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I read an interesting article this morning in Reader’s Digest (which is my ultimate in “pleasure reading” right now) about “millionaires” and how there are more and more of them popping up. Interestingly, they didn’t touch on the one source of “millions” that many of us think of~the lottery or some jackpot win. The article looked at those who are wealthy, what they did to get there, and how they live their lives to stay there. And there were some tips peppered in on what to do if this is a goal of yours.

All of the people the article talked about were once “average joes” like you or me. One of the key factors mentioned was following a dream and doing what you’re passionate about. And it struck me as I thought about it afterwards, that the opportunities open to ‘average joe people’ to “make lots of money” tend to be ones that are created by those who possess wealth already. I’m thinking MLM (multi-level marketing) opportunities and the like. People are promised wealth and great abundance of profits if they will actively market and sell someone else’s idea or product. Generally speaking, those opportunities do little except to make the idea/product-holder (the originator) wealthier. So maybe one of the keys is not to rely on others who have a great idea in order to make monetary dreams come true, but to have an idea or passion of your own and find a way to market it. Hmmm….

Another thing that stood out in the article was the idea of shooting too low with your dreams or desires. The founder of “Tastefully Simple” was profiled in the article, and she was quoted as saying, “I just want my business to make $30K a year.” A goal far too low, her life-coach told her. Needless to say, as she developed her business and raised her goals and sights, she did better. And of course, her company is now worth hundreds of millions. Which made me think: what are my goals? Right now, I have relatively low ones: I don’t want a mortgage. At all. I want to own our house free & clear. But I also have dreams and goals of being able to live on 10% of our income and give away 90% to charitable causes. Crazy? Some people probably think so. But I’m not a big “thing-driven” person. My needs are simple and I’m content without being in an acquisition mode.

I’ve often mentioned to Mark that if we had millions of dollars, I would do the same things I do now: clip coupons, shop sales, negotiate for better deals (although I’m still in the baby stages of learning this skill and having the courage to do it), and hunt for the best gas prices.  It’s sort of “in me” and who I am.  Curiously enough, the millionaires in the article do the same things! They live a middle-class life and their neighbors would be shocked to learn their net worth, based on their life choices. Their wealth gives them options that I don’t have right now~if they hate their job, they have the freedom to quit and figure out something else. But they all go to work daily, they drive older vehicles, clip coupons, shop sales, etc. And most importantly, they don’t buy things impulsively. In this season of commercializing Christmas and “buy! buy! buy!” it’s refreshing to hear that those who have the means to do exactly that, don’t. One person in the article was quoted as saying that he had the opportunity to buy a $1.5M house, but settled on one for half as much, because buying a house that was twice as expensive wouldn’t provide him with twice the enjoyment. Pretty cool thinking.

I see money as a tool. Not a goal in that it’s something I would be obsessed with or end up serving (I like my things and money to serve *me*, not the other way around). I don’t think it’s inherently “sinful” to be wealthy, either. I see it as a neutral object, and how we approach it determines how we use it. And whether we are blessed by it and use it to bless others, or whether we let it rob all blessings from us because it’s our god..

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Category: life musings
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