, perseverance, planning, and self-discipline.
Usually the wealthy individual is a businessman who has a small factory or business. He is a compulsive saver and investor. In the book of Thomas J. Stanley, The Millionaire Next Door, affluent people typically follow a lifestyle conducive to accumulating money. In their investigations, they discovered that Americans has seven common denominators in building wealth, as follows:
- They live well below their means.
- They allocate their time, energy, and money efficiently, in ways conducive to building wealth.
- They believe that financial independence is more important than displaying high social status.
- Their parents did not provide economic outpatient care.
- Their adult children are economically self-sufficient.
- They are proficient in targeting market opportunities.
- They chose the right occupation.