In today’s economic chaos how can any of us ever hope to earn enough to break out of our life rut and start living the good life? The good news is that you don’t need to. Instead, what you must do is refocus your life on living with meaning; rather than on making money while developing unique skills to generate all the buying power that you will need at those moments that you need it.
One of the big problems that we all face is that the way in which we go about attempting to build personal wealth is flawed. It may have worked once but it just does not any longer. In the 21st Century you will need to focus on the accumulation of wealth rather than money. Wealth creation will often involve spending what money that we have left on developing our skills to generate currency on demand.
What am I talking about? Consider first that wealth is not represented simply by currency. I define wealth as your ability to persuade others to do what you want them to do or simply to get what you want at the moment that you want it. This type of wealth comes in three possible forms.
There is raw force. This is the oldest and least effective technique to get what you want. And yet it is still widely used every day. Long ago the biggest brute in the village could just take wealth from anyone weaker than he was. Today there is less tolerance for individuals who use force while there seems to be more tolerance for the use of force by organizations, such as the government, to achieve social or economic goals for “society”.
The second best way to get what you want is with money. This is the method that most people use today. I explain below why it’s not a good idea to keep all of your wealth in the form of currencies. It is just too easy to lose.
The best way to store your money is to invest in knowledge. By knowledge I mean your ability to take whatever unique skills, abilities and circumstances that you find in and around you and utilizing them to get what you need when you need it. Today, there are several generally unquestioned techniques that we all utilize in order to build personal wealth. All of these techniques focus on money as our primary measure of wealth.
First, we focus on making money; spending the better part of our life in this pursuit.
Second, we try to save some money (usually not much).
Third, we invest money in order to get our money working for us (even though we really have no idea where to invest and neither, apparently, does our broker).
When we work we generally take jobs that involve selling hours out of our day. Some of us even punch time clocks!
Our wealth is measured by the size of our bank or brokerage account plus the equity value of our home.
This is the old way to create, preserve and measure wealth. Unfortunately, it is quickly becoming hopeless. In the 21st Century wealth will be measured by your ability to get what you want whenever you want it. This will include your ability to generate cash whenever the world demands cash but the value of the cash that you hold will not be the primary measure of your wealth.
The storage of money (savings) is quickly becoming a dangerous way to preserve your wealth. Consider the following examples of how hard it is to hold onto money after you earn it, even if you live frugally:
• You can lose your job and eat up your savings while you look for another one
• You can be downsized
• You can discover that your unique marketable skill is no longer valued as it used to be
• You can get divorced once, twice or more and watch what little you have saved be divided between your spouse and the lawyers over and over again
• You can discover that all of those dollars that you have been hoarding have been lost by your broker in the latest stock market crash;
• your dollars are worthless because the government has printed so many dollars to pay its unending debts that the money you saved for years is no longer worth anything
• maybe your kid gets in a bad accident with your car and you lose everything in a huge liability lawsuit
• your business goes bankrupt because of new regulations that make it impossible to compete with cheap foreign suppliers
• you lose your business as the result of a massive lawsuit by an ex-employee who was sexually harassed by another of your employees in a remote office that you rarely even visited
So, do you see that the whole concept of spending your life earning and saving money is flawed from the start?
A big part of the process of converting money wealth into knowledge wealth is simply considering what you want out of life. Rather than wasting your money on stuff that you don’t really want anyway, you will now consider how much money that your preferred lifestyle actually requires and how much money you will need to keep on hand at any one time.
Rather than putting money in the bank you may use that money to attend a course with the most skilled entrepreneurs and lifestyle design experts that you can find. If you have chosen your mentors wisely (and after some practice) you will now have skills that you can use to help you to earn just enough money whenever you need it. You will wrap these skills around the lifestyle of your choice. You will be building your own virtual ATM machine. And you will carry that ATM wherever you go.
If you invest in knowledge you will have confidence in your ability to pick up a few thousand dollars from your virtual ATM whenever you need it. Are you ready for that ski trip to Patagonia? Just pull some cash out of that ATM of yours and go! You work occasionally and specifically for the purpose of paying for your next life’s adventure or project.
Your skills of persuasion and wealth creation do not depreciate like currency can. They can be converted into any world currency when needed; as needed. You no longer have to leave your hard-earned wealth exposed to the machinations of inept politicians and Wall Street crooks.
This view of wealth makes people nervous. We can all identify with the idea of money in the bank safely waiting for us in a secure vault until we are ready to spend it. Of course, that’s not where it is. Money in the bank is really just a contract between you and the bank wherein you loan the bank your money on the promise that they will pay it back to you whenever you ask for it. This assumes, of course, that they’ll have enough to pay you when you ask for it. Of course, we have government deposit insurance to guarantee our money should the bank come up short, right?
The problem is that most governments today are out of money. Every day, while they print an unending supply of paper and distribute it to banks, what they are actually doing is making your savings more and more worthless. It is as if they keep breaking into that vault and stealing a bit of your savings every day. They might as well; the effect is the same.
The danger here is real and quite serious. Within the next few years I predict that huge numbers of honest, hardworking people are going to find themselves virtually destitute; their savings worthless; their hopes for retirement a distant memory.
I hope that I can influence as many people as possible to begin the process of teaching him/ herself how to support the desired lifestyle in a manner completely consistent with that lifestyle. I hope to achieve this while the money will still buy them whatever knowledge they require.
This stuff is complicated to think about and it involves wrapping your mind around new ways of thinking. We have no choice. We must transition our lives in order to live a better life; the good life.

Author's Bio: 

Hugh DeBurgh, The Passionate Warrior, has dedicated his life to the achievement of the ultimate family lifestyle. You can find him writing about Creative Family Lifestyle Design over at his blog, The Way of the Passionate Warrior. Currently he is on the second leg of a worldwide travel adventure with his wife and four young children. Follow Hugh on Twitter or sign up for his RSS feed and don't miss an update!