Do you REALLY crave to be rich?

People talk about winning the lottery as if it were the Holy Grail everyone is after.

And, sure, having a lot of money can enhance your life in myriad ways. You can pay off your house and buy a much bigger one, purchase a luxurious car, do away with your college loan debt, buy expensive clothes and jewelry with no restraint, etc.

Society tells us this is the ideal life. But is it really the kind of life we ALL yearn for?

Not me.

Instead, I just want to be comfortable financially, and that's well within everyone's reach by (1) saving up (2) scouring the internet and newspapers for great deals (3) staying within or below one's budget.

I can only surmise that people who are rich feel immense pressure to display with their wealth. (Not to mention they likely get asked for money left and right by friends and relatives.)

The issue is that I'm the farthest thing from a materialistic person, so if I found myself thrust into that situation, I would not feel compelled to rush to the store for, say, a new Maserati.

In fact, it'd be difficult for me to part with my cheaper stuff -- not because I'm stingy, but because I don't care to own things that are ridiculously expensive. I don't like drawing attention to myself that way.

I suppose I think more along the lines of billionaire investor Warren Buffett, who still lives in the Omaha, Nebraska home he bought in 1958 for $31,500.

If I had that kind of money, I would want to put it to better use. For starters, I would donate a sizeable chunk to charitable organizations like St. Jude's Children's Hospital and The Humane Society.

I think a rich life isn't defined by the money you have, but the experiences you share with your loved ones. And, yes, money can help finance some of those experiences if you're talking vacations around the world.

Still, a great experience can be something as simple as learning new things with your partner at the local museum or stargazing at night with friends.

In my view, money can make your life easier, but it doesn't ensure permanent happiness. If that were the case, people would never go broke or bankrupt. Many celebrities in Hollywood, for example, suffer from depression despite having a net worth of millions.

Never let society lead you to think that you need to lead a lavish lifestyle in order to be happy and respected by your peers.

At the end of the day, what you'll mull over on your deathbed is not the jewelry you bought or the shiny car parked on your driveway. You'll think about the people -- and the experiences -- that made your life worth living.

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