“So how will I know when I have enough money?” asked my new client.
Where do I begin?
I believe there are two types of people: (1) those who are forever driven by anxiety, competition and adrenaline; and (2) those who are seeking a place where the anxiety and adrenaline no longer play a role.
Today I’m one of the latter.
When I first started working, more was always better. That motivated me through business start-ups and failures, getting degrees, fighting for promotions, quitting jobs—and countless all-nighters to meet ever more demanding deadlines.
Until I lost everything at 53. (See My Story)
Maybe losing everything is what caused the change. Or maybe it’s just something that creeps up on us women as we get into our fifties.
Whatever the answer, as I licked my proverbial wounds, examined what had happened so I’d learn the lessons offered and reinvented myself, I found my drive had changed.
No longer did I have to have the “right address” to impress anyone. I was more content with a smaller footprint that would cost less and leave more money in the “disposable income” column.
No longer was “making millions” a motivator in and of itself. Far more important was knowing exactly what I needed to have set aside to guarantee a safe and sound old age—and to add to it over time so those years can be richer and richer.
What had actually changed was my definition of “wealth.” It was no longer how much I made each month or year compared to someone else. Or whether the cars in the other driveways on my street were newer or older. Or how many covered square feet my house had under the roof.
Suddenly the most important money-related goal was peace of mind. Glorious peace of mind! Freedom from financial worry. The ability to pay my monthly bills. And knowing that I’d be okay for the rest of my life. I’d always have a roof over my head, food on the table and a glass of fine red wine to sip as I watched the sun set at the end of each peaceful day.
Early on, as I climbed out of the financial hole I had dug for myself and started rebuilding my business on a more solid foundation, “okay” looked pretty modest. And from there, as more and more money is set aside and invested, “okay” means having more and more choices available to me of how I will spend each day, doing what pleases me at that moment.
Am I through building my nest egg? Not at all. But as good and bad things happen in my business—as they do in entrepreneurial ventures—I know that no matter what, I am assured peace of mind. For life.
I recognize how individual the definition of wealth is. It means something different for each of us. For some it might have a number or a lifestyle attached to it. For others, it might be an ever-growing, unreachable target.
But what has really surprised me is how few people ever take the time to consciously define the word wealth clearly for themselves.
So, I ask you, what does wealth mean to you?
Let us know in the Comments section below.
Bio: Sharon O’Day lost everything at age 53: her home, her business, everything. But how could that be? She’s an expert in global finance and marketing with an MBA from the Wharton School. She has worked with governments, corporations, and individuals … yes, she was the secret “weapon,” if you will, behind many individuals in high places. Yet she did! Since then, with her finances completely turned around, Sharon has gone on to interview countless women. She’s done extensive research to understand how that could have happened, especially with her strong knowledge of numbers and finance.
The surprising answers are shared in her tell-it-like-it-is posts and articles. Today her mission is to show as many women as possible how to become financially free for the long term, through her coaching programs. She has developed a step-by-step plan to get past all the obstacles that keep women broke and scared … and from reaching the financial peace of mind they so deserve … if they’re willing to do what it takes!