• Ciaran Burks

So, you want to be Rich?

Updated: Jun 15, 2020

We have a fetish for the rich, don’t we? And no wonder. We see their helicopter landing pads, billionaire mansions and kitschy cars. “Oh man” we think, “gold-leafed sushi, private jets, cocaine-fuelled frenzies, now that’s living!”. Even as we think it we know, it’s all a show. When last were you truly happy, in that quiet contented way that makes you smile as you recall it?

For me it was just last night, sipping tea in a warm bed as I laughed with my wife about God-knows what. We want to be rich, we think, because it will make us happy. But we know, that being happy doesn’t require riches, although it often does require money.

I am not here to tell you to sell everything, convert to Buddhism and relinquish your ties to earthly things. Hell, I want to be rich too. But I be that I think about it differently than you do (until now of course). Being rich is a term we use so loosely, and so unknowingly, that it means very little. Does it mean being able to afford a private jet? How about a first-class ticket, or maybe even business class? Does it mean being able to get up in the morning whenever I want? Or is it about eating at London’s best restaurant without caring about the costs? Bill Gates was talking at the University of Washington when he famously said “I can understand about having millions of dollars. There's meaningful freedom that comes with that, but once you get much beyond that I have to tell you, it's the same hamburger.”

What I’m trying to say is that you don’t want to be rich, you want to be free (to do the things you love), and I am here to tell you: You can be! And you don’t even need millions of dollars.

Let’s try and answer two things today that will get you thinking about being rich in the right terms. First, we are going to discover what you really love to do. Then, we are going to ask how much that really costs. Once we know these two things, we can begin formulating a Real Plan that allows us to spend more time doing what we love. In a word, we can become Rich.

I live by the rule “Keep it Simple, Stupid!” (KISS). So here is a template, already filled in, of my “Rich vision”. Try it yourself and you should notice that what you want really is within your reach. Next time, we’ll discuss how to start managing our finances to move towards the vision we’ve created.

Top 5 things I love to do most:

1. Fun activities with my wife, including: River rafting, skiing, exploring tourist attractions, theme parks, picnics, catching a movie, walks, etc.

2. Fun activities with my friends including: Braais (barbeques), a night out, a football game or ten

3. Waking up without an alarm

4. Working out

5. Reading

How much they cost (roughly, per month):

1. £100 - £500 (depending on the level of extravagance)

2. £100 - £500

3. I’d need to be self-employed or I could negotiate more flexible working hours (potentially free), £0

4. £100 max

5. £100 max

Total “pocket money” that I need to do all the things I love most =

£1,200 + a successful negotiation with my boss about flexible hours.

Now, having over £1,000 in spending money after tackling all major expenses is not going to be easy for everyone but it definitely goes to show, you don’t need to be a millionaire to be Rich. Go ahead and fill out your own “Rich vision” and don’t be afraid to go extravagant on the things you really love doing. This exercise will help you target your spending, instead of wasting it on things you don’t care about. If you hate travelling and love shoes, for example, you should budget £0 per year for travelling and £500 a month for shoes. I don’t care, and I don’t judge. Just do yourself a favour money on the things that make you happy!

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© 2020 by Ciaran Burks