Why Everyone Should be Wealthy

A good friend of mine posted this up on her blog and I thought, I should comment a bit on this. Not as a disagreement to her ideas but rather, to express my point of view. By the way, if she reads this blog, don’t get angry yah? Just want to promote a healthy debate. Here’s the excerpt from her blog:

“…..We saw a table of rich peeps having their meal. There was a bodyguard, sitting a few tables away (near the entrance) and he was wearing this black uniform. Another bodyguard stood outside the cafe. Man! They were a pair of fierce looking duo. Scary looking Malay men! Then #### and I were both wondering, why make life like this? Why make life so difficult? Well, it might seem to be very high class to have bodyguards tagging along behind ya but hey! That simply means that you’re rich and that you’re afraid that people might rob you anytime. A worried and stressful lifestyle. For what huh? I don’t know. You can have all the money in the world but yet, you’re worried. You might think that I have a simple mind but yeah! I prefer a simple lifestyle with a just-enough-to-spend financial status. Just my opinion. Something to ponder about. What is your choice? Or do you really have a choice? Some people are born to be rich while some are born to be average. Unless you earn it by yourself. Climb up that ladder and earn yourself a status. People said that if you want something, you have to sacrifice some other things. My opinion? Family has always been on top of my priority list and it will always be. Spending quality time with family is good enough for me. I’m simple. And that makes me me. FYI, I’m a very family-oriented person. *winks*”

Referring to above, yes it is cool having a couple of Men-in-Blacks following you around. With the sunglasses, earpiece and a stonecold face. Hehe. Nah, just kidding 🙂

Alright, let’s get serious.

A lot of people have chosen to better themselves and work on becoming wealthy not for the purpose of achieving the high-class status per se. Yes, they want to better their lifestyle, enjoying what the world has got to offer but I dare say that this is not their main objective. Look at Warren Buffett for example. For those who does not know who he is, well, he is arguably the most famous value investors of all time. Warren Buffett, being the second richest man on earth, is still living in a house he bought in 1958 for $31,500. He doesn’t own many luxury cars at all. He also does his own taxes. You see, it doesn’t mean that you can’t live a simple life when you’re rich. Being rich just gives you more options.

Another thing, philanthropic efforts. Being rich gives you the option of being more involved with charities and humanitarian efforts. Yes, you can still donate to charities when you earn an average salary, but imagine the magnitude of help that you can provide if you’re a billionaire. How much can you give if you earn $60,000 per year versus how much can you give if you earn $60,000 per month?Also, think about this situation:

“You’re a doctor and you decide to volunteer yourself and spend some time in Africa to help the poor. On average, you are able to help 100 people per day.”

That sounds great right? Consider this situation:

“You are a billionaire and you decide to help the needy in Africa. You then hire 100 doctors and send them to Africa. On average, one doctor can treat 100 patients per day. That means, you are helping 10,000 people per day!”

So, which one is better?

Back to Warren Buffett, he recently pledged 83% of his wealth to Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. That’s about 30 billion dollars!

Being financially free also opens an opportunity to not have to enslave yourself with working from 9 to 5. You get to do what matters most to your life. You can spend more time with your family, you can spend more time getting closer to God, and etc. A rich-man can also be a family-man. Also, now, stress is no longer an issue. I regard working for people from Monday to Friday, from 9 to 5, for 30 years, as a stressful lifestyle. You worry about money, you worry about time, you worry losing your job, and etc.

Yes, sometimes, we also worry about getting robbed and etc., but hey, if you keep a low-profile and lead a “simple life”, it wouldn’t be much of a problem would it? Also, who says that an “average” person doesn’t pose the risk of getting robbed? Referring to the excerpt above, I think that person is just worried about somebody harming his family, that’s all. Nothing wrong with that. People also spend a lot of money installing burglary alarm system in their homes. Are they saying “Hey, I’ve got a lot of valuables in my house that I need to install an alarm” ? I doubt it. They just care about their personal safety.

Let’s look at an example that is closer to home. Does the name Tan Sri Syed Mokhtar Al-Bukhary ring a bell? He’s a billionaire but rarely can we see him on TVs and magazines. He only uses a Proton Perdana and I heard somewhere that if you actually meet him in person, you’d be shocked to learn that he’s actually a billionaire. Also, his philantrophic efforts, my goodness, no need to comment on this. All I can say is, if we have more people like him, the world would be a much better place to live.

