Having money is one thing. Doing something worthwhile with it is another. People who learn how to make a lot of money tend to make it a lifelong hobby. Some go so far as to neglect health, hygiene, and happiness. Although these are extreme cases, popular documentaries like The Queen of Versailles put this syndrome into images and words that even the non-wealthy can understand.
Clearly, money should, eventually, be put to some constructive use, whether if your own life or in the life of someone else. Wealth is itself and extravagance, and if you’re going to use your money at all, spending or investing is going to be an extravagant act. So make yours count. And if you plan to be wealthy in the future, go ahead and make a plan. Here is mine.
- Travel should be a right, but unfortunately it’s not. Travel broadens the mind like no other activity. By seeing other people living in other cultures, you realize in a meaningful way that this world isn’t all about yourself. Travel is an inherently edifying activity, and it’s an investment you should make in yourself and your children. This can be as simple as Costa Rica family vacations. Or your could one day live abroad most months out of the year. But however you do it, just travel. Find a way to get out of your comfort zone, your space, your culture. By doing so, you’ll find yourself positively transformed, and your home will be better for it. This is a perfect meaningful application of money, which negates some of the potentially isolating effects of wealth.
- Meaningful charity is a wonderful thing. There are plenty of causes in the world which would benefit millions, if they were simply funded. By finding an organization that is doing good work in the world, you can empower their efforts by giving them more money to do their thing. If you need to find a cause, think about a time in your life when you yourself suffered. Maybe you were hungry or thirsty. Maybe you were abused or traumatized. Maybe you suffered from a disease. Whatever it was, let your emotional attachment to and understanding of this cause fuel your desire to fund it.
- Saving For Future Generations. Some people just want to leave something of value for their children and grandchildren. You can see this on a huge scale with families like the Vanderbilts, who are still receiving funds passed down by family generations before. You may not be able to pass on wealth of that scale, but you can leave meaningful things to your loved ones. And this doesn’t have to be cash. It can be real estate, collections, art, anything you want. But cash doesn’t hurt. Passing on investments, like the mutual funds I inherited from my grandmother, can benefit your loved ones in a huge way or in a time of need. So if you already love your life, use your money to improve the standard of living for someone you love, now or years down the line.
These are three things to do with your money which aren’t about buying “things”. Eventually things get old, but money is still useful. Invest in broadening your horizons or in generosity, and you’ll be happy with what you’re getting out of your wealth.