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My Motivation to Achieve Financial Success – Legacy
A brand-new home with every amenity.
Freedom from stress and the day-to-day rat race.
Full control over your life and your finances.
When it comes to money, we all are motivated by different factors. Those motivating factors can also change over time based upon our formative life experiences.
However, for as long as I can remember, my motivation to achieve financial success has always been about one primary factor:
My Model of Motivation
I have written extensively in the past about the impact my Grandpa had on my life and my outlook on work ethic, success, and money. Since he passed away just over three years ago, a day has not passed in which I fail to think about him and the incredible legacy he left behind.
While many people do not aspire to leave a legacy or make a profound impact upon their loved ones, my Grandpa knew exactly what he and my Grandma were doing. I learned this at a very early age.
As a young child, I vividly recall the long walk to the lake one warm July 4th evening. As was customary, the entire extended family – Grandpa and Grandma, several aunts and uncles, and far too many cousins to count – had set out well before dusk to stake out our seats for the evening firework show.
To be clear, I cannot recall if my memories of what happened next are firsthand or simply recollections of the story; strangely, time has a way of clouding memories. Regardless, I will always remember the words my Grandpa spoke to my Grandma and as they walked side-by-side and lead the way to our usual seats.
“Look what we did, Mother,” he said, glancing over his shoulder at our entire family.
We were Grandpa’s proudest accomplishment. We were his legacy.
I think back on that story often. In many ways, it ranks as one of the most formative experiences of my childhood. In that moment, I learned a valuable lesson on what is truly important in life.
In my eyes, my Grandpa had it all: a long, relatively-healthy life; a beautiful home; considerable, though undeclared, wealth; and the freedom to do as he pleased. Yet, his family meant far more to him than all earthly possessions.
Yes, my Grandpa loved money. In fact, when I spoke at his funeral, I shared the true story of the time he opened his wallet and a moth flew out. Like a typical, hard-working Dutch man, he was not in any hurry to spend his hard-earned money. But he had his priorities in order. He was generous and kind when it mattered most, especially to family and friends.
I often wonder if my priorities, too, will stand the test of time.
On the surface, I have no doubt that many of my friends and loved ones completely misunderstand my money motivations. To many of them, I am sure I appear to be greedy, miserly, or a workaholic. Some may even think I must be self-obsessed and vain.
However, I believe short-term sacrifice is worth the long-term gains waiting to be realized. Over my lifetime, I have learned that it is the motivation behind one’s actions, not the actions alone, which deserves scrutiny.
My wife and I aren’t working hard to inflate our current lifestyle, live it up in the present, and run the risk of burn-out. No, we are sacrificing in the short-term in order to build our ability to focus on what is truly important to us five, ten, and twenty years from now. In a culture which places the highest value on instant gratification, we are embracing the opposite.
Once in a while, when it feels like I’m burning the wick at both ends, I like to hit the streets for an evening run and clear my head. Invariably, my thoughts drift and I begin to form visions of the future: our future kids playing in the yard, sending them off to college without any debt, walking my daughters down the aisle on their wedding days, and taking the entire family, grandchildren included, on a two-week getaway to Disney World. Those thoughts are the magical panacea for my weariness.
In the present, those visions represent a future worthy of current sacrifice and hard work.
Those thoughts – my future family and the experiences I hope to provide for them – will be a significant part of my legacy.
What motivates you to achieve financial success?