Written by Andrew Cassar Overend
7 min read
Last Updated on August 4, 2021
The Oxford dictionary defines rich as "having a great deal of money or assets; wealthy." The Merriam-Webster dictionary provides a similar definition: "having abundant possessions and especially material wealth", while the Cambridge dictionary outlines that being rich requires "having a lot of money or valuable possessions."
Being "rich" usually has a financial connotation and is related to an abundance of material possessions. But in this article, I argue that a person's financial status should not be the sole measurement of wealth. Whether a person is rich requires the consideration of a number of other dimensions, including being physically, mentally and spiritually healthy, and having meaningful relationships which produce memorable experiences.
This category of people never manage to make ends meet. They spend what they earn, have poor money management and never plan ahead. They do not know how to prioritize their spending, but rather spend what they earn on unnecessary luxuries or unhealthy habits such as cigarettes and alcohol at the cost of their physical and mental health.
Probably you're currently visualizing those living in poor social and economic conditions:
But those falling in this category need not necessarily be financially poor. I'm sure you remember these folks:
Football star Paul Gascoigne spent most of his worth on alcohol and drugs to the point that he went bankrupt and ended up homeless. The Brazilian legend Ronaldinho earned millions during his successful career, but succumbed to unhealthy pleasures and ended up bankrupt after retiring. Chelsea star Babayaro sought an excessively luxurious lifestyle which ultimately drained most of his financial savings. Turning to Hollywood, Pirates of the Caribbean protagonist Johnny Depp seems to have been badly influenced by his drunken character Jack Sparrow, wasting his money on things with little to no value. As for Lindsay Lohan, excessive partying, addiction to alcohol and drugs led to her bankruptcy.
These celebrities were all millionaires, but ended up from riches to rags. This means that poor people need not necessarily have a low income, but they do have a poor mentality - they lack basic money management and hope that the dopamine-enhancing materialistic pleasures are the key to lifelong happiness.
This group is represented by the "9-to-5 full time job + overtime + part-time job" worker. These people work long hours for an average pay because they are obsessed with earning money, even if it means working in jobs which do not fulfill them.
These people must work to sustain their expensive lives and the lives of those who depend on them. They may be unable to reduce their working hours because they will end up in the "forever poor" category, especially if they spend their hard-earned income on the latest iPhone or branded clothes. The irony is that these people seldom have time to go out because they try to chase a higher monthly pay cheque by working overtime or seeking part time work.
This means that they spend most of their time working for a salary which is paid in a currency which is losing value, with less time devoted to leisure, exercise and maintaining strong relationships.
The behaviour of these people mimics that of hamsters running on a wheel - they work hard, and make it through life at the same ending position as they started with.
This group is characterized by people who have high paying jobs or successful businesses, but are incapable of letting go and enjoying the wealth they have. These people are usually highly motivated and career-driven individuals who consent to working long hours without getting compensated.
The difference between this group and the preceding group is that the rich workaholics are financially educated and are not obsessed with money - they are already financially rich because they know how to make money and own assets.
But although they are financially rich, the rich workaholics are not necessarily rich in all dimensions. They choose not to because they are either obsessed with work or because they have poor managerial skills which makes them incapable of delegating work to others.
They sacrifice leisure and relationships because they are incapable of letting go. This imbalance between work and leisure leads to insufficient time spent with family and friends, which urges these individuals to hide their guilt by working even more.
They also find every excuse not to exercise, ending up physically and mentally drained. Instead of prioritizing their health and relationships, they prioritize work and at those cost of family, health or both. Thus, these people may eventually end up feeling empty and depressed. Despite building a fortress personal balance sheet, they never reward themselves for the hard work.
Rich people are those who are able to have what they want whenever they want it. They live lives which they enjoy, prioritizing their physical and mental health, their spirituality, and their relationships in addition to their finances.
Whenever they want something, they know that they have a good enough financial position to afford it. If they feel like eating out every weekend, they do so. If they want to go for a holiday, they find the time to do so.
Rich people find the time to enjoy their own company and reflect on their state in life, while ensuring they remain physically active. They build trustworthy relationships, make memorable experiences and enjoy life.
As hinted to in the introduction, the being 'rich' should not only be interpreted in a financial context. Those earning an average income can also be considered rich if they have no financial concerns, prioritize their physical and mental health, and develop meaningful relationships.
Obsessing about increasing your monthly income is trivial if you don't reward yourself with memorable experiences and things you want. What use is it being wealthy on paper if you don't use the money to enjoy life? Therefore, treat yourself to the things you want but maintain financial prudence.
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You should get in some form of movement every day, preferably in the morning. This will clear your mind and give you the boost needed to tackle anything which comes your way throughout the day. Exercise has been found to increase serotonin levels and work productivity, hence improving your financial prospects. Also, exercise will help you live longer - this means you will enjoy your financial wealth for longer and most importantly, in good shape.
In today's day and age, we tend to find ourselves bouncing from task to task, continuously focusing on our upcoming goals and what needs to be done next to achieve them. Rarely do we take the time to commend ourselves for our past successes.
By finding 5 to 10 minutes a day to appreciate "the now", you can reflect on what you did right, where you've made mistakes and how you can improve. You will also be able to recalibrate your mental state to tackle what is ahead of you with more clarity.
Meditating will help you self-develop, maintain a focused calm state, and improve your abilities. This should make you more confident when carrying out your daily tasks, which will improve your overall competence and lead to new opportunities to enhance your financial wealth.
Finally, rich people enjoy meaningful relationships which help them improve and provide support when needed. You should nurture relationships with optimistic people who teach you and help you become a better person.
These relationships should be built with people who you feel comfortable with and actually play an important part in your life, not the people you speak to simply for the sake of keeping in touch.
Keep these loved ones close, and make memorable experiences with those people. Tell them you love them and show them that you appreciate them. In doing so, you will solidify your support system when the times get tough.
Just like economies, people pass through booms and busts. Having meaningful relationships can hedge your downside during busts and provide the support necessary to start the next push forward. Being mentally and spiritually fit will give you the mental clarity to continue prospering through booms and to reset and recover quickly during busts. Finally, being physically healthy would allow you to enjoy financial wealth for longer and make more memories with the people you value the most.
With that said, it's never too late to become rich. What inherent value are the pieces of paper in your wallet providing you with? Are you hoarding your income in savings and falling victim to inflation? What use is it accumulating your bank account if you don't enjoy the fruits of your hard work? Are you working to live or are you living to work?
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