February 19, 2021
Is your wealth changing you or are you changing your wealth?
It’s an interesting question isn’t it? When I refer to wealth, I mean whatever level of financial resources one has. I ask the question because so many of those reading this (our clients and friends) have (or will) reached a comfortable level of financial independence and no longer have to work to cover their lifestyle – but can retire and allow their capital to provide for their living expenses the rest of their lives. It’s part of the American dream isn’t it – and it’s one that many reading this are fortunate to have attained or will attain.
But the question still remains – is your wealth changing you, or are you changing your wealth. Hopefully we would all agree that wealth can change us. It can open up possibilities and lifestyle choices that we’ve not had in the past. Many of those are good – travel, giving, volunteering, spending time with family. But the temptation is also there to live extravagantly in ways that don’t advance our deepest life purpose and values. And when that occurs, then we ae forced to admit that wealth has changed us – and not for the better.
Wealth itself is neutral – it’s the values we place on it and how we use it that gives wealth its meaning. So as we slowly emerge from this pandemic, we might use this time to re-examine our relationship with our wealth, whatever the level. We can recommit to ensuring that our wealth supports and advances our deepest purpose and our most cherished values. And that is when wealth becomes a true tool or resource that helps us live a truly great life.
Allow me to suggest a process to get at all of this. Simply picture yourself at 90 years of age, sitting in a rocking chair and reflecting on your life. At that point, with most of your life lived, what specific people and causes will you want your life to have impacted in a favorable way? What legacy do you want to leave those people and causes? Be as specific as you can with this exercise by writing down your thoughts or sharing them with your spouse or a close family member or friend. Then ask yourself and that other person if you are currently on track to create that impact and that legacy, or not. Brutal honesty is called for here – remember this is your life and at the end of your earthly journey, you will want to look back with satisfaction and gratitude as to how you lived it.
If you need to make some changes regarding how you use your wealth, identify those changes and commit to them. For those of you who are clients, we can help you adjust you wealth plan to reflect any changes you want to make.
Your wealth – don’t let it change your deepest purpose and values – rather, use it to reflect and accomplish your deepest purpose and values. Doing so will help you truly live a great life.
Written by Matt Palmer, Co-Founder and Chairman