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Gladys Tan

Financial Consultant

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What Does Wealth Mean To You?

“Have you really thought about what you want?”

One of my best friends, B, posed this question to me recently.

At that moment, it felt ironic, seeing how I am usually the one asking people what do they want to achieve in their life. How do they envision their ideal life?

For B, he wants to achieve a lot of things. Part of the list includes earning an annual income of $500k and owning a Tesla. And I have no doubt he will. But knowing the kind of person B is, I was curious as to what will all these material possessions mean to him.

B simply responded that all these achievements will then allow him to spend time doing things that will make (his) life worth living.

Money is an enabler to B. With a healthy reservoir of enablers, B can focus on learning and creating - be it music, podcasts or even a film (who knows!) and working on meaningful side projects that challenge him.

Then I became curious - why is continuous learning important to him?

Here’s what he said: ‘…and we've got all of humanity's knowledge left behind us. What good are we if we don’t pick up a fraction of it every day just to see what we can leave behind for our future generations?’

What about you? How do you define wealth?

B has his own motivations and wants that equate to him being a wealthy person.

Now, if I were to invite you to think of someone wealthy, who is the first person that comes to your mind and why?

You see, in my conversations with friends and clients, many seem to be confused with the difference between wealth and money. There's so much more than just money that you can have when it comes to wealth.

In fact, Mr Deepak Chopra’s perception of wealth in the quote below took the words right out of my mouth in my attempt to explain what wealth means to me.

Money is just a tool. But if you think of money as the enemy —something that constantly gets in our way, or we think of it as a goal, something that will solve all of our problems, then we run the risk of letting money, run our lives. It is impossible for us to use a tool well if we do not know how to use it. Till today, people deprive themselves from great wealth because of poor money management. They lack discipline in managing their stop loss. Many do not look at ways to grow their money.

No matter the reasons that are holding you back from having a healthier relationship to money, rest assured you are not alone. But if you’re looking to build wealth, perhaps the first step to take is to build a better relationship with money.

Know what you want, and just keep moving

And just perhaps, the first step in building a better relationship with money is to first build a better relationship with yourself.

I'm over-generalising here, but the idea is to love and honour yourself, no matter what. Let me share one situation where I chose to honour thyself.

I like to think I am a confident person when it comes to decision making. I take time to analyse my situation and options, and often seek advice from mentors, people I believe will be able to lend a different perspective. But even then, there will always be naysayers.

I remember clearly when I shared with a relative I was going to be a Financial Advisor, she expressed disappointment in my decision. She couldn’t believe her ears that I would choose to be ‘just an insurance agent’ with a double major in Communication and Psychology.

But I knew better than to be affected. After all, she’s speaking from her experiences with other advisors and it’s not something I had nor have control over.

In a blink of an eye, I am in my 5th year. I have never once regretted my decision to join this career. It has been one kind of ride but one I will always enjoy. There is nothing in the world I will trade for the satisfaction, joy and pride I get in serving each and every single client.

That is the wealth I have chosen to focus on, chosen to savour.

So, whatever your way is, own it. Evaluate what’s important to you and go for it.

I hope you'll join me in taking some time to reconnect with yourself every day.

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