What would you do if you were rich?

For most of my life I've worked under the assumption that money buys happiness. It didn't matter how many times I heard critics preach to the contrary, it seemed simple: money will allow me to buy the things that make me happy. Over the last three years my perspective has shifted.

One day I sat down and made a list of all of the things I wanted to do in my life. I realized I'd never put much thought into it, so I wanted to see what would come out. Some of the things — like “Compose a spectacular HDR photo” — were pretty simple. Others items — such as staying at the Burj al Arab Hotel in Dubai — were going to be a bit of a challenge. Then there were a few that were downright impossible (go on a Virgin Galactic space flight, for instance).

When I created this list, I had a solid job as a financial analyst. I was making good money. I'd written these things out, but didn't really plan to cross many off anytime in the near future, simply because I didn't have the time. After all, it was probably going to take more than my two weeks of vacation to prepare for my Galactic space flight.

To make matters worse, it was March of 2009 and the stock market was at its lowest point in years. Everyone was telling me how lucky I was to have a job, but I'd just received a 20% pay cut, morale was down, and there was no end in sight.

I had one revelation that was worse than any of that, though: I didn't have any good stories.

My life consisted of heading to the office, running around the Willamette River during lunch, working some more, and attending the occasional happy hour. Rinse and repeat.

It didn't matter if my salary doubled; the routine would stay the same. Sure I'd probably drive a nicer car, move into a bigger place, and have a bigger TV than my friends, but that wasn't helping me accomplish anything of my new-found goals was it? It took awhile but I realized that experiences and stories were much more important than any of the material items.

Six months after creating that list, I quit.

Since then I've crossed off 28 things on my list, and have plans to knock off a bunch more.

If you handed me a million dollars and told me to have fun, I wouldn't do anything different than I'm doing now. I'd keep working on my list. But has it taken me a million dollars to do the things I've really wanted in life? Absolutely not.

Were the experiences worth millions of dollars? I'd like to think so.

Whether it was staying in a three-bedroom Balinese villa for free, or skiing for free in Vail, I've simply done what most people wait until retirement to do — for a fraction of the cost.

It's not hard to create opportunity for yourself, regardless of your current situation in life or background. All it takes is a little creative thinking.

What Do You Love to Do?

We've all heard the same cliché advice about following your passion and doing what you love. So I'm not going to go there. However, in order to create cool experiences you have to think about what you really enjoy doing. Why? Because when you genuinely enjoy something, it's easy to build rapport and relate to others in a position to help you out.

I was once asked what my “dream job” would be. I've realized that it would be to review luxury hotels for Travel and Leisure or a similar publication. Pretty difficult to get there right? Not if you reframe what that looks like and create the opportunity yourself.

Through my blog Location 180, I've built a community of people that are passionate about entrepreneurship and travel. By leveraging that asset and audience I can appeal to PR and marketing departments at these properties and get afforded many of the same opportunities that a more highly regarded journalist might receive.

If I didn't truly enjoy that type of work though, it'd be difficult to build the rapport necessary to land those opportunities. Think about how you can help someone else simply by doing something you'd want to do anyways.

Ask and Ye Shall Receive

When was the last time you went out on a limb and asked for something you wanted? Most people never do.

A while back there was a sold out concert that all of my friends were going to — but I was too slow and didn't buy tickets. Three hours before show time I called up a couple local radio stations asking if they were going to give away any more tickets. The DJ for the second station responded “Can you be down here in 30 minutes? If so, I've got two VIP tickets with your name on it.”

The tickets would have been 75 bucks apiece. Not only did I score two expensive tickets, but I now have a cool story to go along with it.

Get Rich Slowly

For the longest time my sole focus was simply figuring out how to make as much money as I could, in as little time as possible. As soon as I realized I was already doing the things I really wanted, my perspective shifted.

Yes, I still hope to be rich one day and enjoy the security that money can provide, but I'm no longer in a hurry. The vast majority of all the things rich people do, are attainable for just about anyone, it just might require a little more creative thinking.

I've had the pleasure of getting to know J.D. pretty well over the last year. I've never seen him happier than the times where he's talking about learning Spanish and spending time traveling through South America.

Anyone can do that. In fact, if you get creative enough you can work remotely and save money in the process.

The point of all this? Take a few moments today to stop thinking about getting rich, and start thinking about what you would do if you were rich. I'm willing to bet that whatever your answer entails is quite a bit more attainable right now than you expect it to be.

More about...Planning

Become A Money Boss And Join 15,000 Others

Subscribe to the GRS Insider (FREE) and we’ll give you a copy of the Money Boss Manifesto (also FREE)

Yes! Sign up and get your free gift
Become A Money Boss And Join 15,000 Others
guest
97 Comments
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
lanjha
lanjha
7 years ago

In my opinion, these reader stories have got nothing to do with personal finance. I think all they are trying to do is trying to keep some sort of activity going on through user interactions.

Claire
Claire
7 years ago
Reply to  lanjha

Really? These sort of articles are what make this website stand out to me. So many personal finance websites/blogs/magazines are completely dry, full of number-crunching articles.

