Tuesday, September 22, 2009
You Don't Need To Become a Millionaire
Tip #190 - You Don’t Need To Become A Millionaire. Many of us have grown up in a society where the measure of success is to be “the best.” We strive to get the best grades, to be the best athletes, wear the best clothes, live in the best houses, etc. But are those people who have achieved “the best” are always the happiest? Is the person who is the smartest in school also the happiest? Is the one who lives in the biggest house happier than those who live in smaller ones? My guess would be no.
While it certainly would make ones life easier if he didn’t have to worry about where the next few dollars are coming from to pay for his electric bill, living in the biggest house in town does not guarantee happiness. So why is it that many of us want to try to become a millionaire? Are we trying to prove something? Have we been programmed that the only way we will be considered successful is if we are rich? Perhaps.
But let’s be realistic about our goals. Each person’s goals should be individual to him or her. While one person might work long and hard hours so one day he can build a large home on acres of land and own a yacht; another may be happiest living in a cozy cape cod and not having to work 60 hours per week. If we are making $50,000 per year on the East Coast, we probably won’t be the richest in town or living in the biggest home. But we can still strive to live comfortably and be able to pay all of our bills in a timely manner. That really is the whole point of this blog. It is not to become “rich” or have the most money or have more money than your neighbor. It is to utilize efficiently what you are making, to learn the basics of money management, and improve your financial situation if you are struggling. Not everyone wants or needs to be a millionaire.
In Real Life (IRL) – I admit that the word “millionaire” has a nice ring to it. Back in the day, a millionaire was really something – the ultra rich. Today, not so much. Having a million dollars net worth might mean you live in a small $600,000 home on the East Coast and have a decent amount for retirement. It doesn’t mean you are hanging out with the Vanderbilts and Astors. But still, there is just something about having a million dollars that sounds so rich. Anyway, my goal is not to become a millionaire, but it is to be able to retire around the age of 60, to fully pay for my children’s college education, and to have our house paid off before we retire. And if we can live decently in the interim that would be our objective, too.
I think sometimes we get caught up in what society thinks is important or what we see on home and garden-type tv shows or what friends are doing, that we lose sight of what will make us happy. Personally, I would not be happy if I had to join a country club to fit in with my husband’s business partners. Nor would I be happy if we lived in a town where my children’s classmates are traveling to Europe every spring break and we felt like we needed to keep up. There is no reason for us to try to reach the “millionaire” status. It would not make us happier and it is not in line with our goals.
So let’s all be realistic about our financial goals –whether it is to buy your first home, raise enough money to put your son through college, or to buy a cottage by the sea, not all of us need to strive to be millionaires.