So I know I’m a personal finance blogger and everything, but I’ve noticed that I’m not quite as focused on earning lots of money as many of my fellow bloggers. Maybe I’m suppressing those desires in myself because of our current necessarily limited income or perhaps I’m wired a bit differently.
I asked myself whether I really want to become wealthy. I don’t think I want to be independently wealthy particularly early – I don’t see both Kyle and I not working at the same time by choice until we’re pretty old. What does it even look like to be wealthy? I’m not a flashy car person and I think a large house just generates more work.
Money is important, but it’s only one of many important areas of my life. I’ve imagined what aspects of my lifestyle will make me feel wealthy. For many of them, a modicum of money is necessary but it is sufficient for none. Not surprisingly, these areas line up very well with my top five values!
Rich in Security
This is the only directly money-related area that would make me feel wealthy. Anything is possible so we can never be fully secure no matter how much money we have, but there are few layers I like having in place: some cash in the bank, no consumer debt, and adequate insurance. Not living paycheck to paycheck like I was in my first couple years after undergrad has been really nice. :)
Rich in Relationships
Marriage: My marriage is my #2 value and priority and I never want that to change. I picked (and was picked by) a truly exceptional man and I want to be an excellent partner to him. We have had a great start to our marriage so I already feel very wealthy in this area. I don’t expect it to all be rainbows and butterflies but we are committed to one another and I hope we’ll have a general upward trajectory.
Family: My father has always told me that my relationship with my siblings will be lifelong (so I’d better put some effort into them!). Blood is thicker than water, I suppose. My family isn’t perfect but I would like to be geographically and emotionally closer to them, and Kyle’s family too. And in a few years we’ll probably add some new people to our family. I’ll feel wealthy if I have time to invest in these relationships.
Community: Similarly to our family relationships, I will feel wealthy with meaningful friendships and church community. Kyle and I are both introverts but we enjoy hanging with friends in low-key situations and of course cheering on our basketball team alongside other friends.
Rich in Wellness
After I graduated from college I started sleeping and it was, like, the best thing ever.
I found out that I have a predisposition to a certain disease and that news helped motivate me to keep my weight in a healthy range. Through my weight-loss journey I developed certain convictions about what healthy eating is – and it turns out my preferred way is rather more expensive than the conventional American diet and not one that we have chosen to afford right now. A higher income (keeping our same budget priorities) is needed for me to be fully wealthy in this way.
Wealth in this area means the time and flexibility to sleep sufficiently, exercise regularly, and prepare my own food, and the disposable income to buy good quality food.
Rich in Openness
In reflecting on the people I know who are wealthy, one common thread that I admire is that they open up their homes and lives. Kyle and I already enjoy being hospitable but I would like to be even more generous with our home and time and resources. Having a nice home that we keep up well is a nice start toward being wealthy in this way but it’s mostly about the attitude, and Kyle and I are still developing in that respect.
Similarly, I want to cultivate the mindset of holding what is ours loosely – with an open hand. God can use us and anything we have in any way He pleases and I want to have a joyful attitude to participate in that.
Rich in Freedom
I love our current flexible schedule and having some control over my time makes me feel wealthy. In addition to reasonable work hours and some flexibility, I would like in the future to feel that we aren’t chained to our income. We would be wealthy if we could realize the dream of one of us becoming a stay-at-home parent for a time if our family would benefit or take leaves of absence from work to travel or spend time with family.
Rich in Christ
There’s a bit of a tension here. I’ve already accepted the greatest trade-off in history: Jesus took the punishment for my transgressions and I received his perfect record. So in some sense I can’t be any wealthier because I have been reconciled to God through Jesus’s sacrifice. But I think that I could experience the peace of the Gospel more fully. Wealth in this area would constitute the time (and motivation) to study the Bible and pray as well as participate in a vibrant church community. We are part of a wonderful church currently and certainly hope to find other similar ones where we live in the future.
If you were wealthy, what would you life look like? In what areas are you already wealthy? How much does money have to do with being wealthy?
photo from Free Digital Photos
Filed under: values