why everyone should want to be wealthy

I wanna hold your hand

There are a million books written on the subject of money-making – at least. Most people, if they are sensible, want to acquire wealth.  Wealth is freeing.  Wealth gives you options.  Even if you don’t want material goods for yourself or for your family, you could acquire wealth to benefit a charity or a cause.  If you don’t want to acquire wealth, you may be perfectly happy and content with your lot, but you’re probably not a typical person.  So be it.

I’ve often thought that one of the true benefits of being wealthy would not be just the ability to buy what I want, when I want it, but also to be charitable. I’ve struggled with charity throughout my life; I have given generously to some causes and withheld money for selfish reasons at other times.  One of the advantages to being wealthy – to me, at least – would be the ability to give without any concern for amounts or timing.

So I think about wealth as a means not to buy the latest ‘thing’, but as something to improve lives. Mine, sure.  My family’s, of course.  My extended family’s, yep.  Friends, my neighborhood, uh-huh.  Even charities that benefit people who will barely register the fact that I helped.  Why not?  I won’t pretend that my first goal isn’t to make life as good as possible for me and mine, but I have hopes that someday I’ll be able to make a real impact on others – not just $25 a year to a charity’s administrative overhead spending.

Many people disparage the pursuit of the wealth as self-centered. “Greedy.”  “Materialistic.”  That may be.  But if you become truly wealthy, don’t you have a far greater ability to help those in need?  Shouldn’t every person who seeks to help others make their life’s pursuit the attainment of wealth?

How much wealth is necessary, or appropriate, or required is of course open for debate. I’ve often thought that no amount could be “too much.”  I can think of an almost endless list of charities I could give to after I’ve provided for myself and my family.  I would never think of getting rich as having been selfish; if you turn that wealth back around to the world at large, you could be far more effective than the preachiest poor guy on the planet.

I would never claim that I want money first for the benefit of others. I selfishly want to provide for my family (and myself) first, and others second.  But I would like to be wealthy; I would like to have the ability to give freely to worth causes.   Wealth is not just the route to the latest video game; it can also be the route to helping people who truly need that help.
photo credit: batega

  • http://www.boomerandecho.com Echo

    I agree that I’d want to ensure that my family is the first to be taken care of if I was wealthy (charity begins at home, right?). I’ve always wanted to be able to do something nice for my parents, like send them on a cruise.

    If I had more money than I knew what to do with I would set up a few endowments for charity and through our local University. But I would have specific guidelines for how the money would be used and who would benefit. Like you said, I don’t want to be supporting some admin costs.

  • Big-D

    Wealth is freeing
    Wealth means you can be charitable
    Wealth means you are not chasing stuff
    Wealth is not self-centered
    Wealth definitions and value is up for debate
    Wealth is not for others, but me first

    I agree with all of your main points, except for the charity part. I have never understood the charitable giving part. I write a check, give my time, etc. and I have never felt like it is some freeing liberating experience that I am feeling good about myself. I have done it more because that is what girlfriend or friends want to do. I have a very different take on charity, I don’t really feel like it is the thing to do when you are wealthy, unless you are being vain. Vanity is the key to charity, because all the donate are looking for the response, recognition, what ever that comes along with being in that position of life. I have no survivors guilt for working hard and being wealthy. That is my blood, sweat and tears that I put into earning the money or what ever. Giving it away makes me feel irresponsible, against the core values that got me to that wealthy position to begin with. I have seen too much to see what happens to the money people give, the time people give, to know that it is not necessarily worth the effort.

    Some might call me a scrooge, curmudgeon, what ever. That is fine, and I am happy with my life. I just know that when I quit working, I will have the money I have and that I will be able to make it work for me. It is either that, or being 36 and having a few million in the bank does not make me feel wealthy yet. Maybe if I had 25 million I would not care as much, but still there is no reason for me to change just because my bank account has a certain number in it.

  • http://www.myjourneytomillions.com Evan

    Everyone WANTS to be wealthy, if they say otherwise they are just lying! If you don’t want to be wealthy go ahead make the money and give it away help a charity like you want to.

    What they really mean is I am not willing to do what it takes to be wealthy…they dont’ think they can…etc

  • http://20andengaged.com 20 and Engaged

    I correlate being wealthy with having less stress. When you’re wealthy, you don’t have to worry about a lot of financial burdens you do when you’re broke. One day I’ll get there, but boy is it a struggle.

  • http://financialthinking.wordpress.com Robert

    Why wait until you’re wealthy to give? Anyone can give of their excess. While that’s laudable, it’s not extraordinary. Giving out of money you need is what makes the donation special. I decided to make a donation at Christmas a year and a half ago. We really didn’t have extra money and we could use it all, working toward out goal of being wealthy. But we took a fair chunk and donated it to people in need. Later that week, we found a sale on items we needed and saved almost the identical amount of money we had donated. Why wait to help others?

  • http://www.rklfinancial.com/ Shaun

    Even the greediest, most selfish person who gets him/herself wealthy is helping others. Unless they outright stole it, they were doing something that was a benefit to society. Building a business creates wealth for the owner as well as the customers, not to mention any employees of the businessperson.
    Giving to worthwhile charities is great but is not always the way a wealthy person has the most impact on the world.

    • http://hopetoprosper.com Bret @ Hope to Prosper

      Shawn,

      This is so true.

      America should be encouraging more people to create wealth and jobs, instead of treating them as rober barons. Where do they think the jobs are going to come from if we continue to target the weathy?

      I work for a medical device startup, created by a serial entrpereneur. Not only am I thankful for my job, I hope the founder and investors make a lot of money for creating our jobs and our revolutionary product.

  • http://wallstreetchalkboard.com/ jeff

    This is interesting. I think its definitly true that if you reach such an immense amount of wealth, than you lose greed and you give more to charity. This is only true because you have so much of it.

  • http://smartmoneyfocus.com Joe Edward

    Great post. Being wealthy is relative to what one is use to as a way of life. Most Americans are wealthy by most of the world. Most Americans don’t feel wealthy to households with a million dollars in assets. Most Americans with one million in assets don’t feel wealthy to the households with 10 million in assets. So on and so forth. The thing to remember is that to take time to feel good were you are at and get excited on what you want to achieve.

  • Jason

    Wealth should be wanted because it avoids pain and makes a lot of your problems go away.

  • Alex Hung

    “Money is not everything, but make sure you have made it in plenty before you tell that”, is the famous quote from the man Bill Gates himself! This blog will be enjoyed by all the people who aim better living and social standards.

  • Chris

    I dont think everyone wants to be wealthy, for there own reasons, I do agree that financial success reduces the level of survival stress. I particulary would love to me a wealthy friend who could share with me the life of a wealthy person. I would like to have the opportunity to complete some of my goals for example pay for some of the identity theft items placed in my credit rating, maybe pay for that last class of college that Im struggleing to complete which will help me to sooner be placed within a career of my choice. I would hope to run into a wealthy advisor that dont mind being a guidience for me. Chris
    chrisrankins@gmail.com