Financial Well Being in the 21st Century
During the past number of years, I have had the opportunity to speak in front of many groups. Quite often the majority of these speaking engagements were designed to share information on Gold, Silver and Natural Fancy Color Diamonds and were hosted by our firm, Guildhall. Recently I had an opportunity to speak with a group of interested investors who also had a keen sense of interest in wellbeing. This speaking engagement coincided with a large event held in Vancouver, BC that showcased keynote speakers. These speakers included Deepak Chopra, one of the world’s foremost public speakers, a physician and a prominent alternative-medicine advocate and author, Adam McLeod one of the world’s most in demand healers, David Wolfe, a longevity expert and Gerald Celente, Founder of The Trends Research Institute, and author of the national bestseller Trends 2000 and Trend Tracking and publisher of the internationally circulated Trends Journal newsletter.
Prior to my speaking engagement, I spent an evening having a wonderful meal with Gerald and our Guildhall team discussing trends at large, the state of affairs in economic terms and the reality faced by investors today. For those of you who are unaware Gerald Celente has been speaking about the importance of Gold and Silver ownership for decades now and has made it a part of his own financial wellbeing, which has aided him in achieving his life goals.
Gerald, whom our readers might know from our interviews with him on The Real Money Show and because of their affinity towards Physical Gold and Silver, has certainly practiced what he preaches when he has discussed why we should all think about not only our well being and state of mind but also our financial well being, for it might be the most important thing we do in attempting to achieve life outcomes.
For the past seven years, it has been my unique privilege writing and providing, for thousands of people, “The Precious Metals Advisor”, Guildhall’s take on the Gold and Silver markets. We have worked with a wide range of people along the way, from directors of multi-billion dollar companies to those struggling just to put food on the table. In doing so, I’ve observed patterns that influence people’s experience of well being in virtually every area of life: physical, emotional, psychological, spiritual, relational and financial. Through all this time, the process has created a fascination for me in the area of financial well being.
Financial well being takes into consideration more than just the material measurements of financial success. It includes how your beliefs, habits, hopes, fears and dreams around money and wealth play out in your life-experience and outcomes.
To me, financial well being isn’t just about how much money you make, how much money you save or invest, or what your balance sheet looks like. Financial wellbeing is something that must be assessed by looking at both your perception of wealth as well as your accumulated wealth. In other words how you perceive wealth and view wealth and your opinions about it as well as the material items you end up accumulating and how you navigate both aspects of wealth.
The Material Side or Accumulation of Wealth
In this aspect of your financial well being you can keep track of how much money you have coming in and going out, and you can see, touch, taste, smell or feel the material items that you’ve acquired, sold or given away.
In this part of your financial well being there are financial laws and principles that everyone is affected by, similar to the laws of gravity or thermodynamics. They include principles like “To build wealth you must”:
- Have a means of generating income (Typically through products, skills or services that add value to others, and that people want and will pay for).
- Spend less money than you make and save the difference (10% or more is a good start).
- Invest a portion of what you save.
- Continue to save and invest until the income generated by your investments matches or exceeds the income that you make through your products, skills or services (and supports the lifestyle you want to live for as long as you live).
- Contribute some portion of your income to help others. This is charity or philanthropy and it helps to add stability to this aspect of your financial well being.
Mastery of the part of your finances is indefinable to many because they either:
- Don’t generate enough income to pay for their expenses plus save a percentage.
- Generate enough income, but spend all of it without saving or investing.
- Spend more than they make, and accrue debt that doesn’t help them generate more income.
The people that I know and work with who are incredibly wealthy all have a very disciplined, almost “dreary” approach to wealth-building. They simply follow a strict set of rules they have established in relation to the accumulation of wealth and they don’t digress from them.
Of course there are varying degrees of erudition when it comes to investing and accumulating wealth, and those who study more and do more due-diligence learn how to moderate the risks and take advantage of the many opportunities that can compound their investments much faster. This is precisely how the rich get richer.
The Perception of Wealth
The perception of wealth on the other hand, is the world of the immaterial, the world of “feelings and perceptions”. This is where your beliefs and your psychology around finances really come into play.
In this aspect of financial wellbeing your idiosyncratic experience is the key factor.
