What is True Wealth?

You may remember him from the first series of the TV show, “Dragon’s Den”.

Richard Farleigh was ‘the nice Dragon’. A thoughtful entrepreneur with a soft Australian accent he was the more acceptable face of business, particularly in comparison with the rather abrupt style adopted by Peter Jones.

Farleigh’s personal story is extraordinary. One of 11 siblings, born in the outback, north of Melbourne he was brought up in extremely challenging conditions. His parents were unable to cope and so, separated from his siblings, he was sent off to live with foster parents at an early age.

To say that young Richard had a challenging childhood would be putting it mildly. Severe illness and chronic shyness led him to struggle at school until, at age 12, he discovered chess.

He loved to play chess and had a natural gift for the game. He travelled the country and rose to become Junior State Champion which opened many doors previously closed. He decided to study economics at the University of New South Wales. As a result of his exam grades, he won a scholarship from the Australian Central Bank and graduated with a first-class honours degree.  

Now very much in demand, Farleigh was recruited by one of Australia’s leading investment banks and quickly became one of their top traders, applying his analytical skills and thoughtful strategy to the investment and currency markets.

His career continued as the prodigious talent was headhunted to work for a hedge fund in Bermuda, eventually retiring to Monaco at age 34. Since then, he has used his significant wealth and intellect to invest in numerous technology companies, particularly focussed on artificial intelligence.  

I recently met with him and had a chance to ask him an important question;

“Richard, you’ve obviously enjoyed great personal and financial success. So how do you define True Wealth?”

 He thought about it carefully and replied, “It’s all about the ‘”5 Fs” and went on to explain.

1. Freedom

Having control over your time, how you spend it, where you spend it and with whom is the ultimate form of wealth. Waking up every day knowing that you get to do the things you enjoy doing, with the people you enjoy doing them with, in the place you most want to be. 

It could be working on an exciting project, enjoying a favourite passion, travelling, or taking a vacation – wealth creates options and you don’t need vast amounts of it.

2. Family

He said that life can be busy juggling the demands of growing a business, but it’s vital to always maintain the rule of Family First

What’s the point of working hard and taking risks if you’re unable to share the experience with your family? Time is precious and the moments are fleeting. You’ll never look back and think ‘I wish I’d spent more time at the office’.

Your family don’t spell love L.O.V.E – they spell it T.I.M.E.- spend it wisely.

3. Friends 

Having a close circle of people that you like, trust, and enjoy spending time with is a blessing. As you get older, you tend to slowly drift apart from your friends and meet them less often. The ‘we must catch up this year’ messages get less frequent, and friendships can fade.

This is a mistake and although it takes effort, it’s important to stay connected and continue to cultivate great friendships.

4. Fitness 

Things can get overwhelming; you’re busy and it’s easy to overlook your health and fitness. But, remember ‘If you don’t make time for health, you’ll probably have to make time for illness.”

A daily walk, a weekly swim, a round of golf, a visit to your local gym. Find something you enjoy doing and get your body moving.

Focus also on getting a good night’s sleep and eating healthy, nutritious food (with the occasional treat of course!). 

Don’t be the richest person in the graveyard.

5. Fun

Life can be serious, there’s a lot at stake and no one gets out of here alive! So, it’s important to relax, enjoy the journey and not take yourself too seriously all the time.

According to the Mayo Clinic, laughter enhances your intake of oxygen-rich air, stimulates your heart, lungs and muscles, and increases the endorphins that are released by your brain.

Be playful, watch a funny film, share a joke. As they say, ‘Laughter is the Best Medicine. Go on, enjoy yourself and have fun!

True Wealth means different things to different people. What’s your definition?

“Some people are so poor, all they have is money” 

Bob Marley

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