The Most Valuable Thing That Money Can Buy

Take a sheet of paper and draw a vertical line down the middle of it. On the left side of the page, under a column marked “Things I Enjoy,” make a list – maybe something like this:

  • Time with family and friends
  • Reading
  • My hobbies (List them.)
  • My house
  • My car
  • My stereo
  • My clothes
  • and so on…

On the right side of the page, write down a number from 1 to 5 that indicates how much ongoing enjoyment you get from each of those things. What you’ll probably find out is that most of the best things in your life, as the saying goes, are, indeed, free.

That’s the way it is for you. That’s the way it is for me. And that’s the way it is for everyone else, including billionaires.

The most valuable thing that money can buy you is the freedom to spend your time as you see fit. And when you reach the point where you can spend most of your time paying attention to those things that bring you the greatest pleasure, chances are you won’t spend a great deal of money (unless you are unfathomably shallow). You’ll probably choose to spend your time conversing with friends, reading good books, enjoying art and travel – living the kind of life you imagine wealthy English or French aristocrats did in centuries past.

To some extent, at least, you can do that right now.

[Ed. Note: The above article was adapted from Automatic Wealth: The Six Steps to Financial Independence, published with permission from John Wiley & Sons. Get your copy today.] [Ed. Note: Mark Morgan Ford was the creator of Early To Rise. In 2011, Mark retired from ETR and now writes the Palm Beach Letter. His advice, in our opinion, continues to get better and better with every essay, particularly in the controversial ones we have shared today. We encourage you to read everything you can that has been written by Mark.]