Jerome
Jerome
7 years ago

I take my hat of to people who manage to live this way, but I somehow doubt it if really anybody can be that successful at working remotely. Both my wife and I do work remotely, but getting there was a long process of requiring the right mix of marketable skill and the right contacts. And as soon as you have kids you are more or less bound to one place to live. Changing schools is not something kids enjoy, so you can not do that too often. Having said that, making a wish-list is a very good idea. And… Read more »

David Samuel
David Samuel
7 years ago
Reply to  Jerome

You really need to let go of your self-limiting beliefs. Free your mind, seriously. While it may not be effortless to make a high income working remotely, it’s certainly possible. I’m making between $25k and $35k a month as a freelance software developer, with my record at $41.5k in one month. I was in 11 countries last year, and have been in 12 so far this year, on track to do 20+ before the end of the year. Maybe you should stop reading blogs and get back to your hustle.

julie
julie
7 years ago
Reply to  David Samuel

Do you have children, David?

khadijah
khadijah
7 years ago
Reply to  julie

If ‘having children’ is on your list… then get to that! you don’t need a million dollars or be a millionaire to have children. Which is the point of the article. You think you need sooo much more than you actually do, in order to do the things you love.

LauraK
LauraK
7 years ago
Reply to  David Samuel

“self-limiting beliefs”? Really? How about realizing that for some of us, it’s just being realistic. I’m an investment banker, which means that I sell companies for a living. First, in working with sub-$50 million businesses, my clients generally expect me to be where they are, and second, my business comes from referrals, so if I’m not around to SEE these referall sources on a regular basis, they won’t think about me. Software development is outsourced all the time, so for you, it’s not a paradigm shift for someone to hire you to do that when you’re not in the country.… Read more »

Lisa Wilson
Lisa Wilson
7 years ago
Reply to  David Samuel

What kind of college degree do I need to go after to do the work you do?My BIL is in computer work & makes $40 an hour.

Tim Thompson
Tim Thompson
7 years ago
Reply to  Lisa Wilson

Well, if you have a bachelor degree in accounting, or business or economics with some accounting class work, you can always do insurance premium auditing. The company I contract with starts at $35/hr, and I’m at $40/hr right now, which meets your criteria. As with anything else though, work that pays a lot is often not easy and the turnover rate is very high in this industry due to all the technical knowledge you need to have.

Jacq
Jacq
7 years ago

Sean, good story about your experiences, it sounds like a lot of fun for someone who enjoys traveling as much as you obviously do. But… here’s my question on the term “accomplishments” from a view of your bucket list. Is traveling somewhere really an accomplishment of any kind? Going somewhere just means buying a ticket and hopping on a plane. At your age (<30?), I saw my bucket list in much the same way whereas today I actually have no "bucket list" but do have a lot of (mostly unwritten) goals. Things like learning enough to become a good enough… Read more »

Malcom
Malcom
7 years ago
Reply to  Jacq

I must respectfully disagree with goals having to change as you get older. When I was under 30 I figured out how to travel and have new experiences. I am turning 40 in less then a week. I have additional goals now, but the goal of traveling and figuring out how to do it frugally has not changed. Yes, I have and expect to continue to travel.

This is with all of lifes ups and downs including a life threatening illness that did not allow me to work for 6 months and starting my own business 7 years ago.

Jacq
Jacq
7 years ago
Reply to  Malcom

Yes, that’s true Malcom. I *think* what I meant was that usually your life changes (as it should) and so your goals change with that – but you’re correct in that I don’t think your underlying values change that much over time.

Although most people in their 40’s-60’s do become more security oriented and risk averse fortunately. They just don’t have the time to make up for less than optimal results like someone in their 20’s and 30’s does.

Sean
Sean
7 years ago
Reply to  Jacq

Jacq, Thanks for the thoughts. Considering most of my friends and many people I know never do much in the way of international travel, even though they say they would love to, I do view those experiences as accomplishments. I have the same feelings towards traveling to new locations as I do running a marathon or building a small business. I think everyone is going to view the word accomplishment differently. That said, I’d suspect in the next 5 years my goals will change quite a bit to things like renovating a house or having a family. But for the… Read more »

Heidi
Heidi
7 years ago
Reply to  Sean

Sean, I think it’s awesome that you’re accomplishing your goals. I consider my travels and moves abroad as accomplishments also.

However, I think it’s important to separate your own accomplishments from other people’s aspirations. In my opinion, your travels are an accomplishment because there were all sorts of obstacles that you had to overcome to get to that point. It’s not at all because somebody else couldn’t (or chose not to) do the same.

