Thursday, March 13, 2014

Am I Rich?: Defining My Own Value

We're in the midst of tax season, "the most wonderful time of the year," if your a tax accountant, lol. This past weekend Karim and I did our taxes. We owe, but we usually do, so no big surprise there.

Starting last year, Karim and I have gotten in the habit of meeting with our financial adviser, Don Ciampi Jr. when we file our taxes. Don Jr. is part of the family-owned Ciampi Tax and Financial Services, located in Cheshire, Connecticut. My mom and I have been going to them for more than 10 years. They know finance and always put their customer's business or financial interests first. Sorry, had to plug em'. They are that good!

My recent tax and financial appointment got me thinking about my own worth and value and how I define it. When I was a kid I used to watch the television show,  Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous and as a result of watching the show wanted to be rich. Back then I was completely on the materialistic tip of having designer clothes, cars, and big houses. I hate to admit it, but the media messages of that time sold me on the idea that such lavish lifestyles were something to aspire to. As I've gotten older and wiser I've come to learn that all that glitters isn't gold and while being rich can define your financial wealth, that same wealth doesn't always translate to one's personal life. The richest people in the world don't seem to be the happiest. Just look at Justin Bieber and his recent media coverage on his DUI in Florida.

Having money in our society and in most societies throughout the world is a necessary evil. As our wealth grows, one's financial stability and access to opportunities is likely to also increase. Being rich and having seven, eight or even 10 zeroes in your bank account is nice, but as Puffy succinctly put it, "Mo' Money, Mo' Problems." We've all seen this play out in the media's coverage of rags to riches back to rags stories. I tend to always go back to MC Hammer, but there are plenty of other people who haven't managed their funds or think they don't have to pay Uncle Sam. Even before you pay yourself make sure you pay the government.

Am I rich? No, if I subscribe to society's monetary standards.Yes, if I look at other areas of my life like my health, family and friends. Each one of these areas adds value to my life and it's one thing money can't buy. I accept that money makes the world go round. I do want to live a financially comfortable life and am doing my best to be fiscally responsible, but at the end of the day, money isn't everything.

I don't expect to make the Forbes billionaire list anytime soon. I'm okay with that because I don't define my personal wealth by the numbers in my checking account. Congrats to Bill Gates for getting back on the top of the list.

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