No. That was sad. Sorry. But it’s true. However, I’m about to argue that wealth shouldn’t be the aim for everyone. This isn’t meant to be condescending. Wealth, by its traditional definition, is not possible for everyone. If you follow my advice to the “t”, wealth is not guaranteed. This isn’t disheartening, sad, or even depressing. This is math. The big point here is that wealth, in it’s traditional sense, is not the goal of personal finance. I have not typed a single word on this blog, spoken a single syllable on the radio or television, or made one claim publicly that wealth is the aim. It’s not even my goal for my family.
I don’t think we should all be scrambling to be “rich”, because I find it to be completely pointless. Millionaires can be made my scrimping and saving every penny, but that isn’t realistic for most people. If you are in the midst of a 30 yr career in the same job, making $50,000 per year, wealth isn’t likely. But this isn’t sad. This hypothetical individual can live a wonderful, fruitful, fulfilling life without wealth. Wealth generally comes with the sale of a business, extremely high income, speculative investing, or an inheritance. The Average Joe isn’t going to be wealthy. If this strikes you as sad, then I’m sad for you. There’s nothing sad about math. I’m not angry that I’m not 7’7″ and in the NBA.
I’m not going to take the time in this post to explore the other definitions of wealth. Yes, you can be untraditionally wealthy or relatively wealthy, but that’s not the point.
There’s been recent criticism of some people in the personal finance industry that is unjustified, untrue, and frankly, mean-spirited. I’m not linking to it. The author of the criticism doesn’t deserve the attention. The criticism is that people like Dave Ramsey, Suze Orman, and me are telling people to budget and get out of debt, so they can be wealthy some day. The criticism goes on to say that we are providing false hope in an attempt to peddle products and services. I can’t speak for Dave and Suze, but I can tell you that this assertion couldn’t be further from the truth. The purpose of personal finance is not to teach people how to be wealthy. In fact, find the words rich or wealthy on my site (in terms of them being the aim), and I will pay you. The purpose of personal finance is to teach resourcefulness. It’s to help people have the best financial life possible, for them, not the best financial life possible in relation to anyone else. Poor money management leads to stress. Stress can lead to unhappiness. My job and goal, is to minimize the financial stress in your life by helping you make the best financial decisions possible. Will you be a millionaire if you follow my concepts? Frankly, who cares. What you will be is efficient and resourceful.
Peter Dunn a.k.a. Pete the Planner® is an award-winning financial mind and a former comedian. He’s a USA TODAY columnist, author of ten books, and is the host of the popular radio show and podcast, The Pete the Planner Show. Pete is considered one of the foremost experts on financial wellness in the world, but he’s just as likely to talk your ear off about bass fishing.