It was another turbulent day on Wall Street, and I certainly want to acknowledge the fear and uncertainty you may be feeling. My thoughts haven’t altered from my earlier blog, so please feel free to read through that for my thoughts on market turbulence.
Rather than focus on the latest wrench in the global economic recovery, I want you to go through a process with me. I want you to take a few minutes today to create your Wealth Statement. I’ve adapted my own Wealth Statement to help me focus not on building wealth, but on how I wish to live my life. My Wealth Statement helps me keep the world in perspective and filter out the noise that can otherwise be distracting.
We all see wealth in different ways and it’s important to remember this as you create your Wealth Statement. Some may see wealth as being able to retire at 50, some may see it as owning a Porsche and others may see it as time spent with friends and loved ones. While Merriam-Webster defines wealth as “abundance of valuable material possessions or resources”, I see wealth beyond that. I see wealth as the people, and events that bring happiness and fulfillment to our lives, with material possessions and resources as a tool to help us further enhance this experience, but not necessarily the key to being wealthy.
My Wealth Statement is “To live each day to assist those in need through volunteering and charitable giving. To always work relentlessly and in the best interest of the families and businesses that have shared their aspirations with me. To be the best husband, father and son that I can be – and understand that I can’t be perfect at all three, all the time.”
My Wealth Statement isn’t tied to reaching any designated financial goal, but to help me pursue my passion of helping others, whether it be through serving meals to the needy, shoveling mulch at church or helping businesses and families map their way to success. My fulfillment in life isn’t tied the daily performance of the stock market, but to the actions that I can control and take each day. This Wealth Statement helps me see past the short-term ups and downs of the market and keep my focus on the things that are important in my daily life and to my long-term goals. It challenges me to rethink and review recommendations and look for possible deviations that will need to be addressed. It keeps me grounded so that I can have more meaningful relationships with the people that are seeking my advice and recommendations.
What I want you to do now is to think about what is important to you today. Will this same thing be important to you in ten years or twenty years? If it is, start to think how this adds wealth and fulfillment to your life. How does your job, savings and spending tie into these important goals and desires? If the items that are important to you today won’t be important to you in ten or twenty years, what is going to change that no longer makes them important to you? Do you need to focus on them as much today or find other ways to focus your time and energy?
Going through this process will help you realize the things that are truly important to you not just today, but for your long-term fulfillment as well. Write down and commit your Wealth Statement to memory. When you’re frustrated at work, disgusted by politics or feeling panicked about the stock market, come back to your Wealth Statement and look for it to give you the resolve and guidance to stay the course. You’ll know that fulfillment in your life is able to come through other means and that a few bad weeks of portfolio returns, will likely be insignificant in ten or twenty years.