The Illusion of Wealth

Focus on investment to avoid getting caught up in a cycle of consumption, says Ryan Jackson, Founder and CEO of Gemini Parking Solutions.

Delusional or just mass confusion? There is an ever-increasing collective of consumers promoting the false ideology of wealth. This culture has brainwashed a generation. In this digital age so many are able to create the guise of abundance, when in reality their circumstances tell a completely different story.

Social media has provided a platform whereby you can project the life that you’ve always wanted, but without having the credentials to support it. We have created avatars that display the characteristics that we want to be known for yet reading between the lines would determine the lack of substance behind the personas. So many people seem to be driven by a need to demonstrate how much money they have – whether by stunting in the clubs spending thousands on champagne, or wearing £500+ trainers, or the classic success symbol for entrepreneurs, the Rolex watch. But, if you were to look deeper into the financial circumstances of many of those who indulge in such festivities, it would not justify the behaviour. They have succumbed to the illusion of wealth.

The influence of music, TV and celebrity all project an affluent lifestyle upon an impressionable generation. We are continuously bombarded with images that are supposed to represent success and so this then becomes their reference point. We associate success with material possessions and the majority want to be able to portray themselves as being successful. This is more about being accepted by our peers and to increase our self-worth and low self-esteem.

Generally, those who have attained wealth do not have the desire to continuously display their possessions as trophies. Very often it’s quite the opposite, as their spending is far less than others and one of the reasons why they have been able to establish so much wealth in the first place as they have not bought into the consumerism behaviour that oppresses many.

Spending money on expensive luxuries is a deception that sets up a cycle of ‘want’. Buying objects may give temporary pleasure, but it never lasts. Sometimes people get the biggest kick from making the actual purchase – an adrenalin rush of excitement, but then their interest dwindles – and they move on to the next big thing to get another buzz. There will always be something newer, better, faster, more desirable, more expensive, or with the latest technology. They will never be satisfied and always want more. This also perpetuates a cycle of increased spending. The richer you pretend to be, the more expenditure you make – and as soon as money comes in, it goes out. Money spent in this way doesn’t generate more – it disappears – losing its value, its energy gone. In fact, money spent on unessential luxuries is money wasted.

So what is wealth? I define wealth as not having to work but choosing to. Having accumulated sufficient assets that generate enough income to sustain your lifestyle and that of future generations. When we look at the mindset of those who have achieved wealth, their focus is solely on that of investment. They concentrate on accumulating rather than spending. Where focus goes, energy flows so the attainment of wealth is simply moving towards developing the correct attitudes and perspective. We should be asking ourselves: ‘How can I invest?’, as opposed to, ‘How can I spend? Questioning: ‘What return will gain over 12 months?’, rather than: ‘If I keep the receipt can return in 1 month’. The first step to wealth creation is just a simple change of attitudes towards money and becoming conscious of how we choose to distribute it.

I’m not recommending penny-pinching and I’m not even suggesting you save your cash in high-interest accounts. I’m talking about investing, with a view to gaining even more returns. Look to prioritise your expenditure and to invest in assets that will create more wealth for you, for little work on your part. Whether you choose to do this by investing in stocks, shares, developing a business or buying existing companies, patents, inventions, or rights outright – the choice is yours. Invest for success. Develop your entrepreneurial spirit and look for opportunities to increase your return on investment.

Material goods and possessions – clothes, jewellery, expensive meals, cars – are just the physical trappings of wealth. But it’s an illusion. Those possessions and public demonstrations are often a disguise – the mask that people wear. People hide their true selves behind them as if they are afraid to reveal themselves as they are. Vulnerable. Maybe even unsuccessful. They spend and wear their wealth like armour. It’s only decorative. Their expensive purchases are not the true essence of real wealth and abundance.

You don’t need to only invest in businesses and concepts or products. Invest in people, too – develop your staff and managers, or support business owners and bright sparks who can make things happen and help you to achieve your goals – like wealth creation.

There is more to wealth than money, of course. We can have an abundance of positive feelings, relationships and experiences without having money – and still feel rich. But here, I am talking about increasing our wealth in monetary terms – and achieving financial freedom.

If we can turn our thinking around to spend wisely on investments that will bring us more money, our wealth and future will be assured.

When I see those who dress in designer clothes and spend lavishly, they might look wealthy, but I wonder if they have invested in anything, recently. Anything that will increase their income, over time – growing their wealth.

In order to be truly wealthy, you need to invest in assets that will make money for you. Put your money into projects that will build your earning capacity and optimise your ability to make more money.

Aim to achieve a passive income, so that you are creating wealth, so money flows to you easily, 24/7 – even while you are sleeping, while you’re on holiday, while you are enjoying time with friends.

Seek ways to generate money – but also to regenerate it.


Ryan Jackson is the Founder and CEO of Gemini Parking Solutions, the UK’s only values-based car park management company – Ryan and his team are working to disperse the negative stereotype of the parking industry by promoting fairness, transparency and excellent customer service.

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