Being Wealthy is Only a Feeling

by David Ning · 19 comments

Even the worst possible news can lay the foundation for a positive future.

“It’s all in your head”, as someone wise once told me. There are always two sides of the coin, and always another way to look at something. Consider the following examples.

  • Workaholic or Responsible – Some people work day and night, and many consider them workaholics. But I was speaking with a gentlemen yesterday about why he works so hard, and he told me that he vows to provide as much financial support for his family as possible. It may cut into time he spends with his family, but at least they don’t have to worry about money.

    Is he a workaholic, or is he just responsible?

  • Lazy or Clever – This one is dear to my heart. For years, everyone keeps reminding me how lazy I am. Yet, this character flaw has a minor benefit. Due to this “laziness”, I am always thinking about ways to be more efficient every day. I may not succeed all the time, but I keep trying and it helps once in a while.

  • Taking Advantage or Creating Harmony – I’m extremely lucky in that I’m well loved within the family. (My parents especially. Thank you Mommy and Daddy.) and they would go to great lengths to help me.

    When they are doing something for me, the whole family seems to have a happier mood than normal in the whole process. I’m having difficulty illustrating this in words, as it’s almost magical. Yet, it’s very apparent to everyone who knows us.

    If I were to ask my family for help, am I taking advantage or am I just creating harmony?

  • Saver or Spender – If I told you that someone’s credit card bill is $10,000 this month. Is that person a saver or spender? Now, what if I told you that he made $100,000 this month, and all his expenses are on his credit card? $10,000 is a huge amount of money, but saving 90% is AWESOME. (This deserves capital letters, don’t you think?)

We Know All This, So What

For some of you, there will come a time when you are no longer earning more money than you spend. At that point, living beyond your means will have a whole new meaning. A few of you will have the confidence that everything will work out, but many of you will not.

If you are afraid, first understand that you aren’t alone. No matter how much money you have left, seeing a decreasing balance is always scary. It’s okay to have doubts, and the only solution is through planning and knowledge. The more you know, the less you worry.

Even if the worst case scenario plays out, tons of people are living happily without much money. It’s really all in your head.

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{ read the comments below or add one }

  • Elise says:

    Sometimes there are things that you can’t see or don’t know about a workaholic. I was fortunate enough to be paid hourly, in a business that was rather understaffed. I turned into a workaholic, but for a reason. I paid off my thirty year mortgage in ten years. My cars are paid for. I don’t carry a credit card balance. I did this as a single mom with two kids. We are the last of our line, so we had no other family to help, we had to do it on our own. One day a week and all weekends were off limits for overtime work. That was my ‘mommy’ time. And if the kids had something going on, I could always take a couple of hours off to go to their games, etc.

    My kids and I had to be pretty well organized, but that serves both my kids well, even today. It meant they both had to be very responsible for themselves, like getting homework done, and picking out their clothes for the next day, completing their chores before I got home, etc. but these habits also still serve them well today. I recently asked my son if he ever felt ‘cheated’ because I put in so many hours working when he was a child. He looked at me with a surprised look, and said “Are you kidding? You took us on vacations, did things with us whenever you could, and always made sure life was never boring. It was the greatest non-school education a kid could ever hope for. The other kids were jealous of all the things we got to do because of you.”

    Because I chose to be a workaholic back then, I could retire comfortably at 50. Now I am having the time of my life playing with my grandchildren, going places when I want to, doing what I want, while I’m still young enough to do them. My kids love it when I take the grandkids for a few days. They tell me that the kids always come home happy and much smarter. I don’t know about that, but I’m loving being able to do it when I want to. We go places like museums and art galleries, we do science experiments, we build things, we take things apart to see how they work…the latest victim was my toaster…next week we’ll put it back together.

