When it comes to the world we live in today, money is as important as it’s ever been. We need it for food, we need it for shelter and while I hate to say it, the amount of money you have denotes your place in society. It’s for this reason that so many people place the accumulation of money as the focal point of their life but should they? Let me fill you in on how the 1% approach wealth accumulation so you can have your eyes opened to what it really means to be wealthy!
We all know that money can be made in a plethora or ways. For instance, some people gain their money through an inheritance, some through long-term investing and some create businesses that literally change the course of history. Moreover, we all have different views of money based on how we were raised and the life experiences we’ve had to date. For example, I grew up being taught the importance of frugality and as such I am an extremely conscious spender. Contrarily, one would argue that a trust fund baby may be more loose with their money because they’ve had that money handed to them so they may not have as much regard for its value. This is all to say that money means different things to different people and how we accumulate that money will vary as well.
Two Forms of Wealth Accumulation
You see, the average person goes about accumulating wealth in one of two ways. The first person, and the one who likely will never have any real financial wealth, aims to stash away whatever scraps are left at the end of the month. This is the person who you always hear complaining that they have no money yet they always have the newest iPhone and go out to dinner three times a week. As I said, this person will likely never achieve true financial wealth because they’ve put acquiring short-term financial pleasures over real wealth accumulation.
Then, there are those who understand that becoming wealthy takes two things: hard work and patience. Most people don’t make their riches overnight nor do they make them on a whim which means that getting to the point where they have an overflowing bank account will take time. This generation of wealth comes from consistent investing or building a business. Now, while this second type of person has infinitely higher chances of becoming wealthy over the first, there is a trap that this second type of person falls into which separates them from the truly wealthy amongst us.
This second type of person can succumb to what I call money tunnel vision. If you don’t know what tunnel vision is, it’s when you get so focused on one item or task that you literally do not see or notice anything else around you. While there is no doubting the fact that in order to see significant financial strides in your life you must put in a ton of work, many people think of getting wealthy as an all or nothing affair and this is where they lead themselves astray.
Sadly, I used to see this all the time when I was working in management consulting. In an environment where getting ahead meant working 80 hour weeks, travelling non-stop and being constantly under management pressure, it was certainly a costly road to financial wealth. And this is where most people striving for financial success go wrong. They start to form money tunnel vision and disregard any of the externalities that come with putting money as the sole focus of their lives. In the case of my old colleagues, this commitment to their careers often led to expanding waistlines, poor sleep and in a few situations many of their relationships ended in divorce.
Fortunately, I was able to see past the money that this career could offer and soon realized that the cost simply outweighed the benefits. Sure, making $200,000 a year at 35 would have been great but not at the cost of my relationships, my health and my overall mental sanity. Again, given the importance of money in today’s world, I can’t blame these people for wanting to make as much money and for putting all their time and attention towards achieving financial wealth.
Notice how I said financial wealth and not just wealth in general? This was deliberate and the fact of the matter is that most people’s definition of wealth is financially skewed when in fact wealth is an umbrella with many elements beneath it.
Now, if this is news to you then don’t worry, I used to be dead set on the fact that being wealthy only meant building up the biggest bank account possible. Fortunately, over time I have been educated in the area of wealth and what it truly means to be wealthy.
The 3Fs of Wealth
One of my favorite wealth archetypes comes from the author of the Millionaire Fastlane, MJ DeMarco, who defines wealth as the 3Fs: Fitness, Finance and Freedom. You see, most people are so focused on the finance aspect of the wealth equation that they overlook the two other aspects, which if you ask me are just as valuable to our overall happiness and well-being.
I mean, think about it, what good is having a ton of money if you’re so out of shape that you can barely move or have zero energy to go out and enjoy the money you’ve made. Alternatively, if you are required to work 100 hours a week to maintain your wealth and have no freedom then really what’s the point of having that money in the first place. If you ask me, you only truly achieve wealth once you can have all three of these components in place and in a few minutes I will break down my own plan for achieving all three pillars of the 3F wealth equation but first let’s go over some of the key tenets that form a wealthy lifestyle.
As I just mentioned, those who are truly living a wealthy lifestyle accommodate all aspects of wealth into their lives. They place importance on time with friends and family, time to attend to their health and of course time to meet their financial objectives. Again, this is vastly different from the average person who places 100% of their time and attention into making money which they see as the only path to wealth.
Another set of activities that separate the wealthy from the rest is their commitment to thinking and learning. I hate to say it but the last time most people read a book of substance was probably in college and this is why so many people never get ahead in life. Books are like master keys that can unlock new potential in any aspect of your life. For instance, the example of the 3F (fitness, finance and freedom) came from a book and that new way of seeing wealth has dramatically improved my approach to not only making money but also valuing the non-monetary aspects of my life as well.
