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It’s More Than Wealth, It’s About Living Well

8 March 2022

As Forrest Gump once said, “There’s only so much money a man really needs; the rest is just for showing off.” In the same way that we can struggle with too little money, we can also struggle with too much money.

This is because wellness doesn’t depend on our wealth, it depends on many factors, the most important of which is probably our mindset.

The more we engage with our financial planning in a way that searches for value and meaning, the more we realise that ‘enough’ (and thereby thinking that we have too little or too much) is a perception. And, it will keep changing if we don’t have solid foundations in our lives that supersede wealth.

If we want to live well, and not just be wealthy, we need to ask ourselves questions that go far beyond numbers. Aristotle had several criteria for living, what he considered, a good life, suggesting that we should try to live and act thoughtfully. He had the wonderful notion to be mindful of both the ordinary and extraordinary and to celebrate both.

The ancient Greek philosopher suggested that we try, in all things, to show:

  • Courage, and not cowardice or impulsiveness and extreme risk-taking
  • Self-control, instead of self-indulgence or selfishness
  • Generosity, and not waste resources or opportunities
  • Friendliness and politeness, not rudeness, flattery, or other unpleasantness towards others
  • Tact and discretion
  • Truthfulness and integrity
  • Good temper, even in the face of provocation, which often means a sense of humour
  • Fairness

This is a tough list for anyone, but as we spend time considering each point, it’s not hard to see that the rewards of living well can far outweigh the rewards of living wealthy – and how living wealthy can sometimes make it harder to engage with this list.

We find this list to be helpful for growth and self-development because it rests on our choices, and not the wealth or influence of others. Most of us can choose to be courageous, generous and fair. Conversely, most of us cannot choose to be R1 million richer tomorrow.

Although the shift moves from making money to making a meaningful difference, when we focus on what we can choose, and we intentionally work at being good at doing ‘good’ things consistently; wealth (all we need, when we need it) will follow.

At SFP, we are firm believers in acting with integrity because it’s a pillar of a wealthy life. Money then becomes a tool to help us be and do more but it is not how we define ourselves.

Sanlam Life Insurance is a licensed financial service provider.
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