November 8, 2012, 6:00 am

What Does Being Rich Mean to You?

by: MD    Category: Financial Planning
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Do you want to be rich?

I always thought that being rich meant living in a mansion. I figured that if I had a million dollars one day, I could buy the best house in town. All I wanted was a nice house and maybe a little Ferrari. Then I grew up and realized that for a million dollars I could only get a nice condo in downtown Toronto. I learned that a million dollars isn’t all that much and that a nice house will depend on where you want to live. You can get a mansion in the middle of nowhere for the same price as a tiny home in a big city. But I digress.

What does being rich mean to me now? It means to be flexible enough to spend money on what matters to me. It means to have the money to do what I want to do without stressing about it or putting everything on my credit card.

I wanted to share a story with you guys today.

My parents are both immigrants. They came to Canada in the mid-80s and struggled from the beginning. They always worked hard and gave us everything they could do. I imagine it’s not easy raising three boys.

I know that I can never pay them back. But I can try.

I really wanted to surprise them one year. I’ve always wanted to send them on a trip. I had some good money saved up in one of my savings accounts. I really wanted to shock them. I knew that $1,200 was a lot to hand over. I wasn’t sure if I could spend this money.

I finally just said screw it and decided to buy them an all-inclusive trip to the Bahamas. It was a lot of money but I knew that they deserved it. They were totally caught off guard when I handed them a card with a piece of paper in it. They didn’t know how to react. At first they were upset. Then they were happy because they realized they got to avoid the Canadian winter for a few nights.

I see being rich as being able to spend money the way that I want to. Due to my frugality in some areas, I was able to spend my savings on sending my parents away with a pretty sweet gift.

I wanted to look at two important questions…

Does being rich mean that you can afford expensive purchases?

Not always. It just means that you can prioritize and have anything that you want with some planning.

The problem with most of us is that we want everything at once. That’s fine if you inherit some money. Realistically, we can have anything we want with some planning.

You should be able to consider yourself rich if you have the ability to plan for purchases and buy anything that you desire with some time.

Does being rich mean that you don’t have to work?

For some the idea of being rich involves not having to work and freedom from the 9-5 world. For me it’s the choice to work when you want and how you want. It means that you can quit a job that’s causing you stress without worrying about what you’re going to do next.

I had a debate once with a buddy who made way more money than me. He makes great money but has to break his back for it. He says it’s worth it because he can maintain an expensive lifestyle. I said it wasn’t worth working 16 hour shifts because you’re missing out on life. He could easily work less hours and just cut back on junk. However, it’s important to note that we all have our own life philosophies. To me being rich involves having more time and flexibility. For others, a lavish lifestyle is what makes you rich.

This is why I’m curious to hear…

What does being rich to you?

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Comments

by: The Financial Blogger | November 8th, 2012 (9:15 am)

Very cool story Martin! Parents like ours deserve sons like you 🙂

When I was a kid, I thought that making 100K/year was enough to be “rich”. This was my goal as a teen: finding a job where I could make 100K/year.

My goal is still to make in the low 100k today but my perception of being rich is different. I rather work less and enjoy time with family and friends. And this is exactly what I am doing right now. I can’t surely buy everything I want (far from it!) but I find joy in little things where I can still afford a few good expenses during the year.

This is my definition of being rich: making enough to cover my needs and not having to worry about the end of the month.

According to this definition, you can likely be rich with 50K per year and poor with 250K/year. It all depends on your lifestyle!

I definitely agree more with your point of view on wealth. The ability to do what you want without having to stress over paying bills, being able to give nice gifts to people, having the choice to go on a vacation or buy yourself a nice item here and there is all wealth. But being rich really means having your health and people that love you around you. Being rich means you are happy with what you have and don’t need to worry day in and day out about how you will survive.

I use to think being rich meant the mansions, exotic cars, and having rich friends to just sit home and talk. But I think its all perspective and relative to each individual.

I remember growing up in SC and a family had four cars mom dad and two kids, small little home and never really wanted for anything. At that moment I thought they were rich.

As I got older so more things, wanted more it changed to lambos, Porsches and big houses. I realize that it was about being rich but I just wanted what others had.

Now I just want to not need for anything, be able to travel, spend time with the family and friends and not stress when something comes up unexpectedly.

I went from wanting a $200K car to saying ill take a Vispa and a home with no mortgage. I love what I do so working when and how i want is rich to me.

Being rich is when you have enough money to do whatever you want whenever you want, everybody has their own idea of what they want so the number varies greatly. Many people choose to live very frugally and have no interest in big houses, sports cars, all inclusive Caribbean vacations, gadgets and anything else you can spend your money on. Other people would rather have no money at all then sacrifice their lifestyle and live in a small house with a beat up 10 year old car and vacation at Aunt Sally’s log cabin.

I’m not frugal by the standards of many financial bloggers who clip coupons and only go out for dinner on birthdays; I am however someone who lives well beneath my means, I just happen to have higher means.

The next time someone says money can’t buy happiness ask them how much money they have and it is rare you find multimillionaires who are unhappy. The only people who use that expression are not rich.

I was poor before I was rich, I am happier now

To me being rich means being able to do reasonable things without having to worry about money or where future money will come from.

It’s moronic to work 16 hours so you can have a more expensive lifestyle. He’s just a slave to his job.
We life a frugal, but comfortable lifestyle and I don’t have to work in a job that I don’t like. The way I see it, we are very wealthy and I wouldn’t change it for money.
Buying expensive things is debatable. I think a nice treat once in a while is just fine. I think what you did for your parent is pretty awesome.

Stuff does not buy happiness. Lavish lifestyles are for insecure people who define themselves by their possessions.

Having the ability to choose is my definition of true wealth and riches. I like the nice things in life and would like to have them. No stress, no worries, and not owing a single person or banking institution 🙂

Clearly, the goal of being rich is to be able to use $100 bills to make paper planes to fly off buildings! Making it rain is also fun too!

Where did your parents migrate from?

My idea of being rich is freedom. Taleb Nassim calls it F-You money, when nobody controls you. Bezos said the main thing about being rich was that he no longer has to look at price tags 🙂

I like all those.

How I wish one of my children would hand me over a card for a vacation in the future. But even if they do not do it, I would be happy to see them finish their studies, get a decent-earning job, and live a good life. Raising them to be good citizens with good values is one of my riches in life. At the end of the day, I believe that being rich is not measured by the size of your house, the number of cars in your garage, the restaurant you go to, or the frequency of your travel vacation. It is what your heart says that gives you happiness and satisfaction.

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