PARIS Financial Planning

Wealth Is More Than Money

Wealth is all about Value

Any financial advisor worth her salt will try to rein in your spending. Stop wasting money on that daily Frappuccino, she will say. Put 10% of your income into a retirement account, and overpay your mortgage. Ebenezer Scrooge did all that and more, only to wake up one December night to the ghost of Christmas past.

Kahlil Gibran said, “Money is like love; it kills slowly and painfully the one who withholds it and enlivens the other who turns it on his fellow man.” If you mismanage your money, you will probably find yourself having an eerie conversation with your own ghost from Christmas past. Your funds will suffocate your happiness because your focus will be on material things.

If, on the other hand, you manage your wealth based on the things and the people that you value, you will work on more important goals than running up your credit card debt: while improving your quality of life and enjoying the happiness you derive from making choices that add real value to your existence.

Wealth and money are on opposite poles of the financial divide. Money buys you objects. Wealth buys you a purposeful and fulfilled life. Money is a financial asset. Wealth is a cool summer day spent with family and a sunset over the Caribbean. True value is a romantic night out on your anniversary and the sense of achievement you feel when you become debt free.

Money is wealth, but wealth is so much more than money. While savings and fully paid mortgages are important parts of financial freedom, you are unlikely to manage either if you ignore the things that give your life meaning, purpose and value. No ledger can tell you what wealth planning means to you. Only you know which values make your life fulfilling.  In the end, if you are not paying attention to the choices you make you could be making yourself poorer.

Wealth as Abundance

Think of your wealth as the sum of everything you care about in your life: the pleasure you take from your career and family, or the material things that truly make you happy. Maybe you value people more than career success, but maybe your greatest joy comes from achievement. If so, wealth planning would entail buying that university course that would catapult you to a new rung of professional accomplishment. Everyone has their own definition of wealth so, before you create your comprehensive financial plan, it’s important to become aware of the value you want your money to bring you. That might include the freedom to be of service to your community and the health you hope to protect with the help of well-managed money. Values might also include:

  • Your legacy
  • Your sense of purpose
  • Quality time with friends and family
  • Service
  • Material things—not those the neighbors expect you to own, but that makes you smile

Measuring wealth by material assets alone assumes that it comes from external things like the economy, your job, and stock performance. This comes with a destructive belief: that wealth comes from factors you can’t control, and therein lies the corrosive core of every failed financial goal.

How Would You Feel if You Had Real Power Over Your Money?

 If the source of your wealth were inside of you, how would it change the way you managed your money? If the road to wealth began in your soul, how much easier would it be to set aside those monthly savings? If you had all the power you needed to create wealth, how much more likely would you be to ask for that well-deserved raise? Fortunately, all of these things are inherent: your path to wealth is within you, and you get to choose how you generate it and what you do with it. In Buddhism, it’s said that contentment is the greatest wealth. It forgets to mention that you have the capacity for both.

The Constant Investment to make a shift  

Effective wealth planning isn't easy to pull off. It demands a profound internal change, and no strategy or tool can achieve that. To amass wealth, the very seams of your life must be stitched together by actions that generate value. Only your behavior can change your results and thinking. Only a new paradigm can change the way you see your life, but how do you find one? The answer is simpler than you might think: by investing in life in a way that’s conscious of wealth building, not money building.

From the moment you wake up until the minute you fall asleep, you make hundreds of investment decisions that cumulatively change your life. Your resource for those investments is time, not money, and it’s far easier to waste than those tempting dollar bills that are so easy to spend. Time seems like a renewable resource, and one you’ll always own. Maybe that’s why so many people waste it, but the truth is not so encouraging: an hour wasted is lost forever. A new wealth paradigm would ask you to treat each moment as though it’s precious—because it is.

When you sit down to formulate your wealth planning goals, consider your most important investment assets: your values, family, sense of achievement, and health. The more wisely you spend your energy, the more value you add to your daily life. Consequently, that value will carry new energy into your finances, ultimately adding to your material wealth. 


Just as your financial investments deliver returns, your investments into your loved ones and sense of fulfillment generate profits. Some forms of figurative wealth are like stocks, exchanging high risk for high returns. Some, like capital, generate even more assets. Others, like retirement annuities, protect the assets of your long-term future and some like money markets and insurance keep you safe.

Peripheral investments, such as fitness and nutrition, behave like annuities, demanding regular “payments” in order to protect your future lifestyle and happiness. Some investment funds perform poorly unless they’re pooled like mutual funds. Your volunteer work, for example, can do little without additional “investments” by other volunteers and nonprofit organizations. Your education is like a stable, high-return stock, leaving you with less time and energy in the short term, but enriching your future generously.

A Wealth Planning Strategy for Life

Your lifestyle requires a comprehensive wealth planning strategy.  Traditional investors advise high-risk clients not to sell their stocks at every dip in the market. Your living assets are often like that. Some personal assets, like a Master’s degree or internship, require you to stick to your goals over the long term because they only generate returns in the distant future. Others, like your career, are more like income investing, delivering returns on a regular schedule. Others, like an ethical lifestyle, resemble a socially responsible investment strategy, helping you to feel good about the way you live your life while sending returns on to others. If you know the “investment strategy” each living asset requires of you, you’ll become more tolerant of its risks and more patient with its returns schedule. Choosing wealth planning strategies is like shopping for a new car. You need to find the right model for your values and goals.

Each moment of your life is fleeting. In mere seconds, it’s replaced, but if you treat each one as an investment, you can ensure real returns. In so doing, you’re making each moment last forever. Now that’s wealth.

Living Wealthy

Wealth, as Thoreau once said, is the ability to fully experience life, and if you’re looking at your money from that angle, you’ll be more likely to generate great value.  You don't build wealth with credit card rewards and airline miles. Think of your money as a way to invest in your quality of life, and you’ll begin to see the moments of your existence as opportunities to generate returns on that investment. One day you’ll wake up and notice that the day has dawned more brightly and ended with more stars than you’ve ever seen before. 

My “Life by Design” can help you achieve the life of your choosing.


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PARIS Financial Planning provides successful women with conservative strategies to grow their wealth during accumulation/savings years to protect their wealth during their retirement years and tax-advantaged strategies to distribute their wealth during their life and upon their death. 

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