I’m pursuing financial independence so that I can live a rich life. But guess what? That doesn’t necessarily mean I want to be rich. In fact, living a rich life doesn’t have to have anything to do with money.
What is a Rich Life?
In my opinion, living a rich life doesn’t mean being rich. Money is just a tool that helps us live a rich life, and I think this is where a lot of people get confused. Money does help, which is why I’m saving and investing. But it’s just the means, it isn’t the end.
A rich life really is more about living a life worth living. Live a rich life by enjoying your time here and doing the things that you want to do. Throw off the life script and live for yourself doing what you want to do with your life. This might involve travel, raising kids, rescuing cats, being a life long student, or a plethora of other things. But these experiences are truly the things that make life rich.
How Can I Live Rich Without Money?
I’m not going to lie to you and say you can be happy with no money. In our society, we need money to live. However, the amount of money that you need to be happy with is variable. You don’t need to be rich to be happy. You can live a rich life without a lot of money.
And you do that by figuring out what you really want out of life and making that happen. If you really put thought into it, would you want millions of dollars in the bank, or would you want a happy family? Do you really want that expensive car, or are you happy with a safe car that gets you from point A to point B?
Are riches really important, or would you be happier living a life true to yourself, whatever that looks like?
I Will Teach You To Be Rich
There’s a pretty popular personal finance book out, called “I Will Teach You to Be Rich“. In it, Remit Sethi, author, describes his idea of a rich life. I’ve not actually read the book yet (it’s on my list though!), but based on the reviews and his interview with Forbes, it seems like his idea is similar to mine. Living a rich life isn’t about amassing wealth. It’s about enjoying your life.
How Much Money Do You Need to Live a Rich Lifestyle?
How much money you need to live a rich lifestyle is variable. I know, my favorite answer about everything is “it depends”. But I’m not going to lie and give you a solid answer when I know absolutely nothing about you. The amount of money you need to live a rich life depends on your personal definition of a rich life.
Are you happy living in the countryside, growing some of your own food, and living the simple life? If so, then you will need much less than someone who wants a life filled with all the conveniences of the city. Neither lifestyle is wrong – but you need to decide which one you want (and there are thousands of other considerations, these are just two very simplified examples). Decide what you want, and then you will be able to figure out how much money you will need. Here are some things to take into consideration:
Cost of Housing
Figure out how much it will cost to actually live in the place that you want to live. The countryside offers cheaper housing options, and a city will be more expensive. That’s a given. Look at the area you want to live in and figure out the average housing costs. This will give you a baseline of how much money you will need to live there.
If you’re living in the country, you will more than likely need a car to get around. City life offers a plethora of options within walking distance, and easily accessible public transportation.
Although urban gardening is a thing, it’s much easier to cut back on food costs if you live somewhere with a bit of land and that allows you to keep chickens or cows.
Things You Want to Do
In my opinion, living a rich life is about experiences. Some experiences, like travel, scuba diving, eating at five-star restaurants, and the like, cost a ton of money. Others, such as volunteering, gardening, and learning to cook don’t cost as much.
In order to figure out how much living a rich life will cost, you do need to decide what you want out of that life. What things do you want to do and see, and how much will that cost?
One of my top bucket list adventures is going to China to study Tai Chi for 3 months. The total cost of that program is about three thousand dollars, plus another thousand for plane tickets. I’ll also need to pay to store my things while I’m gone (or convince a family member to let me store stuff with them).
These are things you need to consider when you are trying to figure out how much money it will cost to live a rich life.
The General Cost of Living
I’m not going to blow smoke. Life can be expensive. On average, it costs about $45000 just to survive. There are ways to make it cheaper, but still, that’s a lot of money. How can you live a rich life when you need that much money just to exist?
I don’t think it’s possible to live a rich life when your basic needs aren’t being met. If the cost of living is too high in your area, consider geoarbitrage to lower your costs. Find ways to cut back on the things that you don’t care about, and prioritize the things that you actually care about. Doing these things can help you get the money you need to live a rich life, even without the riches.
How Can I Live a Rich Life?
So if living a rich life isn’t about money, how do you do it? What are some things that you can do right now to start living a richer life? It does depend on what you really want out of life, but here are some ideas that will help you live life to the fullest.
