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The millionaire mindset; five tips to grow your real net worth

Many parts of my life make it a rich one. Most have little to do with money or my net worth.
In no particular order, I’d say it is my health, friends, family, interests and environment.

  • Health; After an almost perfect health record for most of my life, I ran into troubles in the last few years. Because I am healthy, relatively young, fit, and a ‘yogi’, it’s come as a surprise to me and many others who regard my life as healthy. I eat well, I exercise a lot, I don’t smoke, and I practice yoga and meditation. In short, I do most things “right”. Like many folks, I probably drank more wine than I should have during Covid. Losing my mother, who was overseas, didn’t help. You can’t outrun or outdrink grief. I knew that, but the death of a loved one makes you want to numb yourself. Lockdown stress and inability to visit her because of quarantine and travel restrictions made it all worse. My health issues were unrelated, but for the first time in my life, I felt my body was letting me down, and life felt like a real struggle. Happily, I’m crawling out of most of those difficulties and processing the learnings. Learning number one: Don’t ever take your health for granted. It is a well-worn cliche, but it can’t be said enough: health is wealth. While you sleep tonight, thousands will die.
  • Friends; My life has been one of a great adventure. I left home at age 9 to attend a professional ballet school in a city that was a five-hour plane ride away from home. I pinged back to my hometown at 15, finished high school in a record 2.5 years, and then hit the road again to get my first degree in the nation’s capital. I graduated during a recession when journalism jobs were few and far between, so I took a temporary position in Siberia after receiving a surprise call one day. “Do you have a current passport, and can you go in two weeks?” This was the era of Glasnost and Gorbi. Hell yeah, I was going. After four months of back and forth, I finally took a newspaper job in rural Alberta, a place I vowed never to live after growing up in Toronto. Despite only one coffee shop, Tim Hortons, it was a great learning environment as a ‘cub reporter’, and I made some enduring friends, including my first husband. I used it as a springboard for several other media jobs that took me all over Western Canada, then eventually Ireland when I decided to do a Master’s. That’s just half the story, but my point here is that I made many lifelong friends along the way that made my life truly rich. I could have traded this life for a more stable, predictable one that might have propelled my career ‘success’ earlier, but it would be half as interesting, I’m sure.
  • Family. I have lost two family members, and the pain endures. First, my brother in 2016 and then my mother in 2021. I suspect losing my brother expedited my mother’s death as she was diagnosed with breast cancer a few years after his death. She survived that but died of brain cancer. I have one sibling left now, plus my Dad and my own two children. They are everything. When people talk about visiting their mother, I feel pain. I always remind them how lucky they are.
  • Interests: I have always loved words and books from the time I learned to read. After quitting ballet school at 15, I wasn’t sure what I would do for a living, but English was my strong suit, and I followed my nose. Journalism was a demanding job at times, especially back in the day of tight press deadlines, cranky sub-editors, hard-drinking and abusive managing editors, and night shifts, not to mention the human tragedies and failings that defined news cycles. Four straight years as a court reporter changed my view of people, and not for the better. I have since learned not to suspect everyone of being dark and sinister below the surface, even though my partner would dispute that. Outside of the written world, I inhabit professionally and personally, I am obsessed with Eastern philosophy, ancient wisdom and the practices of yoga and meditation. Squeeze in children, three pets and a partner, and there’s not much room leftover. When the youngest leaves the nest, I’ll find a new interest and focus on my second book.
  • Environment; Having grown up in Canada and am now a New Zealand citizen, I have been spoiled for natural beauty. Nature provides an unequalled medicine for the soul. On dark days, it is my refuge, as it should be for others. Every year seems to bring me new appreciation as well. I don’t need to be skiing in the Rockies to be reminded just how damn lucky we are to live in paradise. I don’t minimise the harshness of economics these days, especially in NZ, where it is increasingly tough for families to get by. But having paradise on our doorstep, for free, teaches gratitude, a prerequisite to wealth.

In my view, your actual net worth is what you have left after you’ve stripped away all your material assets. If you have much of the above, count yourself lucky and wealthy. It is time to invest if you have millions but not much of the above.
Find your Flow, and the Money will Follow.
Recommended reading: The Top Five Regrets of the Dying.