Some people have so much money, it doesn’t really matter what they do with it. Some people don’t have any to spare. Our work tends to be with those in between, those who need their money to work effectively to cover their needs—and maybe some wants and some legacy concerns.
Clients, that space in between is where most of us live.
As people achieve more financial freedom, some feel compelled to display more and more of their wealth. It may come from pride or social ambition or… who knows exactly? But the cost of trying to impress others is quite high when it manifests in expensive homes, vehicles, and conspicuous consumption.
Housing is a need of course, and transportation can be nonnegotiable for our livelihood, or childcare, or wellbeing. But it’s a great time of year to think about how all the choices add up when we start stretching our means just for show.
We once saw an article about $10,000 watches that had the headline, “Affordable Watches that Will Make You Feel Like a Millionaire.” When people whose invested wealth has reached the $1 million mark, we delight in asking them whether they identify as a millionaire now. Not one has answered “yes.” So if a million dollars doesn’t make a person feel like a millionaire, how would a watch get the job done? (For the record, a large fraction of the millionaires I know enjoy wearing watches in the $39 price neighborhood.)
The paradox is that those who strive to look rich may never accumulate much in the way of assets. Meanwhile, those who choose to be rich may have a better chance of learning to spend well. They can afford vehicles that provide the most comfort, homes that make daily life better, generosity to descendants or causes, and travel to dream destinations.
We do not control what others think. We only control our own choices, and we bear the brunt of the consequences. Those everyday millionaires—and those on their way—seem to have learned this early. And they savor what they have, no matter how life looks to anyone else.
Clients, if you would like to talk about this or anything else, please email or call.
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