If you’re like me you have a goal to accumulate some pretty substantial wealth. I had a goal to accumulate $6,000,000 over the course of my lifetime. While that goal is lofty, I don’t think it was completely unreasonable. One thing I never did, however, was ask myself why? Why did I need Six Million Dollars?
Truth is, I didn’t need it. I actually didn’t even plan for it. It just kinda happened. I plugged some numbers in to a Roth IRA and 401K calculator, made some estimations for my investments performance, and BAM there it was, six million.
While I don’t know if I will actually reach that number, I’m 99% sure I will have at least a few million to my name when the Grim Reaper pays me a visit. It’s one thing to plan on being wealthy, but it’s a whole different ballgame when it comes to figuring out what to do with that wealth.
So I asked myself “What am I getting rich for?” Is it so I can buy a $50,000 car every five years? Or so I can have a second house in the mountains when ski season approaches? Or better yet, maybe it’s so I can afford the $30,000 membership fee at the local country club, even though I’ve never golfed a day in my life?
Of course I plan to enjoy my later years. I’ll probably take some pretty SWEET vacations, maybe I’ll buy a few man toys (jet ski, snowmobile, or a pet shark), and I’ll definitely upgrade my closet with all Tommy Bahama gear (side note: I love Tommy Bahama, but feel too young to wear it yet). But let me be clear. These are not the reasons I’m accumulating wealth.
When I die (150 years from now), how many people are going to remember how many jet skis I had? Answer: No one! What they will remember is that I donated $100,000 to a Young Life camp. That I paid for my children’s, grandchildren’s, and great grandchildren’s college tuition. That I pulled a “Bill Gates” and donated a ridiculously sizable portion of my net worth to some noble cause or charity. Those are the things that make being wealthy great!
Just to make sure I’m being completely clear, I really only have two purposes for accumulating wealth and they are…
1) To ensure my family is taken care of
2) To give a crap load of that wealth away
Thornton Wilder said it best…
Money is like manure; it’s not worth a thing unless it’s spread around.
So I ask you, what are you getting rich for? What great (or not so great) things do you want to do with your money?