The Three Things I’ve Learnt about Wealth

I know that when it comes to wealth and money management and everything else that goes along with it, there will never be a time when I am done learning. I love being on this journey to discover what money can do and how to work with it in the optimal way and then how to teach, guide and support others in their financial journeys. I don’t want to keep my knowledge to myself.

Over the last few years, I have really had to look at my life, my goals, hopes and dreams and assess what I want and what is important to me. I have relooked at my view on certain aspects of life and changed my opinion on a number of things. So here are the 3 things I have learnt about wealth over the last while:  

1. Wealth is unseen

This may seem like a weird one to some of you because you might think that it is easy to see if someone has money – they drive a fancy car, live in a big house, have the latest phones and wear expensive clothes. But that is just the problem, it is easy to look wealthy but what is the cost thereof? Yes, these people can most likely afford the car and house repayments but I think someone who is truly wealthy would be driving an average car and investing the difference thereby earning interest instead of paying it.

The argument can be made that all these things have been bought cash so there is no interest being paid thereon, and that might be true but only for a small handful of people. And even then, I think someone who has a good understanding of wealth would still not be driving a R800 000 car, but would rather be driving a R400 000 car and have invested the difference.

So true wealth, in my opinion, is made up of the things that are not seen – the investment account balances, the number of investment properties, the great credit score because the amount of debt used is minimal and so on. I think once someone has a proper understanding of wealth, they no longer have the need for others to know they are wealthy and I think therein lies a huge amount of freedom and relief.

2. Wealth is unique

I have said this many times and I will continue to say it, each person’s financial journey is unique and the same is true for wealth. What one person sees as being wealthy, may not be the case for someone else. Wealth for you may be to be debt-free and have sufficient savings and investments to retire comfortably, whereas wealth for someone else may be to own the fancy car and have a few investment properties and never stop working because they enjoy what they do.

When it comes to your wealth remember that comparison is the thief of joy. When you are focusing on your own journey you will be so encouraged by your progress, but as soon as you starting comparing your journey to someone else’s, you will feel discouraged and unmotivated. And as I have said above, true wealth is usually unseen so you are comparing your “unseen” to what someone else is showing.

You need to determine from the beginning of your financial journey what wealth looks like for you and keep that in mind every step of the way.  

3. Wealth is unlimited

Yes, wealth is about money, but it is also about so much more than that. Following on from the fact that wealth is unique is this point: wealth is not just limited to money – wealth is time and health and memories.

For someone who is fighting cancer – health is wealth. For someone who works 2 jobs just to put food on the table – time is wealth. When it comes to setting your goals, remember to take into consideration what wealth really is for you and to look at all aspects thereof. I encourage you to set your “wealth” goals across all the areas of your life.

Personally, I want to be a mom that is present for my children so I will most likely never go back to a job that doesn’t have flexible hours. This means I will probably never be at my full earning potential, but that is a sacrifice I am willing to make because for me the time I will have with my children will make me wealthier than having a bigger investment account balance.

Decide what wealth looks like for you (seen and unseen) and pursue that. There is no correct answer, it is your journey. If you change your mind or your perspective down the road, then just take a scenic detour on the way to your goals.

Picture of Tamlyn N

Tamlyn N

Financial Consultant & Business Advisor

LE Consult Group