How to define wealth as a lifestyle goal

December 3, 2023

A few weeks ago I tweeted this and got a lot of positive feedback on it:

Like many of my tweets, I wrote this as a lesson for myself.

Not that long ago, I created number goals like:

  • 7-figure income
  • 1 million net worth by 30
  • $100k in income from a side hustle

I criticize these number goals because I used to be the biggest offender in creating them.

We create these large number goals because we find security in a big number.

If I have a 7 figure income or net worth my financial stress will disappear.

Then I will be happy.

I have had the privilege of watching people hit number goals much larger than the ones I mentioned:

  • Tech entrepreneurs with $60mm+ exits
  • Liquidating a $100mm real estate empire
  • Retirees who refuse to stop working until they hit $3mm net worth when they only spend $60k/year.

Many of them hit these goals and none of their stress disappeared.

I want to clarify: number goals are fine but they have to have meaning.

A big number does not create a sense of security. Once you hit the number, it doesn’t feel big, so you create a new larger goal.

The security never comes.

And the cycle never stops.

So what’s the solution?

Give the numbers meaning by creating lifestyle goals.

How to Create Lifestyle Goals

We're going to work backward to find your number but first, we need to know what we are working towards.

Start by answering a few questions:

  • What does a perfect day look like to you?
  • What are the experiences you want to have?
  • How do you want to help others?
  • What are things you want to splurge on without guilt?

What does a perfect day look like to you?

An example answer may be:

Waking up in a comfortable home

Cooking a healthy breakfast

Cold plunge

Yoga class

Working 4 – 6 hours on a passion project

Going out to dinner with family and friends


Now this is something we can work with.

This is how we start to give the numbers meaning.

We’ll have to know:

Cost of home

Grocery budget

Cost of the cold plunge

Cost of yoga classes

Does the passion project bring in money?

Eating out budget

Cost of books

But we also have to think about one-off expenses.

What experiences or things are important to you?

Here we are thinking of one-off expenses.

Recurring goals:

I want to travel 2-3x/year

I want to golf every weekend in the summer.

I want to spend every winter in Florida.

One-time goals:

I want to renovate my kitchen.

I want to buy an at-home cold plunge (can you tell I want this?).

I want a Kitchenaid stand mixer.

How do you want to help others?


I want to donate $5,000 to Red Cross every year.

I want to help pay for my children's education.

I want to volunteer at my local animal shelter.

What are the things you want to splurge on without guilt?

For a lot of the people I work with, I notice a large net worth does not make it easier to spend without guilt.

When we plan for these things we are giving ourselves permission to enjoy them.

Things like:

  • First-class tickets
  • Monthly spa visits
  • Organic groceries

can and should be enjoyed without guilt. Sometimes you just need to build them into your financial plan.

This is how you create financial goals with purpose.

I spend time going through each item and calculating the cost.

You can use these numbers to create an income goal, a net worth goal, and a savings goal.

One of my favorite tips is to always add in room for error:

If you calculated a need for $80k in income, we might increase the goal by 20% ($96k in income) for things we haven’t thought of.

We also create an emergency fund to help with unexpected costs (because there are always unexpected costs).

A margin of error allows us to handle these costs without an impact on lifestyle.

These questions have helped both me and my clients create meaning in the numbers.

If you go through these questions, I know it will help you too.

That’s all for now! Feel free to reply to this email and let me know what you thought of today's newsletter.

I respond to every email :)

See you in 2 weeks!


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