I have absolutely no need or want to be wealthy. There, I said it. Was that so bad? Many people would take issue with that statement, but not me. I honestly have no need to be wealthy in my life. Comfortable? Yes, absolutely. Do I want to go without? Nope. But do I need more than my fair share? Not at all. After all, you cannot take it with you when you go, and the less I take the more there might be for someone else less fortunate than I. All I want is to be happy, stable, and fed. Is that too much to ask?
I was born into a very normal, middle-class family. My mom stayed home and my dad went to work every day as a finance guy for a giant company. I never wanted for much of anything, we took family vacations, we always had food on the table and a roof over our head. My parents bought regular family sedans every 6 years or so, with cash, and my first job was not because I needed money but rather because they wanted me to learn responsibility. So I became a paperboy, which I did for 5 years. Up every morning at 4am, lugging 45 papers around the neighborhood come rain or snow, and collecting payments every Wednesday evening from my customers. I learned quite a lot about both hard work and financial responsibility from that job, things that I have carried with me to this day. My parents paid for most of my college education, and they would have paid for all of it had my father not died when I was a freshman away at school. All in all, I had a pretty easy and stable upbringing – one that I want to emulate for my adult life, especially if I ever have children. But my parents showed me one very important thing through my childhood, and that is that you do not need to be rich in order to have a full and happy life. And I fully agree.
My grandparents, one of which is still alive and living on her own today at 97, lived and worked through the Great Depression. My grandfather was about 18 years old when it started, and he went to work supporting his mother and 4 sisters. He continued to work hard as an electrician his entire life, until he retired with his pension to a comfortable life with my grandmother. He worked in the yard, took care of the house, and spent a ton of time with my brother and I. They had a regular house, in a regular neighborhood, and drove late-model American cars. Average, middle-class folks they were. And they were incredibly happy about being middle-class, as they had no desire to be rich. They just wanted to be comfortable and to be able to live a stable life, as wealth had no meaning to them after living through the Depression. To be able to eat and have a roof over their head was of the upmost importance.
Maybe it’s because of the way I was raised, or the way my grandparents were, or because of my own internal workings, but I have no need to be financially wealthy. In a lot of ways I already have wealth, albeit a different kind – I have my health, I have my family, I do work that I love, and I don’t want for much of anything. I can afford a nice place to live, to put food on the table, to drive a car that doesn’t break down every day. A lot of people around the world don’t even have one of those three things, so I should consider myself lucky. I have everything I need in life. What could wealth buy me that I don’t already have (or even want)? A bigger house? Don’t need a bigger house. A private jet? Why can’t I fly coach like everyone else? I can already afford the stuff I need and want – I don’t need more than that. There have been studies that show that higher income and net worth does not mean more happiness, and I could not agree more. Besides, if I spend my entire life chasing more money and more stuff, what could I be missing out on? Personally, I don’t want to find out. I am happy with what I have and where I am. It’s much easier to be satisfied and content when you are not perpetually chasing more…Trust me on that one.
Now, it’s your turn. Do you think being wealthy can make you happy? If so, why? Or do you think that you don’t need wealth to have a content life? What are your thoughts on this? Let me know, I am looking forward to hearing them!