[Hey guys! Got a great guest post for you to marinate on, courtesy of a new favorite blogger of mine, Tim from TubofCash.com. Fascinating guy, and a helluva reminder of why we’re REALLY chasing after all this money in our lives…. Hope it gets you to stop and think for a bit!]
Backstory on Tim: An entrepreneur and self-made Korean American immigrant, Tim came here from Budapest, Hungary at the age of 18 with literally only $500 in his pocket. By the age of 31 he had became a self-made millionaire. He’s currently a VP at a privately-owned mid-sized company, and has given away over $20,000 in cash and products on his personal blog with more slated to come. One of his many goals is to give away millions of dollars a year to aspiring entrepreneurs and to those in need.
At My Core, I’m Super Frugal
You wouldn’t have thought this going off of the amount of giveaways I do, but the fact is, I’m frugal.
I guess some of it’s psychological baggage from growing up in a missionary/pastor household, because we were relatively poor. I remember growing up always being cognizant that the clothes on our back and the food on our plates were made possible through other peoples’ donations.
I remember when I found out, sometime in high school, that my parents brought in about $1,500 a month feeling so relieved!
Granted, the standard of living in Hungary is a lot lower than here in California where my wife, my kid, and I reside today, but that’s why I’m careful to point out that we were “relatively” poor. Not poverty. But not anywhere close to even lower middle class by any stretch of the imagination. Especially when compared to the median household income in a developed country like the USA.
Case in point – I remember my first retail experience was in college, when I bought some new clothes at a local Ross. I thought it was such a big deal back then!
Money Is Not The End Goal
As I’ve mentioned, at the crux of my being, I am hardcore frugal.
But I’ve been actively trying to bust out of that mentality.
To put it simply, it’s because I don’t want to be the richest man in the graveyard.
When we, as a household, hit millionaire status earlier this year, I thought there would be trumpet fanfare, multi-colored skittles shooting out of both ends of a rainbow, and leprechauns holding hands dancing in a circle.
Come to find out, it’s pretty meh. That’s how I felt. Meh.
No fanfare, no rainbows, no leprechauns. In that moment, I had a bit of an emotional breakdown. You’d think I’d be happy, because becoming a millionaire was a long-held goal and dream of mine. I thought I would feel fantastic. But instead, I felt like a “barely-millionaire.” A short dip in the markets would’ve brought us hurtling back down to non-millionaire status.
Now that I think about it, it was actually more anxiety-inducing than when we were at $900K.
Anyways, I started reflecting more on what it meant to have wealth. Like, what’s the end goal? To have $2 million? What then? To have $3 million? And would I feel the same way every time I hit those milestones?
Was money truly the end goal?
How Much Time Do I Have Left?
Here’s something that won’t happen:
Being 90, lying in bed, happy as a plum that I have one more zero at the end of my net worth than the previous year.
Does that sound realistic? Chances are statistically higher that I’ll probably have dementia, be bed-bound, and will be eating pre-digested liquefied food out of a straw while the nurse washes my nether regions because I can’t do it myself.
Okay, that was a bit morbid, but let me ask you something: is it in any way false?
Isn’t that just the reality of life?
We as human beings live through a total of about 60 to 80 Christmases. That’s it! And at my current age, I only have about 30 to 50 more Christmases left to go, barring a huge medical and/or technological breakthrough that greatly extends our lives.
So Again, If Not Money, Then What?
And keep in mind, it’s not that money is inherently evil or bad. I see it strictly as a resource. Like salt (back in the day soldiers used to get paid in salt: hence the saying “worth one’s salt”).
At the end of the day, when I’m in my coffin being lowered down into my grave: all the money in my bank account, my IRA’s, my 401K’s, my taxable accounts – they’ll all mean nothing. I’d be as dead as every other person in that graveyard. No different.
So here’s what’s important: Legacy.
It’s what lasts!
And this brings me to today…
Since money is transient, I hunger much more for legacy.
I want to create an impact on the world, an impact on society, in our communities, all over the globe! I want to create businesses that employs tens of thousands of people!
There will come a day when my motherland, North and South Korea, will be unified once more (hopefully sooner than later; once we trounce the tyrannical regime over there in North Korea) and I want to be there opening factories and businesses so that people can earn livable wages.
I also want to bring in missionaries and plant local churches and create schools for the children, so that they can have a standard education like every other kid in the rest of the world.
These are my plans. These are my goals. And even as I’m writing this, I’m getting jittery with excitement just thinking about it!
I’ll Leave You With This…
It’s never too early to start thinking about your legacy. Tomorrow is not guaranteed. How do you want to touch the lives of others? What enduring legacies do you want to leave behind to your children, your community, your loved ones?
Be intentional! Support causes that you believe in and that are important to you and your values! Be an example of leadership within your circle of influence so that you can positively affect others.
Lastly, be intentional about sharing your blessings with others. Whether it’s financially, with your time and energy, or mentoring others through your own personal journey and experience.
There really is no use in being the richest man in the graveyard. Get your legacy going now and start impacting the world! What will it be for you??
Tim is the founder of the personal finance and career blog, TubofCash.com. He’s on a mission to help generation Y and Z become financially literate, and strives to be a good mentor for people. You can find him on Twitter as well as on Facebook too.