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Wealth Isn’t Really About Money

By: Nathan Chai, September 2, 2016

Wealth isn’t really about money

Before we start today I want us to make sure that we’re all on the same page. In this article I’ll be using the term wealth extensively and, and because wealth means so many different things to different people, here ‘s the definition of wealth that we’ll be talking about today.

The first is wealth as an adjective meaning “an abundance” of something. The second is Buckminster Fuller’s definition of the noun wealth which is the amount of time someone could have whilst not actively producing resources and still have enough to live and support their family.

These distinctions are important when discussing wealth because the majority of people think that being “wealthy” is simply just a synonym of rich. Whilst the two often go hand-in-hand today we’ll be looking at why becoming wealthy is rarely about the money.

Finance is rarely the goal

Ask anyone on the street “Would you like to be rich?” And, invariably, the answer will be a resounding “YES!” However, even with a tiny about of follow up questioning it soon becomes apparent that what most people actually want is freedom.

Freedom from debt, freedom from having to work their 9 to 5, freedom to be able to pursue their passions. No one really wants to get rich just so they can be rich. Even those with more materialistic goals like wanting to buy the latest gadgets, or wearing a designer wardrobe, only want money to fund that desire. We just say that we want to be rich because we can’t see any other way of reaching our goals.

However, talk to any successful entrepreneur and they’ll tell you to follow your passion and ignore the money. This is, I understand, a strange thing to tell a bunch of property investors but let’s think about it. Even in property investing, there are certain demographics, areas, and types of buildings that you’d love to invest in.

Some of you deeply feel that providing great homes for new families is the most important part of investing. Some of you think that by building flats for young professionals, you’re putting a vital investment into the British economy. My Dad loves getting students as tenants, because he takes immense satisfaction in mentoring the students in things that their universities don’t teach them.

Passion = Wealth

Wealthy people didn’t get to being wealthy through being smarter than you, or having more income than you, or being more educated. Each wealthy individual has their own story, and has their own set of advantages and disadvantages, but the one thing that most of them have in common is that they worked toward something that they were passionate about.

The old saying “when it rains, it pours” is spot on when it comes to business and property. Things can go from great to terrible in an instant. I can guarantee that they’ll be points in your journey where you’ll shake your head, make a face, and think “this isn’t worth the trouble”. If you’re passionate and are working toward something greater than yourself, you’ll find the strength to carry on.

Becoming wealthy is all about having an abundance of grit, of dedication, of seeing something to the end. You can become wealthy doing anything. Marcel Marceau earned his money by being a mime, a mime! Without a wealth of passion, then you’ll just give up. Sure, you’ll make a bit of cash, but you won’t stick with it and learn how to build a resilient income generating system.

Know what wealth means to you

How’s this for a mind-bender; people that survive on benefits are financially free. They have more wealth than the majority of the population. However, their wealth isn’t financial. What they have is an abundance of time. This isn’t to say that people who live off of benefits are better or worse than you, but when you put a plan into action (especially one as taxing and resource intensive as property investing) you need to know exactly what it is you want out of the experience.

One of the most dangerous traps that property investors and entrepreneurs fall into is that instead of building a system that generates them income and frees up their time, they create new jobs for themselves. They focus exclusively on the bottom line, and ignore the sheer time-cost of; managing, administration, and implementing a long-term strategy.

This is all fine if what you’re looking for is a higher salary and being your own boss. But, if you’re looking for something more liberating then you need to build your property/business strategy around creating time rather than money.

Hell! If your reason for property investing is so you can travel, there are much much faster ways of providing yourself with enough income to do that. For example, in South East Asia you need £30 a day to live a great life. Start freelance coding/writing/teaching/graphic designing/coaching/3D modelling/whatever, and you can easily make £30 a day. In a year of doing this you’ve started a business that allows you to live and work, pretty much anywhere in the world!

Wealth ain’t the same for everyone

I started this article by giving two set definitions of wealth. But, you know as well as I, that being wealthy is as subjective as being good looking. Some people want more time, some people want more stuff, some people just want to s ee how well they can play the game.

If you’re on this path, it’s imperative that you figure out exactly what wealth means to you. Sit down with a pen and paper and spend 10 minutes answering these three questions to find out what your passion is, and what wealth means to you:

  • What do you think everyone should have more of?
  • What would you do if you had enough money to look after yourself and your family?
  • If you could solve one problem in the world what would it be?

By defining what it is that “being wealthy” means to you, you’ll have a much better idea of how to achieve that goal and figure out what your next step to financial freedom is.

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