More Than Money
Issue #28

Who Knows You're Rich?

Table of Contents

“Nice Lunches”

How did I know when I was rich? For me, it was not about being "rich." Rich was not the goal; the goal was security-and after that, enjoyment. I don't think in terms of rich; I think in terms of, "How can I not have to rely on other people in order to get to do what I want?"

My father died when I was young, which created a high sense of insecurity. I had to have lunches subsidized at school. So my first goal was really "no subsidized lunches." When I set my first financial goal, I wanted to know I was secure, or rather, I wanted to feel secure, because it's all in the head.

I knew I had reached my goal when I didn't have to depend on anyone else- when I knew I had enough to sustain my lifestyle, with an assumed rate of return and a particular asset level in mind. My goal was to get there by age thirty-five. I missed it by two years. I've always planned to go on living for a long time, though, so that wasn't my final goal. The goal keeps changing.

When will I reach the final number? I think I'm getting close! If the market's going to go into hibernation for another ten or twenty years, you shift to preserving capital instead of accumulating it. At age fifty-five the thought of going through another market cycle is less appealing than it was at age thirty-five or forty-five.

That's where I am now. I used to have subsidized lunches. Now, I'm used to nice lunches.

- anonymous author

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