Balancing It - The Khuram Dhanani Blog
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Khuram Dhanani

Balancing It

The 7 Keys to Balancing Your Life with Wealth

Most people who pursue wealth cope with anxiety about what will happen if they fail. They rarely spare a thought for the challenges they’ll face when they succeed. As hard as it is to believe, achieving balance after you’ve built wealth is challenging. People often work themselves to the bone, and create millions but never enjoy the affluence they’ve attained. It’s never too early to prepare yourself for the life you’ll lead after you’ve created your fortune. Considering this now will actually help you amass your fortune by clarifying what success looks like for you. Knowing your target helps you stay focused, and as you know, your intention builds momentum. So, exactly why are you working so hard? Let’s figure this out.

1. Shift Your Mindset

People build fortunes like a bloodhound follows a trail … complete focus. Successful entrepreneurs know that building wealth requires long hours, few vacations, and single-minded determination to succeed no matter what. If this sounds like you, keep doing what you’re doing because you will reach your goal. If you haven’t hit your wealth goal yet, this is the level of focus that’s necessary to attain your good fortune.

The main problem with many high-driven entrepreneurs is that they are unwilling to let go of the grind when they’ve finally achieved the success and wealth they’ve dreamed of having. In many cases, they don’t even know who they are, inside as a person, because all they’ve been is the sum of their all-encompassing focus and drive. They have become hollow because of their oneness of purpose.

To complicate matters, many people are running from demons — from poverty, rejection by parents or lovers, scorn by peers, traumatic events, and the chaos of roller coaster emotions … It’s easier to keep running than to stop and risk their demons catching them. 

This is why it’s so important for you to prepare yourself now for the mindset you will need after achieving your wealth. You’ll have to retrain your mind. Will you be able to accept that you won the race and don’t have to run the entrepreneurial gauntlet anymore? Will you be able to nourish your soul with the harvest of your accomplishments?

In our society, we get so caught up with money that we forget the real values in life. Everywhere we look we see the money because our culture makes it of focus. We are bombarded by the media constantly selling us 1000 products a day. We are brainwashed and trained to notice who has more and who has less than we do. Not every culture is like this, but this is how ours is structured and we have to learn how to stay healthy in a system that constantly heralds wealth, youth, and thin bodies as the pinnacle of achievement.

Warren Buffett gave a speech to students many years ago and he asked his audience to consider the difference between how they lived and how he lived. Of course, everyone began to think the obvious, that he lived a life of luxury with no limits. However, his lifestyle philosophy was very different than what was assumed. In words like these, he told his audience that even though he has $50 billion, more or less, there was only one difference between them. They both liked fast foods, they liked casual restaurants that cost $10 to eat, affordable for everybody. His house was modest, warm in the winter and cool in the summer. Like Sam Walton, he preferred simple clothing and standard vehicles to limousines. You watch the same television shows and Netflix movies as everybody else. The only way his life was different was his preference for traveling in his private jet because it was comfortable and saved time. Other than that, he said, there’s nothing I can do that you can’t do.

When you think about it, do you need a house with 18 bathrooms? Do you need a closet with 30 pairs of shoes? You only wear one at a time! How many vacations a year will you go on, really, once you’ve satisfied the initial urge?

This is why a shift in your mindset is so important. You’ve built great wealth, and you are to be congratulated, but now that you’ve achieved your goal and you have financial freedom, what are you going to do with your freedom? What new WHY, new purpose, new goal, and new fulfillment are you eager to try?

2. Don’t Let Money Rule Your Life

Money now works for you. You are its master. Money is a wonderful tool that can be used to create comfort, convenience, security, and charity. If you put it to work for you, it will be your tireless servant, generating more money every day and all night.

When money becomes the sole reason you do, or don’t do things, or you take actions that don’t align with your values, you become controlled by money; you become its servant and money becomes your master. When money is your master, it will take you to a black hole and put you on a treadmill that never stops as you constantly make more and more wealth for the sake of the wealth. You can work yourself into sickness, start a business that bores you or become miserly when you have more than enough and could use your wealth to do good in the world without sacrificing your freedom. Don’t allow your money to become your ball and chain. There’s no faster way to become a “miserable millionaire”.

3. Knowing When You Have Enough

How do you know when you have enough money? The answer is simple. You have enough when your needs for a comfortable lifestyle for the rest of your life are satisfied. Yes, you should make sure that your spouse or partner and your children will be well cared for and that everyone you love and care about is covered. That’s your number. You can calculate this quite easily with the help of a financial advisor. He or she will price out the cost of living for all the years between now and the time you die and will take inflation and taxes into account. 

