Concept of Wealth
Lately, I was doing my evening run and the concept of wealth popped up in my head. What is wealth to me I thought? I have always focused on money in the absolute sense of wealth, but I realized that this concept is fundamentally flawed. There are so many wealthy people in the world, but they still feel like they are poor. Conversely, there are people that are not so well off but they have richness in them.
A close friend once told me the story that he met an acquaintance, who lives in a Bungalow all by himself. But he wears 10 different types of rings on each of his fingers to sleep because his reason was “at least if I die, I have 10 rings on my finger”. That sounds absurd and ridiculous of course, and to a certain extent miserable. You can have all the wealth in the world but you will never be happy.
Why such extremes?
Being rich is a mindset. Nothing can make you feel richer if you don’t change your mindset. And I’ve found that the below is even more important than money in the literal sense.
We have all heard that Time = Money. Time, while unlike money, is not an infinite resource. This is why in each decade of our lives, we start to feel that time is passing faster and faster. Being rich in time and having the freedom to do the things that we enjoy, can make us feel “richer” in life. That is why so many of us invest in the stock market, trying to grow our wealth so that we can “buy” back some time by retiring early. I wrote in a previous article on how I structure my stocks exit plan with the concept of time.
I urge people who are just starting out in their career to put in the time and sweat in their work, but after a certain period of time, they should use their experience to offset the time needed to work on tasks. It just does not make sense to me if you progress ahead in your career ladder, but are unable to delegate out work that your subordinates can do.
Another phrase commonly used is that Health = Wealth. I can’t emphasize how much this has become for me ever since the pandemic started and my health took a toll while working ridiculously long hours. Health is not just in the physical sense but also in the mental sense as well. The pandemic exposed a lot of bad working environments where workplaces squeeze their employees pulp dry. Managers get worried that workers who choose to work from home will not be productive, and end up putting a lot of pressure and micromanaging their workers.
Having good health will make you feel richer overall, as you are able to save on costly medical bills, and also be in good shape to invest wisely. All these will have positive spillover effects on your life and allow you to find more ways to make money.
Knowledge is wealth too. How many times do we feel “rich” just by gaining more knowledge through books, newspapers, articles etc. This year, I set myself a personal goal to read at least one book per month. So far I have read five books such as What It Takes, A Ride of a Lifetime, and Sapiens, and am into my sixth book. Books allow you the opportunity to “have lunch” with virtually anyone and know how the author is thinking. This provides valuable insights especially reading biographies of successful businessmen as you avoid the pitfalls that they made. Acquiring more knowledge has also allowed me to make sense of economics, politics and businesses given that almost everything is interlinked. The more you can connect the dots, the better you are able to spot pockets of opportunities in the market.
Take for example a small side project that I am working on called Watch Care, it existed from my love of watches and from taking care of them. Till today, I am proud to say that I am the first in Singapore to bring in trusted watch cleaning products from the States, and am consistently seeing my revenue figures grow.
Having meaningful relationships brings about fulfilment, which is also a form of wealth. As humans are emotional creatures, we crave the interaction and bond with each other. By having relationships with people of different background, levels, and diversity can allow you to see a different perspective of life. All these will also alter your thinking as you become open to new experiences. And that is where I see the value lies. How many times have we spoken with another person and gain inspiration from him or her? This itself makes you “richer” than just by having money.
In addition, having strong family ties also brings about wealth as well. Sharing a personal experience – my Dad, who has been my pillar of support since my schooling days, has allowed me to try new things and to take risks. I have changed jobs numerous times which most parents would disapprove. However, my Dad knew that I had a plan in mind and he was always supportive of it. Without such support, I will not be where I am today.
Travelling, while it’s an irony as we spend money to travel, actually make us feel wealthy as well – in the form of experiences and learning new cultures. As I look back on my 20s, I have travelled to more than 17 countries, and 24 cities and found it a very fulfilling time. I encountered experiences from scams in Zhangjiajie China, to attempting a full marathon in Switzerland, and all these have shaped how I view the world and understand more about myself. I view these as important aspects on becoming a better investor, and a more knowledgeable person.
What are your thoughts on wealth? Share with us in the comments box below.
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