The next Core Asset we’ll cover is your Economic Health. But before we get into the nitty-gritty of dealing with money in our lives, let me throw out a few names so you can tell me what immediately comes into your mind. Okay, let’s begin.
What do you think of when you hear Michael Jackson? How about Bill Gates? Albert Einstein? Michael Jordan?
The answers I would expect to hear are King of Pop, Microsoft, theory of relativity, and basketball superstar. What you probably couldn’t answer would be each individual’s exact net worth. You probably didn’t even really care. Well, that’s the whole point. This is where the importance of money reaches its limit.
In life’s grand scheme, a lot of things matter more than how much money you are able to amass in your lifetime. You may not be as well-known as the people I’ve mentioned here, but you, your family, your circle of friends, and all those around you will remember and appreciate how much your career, good deeds, and friendship have meant and made a difference in their lives. If you happen to be blessed with money, good for you. Don’t feel guilty about it or fear it. Just remember that ultimately no one will remember you for how much you made; instead, you’ll be remembered for what you did and how you impacted the people you encountered along the way. There is more than one way to make an impact in the world in order to live a satisfying and meaningful life.
It is true: money can’t buy everything. As true as this statement may seem, it still comes with a big HOWEVER in that money can certainly make your life a bit easier. Since the existence of money is the reality we live in, why not accept it for what it is and what it isn’t?
Without a doubt, everything has a cost. That means when it comes to each of our Core Assets, some things can and must be bought to improve our lives. Do you want to optimize your physical health? Medical care has a cost. A gym membership has a cost, as does any extra guidance you may need such as a personal trainer, exercise DVDs, or a yoga class. Eating healthy means preparing fresh foods. However, some of the healthiest (organic) ingredients in both procurement and preparation may turn out to be the most expensive. The less-healthy, preservative-filled foods are much cheaper. Even if you decide to check out a book from the library filled with recipes for your newly adopted raw foods diet, you still take on the indirect cost through your local taxes.
Your ROI on intellect will increase dramatically with a good education, which of course has its steep costs through tuition and public taxes. Even learning about something solely for personal enjoyment starts to add up. Whether you’re into anything from gardening to astronomy, you’ll need books, compost, star charts, an amateur telescope, heirloom seeds, or whatever other items support your hobby.
Dating is definitely not free. Counting your pennies while you’re wining and dining won’t make the best impression. Nobody likes a cheap date. Aside from courtship, what about traveling to a relative’s wedding, meeting a friend for a movie, or planning a family dream vacation? That takes money. When you fly, there are fees bundled into your ticket to help support the FAA and TSA to keep you safe; again, more money.
There are costs associated with just about everything, especially for your overall wellness. We’ve mentioned food, but we haven’t even looked at other basic living expenses like housing, phone, utilities, and day-to-day transportation. Many of us are fortunate enough to take these for granted, but it is important to think about the financial aspect that makes all of it possible. In our society, on various levels, we buy our security and means to survive. We pay into ways to be taken care of beyond our working years. So in this very real sense, although it may not buy everything, money does go a good distance toward buying much of our happiness.
Sanjay Jain is a US-trained Board Certified physician, with over 15 years of clinical experience. He is the author of the new book, OPTIMAL LIVING 360: Smart Decision Making for a Balanced Life (Greenleaf, February 2014). Sanjay represents a new wave of thought leadership and expertise developed not only from his medical and financial education, but also his life experiences. Follow Sanjay on Twitter at @sanjayjainmd and visit his website at SanjayJainMD.com.