I’ve often thought that I’ll know I’ve become rich when I can do whatever I want. Period. But thinking about it more I’ve realized that that doesn’t work. I won’t ever be able to do whatever I want. I’ll always have obligations to my friends, my family, myself and to society. No matter how much money I have there will always be things that I just can’t do. For instance, I couldn’t just go kill someone. (You might argue that with enough money I could get away with it. But I think I would get caught. And even if I could avoid prison it would still be a hassle to deal with.) Maybe this is an extreme example.
But, I also couldn’t just move to a deserted island. Why? Because I would miss my family, friends, pets, etc. I could try to bring them with me, but I bet some of them would refuse. So, I guess I can’t define being rich by the standard of â€œdoing whatever I want.â€
So what if I modify that? Another way I’ve thought of it is: I’ll know I’m rich when I can do whatever I want without thinking about the financial consequences.
This doesn’t work either. I will never be able to just ignore the price tag of something. I will always think about the financial consequences. It’s just my nature.
So what about this: I’ll know I’m rich when I can buy anything I want.
Nope. Lots of things we can’t buy: love, freedom, peace, security, happiness…
I’ll know I’m rich when I can live comfortably without having to work.
Now I get into the whole dilemma of what â€œliving comfortablyâ€ means. I suppose I can’t use that definition either.
So, what does it mean to be rich? If I can’t define it, maybe the dictionary can… Don’t even bother looking it up. â€œAbundantly supplied with possessions, means, funds… wealthyâ€
Let’s face it: there is no standard, no definition, for what it means to be rich. There is no way we can objectively say: I am rich.
So, why do so many people want to be rich? We can’t decide what it means. And we all know that money can’t buy a whole lot of things. So why bother having a lot of it?
This brings us back to the question: What does it mean to be rich and how will I know when I’ve become rich?
I don’t think I’ll know, because richness is all relative. I’m hundreds of thousands of times richer than a lot of people, but I’m also hundreds of times poorer than a lot of people. And unless something crazy happens and I really move up (or down) the ladder, this will always be the case.
Maybe the best conclusion is that we should stop caring about getting rich. Instead we should focus on setting personal goals and figuring out how to achieve those goals. That way, instead of telling ourselves that we want to â€œget richâ€ or â€œlive comfortablyâ€ or â€œhelp peopleâ€ or â€œbe happyâ€ we will actually get/earn/achieve these things because we will know what we mean by them.
A huge component of taking control of your finances is setting goals, defining the goals, and devising a plan to reach them.Â If one of your goals is to â€œget rich,â€ I would suggest trying to define what exactly you mean by this. What specific goals do you have?Â How do you plan to reach them?Â And how will you know when youâ€™ve gotten there?