How to Live a Truly Rich Life: A Letter to My Kids

  • By Emma Johnson
  • May 10, 2013


One of the greatest luxuries money has afforded me is the ability to not worry about whether the rent check will clear. That position affords me sound sleep, which allows me to be an energetic, engaged mom to you. Having a little money in the bank also empowers me to make financial decisions from a place of confidence rather than fear or envy. I am more likely to take strategic risks to grow my business, which gives me joy, creative fulfillment and pride. Having enough money gives me the peace of mind to blow off work on a sunny spring weekday afternoon to take you out of daycare and fly our dragon kite at the park.

You may notice how little I like shopping now (when you need new sandals or a bike tire pump, I just go online after you’re in bed and buy what we need). I’m proud of our pretty apartment, and appreciate my few good pieces of jewelry. But letting go of any urge to invest in expensive or precious things relieves me of the stress those things can induce – especially as the mom of little kids. After all, if I replaced our threadbare rug with a lovely Tibetian masterpiece, I would lose my mind with every drop of finger paint or raspberry that landed on its fibers. If I splurged on an expensive cashmere coat, I would be less likely to rumble around the jungle gym with you, or take you sledding.

Contrary to the lessons I internalized when I was a child, fewer things, I’ve found, equal more freedom and more flexibility – both of which are the foundation of a full, rich life. And I’ve found that, like any asset managed well in its truest sense, money can indeed bring a measure of happiness -- but in a deeper, more real way than I understood as a kid, and in ways I hope you will carry you through your own lives.

Love and riches to you both,


Emma Johnson is a freelance business and personal finance writer in New York where she blogs at

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Tagged in: Investing, Inspiration