    Becoming a workaholic, and managing my money judiciously when I was younger has enabled me to have the life I want, now. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

    • JET says:

      Elise, great response! Thanks for sharing. I’m sure all the lazy people will not understand. My mom was kicked to the curb when I was 9. She had to go to school to become a US citizen and cleaned apartments to pay the rent and feed us. She then continued school to become a nurse and worked graveyard shifts. I never consider her to be a work a holic. Just a super hero. All 4 of her kids are now hard working parents with families.

      What I’m concerned with is the idea of our youth ( yes I am assuming the writer to be Super Awesome and Young) toward work. 4 hour work weeks? They want to measure success by how little they do, not what they accomplish.

      They want to be paid great money, live like a millionaire and in debt, get gifts from mommy and daddy instead of giving them.

      But who wants to change the world. Who wants to do more. Show me somebody that makes other people’s lives better? I’m afraid young people think about work as a honey pot. Where all they have to do is push a button and complain about how hard they work.

      We live in the greatest times, we have more time on our hands than ever before to learn, paint, sculpt, play, dance and read. I’m hopefull that the leaders of this new generation will not be the bloggers, but the doers. The inventors. The helpers.

      We need to create, not just consume.

      Congratulations on your hard work and doing right by your kids. You inspire me to do more not less.

      • therogueaccountant says:

        … I would rather work smarter. At 24 we make over 6 figures ( with no other formal schooling than High School Diploma), have multiple side businesses, as well as investments that make us money. We will be retired at 40 (Do what we want ( more charity hands on style) vs waking up at 5am every morning, however this does not mean we will sit on a beach getting wasted). What’s the point of a daily grind if it just pays the bills. Educate yourself ( through picking up a book), get a better paying job, invest, make real money doing contract work, and get out of that cycle.

        I hate when my parents generation tells us we’re lazy while currently we are funding their retirment ( literally, we have a parent fund in our budget). Honestly most of the young people I know are workign their butts either at finishing school while working 2 jobs to pay huge tuition fees, starting business, innovating, raising families with no family support, ( we live in oil country many move here away from family) or work massive over time because guess what thats what we have to do.

        The difference is we PLAN. We know noone is going to save our butts with retirment funds, or unemployment, or anything else really. Pensions and benefits are hard to come by, thanks to the previous generation of execs.

        We also have a greater access to education and information, and we use it.

        Now the next thing. Stop generalizing, just because your kids are lazy and whine and complain, doesn’t mean we all do. Just like we can generalize that our parents generation is bad with their money, spend beyond their means and hope the government will bail them out, and whine all the time about how their retirment should be better.

        Well except for the 40,000 tax bill we had to pay last year, I’d sure like to whine about that.

    • Mento says:

      Wow. Great! I am certainly gonna do it your own way. Work hard like for some years and then set up a business I have a passion for.

  • Richard Tanner says:

    What is fun in savings is to apply the D.R.I.P. reinvestment to several good stocks like J&J or Buckeye Pipelines.Both of these two have a study growing dividend.You safely advance your total wealth by slowly buying more shares and paying no broker too.
    I long ago gave up on things like a CD which used to pay great but not any more.
    Richard

  • flora says:

    One day, you don’t work for salary any more, then you can be regarded as reaching the highest possible stage.

  • MoneyReasons says:

    Wealth is relative once you get past the basic needs (food, shelter, clothing). Unless your Bill Gates or Warren Buffet, there is always someone more rich than you are and someone more poor than you are.

    Try to make as much money as you can while still enjoying life…

  • John DeFlumeri Jr says:

    Working smart is better than just working hard. If you want something done fast, have your laziest man do it.

    John DeFlumeri Jr

  • Robert says:

    “If I told you that someone’s credit card bill is $10,000 this month. Is that person a saver or spender? Now, what if I told you that he made $100,000 this month, and all his expenses are on his credit card? $10,000 is a huge amount of money, but saving 90% is AWESOME. (This deserves capital letters, don’t you think?)”

    Saving 90% is better than awesome. It’s….well, it’s super awesome.