When you compare yourself with others, as we’ve said before, you will always find those who have more and those who have less than you. Viewing accumulated wealth as “points” in the contest of life is a foolish game. It’s common for new millionaires to lament that they are not billionaires and billionaires that they are not multi-billionaires. These unfortunate people choose to remain on the treadmill, accumulating more wealth than they or their descendants could ever spend. Your real wealth is your freedom, your health, and how you choose to use the years you have ahead of you. If you wait too long, you’ll never enjoy what you’ve worked so hard to achieve. 

Make peace with the idea of “enough”. You may not be there yet, but begin realizing that “enough” exists. The day you have enough is the day you can declare victory on your terms, not by comparison to others. 

4. Stop Moving the Goalposts

At the start of your journey, you thought if you had a six-figure income you’d have it made. You could afford a lovely home, an expensive car, a comfortable lifestyle, and would no longer worry about the price tags on gifts for your loved ones. 

Then, one day, you quietly surpassed your six-figure goal. You met some seven-figure friends and became addicted to the idea of making your cash flow bigger and bigger. Only a seven-figure income would satisfy you. Then you wanted a mansion instead of a lovely home, and a Lamborghini instead of an Acura. Remember when six figures felt like financial success? You’ve moved to the goalposts.

Moving the goalposts can become a habit, and then no amount of money will ever satisfy you. At some point, you have to accept that you’ve scored a touchdown and stop running!

5. Set Your Number

Once you’ve embraced the idea that “enough” exists, it’s time to plant your last goalposts — ones that won’t move. It’s time to set your number.

There are many ways to determine this number. As mentioned, your financial advisor can help you reach this number more precisely, but you should certainly have a pretty decent idea about this yourself. 

The way you think about your number will depend on your age, lifestyle, aspirations, and personality. A straightforward method to arrive at your number is to take your monthly expenses, multiply them by 12, and then multiply that number by 20.

For example, with monthly expenses of $5,000:  

$5,000 x 12 x 20 = $1,200,000

Why this formula? It’s a way of determining how much money you need to reasonably expect to live on the passive income if you never work again. Feeling unsure about the number from this formula? Bump the number up by 25% for an extra cushion or emergency fund.

$1,200,000 x 1.25 = $1,500,000

If you want to finance a high-flying lifestyle — yacht ownership, first-class flight cabins, a Maserati, a second home in Costa Rica, etc. — do a dream-building exercise. Calculate the monthly expenses of your dream life and do the number-setting exercise with those expenses rather than your current expenses.

Once you have your number, write it down somewhere so you can see it from time to time with a note to yourself that this is “your number”. Then, when you reach that number, really consider that it’s now time to declare victory. You don’t have to, of course, but you should remember that there was a time when you permitted yourself to take your foot off the gas on this milestone, and reflect on whether you still need to push the accelerator.

6. Achieving Your Purpose: Financial Freedom

Achieving your financial goals isn’t about money — it’s about financial freedom. For most entrepreneurs, financial freedom was the ultimate goal of going into business in the first place. 

Financial freedom means you are finally free to cut out everything you don’t enjoy doing, and can instead fill your time, compose your life and create the joy you are inspired to do.

Hitting your number means your time has come. You have just received three significant benefits:

  • Time. Though you can always make more money, you can never get back your time. Many highly successful people have spent so much time making their fortunes that they have forgotten what they wanted to do with themselves once their fortune was made. Make your list now. What fun and fulfilling activities could fill your time once the grind is over? Travel? Getting in shape? Learning a sport? A dance? A new language? Writing a book? Starting a podcast? Financing a movie? Coaching and mentoring? Philanthropy? The world is filled with many tempting choices.
  • Experiences. Start thinking of your wealth as the means for giving you significant and enjoyable experiences. Buy a backstage pass to meet your hero. Travel to parts of the world that fascinate you. Take a boat down the Seine. Dedicate some of your time to serving a charity. Dine in the finest restaurants. See penguins in Antarctica? Take an around-the-world cruise? Done! There is a wealth of experiences awaiting the creative mind.
  • Fulfillment. Money is worthless if it can’t live your life with purpose. Don’t become another miserable millionaire. We have enough of those already.

Surprisingly, people living in poverty often feel fulfilled because they have built strong relationships and feel connected to other people, they have incredible faith and their lives are filled with a devotion to the purpose of giving kindness and compassion. 

Spend time with the people you love. Donate your money and your time to the causes you care about. Find a way to make the world better for your having been here, and let your wealth have value for others in ways that make their path easier and inspires them to give to others because they have received from you.

Lessons Learned

1. While building wealth has pitfalls, having wealth creates a different set of challenges.

2. Believing you can never have enough money is a dangerous trap.

3. Debt is a trap because it erodes your potential and your time.

4. Let money be your slave and not your master.

5. Think about how you will spend your time when you have achieved financial freedom. That’s the time to invest in yourself, and your family, and by offering service to others.

Khuram Dhanani
Khuram Dhanani
Khuram Dhanani
kd@softstonecapital.com