How to Have a Wealthy Mindset
We all want to be rich. Everyone does. It’s woven into the fabric of today’s consumer-centric society and has been implicit in the “American Dream” ever since this country was founded. The idea that everyone has equal opportunity to achieve financial success is epitomized by the stories of Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, and Oprah. However, none of these individuals began with the dream of becoming a billionaire. Instead, the success of their stories is characterized by a wealthy mindset – an uncompromising dedication to live in accordance with a strong set of core values – and a dream to change the world for the better.
Rich vs. Wealthy
Some wish to be rich, while others aim to be wealthy. While the definitions of these two terms have been conflated, there is a clear difference in intent between the two types of people. Those who aim to be “rich” see money as a toy used to procure physical comforts and experiences that are intended to provide happiness. On the other hand, those with a wealthy mindset see money as a tool used to amplify the expression of one’s values. The author of The Psychology of Money, Morgan Housel, identifies this very distinction through an anecdote in the beginning of his book. In it, a technology multimillionaire went broke while living a lavish lifestyle, at one point tossing gold coins worth $1,000 apiece into the sea as if they were skipping stones. At the same time, janitor and gas station attendant Ronald Read scrimped and saved his way to a nearly $8 million estate by investing in a modest stock portfolio for decades.
As Jason Zweig of the Wall Street Journal puts it, “Investing isn’t an IQ test; it’s a test of character. Unlike the man who chucked coins into the sea, Mr. Read could defer gratification and had no need to spend big so other people wouldn’t think he was small.”1 A wealthy mindset begins with the understanding that wealth is not built on appearances; it is built on a principled life of saving and investing. To be rich is to spend; to be wealthy is to accumulate.2
Identify Your Values (What Does Live Big Mean to You?)3
While stewardship of one’s resources is an important step on the path to a wealthy life, a wealthy mindset also entails a sharp clarity about one’s values system. Every action a person takes is guided in some way by his or her values. This is why it is crucial to explore them. Give yourself time for a “self-discovery” process: ponder your greatest hopes and dreams, name the people that matter most to you, and identify the organizations that speak to your heart (and why their missions resonate so deeply with you). Define what Live Big® really means to you. By uncovering the patterns woven throughout the tapestry of your life, you recognize that your entire pursuit of wealth is shaped by the values that guide you.
- Wealth is not a destination; it’s the continued expression of one’s core values. It’s the art of living big.
Of course, no journey is completed without the hero facing challenges. Frodo could not simply walk into Mordor, nor could he ride the Great Eagles all the way to Mount Doom to destroy the One Ring. Everyone who earns wealth must answer the question of what to do with it – a question so full of traps and snares that even the most careful people may stumble. One common stumbling block is the hedonic treadmill4. It has been shown that, after attaining a new level of wealth, a person’s happiness effectively “resets,” returning to a baseline level comparable to where it was prior to achieving that goal. In other words, the joy and satisfaction of reaching the “next level” of wealth is fleeting and should not be relied upon as a source of fulfillment.
A second stumbling block is the idea of “keeping up with the Joneses.” The fact is that wealth is relative.5 Setting goals based on the success of others will never lead to fulfillment. Every wealth journey is unique, just as every individual is unique. Don’t get caught up chasing others’ dreams.
Everyone wants to be rich, but at Yeske Buie, we aim higher. We strive to equip every Client with a wealthy mindset and encourage them to define their Live Big® lives. If you are curious to define this for yourself, or if you simply have questions about your own wealth journey, please do not hesitate to contact us.
- Zweig, Jason. Do You Know the Difference Between Being Rich and Being Wealthy? The Wall Street Journal. August 7, 2020.
- Maldonado, Camilo. Rich vs. Wealthy: Here’s Why It’s Better To Be Wealthy. The Finance Twins. March 4, 2021.
- What Does It Mean to You To Live Big®. Yeske Buie.
- Hedonic Treadmill. Psychology Today.
- Win With Money! | How To Have a Wealthy Mindset. The Money Guy Show. April 10, 2018.