options-signIt is important to keep in mind that cultural messages can have a profound influence on your financial attitudes and behaviors. Intellectually you can disagree, but sub-consciously those money myths can have a profound influence on the level of financial success and life satisfaction that you experience. For example, there is a lot of truth to the old adage, “Money can’t buy happiness.” But in reality, what money can “buy” is options—more personal choice and control as you design the life you want to live—now and in the future.

The authors of Invest in Yourself: Six Secrets to a Rich Life say it simply and directly—”wealth is having more than you need, and poverty is having less.” In other words, “poverty” will limit your choices and opportunities whereas “wealth” can put you in the driver’s seat of your own life.

For example, you can pick the lifestyle YOU want—whether your preference is an apartment in the city with all the excitement that metropolitan life can offer, or a modest farm house in rural America where you practice “simple” living and explore the art and science of organic gardening. The point is, adequate financial resources will let you make that choice.

Wealth will also give you more alternatives and greater security when you are responding to “bumps” in the road of life, such job loss, health problems, or death of a loved one.

And last, but certainly not least, wealth will offer you more opportunities for exploring your potential. Are you longing to continue your education, live in a foreign country, start a business, or take time off to write a book?

And, how about those unfulfilled dreams of your youth?   Idealism can burn just as bright at 50, 60, 70, and beyond. It still is possible to make a huge difference in the lives of others. What are the causes that truly resonate with you? The possibilities are endless—literacy, the arts, animal welfare, equality, homelessness, the environment, medical research, and on and on. YOU know what you really care about.

The bottom line is this: Wealth will give you the freedom—now and in the future—to invest your time, energy, and skills in the ways that matter most to YOU.

Therefore, to get the most value from the money you earn, spend, save, invest, and give away, it is important to view wealth as a tool. It is neither good nor evil, but rather a resource for (1) helping you to achieve your goals in all areas of life, and (2) meeting the challenges and grabbing hold of the opportunities that lie ahead on your life’s journey.

Reprinted by permission of Money Quotient, NPru

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