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Peter Lewis: Money is not riches

Property investors are often encouraged to act with the end in mind. For many of us, that means working towards our retirement, or to at least some kind of abundance after many years of applied effort, risk, and making those tough choices.  

At its most basic, money is a tool that enables us to meet our individual needs. As a form of potential energy that empowers us to generate change, it is neither good nor bad, it is merely a lubricant in life. Yet many people react emotionally to issues concerning finances. They condemn wealth itself, the manner in which money is acquired, how it is spent, and those people who seem to live lives of financial abundance. Individuals who are blessed with gifts such as high intelligence or sporting prowess can be acknowledged for their positive traits while those who have acquired material riches or aspire to become wealthy are frequently judged harshly and condemned. However, wealth is not a trait upon which judgment can be legitimately passed. It tells us nothing about how a person lives, what they believe in, whom they care for, or the scope of their values. Like any blessing, wealth is merely an instrument of purpose that can be used either constructively or destructively. 

Some people associate money with greed, selfishness, and unethical behaviour. This belief then becomes entrenched in their hearts as envy, often tinged with jealously. To attain a balanced and rational comprehension of money, as well as a rational perspective of wealth, we need to recognize that outward manifestations of other people’s wealth tell us little about the individuals enjoying those blessings.

If you take a moment to consider your own feelings regarding money and wealth you may discover that you equate financial prosperity with happiness, power, security, independence, or self-indulgence. Money itself, however, is none of these things. You can begin developing a healthier view of wealth by simply accepting that while some possess great wealth and others do not, we all have the potential to create lives of substance, variety and enjoyment by using resources that we ourselves have earned.
When people talk of money being a means to an end rather than an end goal, this is the underlying idea. We shouldn’t be focusing solely on the act of making profits, but also on using these assets to shape our lives and the lives of others in ways that make us happier and more fulfilled. Money is not the goal, it is only a consequence of success.

So your target in property should perhaps not be just to ‘get rich’ or ‘make money’ but to work towards a life where your choices are not constrained by lack of the resources to do what you want to do when you want to do it. It should not be a contest to have more property than the next person, or a matter of redoubling your efforts once you have attained your goal. Set your property goal, stop when you have reached the finishing line, and then take the time to enjoy the rewards that you have truly earned.

Watch Peter’s presentation Investing with purpose below

Peter Lewis

Peter is a full-time landlord and the vice president of the APIA.

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