Explore Our
“Off The Wall” Blog

Unique, straight-forward, unfiltered opinion on topics of concern for individuals with newfound wealth.

The Wealth Comparison Game is Unproductive…Here’s Why.

wealthhappiness

I was discussing some business strategy with another financial professional earlier today and was asked, “What’s YOUR plan for retirement, and does it align with your wealth plan?”

I ask people this same question in one form or another all the time, but it’s a boring conversation to have with myself in my head. It has to compete with other critical thoughts such as, “How good will the University of South Carolina Gamecocks be this football season?”

The question was directed at me as an individual, and the answer was not intended to be a “we” answer. Purposely.

Answering it out loud was productive. I took a lot of notes and want to share them.

A lot of people talk about “their number” – how much wealth they need to be happy. I discovered I don’t have a “number.”  To me, wealth is my ability to do whatever I want, whenever I want. How much money I have is only a component of my overall wealth.

What I want to do and when I want to do it means I’m playing my own game and not someone else’s. Therefore, it is unproductive to compare my scoreboard to anyone else. Either I’m able to do what I want when I want, or I’m not.

That’s MY benchmark.

If someone has something nice (a home, car, boat, etc.), but I don’t want it, that possession is not something I use to benchmark my wealth.

Using my definition of wealth means someone with $50m could feel less wealthy because my wealth is about my personal happiness and well-being. Things that make me happy may not be what makes someone else happy.

So I can’t compare my wealth to $50m – they are entirely different things. Really, I can’t compare my wealth to ANY amount ANYONE has.

My wealth is also unique because, with no kids, my cash flow needs are different from others.  Again, I’m playing a different game than others. Cash flow to fund a married lifestyle through second to die is prioritized over transferring wealth to extended family and fulfilling charitable desires. Something will be leftover for those two things, but the amount won’t come at the expense of a lifestyle. Success may end up looking like there is only $1 in the bank after the second to die.

I found myself returning to something I’ve been saying for a while…a portfolio is not designed to be a piece of art that one looks at, admires, and feels good about.  A portfolio is a tool designed to provide utility, and that utility is the freedom and ability to do what you want when you want.

For me, wealth is freedom, and freedom provides me with happiness and well-being.

I didn’t discover anything new from the conversation, but I successfully realized that my perspective and plan were solid and aligned with the conversations I’ve been having with myself and my wife.

I’m relying on my wealth to provide me with happiness and personal freedoms, not a number.

That makes me feel good. Let me know if you want to figure out what wealth means to you, too.

Keep looking forward.

DBA Signature

 

 

David B. photo

David B. Armstrong, CFA

President & Co-Founder

Dave got into the industry when he discovered his passion for finance in his mid-20’s. He’s a combat veteran and served as an officer in the United States Marines Corps on both active duty and in the reserves, retiring at the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. While serving on active duty, Dave was unable to spend money on deployments, so he became a self-taught investor. Along with a few bucks cash as a bouncer, his investing performance grew to be good....

Learn more ...

IMPORTANT DISCLOSURE INFORMATION

Please remember that past performance may not be indicative of future results.  Different types of investments involve varying degrees of risk, and there can be no assurance that the future performance of any specific investment, investment strategy, or product (including the investments and/or investment strategies recommended or undertaken by Monument Capital Management, LLC [“Monument”]), or any non-investment related content, made reference to directly or indirectly in this blog will be profitable, equal any corresponding indicated historical performance level(s), be suitable for your portfolio or individual situation, or prove successful.  Due to various factors, including changing market conditions and/or applicable laws, the content may no longer be reflective of current opinions or positions.  Moreover, you should not assume that any discussion or information contained in this blog serves as the receipt of, or as a substitute for, personalized investment advice from Monument.

Please remember that if you are a Monument client, it remains your responsibility to advise Monument, in writing, if there are any changes in your personal/financial situation or investment objectives for the purpose of reviewing/evaluating/revising our previous recommendations and/or services, or if you would like to impose, add, or to modify any reasonable restrictions to our investment advisory services. Unless, and until, you notify us, in writing, to the contrary, we shall continue to provide services as we do currently. To the extent that a reader has any questions regarding the applicability of any specific issue discussed above to his/her individual situation, he/she is encouraged to consult with the professional advisor of his/her choosing. Monument is neither a law firm nor a certified public accounting firm and no portion of the blog content should be construed as legal or accounting advice. A copy of Monument’s current written disclosure Brochure discussing our advisory services and fees is available for review upon request or at https://monumentwealthmanagement.com/disclosures/. Please Note: IF you are a Monument client, please advise us if you have not been receiving account statements (at least quarterly) from the account custodian.

Please Note: Monument does not make any representations or warranties as to the accuracy, timeliness, suitability, completeness, or relevance of any information prepared by any unaffiliated third party, whether linked to Monument’s web site or blog or incorporated herein, and takes no responsibility for any such content. All such information is provided solely for convenience purposes only and all users thereof should be guided accordingly.

Historical performance results for investment indices, benchmarks, and/or categories have been provided for general informational/comparison purposes only, and generally do not reflect the deduction of transaction and/or custodial charges, the deduction of an investment management fee, nor the impact of taxes, the incurrence of which would have the effect of decreasing historical performance results.  It should not be assumed that your Monument account holdings correspond directly to any comparative indices or categories. Please Also Note: (1) performance results do not reflect the impact of taxes; (2) comparative benchmarks/indices may be more or less volatile than your Monument accounts; and, (3) a description of each comparative benchmark/index is available upon request.

Stay up to date!

Subscribe to our “Off the Wall” Blog for articles and videos on all things wealth management, by all members of our Team. Unlike Facebook, we will never share your data with anyone.