  • marci says:

    Having “enough” is a different level for all of us.
    Each person needs to find their “enough” level at some point in their life.
    And then ENJOY.
    For me, under $20,000 is still “more than enough”… and I live well.
    And Time – the older one gets – seems way more important than money anymore.

    I think for each ‘season’ of your life there is a different level of ‘enough’…
    And yes – it’s all about attitude – and it IS all in your head – and your heart.
    Enjoy.

  • Cd Phi says:

    I totally agree with you, Craig. Some workaholics may just have to work that much so that they can make enough money to support their family. Certain situations call for different attitudes/adjustments that must be made to fully adapt to the environment.

  • Carl Grace says:

    I think workaholics either have good intentions or are rationalizing their behavior. Oftentimes, workaholics are in a salaried position and therefore do not earn more by working extra hours. Sure, all professionals need to put in some free overtime to get the job done now and then, but I have met many people who think of their job as some kind of crusade. These people are easily taken advantage of by their employers.

    We all (especially in technology) have met people with no outside interests or hobbies besides their work. This is probably not healthy. Like many have said before, no person on their deathbed says “I wish I spent more time at the office”.

    As for providing for their families. That is a good goal. If the family is struggling to make ends meet, this may be the best, but unfortunate decision. But, many workaholics I know live above their means, or could make different choices. My father was not a workaholic, but I can say that among my friends with workaholic dads, they would have preferred to have their dad around to watch them grow up then to give them private school tuition or a new Nintendo set.

    My point is, sometimes it is unavoidable, but in my experience most workaholics I know are not being responsible. They may think they are, but they aren’t.

    • MoneyNing says:

      Well said. I wish more companies would offer programs outside of work so their employees have a more balanced life. I bet it will create a happier mood, and everything gets done at a quicker pace too.

      On another note…

      For everyone who is reading this and wished they don’t have to work overtime without compensation, consider finding a similar job at a different company.

      I find that, more often than not, the overtime mentality is largely on either the supervisor or the company itself, so if you aren’t making more but is being unfairly treated, brush up your resume.

      The economy is bad, but there are still employers who are hiring.

      • Carl Grace says:

        I guess it depends on your industry, David. I have worked at three companies in electronic design in my career (two in Orange County, one outside the State), and while some were better than others, it is clear to me that the companies depend on free overtime in their business plans. The schedules are simply too aggressive to complete with 40 hour weeks, given the staffing levels.

        • MoneyNing says:

          Most try to squeeze their employees these days (especially the small companies). If you can’t find a good company that treats their employees right in your industry, try another.

          For example, cell phone manufacturers might have insane hours, but printer companies might not. You can still be in the same field but in a totally different industry.

          I know people in the electronic design field that work 8 hours a day and no more, while I know others who work 18 hour days constantly.

  • Craig says:

    Basically everyone has different situations and you can’t judge or fully understand unless you are in their shoes.

  • George says:

    I think workaholics are lazy. Lazy in their thinking.

    In this culture “hard working” is regarded as a wonderful character trait. But I am not so sure if it is really that wonderful. I think if people stop working to think about how they can work more effectively, they can increase their work output by a factor of 2, 3, 5, or 10.

    Case in point: the 4-Hour Workweek. Have you read it? I am like you, more lazy. But I think it is still possible to achieve wonderful things. It’s more important to choose something worth doing, and find effective ways of doing it, than just working long hours.

    • MoneyNing says:

      I haven’t read the 4 hour workweek, but I’ve heard great things. I believe it’s difficult to achieve efficiency in a standard 9-5 type job, because you aren’t rewarded for it. With a job, the faster you get tasks done, the more is shoved your way and the longer hours you end up working.

      If anything, I would suggest most people to work their day job and have a side business, where they really work on their efficiency. Some people may even find that having a second income will give them added confidence to perform better at their primary jobs too.

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