Imagine a woman who puts on a sharp suit every morning, goes to work in a fast-paced office, and works at a relentless clip every day until 8 or even 9 pm despite fighting a cold and not getting much sleep. She lives in a beautiful house and makes more money than she ever imagined, but her job and responsibilities leave little time for loved ones, vacations, exercise, or moments to think.
Is this woman wealthy? I would argue: no.
I’ve been that harried businesswoman who feels empty and drained of energy, in spite of her wealth and career success. Having worked with dozens of high-net-worth individuals on personal finance and having managed funds worth billions of dollars, I’ve found that money goals need to go hand-in-hand with nourishing our physical, emotional and spiritual selves.
Being tied to a high-income job that deprives you of your time and imagination is a version of being poor—and the opposite of financial freedom. This is why I believe in the concept of “holistic wealth,” which I define as “financial freedom through the development of abundance in all aspects of life.”
The principles of holistic wealth see wealth as wellness in all domains—work and career, home, relationships, personal growth, and, of course, finances. The practice of holistic focuses on aligning financial strategies with your current life phase and goals for the future.
Ultimately, holistic wealth strategies promote financial and investment decisions that cater to continually changing circumstances and desires while meeting long-term financial goals. In fact, counterintuitively, I’ve found that wealth strategies that fulfil our desires (in sound and responsible ways) are much more sustainable than approaches that rely solely on discipline and delayed gratification. Financial health and wealth become the fuel for a wealthy life.
Your investment choices can actually be more successful when your money is going toward goals you believe in, and your long-term financial plans can be more attainable when you’re healthy, thinking clearly, and feeling abundant in all areas of your life.
Financial know-how isn't often taught to children and young adults, so we glean information from our parents, our peers and the media, and it's often a mixed message. Many of us learned somewhere along the way that becoming wealthy requires a gruelling workload and sacrifices to our personal lives. It’s time to rethink those lessons.
Angelina Yao is a former portfolio manager at BlackRock and the founder of Heels & Yield, which offers female-focused financial management consultancy services.
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