Would you trade your success or your riches? – Guest Post

by Ryan

I recently watched a rerun episode of my favorite TV show, House. It’s truly the only show on television that I have the patience and eagerness left to watch. This episode in particular focused on a billionaire businessman and his sick son, which really provoked some serious thought.

This man fully believed that it was karma that was killing his child. This man was super lucky and super rich. When it came to business, everything he did was a success – everything except family life. This belief led him to sign away billions of dollars on a bogus deal, believing that if he did so, it would save his son’s life.

While of course, the notoriously sarcastic House, tried to assure him that his billions had nothing to do with his son’s health, it was ironic that after this man went bankrupt, House and his team were finally able to correctly diagnose and treat this child. As the man went broke, his son regained his health.

This show shook something within me, because I often feel in the realm of education and work, my gifts and talents, I’ve experienced a commendable level of success. I did well all throughout school and despite my teenage pregnancy (17 years ago), I was still able to graduate with a tie for the 10th place in the top 10. I went on to college and graduated with Honors, I’ve received awards and many other opportunities. But at what cost?

I’ve missed a great deal of time spent at home with my children. Sometimes it feels as if my two oldest have just sprouted into teenagers right before my eyes and my youngest is already four even though it feels as if he should still be a baby. No, their health isn’t in danger like the boy in the show, but I often feel like because my responsibilities with school and work, I’ve missed out on their time as kids – a stage that will never return.

I had a jarring thought about what I will do when my youngest gets to a stage when he finally leaves home. I wonder if I will be the lost “empty-nester” who won’t know what to do with herself.

Then I think about life had I made other choices – and then I come to the conclusion that because of the way the world works, I really didn’t have a choice at all. I could’ve stayed home – but at what cost on that end of the spectrum?

I have no choice but to put my faith in God that His plan for my life and then take the time to reflect and really take a moment think about what’s important.

Because of my kids and the time that I put into work, it definitely causes me to make more cautious financial decisions. If I can’t save enough to make a major purchase such as furniture or a car out right, then that means I’m not buying it, because more debt means more work to pay for it. More work may mean more success, but it means less time with my kids.

So call me crazy, but I think if I was in that guy’s shoes, I might’ve made the same choice. What about you? What’s more important? Riches and success or family?

What steps are you taking to ensure you’re not devoting all of your time chasing wealth and in the process missing out on those important once-in-a life time moments?

It’s important for me to continue taking steps towards gaining financial independence, but it’s not good to be so focused that I’m not taking out time to do something fun with the family. Everything can’t be planned ahead and sometimes there are those moments when I must make a choice between getting work done and spending impromptu time with the family.

Since balance is the key, I suggest asking some questions to help with the decision-making:

  • Is it a seasonal or rare event that can’t be rescheduled? Visitors from out of town? People I haven’t seen in ages? If so, take some time, even if only a short time, to hang out with the family.
  • Will I lose a ridiculous amount of money if I take time off? If so, I need to think of ways to cut expenses until a recovery of some sort can be made. Money can be recovered, people can’t
  • Put it in perspective, in “life or death” terms: If one of us dies today, would I be happy with the amount of quality time spent? If the answer is no, then that’s a sign that I need to sacrifice a bit of financial security and take time to be with the family.

How do you make your choice between success and family? Would you trade your success and significant riches for a loved-one?

Kiesha is the author of WeBlogBetter and Highly Favored. She’s a technical Writer, former writing instructor, and internet marketing consultant for small business owners. If you’d like to know more, read her extended bio. Connect with her on Twitter and subscribe to her feed. Kiesha can also be found on FuelYourBlogging

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{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

Ken April 6, 2010 at 1:16 am

Time with family is invaluble and mine fluctuates from good to not so good. It’s important to keep it a priority, though.
.-= Ken´s last blog ..6 Shortcuts to Financial Independence =-.

Moon Hussain April 6, 2010 at 3:38 am

Kiesha,

I think I remember that episode. I haven’t watched House in a while. I do feel guilty that I’m spending all this time on the computer, trying to make it, so I try to shut it off and go spend time with others.

