John D. Rockefeller said, “If your only goal is to become rich, you'll never achieve it.” Do you agree? If you're fueled by greed rather than goals, are you less likely to make it to the finish line? Personally, I agree with the wealthiest American of all time. I believe that the status of being rich is not the least bit motivating but the freedom wealth brings is something to really get out of bed for. That being said, everyone has their own idea of what wealth is and I'm sure there are many that disagree with me. To see what others think, I asked 15 personal finance bloggers, “What does being rich mean to you?” Here's what they said.
“Being able to wake up and do whatever I please for the day. Whether that's working, playing, being lazy, or eating gobs of avocado toast.”
– J. Money, Rockstar Finance
“Being rich for me is about being comfortable no matter what. I've come to realize that it's too hard to put a number to a feeling, which is what rich essentially is. So many people value ‘rich' based on a dollar amount, but I personally just want to be able to live my life and be capable of affording any unexpected expense or life goals. I'm always pushing myself to increase my salary, but that goal is there to push myself and challenge myself each year financially. I'll never go home and think, ‘this six figure salary classifies me as rich.' It's not realistic to live your life that way.”
– Alyssa, Mixed Up Money
“Being rich to me means being able to retire when and if I want to. Right now, we have enough to retire whenever we want, but I don't see that happening anytime soon since we really love life. So, I consider myself rich now because life is great, I am happy, I travel full-time, and I have enough to retire.”
– Michelle Schroeder-Gardner, Making Sense of Cents
“To me being rich means being able to do what you want, when you want, without thinking about whether or not you can afford it. It’s essentially being free to live the life you want on your own terms. While always knowing that you will always have enough money to support that lifestyle.”
– Andrew Daniels, Family Money Plan
“Being rich means not having to worry about paying for extras, like a biweekly housekeeper or buying dinner when friends come in town. It means being able to make a donation to a cause without worrying about it fitting into the budget. I think it's like Maslow's hierarchy of needs. Food, shelter, and transportation are the most important and being able to donate to charity or buy a random gift for a friend are like the highest tier.”
– Zina Kumok, Debt Free After Three
“For me, ‘rich' is an attitude. It’s forgiveness of the past, appreciation for the present, and interest in the future. (Notice how I use appreciation and interest in more holistic, non-financial terms.) I’m striving toward a reality where I receive maximum reward for minimal effort. I want my life to pay me a high return on investment.
I call it a profitable life. It’s a life philosophy rooted in economic principle and intertwined with personal growth.
A profitable life isn’t about being rich–it’s about richly enjoying the life you lead.”
– Erica Henkel, The Lady in Black
“To me, being rich used to be about earning a lot of money but now, I believe it's more about the money you're able to keep and the quality of life you have. I realized that chasing a high salary is not always as important as focusing on your net worth. Those who want to be rich most-likely have that desire because they want to live a better life whether that means working less, being less stressed out, or simply doing more of what they want to do and having more control over their money. Financial independence is one of my big goals and once I reach it, I'll definitely feel rich even if I'm only living off $40,000 per year because I'll have more control over my life.”
– Choncé Maddox, My Debt Epiphany
“To me, rich isn't a number. It's being in a financial place where I can pursue things because I'm interested in them and not for the money.”
– Kara Perez, Bravely
“To me, being rich is having financial independence from a job. Where our investments are generating a large enough income that working is a choice, not a necessity. More than that though, I want to make sure that my husband and I have everything we want in life to live the lifestyle we desire, while also having enough put away that our kids would have a safety net throughout their lives.
I think it's important for each generation to work and grow the wealth; no, free meals shouldn't be given out, but the goal is for money to never be a stressor in true emergencies.”
– Rachel Ritlop, The Confused Millennial
“At Stash, we refer to our clients as H.E.N.R.Y.s™ [High Earners, Not Rich Yet]. For most H.E.N.R.Y.s™, being rich means breaking the cycle of living paycheck to paycheck. This is a real goal that can be accomplished at many different income levels. With a game plan and some education around how to be smart with your money, it's actually more attainable than most of us realize.
Everyone values different things and experience so defining the term ‘rich' is completely arbitrary. To me, being rich means having the freedom to live life according to my Stash Plan™. My lifestyle and my goals are outlined in my plan and knowing that I am on track, reminds me that I am rich in the things that matter most to me.”
– Priya Malani, Stash Wealth
“Being ‘rich' means financial freedom. To me, it is not about having all the money in the world but having the ability to do what I want to do. By developing financial stability you create the ultimate freedom. I love to travel and experience everything the world has to offer. By working on your finances you gain the flexibility to do everything you have dreamed of.”
– Ashley Lauren, Money Gravity
“Sure, I'm still paying off student loans, but that doesn't mean I'm not rich. I measure richness in relationships. I'm certain I would be a miserable millionaire if I didn't have community. Friendships are worth their weight in gold — and even more so when you invest in them.
But if I did have all sorts of money to spend (oh yeah, that other kind of *richness*), I'd want the freedom to travel Europe for months on end. With friends, of course.”
– Allea Grummert, Ask Allea
“To me, being rich means reaching a financial state where I don't have to worry about emergencies ruining my bank account. We don't need to retire early, if I can provide for my family and we can enjoy life, I'll be rich.”
– Jen Smith, Saving with Spunk
“For me, it’s not about money. We have more time and energy to put toward things we love doing, more than we’ve ever had before. So I think of rich in terms of the choices we have. And we have the choices we have today because we downsized from a 1,500 sq ft home to a 500 sq ft home.
It was when we decided to get our personal finances in order in 2015 that we decided to sell our ‘big' house and move to our ‘small' house; this decision helped us wipe out a huge chunk of debt. Downsizing to what some refer to as our ‘tiny house' has led to so many positive changes, including debt freedom, more free time, and more energy to invest in other areas of our lives.”
– Claudia, Two Cup House
“While I do set financial goals, including income and savings goals, I don't think I'll have ever settled into feeling ‘rich'. The biggest reason for that is that studies show that American income levels very rarely go up in a straight line; they oscillate–despite what we'd like to think. That makes it very hard for me to set a number goal and say, ‘I've made it! My financial life will now be stable in perpetuity!' You never know what's around the corner, and, unfortunately, what's around the corner is not always pleasant. It can include a reduction in income, medical debt or personal tragedies that eat away at your financial wealth.
Instead, I try to look at my finances through the perspective of periods of feast and famine. During the periods of feast, I squirrel money away, doing my best not to give in to the temptations of lifestyle inflation. During periods of famine, when I have to draw off the saved funds, I work hard to recover and do my best to remember that because income and life circumstances oscillate, I won't always be in a bad spot. It works the other way, too. Things will get better.
Having a rich life to me is about more than money, anyways. It's about relationships. It's about assigning meaning to those ups and downs we find ourselves in. And it's about making a concentrated effort to leave a net positive impact on the world around me.”
– Femme, Femme Frugality
What do you think of these interpretations? And what does being rich mean to you? I'd love to hear your thoughts. Share in the comments or tweet us @invibed!