Jacq
Jacq
7 years ago
Reply to  Sean

Yeah, I’m doing the things that interest me too. They just happen to be fairly conventional things, but hugely challenging nevertheless. 😉 I suspect you’re bearing the brunt in the comments of too many posts lately along the lines of “follow your dreams” from people who have “Dirty Jobs” (and maybe like them) – a la Mike Rowe. Speaking of which, here’s a great piece from his Ted talk: “In the long history of inspirational pabulum, “follow your passion” has got to be the worst. Even if this drivel were confined to the borders of the cheap plastic frames that… Read more »

imelda
imelda
7 years ago
Reply to  Jacq

Yeah, it’s interesting – when he mentioned “think about the things you enjoy doing,” I had a depressing moment where I couldn’t think of anything I really loved doing. Then I realized… I like working. As much as I complain about the daily grind, I love putting my blood, sweat and tears into important projects at work. Whether I’m creating a knockout lesson plan that will get my students eagerly speaking English, or I’m helping a school in rural Ecuador develop a grant proposal to build bathrooms – that’s the kind of thing I can get lost in. Travel can… Read more »

Lance @ Money Life and More
Lance @ Money Life and More
7 years ago

Very cool story. I bet that pay cut really did cut morale and probably helped in you reevaluating what was going on in your life. I don’t think I could make the jump with out some sort of steady alternative ready for me but am glad you did! I’ve started my blog though which is a huge step in the right direction I feel so hopefully I can join you one day soon!

Laura
Laura
7 years ago

Hm. What I would do if I were rich: not have to go to a job that isn’t a good fit to pay our mortgage and put food on the table, and instead stay home, read, and write. Which is what I would do today except I need to drive my son over to a friend’s house for a cat-care assignment (it’s Sunday and the buses run so poorly that it’s a 10-minute drive vs. 2 hours by buses), go get groceries, make up lunches for the week to eat more healthily and save money, research our homeowner’s insurance so… Read more »

LauraK
LauraK
7 years ago
Reply to  Laura

From Laura to Laura – amen, sista!

Jane
Jane
7 years ago

Since these days we tend to marry and procreate later or not at all, the twenties have become the time for many to embrace their bucket lists. I think there are benefits to this. Better to travel and experience life with 20 year old joints rather than 60 or 70 year old ones. I traveled tons and lived abroad in my twenties as a graduate student. I feel very lucky that I was able to do this, but I also think there is a restlessness in your twenties that perhaps makes you enjoy it less. I think a precise bucket… Read more »

michiel
michiel
7 years ago
Reply to  Jane

Hi Jane, As a 35 year old dad with 2 kids, I can tell you from experience that travel and kids do not exclude each other. Smaller kids may not remember each trip as fully as they would later on, but they still can enjoy it quite much. Our 5 year old son fully remembers our trip to thailand (13 hour flight, he was 4), and the trip to Madeira (3 hour flight, he was 3). Next to that, we visited the UK, Ireland, and Spain (home base being Netherlands) with him. There is of course a monetary limit, but… Read more »

Mark
Mark
7 years ago

I still don’t get how these posts end up on a personal finance site. What can you really learn from this? That if you’re young and have nothing tying you down, you can lead an adventurous life? Doesn’t everyone (but the young, perhaps) already know this? And that there’s a possibility (but very little certainty) that you might be independently successful enough to carry this on for a while, maybe even indefinitely? And this is all predicated on multiple factors, at least one of which applies to almost everyone: 1) You have no family responsibility tying you down. 2) You… Read more »

Anne
Anne
7 years ago
Reply to  Mark

I not only agree with this, I also find these reports often are written by people who are now making their living off of blog writing. That’s good, but certainly not for all of us for a number of reasons.

But I do like the idea of spending some time thinking about what you would do with lots of funny…..and then attempting to do it anyway.

I think it might be called *focus*.

Tim
Tim
7 years ago
Reply to  Mark

I have to say I’m really shocked by all the negativity. It’s like a big glass of bitter beer was passed around. People seem bent by a persons success, lack of debt and the freedom to achieve his goals. If this offends you then just move on to the next post or blog. Sean said, “The point of all this? Take a few moments today to stop thinking about getting rich, and start thinking about what you would do if you were rich. I’m willing to bet that whatever your answer entails is quite a bit more attainable right now… Read more »

Mark
Mark
7 years ago
Reply to  Tim

Its not the success that rubs me or everyone else who agreed with me the wrong way. It’s the naïveté and the preachiness. He’s tasted a little success and now he thinks he has all the answers. The difference between him and most people, is that a pay cut or job loss isn’t a time for self reflection about how you’d rather be living in the tropics, skiing in the Himalayas or having your every whim catered to in a luxury hotel, it’s a scramble to make ends meet so you (and your family) aren’t out on the street. Which,… Read more »

Josetann
Josetann
7 years ago
Reply to  Mark

Ooh, how did I miss this comment the first time around? I’ll touch on “And this is all predicated on multiple factors, at least one of which applies to almost everyone:” first. “1) You have no family responsibility tying you down.” Most of the time (note, I said most…not all), this is a choice. And are we talking about true responsibility, or just the fact that a parent is trying to guilt-trip us into staying? Hey, it’s fine if you choose to stay…just know that it’s (probably) a choice. “2) You have little debt and/or financial obligations.” Isn’t this part… Read more »

getagrip
getagrip
7 years ago
Reply to  Mark

While I don’t want to take anything away from the author’s accomplishments (wish I’d done as well in my 20’s), I feel this is yet another “toss it all” and “be free” lecture about leaving the corporate enslavement of your hum drum life and somehow only being able to find “true meaning” in a bohemian style of living while freelancing or blogging off the internet. Lately I’m feeling saturated with this type of story. Sure, I could also chuck it all, ditch the spouse, lose the job, stop supporting the kids, ignore an ailing parent’s plight, all in the name… Read more »

