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.