The 3 German Ways to Be Rich.

The 3 German Ways to Be Rich.

“Early to bed and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.” ~ Benjamin Franklin

There is often a subtle takeaway, be it a lesson, an advice or even a piece of humor in languages when you start exploring and navigating several of them. For instance, when you refer to a wife in Spanish, you would use the term “esposa” but its plural form “esposas” literally means “handcuffs”. I am still unsure if it means that either getting married or having several wives will compromise one’s freedom, but once again there seem to be a piece of wisdom from the Spanish language.

Remaining focused on my personal finance journey towards financial independency, I came across the fact that the German language use the word “rich” or “reich” in 3 ways that emphasizes on the different views on being “rich” and it, of course, encouraged me to reflect further on that matter.

Erreichen (To Reach)

I have the feeling that “I want to be rich” has blindly been a goal for everyone to reach , as their direct pursuit of happiness which can cause more harm than good as Tal Ben-Shahar would argue.

Instead, through to SPIRE model, he recommends to break that quest down to its elements to help us enjoy the indirect pursuit of happiness, and by extension to raise our overall level of it as well as eventually to enrich ourselves.

Happiness is often wrongly and only summarized to pleasure, when it truly is a state of being (“estar feliz” as Spanish-speakers would say), or even wholebeing when we follow the SPIRE model where:

  • S stands for Spiritual (well-being): it is about finding a sense of meaning and purpose in life, at work and at home.

  • P stands for Physical (well-being): being aware of the lack of recovery and the silent killer: stress.

  • I stands for Intellectual (well-being): being curious, asking questions and engaging with material such as books, art, podcast and nature.

  • R stands for Relational (well-being): it refers to the quality time spent with people we care about and who care about us.

  • E stands for Emotional (well-being): expressing gratitude towards life no matter what.

Reich (Empire)

“I’m in the empire business.” ~ Walter White

You might know about this one because of the notorious Third Reich.

When it comes to empire, it often seems like someone and/or something needs to be protected as well as being worth fighting for. Be it a king, just like in a game of chess or a society, like Carthage, birthplace of one who is widely regarded as one of the greatest African military commanders in history: Hannibal Barca.

The third characteristic of an empire is its longevity in time, thus the need for a successor which involves a transfer of power, authority and wealth. Once again, what matter here is the response to following question, will this inheritance be a burden or a blessing to your successor?

This a question I remind, among other things, in my article where I encourage you to become the Elon Musk of your family, for the sake of the global human race and your local community.

Reich (Rich)

It would automatically assume that “reich” refers to the monetary sense of being rich at first. Even though I would certainly not disagree with the fact that it is a crucial part of being materialistically comfortable since money simply is a mean of exchange for goods and services, it certainly does not make most of it.

Here is a broader yet still uncomplete view on what being rich could also refer to:


“Health is wealth.”

Health is often only referring to physical conditions. On the NYE and all along the month of January (no longer than January guys, please), I might wish you to remain healthy, which incorporates the physical aspect of it but I also mean it mentally, emotionally, spiritually, sexually, in any order you desire as long as a fair amount of time and money is eventually invested in each facet of the construct “health”, which eventually is wealth indeed.

Socially + Culturally

“Your network is your net worth.”

You know what they say: “You are average of the 5 people you spent most time with.”. Indeed, as social animals, I would argue that being “reich” has also something to do with to what extent you are able to be exposed yourself to different cultures and to a variety of individuals, with their own experiences, flaws, qualities and lessons as well as contacts, business opportunities or simply information they can provide.

Because having (a) loyal and trustworthy romantic partner(s) on your side, family members who support you, friends who values and challenges you or a pet who loves you unconditionally, you are already “rich” in a way no amount of money is capable of acquiring. Appreciate it.


“Money is a terrible master but an excellent servant.” ~ P.T. Barnum John

As for money, one is free to decide how much is enough to oneself..

A candid conversation with oneself is needed to determine what does one truly value and prioritize and more importantly why? How much is needed for you live comfortably, for you to be at peace with yourself, to feel content and fulfilled? Besides the clothes, food and a shelter, what do you truly need and why?

Another crucial question is coming from the F.I.R.E (Financial Independence, Retire Early) movement: what’s your FIRE number? The FIRE number is the total amount of money someone needs to retire, calculated by multiplying your yearly living expenses by 25.

Trina Paul gives the following example in her article: if your yearly living expenses were $50,000, you would invest $1.25 million and withdraw no more than 4% of your money each year in retirement, adjusting for inflation. While the 4% withdrawal rate has been contested, especially for FIRE followers who have longer retirement horizons, most FIRE followers still adhere to this rule.

To conclude, there are always ways to get richer, here are examples inspired by the German language. The truth is, chances are that you already are.

Recommendation: The Richest Man in the World

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