"Chance favours the prepared mind."
- Louis Pasteur
I returned to Canada over the holidays, which was rejuvenating. I always forget how dark and quiet it is during the winter. It's a good opportunity to catch up on "deep rest" and sleep.
I caught up with my parents and visited each of my three younger brothers in turn. They are all highly successful at their respective careers. Each of them is also in the midst of raising a young family. So not only do I get to play with my nephews and nieces, each of which has different personalities and interests, I also get to take a few notes with respect to several differing parenting styles.
Beyond the good times, something was niggling away at me during the trip. I have long known that each of my brothers can lay claim to many more possessions than myself. However, I probably now also have the lowest income of the four. Seeing each of them doing quite well on a financial level prompted me to re-examine my own perception of wealth.
I've always believed true wealth lies in having as few wants as possible, and that the richest person in the world can still feel broke and dissatisfied if they still want more. I still believe this. However, I also think this definition can be expanded...let's see how.
Searching For Wealth
Upon arriving back in New Zealand, I explored this concept by updating myself on some contemporary financial perspectives. The philosophies of two individuals, Morgan Housel and Ramit Sethi, resonated with me the most.
Housel wrote a book called The Psychology of Money (1), which encapsulates his philosophy of wealth. Housel defines wealth as the money one has but does not spend, for having a large savings affords that person autonomy and allows them to wake up in the morning and do whatever they want. By this perspective, savings trump possessions. Housel also argues that it is more important to control one's expectations rather than pushing financial goals. By doing so, the goalpost of wealth stays in the same place, and a person can develop a feeling of having "enough" to be satisfied in the longer-term. However, most people set a target for wealth, achieve it, and then move the financial goalpost further away so that they are always chasing more wealth. Consequently, they are never satisfied.
Housel's book...more philosophy.
Sethi's book...more structure.