Are You Rich or Poor?

In the last few years we’ve all faced some hard economic realities.  Do we feel richer or poorer?  Well, that might have less to do with how much money we have, and more to do with our view of that money.  There’s a story that really brings this idea to a point:

A monk was meditating by the roadside when a wealthy businessman happened by.  It was obvious that the monk was a man of god and had very few possessions.  The businessman was impressed by the monk’s devotion and wanted to assist the monk.

The business man offered the monk a $10,000 check.  “I know you will put this money to good use.  Please take it.”

The monk replied, “I don’t know if it is right for me to take this money from you.  Are you a wealthy man?  Do you have more money to replace this money?”

“Oh yes,” the businessman replied, “I have plenty of money left.”

“Will you want another $10,000 to replace this money?” the monk asked.

“Why of course.  Every day I pray to God that he may give me the skill to earn more money.”

“Will you wish for even more money beyond that?” asked the monk.

“Certainly.  Every day I strive to make even more money.”

The monk handed the check back to the businessman.  “I am sorry, but I cannot take your money,” he said.  “A wealthy man cannot take money from a beggar.”

The wealthy man was surprised and said, “How can you call yourself a wealthy man and me a beggar?”

The monk replied, “I am a wealthy man because I am content with whatever God sends me.  You are a beggar, because no matter how much you have, you are dissatisfied and begging God for more.”

As a financial advisor, I have seen people with much smaller sums of money live much better lives than some others with twice as much assets or income.  Why?

Some people get trapped by either their lifestyles and/or debt.  Bigger cars… bigger houses… always keeping up with the Joneses.  This forces them to always be working more… spending less time with their families having fun.  They can never seem to get ahead, despite what most people would consider very good incomes and a high net worth.  They are stressed and on their way to health problems down the line.

While other families of much more moderate income and wealth, live a life of leisure.  They may drive a 5 year-old car, but they always have plenty of time off to enjoy their families and the things that make them happy.  They are healthy and stress free.

Which are you closer to?

While it is only smart to make sure your money is working very hard for you… be careful that the opposite doesn’t occur… where you become trapped in a lifestyle that forces you to work too hard and ceaselessly for your money.

I am sorry if I sound a bit preachy here but it’s a lesson I constantly remind myself of, so I thought I would pass it along.