Ana
Ana
7 years ago
Reply to  getagrip

I don’t get the impression that Sean advocates dumping loved ones with needs on the curb in order to go follow your dreams in a faraway land. Many people absolutely can’t adopt a mobile lifestyle when they’re caring for others they simply can’t take along. ‘Nuff said there. Bless you. Always keep your dreams alive — whatever they are. However irritating such articles may be to many — I too get cranky reading that ANYONE can do such-and-such (no, anyone can’t) — there are countless others who could and just don’t know it. I did, and fell on hard ground… Read more »

KSR
KSR
7 years ago

Kids. The first goal I set, and the only one that I adamantly adhered to, was to not have kids. For more reasons than one and less reasons than a hundred but some of the above statements here are certainly a bullet point of my selfish version of why. On another note, I was flippin’ through the channels last night and came across a newer movie on the premiums titled “In Time” with Justin Timberlake. It was a cross of sci-fi The Matrix style antics, a Soylent Green start, and a Les Miserables finish. Okay, that’s my review and maybe… Read more »

AJ
AJ
7 years ago

What would I do if i were rich ? 🙂 Probably rich meaning different to different people perception. For me if i’m rich mean i can do these things comfortably without hesitate. – Stay in 4 or 5 star hotels on vacation – Fly business or first class when visit my family in Thailand – Can afford to support my children for education even expensive colleges. – I probably buy 5 or 6 bed rooms home with private yard and area. – Still drive normal car like I’m doing now actually. Expensive car is just wasting money not good investment.… Read more »

Kim
Kim
7 years ago

I like the idea of a having a list of goals you’d like to accomplish to work towards, but having a specific bucket list this long seems a bit much. Doesn’t it just feel like a “to do” list after a while, and if you don’t get them done you’ll feel badly, just like if you don’t get things done on your daily to do list? For certain people this could be more pressure than pleasure, more things they “must do” with their already crowded lives. I think its important to reflect on your life one time each year —… Read more »

El Nerdo
El Nerdo
7 years ago

When was the last time you went out on a limb and asked for something you wanted? Most people never do.

Please give me $100,000.

Oleron
Oleron
7 years ago
Reply to  El Nerdo

I’m with you, El Nerdo! I have more “stories” than anyone I know. What I need now is about $500,000. That should keep me in my house until I die. I may even be able to take a few trips to visit [and stay with] friends in faraway places. That’s the extent of my bucket list.

El Nerdo
El Nerdo
7 years ago
Reply to  El Nerdo

Yeah, my bucket list includes such trivial items as raising children, caring for my parents in their old age, and making a meaningful contributions to society through my work.

The $100,000 won’t even begin to cover the cost, but I would be able to get there a lot quicker.

I WANT THE MONEY. PLEASE GIVE IT TO ME.

I’m asking! 😉

Oleron
Oleron
7 years ago
Reply to  El Nerdo

El Nerdo,
Here’s the deal. I tell you all my “stories,” and you and I together turn it into a book. Mostly non-fiction, but no one would believe all of it, and it would be more fun to embellish the stories. At the very least, I would have to change the names. I like my own writing style, but yours is purty darn entertaining. I think we could make some money. Waddya say?

p.s. I’m getting tired of talking to myself. So much to say, so little time.

Laura
Laura
7 years ago
Reply to  El Nerdo

El Nerdo, I love you. 🙂

Financial Samurai
Financial Samurai
7 years ago

I’ve wanted to be rich since the 7th grade after some crazy party I went to with my parents. It was at the home of a multi-millionaire, who then told me “spend your money while you are young, because others will spend your money while you are old.”

I decided at the age of 35 I had enough money to do as I pleased. I want to enjoy my wealth now before time robs me of my youth.

To have enough money to take care of a family and never have to work again is PRICELESS!

Best,

Sam

Rail
Rail
7 years ago

Well, I guess its time for me to sound off on this HOT steamy Sunday morning. If I won the Big Kahuna lottery or some such I know it would be a life changing event.(duh)! Depending on the amount of money, say the 100 Million take home type, I would do thus. Set up savings and retirement investments. Buy farm ground and renovate or build a place that would be totaly self sufficaint off of the Grid(A house based on the “Ponderosa” of the old TV show BONANZA would be nice). Give some of the moola to family and make… Read more »

AndrewB
AndrewB
7 years ago

A timely article. My wife asked me yesterday what would I do differently if I won the lottery (which we don’t play). The answer: not much. I would drive the same car, live in the same house and do the healthy things necessary to live a long and active life (I hope). What I would change is the transition of my remote job from full time to contract worker so I could set my own hours and spend more time travelling. Life is too short to spend most of my productive life looking at a computer monitor and two weeks… Read more »

Vanessa
Vanessa
7 years ago

Just because the author would fill his life with more material things if he had more money, doesn’t mean everyone would. I don’t have adventures I want to go on or a bucket list. I want to do boring things like replace my mom’s clunker car, pay off my sister’s student loans, pay off my brother’s mortgage. I’d like to buy a few houses in the same neighborhood so we could all be neighbors and see each other every day. If I were to travel, I’d want to take them with me. That’s gonna take a lot of money.

