Sunday, June 17, 2012

Keys to Financial Success

Headlines like the above attract readers.  They must, for we see them printed over and over in magazines, blogs, info-mercials, and seminar headlines.  People want financial success and investment companies reach the masses through promising to assist and lead people into achieving it.  The advertising works.  Articles are read, businesses thrive, and there are not just a few who make money in the process of peddling their products, services, and ideas.
We all want to SUCCEED.  Who wants to fail?  Who would intentionally invest time, money, and energy if they knew that what they were doing would ultimately lead to failure?

This is the funny thing though but at first reading you may not get it:  what is SUCCESS?  Is your definition of success the same as mine?  Who is the beneficiary of this success?  Is it the attendee at the seminar or investment service or is it the one providing the seminar? 

These seem like such basic questions but do we really take the time to think about and then draw our own conclusions or do we go along with words without consideration?  

Maybe the dictionary will offer some enlightenment:


[suhk-ses] Show IPA
1. the favorable or prosperous termination of attempts or endeavors.
2. the attainment of wealth, position, honors, or the like.
3. a successful performance or achievement: The play was an instant success.
4. a person or thing that is successful: She was a great success on the talk show.
The question seems so simple that the answer would seem to be self-evident.  If that is truly the case than why would financial issues be listed as one of the top reasons of martial discord.  Why would financial issues split families, friends, and even the nation?  Why do many have to numb the stress of life with alcohol each evening or take perscription anxiety medication?
The fact is that not everyone views success in the same way.  Many mouth the common words yet feel an unexplainable emtiness inside that they don't even understand.
Probably the most common definition of success and therefore the one held by the majority is simply MORE.  More of this, more of that, and more of the other thing. 
Some of the other common definitions of financial success in America are:
  • Owning a home
  • Having a college education
  • Accumulating a retirement fund
  • Expensive car
  • Money in the bank
  • Ability to travel
  • Quality or quantity clothes
  • A wide screen t.v. (the bigger the better)
  • Jewelery
  • Of course boats, four wheelers, and other motorized recreational vehicles
Some of the more basic definitions are:
  • Food on the table
  • A roof over the head
  • Good medical care
Now that the common and widely advertised topics are covered have we defined SUCCESS adequately?  I think not for even in our finances we have the opportunity to show our unique and individual personality and priorities.
Here are some of the more uncommon perceptions of success:
  • Quality education that may include home school or private schools.
  • Generous giving to the poor or worthy cause, this may be in time or money.
  • Achievement of goals in music, arts, athletics, or horses :).
  • Being debt free.
  • Being a stay at home mom.
  • Minimalist financial living to allow more available time during younger years.
  • Ability to pursue interest and talents which may be as unique as the individual.
The point being: before we are able to achieve SUCCESS we must have a clear and personal definition of what that means.  This brings to mind the best seller titled Purpose Driven Life that caused so many to re-evaluate what was really important and what was not. Only after doing so can we make reasonable goals to achieve the success we desire and align ourselves with people and activities that support our objectives.  These may and will change at the different stages of our lives. 
Today - what is your definition of SUCCESS


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Practical Parsimony said...

Owning a home (it's paid off), college education (MA), no major credit card debt (less than $200), decent car (paid off), cultural activities (free ones work), access to books I want, , freedom from oppression, SAHM when younger, children who are addiction free, and cause no problem, and educated.(okay, one of three refused to continue).

Carol Schultz said...

Very inspiring! It can be done for those who are clear on the goal.

Anonymous said...

Most of people define success as achieving the financial freedom in life like Bill Gates, Bill Bartmann billionaire, Mark Zuckerberg, etc.
But I define success as being able to manage well your career and family life. Career and quality time for the family is hard to juggle together but I think "balance" is the key. :)