I like money, but I like net worth even more.
They say money is the root of all evil, but I say not having it is.
I’m not greedy or obsessed and I don’t let money control my life. Instead, I have a good relationship with money – I respect wealth, I understand money, and I treat it the way it deserves. If I was married to money, I would be an amazing husband, just like I am to my actual wife. “Mon’e” would be well taken care of. I would check in with her a few times a day, I would know if she’s down and I would help pick her back up. I would respect her power and celebrate her importance in my life…and of course, the lovemaking would wake the neighbors.
I started Wealth Noir because more of us should feel this strongly about money. Money, or wealth, should make you feel happy, proud and empowered.
Not convinced yet? Well, let me explain why generating wealth has been a pivotal part of my life and happiness and hopefully, I can convince you that it should be part of yours as well.
Financial Freedom and Controlling Your Destiny
You’ve heard the expression “f*ck you money”, right?
If you haven’t, it’s a term that means you have enough money that you can walk up to your boss, coworker, credit card company, or your mean-mugging neighbor and say “f**k you” because you can… because you have that much money.
Financial Freedom is important to me because I’ve seen the stress and pain a person will put themselves through to make sure they have money. The long hours, working a job you hate, spending too much time away from your family, and pushing your dreams to the side. More importantly, though, I’ve seen when “keeping a job” goes wrong.
Let me ask you … can you handle being laid off tomorrow?
Financial Freedom may mean quitting your job and sitting on a beach all day. Maybe it’s just the safety to know that you and your family will be able to eat if your job disappears tomorrow. Maybe it’s the ability to buy your wife the gift she wants. Maybe it’s taking a year off for the first year of your child’s life. Maybe it’s just knowing your kid can go to whatever college they want without suffering from crippling debt. There are so many benefits to generating wealth and reaching financial freedom. Just pick one.
I’ll never forget the movie The Company Men. In the film, several executives at a large company are laid off and we see the horrible, horrible, horrible (did I say that enough?) things they went through after. I won’t ruin it…but one character decided to end it all.
I don’t want to be in that situation, or want anyone else to be either.
Slavery isn’t legal anymore…but we still have to buy our freedom.
The Freedom to Help Others
I love my grandmother.
I really love her. Even after all those “I’m-from-the-Caribbean-and-don’t-know-what-child-abuse-is” beatings as a child, she helped make me the man I am today.
I have been able to help her out financially for the last…well, I don’t even remember how many years, but I’m more than happy to do it. It makes me feel good that after all the field trips, babysitting, and
beatings hugs, I can do something for her.
My mother just retired. She needs no financial support from me (she got her financial freedom through years of nursing), but I’m happy to help her understand how her different retirement accounts work and help ensure no one steals her money. Putting her into low-cost index funds, navigating a 1031 exchange to avoid taxes on selling her home, and setting up a plan for her to enjoy her golden years was something that gave me personal fulfillment.
A few years ago my wife and I decided we needed to give more money. We had been giving to our church and sponsored a child in Haiti, but we wanted to get serious. So we came up with a plan to find a new charity each quarter and donate. We would alternate who got to choose and would aim to increase the amount we donated each time. We were even able to support the non-profits of friends with four figure gifts.
When you get serious about generating wealth and see the returns, you can give back. Personally, it’s good to know that my hard work and success won’t just benefit me and my family, but also others who need it.
Having Nice Sh*t
Now that I’ve covered charitable giving and all that…I be balling, just a little.
First and foremost, I have a budget. I live and die by it. It’s automated, but I have to save to splurge and it ensures that I am investing in myself first.
When I do go out and spend some money, I make sure I’m getting a deal and negotiate for every dollar I can get.
BUT…I do like nice things, and I’m sure you do too.
I love my Audi. Nothing special, a used A4 with some rims I added. I was so happy when I bought it though. I took it home and just looked at it for a good 45 minutes. Taking in the details, looking at the emblem, rubbing the leather interior. Just writing this makes me want to go for a ride.
Besides cars, electronics are my other vice. Laptops, tablets, home networking storage devices, robotic vacuum cleaners, wifi scales. All of these things and more are in my house. I have so many Amazon Echoes, I call out “Alexa” more than my wife’s name.
I try to stay away from luxury goods. The costs compared to non-luxury good are so obscene it never makes sense. With that being said, I love my over-priced Tumi backpack. At 3x the cost of my previous backpack, it was a treat to celebrate the purchase of another rental property.
Enjoying Life-Changing Experiences
Honestly, objects aren’t the best way to spend your hard earned money and the extra cash from your wealth-generating assets. It’s really about being able to have experiences and create stories and memories.
Travelling is one of my greatest joys. You don’t need to be wealthy to do it, and I am a huge travel reward and travel hacking proponent, but there are some trips that would not have happened without a little extra spending cash. I have a few bottles of cognac that I got while tasting cognac … in Cognac, France. It was nice to know my budget allowed me to bring something back, and my investments were working for me while I toured cognac houses.
Invest in yourself…Enjoy the dividends
Financial Freedom is why I believe in generating wealth.
All of the other things I talked about could be purchased with credit cards and debt. You can borrow your way into a lifestyle 100x “nicer” than mine.
Can you enjoy it when the fear of money still remains? Can you sleep when a lay off at work could rock your world? Have you built the skills to generate the funds for what you want instead of just using money to survive?
For all of the material and superficial things I mentioned, knowing how I earned those experiences, and knowing I did it all myself, made them all the sweeter.
Want to know exactly how I did it, and how you can obtain Financial Freedom for yourself too? Well, welcome to Wealth Noir. Leave a comment about why Wealth is important to you.
Damien is a Personal Finance Nerd and former Facebook Product Manager who started Wealth Noir to help others find wealth. He actively invests in stocks, robo advisors, and cryptocurrency … but loves real estate investing. He holds an MBA from MIT and a Comp Sci & Econ degrees from Unv. of MD. He’s a proud dad, which is his biggest accomplishment.