Alex
Alex
7 years ago

Great post. Money is just a means to an end. You would like some security, of course, so that you don’t fall off a cliff and have to live in poverty, but it’s also important to not get so caught up in money and concentrate on what makes us happy. And if the things that make us happy really do need money, that is what we should strive for, but I like how this post makes you think about what it is we need to achieve those things.

Laura
Laura
7 years ago
Reply to  Alex

I need a husband who makes a 6-figure salary and a wife who’ll do all my household chores. Wouldn’t say no to a handsome masseur thrown in the mix. 🙂

AnnW
AnnW
7 years ago

Great post! People often concentrate on what they CANT do, instead of what is possible. Anything is possible. Just figure out a way to do it. Want to get free rent? Be a superintendent for a property or building, or teach at a boarding school. I am oversimplifying, but you get the idea. Ann

Jennifer Gwennifer
Jennifer Gwennifer
7 years ago

Buy up all the property on this one strip near my hometown’s downtown, tear everything down and turn it into a beautiful waterfront park, instead of the dumpy, sketchy area it is now. According to the tax assessors database, I’d only need $5 million to buy it all for fair market value. Add in incentives, demolition and landscaping costs, etc., and I’d probably need close to $10-15 million.
Currently taking donations…

K
K
7 years ago

Another reader story about quitting a job with no details about how much they had saved, how they got insurance, how they got from place to place with no gas money, where they lived that cost them no money…

I say “NO more stories that DON’T have NUMBERS in them”.

Sam
Sam
7 years ago
Reply to  K

Agree, I want to know how you quit your 9-5 job, how you managed to pay for health insurance (esp. expensive if you hare self insuring), how you pay the mortgage or rent, etc.

Bridget
Bridget
7 years ago

Solid post. I can think of a ton of things I would do if I was rich, but maybe it’s time I actually write that list and see what I can start doing RIGHT NOW. No reason to let money hold you back 😉

Mimms
Mimms
7 years ago

Though I’m happy for this author, I confess I am always a little … Annoyed? angry, even? When I read the phrase “anyone can do X with a little creativity.” No, anyone can’t. Not my two brothers in adult foster care, not members of my family who are responsible for the well being of those brothers. I’m glad the author’s happy, don’t get me wrong! I’m sure that he’s had to put significant effort into achieving his current state, which is admirable. But really, there’s a whole different side to life that he hasn’t acknowledged with that sentence. Even moreso… Read more »

KSR
KSR
7 years ago
Reply to  Mimms

I am going to make an assumption that your brothers have a developmental disability that requires outside care from a foster site. Why the animosity? You live in a country (IF we are talking the U.S. here) where that foster care is publicly funded and provided for so that your family can achieve a breath of air in the midst of their innate worry and won’t have to go (in anyway) bankrupt to do so. Not too long ago, large state institutions were the norm and foregoing guardianship/familial ties was the only option on one’s journey to being a state… Read more »

Oleron
Oleron
7 years ago
Reply to  KSR

@ KSR: Your reply to “Mimms” is mean-spirited. All Mimms is saying is that the luck-of-the-draw plays a big part in each of our lives. No need to slam her (him?) with misguided, egotistical attempts at eloquence. You sound like the same ilk of show-off as the author of this silly piece.

KSR
KSR
7 years ago
Reply to  Oleron

Nope. No slammin’ at all. Certainly wasn’t my intent. But, perhaps that’s yours. Good day.

imelda
imelda
7 years ago
Reply to  KSR

Oh, screw you. God forbid someone in a difficult situation express frustration with that situation. No, they should be perpetually grateful that their situation isn’t any worse than it is.

I’m sure that’s how you respond to every difficulty in your life.

You had no right to assume that this person “lacks perspective” or is ungrateful for the resources available for his/her brothers. You’re just being self-righteous and, indeed, mean-spirited.

KSR
KSR
7 years ago
Reply to  imelda

See the cube for its individual squares imelda. “Screw You”= mean spirited.

Robert Longley
Robert Longley
7 years ago

one of the key aspects of asking for something is doing it intelligently. true you will get some random hits by just swinging at the ball but you will increase your odds by giving people compelling reasons to help you out. I once received 4 seats at an event that was over $2000 each just by giving someone a good reason. It wasn’t life or death, but it made several people happy and didn’t actually cost anyone anything. Keep asking and you will have some of your own stories to share.

Bonnie
Bonnie
7 years ago

I’m a little off point here, but I’d like to note that a “highly regarded journalist” would not accept free trips from venues he’s writing about. It’s called conflict of interest.

SLCCOM
SLCCOM
7 years ago
Reply to  Bonnie

Actually, that is the travel writing industry.

Elizabeth
Elizabeth
7 years ago
Reply to  Bonnie

I guess it depends on your definition of “journalism”. I don’t consider someone who write reviews to be a journalist. (I’d call them a reviewer or critic instead. Nothing wrong with that!)

Perhaps the word Sean was looking for was credentials? I know people who work in publishing and they can request free stuff like admission to events, sample products, etc. (Contrary to what people think, companies usually don’t have a budget for buying this stuff!) For a blogger, this would be more challenging because you’re building your own brand rather than relying on someone else’s.

