The question of, “Are you Rich or are you Wealthy?” is explored in Paul Sullivan’s intriguing book The Thin Green Line. In case you don’t have time to read 215 pages, I will share with you what I got from reading the book. My hope is they will challenge your thinking about how you see yourself.
When Sullivan interviewed Michael Sonnenfeldt, he put it like this, “My perception is many people who are not Wealthy, they think the key to getting Rich is making a lot of money, but look at all the movie stars and athletes who have made endless amounts of money and are dirt-poor. They make $10-15 million a year and they get to 45 years old and they are flat broke.”
He continues, “What’s seen is the money they made, but what’s unseen is the choices that they’ve made. It’s what allows them to continue to be Wealthy.” This part I think is the clincher. “The issue is not in any way to diminish the success you’re enjoying. The issue is to look at the implications of the choices you have made relative to the success you have had.”
So, what does this mean? Wealthy is different from being Rich. Rich is a number and as the Great Depression in the 1930’s and the GFC in 2008 showed, Rich didn’t equate to being financially secure. Rich are those who drive expensive cars, have huge debt and are ‘living the life’ until it all comes crashing down and you realise you have nothing to fall back on.
This reminds me of a saying we have, “Don’t try to keep up with the Jones’s, they’re probably broke!”
Being Wealthy on the other hand is having more money than you need, so you know you can do all the things you want to do. Being Wealthy isn’t the exclusive right of the high profile person or the professionals. Being Wealthy can apply to anyone from any walk of live who is prepared to make the tough choices along the way.
As part of the research for the book. Sullivan partnered with Brad Klontz (a financial psychologist) to study what made the difference between the Rich and the Wealthy. I was privileged to attend a webinar through the Financial Therapy Association of USA (of which I am a member), and Brad highlighted a few of the key points that came out of the research.
The stereo type of what we perceive as Wealthy portrayed in the media, is not in many cases who the Wealthy are.
Net worth (or your wealth) is what you hold onto, not how much you spend. What the Wealthy actually spend (according to the Klontz research), is not what is portrayed on TV, so it is very easy to self-sabotage your wealth creation and spend on what you think are what the Wealthy have.
The research also highlighted that the Wealthy have different money scripts (beliefs), they are low on money avoidance beliefs and high on money status beliefs.
The Wealthy also have a high internal locus of control, in other words they take more responsibility for their actions, what is working in their lives and what isn’t.
So, if you want to be Wealthy as opposed to Rich. Stop focusing on the stereotypes of what you think wealth is, and start working on your own beliefs.
With real wealth comes discretionary time, money is merely the fuel.
If you would like to know more about how to understand your relationship with money and what your beliefs are. Drop us a line and we will send you a copy of our e-book, Spice Up Your Relationship with Money.