I have quite a small circle of family and friends.
Which is why I’m a little surprised to say that one of them is very impressed by the accoutrements of ‘rich’.
The expensive, new car.
The too-big house.
The shiny watch.
The multiple investment properties.
The weightily expensive handbag.
The expensive shouts at the bar.
The latest toys and gadgets.
And fair enough too – those things are nice!
But I’ve tried to explain that, in my 15-odd years experience advising people about their money, that stuff doesn’t impress me.
Not only because I’ve seen the overdue credit card statements funding some of these purchases, or the worry lines mortgage stress has etched on peoples faces.
Or because my role is to look past the short-term gratification and consider the long-term impact of the choices people make – and it’s pretty rare for an expensive handbag to lead to great long-term outcomes.
More than that, it’s because I’ve seen that there are other signifiers of real wealth:
Enough cash in the bank to cover ANY eventuality.
Working by choice, not obligation.
A well-designed, well-built house (with quality fittings).
A car they like, but doesn’t define them.
Quality clothes from brands I’ve never heard of.
Control over their time.
This last one, the ability to say how you spend your time, is, to me, true luxury. Where, instead of having to troop into the office, or sit in that meeting, or listen to your hack boss, you can do what you want.
When you want.
Regardless of how much money you have, this is real freedom and wealth.
These aren’t flashy or fun, but they are indicative of what I’d call “quiet wealth”. They’re the signifiers of financial confidence.
You might be shocked at how much quiet wealth there is in the community – and who has it. As a rule, it’s rarely the flashy types you’re thinking of as you read this. They tend to pour too much of their limited money into the shiny accoutrements of the rich, rather than invest in the boring enjoyment of the wealthy.
But this – quiet, understated wealth that really means financial freedom – is what impresses me.
That other stuff?
Well, you know what Shania Twain once said…