Have you ever sat down and thought about the exact dollar amount you’d need to feel wealthy? If so, you might be missing half of the equation.
The tricky thing about terms such as “wealth” and “rich” is that they are relative. Wealth could mean enjoying personal freedom, having novel experiences, and maintaining positive relationships. It could also mean being able to afford the next purchase that comes without thought, having a stock of assets that others don’t, and maintaining a certain savings amount. For some, it might be the fulfillment of a dream, such as buying a home in a particular region or owning a small business in a passion area.
These things vary so much in what they require to attain. How can wealth be defined on the terms of an entire society?
It really can’t. But considering the average American household that carries credit card debt has over $15,000 of it, and the average amount of household debt with mortgages is north of $133,000, it’s a safe forecast to say to live debt-free is to be wealthy.
Does society agree?
In a 2017 Charles Schwab survey, 1,000 respondents averaged to say a much different statistic: $2.4 million—or—30 times the median net worth of U.S. households defines what is “rich”. Another study focused on people living in the U.S. yielded estimates between $2 and $12 million to account, which would be enough to earn hundreds of thousands in passive income a year, pay all taxes, have a lavish housing budget and up to $12,000 of disposable monthly income.
Is either of these estimates realistic when taking into account the U.S.’s high cost of living and what an ideal leisure lifestyle looks like?
The answer is: it doesn’t really matter.
Here’s why you are becoming wealthy has nothing to do with an exact dollar amount and everything to do with your actions, attitude and ability to lean into the type of life you want to have.
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Get the Most Out of Your Finances with Good Habits and Goal-Setting
If we’re making money, we have financial options to explore. Some of us have more financial obligations than others, but in most scenarios, ways exist to save money through frugality and thinking about purchases before we make them.
Making a reasonable budget and sticking to it helps keep us in line each month without us having to use extra energy knowing if we’re in good shape. Planning payments effectively, especially with multiple balances, ensure on-time payments that prioritize paying the debt back the fastest. This will improve your credit, which is a must in our society if one seeks any type of personal freedom.
If your income isn’t allowing you to put much money away, try to increase the amount of money you can earn through side gigs or selling things you don’t need. Or, invest the to learn about something you’re passionate about that can eventually turn into an additional or main income stream. Too many free online courses exist these days via the likes of Skillshare, Udemy, Coursera and others.
Once there’s any breathing room in the budget, build your emergency fund, then start contributing to your retirement savings, invest in passive income streams, and most importantly, keep making strides toward the type of lifestyle you desire through short- and long-term goals.
According to one study reported by Inc., people who set ambitious goals for themselves tend to be more satisfied than those with lower expectations.
However, this doesn’t mean you should be inflexible with the goals you set. What we think of as the perfect life when we’re 25 is a lot different than the type of life we might be happy with when we’re 45. As CEO of the Freedom Financial Network, Andrew Housser has advised, set goals of where you want to be in one, three, and five years and then take actions to make it a reality.
Create goals that steer you toward a sound long-term financial position but aren’t too tied to one specific outcome, so you can keep your effort focused as you grow.
As you live intentionally determined to be the person you want to be and have the life you want to have, it’ll be easier to weed out the old financial habits that no longer have a purpose on your new quest.
As any spiritual guru would tell you, ultimately, it’s not about how much you need, but harnessing what you already have. And if there’s something specific you do want to strive for, then lean into that with all of yourself through daily habits, a positive attitude and the commitment toward short- and long-term personal goals. These goals can be purely financial or purely emotional based, or maybe a little of both.
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