Wealth and Work: In it for the Money?

Work and Wealth: In it for the Money?

Are you doing your job just for the money?

Our jobs can easily become a simple means to an end.  We work to get paid so we can pay for shelter, clothing, food, transportation and a bunch of other things we may or may not need.

The good news is we have the power and the capacity to change our attitude toward our work, without needing to change the work itself.  Of course if you have an opportunity to change jobs to better align your work with your calling, by all means seize it.  In reality, those opportunities rarely present themselves if we haven’t already adjusted our attitude in our current situation.

We have the power and the capacity to change our attitude toward our work.  [Tweet]

A Simple Attitude Adjustment Exercise

For starters, try beginning your work day writing down different ways you can best serve your customers, clients, colleagues, supervisors, and anyone else you might interact with that day.  If thoughts come up like, “I’m not getting paid enough to do that,” or “that isn’t part of my job,” write those thoughts down on a separate column or page.

Review your lists and ask yourself

  • Which person would I rather work with?
  • Which person is more likely to be given more responsibility?
  • Which person is more likely to be promoted?

Make sure you follow through on at least one of the ideas for serving others during the day.

At the end of the day take 5 minutes to write down then names of those you served, and how you served them.  Reflect back on their responses.  How did it make you feel after serving someone well?  As you do this day after day you will find your passion for your work will slowly increase, and your concern about money decrease.

You may find that your change in attitude toward your work and your increased passion to serve others well will present new opportunities or promotions, and money will no longer be something you worry about.

Wealth and Work

Wealth and Work

Vocation: A Calling

Our work, our vocation (from the Latin vocare – “to call”), is meant to be a source of wealth for us.  While financial compensation is one way for our vocation to be a source of wealth, it is not the sole source, and our pursuit of financial gain over and above every other aspect of our work may make us rich, but seldom wealthy.

The pursuit of financial gain at the expense of one’s calling may make one rich, but never wealthy.  [Tweet]


Finding meaning in our work and ways to positively impact the lives of others through our work is the true measure of wealth in our work.

When we continue in a job we hate, regardless of the money it pays, there is little wealth in or produced by that job or ourselves. We go through the motions, miserable and creating misery in everyone around us. This is the opposite of wealth – it is poverty.

When we do not give our all to the work set before us we are stealing from those we are meant to be helping, and robbing ourselves of the wealth gained by a job well done.

There are several reasons why we might find ourselves in such a state of vocational poverty:

The good news is we can counteract each of these with discipline and some help from friends, counselors, or coaches.

We’ll examine each of these in greater detail in upcoming posts, exposing the poverty in each, and in doing so discover the way to wealth.






Wealth. It’s more about gratitude than greed.

Wealth. It's more about gratitude than greed

Wealth isn’t so much what we have or how much, but about our acceptance of what we have, how we use it, whether we give it freely or hoard it, and whether we are a like a stagnant pond or a flowing river, where wealth flows in, through and out again.

Wealth is what we leave behind, not what we take with us, although realizing true wealth in this life assures us of wealth to come in the next, whatever you might believe comes next.

My word for 2016 was wealth.  I bought Benjamin Graham’s book, The Intelligent Investor, planning to learn about building financial wealth.  I still haven’t read it.  My experience with understanding wealth during 2016 turned out to be less about money (and the greed often associated with it) and more about relationships and accepting the generosity of others.


I started spending every Sunday with my godson’s family, sharing meals, spending time in conversations, helping out with projects in the yard, sharing the couch with one of two full sized german shepherds,  basically becoming part of the family.  This made me more wealthy than any amount of money I could have made.  It’s also cool to pull up outside the house and hear two little rascals shouting, “Dave Tornstrom’s here!  Dave Tornstrom’s here!” (Yes they use my full name.  Every time.  I think it’s hysterical since most of my friends from college on only knew me by my nickname, Klondike.)

I also reconnected with old friends when they invited me to their son’s 1st birthday party.  I have been back many weekends for dinner, campfires, and helping out with the odd errand or two.  If I had not accepted the generosity of their hospitality I would never have experienced the joy of hearing a now two year old yell, “Klondike!,” whenever I show up.

