That is the standard claim that you see in the personal finance world. Do this, have more money. And sure, some of this advice is great, and a lot of it works. But in my opinion it misses the point. Sure, being rich would be great. But money isn’t everything, nor should it be.
This is where my philosophy of being Life Rich comes in. A person who would be considered Life Rich is not only financially well off, but also rich in life’s many other areas. After all, if you have all kinds of money, but aren’t happy, what is the point? And if you waste that money needlessly, how can justify having it in the first place?
So what does it mean to be Life Rich? How can someone ever become Life Rich? What’s the catch? These questions all have multiple answers, so let’s start exploring the depths of the Life Rich philosophy.
A More Meaningful Life With Less Things
This may seem odd at first, but the primary difference between a Life Rich person and the average is that the Life Rich realizes that physical things are not what creates happiness and fullness in life. In fact, the opposite is usually true. Sure, having the ability to buy lots of things is always great, but the ability to say no to buying those things is even better.
Someone who is Life Rich is a minimalist in most aspects of life. They don’t spoil themselves with all sorts of expensive luxuries like new cars and private kindergarten educations for their children. They drive older, more reliable cars they likely bought used, and they take advantage of public services like schooling and libraries. They have no Latte Factors present in their lifestyle. They don’t need to resort to consumerism to feel good about themselves. And yet, they are happier and live fuller, more satisfying lives than those who indulge in modern society’s expensive daily luxuries.
Making It Big
And while they enjoy simple lives, the Life Rich person is making it big in other areas of life. They excel in their jobs. Likely they have already been, currently are, or soon will be entrepreneurs on at least a small scale. They focus on doing things that are difficult rather than easing into a boring routine. After all, an exciting, evolving, challenging life is one that is much fuller and happier than one that involves the same thing everyday. This means constant learning and constant achievement.
If working in a company, they do their best to work their way up the ladder, and be a standout employee. Being Life Rich means you aim to be the best you can be, and this holds true especially in the workplace.
Most people who are Life Rich are too independent and creative to be cooped up in a regular job at a random company, and so they choose to be entrepreneurs. This could mean something as simple as a one man freelance design operation, or it could mean taking on Ford and GM with a brand new car company. They are likely very successful in their entrepreneurial ventures due to the fact they work hard at it, and utilize the best strategies and skills around because of their extensive research and learning.
Even in the non-work areas of life, Life Rich make it big. In everything they do, they strive to be good, and probably the best. One of the most key philosophies to being Life Rich is that making it big in anything is always attainable.
Freedom and Flexibility
Of course, due to the highly independent nature of the Life Rich that I mentioned earlier, they cannot stand working a 9 to 5 typical job. That would be craziness. Those who are entrepreneurs easily set their own schedules, and those who work in the corporate world have carefully picked a job that allows a lot of flexibility in their work schedule. Time off and low hours are some of their biggest priorities when looking for a job.
The Life Rich are often retired early. Because their wise financial moves have allowed them to accumulate a vast amount of wealth, and their minimalistic lifestyle is inexpensive to maintain, they can easily retire much earlier than the average career worker. They also may follow the lifestyle of the “New Rich”, outlined in Tim Ferriss’s book The 4-Hour Workweek. This lifestyle is very nomadic, involves living in many different countries, and has a huge emphasis on freedom.
Producers, Not Consumers
In all aspects, the Life Rich are producers, and not consumers. This means that first off, they don’t have debt. The only kind of debt a Life Rich person would ever allow themselves to have would be a mortgage, simply because it is a smart move to buy a house as soon as is possible. Credit cards are used, but always paid off. Auto loans are avoided like the plague, and payday loans are laughed at.
Instead of consuming products and services, the Life Rich person produces as much as possible. They start with cooking their own food from scratch, and move on up from there. If they have the space for it, they have a garden to grow their own food in, and maybe are raising some small farm animals like chickens. All their food is cooked from scratch, and they likely make things that most other people buy pre-made, like salsa and sausage.
This, of course, doesn’t stop at food. The Life Rich person knows how to produce most things he or she needs. Maybe they build their own computers, or their own furniture. They mow their own lawns and take charge of their own home renovations. Conveniences offered by big corporations in today’s society are handy, but they lower the amount of control you have over your life, and they don’t allow you the pleasure of benefiting from your own elbow grease. Not to mention the fact that they are extremely expensive.
Contributors to Society
The life long goal of the Life Rich person is to ultimately be a contributor to society, and hopefully in a big way. Leaving our world a better place than we came into it is the best way to achieve long term satisfaction with your life. There is no greater pleasure than helping out others, and making a difference with your life.
This of course can be done in thousands of ways, and every Life Rich person will have his or her own, unique way of doing it. It may be teaching, raising kids, volunteering at an animal shelter, going on mission trips to third world countries, donating money to charities, serving in the military, or many, many other ways. This isn’t done just to pad a resume, but it is done because it gives genuine satisfaction both to the person receiving, and the person giving the help. Living a full life can’t be done if you aren’t helping others live theirs as well.
Doing More, Having Less, and Loving Life
Really, the principles of the Life Rich can be summed up in those three statements.
- Doing More – The Life Rich person aims to always be doing things, and never fall into the laziness of consumerism. Being a lifelong learner and achiever is one of the biggest parts of this. The Life Rich also aim to contribute as much as possible to the world around them, and leave it a better place than when they entered it. They are producers instead of consumers in as many ways of life as possible.
- Having Less – The Life Rich understand that things don’t make you happy, in fact they can do the opposite. Minimalism and sustainability are key motives behind the things they do and what possessions they have.
- Loving Life – Of course, the Life Rich aim to love life and everything about it. They receive pleasure from doing good and contributing, and also the fact that they don’t need things to satisfy temporary needs. While every person’s definitions and means of loving life will be different, the core philosophy is the same. The Life Rich love life.
Now of course, this can’t all be fun and games. There has to be a catch right? Well I have to admit, there is a small one. You won’t be partaking of the simple pleasures of modern consumerism anymore. You won’t be commuting an hour to work, drinking lattes, and watching TV fours per day. You’ll have to work hard, and constantly learn new things. You’ll have to be able to feed yourself instead of relying on the crew at McDonald’s. You’ll have to exercise regularly and eat healthy foods.
In other words, you’ll have to stop the insanely expensive, disgusting, and rather boring life of the average American. No more creature comforts, sorry.
In my opinion this is a price more than worth paying. The life of the average person in modern society never was fulfilling enough for me, so I’ve walked down the path of the Life Rich instead. If you would like to join me in this pursuit for a fuller life and a solid financial base, you can look forward to much more writing from me on this blog in the future (and maybe a book). If you want to be updated regularly, you can subscribe with RSS, connect on Facebook or Twitter, or best of all join the email newsletter. Thanks all, and I wish you the best of luck on the road to becoming Life Rich!