As part of the Stoic philosophy of life, we practice negative visualisations. That is – imagine something terrible happening and then think through how you would deal with it. In this way, if something terrible does happen you’re prepared and have options, and you don’t end up paralysed with indecision. Plus it helps with managing those incredibly terrible situations. We do not want to put any energy towards these bad things happening of course, but have at least thought about it. Why running one of these awful visualisations where I lose my family for whatever reason, the consideration of why build wealth came to mind. Because for me, it’s building for the family’s future – for the kids at uni or a trade, for us to travel and have great experiences. Without the family as the driving motivation, why build wealth? There is no appeal, at least to me, to build wealth for it’s own sake.
Expanding on this – wealth is a tool for me. It’s to be used for stuff, not built for the sake of it. If you list the things you want to do with your money, does it include “build a tower of gold coins to swim in like Scrooge McDuck?” Mine does not (it’s OK if yours does!). Number one is to remove the stress of managing money and simply enjoy life, living in abundance and good times for all. Providing for the family is one thing, but having freedom from stress around money is another. To me then, wealth = freedom. This is potentially the reason I find it hard to keep a lot of cash on hand – we like to do stuff so we go and do it. More money will come in, I just don’t feel a need to stockpile it. But what I do feel a need to do is to establish passive forms of income so I can earn money without getting out of bed.
Rentals, index funds, interest – all ways to build wealth for minimal long term effort! Freedom to pursue the things we want to do, individually, but more importantly as a family. Answering the question of “why build wealth?” has been a key determinant for me in entering this quest in a serious way. A big question like this has helped to frame up the whole exercise – from a focus on spending, to keeping a good relationship with tenants and real estate agents, developing a sense for worthy investments of time and money. The return on answering this questions has been, for me, well worth the time put in to it. From that first time I ran the negative visualisation and built my understanding from there my focus on wealth has changed dramatically. It may be coincidental, however I have found means for working on this more easily as time has gone on.
So gentle reader, I ask you the question – if you’re building wealth, why are you doing it?