Saturday, 12 March 2016

Assessing Rich and Poor (What do we gain from money?)

One thing that has been striking me lately is how people see other people, and in particular how they see other people's wealth. I hear people discussing people with a big house, maybe a couple of nice cars and they describe these people as rich. To me this is a bit strange though as very often these people are lacking in what I would describe as the best quality of a "rich" person's life. That quality is the ability to not have to work for a living and instead having the freedom to choose how to spend their time. Free time is the greatest asset of a rich person's existence in my opinion and very often the people living in the nice houses with the nice cars are having to work all the hours under the sun to obtain them. To me these people are actually suffering from a poverty, a poverty of time as opposed to wealth and the weirdest thing to me, a lot of the time its self-inflicted. They often do this to themselves !

One of the arguments I come across, against this sentiment, is that these people have a different value set, that they value these things, these possessions, more than the free time. To me this doesn't wash though, as I often hear these people complaining about how miserable they are and how much they wish they had more free time. Don't get me wrong, I realise that for a lot of people they would love to do what I do and work part-time but they can't for a whole host of reasons. This post is aimed at those people that choose that destructive, money-driven, lifestyle but then complain about it.

I guess it all comes down to your definition of success. To me success is being happy and happiness for me just isn't about how much money I have in my bank account or my job title. I work part-time and at present I probably have more free cash on any given month than i've ever had in my entire life.  I guess that's probably of a factor that I grew up, until a reasonable age, with very little. We didn't have money and I was never really aware of that fact. To me it was just our reality and I didn't question it. That being said, to a lot of people the fact that I don't work the extra days in the week, and earn more money, is strange. For me the time is just more important and having been able to negotiate a part-time job that works for me is an achievement, one i'm deeply proud of.

The final element of this that I'd like to deal with is the assertion that part-time workers are in someway lazy. Now if you're still with me at this point and understand my point about choosing what to do with your time then you probably already get that I don't believe that, but let's deal with it anyway. I work 3 days a week, currently. In my time off I often do other things like spend time with my family, see my friends and get lots of rest. I also, however, work on music, videos, fix up the house, write blogs like this one, work on free projects etc. In short, I do a hell of a lot of extra, what other people would call, work. The difference is, I don't get paid for this work so its completely on my own terms. The problem, for me, with paid work is often that when someone pays you they assume they own you completely for that time. Choosing how to spend some of my time, and sacrificing some money for that, is a good way to alleviate some of the feeling that i'm trapped in that loop of work and money.

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