At the end of every podcast episode, I’ve asked my guests the same question…“How do you define wealth?”
After 23 episodes, I have yet to hear the same answer twice, and I have yet to hear anyone include an amount of money in their definition. Instead, the definitions have identified the freedom to spend time with loved ones, good health, having options, contentment, and more. The concept of wealth extending beyond how much money we accumulate is important to understand.
Yes, money is a part of achieving the different definitions of wealth, but it is not the end goal; after all, money can’t buy happiness.
Today, while at the barbershop with the boys I checked Twitter to catch up on the afternoon’s news, and I learned Mac Miller had been found dead due to an apparent drug overdose. If you’re not familiar with him, Mac was a talented rapper out of Pittsburgh; he’s been on my radar for years as most of my extended family lives outside of Pittsburgh, and while he may not have been in my top 10, I’m definitely a fan and enjoy his work, especially his last couple of albums. On paper, at the young age of 26, it would have appeared Mac Miller had it all: money, fame, and success. His most recent album, Swimming, debuted at #3 on the Billboard Charts just a month ago. Despite all of this, Mac struggled publicly with depression and addiction; it appeared that he had overcome those demons for a while, but recently they reappeared in his life—tragically, ending it way too early.
For some, it may be hard to understand how a young and successful individual like Mac Miller could be depressed. I can’t and won’t pretend to act like I understand what a battle with mental health issues is like, but obviously, money wasn’t enough to make things better—it’s wasn’t buying happiness. If it could, then today’s headlines would have read differently.
It’s time to reshape our views on money and happiness.
If your plan for happiness is centered around more money, it may be time to re-evaluate your priorities and focus. Now, I’m not talking about making enough money to move out of poverty to having enough to breathe easy—if that’s the case, then do what you can to get your head above water. But, if you’re making enough to provide for your family, save for the future, and have some luxuries, then I’m not convinced more money is going to make your life better…it’s possible it might in the short term, but before long you’ll be chasing that next $10,000 (or whatever that amount is for you). Instead of focusing on money for happiness, broaden your horizons and start looking at other areas that will lead to a meaningful impact on your happiness and improve your quality of life.
- How can you find more time to be with family/friends/loved one?
- How can you find a career that you enjoy?
- How can you give back to your community?
These are a few areas that are more likely to improve your quality of life and take your focus off the money rat race. My friend, Brian Portnoy, coined the term “funded contentment” in his book The Geometry of Wealth. I encourage you to get a copy of his book and read it as you determine what wealth looks like for you–find where your “funded contentment” lies. I have extras, so hit me up if you need a copy—there’s no excuse not to read it.
So, let me end by asking you a question…how do YOU define wealth?
On a side note: Another friend of mine, Tyrone Ross Jr., was recently on a podcast that I think may have been one of the most eye-opening and impactful podcast episodes of the year. If you find yourself struggling with depression, please, please, please give it a listen. It might just be what you need to hear. You can find it here.
Enjoy this video of what might be Mac Miller’s last performance and enjoy his talents!
Disclaimer: Nothing on this blog should be considered advice, or recommendations. If you have questions pertaining to your individual situation you should consult your financial advisor. For all of the disclaimers, please see my disclaimer page.