One of the questions we occasionally get asked, usually by the most cynical amongst us, is "If you have made all this money, why are you still working?"
In other words, why are we still working when we don’t need to?
The answer to that is quite simple, there is far more to life than money.
Don’t get me wrong I like money, or more accurately, I enjoy the lifestyle that having money affords me, but there are far greater drivers for me over and above money.
I want to break this blog down into a few stages to help illustrate a few important concepts about wealth.
STAGE 1. Reality Kicks In (Part 1).
I guess much of it comes down to what you consider work.
“If you do what you love and love what you do, you'll never work a day in your life” - Dr John Demartini.
Unfortunately, many people find themselves disillusioned with their lives and stuck in jobs that they either don’t enjoy, dislike, or downright hate. Or, they are tied to a vocation that they simply can’t wait to get away from. They are effectively trading their time (and some might say their souls) for money.
For many people they trade their lives from 9am-5pm, Monday to Friday for enough income to hopefully allow them to pay their bills, put food on the table and hopefully have enough left over to enjoy something on the weekend. Or as comedian Bill Hicks once said: “ Caffeine from Monday to Friday to energise you enough to make you a productive member of society, and alcohol from Friday to Monday to keep you too stupid to figure out the prison you are living in.”
Is it any wonder then, that many people feel the need to “make a jailbreak” - to steal a line from great Aussie rockers AC/DC.
They, therefore, can falsely project their values, perceptions, and emotions about work onto others. That is, they think that just because they don’t enjoy what they do, that everyone else should be the same. That because they think that their only goal is to get enough money to stop doing any work, that everyone else should think and behave the same way too.
But think about the wealthiest people on the planet who have enough money to retire hundreds or even thousands of times over!
Investors like Warren Buffet or Harry Triguboff, business people like Bill Gates or Janine Allis, entertainers like Oprah Winfrey or George Clooney, sports stars like Serena Williams or David Beckham, who all choose to continue to work despite their monetary riches. Clearly, they all have something else driving them to continue to perform at the highest levels.
STAGE 2. Reality Kicks In (Part 2)
So let’s assume you have now reached a point where all your expenses are covered. You've invested wisely and have enough passive income generated from your assets to support your lifestyle for the rest of your life. Now, given that the average lifespan is approaching 80+ years, what are you going to do with the next 25-50 years?
If you find yourself in the position, where you don’t control enough wealth to have the choice of what you do on a daily basis, then it can seem like the best thing you could possibly do is generate enough wealth to do nothing. I guess if you have felt like you have been slaving away in a job you don’t enjoy for decades, it might be reasonable to just want to sit on a beach all day, or travel the world, or gorge yourself on all the experiences you feel you have been denied for lack of money.
So imagine you have all the worldly possessions you could need, and you have been sitting on a beach for the last month, year, or decade. At some point, you will probably reach the reality of stage 2, which is money alone can’t make you truly happy. Sure I will grant you, for some it may be easier to be happier with wealth than without it, but a far more important realisation is finding your purpose for being on the planet.
In fact, if I could give anyone the perfect gift it would be for them to discover their purpose in life. That is what gives them that invisible go-go juice that comes from discovering why and how they are destined to serve humanity. And I also know that might sound a little hippy, free-love, out-of-sight-man...but nonetheless, this is my truth.
I am fortunate enough to have discovered, early enough in my life, some of the things that I need to provide me with the non-monetary emotional rewards that provide me with immense joy and satisfaction. I believe that a major part of my purpose for being on the planet is to educate, inspire, and create opportunities for other people to help them live their dream lives. I get enormous emotional satisfaction from being able to provide other people with the clarity, confidence and conviction to go out and chase their dreams. That my being here, and in their corner, is making an immeasurable difference in their lives, and in turn enriching the enjoyment of both of our times on this planet.
“A rising tide lifts all boats.” - Aphorism
Furthermore, I love the creativity that running businesses and investing in property allows. I love the fact, that after decades spent practising my craft, I can see opportunities other can’t, and have the skills and confidence to mobilise resources, to see those opportunities become reality. I love the fact, that by doing what I love, I can also create opportunities for others within my business to find meaningful employment, and for our members to create amazing lifestyles for themselves, and by a natural extension, the lives of others.
STAGE 3. Reality Kicks In (Part 3)
This is probably the ultimate evolution in your wealth journey where you come to realise that at some point in time your life will come to end, but your influence need not.
Perhaps, your legacy is to simply leave a little something behind for your own immediate family. Perhaps, you want to create a perpetual scholarship, or contribute to, or even create, a worthy charity that will endure for centuries. Whatever, you choose to do, you can’t take your worldly riches with you, so having a plan for how you want them to be utilised after your passing is something worth thinking about. It may not be now, and in fact hopefully, you won’t have any need to think about this stage for many years to come.
So in answer to all the cynics out there when they ask "Why are we still working when we don’t need to?” I would contend that we do need to, it is just not purely for a pay cheque at the end of each week.