You didn’t win the lottery; you worked for a long time and earned it. That’s right you made your magic number! You reached critical mass! What is rich anyway? It means different things to different people. Is a millionaire rich? What is your definition of rich?
Whatever your definition, your reached your goal. What does it feel like? Is it what you thought it would be? What are you going to do now? Are you going to be like the multi-millionaire professional athletes, entertainers, rappers or Internet entrepreneurs? As soon as they came into their millions, they start collecting cars, buying houses, clothes and generally spending money. Are you going to change?
You reached your goal! Doesn’t it feel good? Are you going to do anything to reward yourself? I worked very hard for seven years to reach my goal and I thought it was time for a reward. A trip to Europe was in order, a piece of jewelry or a new car? What do you think? I did all of the above! I no longer own the car, the European vacation was by far the best of my life and I still own the watch. That is my reward, what would you do?
Would you quit your job? Maybe, you just sold your Internet company and you will live off the proceeds! Will you start over again? Invest in different companies, become a venture capitalist, or just invest the proceeds in the stock market? How you answer this question may affect the rest of your life. Mark Cuban started MicroSolutions and sold it to Compuserve for six million dollars. Then he started Broadcast.com and sold that company to Yahoo.com for five billion dollars. He took some of his proceeds to buy the Dallas Mavericks basketball team. He is still investing in various entertainment ventures. Apparently five billion dollars is not enough!
What is enough? I cannot answer that question because I keep increasing my goals. What is enough for you? This is an important question because it is tied to your goal. How will you know that you made it? I suppose you could write it out and that way you will know when you made it. The problem is goals change! You start out thinking you need X dollars to retire or achieve financial independence, but inflation or some other external factor affects your goal. The recent financial crisis certainly changed things for many people.
Maybe you exceeded your dreams, would you become a philanthropist? How would you give away your money? Maybe, set up an educational foundation for underachieving students? What purpose would your foundation have? Would you just use existing foundations or charities to give away your money or give your riches purpose? You could follow Bill Gates giving away most of your fortune to change education or health issues around the world.
Does money make you happy? Was it the money or reaching your goal that makes you happy? Now that you achieved your goal, are you going to spend any of it? How do you plan on spending it? Would a new car, bigger house or nicer vacation make you happy? What would make you happy? I learned money does not make me happy, but lack of money can make me very unhappy. Money is security, a scorecard, and a way to increase my experiences. What does money mean to you?
Does money change you? Will you just kick back and relax? In my case, I made gradual changes as I earned more money. When we would go out for dinner, we went from fast food to casual dining and occasionally fine dining. You change over time which means you get used to having money. This is important in contrast to instant lottery winners, a professional athlete or entertainer. You should be able to handle the transition better! So will you be like Mark Cuban and keep going, but in another direction or do nothing? Let me know what you are going to do?
Photo by: paul (dex)