After meeting with hundreds of families in my 10 years of “wealth management” I find myself having different conversations. What is the true definition of wealth? What’s the purpose of wealth? Are you wealthy? When are you considered wealthy?
The most common definition of wealth according to Google, is an abundance of valuable possessions or money, material prosperity, or plentiful supplies of a particular resource. However, it is enlightening to hear that the people I ask respond with words such as love, health, family and well-being. The truth is that there are deeper conversations and necessary reflections when answering this question, “what does wealth mean to you?” When are you considered wealthy?
Time + Health + Relationships = Wealth. We all abide by the same 24 hours per day, rich or poor, old or young, but how we can spend our time defines wealth for me. Do you have an alarm clock? Do you live by a schedule? Can you do whatever you choose to do at any moment in time? Do you spend your time doing things you enjoy with the people you love? Can you give your time to organizations or people who would benefit from your skills? Are you in good physical shape? Do you sleep well? These are the types of discussions that are the foundation of any financial life plan. When you can pay to buy time, are you considered wealthy?
For most families, there are plenty of small luxuries we can take advantage of to be efficient with our time (think Amazon Prime, Instacart, Ubers, housekeepers and personal assistants), however true wealth is the ability to choose who you spend your time with and where on a daily basis. Can you make your kids breakfast (or someone else makes it while you enjoy with them) and then take them to school? Can you take them lunch they forgot? Can you coach their sports and help them with their homework? Can you take them to the park on the weekend or are you showing a home or meeting a client?
Having a sense of community, friendships and relationships are also very important to me. What is the point of all of this if you don’t have anyone around to enjoy the ride? Having people who are happy for each other’s successes and push each other is something I cherish. My brothers are my best friends and we confide in each other and tell each other the truth; when we are slacking, when we are gaining weight, when we are being selfish and most of all when we are doing something great! I want all of my friends and family to achieve their desires for “wealth” so that everyone can be free and happy. Call me idealistic but what else are we all working for?
For the families that possess significant resources, there is no shortage of lawyers, accountants, and financial professionals that want to aid you in ensuring that this “wealth” would last many generations into the future. Understanding what has informed your view of wealth is critical, be it religious, spiritual traditions, or philosophy. If you find yourself out of touch with your community and are not concerned about the balance of the world’s wealth, I encourage you to have these deeper discussions around the purpose of wealth.
In a world where technology has continued to commoditize the investment world, it is discussions like this and interactions with people that cannot be replaced. Do you have thoughtful discussions about your desires, goals, and objectives with your financial professional? Or is he/she a commodity? What is the value add of your professional relationships? If you have doubts, come see us for thoughtful conversations. @lifemanaged_ for a follow