Thursday, June 25, 2009

Why I Want to Be Rich

I read a post on the Simple Dollar about the connection between money and power. Trent was making the point that many people want to be wealthy to gain respect and influence. That's obviously true, but my reasons are different. To me wealth equals freedom. It's not so much that I want to buy stuff, or own things or spend my money like a drunken sailor. There are certainly things that I would buy or do if I had the money to do so (buying a trip to the international space station is probably the most expensive of these), but my real drive to wealth comes from insecurity.

I am worried. I am worried that I will one day lose my job and won't be able to get another. I am worried that I will not be able to provide for my family. I am worried that my kids will have to support me in old age. I am worried that one of my family members will become chronically ill and that my medical insurance will not be sufficient to treat them. I am simply worried. Wealth would create security and remove these concerns.

It's not that I walk around constantly obsessing about these things. I consider myself a well adjusted human being. I am simply very cognizant of the fact that bad things happen to good people, and if bad things happen to me or to my family, I want to have the resources to deal with them. Wealth for me represents freedom from worry. Peace of mind.

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Rob Bennett said...

Your fears are common ones. I certainly relate.

However, I find it curious that in earlier days when people made less money and took on greater responsibilities (they had more children, for example) they worried about this sort of thing less.

I sometimes feel that we are a people lacking in courage (I very much include myself in this condemnation).


Shadox said...

Why, Rob, if I didn't know any better I'd think you were calling me yella'! ;-)

You have to differentiate between my willingness to take risks (for example) and the fact that I am very cognizant of the risks I am taking. When I am aware of a risk, I do my best to mitigate it.

For example, if I was truly risk intolerant (or cowardly) I would not be working for a start-up whose financial prospects are never guaranteed. Still, knowing that risk of insolvency is never far for a start-up, I try to mitigate my financial risk in other ways (e.g. have a larger cash cushion).

Being wealthy for me is the ultimate financial risk mitigation strategy.

Finally, I am not sure that your assumption that people worried about these things less in the past is a valid one. I think that this may only be our perception, but I am not sure it was actual reality. People are people and they tend to have the same risks and concerns.

frugal zeitgeist said...

Welcome to the wonderful world of Bag Lady Syndrome

I hear you all the way on this one, I really do.

Shadox said...

What the hell is wrong with my readers today? One calls me a coward the other calls me a bag lady...

This must be national "let's pick on Shadox" day... :-)

frugal zeitgeist said...

Oops, my bad. You're a bag man.

Happy Friday!