It’s definitely a hard thing to balance, as life has no gaurantees :(
.-= Moon Hussain´s last blog ..A Conversation That I Will Remember For the Rest of My Life =-.

Laura @ LivingOurWay.com April 6, 2010 at 3:49 am

I put my faith in the Lord and the Lord told me to stay at home. It seemed crazy at the time! I had no guarantees of work from home and we were going to be $5,000 short of being about to continue our lifestyle. I prayed, read the Bible, and everything was leading us to me resigning from my job, so I did. Amazingly, I scored some very sought after part time employment that has turned into full time employment yet gives me enough time to take care of my kids. God’s plans are perfect, even if we don’t understand them.
.-= Laura @ LivingOurWay.com´s last blog ..Cheaper By the Dozen =-.

Search Engine Viking April 6, 2010 at 6:55 am

I’m weird in the sense that I don’t necessarily tie “success” and “riches” together. Rich is just one kind of success (i.e. monetary success). For instance, I’d much rather be broke and famous than rich and unknown.
.-= Search Engine Viking´s last blog ..Weekly Rockstar Blog: April 3, 2010 =-.

LenciB: Falling Into favor April 6, 2010 at 7:54 am

I think my family is way important. I don’t have a big family, but as it grows I’ll remember to keep them where they need to be on the list of priorities.
.-= LenciB: Falling Into favor´s last blog ..A Dwelling Place for the Almighty =-.

CreditShout April 6, 2010 at 11:15 am

I’ve always lived by the principle that money does make for a better life but doesn’t buy happiness, I know quite a few rich people who always seem to be miserable regardless of the money. Knowing this makes it easier to trade away the money if I had to.
.-= CreditShout´s last blog ..Hess Credit Card Review =-.

Chris Akins April 6, 2010 at 1:02 pm

Ryan,

A very interesting and relevant plot. I think many in our consumer driven society define “success” in terms of money, status and “things.” Answering the question you pose begins with re-evaluating our definition of success. When we do so, we may realize that there is no choice to be made.

Chris
.-= Chris Akins´s last blog ..Is your success killing you? =-.

Kristine April 6, 2010 at 5:44 pm

Good post. Everyone has their own definition of success. I’d ask the question – if you have a bunch of money, and no friends/family to share it with, is it worth having it?

My sister in law says her life is all about balance. She owns her own business, has two kids, and is completing her masters degree. (I don’t know how she does it!) She schedules her time wisely, and whatever her attention is on at any moment, she is 100% there. You don’t see her trying to do homework while playing with her kids.

Noah Rainey April 7, 2010 at 6:22 pm

This blog post was long and interesting, informative, and great all around. Keep up the good and excellent development of blog posts.
.-= Noah Rainey´s last blog ..Earn Money Online =-.

Arlene April 8, 2010 at 4:31 pm

Oh how I remember so well when my daughter was a teenager. I had to make the important decision of either staying home to supervise her or continuel to work. I decided to supervise her knowing my husband and I would pay the price and we did in finances, we could bearly pay the rent. Today she is going to college for her Bachelor degree in communcations and later told me she was glad I made that decision. We were glad to scarifice for the long term goal.

Guy G. April 14, 2010 at 6:17 pm

Hey,
This reminds me of the Cat Stevens song. ‘When you comin home son? I don’t know when, but we’ll have a good time then, Dad’
At least you’re realizing before it’s too late that you need to invest more time in their development and that of your relationship with them.

And thanks for depressing me :( To live more simply and reduce expenses we currently only use rabbit ears and House was cut with the cable. Man I miss that show. But, it’s sometimes important to prove that a little discipline with tips on budgeting can make a huge difference. I’m saving over $30 a month not paying for tv that’s crappy anyway (except House)

Talk to you later,
Guy
.-= Guy G.´s last blog ..Grocery Saving Tips – Tips on Budgeting =-.

Personal Finance May 3, 2010 at 11:54 pm

I don’t watch House. I just don’t like his arrogance. But coincidences are abundant in life. Some you can connect with others don’t. What simply seems like an accident might be inevitable. It just must happen. Anything in the past had to happen for better or worse.
.-= Personal Finance´s last blog ..Sincere Millions Caused To Suffer Needlessly – A Naive Look =-.

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