All of us are looking how to grow and enjoy our wealth. Here is the secret to how to make the most of your money.
I recently attending an investors conference with a few friends. It was mainly tailored towards property investing, but also talked a bit about negotiating the share market. As the old adage goes, you don’t get wealthy by saving, you get wealthy by investing, so I was interested to go along and learn some more strategies for developing wealth. In the next 5 or so years, this is more of a personal priority for me going forward.
No matter your income or education, I think it would be safe to say that all of us would like to make the most of our finances. If we’re in debt, we’re looking to get out of it. If we’re doing okay with our monthly budgeting, we’re looking at saving more. If our savings are good, we’re looking to grow and develop a portfolio. If we have a working portfolio, we are trying to supplement or replace our income. If you’ve already done that, then you are probably the guy or the girl everyone wants to take lessons from.
Money really does make the world go round, and all of us are looking to do better by it and have it do better by us.
One of the many things that King Solomon said about money was that both wealth and the capacity to enjoy it are gifts from God. A lot of us kind of wish we would have more of the former to play around with.
So before revealing what I think is the greatest secret to making the most of our money, it may be worth tackling these two elements first.
How much you have – your wealth
We place a lot of our value in the number of digits in our salary and the amount of zeroes we have at the end of our bank balance. Most of our lives are framed around the quest for wealth. We all try to get a good education. Why? So we can get a good job. Why? So we can pay the bills and live comfortable lives and all the rest of it. We have a predisposition towards growing our finances.
And I guess in some ways, our value of ourselves and of others is very finance-oriented.
Look at the various lists Forbes publishes, for instance. All the regular updates to the Richest lists that change every year. Examining what Trump is up to in the next few months so we can learn some ideas for ourselves. Or how about the Fortune 500 – we have a list of the top 500 companies in the world based on the criteria of their financial success. We talk about people’s net worth and are always interested in the asset base people have.
Another thing King Solomon said was that a rich man’s security lies in his wealth. It is very true that when you have quite a lot, you find some comfort in it. You nestle into your lifestyle.
But I think a good reality check in the realm of finances is that no matter how much you earn, if you are reading this article on a computer or a smartphone, you fall into the category of the rich.
I read once in the last 5 years that if you earn over $37000US a year, it puts you in the top 4% of income earners in the world. A significant portion of the world still live on less than $1 US a day.
And here we are with our 5 smartphones, two airconditioners, double garage, our cars and bikes, our movie collections, our cable subscription, our bookcases, our full wardrobes and our takeout food, complaining about how little we have.
Perhaps we should recognize that we are much better off than we complain about.
How much you enjoy it – contentment
This is where the second dimension comes in. Sure, you can have money, but if you don’t enjoy it, it’s a bit of a curse.
People spend their whole lives climbing the corporate ladder as their sole focus in life, only to find the ladder was leaning against the wrong building.
People accumulate masses of wealth living what looks like the life of luxury, but not fully enjoying it.
You don’t need to look any further oftentimes than your own life. Are there any purchases you have made this week that you didn’t enjoy as much as you planned to? You bought some product that was advertised to make you happy or make your life better, and it really didn’t do that at all?
I look sometimes at the crazy lives of luxury that celebrities live. And yet every single day, another celebrity has killed themselves or have gone on some drug overdose. If money brought happiness by itself, surely they wouldn’t be so depressed.
These people we mentioned who earn less than $1 a day – sometimes we look on on their lives and wonder how they could live like that.
And yet there are so many people who live at that level who are abounding in happiness. Grateful for what they have. Making the most of what’s in their hands.
So we find ourselves looking to bring these two ends together – the wealth and the contentment.
And here’s the secret.
How much you give away – generosity
Jesus said it is more blessed to give than to receive. And we all know this in our heads. We teach this to our kids. We regularly use this expression in our day-to-day.
But how do we live it out?
Most of us get so distracted in our own thing that we become hoarders of wealth. We have collections of things we don’t care about, we build our own empires, we further our own causes.
And yet the real secret to truly enjoying wealth is found in using it to bless others.
I’m always inspired by Bill and Melinda Gates and what they do with the Gates Foundation. Most people remember Bill from his days at Microsoft (and some people think he’s still the boss all these years later), yet in 2006, he moved into full-time involvement in his charity. In a world where it is so easy to just buy everything you want and remain internally focused, they have taking their massive wealth and been able to help thousands of people every year through their various projects.
They are not the only millionaires who have done so. In his book, “Wisdom of Wealthy Achievers”, Phil Baker references a survey of 100 millionaires that examined their commonalities. They all came from different cultural backgrounds, worked in different fields, and had different lifestyles. At the end of the day, one of the only common traits between the people they interviewed was that they all gave significant percentages of their income away to noble causes.
And personally, I know many great men and women who have developed extremely strong personal wealth and businesses, and are regularly making significant donations or even providing full funding for some great missions and charity-related causes.
I think it is absolutely great for people to make money, and lots of it. If you are talented in the realms of business or investing or however else you generate income, I think you should by all means go for it.I also think it’s great that you can spoil yourself a bit and enjoy the fruit of your labour. I have no problem with people having multiple cars or a house they enjoy or any of those things.
But what an even greater blessing to be able to enjoy your wealth by recognizing its ultimate purpose.
And there is no greater way to enjoy your wealth than being able to use it to bless others.
Generosity doesn’t require you to have lots of money before you implement it. It is a habit that starts small and can lead you into greater things. If you are faithful in little, you will be faithful in much.
This is a paradigm shift in our thinking. No longer is our wealth and our work and our striving only for ourselves, but it finds its proper context in being used to bless others.
When was the last time you took your wealth and did something generous with it? It doesn’t even have to be that you donated $2 million to charity this year. It could be that you bought a friend dinner one night every week or so and just blessed them with it. It could be buying coffees for the people in the office during a particularly stressful day. Maybe it’s supporting mission work, or sponsoring a child. Maybe it’s even spoiling your wife once in a while with a good night out. Maybe it’s building and maintaining your wealth so that your kids will have a better start than you did.
Generosity has so many different facets, and it is definitely a topic that is regularly revisited here on the site. We can be generous with our words, our time, our efforts and our attention. But so often we use those as a complete substitute for also being generous with our wealth.
So in summary, how do you make the most of your money? I truly believe it lies in recognizing that wealth is not all about you, but that you and I are blessed to be a blessing. And when we live our lives like that, no longer are we so plagued by empty purchases or fruitless effort, but we can truly find joy in our work and wealth in making it largely about others.
Oh yeah, and don’t feel too bad about showing yourself some generosity from time to time.
What are your thoughts on the topic of generosity? What are some other ways to make the most of your money?