Interestingly, most Americans cite a stress-free life and having “peace of mind” as their personal definition of wealth (Bloomberg article May 2018, I’ll put a link at the bottom of this post). On the surface this appears to indicate that many have a healthy view of life and don’t believe acquiring vast amounts of money is the key to happiness. But I’m not so sure that’s what these results really mean. I believe many would readily admit that money, or rather the lack of money, can be the cause of a great deal of stress. Your personal definition of “peace of mind” might also include financial freedom. Is your personal attainment of contentment contingent on acquiring vast amounts of money? According to a Schwab survey (annual modern wealth index), Americans believe you need $1.4 million to be “financially comfortable” and $2.4 million to be “wealthy”. I believe you should set financial goals and have the self-control necessary to delay gratification in order to achieve your goals; however, I don’t think your contentment should be contingent on having amassed such and such in your bank account. I want you to be content now! Life is a journey, not a destination. See my previous post on being content.
Clearly many Americans believe you can buy happiness. I will readily admit that a significant lack of money can be a stress inducing situation and I won’t try to convince you otherwise. However, each person’s definition of “wealthy” appears to vary considerably with 18% defining it as being able to afford anything they desired while 17% said it is having “loving relationships with family and friends”. I would argue that the pursuit of money is not a meaningful pursuit in and of its self. Many rich people commit suicide. Mo’ money mo’ problems (renowned American philosopher “the notorious B.I.G.”). They didn’t have a purpose. They were just chasing the glittery things of this world. Read my previous post about having purpose in your life.
What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul?
Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.
Americans long for lives that don’t revolve around money – which makes sense, 60% of those surveyed say they live paycheck to paycheck . . .
What is wealth to You? (survey results below)
Living stress-free/peace of mind 28%
Being able to afford anything I want 18%
Loving relationships with family, friends 17%
Enjoying life’s experiences 14%
Having lots of money 11%
Having good health 7%
Being charitable 2%
What makes for a rich daily life? (survey results below)
Spending time with family 62%
Taking time for myself 55%
Owning a home 49%
Meals out/meals delivered 41%
Subscription services like Netflix, Spotify 33%
Having the latest tech products 27%
Shopping at specialty grocery stores 22%
Having a busy social life 21%
Driving a luxury car 21%
Gym membership/personal trainer 17%
Using a home cleaning service 12%
Using a car service, not public transport 10%
None of the above 6%
49% of respondents said that saving and investing is “the key to wealth” with another 40% citing “hard work”, and 11% citing “luck“. . .
Think about it. . .
This was a shorter than normal post but I thought these survey results were absolutely revealing about how the average American thinks about wealth and their everyday decisions; how they affect our happiness/contentment.