When does someone become rich?

Some people believe a certain net worth makes you rich. Maybe $1 million in net worth. In fact, some people choose to challenge their friends to a race, seeing who can get to $1 million first.

But net worth can’t all be spent. It can be tied up in assets like homes or retirement accounts that are very difficult to turn into real money. Maybe a better definition of rich is having a certain amount of liquid cash on hand. Maybe $500,000 in cold hard cash makes you rich.

But having cash today doesn’t mean you’ll have cash tomorrow. Some people don’t care how much money they have sitting in the bank. They consider themselves rich as long as they have enough passive income to pay all their bills without having to work. This is a nice definition of rich, and my personal preferred definition.

Well, it was until this weekend.

Life Throws You Curveballs

If I have enough passive income to pay all my bills this month, that doesn’t necessarily mean I have enough to pay all my bills next month. Or even tomorrow.

The fact is, life can be hard.

It can come right up behind you, give you an atomic wedgie and then put your torn underwear on your head.

For example, my Mom and Step Dad recently separated. Only time will tell what will happen between them in the future, but right now they need time apart. I helped my mom move into her new apartment this weekend.

My parents don’t have a lot of money, and because of that, they only had one car. Now that they aren’t living together, my mom needs a way to get to and from work. Neither of them has the money to buy a new car, and both of them need to drive to go to work. My mom needed a car, but definitely couldn’t afford to take on the car payment from their one vehicle.

She needed a miracle.

Rich Enough to Provide Miracles

She got one from her brother. My uncle Kevin (who has a pretty great name) drove his slightly used 2008 Toyota Camry Hybrid 1,600 miles across the country to give to my mom. And it’s not like this was an extra car he had lying around. My uncle gave my mom his car, and then bought himself a new car to replace it.

That’s the rich I want to be.

And let’s not forget to mention, I also hope to be the kind of person who is willing to provide this kind of help to people who need and deserve it. My uncle is really an awesome guy.

But back to his finances, he has enough money coming in every month that he can live the life he wants to live and provide for his immediate family. Then, he also has enough money saved up that he can take control of an emergency situation for someone he loves that requires tens of thousands of dollars.

It could have been his sister needing a car. Or maybe his neighbor lost his job and needs a short term loan. Maybe his daughter needs braces or his uninsured nephew needs money to pay off medical bills from a car accident.

I hope to be rich enough one day that I can provide for myself and my family, and have enough money in the bank to help the people I care about when they need and deserve it. And if I have enough money left over to hire a Mariachi band to sing a unique personalized “I’m sorry” song whenever I say or do something stupid to Tag, that’d be nice too.

There’s my definition of “rich“.

What’s yours?

rich is helping people

photo credit: flickr.com/mwichary/