What makes a person rich? How do you define who’s rich and who’s not?
Is it about having money? If I give you a thousand dollars now, would you be considered rich? How about if I give you a million? How about a billion? At which point do you consider yourself rich?
To answer this question, I’d like to borrow Tim Ferriss’ term “New Rich”. The “New Rich”, have 3 things in common: money, time, mobility. I like this definition because it doesn’t look at being rich as a one-dimensional goal that you have to get to. It is a combination of time, money and mobility that gives a new meaning to the phrase "financial freedom".
Of course. This is obvious. The more money you have, the richer you become. At least financially. For many people, this is the only definition that they know of being rich. A lotto winner is rich. A doctor is rich. A lawyer is rich. They earn millions a year. They are what we call high-income earners.
It’s no wonder then that a lot of well meaning parents encourage their children to go to school, get good grades, study medicine or become a lawyer. After graduation, they are supposed to get a good job, climb up the corporate ladder and become rich.
There’s nothing wrong with that.
Unfortunately, in most cases, the high-income earners also face a dilemma of having to live a high-expense lifestyle. They have to drive an expensive car. They have to live in a big house. In all fairness, this is needed in their profession. Who would want to consult a doctor who is driving a truck. It doesn’t fit the image we have of a successful doctor.
Then there’s also the issue of income tax. The more income you earn, the more taxes you pay.
In short being high-earner has its corresponding drawbacks. It is not enough to earn a high income. If all the income you earn is going out as an expense. Worse, it may be that your expenses is even greater than your income, and you end up going through debts. Your debts stresses you out. You become ill just thinking about it. You become more irritable. Your friends abandon you. Your world comes crashing down.
If I give you a billion dollars but you need to work 24 hours a day, everyday for the whole year, would you take it? I hope not, because you’d be working yourself out, get exhausted, and basically end up not having the time to enjoy your billion dollars.
Having all the money in the world and not having the time to enjoy the fruits of your labor is not a very good idea. Unfortunately, a lot of people end up in this situation. As they get promoted in the corporate ladder, they gain more responsibilities. More responsibilities mean more time working in the office. More time away from your family. More sacrifices.
Whenever you want to take a vacation, you’d have to ask for your boss’ approval. If you get lucky, your vacation is approved. Unfortunately, while you’re on vacation, your mobile phone rings and you would have to answer your boss’ questions. Sometimes, they even require you to bring your laptop on your vacation.
Having time to be able to enjoy life and pursue projects that I would like is one of my personal goals. My dream is to be able to take a vacation for at least a month, whenever and wherever I want and not worry about being disturbed by a call from my boss asking me to cut my vacation short. I dream of being able to extend my vacation for a few more months whenever I want to and not worry about money or my business.
Mobility is having the freedom to go anywhere you want to go, any time you want. If you have a job, this is particularly hard to do. For one, you can not just take a vacation any time you want. You have to ask permission from your boss. Second, you cannot just stop going to your job and go somewhere else. At some point, you still have to go back to your job to make money to pay for your needs.
There have been countless times when I didn’t want to get out of bed in the morning. But since I had to go to the office and work, I felt helpless. I felt forced to go to work even if I was so tired. There were times I even have to cut my vacation short just to work.
It is especially harder if you are in debt and have to pay mortgage for your house. If you are relying on your job for income, you are practically tied to it. You can not resign. Otherwise, you run the risk of not being able to pay for your debts and have your house foreclosed.
Mobility means having the choice to go on tour for months, hopping from one country to another, and not having to worry about whatever you left behind. You can enjoy your vacation with peace of mind.
Journey To Financial Freedom
I am not yet rich based on the above criteria, but I’d like to think I am on my way there. I have managed to pay off my debts and saved for emergency fund and insurance. With the extra income we generate each month, my wife and I have started to learn to invest our money. As a result, our dreams are now becoming more real each day that passes by. Yes, I am still a long way to go but each step I make is a move forward to my dreams. It is just a matter of time before I reach my goal.
If you’re already financially free, congratulations! I’d like to treat you for lunch and learn from you. I’d like to find out how you did it so I can feature you here in Rich Money Habits blog and inspire our readers as well.
If you’re like me, working your way to achieve financial freedom, I invite you to come join me in my journey and discover the rich money habits that will take us to our dreams!
P.S. Last chance to get your FREE ebook by Bo Sanchez. If you haven’t received your copy yet, CLICK HERE NOW! This special offer will be closing in 3 days (Aug 12, 2010)!
P.P.S. For those looking to invest in RTBs, the Bureau of Treasury is doing a price-setting auction this August 10, 2010. Inquire at your bank’s nearest branch whether they are selling RTBs within the next weeks. You need to act fast, since, RTBs normally run out fast.
P.P.P.S. I’ve been busy lately working on our first ever money habits article series – "Rich Money Habits 101 – 8 Ways To Shift Your Money Habits and Be Rich". Be the first to receive the article series by subscribing to Rich Money Habits!