Why do you want to be rich?

by irms

When circumstances change, we figure out answers to questions that weren’t relevant before.  Women don’t buy men’s dress shirts, so they probably don’t know thier own neck size and sleeve-length.  Mac users don’t do Windows Updates so they wouldn’t know how many reboots and extra space an XP PC (with no service packs)  requires to be fully up-to-date (answer: usually 5 reboots, and roughly 250 MB of space).  But a lady that receives a PC for her birthday and starts cross-dressing on the weekends gets familiar with that kind of information pretty quickly.

Lately, I’ve been thinking about my occupational circumstances.

I’m a nerd.  I write code.  I was a teacher for about a minute and a half.  I’ve done tech support.  I have launched huge systems for giant companies.  I’ve lead teams.  I’ve followed dumb directions.  I’ve been the smartest person on the crew, and all alone feeling dumb.  I’ve traveled a bit.  I used to clean churches.  I’ve served Italian food, and washed more than my share of dishes.

My whole life has been spent on a plane of “just barely enough, but no more than that”.

Let me be clear:  I’m not complaining.  Every fiber of my being is composed of the compulsion to achieve.  That’s what I am.  It’s what my parents made me.  But now circumstances are changing.  I’m good at what I do.  I’m earning real money.  I have flexibility in my life that didn’t exist before.

Seth Godin, in his post “Thinking about the compromise” writes:

If you sell crack to kindergarten students, no need to read this.

Same thing if you donate all your belongings and income to the poorest and sickest in the slums and ghettos.

The rest of us have compromised. We’re not profit-maximizing sociopaths, nor are we saints. We’re somewhere in between.

… …

Everyone is at their own level, but my impression is that most people sort of randomly end up somewhere on the greed/joy/work/good spectrum without really considering moving one way or the other.

These days, I have ideas about new things I could do.  Ventures that are actually feasible,  projects I am able to launch, and ways to make money doing things I feel I could be good at.  The circumstances have changed and I have a new question to face:


‘Till now, I did most things out of necessity.   But being in a position to do things because I want to means that, for the first time, I have to figure out why I would want to do them.  It’s not a blind decision anymore, I’m making choices.  I might end up rich.  I could end up rich.  Do I want to be rich?  Why would I want to be rich?  Are you?  Can you tell me why?

Why do you want to be rich?

This is a real question.  I think my life has always  moved in the direction of  “let’s be in a position where we don’t have to struggle.”  So what happens when you’re not struggling anymore?  What happens when you you’re debt free, have a good job, and are able to contribute to the good of the world from time to time?  By the way,  I’m none of those things, but I imagine I will be soon.  At least, that’s what I’m working toward now.  And that begs the question: What do I work toward, next?  Do I even want to have loads of money?  And if so, why?

I’m interested in your answers.   Please do write your thoughts in the comments.

[ Note ]

I’m not the only one asking this question.  Both Get Rich Slowly, and I Will Teach You To Be Rich have good articles revolving the same question.