True Wealth at Midlife: It’s Not Just About Money

Those of us age 45 and over have witnessed tough times before but can you recall a single point in history when there was so much contention and negativity in the air?

  • “We’re only one calamity away from slipping into a major depression worse than the 1930’s”
  • “The rich–that Wall Street 1%–are fleecing the rest of us and aren’t willing to pay their fair share!”
  • “Far too many Americans have become lazy and dependent on Uncle Sam–just sitting around waiting for the next government hand-out!”
  • “Our children and grandchildren will forever be saddled with the ballooning US debt–$16 trillion and growing!”
  • “The dollar is about to crash leading to runaway inflation and wiping out hard-earned retirement savings. Buy gold!”
  • “Excessive government regulation and high taxes are erasing business incentive for hiring and innovation, thereby destroying the American dream!”

These are just a few of the negative comments floating around the airways, print media and the Internet today. Guess what: you and I don’t have to join in this chorus of negativity! It makes no sense to blame the federal government, your spouse, your employer or anyone else if you’re less than fully satisfied with life today.

Look in the mirror. Now Pledge to yourself face to face: “I can first visualize then accomplish a custom-designed plan to become joyful, productive and content with, without or even despite money!”

Mental and physical health often results in a healthy wallet as well but wealth alone never guarantees sustained lifelong happiness. Therefore, a wise initial step is to ponder precisely what in life makes you happy. Absent a clear unclouded vision of what you seek from life, it will be impossible to target, plan out and launch your journey in the right direction.

Don’t depend upon friends, neighbors, your employer, the media, the government or anyone else to define happiness for you. You need to become the world’s foremost expert on your own inner joy and fulfillment. Once you define true happiness goals, your next challenge is to build self-esteem and adopt a consistently upbeat outlook on the future. To paraphrase an old real estate maxim, it’s all about attitude, attitude and attitude!

The only true prize of a high net worth is the freedom to choose. If you were independently wealthy precisely how would you spend your remaining active years? I trust that you would wish to dedicate at least a portion of your time, energy and resources in service to others. Upon thoughtful reflection, take time out to write down a “job description” for your ideal primary daily activity.

Now let’s return to reality. If you’re like 95% of us and not independently wealthy, you’ll need someone else to reimburse you for your efforts. (Note: this might be the stock market if you’re a trader or your “down line” if you’re into Multi-Level-Marketing.) Can you imagine anyone who will reimburse you for having a good time?¬†

A second crucial ingredient to true wealth is a lifestyle both in financial balance and in emotional balance.

To achieve financial balance, are anticipated cash flows from all sources of income, from sale of assets or from withdrawal of savings sufficient over time to fund necessary set-asides for emergency plus purchases of items you truly need or cherish (never dependent upon what someone else has.)

To achieve emotional balance, do you appropriately apportion time and resources between work and relaxation, between family and career, between self-gratification and service to others? Do you routinely take time away from work to relieve stress, to exercise and to live healthy?  It makes absolutely no sense to claw your way to the top only to die of a heart attack at age 52!

At first glance, the challenge of a consistently¬†positive attitude may appear daunting. If you’re like I was in my mid-forties, you are burdened down by twenty or more years of adult frustrations and disappointments. So how can you convince yourself that tomorrow will be better than today?

Here’s a couple of suggestions:

  • If you genuinely believe things will get better, they probably will. If you don’t believe it, they probably won’t.
  • No matter how many past failures, it only takes one win!
  • Look to the past only as a road map to a brighter future–never look back in regret.
  • Take courage from two seemingly contradictory conclusions: “I generally made the right decisions in the past so I’m confident I can in the future.” or “Wisely learning from my past, I won’t make the same mistakes again!”
  • In a positive tone of voice, ask others for advice and assistance. You’ll be amazed at how much others want to help when you display a positive attitude.
  • Strong self-esteem and an upbeat attitude contribute to better health and better health contributes to strong self-esteem and an upbeat attitude. Positive circular cause and effect: you can launch your quest for happiness at either end.

If recent experience and your current outlook on life are less-than- favorable, begin by dreaming your ideal life into reality. Through continual visualization, you can create your very own reality show. Concentrate on possibilities in your little corner of the world. Begin thinking and behaving like a winner and play “win-win” with everyone around you. Turn off TV news and those negative radio talk shows! On every occasion, bring light not darkness into the room. Never resent winners; instead seek them out, ask their advice and emulate their behavior!

Whenever possible, think outside the box. Make sound preparation but then take chances. You won’t win every time but you’ll always learn something. Whenever you do succeed, display gratitude. Recognize and genuinely thank those who helped along the way. Set a positive example for your children; teach and encourage them to become more hopeful, physically fit, confident and full of gratitude.

Who knows what this fall’s election and the end of 2012 will bring? Whatever the outcome, you and you alone can control your personal emotions and how you react to events beyond your immediate control. This very day is the time to launch your positive journey to true wealth: a healthy self-image and uncompromising confidence in the future.

Want more ideas on the subject of true wealth? Tune in to my Internet radio program, “Middle Age Can Be Your Best Age” on beginning Monday, September 3, 2012. My guest is Darrell Knoch, renowned motivational coach, speaker and author. Better yet, visit our web site and preview my book A Mid-Life Challenge WAKE UP! which offers a comprehensive road map and 21 self-help exercises for middle age renewal.


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