Sometimes I receive an email that says what’s in my mind and heart. Here’s one that does from Chris Widener.
“Any fool can be rich, the wise get wealthy.”
Getting rich is the main goal for a lot of people. That is unfortunate however, because there is something so much greater than simply the accumulation of money. Now don’t get me wrong – I am not saying people shouldn’t have large sums of money. In fact, I believe greatly in the power of money for good when in the hands of the right people. I think money is simply a tool that people can use to do great things – or bad things.
What is unfortunate is that so many people give up so much else in life in order to get those large sums of money. First of all, let me explain my quote about rich fools. Just turn on the TV or read a popular magazine and you will find lots of rich fools. You will see people with tons of money but who have no happiness, have drug problems and who leave behind them a string of broken relationships. These people are rich, not wealthy.
Rich people are people with lots of money. Wealthy people are people who are rich in life. This would include financial stability and freedom, but goes deeper into spiritual health, emotional and relational health, and of course physical health.
I think getting rich is easy. It is simply a discipline that anyone can do if they so choose. There are many examples of people who have made very little money who have left vast fortunes. Spend less than you earn, save more than you spend. Put what you spend into an interest bearing investment. Do this over a long period of time and you will get rich.
Wealthy? That is something altogether different. I have found that in most cases you must give up some wealth to get the riches. I know many rich people and very few of them are people who I would call wealthy. Most of them sacrificed their families, their health or their relationships as they pursued the accumulation of riches. The fact is that it takes time to make money. And every moment of time you spend in the pursuit of money is a moment of time taken from something else that would make you wealthy in life.
So let me ask you: Are you on the fast track toward riches? Or are you on the long-track toward true wealth?
Are you being wise with your finances so as to secure long-term financial stability and independence? I hope so, because that is certainly a part of being wealthy.
Are you investing in those closest to you? I hope so! The fact is that when you lay on your deathbed, it won’t matter how much money you have. The grim reaper doesn’t need any more money and so he can’t be bought with yours! The only thing that will matter are those faces that surround you, the looks of love they give you, and the memories you have of good times spent with them.
Are you taking good care of yourself physically? I hope so because if you don’t, you won’t get the mileage out of it that you were intended too! Physical health is part of being wealthy!
Are you taking care of your spiritual life? I hope so because I don’t think there are any more important questions we can answer than those whose answers will play themselves out for eternity. In my mind, spiritual questions make all the others seem like child’s play.
Are you taking good care of yourself emotionally? I hope so because it is your internal state that will give you the energy you are looking for to live long and the peace to enjoy that life of yours.
All in all, I have decided that I don’t want to stoop to being rich. That is too low of a goal for me. I want to be wealthy – financially yes, but not to the exclusion of my body, soul and spirit. Not to the exclusion of deep and meaningful relationships with my friends and family.
How about you? Will you be rich or wealthy?