Moreover, those who are wealthy take time to pause and reflect. They consider what results their past actions have yielded and what approaches they need to take to see the progress they want. Again, this is an activity very few people actually undertake regularly. One great example of the perils of neglecting regular deliberate thought are those people who fall into the trap of thinking their 9–5 job will make them rich.
Each and every day, they clock in and out of their jobs with the hopes that they will soon get that big raise or promotion they’ve been hoping for that will change their financial life forever. However, whether due to a lack of performance, office politics or any other reason, that big pay jump never comes and said person is stuck in financial mediocrity forever. If they would have taken two seconds to realize that their job will never make them rich, they could have changed course and set themselves on a more appropriate path. It’s this lack of review and adaptation that is killing the financial progress of people and by thinking and learning the wealthy can avoid this mistake and get to their goals faster.
Now, the next element in the wealthy lifestyle involves material goods and this point may be controversial but hear me out. What I’ve come to notice is that while many financially well-off people do own nice things like fancy cars and big homes, they tend to not attach their self-worth to these items unlike many of their less financially well-off counterparts. For someone with very little excess disposable income, getting that base level sports car or a fancy watch becomes the center around which their self-worth is placed. On the contrary, those who tend to be able to afford material items in excess tend to place their self-worth on the value they provide as a person because it’s this incredible value that they offer that has allowed them to build significant wealth in the first place.
The final aspect of a lifestyle of wealth involves those you spend your time with. They say that “the birds of a feather flock together” and this is why those striving to become wealthy or those who have already arrived tend to only spend time with others who are living a life of purpose. I’m going to admit that as I’ve started to become even more goal focused in my own life, I’ve seen a divide in my own relationships. Some people support your quest to greater achievements while some pass doubts and given how hard it is to achieve anything significant in life, who you give your time and energy to will play a big part in if you get to your desired end goals or not.
Therefore, as you’re coming to see, building a wealthy lifestyle doesn’t mean spending every waking moment of your life trying to get rich. Wealth is much more broadly defined than just by money alone. However, the question is, how does one actually go about achieving the three pillars of wealth: fitness, finance and freedom. Let me share with you my own plan to obtain the three Fs which will hopefully inspire your own wealth-building journey.
To start, let’s talk about fitness. Fitness is by far the lowest-hanging fruit in the 3F equation and let me tell you why. First, working on your fitness can be as costly or costless as you want it to be. For some, getting fit may mean getting personal training on the daily and for others it could mean lacing up your shoes and going for a run. If you ask me, there is no financial impediment stopping you from exercising.
Now, the excuse I hear often from people who don’t work out is that they don’t have time. It’s funny how they have time to watch Netflix or spend hours on social media but can’t find 30 minutes to lift a few weights or go for a run. Personally, I think that if something means enough to you then you will find the time for it and this is why I aim to work out for an hour and a half a day because taking care of my health is of top priority. Therefore, while for some the thought of being wealthy seems to be a goal that’s far out into the future, no matter how much you have in your bank right now, you can start to enjoy the fitness component of the 3F wealth equation.
Finance & Freedom
Next, let’s talk about finances and freedom together because for most people they can have one but not the other. Most people approach the accumulation of wealth through sheer manual effort combined with the often shared financial advice of investing in the stock market over the course of many decades. This is definitely a path one could take to accruing a sizable amount of money but does it offer you both finances and freedom? I’d argue it doesn’t. For most people, being able to accrue enough money every month to save and invest will take endless amounts of work given the current income model they work within.
As I mentioned earlier, most people operate in the 9–5 mould and while this is the right choice for many people, it’s not conducive to the incomes that most people need to unlock both the finance and freedom component of the 3F wealth equation. You see, if your income doesn’t allow you to amass financial wealth quickly then you will eventually have lots of money but no freedom to enjoy it as you will be well into the back half of your life by the time this money is made. Alternatively, if you do make a ton of money now, you will have the financial component taken care of but will, in many circumstances, be missing out on freedom.
This is why I have for the last few years aimed to pursue a business model that allows me to balance both finances and freedom. How do I go about this? My approach has been to build online businesses with which I can control my involvement. For instance, with my YouTube channel and other online businesses, I can decide to do all the work myself or outsource most if not all of the work to other people on my team. Now, I’ll admit that I am still a ways away from being rich however I believe that this model in the long-term will allow me to achieve the finance and freedom aspects of wealth while in the meantime I still enjoy the fitness aspect through my regular exercise regime.
Therefore, understand that wealth runs deeper than money and that anyone can become wealthy if they put the right system in place. Now it’s time to determine what being wealthy means to you and when you have this properly defined, you too can set up a winning system just like I have!