Friends, readers, fellow financial bloggers… today, I want to challenge your understanding of wealth, your perception of financial freedom, and your dogged pursuit of material gains or success.
But first, to ensure you that I am not approaching this topic of wealth from the proverbial moral high horse, let me share some details and experiences that led me to the thinking that I seek to ‘impose’ on you today.
The Bf Gf blog was born out of a hard talk between the Gf and me, when we realised that our finances were rather weak, and we may have difficulties paying for renovation, getting married… and much less – raising children. Hence, when we created the Bf Gf blog, our aim was to take charge of our finances, and at the same time, try to use it as an avenue to generate some income. (Yes, I am ashamed to admit, that my purpose for starting this blog is not altruistic at all.) This blog was started on the Chinese New Year of 2015.
Now fast forward 2 years later. We are happy to report that we have surpassed our financial goals, I’ve recently proposed to the Gf, we are getting married – and we have sufficient wealth to raise a family and still be charitable. In my early blog profile, I described myself as a ‘struggling’ entrepreneur (a more face-saving word than ‘poor’); but now, I am happy to remove the word ‘struggling’ when I call myself an entrepreneur. (By the way, I still struggle everyday – not with money – but with time management. Yes it’s a good problem).
So now you as a reader have understood that I used to seek material gains for selfish reasons, we can now both stand on the same ground and discuss this topic of True Wealth. (If you are on a higher level of thinking, or have reached this enlightenment waaaay before I did, I applaud you and respect you – and urge you to share some inspiring comments for the benefit of others reading this.)
Let me start by throwing you some questions.
What does it mean to you, to be wealthy?
What does it mean to you, to be financially free?
What does it mean to you, to have abundance?
Does wealth mean – being able to retire early, buy a nice car, live in a penthouse and tour the world on a whim?
Does wealth mean – having enough “F-U” money, quitting your job, and spending your days relaxing and enjoying life, while the world around you slog away?
Does wealth mean – having enough to support your family, ensure your children have good education; so they can secure good jobs and that your family will forever not suffer the ilk of a poor life?
This wealth that we seek – can buy us freedom from a life of ‘servitude’ and ‘suffering’. Perhaps that’s why we work so hard for it, strive so hard for it, so that one day – we can be financially free – free to live the life that we’ve always dreamed of.
Wealth can be flashy. Wealth can be frugal. Wealth can be freedom.
Wealth can be anything we will it to be.
So back to the challenge and main point of this article.
I urge you to consider this:
Wealth can be Meaningful.
What do I mean by that?
Again I want you to take a step back from all your petty problems, and approach life, existence, and creation, with a worldly view.
We are just another human, another species, another tiny speck in the infinite universe. When we die, all our material possessions are left on this earth. And yet… we spend almost an entire lifetime, or most of our working hours, striving to accumulate, own, conquer, control, possess…
What’s the point of it all?
What’s the point of dying as a rich man, when you can’t bring your money into the grave? Are you truly wealthy?
What’s the point of amassing billions with your capitalistic company when your business practices are causing environmental destruction which hastens the demise of our planet and inevitably our species? Are you truly wealthy?
What can your billions buy you, when everything is destroyed, and there’s nothing left to buy? Are you truly wealthy?
What’s the point of financial freedom, when all you seek is your personal goals… and then when you die… you leave no contribution yet no deduction – you are just a neutral speck that perished… Are you truly wealthy?
What’s the point of accumulating riches, to leave it to your children… If they are useless children – all your money is wasted. And if they are capable children… they don’t need the money in first place! Are you and your family truly wealthy?
If all these doesn’t make sense to you (it sure bloody hell doesn’t make sense to me), then what’s the purpose of this pursuit of wealth and financial freedom – when deeper analysis proves that it’s just a mass delusion, an ego-centric ambition, a pointless cause… a meaningless waste of a life.
All these sounds very negative but we must remember – the glass is still half-full!
We have the power to give MEANING to WEALTH.
The wealth and abundance we possess can be used to impact the lives of others. We can donate to the less fortunate. We can use it to fuel research to cure terminal diseases. We can use it to enhance productivity and save time (the most precious commodity). We can use it to save the environment. We can use to invest and propel social enterprises. We can use it to ease suffering. We can use it to educate. We can use it to make the world a better place to live in.
And since we can’t bring all these wealth along with us… when we pass into the afterlife (or nothingness)… then shouldn’t our priority be not just the pursuit of wealth, but the pursuit of a meaningful life?
Of course, I am not going all idealistic and hippy here.
As a pragmatist, I strongly belief that we can pursue both wealth and meaning at the same time.
Imagine, being filthy rich – and having the power to save thousands of lives with clean water or support the research in clean energy (to save the human race.)
Imagine, having financial freedom – enough for yourself and your family, to spend time on charitable causes that can benefit the society.
Imagine, the wealth you leave behind for your children – and due to your leading by example while you were alive, your children continue your good deeds, compounding the money and using it to better the lives of everyone in your community.
Again, speaking as a pragmatist, and as someone who’ve gone through that selfish pursuit of wealth, I am not asking you to abandon all your personal goals and give your life to humanity like the angelical Mother Theresa.
I am trying to persuade you – to realise that when you have ENOUGH, you have the power to use all excess material gain to better the lives of others.
I am trying to persuade you – in your pursuit of riches, to consider creating a meaningful impact in this world at the same time
I am trying to persuade you – to still make positive contributions even after you’ve attained all the “F-U” money that you need.
I am trying to ‘impose’ this understanding on you – that in our pursuit of wealth and success, we must never forget that at the end of it all, the challenge in our lives is not just to attain our personal goals – but to achieve overall good in this world, and to make a positive difference.
We can be a meaningless speck. Or we can try to be a more meaningful one.
(Pardon me if the following expressions sounds cheesy…)
Wealth and Meaning doesn’t have to be either /or.
You can have your cake and eat it too… And still have enough to let everyone else eat it… and still produce MORE cake…
That, my friends, is the kind of WEALTH that we should strive for.
Here’s a chance to put your MONEY to WORK in 2017.
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