10 reasons I've chosen not to be rich
One writer outlines his personal finance values and explains that while he doesn't apsire to be poor, he won't chase the almighty dollar either.
This post comes from Jeffery Strain at SavingAdvice.com.
Most people I know want to be rich. There is absolutely nothing wrong with this goal, and I can certainly see why many people would want to attain it. I think that’s why people find it a little shocking when I tell them that I have no desire to become rich. In fact, I have made a conscious choice not to become rich, and I’m happy with my decision.
Why the hell would anyone purposely choose not to be rich? It seems like such an antithesis of everything it means to be an American, but I stand by my choice.
Whether others agree or disagree with it is a matter of opinion, but I have sound reasons why the choice I’ve made is right for me. Although my reasoning might not ultimately mean the same is true for you, I hope that reading why I have purposely chosen not to become rich might give you some good food for thought.
It’s important to make clear that in choosing not to be rich, I have not chosen to be poor. If I felt that I couldn’t do the things that matter to me most, I would certainly find a way to increase my income. It simply means that I have chosen to forego a growing bank account for things that I feel are more important than more money. Here are some of the reason that I have chosen not to be rich.
1. I value time over money
I value my time much more than I value the money I can make with my time. In other words, it makes little sense for me to spend time making more money than I need to. I value the time to do the things I want to do much more than I could earn if I spent that time making more money. Sine I value the time much more, as long as I have enough money to do those things, my time is more valuable than the money I could earn.
2. What I do is more important that what I have
I love what I do. It might not pay a lot of money, but it pays enough for me to do the things I want to do. I could probably make a lot more money if I spent my time doing something else that pays more, but doing what I like is much more important to me than the amount I make. Having made the choice that free time is more valuable to me than money, it means that I won’t be rich. I have no problem with that.
3. I value experiences over things
I don’t own a lot of stuff. It’s not that I can’t afford it, but simply because it’s not something that appeals to me all that much. I value the experience of spending time with friends and family, as well as traveling and exploring new places far more than anything I could buy. While money is certainly important for these experiences, the truth is that they tend to be far less expensive than buying things.
4. More money won't make me happier
5. Money is a tool, not a score
While some people look at the amount of money they have as a score to compare against others, I have never felt the need to do that. For me, money is simply a tool to be used to do the things I enjoy most. Since it’s merely a tool, there is no need for me to have more of it than I need to accomplish the things that I want to do. Now, I would certainly take more of it if offered to me, but since I value my time (as mentioned above) far more than I do the money itself, it’s not worth my time to earn more than I have to.
6. I value my freedom
Another reason that I have chosen not to be rich is that I value my freedom. I like to be able to do what I want without needing to discuss with anyone else those decisions. My current job allows me to earn enough while being my own boss. The freedom to be able to make my own decisions when it comes to work and play is far more valuable to me than to earn more, but lose that freedom.
7. I can live on very little
Over the years, I have done a number of challenges where I wasn’t allowed to spend a lot of money. What I discovered was that even with very little money, if I could creatively figure out ways to meet my needs, I was perfectly happy. These taught me that the money, beyond meeting my basic needs, wasn’t a necessary factor for me as so many people seem to think that it is for them. I have simply learned over time that I really don’t need a lot of money to do the things that are most important to me.
8. Personal finance is very personal
I learned long ago that when it comes to finances, it really does come down to personal choices. I don’t own a house even though I could afford to buy one because I would much rather travel to see friends, family and new destinations than sit in an office every day.
It’s not a decision that everyone would make, but it’s a decision that makes financial sense for me.
9. Money is over-rated
My personal opinion is that society places far too much importance on money. Since our society is based on consumerism, this makes sense. But just because that’s what society says is important doesn't make it so. Consumerism is only important if you buy into it. And I don't. So being rich (having lots of money to spend on stuff) is less important to me.
10. I have enough already
What it all comes down to is that I have enough. In fact, I have more than enough to do the things I enjoy doing most. Given the choice of spending more time earning money when I already have enough money to do the things I love to do, I would much rather spend that time doing those things that I love. This seems pretty simple and logical to me, but I know there are a lot of people who seem to disagree. They believe that if I have the opportunity to earn more, I should, even if that means spending more time doing it. I disagree with them.
So the question becomes, could I become rich while still retaining all of the reasons that I don’t feel the need to be rich. I think the answer is yes. While it certainly isn’t an active goal of mine, there are definitely examples where people’s passions (the things they would have done anyway without any pay) have turned into a lot of money, and maybe mine will as well. That being said, however, I’ll still be just as happy if it doesn’t happen.
More from SavingAdvice.com:
Most american DON'T make enough money to meet their basic needs, much less have any to experience anything. Being rich for most Americans does not meen having way more then they could ever spend it means being comfortable. Yes, if all Americans were comfortable then they wouldn't be holding strikes at fast food restuarants and you would have way more comments, because people would have more time to relax and read articles. No I would say most don't mean billionare rich, they really just mean not having to work 12 to 18 hours a day and still falling short of their daily and monthly obligations. If we could all just work reasonable hours and not have to worry about having enough to pay the electrical bill then we would all be happy.
While I don't disagree with some of the writer's comments (value experiences over stuff, money doesn't buy happiness, etc.) the overall premise of the article is misguided at best, a cop out at worst. Money does not buy happiness. Money DOES buy options, choices, possibilities. It buys the option to chuck it all at some point and go live on an island. It provides the ability to choose what, when, and with whom you want to do things. Agree entirely that money is not a scorecard in any possible way. It is a tool, but a very useful one if used correctly. Cheers...
The writer has learned that you can buy money with your time, but you can't buy back time with your money. Once spent, time cannot be had at any price.
Workers trade their lives for money to make their lives better, happier, more secure.
However, life plays tricks on the living and all your money can be lost, stolen, or forfeited by some cause beyond your control.
All that money represents all that life you could have spent differently if you knew it would be gone in an instant. No wonder when one get old and is poor, one has to feel that their life was cheated from them.
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