Bonnie
Bonnie
7 years ago
Reply to  Elizabeth

Here’s the problem, especially for reviewers and critics: Suppose you get free admission to a performance and it’s bad. Do you feel free to write that, knowing you might not get free admission again? On the other hand, what if you like the show and write a positive review? Do your readers trust what you’re saying, or do they think you’re saying nice things because you got a free ticket? That’s why highly regarded journalists (critics included) do not accept freebies.

Elizabeth
Elizabeth
7 years ago
Reply to  Bonnie

Yes, that’s a risk PR people take. If you had to rely on publications to buy tickets and books, you would often get ignored because there’s no budget to buy stuff like that. If you’re a theatre company and someone writes a bad review, are you going to black list that person and publication forever? You couldn’t afford to lose the publicity. Sending a publication a pair of complimentary tickets to something is very cheap advertising. Sometimes reviewers get freebees and sometimes they write about things they’re doing on their own dime. Sometimes the reviewer knows the writer or artist… Read more »

Mara
Mara
7 years ago

This was a great post. To answer the question, “What would you do if you were rich?” is actually a simple but loaded question. Every person is living a unique set of circumstances. And each one will answer your question based on what’s important to them at this time of their lives. I was once very young, ambitious and often thought about all these “things” that I want to do/buy and accomplish WHEN I get rich. Then “life” started happening and I just fell into the rut of leading a conventional life without a greater purpose other than what needs… Read more »

Fantasma
Fantasma
7 years ago

This posting is geared towards a part of the audience who is searching for motivation.

There are differing shades of gray in this life, you don’t have to follow this exact formula.

Allow yourself to be inspired to do something you don’t think is possible for you.

This is what I got out of the article.

There are a lot of things I’ve mentally held myself back from doing because of the fear of failure.

This article from what I gather is trying to help someone do that they’ve been wanting to do.

stellamarina
stellamarina
7 years ago

If I was rich….then when I think..”Gee, I would like to see Rome again”, I could just go buy a ticket and go. A few months ago I meet a young woman traveling around Borneo. The month before she had crossed Russia on the trans-Siberean train. She said she was crossing off things on her 30 before 30 years old list. This has got me thinking….so now I have a 70 before turning 70 list. Even if you are stuck working and raising kids there is still the weekend and vacation time to have adventure. Bucket lists can be related… Read more »

DiB
DiB
7 years ago

“Some of the things – like “Compose a spectacular HDR photo” – were pretty simple. Others items – such as staying at the Burj al Arab Hotel in Dubai – were going to be a bit of a challenge. Then there were a few that were downright impossible (go on a Virgin Galactic space flight, for instance).” I think part of the problem is that people consider this type of stuff ‘life goals’ when they’re more like experiential desires. What I mean like that is that a life goal is to build a hotel in Dubai, something you work toward… Read more »

Josetann
Josetann
7 years ago

What “I” don’t like about all these articles, is all the comments along the lines of “must be nice, but I have kids and I can’t do it”, the occasional “that’s EXACTLY why I decided to never have kids”, and of course “that’s for kids in their 20s”. My wife and I are in our mid 30s, have two young kids, and have traveled the world. We’re currently living in a foreign country. My wife works part-time and goes to school full-time, I stay at home with the kids. Now, I know that there are people who actually can’t live… Read more »

Sean
Sean
7 years ago
Reply to  Josetann

Josetann, Sounds like you have a great story of your own, and I totally agree. I also agree, while there are certainly valid excuses for not living a live similar to yours (the biggest of which being, some people simply don’t have an interest in that) most excuses are surface level. If those who say they wanted to make a change really did, they would sacrifice. Chris Guillebeau once wrote an article called 100 countries or an SUV. The amount of money it took him to get to 100 countries was about the same as purchasing a new SUV –… Read more »

Josetann
Josetann
7 years ago
Reply to  Sean

I wouldn’t mind writing an article or two, but it’d be boring and confusing (because of all the disclaimers that would be required: “If I can do it, then almost anyone can. There’s exceptions of course, such as….”). And if I jump right in to the good stuff, everyone would complain that I didn’t give enough backstory. If I started at the beginning, it’d be boring as heck (which would be the point, there’s nothing extraordinary about how we started out). If someone doesn’t want to do anything different with their lives, then all that’s needed is a “sounds interesting,… Read more »

Elizabeth
Elizabeth
7 years ago
Reply to  Josetann

I loved that line about the “that’s interesting, but…” Different strokes for different folks, and all that. Coming from the other side of this equation, however, I know that people are often not happy with that answer. It’s frustrating that when you explain why you can’t or don’t do something that you’re seen as complaining or getting defensive. Sometimes it’s just a reaction to all the pressure people put on you. For example, I have food allergies — but when I point that out, some people think I’m either seeking attention or getting defensive. They could have accepted my polite… Read more »

Rosa
Rosa
7 years ago

When I was a kid, I had a lot of time to watch and read and think, and by my late teens, I had decided that you probably couldn’t get every last thing you wanted in life, but if you set a few specific goals and put all your energy into them, you should probably be able to achieve them. I decided I wanted just 2 things. First, if I ever got married, I wanted it to be a marriage totally unlike my parents’ (a nightmare). Yes, that involves luck, but no money at all, and it mostly came down… Read more »

Holly@Clubthrifty.com
7 years ago

Something about this ready story just rubbed me the wrong way. It seems a little condescending to me for some reason. Maybe I am just happy with my cushy job with retirement benefits and health insurance….

