The young are already rich

The young are already rich

A couple of weeks ago while mindlessly scrolling through the usual motivational poster type rubbish which frequently fills my Facebook news feed I spotted one which actually made me stop and think. I can’t remember the exact wording but it went something along the lines of:

Warren Buffett (86) is the worlds most successful investors with a networth of billions of dollars, and yet would you swap places with him?

Billions of dollars? Sign me up! But at 86 years of age… not a chance in hell. You see, while being rich might mean you can access better healthcare and live a better lifestyle.. no amount of money is going to be able to ward off death forever. I’m fast approaching 30 which means I’ve got another 50ish years of average lifespan to enjoy. How much should I charge to knock 1/5/10/49 years off of that? When we go out to work, we’re effectively sacrificing our own time for money which had obviously lead to the new early retirement mindset I’m happy to see becoming more mainstream. However I don’t think that’s comparable to trying to put a real value on actually years left to live. What value could you possible put on that time?

Aside from having (hopefully) many decades of life ahead of them, the young have better health and energy. They’ve got more opportunities to change their lifestyle or careers or even where to live in the world. Financially they’ve already got far longer to accumulate investments and longer from which to recovery any mistakes or losses. A banking crisis in your 20s is unlikely to have anywhere near as much impact as one in your 50s would. You’ll have less capital from which to suffer % drops and a longer time-span to recovery through accumulation and market corrections.

Through one of my roles volunteering with a student organisation I hear alot of young people right at the start of their adult lives complaining about how tough things are now, and how pessimistic they are about their future. They look at what they have now purely on a capital calculation and compare it to the older adults in their lives. Instead they should be focusing on the richness they automatically possess by being young and having the time ahead of them to achieve that future capital accumulation, should they even want it when they get there. These young people might find things tough now, but they have the opportunity to change how their lives will progress. Being free of a mortgage, children and deeply invested career at a specific company means they can go out and try new jobs, switching if they want or moving to new parts of the country. It’s this time ahead of them which makes them rich.

The ironic thing is though that most of this wealth of time really won’t be appreciated until it’s running out, which is a real shame. The young are already rich.. they just need to realise it.





5 thoughts on “The young are already rich

  1. Too right, and often forgotten. There is a story which this reminds me of, of a fisherman sitting and relaxing when a big wig from the city approaches him and ashs why he stopped fishing so early, his responce was I have enough to feed my family so my job is done today – the big wig say (in summary) fish more, get more boats, fish loads and sell way more fish and then in many years time you will be able to retire rich. The fisherman asks, “then what?” The big wig responds, well then you will be able to sit down, relax and enjoy your hard earned time off. Exactly what he was doing to begin with.

    All the money in the world wont buy any of us time, and it wont buy anyone elses time back once they are gone sadly. Best to enjoy the life and world we have now as best as possible.

    Nice post which has made me reflective on a random Thursday.

    • Excellent story, I’ve heard it before and it’s exactly right. I’ve seen the term “one more year syndrome” used on the personal finance forums and think it can certainly apply for a situation like that.. people working for too long to have more money to use in the time they don’t have because they’re still working. It makes no sense!

  2. I’m two decades older than you Guy and I thought my generation, Thatcher’s Children, were obsessed with money. But I feel now that we weren’t even out the starting blocks compared to young people today. You’re right, people need to find another yardstick to measure riches by or they’re going to be very disappointed versus what they’re seeing that money can buy via the media every day. Expectations seem to be sky high compared to what is actually available for most.

    • I think a big problem now is that with social media we are bombarded with images of other people’s holidays and expensive purchases. Looking down my news feed I see someone on holiday almost every single day.. however it’s easy to forget that it’s spread out by over 200 contacts. Each may only be having 1 holiday every 2 years however that could easily fill up an entire 52 week year with non-stop holidays and present the impression that everyone is on holiday all the time.

  3. Sad truth for the younger generation! I very much agree to all the things you mentioned here in your post especially the “The young are already rich.. they just need to realise it” because it is true. I personally is a very strict keeper of time. I want my time to be respected that’s why I respect the time of others as well. But, it is not actually a common thing for everyone.

    I just hope they could see the real beauty and the genuine richness they posses.

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