A good deal of time last summer was spent outside with friends mountain biking, boating, and camping, reconnecting with my love of the outdoors.  This was magnified in my mind later in the fall, when I was feeling somewhat more melancholy than usual, and I realized this was the first summer in about 4-5 years that my parents and I had not spent a week in the Berkshires hiking and soaking in the quiet of a remote cottage.

The Generosity of Others

It may seem strange, but I was also learning to accept the generosity of others and just enjoy it.  I am one of those types who, when given something, feels compelled to pay it back, or return the favor.  Thus whenever someone was generous with me I felt indebted to them.  I can’t stand being indebted to anyone or anything. So most of the time I learned to simply refuse what was offered, or awkwardly attempt to return the favor immediately.  This is not wealth.

Part of being truly wealthy is understanding how to accept the generosity of others well.  Generosity well received is a generous response to the giver.  In this way we learn the value of being generous to others.  True generosity is giving with no expectation of anything in return, except perhaps gratitude. Gratitude like love, does no harm. But even when gratitude is withheld, generosity is not nullified. In fact generosity in the face of ingratitude is the most generous, as it is easy to give when a thank-you is expected, but much harder when it is not.

I guess you could say by learning to accept generosity, what I was really learning was the practice of gratitude.  I have adopted the practice used by many of listing at least 3 things I am grateful for everyday as part of my morning journal.  It is a simple but profound exercise.


What I discovered is true wealth is much more about fostering healthy relationships, engaging in community with neighbors, being generous, and expressing gratitude with every breath we breathe, than it is about money or possessions.

Wealth is yours to decide and yours to define, but yours only for this lifetime.

3 Simple Principles for Wealth and Happiness

I know, this is a pretty big claim, but yep, I’m saying it’s pretty much this easy.

It’s also this hard.


1. Spend less than you earn.

If you are spending more than you earn you have only three options to correct this: spend less, earn more, or do both.

Our in-come must be greater than our out-go.
– Pretty much every treasurer in history

2. Set some aside.

Take a small percentage off the top of every paycheck and use it for savings:  emergency funds, sinking funds, vacation, retirement, etc.

“A part of everything you earn is yours to keep.”
– George Clason, The Richest Man in Babylon

3. Give generously from what you have.

Giving doesn’t always have to be financial, but giving financially helps us maintain a proper and healthy attitude toward money.

Happiness comes from spiritual wealth, not material wealth… Happiness comes from giving, not getting. If we try hard to bring happiness to others, we cannot stop it from coming to us also. To get joy, we must give it, and to keep joy, we must scatter it.
– Sir John Templeton


Save more money, stop spending so much, get rid of debt, and build wealth

So, how do I save more money, stop spending so much, get rid of debt, and build wealth?

First, you have to work.  Hard.

You can’t go anywhere if you’re not in motion in the first place.

Second, you’re going to need some help

  • If you’re married or otherwise in a committed relationship, make a plan with your spouse/significant other and work together to see your plan through.  Doing this the right way might even improve your overall relationship!
  • If you’re single like me, find someone who is willing to work with you and be honest with you.  This person is often called an accountability partner.

 Third, you need to have a plan (often called a budget).

Think of it as a fence with a gate – keeping your sheep from straying away, but allowing them to come and go as you allow them to.

 Fourth, you’ve got to rev up the intensity.

Rocky didn’t win because he sat around wishing himself into shape – he trained.  And he trained hard.  Get yourself a theme song if that helps 🙂

Fifth, allow some room in your plan to have some fun and blow off some steam.

All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.  Allowing yourself a little fun will also remind you why you are doing this in the first place…so you can do more fun things later.

 Sixth, consider giving more as a goal to inspire you along the way.

Giving more can really change people’s lives in some really cool ways.  Guess what?  Giving more will definitely change your life in some really cool ways as well!

I’ll cover each of these in more detail in future posts, so stay tuned!

For more really great information right now on saving money, paying off debt, and building wealth check out Ramsey Solutions and if you are really serious, consider taking a Financial Peace University class near you.

High Cost of Being Single – Mint.com Infographics

Mint.com published the following two infographics earlier this year on the high cost of being a single man or single woman:

The High Cost of Being A Single Lady

The High Cost of Being a Single Man