Anyways, if I were richer than I am now I would do everything that I am doing already. I enjoy my job, love my kids, and take great vacations. I wouldn’t change a thing.

Kevin
Kevin
7 years ago

I find it interesting that for all his talk of working anywhere in the world, and even spending several months living in Asia, Sean ended up right back where he started. Working an office job in Nowheresville, Oregon.

Sean
Sean
7 years ago
Reply to  Kevin

Hey Kevin, I came back to Portland because Portland in the summer is my favorite place in the world. I definitely don’t have an office job, and have spent 4 out of the last 6 months of the year traveling so far.

The goal of this lifestyle isn’t necessarily to travel all over the world, but rather have the time and flexibility to do the things you really want to do in life.

Financial Samurai
Financial Samurai
7 years ago
Reply to  Kevin

Kevin, why so bitter? If you are unhappy with your life, do something about it.

Jeff
Jeff
7 years ago

One amazing thing about our lives is that they can all be different. As a consequence, we need a lot of different types of blog posts to meet/challenge/complement those different lives.

To criticize an idea because it is not your idea of success or the good life – e.g. you’re happy with your two weeks of vacation or you find two weeks to be prison – seems silly.

Mimms
Mimms
7 years ago

I am having such a bad technology day. Sigh. My carefully worded, thoughtful reply to KSR (and the others who replied to my post at 27) has disappeared. Double sigh. OK, I’m not sure how my feedback could have been more softly worded and still converted the idea that the author included a cliche that I hoped he would consider thinking about a bit, but I concede that at least one person found my response harsh. Criticism, even when you try to be constructive about it, is tough to pull off; my apologies if it was unclear what I was… Read more »

Charlotte@EverythingFinance
7 years ago

We dream about what we would do if we won the lottery all the time. It used to include paying off the mortgage, but we have already taken care of that. Now it’s just a trip here are there. I need to take some time and think about what I really what to do with the rest of my life.

Corey
Corey
7 years ago

Wow, Sean. You’re a good sport to voluntarily share your story here–especially if you had any idea that the majority of the comments would be so critical. JD’s is a tough crowd! I think you met his goal of a reader story in that you shared how you work to achieve financial success to do more of what you love. What I most appreciated about your story is the simple reminder that the typical path of 9-to-5, work-to-mortgage-to-kids-to-retirement is not the only worthwhile path of financial success. As a 40-year-old with the typical trappings of financial success, if I were… Read more »

ButtonFly Books
ButtonFly Books
7 years ago

I think that lots of folks missed the point of this article. Sean doesn’t proclaim that everyone should quit their jobs and run off to play; he’s merely inviting us to think hard about what constitutes happiness for each of us. I think we can probably all agree that we’ll never get there if we don’t know where ‘there’ is located in the first place. Oh, and once you figure it out, there is a way, if you want it badly enough. I’ve spent many years making it happen, but it isn’t easy. Lots of learning, lots of trying lots… Read more »

Ana
Ana
7 years ago

Buttonfly Books, that last statement should be put on a foreword to a book, it was that good. I so relate to that at the moment, as my dream is all I have left after going for it for years. It will never die until I do. I love Sean’s spirit and willingness to step way outside of whatever box happens to be in the way. I’m also in total agreement that there is no one right way to go through life. At the same time, if you’re going to go in a similar direction … you absolutely must secure… Read more »

ButtonFly Books
ButtonFly Books
7 years ago
Reply to  Ana

Exactly, Ana!
I spent all of those years paying off bills instead of buying cool gadgets, maintaining our home so that expensive things didn’t happen later, learning instead of partying or wasting time, and keeping my eye on the far horizon.

My kids saw me go to work every day, refuse help from people (mostly everyone) who attached strings to their offers, and keep us going while figuring out how to make it better for us. It is not easy. There is no easy. But like I mentioned, it’s worth it when you get there!

Deniz
Deniz
7 years ago

I read GRS regularly and I rarely dislike an article. In general, even in articles heavily critized by the general audience, I find something useful/enjoyable. However, with all due respect to the author, I found this article to be irrelevant, pointless and unfit for GRS.

Kevin
Kevin
7 years ago

Sean, I apologize, my previous comment was a little rude. We’ve butted heads in the past, and you’ve always kept your dignity about you in our discussions. I appreciate that. The problem I have with this post is that the underlying message seems to be, “Don’t wait – act like you’re already rich!” Isn’t that the exact sort of thinking that got the US into the mess they’re currently in? People spending money they didn’t have, buying more house than they could afford, leasing fancy cars they’d never actually own? Moreover, it seems to me that this dubious message is… Read more »

Financial Samurai
Financial Samurai
7 years ago
Reply to  Kevin

Kevin, a much more sensible response!