One might also argue that when you’re rich, you become arrogant. Surprise surprise, there are also heaps of arrogant “average” people.

Another thing, most people would like to have kids. Being rich, your kids’ education in the future is pretty much guaranteed. No need to worry about scholarships, and study loans. Giving your kids a headstart really is a nice thing to do, no?

Another interesting fact, there’s this millionaire that I heard of. He invests his money somewhere and uses the profits to sponsor people to go for their Hajj.

If we adopt a just-enough-to-spend attitude, what happens if something bad happens to us? What happens if we were downsized? What happens if one day you lose your ability to work because of an accident? What happens if, assuming you’re the breadwinner, you die. What’s going to happen to your family? Something to ponder upon…

I guess at the end of the day, you make your own life choices. You can become rich or become “average”. If you do become rich, then you can choose to lead an extravagant life or lead a “simple-life” instead. It really is up to you.

Money is just a tool. It is a tool that can help you and others. Just that, one needs to learn to not get obsessed with money too much that it clouds your judgement.

P.S. If anybody is offended by this post, I offer my apologies.

About nadlique

This blog is about the journey of a 28-year-old Malaysian towards financial freedom. This blog was started back when the blogger was 21 years old. However, his journey towards financial freedom had begun way before that. Materials such as investing, business, entrepreneurship, equities, and real estate are presented. The author also posts his thoughts and observations on life in general.

Comments

  1. We need to ask here, if everyone can be rich. The world’s highest percapita GDP is in Luxembourg (US$60,228). GDP is not income, but let’s use it that way anyhow. Suppose everyone in Luxembourg had 60K$ coming in. This would be comfortable in the US and reasonably so in the more-expensive UK or Germany. Practically anywhere in Africa it would define you as incredibly rich. Still, this is not billionaire territory, so you wouldn’t be sending regiments of doctors out to quash cholera. So, we can see that rich is relative. If you have more money than the people you compare yourself with, then you’re rich.

    On the absolute scale, there is no argument that a billionaire is rich. Since that’s a thousand million you could spend ten million each year of a hundred year lifespan. How about a millionaire (USD not Indonesian rupiah)? Well, if $1,000,000 is invested in a “fixed deposit” account paying 6%, then the annual return is $60,000, which is pretty close to that average Luxemburger (or Luxembourgeois). You would still be in the top 1% worldwide, and actually in the top 8% or thereabouts in the US.

    Now that we got relativity straightened out, let’s go back to Luxembourg. Since everyone is making 60 grand, who is going to take out the garbage and do the laundry and cook dinner and shine the shoes and stuff like that? Would a sixty-thousanaire be willing to do that for himself? If so, the problem is solved. If not, then someone, some cadre of people have to be less than rich so that they are willing to take on the dirty work; and we cannot achieve everyone being rich. Call that Problem Two (P2). P2 is an issue in places like Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Brunei, which are floating on lakes of oil. Nobody wants to get their hands dirty, so they import people from Philippines and Sri Lanka and Indonesia to do it for them. Indeed, in Saudi Arabia even the shopkeepers are foreign nationals.

    What about P1? Problem One is how to enrich people above even $1 per day in countries where opportunity is lacking. Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere and has been that way for a very long time. African countries like Chad and Sierra Leone are desperately poor. Even Congo, which is rich in natural resources, is nevertheless poor at the human level.

  2. Relativity of Wealth — The US government defines the poverty level to be $22,000 a year for a family of four. Meanwhile I know a Filipina divorcee who gets about $20,000 in annual alimony. With this kind of money she is Big Mama in her rural village. She has a nice new house with someone to clean it, and a car with driver. I’m envious!

  3. Hello there.

    Thanks for your comments.

    First of all, I have done a short article on “why not everyone can be wealthy” to add to “why everyone should be wealthy.” I was planning to upload it sometime within this week. I was going to share my opinion on why it is against the natural order to have every single men and women being rich/wealthy/individual but then you posted your comments. Dang! You ruined the surprise. Hehe. Just kidding 😉

    I should have made myself clear that when I say wealthy/rich, what I actually mean is being FINANCIALLY FREE, not being a billionaire per se. To me, a person is still not wealthy even if he owns 50 billion dollars worth of assets but spends 100 billion dollars per month.

