What Are We Doing This For?
There is a story of an Australian palliative care nurse - Bronnie Ware - who wrote a book in 2012 recounting her time with individuals in
their final days. The book - The Five Regrets Before Dying - gives an incredible look into the final days of several men and women and the regrets that they admitted on their deathbed.
Of the regrets that many admitted, one particular regret sticks out and has much to teach us about our approach to wealth today:
“I Wish I Let Myself Be Happier”
The fifth and final regret in Ware’s book is “I wish I let myself be happier.” In breaking down what this statement means, we see that many individuals spent their entire lives working hard to prepare for a future they would never see. The long hours and frugal choices - often at the expense of special moments today - left them with a final regret and a full bank account.
How do we get to this point? We often spend the limited days of our lives setting goals, striving forward, and pushing the limits. Our goal? To prepare a future for ourselves and our family that will bring financial comfort and security.
Yet, as time passes we often notice that the goal-horizon continues to push forward as well. As we push the proverbial rock up the hill, we are forced to stop and ask “What am I doing all this for?”
A Tale Of Two Wealth Builders
When we are willing to ask ourselves this question, we are ready to begin making decisions that allow us to enjoy our days today - rather than waiting for some day that may never come. To illustrate this concept, consider two individuals: Harv and Maria.
Harv: Harv is a workaholic business owner who has invested all of his money back into his business. Taking little time off, Harv tries to live frugal today so that he can push all his earnings into his future.
Near the end of his life, he sells his business for $3 million dollars.
Maria: A business owner who builds and grows her business, Maria is similar to Harv, except that she lives intentionally to ensure that she enjoys her life at the moment. Maria focuses on taking time off, diversifying her portfolio, and enjoying life-changing experiences that enrich both her and her family’s lives.
At the end of her life, Marie sells her business for $1.5 million dollars.
At age 63, both die and leave money in the bank.
Who do you see yourself more like? Harv or Maria?
Who would you rather be?
Choose Today How You Will Live
The two stories above have much to teach us about how we approach our wealth. For those who are working toward retirement or have found themselves on the brink of their final chapter, one question must be asked: If they knew where they were going to be, would they have made different choices?
What if there is a happy balance between the two?
As the past year showed us, we never know what may happen tomorrow. However, does this mean that we should save and hoard to prepare for the unknown - or should we live today with the confidence and boldness of individuals who understand the value of the day?
The answer to that one question may change your life forever.
Want to hear more great lessons on life, happiness, and true wealth? Check out the Picture of Wealth podcast - hosted by Dustin Serviss. Discover the tips, tricks, and insights that unlock a life well spent. Listen today where you listen to podcasts.