I stumbled upon that question last month in Google and I have thought about it since. Indeed, financial purpose is different for each individual. There are a lot of factors affecting one’s purpose of collecting money or wealth accumulation.
The last few days I tried to answer this question and I found that answering these three questions has helped me get closer to the answer.
1. How do you define wealth?
Wealth has its own definition in dictionary, you can find it easily on Google. In fact, look it up right now and ask yourself, is that how you would define wealth? What is being wealthy according to you? Every person would have answers differently to this question, but the main thing is you are being honest with yourself. You may see the term wealth as something beyond the monetary perspective.
Marketing efforts and advertisements have tried to define the meaning of being rich or prosper. In fact, history tells us that the standard for prosperity is increasing as the technology advances. That is why it is so important that we have our own independent idea which protect us from herd thinking. Reflecting on what defines wealth for us will help us ease our mind and be more focused. It is the first step in finding our purpose for money itself.
According to Charles Richards in his book, The Psychology of Wealth, one must understand his or her relationship with money in order to create prosperity. Defining wealth according to our own definition helps us to reveal our conscious view and unconscious attitudes on money. It is a good start to examine where are we stand in life and where we want to in this journey to a wealthy life.
Go ask yourself how do you define a successful life that is worth living? Just go nuts, it is your desired life after all. The idea here is don’t let companies, friends, colleagues, celebrities, or even your parents decide your personal thought of ‘successful life’. It is your life, not theirs. You are the one who’s running the show. So according to you and yourself only, how do you actually define wealth?
“You are never responsible for the actions of others; you are only responsible for you.” — don Miguel Ruiz
Takeaway: Be honest with yourself and write down your definition of wealth.
2. What do you values most in life?
These are the things that you cannot live without. If tomorrow is your last day on this planet, how would you want to be remembered? What are the things that you would miss the most? Who are the people you want to say goodbye to and thank first? Every individual is different. Even you and your brother or sister will likely to have different values in life. Try to list down all the things that popped to your mind when answering the aforementioned questions.
Listing down your values in life will help you see what do you prioritize in life. It will guide you through every little or big decisions in life. You won’t become a master of decision making in one day, but you will find your way to get there better. Think of it as using Google Maps, you can let it guide you but if you lose your signal you could still be lost, but at least you have something to guide you towards the right path.
An example here is one might value formal education more than the others. Another person might put family, health and happiness as their most important values. Morgan Housel argued in his book, The Psychology of Money to acknowledge what does and does not make us happy, to examine what are the things that we value, like quality friendships or be a part of something bigger than ourselves.
Takeaway: List down the things we value most in life.
3. What are your current actions to achieve your defined wealth? Does it aligned with your values?
Lastly, check your own definition of wealth, your values and your current actions to achieve wealth. Are those relevant with the things you value? What would you like to change? How would you like to change it? Answer these questions honestly. Find a piece of paper or a notebook and write down your findings.
We may get lost in the moments of living life, and we are trapped in the midst of life business and other people agendas or whatever it is that is not aligned with what we really want. Most importantly, we should not let others define our way of living life, disrupts us with illusions of what we should want, whereas what we really want is different. It is a nice way to sit back and reflect whether we are on course to achieving our authentic dreams. The ones that come from ourselves.
After the earlier two things, the last thing to do is to make sure that we are on the right track in achieving our financial goal.
“Spending money to show people how much money you have is the fastest way to have less money” — Morgan Housel
Takeaway: Check your current actions in life and align it with your definition of wealth and values in life.
The journey to your financial success is very personal. There is no definitive answer to a purpose for money, and it may change around time as you experience various events in life that will shape your mindset differently. The true purpose for money will not be set in stone once you examined the three points above as you may experience change in values that you prioritize. However, you may always get back to these three questions whenever you feel like you need it. You can find the reasonable purpose for money and take control in your life.