We’ve reached the end of our conversation about the meaning and management of money. Reviewing the ground we’ve covered, I have assembled our Top Ten Wealth Pathways. Properly followed, these pathways can assist anyone to reach optimal financial well-being.
Before we move on to the subject of wisdom, I want to summarize the ground we’ve covered in the past thirteen weeks regarding the subject of wealth. Once again, you can expect a lot more material in my upcoming book, “Healthy, Wealth, and Wise: Coaching and Profound Provisions for the Trek of Life,” but the basic outline of the material has now been set.
1. Reframe Wealth. It’s tempting to think of wealth in terms of excess financial resources. That is, after all, the conventional understanding of the word. But this understanding produces a chronically unsatisfied mind. If our objective is to always have more, then how can we ever have enough? And if we want more than enough while others have less than enough, then how can we live with ourselves?
A better way to think of wealth is in terms of optimal financial well-being. What do we need to be happy and free in the material world in which we all live? Don’t let Madison Avenue answer that question for you. Answer that question for yourself, based upon your interests, attitudes, and values. If your answer is authentic, heartfelt, and life-affirming, then you won’t go wrong in your pursuit of wealth and you may discover that you are already a lot wealthier than you know.
2. Control Consumption. There’s no way to fill a bucket that has a hole in the bottom, but that’s exactly what many people try to do when it comes to money and wealth. They work and work and work to make ever-increasing amounts of money only to discover, at the end of the day, that they are no better off than when they started. Many discover that they are worse off, because their expenses and liabilities far exceed their income and assets. If that sounds like you, or anyone you know, then it’s time to take control of your consumption. Keeping up with the person next door or the media icons is not a healthy pursuit. Decide for yourself what you will spend, and live accordingly.
3. Eliminate Consumer Debt. Unpaid credit card debt is choking America if not the Western world. There’s no way to achieve optimal financial well-being at the same time as we carry or increase our consumer debt. That is the stuff that makes for financial pressure and bankruptcies. If you carry credit card debt, then get on a program to pay it down as soon as possible. First, destroy your cards except for one balance-free card that you keep filed away just for emergencies. Then pay down your highest-balance, highest-interest card first while paying the minimum on all the rest. Once you get one card paid off, move on to the next. If you need assistance figuring this out, contact the National Foundation for Credit Counseling Click.
4. Love Work. Wealth is not about having so much that we never have to work again. Wealth is about loving so much that we can always work again. Unfortunately, many people think of work as that which we have to do, but would rather not do. Very early in life, we get the message that work is a chore. But for wealthy people, work is a joy. Warren Buffett, the world’s wealthiest investor, celebrates the fact that he “gets up every day and has a chance to do what I love to do, every day.” Now, chicken and egg style, which came first, the joy or wealth?
The answer is the joy. No wealthy person sits around all day with nothing to do. Wealthy people get up in the morning and look forward to the day, because they love what they do. As soon as we fall in love with work, we will not only be on the road to wealth, we will be wealthy, regardless of our assets and income, for that is how wealthy people live life.
5. Do Good. If you think that wealth is just about doing well, as in being “well off,” then think again. Wealthy people not only do well, they also do good. Or, to quote Benjamin Franklin, they have the leisure to do something useful. No longer constrained to think only of survival, they focus instead on the task of making a meaningful contribution to the world. This focus can be maintained by anyone, regardless of where they are on the socio-economic ladder. In many ways, it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. By making a positive contribution, the world becomes a better place and our efforts do not go unnoticed. By doing good we end up doing better both by ourselves and by others. Rather than a vicious circle, it is a blessed circle that spreads like ripples in a pond.
6. Follow A Plan. There’s no way to successfully run a marathon without training. And there’s no way to train without a plan that builds from lower mileage to higher mileage over a period of at least 16 weeks. For experienced marathoners, that plan may be so ingrained as to be a habit they hardly have to think about. For most people, however, including many experienced marathoners, that plan is written down and checked off as they go. It provides motivation, control, and confidence to know that we are doing the right stuff at the right time in the right way.
So too when it comes to both health and wealth. If there is no plan, then we lose the motivation, control, and confidence that we need to be successful. Brian Tracy, in his recent book “Goals!”, makes it clear just how important it is to write down your goals as well as your plan to achieve those goals. It doesn’t matter if the plan is perfect. It’s more important that the plan be written, because the process of writing it down makes it clear, specific, and doable.
