The 'No Cost' Secret to Wealthy Living

Editor's note: We're celebrating the holidays with some classic advice from Steve about how to make money... and, more important, what money is for. We hope you enjoy these essays in DailyWealth over the next several days. This one – originally published back in 2008 – shares the secret to living a rich life...

Greetings from the Oregon coast, where I'm living my dream.

I'm living well. The great thing is, "living well" by my definition doesn't cost much money at all. That's because my definition of living well isn't about, well, "stuff." Let me explain...

Yesterday, I windsurfed perfect head-high waves alongside 2004 World Champion Scott McKercher. The day before, I went surfing with champion paddle surfer Ekolu Kalama and his wife. No crowd, just us. For comparison, if you're a golfer, it's like hanging out with Tiger Woods for the day, just the two of you.

I feel fortunate to be here with these guys. And it reminds me of what's important in life...

My wife and I try to live this idea – that "experience" is more important than "stuff."

For example, our kids (ages seven and five) are probably the only kids they know who don't have a PlayStation or an Xbox or a Nintendo Wii. They don't have a ton of stuff. But they've got tons of life experience...

Our kids have seen the world... They've been as far north as Iceland. And they've been as far south as New Zealand. Yet we don't have big flat-screen TVs in our living room or den. (Are we the last Americans to actually have regular TVs?)

The great thing is, life experiences don't have to cost much at all. Waves are free. Wind is free. Spending time with your friends and family is free.

Before I came out to Oregon, we spent time with my family in Orlando. Over the weekend, the kids shot waterguns at their granddad in the pool, and my mom fixed unbeatable home-cooked breakfasts. Everyone had a great time. It was a great family experience. And it sure didn't cost much. It's not what it costs that makes it valuable.

It wasn't about buying "stuff." And this trip to the Oregon coast isn't about "stuff" either.

I define living well as 1) having time with friends and family, 2) pursuing my passions, and 3) well, not worrying about money. The nice thing is, you don't need a fortune to live well by that definition.

Living well to me isn't about monster flat-screen TVs, driving a BMW, or wearing diamond-encrusted watches. How about you?

You only have so much money... So what do you put a premium on?

It's so easy in America to be sucked into "stuff" – from the pressure to "keep up with the Joneses" to the constant barrage of advertising from every angle.

But you can't take stuff with you. I've heard investor Doug Casey say, "I've never seen a hearse with luggage racks." And if stuff is what you choose, just remember, you'll be busy working for the rest of your life to pay for your stuff.

If you follow my definition of living well, then the goal becomes living life to the fullest instead of buying stuff... and saving instead of buying so you don't have to worry about money.

People want to invest successfully for the same reason. Well, trust me... If you change your definition of living well, you can stop worrying about money a lot faster.

Again, my idea of living well is:

  1. Having time with friends and family.
  1. Pursuing my passions (which I'm doing on the Oregon coast now).
  1. Not having to worry about money.

What's your idea of living well? Is it about the experience, or the stuff?

All the best,


Further Reading

"There's a secret to doing what I've done," Steve says. He has gotten to work with a lot of his heroes over the years. But the truth is, there is no "luck" or "good fortune" involved... Read more here: How to Become Friends With Your Heroes.

"Finding success is all about recognizing, creating, and seizing opportunities," Steve explains. Over the years, several of Steve's "silly rich" friends have shared their personal secrets to living a fulfilling life... Learn more here.

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Growing your wealth isn't as much about picking the next high-flying stock as you might think. These two steps are far more important...

Market Notes



Apple (AAPL)... "FAANG" stock
Alphabet (GOOGL)... "FAANG" stock
Alibaba (BABA)... Chinese e-commerce giant
Advanced Micro Devices (AMD)... semiconductors
Nvidia (NVDA)... self-driving technology
Tesla (TSLA)... electric vehicles
Sirius XM (SIRI)... satellite radio
JPMorgan Chase (JPM)... financial giant
PNC Financial Services (PNC)... financial services
Citigroup (C)... financial services
Merck (MRK)... pharmaceuticals
Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMY)... pharmaceuticals
AstraZeneca (AZN)... pharmaceuticals
GlaxoSmithKline (GSK)... pharmaceuticals
CBRE Group (CBRE)... commercial real estate
MGM Resorts (MGM)... casinos and resorts
Activision Blizzard (ATVI)... video games
Best Buy (BBY)... electronics
Nike (NKE)... athletic apparel
Johnson & Johnson (JNJ)... consumer-goods giant
Verizon (VZ)... Internet "toll bridge"


Not many... It's a bull market, you know!