How do you “feel” about your current financial situation for example?
Are you satisfied? Are you mortified? Are you fearful? Are you enthusiastic? How much is “enough” money? Do you feel “pedestrian”? Are you inspired, frustrated or indifferent about finances?
This include principles like:
- You have a financial “thermostat” based on your beliefs about money, which controls the base and ceiling for how much you make and keep.
- Money is a way to document an exchange of energy, and pieces of paper (in the past backed up by precious metals, but now just pieces of paper!) or digital blips on a computer screen are how we keep track of the exchange of this energy.
- How you feel about money, and how much money you make is largely a result of your acclimatizing and culture (which is why your financial circumstances are typically very similar to your closest peer-group).
- The experience of “richness” is not a result of finally having “enough”. The experience of abundance comes first, then the floodgates to “more than enough” really open.
So what can you do to proliferate your financial wellbeing? Here are some ideas for merging the two aspects of finance in no particular order:
- Study, scrutinize and examine your beliefs and opinions about wealth. Write down all of your beliefs about wealth and money and ask to share them with someone who is financially well off. Their feedback will show you exactly where your limiting beliefs lie.
- Compensate yourself first. Always take at least a percentage off the top and save it before you spend any of the money you make. This builds your sense of self-confidence and self-discipline, and you’ll be amazed at how quickly you can actually save. On a side note it was not so long ago that our parents and their parents were saving a minimum of 10 percent or more.
- Elevate your financial IQ. Nobody is going to do it for you. You must learn about the world of finance by reading and attempting to grasp the knowledge asking questions along the way of those you know around and those you do not. Start reading the financial section of the paper on a daily basis. Watch the financial news and investigate; always ready behind the headlines. Take some courses on finance and always attempt to find out and master your own investments. I have done enough seminars to know that very few people actually have any idea where their money is really invested. Learn the language and you will begin to decipher the financial kingdom and feel more self-reliant.
- Get in the game. Once you start both saving and learning more, opportunities will open up. If you don’t have any money saved, don’t expect investment opportunities to show up. With some savings and education you get yourself in the game.
- Talk to affluent people. Who do you know who is financially free, happy and generous? If you don’t know anybody, then start looking! A person who is truly wealthy wants to support others to lift themselves up, and when they have time they’ll happily give you a hand-up (not a hand-out). A financially-well off mentor could transform your life.
- Take a look at your peer-group. Proximity truly is power. Who do you spend time with socially? Are they financially “well off”? Love your friends and family, and at the same time branch out to ensure that you are spending more time with confident, appreciative and generous people. Their wealth perceptions will rub off on you.
- Start now. Don’t wait for “a lower price” that might never appear. Bernard Baruch, a famous American Financier once said that “Knowledge plus action equals success but knowledge without action equals failure.”
Now here is what I know about Gold and Silver!
Surprise – It’s August and the price is down again!
The precious metals are encountering headwinds from all the fictitious numbers that keep being issued from various departments of the US government. Money printing, poor housing statistics and relatively weak “real” jobs data will continue to keep the real economy down and struggling. The world’s largest economy in the US is still having a tough time finding any traction, making all these statistics being ladled out by the US government look even more “startling”.
Now, after a week of very bad market action along with very good news from the statisticians, the mainstream media is at their wit’s end. We have even seen suggestions that because of all the “good” numbers, quantitative easing might not last as long as had been initially anticipated. But maybe these aren’t such big surprises after all and perhaps this might just be the one last hurrah that the government gets to try and suppress gold and silver lower in the short term.
Make no mistake about it. The US establishment is concerned about keeping up the facade of economic recovery and will do what they need to in order to maintain the allusion of a recovery economy. Gold and Silver have been put back in their box this week so far despite the fact that we got news China continues to have an insatiable appetite for Gold.
Nothing has really changed. But the powers that be should be careful about springing too many surprises. Even the most credulous investor doesn’t want to get the impression that he or she is being looked upon as one of those fabled people who are “born every minute”. This is the time to buy, take home, or store PHYSICAL PRECIOUS METALS.
Yours to the penny,
Darren V. Long
Guildhall Wealth Management Inc.