Learning the Difference Between Money and Wealth

We all want to be wealthy. We just don't know what wealth really means. Having more money is not the definition of wealth, despite what the media would have you believe. There's nothing wrong in driving the latest model sports car or live in a multi-bathroom mansion if you can afford them. But for most having them is more a curse than a benefit.

Most people appreciate money for what it buys, but they don't often see the potential of what money is meant to do for them. They work 40 hours a week to get a paycheck, though the value of their time and effort is far more than what they get after the work week. They don't see that they have limited themselves and their future well being. To the average employee, money becomes a measure on what value they place on their own jobs. They are deluded into thinking that they have no more potential than what they get paid for. Those who rise in the top of the company hierarchy have a better understanding of their true value and their salary reflects that value. All corporations value the employee who does more and is more efficient over the one who has better intelligence, skill and know-how.

Money, as is accepted by the majority today, is an illusion. It's not what money buys that makes it valuable, it's how it is put to use that determines its value. If the money is used to make more, it's value is worth more. A dollar spent for a cup of coffee is nothing more than a dollar spent. It's value is zero since that coffee disappears once it is consumed. It does nothing to promote the health or life for the consumer . It only provides temporary satisfaction. A dollar placed into a savings account is worth a dollar and ten cents tomorrow based on interest rates and the rate of inflation. Many people focus on spending both money and time, rather than investing them. This is what creates untold wealth for some and leaves others living paycheck to paycheck.

Long term financial achievement requires a good deal of self-discipline. While many typically go about spending their money and mortgaging their futures on credit, the wealthy sacrifice for the short term to secure a better reward in the long term. The fundamental rule for wealth creation is based on how much you can actually keep as opposed to how much you earn. There are many people who are wealthy but only make a modest salary. Yet there are those who earn ten times more but spend most or all of it to live an inflated lifestyle that does not make them truly wealthy. They are merely rich.

Few people reach financial security as they have no plan for controlling their money. They don't know where their money goes. Advertising is effective in appealing to the greed of the masses. It's human nature to want more. Self-discipline is not something many people want to cultivate. Few people are prepared to delay gratification for the future good.

Parkinson's law states that expenses rise to meet income. This holds true for the majority. The frugal person allows spending to rise along with income, but he lets it happen at a slower rate. It's what is not spent that is invested and ultimately leads to wealth. The common man spends his pay raise and bonuses as quickly as he gets it. It is possible for anyone to become financially independent within their lifetimes.

Using money wisely requires three steps:

First is savings. These are liquid assets. A checking account is needed to pay bills. An emergency fund helps to pay for those sudden costly setbacks that occur to everyone. Creating an emergency fund of ready cash when it's needed prevents the use of credit that so many are forced to using as they failed to plan for any unforeseen emergencies. Economic downturns, loss of job or a medical crisis can eat away any money left and plunge a family into bankruptcy. Generally, emergency accounts should have up to six months of salary.

Second is personal and family security. These are long-term securities. Life, health insurance, home and car insurance are all necessary in today's world where expenses rise continually. It doesn't take much to bankrupt a family whose home burns down with no insurance coverage. Keeping home, car insurance and taxes up to date leads to security and peace of mind.

Third comes the long-term investments. Setting aside ten to twenty percent of income into long-term Mutual funds with some risk investments will build up equity for when they might fund a comfortable retirement. Periodic investing leads to a point when those investments bring in more than income.

The best use of money is to learn how to use it at an early age. But you can still become financially secure no matter what your age. It just requires the right approach to the use of money. Money can grow quite rapidly and it won't require several lifetimes before you begin to see the fruits of your investments. Contact us if you need help with your wealth management or planning.