    Also, being financially free, according to another one of my articles, is something really subjective. It is up to the individual to determine whether or not he is financially free. You can have $1 passive income per month to regard yourself as financially free, or you might need $100,000 per month before you can actually call yourself as financially free.

    My example on the billionaire sponsoring medical teams to be sent to Africa was a mere example. I was trying to compare the magnitude of help one can provide when he’s an average earner versus when he’s a wealthy individual.

    My point is, when you’re financially free, you have more time to do something else more important. Example, for a philanthropist, he might now have more time to work with charity organisations or to raise money to send doctors and medicines to Africa. Once you get yourself out of the rat race, then things beneficial to the society as a whole can be carried out.

    Please also take note that, when I say Africa, I’m not taking into consideration only Africa. Plus, I don’t think Africa’s problem could be solved anytime soon. In fact, I think Africa is going to be Africa for the next thousand years, if not till the end of the world. However, that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t, to the best of our ability, help out.

    In my post, I was omitting the fact that each country is different economically and socially. It was out of the scope of my article to discuss the difference in having $60,000 in Luxembourg and $60,000 in the US. I was aiming to let my readers’ imagination run wild and let them think for themselves on what they would consider as FINANCIAL FREEDOM. Again, to me, financial freedom, rich, wealthy, is interchangeable.

    Back to what I said in para 1, yes, not everyone can be rich. Why? As you said, if everyone was to be rich, then who’s going to man the national security forces, who was going to be the garbage man, who was going to be a construction worker, and etc. Believe me, if I was rich, I wouldn’t want to get my hands dirty either. I also know that achieving 100% of the human population being wealthy is highly unlikely. Not impossible, but highly unlikely. However, it still is great if everyone had the common goal of being financially free.

    To be financially free, I believe that one must have good money money management skill, good budget, and good planning skills. Perhaps, Haiti, Chad, Sierra Leone, do not have these qualities? In addition to other social illnesses of course. Kuwait was once like that before. Might not be as bad, but you get the picture. Now, they’re thriving. No personal income tax as well! I wouldn’t be surprised if Iraq was to be transformed into its former glory of Babylon. So, I think it’s fair to say, theory of impossibility is out of the question.

    This is rather a subjective issue and I guess it all depends on a person to make his/her own conclusions.

  4. Another thing to add, we wouldn’t have everybody being rich all at the same time. In a society, we have 10-year-olds, 20-year-olds, 50-year-olds, and etc. One can achieve financial freedom when he’s 20 while another can only achieve financial freedom when he’s 60. This is not to say that one is not entitled to wealth. It is just a matter of when and where. While it is highly unlikely for everybody to be rich at the same time, who has the right to say that they might not achieve wealth at some point in their lives?

  5. So now we have two definitions of wealth (1) having more than the people you compare yourself to (2) spending less than you make. The second one is achievable at rather low income.

  6. Well, everybody has his own perception of wealth. Owning one piece of land is wealth to a person while to another, that’s not enough.

    Yes, my perception of wealth is financial freedom. i.e. you spend less than what you make with some extra money left aside. By what you make, I mean your passive income, not what you earn from working 9 to 5.

    “….So now we have two definitions of wealth (1) having more than the people you compare yourself to (2) spending less than you make. The second one is achievable at rather low income…..”

    (1) To compare what you have with what another person’s have, one must set his own benchmark. As I said, this is rather subjective. You might compare yourself to Bill Gates or you might compare yourself to the millionaire living a few blocks from your house.

    (2) When you say it is achievable at a rather low-income, I’m assuming you mean income from a day job? Financial freedom is about spending less than the amount of your PASSIVE income. To get PASSIVE INCOME, you need assets, a rather large asset base I might add.

  7. Also consider this (In Malaysia’s context):

    A person earns $10,000 of passive income per month. To earn this, assume he needs an asset base of $2,400,000 earning 5% p.a. (inflation not taken into consideration). His expenses amounts to $5,000 per month.

    By my definition:

    1. Yes, he is financially free. His passive income is more than his monthly expenses. (Take note I state passive income and not income you earn from your day job). Usually, to earn passive incomes, you need assets. Thus, the reason why to me, financial freedom, rich, and wealth are interchangeable.

    2. A person who has an asset base of $2,400,000 can be considered as wealthy. This is especially true in Malaysia, don’t know about the US.

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  1. […] hope most of you have read my article “Why everyone should be wealthy“. This particular post is pretty much related to that […]

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