It Is Not All About the Money

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin

It Is Not All About Money

By Graydon Morris, Founding Director of Sterling Private Wealth

The concept of “investing” is often associated purely with financial pursuits and deferred gratification. It has become synonymous with growing a portfolio aimed at securing a future filled with affluence and financial comfort. However, this potentially one-dimensional interpretation of wealth fails to capture its full essence. Our understanding of wealth needs to evolve beyond the confines of financial accumulation to encompass the necessary conditions for a well-rounded, successful retirement.

The prospect of an ideal future in retirement isn’t encapsulated by a mere stack of Two Hundred Rand notes or balances on a balance sheet. Rather, it should be shaped by the quality of life that these financial resources can provide. When there is a pursuit of wealth, money is assumed to be the definitive goal. However, what is often being pursued is the atmosphere that money can create—the lifestyle and environment we envision for our future selves—that truly matters.

You could possess all the wealth in the world, but without the cornerstones of a fulfilling life such as health, income, cognitive ability, thriving relationships, and a nurturing environment, its value may become questionable. What benefit do millions of Rand offer if they are not instrumental in manifesting a meaningful life?

In this new paradigm, wealth extends beyond the mere accumulation of money. It becomes about the life you construct around it, the “atmospheric condition” you create for yourself.

Having money doesn’t automatically grant you a steady income, and even with an income, if the other crucial elements of your life are lacking, the allure of monetary wealth diminishes. This perspective underscores the idea that an ideal future isn’t marked by how much money you possess, but by the conditions you’ve cultivated around yourself.

Don’t get me wrong: money plays an integral role, but I have counselled enough retirees to know that we need to exercise caution in our perception of wealth and the significance we ascribe to money. Instead of seeing investing solely as your contribution toward your financial future, consider it to mean an investment in your ideal future.

What does your life look like in two or three decades?

If you stop to think and imagine your life two or three decades from now, you likely see people and activities. There are activities that will occupy your time, requiring good health and cognitive abilities. The people participating alongside you in these activities are the relationships you have invested in over time.

It is the overall “atmospheric condition” that defines your retirement and offers a keen understanding of what is genuinely important. This vision serves as a guiding light for investing in other aspects of your life that will lead to better health, nurturing relationships, a stable income, and essentially, the life you’ve envisioned for yourself.

Many years ago, we had a client who was very successful and was the embodiment of the rags-to-riches tale that everyone admires. We saw his commitment to his business and his pursuit of wealth. We got to know him well over the years and watched him burn the candle at both ends.

He became very wealthy and had everything he desired, but as he got closer to retirement, his health choices caught up with him. He was diagnosed with various lifestyle-related diseases, and soon his life was no longer his own. It was now governed by countless doctors’ appointments, and he became too sick to enjoy any of it.

Everything he was working toward was replaced with hospital visits. His goals for travelling the world were replaced with quiet evenings spent alone. His wealth, which was his life’s work, was now being spent on recuperating his health.

It has been said that man sacrifices his health to make money. Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health. A healthy lifestyle lays the foundation for our capacity to live fully and pursue our ambitions actively.

Instead of viewing preventive health as an expense, view it as an investment in your future self, securing the quality of life we all crave.

Simultaneously, investing in relationships is paramount. Relationships, whether they are family, friends, or romantic, all form an integral part of our emotional support system. Investing time and energy in nurturing these relationships might involve caring for others, reaching out to friends and family, or investing in others through mentorship. The rewards of these investments, though not always tangible, foster emotional well-being and personal growth.

Retirement is a time of shifting from a diversification of growth assets to a diversification of income-producing assets. Passive income in retirement is like the water that you can’t live without.

Ultimately, the true essence of investing isn’t limited to increasing your wealth. It’s about building the “atmospheric condition” that aligns with your ideal future self. It’s about nurturing your health, cultivating meaningful relationships, ensuring a steady income, and fostering cognitive ability.

As you begin to recognise this, you gain the understanding that money is simply a tool that enables us to reach these goals and is not the goal itself. Consequently, when you start thinking about an ideal future, you embark on the path to truly manifesting your ideal future self.

Retirement should be viewed not just as a time of unemployment, but as a new chapter that is ripe with potential. A happy and joyous retirement is a culmination of careful planning and wise investments in income-oriented assets, health, and relationships. It’s about spending time doing things you love, being surrounded by people you cherish, enjoying robust health, and having the financial security to live comfortably.

In the end, it’s the quality of your life in retirement, not the size of your bank account, that determines your satisfaction. Only then can you truly understand and appreciate the significance of investing as a means of creating not just a wealthy, but also a meaningful, lifestyle. True wealth, therefore, is not merely an abundance of money, but the presence of all the components that make life fulfilling.

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin

More Blogs

Our businesses

Merchant West offers a wide range of financial and advisory services suited for both you and your business.


Sterling Private Wealth (Pty) Ltd takes every precaution to ensure that the information supplied on this website is correct.

Nevertheless, all the information supplied on this website is done without warranty, express or implied, as to its accuracy or completeness.

Sterling Private Wealth (Pty) Ltd shall not be responsible and accepts no liability for any loss, liability, damage (whether direct or consequential) or expense that stems from the use of or reliance upon any information, links or services provided through this website. If in doubt please contact us directly.