So You Wanna Be Rich?

This week's post arose out of a somewhat philosophical discussion I had with one of my good friends.  We are both educated professionals in our late 20s who aim to become financially independent ("Rich") sooner rather than later.  As we shared ideas on how we plan to build wealth and become financially independent, we soon realized there was a key piece of the puzzle missing from our discussion - WHY do we want to be rich?  As you may expect, like many questions in life, your answer may differ from mine.  Below is my thought process of how I arrived at my personal reasons why I want to be rich.


In my opinion, there's only 3 reasons why we NEED money:

  1. Roof over our heads.
  2. Clothes on our backs.
  3. Food in our mouths.

Anything more than that is extra and therefore falls in to the category of WANT.

Why do we want money?

There are so many reasons why we WANT money.  Perhaps it's that new car you've been drooling over, perhaps it's that new pair of shoes, perhaps it's the admiration of your neighbors for having more than they do.  Or maybe you have more loftier goals - Mark Zuckerberg Vows to Donate 99% of His Facebook Shares for Charity.  Whatever your reasons may be, there are basically 3 things we can do with our money:

  1. Spend it - I like to say I'm working to improve living conditions for myself.
  2. Save it - whether you bury it in your backyard or invest it.
  3. Give it away - to your church, family and friends or to your charity of choice.


Upon some reflection, I have come up with some personal reasons why I want to be rich:

  1. I want to provide comfortable living conditions for myself and my family - I would like to be able to live in a neighborhood without excessive fear of crime, take a vacation annually, eat out twice a week without breaking the budget, basically the idea of the typical American middle class family.
  2. I want to give my parents a good retirement so they don't have to worry about working in their old age.
  3. I want to stay in touch with my friends and see them often.
  4. I want to support a project that benefit others outside my career in medicine - right now that project is the White Coat Money Blog.  
  5. I want to start a scholarship/fund for Asian Americans interested in a career in medicine.  When I was applying to medical school, I found many scholarships for African American and Hispanic students but none for Asian Americans.  

Notice while I have these goals, it is difficult to get an idea of exactly how much money is enough to accomplish them.  In fact, I'm not confident that it is possible to get an exact number in term of dollars and cents.  But I believe it is more important to know WHY you want to be rich rather than HOW.  In closing, I challenge you to reflect on the reasons you want to be rich.  Let me know in the comments and WCM will help keep you accountable.

Future Proof, MD

Dr. Bo Liu is an aspiring radiologist-in-training and the founder and editor of the White Coat Money Blog.  He has an interest in interventional radiology and helping his medical colleagues get ahead in this mad world of medicine and money.  When he's not crushing the list at the PACS station or typing up your next favorite blog post, you can usually find him at the local badminton club, movie theater or the most recently opened restaurant.