7. Plan Your Receipts. A financial plan starts with a clear and specific understanding of the money we have to work with. For most people, the majority of our receipts come in the form salaries, wages, and tips from earned income. Our planning starts when we write down what we expect those to be over the next twelve months. But there are other forms of receipts that need to be written down as well. Interest, dividends, business income, capital gains, rents, retirement benefits, and gifts, for example, are all part of the equation.
One good reason for writing down all our receipts is because they reveal not only how much money we have to work with, but also how the money we have to work with is made. With a clear understanding of not only our cash flow but also our balance sheet, we gain the control that can make for better financial management over time.
8. Plan Your Disbursements. We’ve already spoken about the importance of not spending more than we make on consumer products and personal services. Small deficits, over time, add up to big problems. But it’s important to not misinterpret these words of caution as suggesting either that it’s never appropriate to spend money or that it’s never appropriate to borrow money. Both interpretations would be far from the mark. Wealthy people plan their disbursements as well their debt. They know what’s available for the everyday as well as for the extraordinary, and they enjoy making these disbursements immensely. Debt is reserved for investments, as leverage. Once this is written down, the process of making dreams come true is even more thrilling than buying the latest toy or trying the latest fad.
9. Plan Your Investments. Robert Kiyosaki’s latest book, Rich Dad’s Prophecy, gave me a helpful new distinction between savings and investments. Anyone can be taught to save, he writes, even monkeys! It’s just a matter of setting some money aside rather than spending it all. This is the first level of financial intelligence, which wealthy people master early in life. But what do we do with the money we save? That’s where investing comes into play. Do we put it in a safe liquid instrument, with a low return, like a savings account, money market fund, or certificate of deposit? Or do we take on more risk, to get a potentially higher return, through stocks, bonds, business opportunities, real estate, precious metals, or other investment opportunities. There’s no one right answer for all people at all times. But one thing is clear: unless we become financially educated and experienced through little deals we will never work our way up to big deals. Having an investment plan is a great way to make room for the future.
10. Plan Your Giving. Too many people give on the basis of impulse, or what they have left in their pocket or in their bank account at the end of the month or the end of the year. Wealthy people plan their giving as well as their receipts, disbursements, and investments. They give from the top, as a percentage of their income and/or assets, rather than from the bottom. On this basis, they end up not only giving more but receiving more both in the satisfaction that comes from a job well done and in the connection that comes with people who share their values and appreciate their witness. This satisfaction and connection cannot be achieve in any other way. When we ask not what the world can do for us, but rather what we can do for the world, we complete our money management and financial intelligence in ways that can’t be beat.
These ten wealth pathways, when followed conscientiously over the course of a lifetime, have the ability to make for optimum financial well being just as our ten Wellness Pathways, when practiced, contribute to optimum physical well being. If you want to retain a LifeTrek Coach to learn how you can be more healthy, wealthy, and wise, just give us a call at 757-345-3452 or use our Contact For Coaching Form. We’d be happy to speak with you, and the first call is free of charge.
Coaching Inquiries: How many of these Top 10 Wealth Pathways do you follow? Is there one or more that represent a particular challenge or problem? What could you do in the next 30 days to make things better?
LifeTrek Readers’ Forum (selected feedback from the past week)
Editor’s Note: The LifeTrek Readers’ Forum contains selections from the comments and materials sent in each week by the readers of LifeTrek Provisions. They do not necessarily reflect the perspective of LifeTrek Coaching International. To submit your comment, use our Feedback Formor Email Bob.
Good article on English being the culprit of ill health. I sure hope it isn’t what I eat and drink. I just need to learn another language.
WOW. Thanks for sharing this provocative prophesy. I’m talking about it with my financial planner.
May you be filled with goodness, peace, and joy.
Bob Tschannen-Moran, MCC, BCC
President, LifeTrek Coaching International, www.LifeTrekCoaching.com
CEO & Co-Founder, Center for School Transformation, www.SchoolTransformation.com
Immediate Past President, International Association of Coaching, www.CertifiedCoach.org
Author, Evocative Coaching: Transforming Schools One Conversation at a Time, Online Retailers
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