What is wealth?
Wealth can be described as an abundance of valuable possessions money or a plentiful supply of a particular desirable thing, though its archaic meaning was well-being in the sense of health. That is how I see wealth as being a source of well-being, you are not storing it out of fear or stockpiling it as an insurance policy of autonomy and independence, the point is not to have a bed of money to roll around in. Instead it is there to work for you, to replace the necessity of continuously having to earn an income to support your life, when you trade your time or the depreciating asset of the limited supply of your lifetime in return for money, when you do so, you are making a one-way exchange and you should be aware that you never get to swap it back.
I know that there are people who are lucky enough to do the one thing that they would be doing for free anyway, and have the bonus of receiving money for it. I think that is a truly wonderful situation to be in, when you can provide value and receive value in return, that is the free market working at its absolute best. Sadly, that is not true for the majority of people, you probably need no convincing that their time is more valuable than the actual amount of money they are receiving, and that they are making a poor trade. Not that they have much choice in the matter, the illusion that you are freely giving your labour, ignores the massive consequences of not having money in our society, no one wants to be homeless or economically inactive. And even those who do what they love, recognise that there is always downsides to their jobs such as office politics, pointless meetings, time sucking emails and the never ending demands of human resources. They might even concede that if money was not a factor, their jobs or how they would choose to provide value to others might well change.
That is the true value of monetarily wealth, it removes money as a motivating factor, it is a lot easier to resign on a matter of principle if you have not got a mortgage to pay, it is easier to demand changes in your working conditions if you genuinely have the option to change your job at a moment's notice, if you are able to take six months off in between projects or mini missions. That is one of the luxuries of wealth, you can swap angry managers and depressing targets, for self-directed projects and experiments. Instead of building your CV and worrying how it will be perceived, you can do exactly what you want when you want without the fear of repercussions through the rest of your career. When you are your own boss, the captain of your ship, you do not have to explain work gaps or why you chose to spend time with your children for a few years, your business suddenly becomes only your business again.
That is what you are buying when you purchase assets that produce income, you are buying your freedom of choice and a degree of independence. It is important to realise what you are getting because it is not something that is easy to buy and you do not get an immediate satisfaction from paying into a savings account, you do not get to show it off or wear it out on Saturday night. There is not a tactile feeling to an account balance, it does not satisfy any of the senses, you do not get a dopamine hit from drinking it or experiencing it.
That is unless you can turn it into a real experience in the moment, that is why you need a clear picture of how wealth feels, so please do take a long moment to imagine a life where you choose when you wake up, how you spend the morning, what projects you could do and the feeling of abundance in your life, rather than living with scarcity and never having enough money at the end of the month. The feeling is important, if you have a story of money being associated with bad people, that it morally corrupts you, I can guarantee that you will never have wealth or if you do stumble into it you lose it again quickly enough, and if you find the idea overwhelming or that it is impossible, life will protect you from it. It is only when the idea of wealth feels real and you are at ease with it, when you become indifferent to money except as the wonderful tool it is, when you can imagine being a person present in a state of grace, ease and joy, who has an abundance of wealth and well-being. That is when you open yourself up to the opportunity to build wealth in your life.
And it does not have to be a tiring slog to the top of the hill and a view that can only be enjoyed once you are there. It is possible to walk up the hill with the same grace, ease and joy that you will have when you get to the top, you can stop as many times as you like and look back down the hill and enjoy the improving view with each step. Just the initial process of becoming a wealthy person has many landmarks which are satisfying in their own right. Getting your cash flow from negative to an even keel can be a massive improvement in your life and when it becomes positive, when you start to have a savings rate instead of increasing debt, you really have made the most significant change to your life.
It is the keystone event and habit that builds wealth in your life, because when your cash flows is positive, that is you spend less than you earn, over enough time you will build enough wealth to support you for the rest of your life. We have cash flow you can pay off your debts, just getting to zero means that you are ahead of the game and most other people, when you do not have to decide between food and heating at the end of the month, you have made a material difference in the quality of your life. When you reach the first thousand pounds of savings, you suddenly have a buffer against sudden and unexpected bills, you reduce the fear of scarcity and increase your freedom of action. Six months salary in savings means you can lose your job without immediate disaster. When you start buying assets for the first time in your life you have income that is not dependent on your time, these are all worthwhile and valuable landmarks in your journey but the greatest, the top of the mountain is when your assets produce enough income for all of your expenses, then you are free and that is something truly worth owning.