What are we gettin’ rich for?

September 22, 2010 · 21 comments

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?

{ 21 comments }

1 Sandy L

I do like giving money away, but not at the levels you do. I also don’t like giving it to lazy people.

There is one relative that hasn’t worked for a long time (not out of necessity but out of laziness) and if he ever came knocking for money, I’d tell him to go take a hike and get a job.

I want to be able to have enough dough to help the friends and family that need a hand because I got a lot of scholarships and things, I do want to give back to the community.

I also want to be able to travel and take random classes about things I haven’t learned yet. Fun.

2 Small Town Runner

Your reasons are also my reasons. I want to have some fun when I’m older, but mostly I want to be sure my family is taken care of (no kids, but maybe I’ll be able to help out nieces and nephews), and I want to give lots away. We have a couple of missionaries whom we support, and one of them told us how much our mere $100/month did for them (it was a lot) and that just made me want to give more! And I can’t wait until we’re able to do that.

3 Jeff @ Sustainable Life Blog

I want to enjoy myself and have a good time with the people I care about and donate money to charity. I try to give some away now, but I dont have much. Oh well, it will be awesome when I’m rich and can give lots!

4 Kevin @ Thousand-aire.com

My immediate goals are to have enough money in the next few years to start my own business. For every one of us that has a job, we owe a bit of gratitude to the person who founded that company. We earn our livelihood because that person decided to take a risk, start a company, and end up paying people to help achieve his or her dream.

I do also give to charities, including my church, my alma mater, and some medical charities, but I truly believe providing people with sustainable and fulfilling employment is the best gift you can give to the individuals and to society.

And if I make money from my theoretical future business, I want to be on a boat like T-Pain.

5 TwinsMama

Like you and a couple of people above…to take care of my family. But also, I want to be able to go to a part-time work schedule in my 50s so I can travel and enjoy time with my family.

However, the way I want to have my net worth is pretty different. I don’t want to just leave money and investments…I want to leave fully operational businesses to each of my kids. I want them to be able to experience the joys of entrepreneurship. That way they are also giving back through jobs/internships/etc.

6 Makky's Mom

I particularly want to be able to fully support myself in my golden years so as not to be a financial burden to my children and (eventual) grandchildren.

If I have enough money to help them with education costs, housing costs, etc… that would be great too.

If after hubby and I are taken care of, family is taken care of, there’s any money left? It will go to charity causes.

7 Joe Plemon

Good reasons for attaining wealth. But be warned: giving money away, especially to family, takes lots of discretion. I think Warren Buffett said he wanted to give his kids enough that they could do anything but not so much that they could do nothing. I want to make sure my kids have good work ethics and great integrity before I start piling money on them. Too much money for those who can’t handle it can be a curse instead of a blessing.

8 Mo D.

DH and I don’t have any kids, but we’re taking our debt seriously now so we can enjoy ourselves later. We would like to be able to give to charities, especially those that involve animals, and I’d love to be able to volunteer in my free time, and take courses in classes in stuff I’m interested in. Workin’ our butts off now will pay off in the future, that’s for sure!!

9 Crystal @ BFS

We’re just saving enough so we can retire early, which would mean I’d have more time to volunteer (I can only do a few weekends right now) and Mr. BFS can help out his family since he is the only child with no cousins. We just need more time and saving a bunch can help us buy that time. :-)

10 Nicole

I wanna buy a small house in the SF bay area and enjoy food and nature.

We might do that before we get rich depending on what happens with our careers. But for now, that’s the only big goal. We’re already paying college for relatives…

11 Kim

Darn, gonna have to trade in my jet ski since it’s a man toy ;)

First I want to start my own business, then travel. If I really had a ton of cash, like $6M, I’d buy a bunch of land in the rain forest and donate it to a park. And give a bunch of scholarships for the poor (not my relatives – they’re just lazy; I hear ya Sandy L!).

12 Abigail

I never had a goal to get rich. Of course, up until recently I was on disability and now it looks like my husband will be going on it. So maybe I just have realistic expectations.