Mediation is glorious. It gives you time to clear your mind, relax, and de-stress. Meditation is time that you set aside to focus on you. It has numerous physical and psychological benefits, all of which will help you live a rich life.
Using meditation to help increase your mindfulness improves your overall wellness. Even a few minutes per day can have drastic impacts on your health and well-being. And the great thing is that it doesn’t cost anything!
Being physically fit will help improve your life. It gives you the energy to do the things that you want to do, and in generally is an indicator of a longer, healthier life.
I know, working out sucks. Finding the motivation to get up and do something really is the hardest part though. Once you get started, you’ll realize that it wasn’t as bad as you thought. And just a few minutes of exercise every day can improve your overall mood!
There are so many ways you can create something in this world. You can write, paint, build, craft, and even cook. Whenever I create something new, whether it be a book or a blog post or a painting, I get a feeling of accomplishment. I did that. I made that thing. It makes you feel good in a different way.
It doesn’t even matter if your work isn’t seen. I’ve written blog posts I’ve never published, painted pictures I’ve never even tried to sell, and crafted jewelry just for the fun of it. Sometimes, our hustle culture makes us feel like we need to monetize all of these endeavors, but that’s not true. The simple act of creating for the sake of creation is something that can help us live a rich life.
When I was in high school, I struggled so much with algebra. I just could not figure out how to factor quadratic equations. So, I went to my brother, who is a year older than me, for help, because the teacher just wasn’t cutting it no matter how much I asked.
He showed me a different method, called the “H” method. My eyes light up. I understood! I could factor these equations all day long with this new method. And I used this information to get an A in math class.
Do you have a similar story? Do you remember that feeling of accomplishment that you had in school when it finally clicked and you understood the material? That’s the stuff that a rich life is made of, and you can recreate it anytime. Take courses online with Udemy or Coursera. Read a book. Watch “how-to” Youtube videos. Information is at our fingertips, so go get it!
I think life is all about experiences. I want to do and see and taste and smell all the things! This is what makes life worth living. So get out there and do stuff!
Go ziplining, take that walk, visit that theme park, eat at that new restaurant, try new things. Explore all of the things that life has to offer, and enrich your life with a wide variety of different experiences.
Everyone knows the old saying “take time to smell the flowers” and it’s an important key to living a rich life. Take the time to slow down and appreciate the small things that life has to offer. That can mean literally stopping to smell the flowers, but it can also mean enjoying a sunset, appreciating the feel of sand between your toes, or taking a second to smell the fresh aroma of coffee before indulging in that perfect first sip. There are so many small things that happen every day – it’s easy to take them for granted. But taking that moment to appreciate them, and to realize that a million tiny things can actually add up to a rich life, is incredibly important.
Helping others feels good, doesn’t it? One of the best things you can do to live a rich life and feel good about yourself is to give back. Help others in need. There are tons of ways you can do this. If you have free time, you can volunteer. If you have an abundance of resources, you can donate. One of the richest women in the world, Mackenzie Scott, pledged to donate the majority of her wealth to charity. If she can pledge to donate, so can you.
You can even do small things every day that help the world around you. Pick up that plastic in the street. Put a worm back into the dirt. Help a friend move. There are thousands of small actions you can take every day that give back to the world.
A final way to live a rich life is to connect with others. Build meaningful relationships with your friends and family. Talk with your grandparents, let them tell you stories about their lives. Reconnect with old friends. In this day and age when we have the world at our fingertips, it’s easier than ever to send someone a message and let them know you care.
But – Money is Still Important
Personal finance is still important to living a rich life. That’s because it costs money to live. It’s hard to find the time and energy to do the things I mentioned above when you’re worrying about how to pay for groceries or struggling under mountains of student loan debt.
There are things you can do to improve your financial situation and live a richer life. Find ways to save on basic living expenses, and follow these money savings tips on life in general. Use an app like Trim to automate your savings. Invest the savings towards your financial goals.
Doing these things will help achieve your financial goals, which in turn will give you the stability that you need to pursue a rich life. It’s all interconnected.
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Melanie launched Partners in Fire in 2017 to document her quest for financial independence with a mix of finance, fun, and solving the world’s problems. She’s self educated in personal finance and passionate about fighting systematic problems that prevent others from achieving their own financial goals. She also loves travel, anthropology, gaming and her cats.