I think what gets at some readers is Sean’s titles eg “Why I’m so successful”.

Perhaps its just a Western world thing where we need to boast?

In the East, we try and let our work speak for itself.

All Sean has to do is highlight his income reports.

Beth
Beth
7 years ago

Start an animal rescue sanctuary for unadoptables. Oh, how I wish I could do this. How it would give me a reason to live.

moola mind
moola mind
7 years ago

Great post. I don’t think money has to do with it as much as we might think… don’t get me wrong, you need it, but even if you had money, would that change everything all that much? Not like winning the lottery money, but an substantial increase in income. Sometimes I think we use money as an excuse, but if we just planned, saved, and did, we would live a much greater life. I think you make that apparent in that you have created a list, and gone for it. I think thats what it takes. A real desire to… Read more »

Sam
Sam
7 years ago

What would I do if I was rich, we are rich, we have a net worth of $1 million + (its been above the $1 million mark for six months now, so I can hope and think it will stick). What do we do differently, nothing. We keep working, we both have professional jobs that require long hours. We also have real estate investments that require additional work to manage and keep up. We keep working b/c we are not rich enough, we need to have more in the bank for a decent retirement, we need to have more in… Read more »

Ely
Ely
7 years ago

I see the article as an invitation to consider what you would do if you were rich, and then think about what from your list you actually could do now. The author’s own story (which I admit annoyed me, I’m tired of the quit-your-job-to-blog-and-travel line) is only an illustrative example, and not a suggestion. The only thing I really want to do right now is go back to Scotland. If I were rich I would go right now and stay for a month. But just because I’m not rich doesn’t mean I can’t go; it just means I have to… Read more »

rosarugosa
rosarugosa
7 years ago
Reply to  Ely

I got the same message and I thought it was a really good one. It made me realize that some of the things on my “always wanted to do” list would cost about $50. and a day of my time. I just need to prioritize a little better and step outside my routine a little more often.

Rhett
Rhett
7 years ago

The first thing I would do is build My Evil Lair. Maybe add sharks with “freaking laser beams” attached to their heads. I just need somewhere warm and cozy to laugh maniacally and plan for world domination. This stems from a friend who only took part in an office lottery pool because he didn’t want to feel stupid if we won. He then said not to ask him again because he didn’t want to win anyway. When asked why he stated “Because money is the root of all evil.” So I promised him that if I became rich the first… Read more »

BD
BD
7 years ago
Reply to  Rhett

I get so tired of people misquoting the Bible like that. You may already know this, but for people who don’t, the quote “money is the root of all evil” is totally misquoted and incorrect. The correct quote is “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil…” Notice it’s the LOVE of money, and it’s not the root of *all* evil, but rather, *a* root of all *kinds* of evil…meaning, it’s not the only evil thing out there. It’s just a tool, like any other, that can be misused for bad purposes instead of good.… Read more »

Victoria @ Lend Not Borrow
Victoria @ Lend Not Borrow
7 years ago

Sean,
I thought your story was inspirational and I heard your message loud and clear. I have to admit, I am extremely shocked and the number of “nay-sayers” that have posted comments. While I respect their opinions, I am concerned at the limits they’ve placed on themselves and their potential. Your story was personal and it pertained to what YOU would do if you were rich. Everyone has a story and a way of doing things. I appreciate your input and wish you the best of luck.

Thanks for sharing!

Gurdeep
Gurdeep
7 years ago

Great Article!

Tim Thompson
Tim Thompson
7 years ago

Great article. The thing is, they’ve done studies and have found that most rich people are not any happier than everyone else In some cases, they’ve unhappier on average. The reason I care about personal finance myself has nothing to do with being rich itself. I simply want to be financially independent so that I don’t have to worry about money in the first place. Does this mean being rich? Well, no, not necessarily. Sometimes the two go hand in hand, but I think as long as you’re making yourself a little bit more independent every day, you’re going to… Read more »

Ana
Ana
7 years ago

The thing is, Sean emphasizes that you don’t necessarily have to wait til retirement to do the things you want to, to create those memories you speak of.

It always must be remembered that you may not live to retirement and life shouldn’t be all about waiting-and-saving, waiting-and-saving …

There is a place for saving, and a place for not waiting but planning.

Jenna, Adaptu Community Manager
Jenna, Adaptu Community Manager
7 years ago

Great post, Sean. I love thinking about how much easier it would be for me to be a conduit of blessings for others if I was richer. Definitely inspires me to be more practical with my money and decisions every day.

chacha1
chacha1
7 years ago

I like this type of article because it does make me think, or give me an excuse to think, about what my core values really are. Where I want to spend my money and time to have my best possible life and leave the world a better place. What I want to achieve. All that good stuff. I think, though, the frame of “if you were rich” is, if not misleading, inexact. What this is truly about is what you would do *if money were no object.* Because “rich” is an extremely subjective term. “Wealth” is, too. Both are interpreted… Read more »

Amir Shani
Amir Shani
7 years ago

Dear Sean,
I enjoyed reading your post.
I agree with your concept.
However I find that in my experience the problem is getting rich, not what to do once you are already wealthy.
Regards,
Amir Shani, Author

shares