I just want to live comfortably. That would mean having enough money to indulge sometimes, whether it’s my husband’s hobby Magic the Gathering or travel or getting him the Mustang he drools over. But I don’t need to be rich for those things to happen, especially if we have a lifetime. The only thing that does concern me is putting away enough money in our IRAs that we can retire comfortably. I estimate that we’d need about $1 million to live on $60,000 a year — assuming we both just happened to live to age 100. Which is unlikely, but I’d rather not be caught short in my final years.

I don’t think we’ll hit the $1 million mark. We’re 32 and only have about $2,500 in an IRA and neither of us has 401(k)s. But we can work toward it and we can make sure to live well but carefully enough to enjoy ourselves in retirement.

13 Red

I always feel left out of this in the PF world because I don’t have “get rich” or “have $1 million at retirement” in my list of life goals. I also don’t have any plans to do a lot of traveling in my old age. I think once I get THAT old, all I’ll want to do is lay around the house with my super old husband.

I’d like to be comfortable, not scrapping by. Since we don’t want children, there won’t be any grandchildren to support, but I’d like to help out with my nieces and nephews college education if it’s possible. (I’m constantly worried that the environment my nephew is growing up in will NOT encourage him to pursue higher learning, but maybe they’ll surprise me.)

Mainly, I just want to be debt free, travel consistently while I’m young enough to really enjoy it, save up a buttload of cash for a home, if we decide we want to buy one, and have enough money in the bank to keep us from worrying about money. That’s not a grand $6 million figure though. Good luck to you, Ninja!

14 Ryan@theFinancialStudent

I’d love to be able to give large donations to organizations I support.

On a more personal level, I’d like to reach a point where I can hop on a plane and go ANYWHERE without worrying about money. I’d also like to be in a position to help out my family and friends if they were in a bad situation.

15 Khaleef @ KNS Financial

Hey Ninja, you stole my reasons! I would want to be wealthy to support my family and remove the stress that comes from financial unrest. Also, I plan to give much of it in order to support God’s kindgom! My wife and I want to travel as well.

16 mykie

World domination, duh.

17 Sara

I want to be “rich” just to be able to live comfortably and do all the traveling my heart desires without worrying about the cost! In all honesty, I kind of hate the idea of saving so hard all my life just to give it away to someone that didn’t earn it (my possible future kids included!!) so I don’t think that drives me at all. I’d rather die with exactly enough money left to deal with my funeral LOL.

18 rePete

Achieving financial independence so I can choose my work, targeting towards 100% volunteer work.

19 Bob in San Franciixco

We have a net worth of around $7,000,000., all accumulated in the our 30 years of marriage.
No inheritance, just a lot of hard work. With no kids to leave it to, all of our estate is going to charity.
Having money is nice for the security it brings, and the freedom. Our dog got sick. Vet said it would be $500. for the full tests. When we got married, making $19,000. COMBINED income, we could not afford it. Now, it’s “well, yeah, go ahead”.
Niece needed a car. Loaned her $3,000. Hope we get it back, but not a disaster if we don’t.
Favorite animal rescue group was out of money. Sent them a check for $1,000. without hesitation.
Money does NOT buy happiness,but it makes life much smoother. The true joy in life is making the world a little better place, for having been here.

20 JoeTaxpayer

I’m curious what rate of return the calculator assumed. You see, ninja, I’m 48 this month and 10 years ago, I planned to retire now. I counted on an 8% return and the market yielded close to zero.
If you plan to retire at say 60, 36 years of inflation will make that $6M feel like $2M of today’s dollars. A 4% withdrawal is $80K/yr. Nice retirement income, but not rich, certainly not filthy rich.

21 PunchDebt

Hey Joe, that was assuming a rate of Return of 11% (the historical average of the S&P). I then subtracted 3% from that rate to account for inflation so I was dealing with “today” dollars instead of future money. So essentially I used 8%. I have 40 years until I retire and with some good investing strategies I don’t think 11% ROI is a CRAZY goal. Maybe it is a little ambitious, but even if I only do half as well as planned, I should have a few million waiting for me. Plus I also get a pension since I’m a fed and by that time I’ll have my house paid for, so even if it is $80K/yr that will go a lot farther for me than it does now :)

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