Richard Branson has a net worth of about $4 billion. He hobnobs with the world’s elite, flies around in a private jet and owns his own island. Yet, he says that’s not the “stuff” that truly makes him happy.
And, at least on social media, he sure does seem happy.
He explained what’s important to him in a recent blog post:
‘I truly believe that “stuff” really does not bring happiness. Family, friends, good health and the satisfaction that comes from making a positive difference are what really matters.’
Branson says he never set out to make a buck, rather he wanted to create things he could be proud of when he started Virgin.
“From founding Student magazine to give young people in the 1960s a voice on issues such as the Vietnam War to creating Virgin Galactic to explore space, we have always tried to do things a little differently and challenge convention,” Branson wrote in his post on Virgin.com.
He shared this picture of him protesting the Vietnam War:
Branson says he passed on that spirit to his kids. “Holly and Sam have also realized that real satisfaction comes from using the fortunate position they find themselves in to try to make a real difference to other people’s lives,” he said.
Branson went into how he learned to not get too attached to material possessions, having seen his houseboat sink, his London home burn and his Necker Island estate get gutted by a lightning strike.
“Fortunately, early on in my life I realized that personal ‘stuff’ really didn’t matter,” he wrote. “Times like these really remind you what is truly important in life.”
Branson’s fortune frees him up to tackle what he sees as some of the major issues facing the world. Through Virgin Unite and other partners, he says he now focuses his attention on human rights, the climate crisis and ocean conservation.
“Investing in solutions to these issues and time with my family makes me happier and more satisfied than monetary investments or ‘stuff’ ever could,” he wrote.