Mary won the lottery ten years ago. With a cool ten million in her bank account overnight, she thought she was set for life.

So she did what any new millionaire would do. She bought a house. Purchased that little red sports car. Took her family around the world … twice.

She said “yes” to family and friends who needed a little boost. She couldn’t say no, could she?

And now, ten years later, she’s broke. She’s contemplating what to do with the rest of her life, because now she has to go back to work.

We’ve all heard stories like that, right? About the person who suddenly comes into a lot of money, only to lose it just as quickly?

What went wrong?

The Who Moved My Cheese Mindset

Years ago, I read a book that was topping the bestseller charts everywhere. Who Moved My Cheese is a parable about what makes you happy in this world. It’s a quick-read to help you understand that life is all about change, and to succeed, you always have to be looking, growing, working to become a better you.

Even when you think you “find it,” whatever your “it” might be, it’s always important to keep looking, or potentially lose “it” forever.

It’s easy to read a book, but it takes a lifetime to understand it’s value.

We’re human, and humans don’t like change.

We expect life to go on as always. That’s why many of us feel “stuck” at some point in our lives.

What separates us is the fact that some of us realize that life will not always be the same. So we remain curious, we move through life with eyes-wide-open, always looking for the next opportunity.

I don’t mean this in a profitable sense; opportunity isn’t always equal to financial. It’s also about growing your mindset. About learning from everything in life all around us.

What Is Wealth?

When you hear the term “wealth,” what does it mean to you?

For many, wealth is equal to abundance in material belongings. It’s about what you can accumulate in personal assets, and how big your bank account grows.

But there’s another definition that many forget: it’s about having a plentiful supply of a desirable thing. Have you ever referred to a person as being a wealth of information? They have in-depth knowledge about something, and you love talking or listening to them to pick up tidbits along the way.

Wealth is about having a plentiful supply of a particular resource. Yes, it can be money. But it can also be well-being and prosperity.

The difference between many successful people and others is the way they approach the world.

You can’t BE wealthy without learning HOW TO BE wealthy.

And that takes education.

Something our current school system fails miserably at.

I know this for a fact. I myself have a master’s degree in finance, yet I learned very little about building wealth.

I also have a daughter who moved through a rigorous, college-bound school system, graduated from college just a couple of years ago, and is still missing the intricate details of wealth building. Did I mention she received a minor in business? Yep, still not teaching the skills of wealth-building in the school system.

I myself have learned it all on my own. And I am by no means an expert. It will take the rest of my life perfecting it.

But I’ve learned a lot, especially these past few years. And I’ve been thinking a lot about it during COVID.

What Wealth Means To Me

This year has been crazy at best. Two weeks after the stay-in-place order, I lost twenty percent of my business. And it made me realize just how settled I’d become.

But I’m in a lucky position of being able to pivot and do other things.

That’s what wealth-building is all about.

The US alone has 30 million on some form of unemployment. And if my general area is any indication of what’s truly going on, I can guarantee the current numbers the media feeds us is based on reality. There are people still waiting to get unemployment, even more who still have trouble filing. Still more who don’t qualify because of the work they choose to do. (Hello, self-employed photographers. I used to be one of you.)

People use GoFundMe to avoid bankruptcies and medical bills. They use the gig economy to bring in cash flow. Even if they have no intention of doing it for an extended period of time. It’s all about “quick bucks,” get in and get out.

And that is the difference …

Wealth isn’t about what you have on the outside.

It’s all about what you have on the inside.

I could give you a million (or a billion) today, and it would be gone in a short time.

Because wealth is all about mindset.

Finally, I’m In The Wealth Building Mindset

I have a degree in Business, a master’s in Financial Management. (That terrifies me to my core. Because I know now how little I learned about wealth-building from all of my training.)

I’ve struggled through life with highs and lows.I’ve had jobs, built businesses, sold a business, and shuttered one as well.

I did that all through trial and error. And yes, it was quite extreme at times.

But through it all, I’ve learned one thing. And that’s why today I stand in a very different place.

Evaluate where you are today. Look at what is working in your life … and what isn’t.

The past always leads to the future. If something hasn’t been working for all these years, chances are it won’t benefit you in the future either.

As I figured things out, I made changes in my life. I’ve done a lot of things right these past few years that have put me in a good position:

  • Created savings for emergencies
  • Invested for my future
  • Reduced my debt to a sensible level (you’re never going to eliminate it completely. It’s okay to have a mortgage, a car loan, or even a credit card. As long as you know how it fits into your financial plans.)
  • Built a business to take advantage of tax conditions
  • Built a business I can work from anywhere there is an internet connection
  • Become resourceful
  • Developed a prosperous mindset

While I listed “developed a prosperous mindset” last, in actuality, it should be first. Because If I hadn’t done that several years ago, the rest wouldn’t be possible. I think what’s needed for a wealth mindset is:

Set goals, be patient, persevere – most people spend more time planning their vacations then they do their futures. That fact scared me when I heard it years ago. Maybe we didn’t learn about wealth building in school (grade school, high school, or even college), but that doesn’t mean you can’t do it right now. If you’re looking for a female-friendly way to learn, I recommend Ellevest. I love their approach to teaching women how to invest. It’s one of the few ezines I open up the moment it arrives in my inbox.

Invest in your future, today – coulda, shoulda, woulda, how many times have we all said that? No matter where you are today, stop saying it. Start investing, today. Start learning about terms like compound interest. Commit today to put something away – even $1. And do it for you, as a woman. I wrote recently about my wake up call as a married woman. Start down your own path today.

Don’t stop hustling – our goals and dreams change as we age. I know mine have. But here in midlife, the one thing that won’t change is my desire to give back to the world. To stay active, and be the best me I can be. And that means I’m always filled with ideas. I have books to write, websites to build, programs to create. And you can do that too.

Build your positive mindset – how do you talk with yourself about money? Do you say things like:

  • Money is the root of all evil
  • I’m not rich, I’m happy
  • I don’t deserve ____

Start changing your mindset, and you’ll start seeing changes in your money world. You DO deserve success. Happy and riches aren’t one and the same. And the saying isn’t “money is the root of all evil,” but is instead “the love of money is the root of all evil.”

If you want to be a wealthy person, the good news is you already are. If you’ve read this all the way through, you’re on the right path.

All it takes to be wealthy in midlife is to start taking action today. You can do that through education, strategizing, and taking action every day.

What one step will you be taking towards a wealthy future right now?