I’m passionate about helping people increase the quality of their lives by building wealth and obtaining financial freedom.
When you really break down the reasons for building wealth it boils down to just two; lifestyle and legacy.
Everyone has their specific things they are focused on, and those things might manifest themselves in different ways. But lifestyle and legacy are the main categories.
BREAKING DOWN THE TWO
But what does Lifestyle and Legacy really mean?
Let’s dive into each a bit more.
Maybe it’s because of pop culture and TV, but when I hear the term “lifestyle” I immediately think of the phrase “lifestyles of the rich and the famous.”
Inherently, this draws a connection between the word “lifestyle” and being rich and buying fancy things.
This is NOT what I’m personally focused on, but it is a part of the category.
Focusing on improving your lifestyle can encompass a number of things. You might be focused on moving up the socioeconomic ladder and moving to a nicer part of town. Or maybe you want to buy a bigger house, nicer car, or a number of other materialistic status symbols that show you are doing well for yourself.
But there are other parts of the “lifestyle” category that don’t encompass flying in private jets around the world.
Lifestyle can also refer to the peace-of-mind of not having to worry about money. To not have to stress over the financial side of things for you and your family.
It can mean more time off from work to spend with your family, or never missing one of your kids’ soccer games. Or maybe you’ve always wanted to take a 12-month sabbatical and travel with your spouse and kids in an RV across the country.
The point is, it doesn’t matter exactly what your goals for your lifestyle are, if you are trying to increase your socio-economic status by building wealth, you are trying to increase your lifestyle.
Legacy is a more abstract concept for some to think about.
When I think of legacy, I think of the impact I’m having on others. Am I doing good in the world that will leave a lasting impression, and am I helping others live better lives?
Maybe you’re trying to amass a fortune so you can do good with it by donating it to the poor, starting a non-profit, or making an impact in the lives of others in some other fashion. These would all fall under the “legacy” side.
Truth-be-told, you don’t need to be rich in order to leave a lasting legacy. If we look at someone like Mother Theresa, she didn’t possess any material possessions or wealth, but was able to help thousands of people throughout her lifetime.
But in today’s day and age, philanthropy is one of the ways people are able to have purpose and do good.
WHICH ONE FIRST?
There is a natural evolution we see in a lot of wealthy individuals. Many will spend the earlier part of their lives amassing some level of wealth, and then transition over to focusing on philanthropy and doing good.
One of the most notable couples to follow this path is Bill and Melinda Gates.
Bill Gates spent the early decades of his life focusing on his passion in technology, and building one of the largest companies in the world, and thus, one of the largest fortunes in the world.
Now, their efforts are almost entirely focused on their philanthropic efforts through their foundation: The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
But this doesn’t mean you have to follow the same path.
NO NEED TO CHOOSE
One of the misconceptions is that you have to choose between doing good and building wealth.
I’ve had many conversations with family, friends, or random people about the idea that they aren’t focused on money, and that there are more important things in life. They say this with a slight air of indignation at the idea that people would be focused on building wealth.
Kuddos to those who aren’t driven solely by money. I personally don’t believe that focusing your efforts entirely on building wealth will lead to a happy life.
BUT, money IS a part of our lives, whether people focus on it or not. So, you can’t completely brush it aside.
Why not focus on building wealth AND doing good? The two don’t have to be mutually exclusive.
With the rise of the internet and advances in other technologies, it’s becoming easier than ever to live out your dreams.
One of the biggest names in social media and entrepreneurship today is Gary Vaynerchuk. He is a Belarusian American entrepreneur, author, speaker, and internet personality. He has built up several companies valued in the hundreds of millions of dollars, and has done this while leveraging his personal brand of no-holding-back motivational rants to get people to live out their dreams.
He leverages this brand to drive more business for his companies, thus, doing good and growing his wealth.
I believe that if you only focus on amassing a fortune you will fall short with your happiness, because it lacks purpose.
Studies have found that true happiness is not found by striving for it, but by having purpose in your life. Focusing on improving your lifestyle is an inward-focused pursuit, while focusing on helping others and building a lasting legacy is an outward-focused pursuit.
However, in order to possess the ability to focus on others, it helps if you’ve taken care of yourself.
The example we hear of is, when you’re in a plan and the air masks deploy, you should put yours on first before helping others. You can’t continue to help others if you’ve passed out due to a lack of oxygen.
Take care of yourself first, so you can then possess the ability to help others.
SOMETHING TO BE PROUD OF
People who are working just to amass a fortune are missing the point. I get it, people are competitive and want to be significant. But just having more money than the next person is a losing proposition.
We’ve all heard the stories about the super-rich guy or gal who amassed a fortune, but burned bridges along the way, didn’t create any meaningful relationships, and ended up unhappy and depressed.
We yell at our phone or computer after reading an article about these people and say, “You’re worth how much? How could you possibly be unhappy?!”
It’s because they took their eye off the ball, and only focused on one side of the equation.
In reality, we are all going to leave some type of legacy behind. Some will be large and lasting, others will be more close-to-home. Some will be positive legacies, others will have a more negative shade.
There are many different kinds of legacies – make sure yours is one you can be proud of.