There’s a myth being propagated about the wealthy (mostly by movies, social media, and television) and it goes a little something like this:
When you become wealthy you can buy whatever you want, and you won’t need to work anymore. Life is one big vacation — filled with trips to the Bahamas, fancy sports cars, mansions, luxury hotels, and nice restaurants.
Maybe you’ve seen or heard this myth before. It’s pretty common. The emphasis is on the spending.
Those mental images about being wealthy are what I call wealth porn. It’s the plastic-fantastic version of wealth made to look sexy and appealing. It’s also mostly fake. As the Millionaire Next Door teaches us, the vast majority of millionaires actually live pretty humble lifestyles. They live pretty much like everyone else.
But that’s not to say there aren’t advantages to being wealthy. There are A LOT of advantages to being wealthy. The problem is, those advantages don’t get talked about very often. Instead, the media simply propagates the wealth porn version.
If that’s the version of wealth you’re hot and horny for — Well, there’s the Rich Kids Of Instagram for that.
As a millionaire myself, I already know how useless a flashy lifestyle is. I’m more interested in the advantages that wealth brings.
The “How You Earn” Advantage
When you’re poor, trading your time for money is the normal way to get by. It’s how most folks afford food, shelter, healthcare, and all the necessities of life. This is considered a perfectly acceptable way to live. If you’re not careful however, you could end-up trading too much of your precious time. You might even die at your desk.
The wealthy have a big advantage in how money is earned — they don’t have to deal with that little inconvenience called a job. Instead of trading time for money, their money simply does the work for them. That money is invested in assets like real estate, bonds, stocks, and other business interests which works while the investor eats, sleeps, and otherwise carries on with life. All without having to lift a finger or commute to work.
This frees up a ton of time — 40 hours a week (or more) to pursue leisure, education, building even more wealth, or other productive pursuits.
Now that’s not to say that wealthy people don’t have jobs (many do), but the trading of time for money is not required by the wealthy.
The “No-Line” Efficiency Advantage
Have you ever heard the phrase “Wealthy people don’t wait in line.” I’ve found this little catch-phrase is true in a number of different ways.
For example, I used to do the vast majority of my shopping after work or on the weekends… along with everyone else tied to a 9 to 5 work schedule. I’d be stuck in traffic, standing in checkout lines, and dodging shopping carts amongst throngs of people. It was a giant pain in the ass to go shopping because I hate standing in lines.
Often times I’d simply pick the store closest to home because it was the most convenient to shop at, not because it had the best prices.
Once I reached financial independence, this all changed. I slowly came to realize that those old patterns were incredibly inefficient. Instead of shopping at Costco along with the mobs of people on the weekend and using up 2 hours of my day, I now shop there at 11:00 AM on a Tuesday.
If you’ve ever shopped at Costco on a Tuesday morning, you’ll know exactly what I mean. It’s as dead as a doornail. I can race down the isles and be in and out of the store in 30 minutes!
These efficiency gains don’t stop with shopping either — I now do most of my errands during “dead” times of the day with little traffic or wait time. Going to the dentist is now faster. Getting my annual car emission inspection is quicker. Even a trip to the post office now takes a fraction of time it did before.
The same goes for travel — instead of flying on the weekends, I can now pick the cheapest day of the week to fly. Usually it’s on a Wednesday morning… which is totally fine by me.
Or, I can pay extra and pick flight times that are the least busy at the airport or have the fewest ground transportation traffic. This usually happens early in the morning (before commute time) or late at night.
Having wealth and time allows me the freedom to pick whatever I conditions I want to optimize for.
The Health Advantage
As a father of two kids, I know very well the challenge of trying to balance work, and family life. Kids take a lot of time, and maintaining a job takes even more time. Doing both is burdensome. Eventually something has to give, and for many parents (sadly) our health suffers.
Instead of heading to the gym or working out regularly, parents often try to catch-up on some needed rest.
I can totally relate to it because just a few years ago that was me — After a long day at work, I would come home to two kids that needed a lot of care. Exercise became secondary. By the time I got the kids into bed, I was too exhausted to do anything else. The only thing on my mind was sleep.
All that changed once I didn’t need to worry about maintaining a job. I now walk my kid to school every day, getting an hour of exercise each day. After my walk, (if I’m feeling up to it) I’ll even add in a little weight lifting or add a few sets of push-ups.
Not only do I get to spend a little more time with my son, but it also feels great to get regular exercise again.
I have my wealth to thank for this — not only do I have enough time for exercise, but being healthy is going to keep medical costs lower over time. Heck, I might even live longer because of my wealth!
The Weirdo Advantage
Stop me if you’ve heard this one before — Wealthy people are kind of weird. While weird usually isn’t a nice word to use, being weird can have big advantages.
For one, much of our spending in the modern world is about conforming to social pressures and social norms. Being ‘weird’ is essentially a statement that means we don’t fit those norms.
Think about it — when you work in an office 40 hours a week, you have something of a relationship with your co-workers. Those co-workers are going to be placing social pressure on you — From what kind of car to drive, to what kind of diet you pick. Social pressure is everywhere.
It’s perfectly normal — people want to fit in. If all your co-workers wear suits and ties to work, you’ll probably dress nice too. Most people don’t want to stand-out from the crowd.
But the wealthy aren’t exposed to those same social pressures. In my case, once I escaped from regular work it was comfortable jeans and t-shirts everyday. I no longer felt the need to conform. I’m the first to admit that I got pretty weird… and in my mind it’s a good thing! I can do things differently.
I don’t need to own a nice car or nice clothes to feel good about myself. (Hell, I know some wealthy people that don’t even own a car.) Neither do I need to impress my co-workers with the latest cell phone from Samsung or Apple — I’m perfectly happy rocking my 6 year old Samsung phone that I bought used.
I save a ton of money every year because I’m not interested in conforming. Instead, I focus on putting my money into places where I believe it matters — my kids, and investing even more money to keep building my wealth.
They say wealth can’t buy happiness, but that doesn’t mean having wealth doesn’t have some major advantages. It’s through these advantages that I believe you can find happiness.
The world sells one image of wealth on TV and social media, but I’d like the world to know that there’s other options. Wealth doesn’t need to be about spending.
After a few years of living a life of Financial Independence, I really don’t want to buy anything. My happiness and success in life aren’t realized by buying things. Instead, I want the real advantages that having wealth provides. How about you?