The Quest for Wealth: 6 Steps for Making Mindful Money Choicesby James R. Langabeer
The Quest for Wealth is a book for those either struggling to make ends meet, or looking to build wealth. It focuses exclusively on making better money choices, and provides guidance and practical tools and strategies to keep on track. The book challenges us to use frustration with our current financial situation as motivation to get rid of negative money habits and begin to move towards our financial goals. It also recommends changing our mindset about money and having allies; advisers and friends who’d help enable our new mindset and encourage us along the way.
Qualities of True Wealth
“Only a tiny minority of people just fell into wealth. For most, it resulted from arduous work, good timing, great support, reasonably good execution, collaboration, and lots of luck.”
The most straightforward definition of wealth is “an abundance of financial resources.” True wealth, however, involves the combination of four critical qualities: time, behavior, spirit, and relativity.
True wealth should stand the test of time. It must be sustainable, rather than an increase in money for a limited time. It also determines, and is caused by, how we feel —involving more attitude, than simply being a concrete financial construct. It has a spiritual connotation to it as well; relating to our beliefs, values, goals, and aspirations. And, lastly, it is relative. We each have our own definition of wealth.
When we achieve wealth, we emotionally feel that we’ve reached sufficient resources and emotional comfort to live our desired lifestyle permanently. Wealth is therefore the sum of our financial resources and our emotional and lifestyle amenities.
Our daily choices can either sabotage our wealth or cultivate it. While very few people will ever stumble on wealth overnight, we can all become wealthy over time, with minor changes and tweaks to how we view and interact with money choices.
Actions to take
“Since each decision we make is cumulative over a lifetime and they all add up to the sum of where we’re going, we must become more reflective when we make both big and small purchases and investments.”
When saving and investing, strive to become diversified. Variety helps to disperse or distribute your risk. Never have all your money in real estate, gold, crypto currency, fixed income security, or in savings. A diversified portfolio helps you to avoid significant losses.
You must also reduce the impact of “decision fatigue” when making money choices. Always remember that when we’re physically, mentally, or emotionally fatigued, we tend to make poor decisions. Avoid this by planning ahead. Make arrangements in advance and watch out for people and firms that try to take advantage of your fatigue.
Think through your choices and fully contemplate the consequences before making decisions — not afterwards. Dwelling on past mistakes and regrets can hamper your decision-making process in the future.
Actions to take
Making Better Financial Choices
“When our unconscious minds control our spending, we will have purchased so many small things that we cannot account for at the end of the month though it drained our cash surplus.”
Of all daily decisions that we make in life, the most important ones center around health, wealth, and time. When all three of these overlap, be prepared to make the single most crucial decision you’ll probably make in a long time.
In making financial decisions, we typically have many options based on cost, brand, features, benefits, location, and many other things. However, there are only four primary types of money choices: you could spend, save, invest, or give it away. Part of developing the right money mindset is to keep these money categories in your mind at all times.
If you received a $100 gift today, you could choose to spend it all on a new dress, give it away to a person in need, or put it in the bank for savings or investment. Each interaction with money is another opportunity to create wealth, and it's never too late to turn things around and start making better decisions.
Actions to take
Overcoming Fear and Uncertainty
“To move through the steps of wealth, you must conquer fear!”
One of the core principles of money management is that we constantly deal with the unknown. However, we all have a bias leaning towards what we know and are comfortable with, and subconsciously avoid unclear paths. If you’ve never put money in the stock market, for example, your natural tendency is never to invest but to keep the money in your savings.
Uncertainty is everywhere, and we must fight our instinct to wait for it to subside. Waiting for a state of complete certainty will nearly always guarantee minimal returns. The bigger the risks we’re willing to take, the bigger the returns we’ll get.
On the other hand, we don’t want to act too quickly and rush into decisions. Bigger returns aren’t always guaranteed by taking big risks. Things may go wrong and you could lose more than you initially had. Looking for a sweet spot between the two extremes is important.
Actions to take
Navigating the Steps Towards Wealth
“In order to become a wealthy person, you must change your choices.”
The quest for wealth begins with getting frustrated with your current path, accepting responsibility, committing to making better choices, and executing.
First, ask yourself how you got to where you currently are. How did you get to a place of too much debt, payments you can’t afford, or a lot less income than you expected? Then, accept your financial condition rather than denying or constantly dwelling on it. Take ownership. We ultimately are accountable for our own financial circumstances.
Next, commit to changing your situation. Once you’ve made this resolution, announce it to your friends and colleagues. Let them know your positive intentions, and they’ll help hold you accountable to building a lasting change.
Finally, you must follow through and execute those changes. To do this, you must keep yourself motivated. Constantly remind yourself why you’ve chosen to make the change and how frustrating your financial situation will continue to be if you do nothing about it.
Actions to take
Monitoring Your Wealth
“You might not feel wealthy, but you will get there if you are consistently making wise choices.”
Just like a plant only grows and thrives when you give it water and light, your wealth can only grow when you tend to it.
Monitoring your wealth is important because it forces you to stick to a plan. Consistency, discipline, and self-control are required; and if you don’t have that yourself, you’ll need to find an advisor or coach who does.
There are a couple of ways to measure the lifetime effect of your financial decisions. To you, it might be the size of your checking account. To others, it could be their annual salary. But the best way to know is to look at things more holistically, based on your overall financial position. Look at your marketable net worth — what you own minus what you owe, and track this number on an ongoing basis.