Jan 11

What is Wealth?

Some are born with it. Some achieve it. Some will never experience it. Some just don’t get it. It was many years ago that I began to study the fundamentals of wealth creation. Some people have it and some people do not. The people that had it seemed to have much more fun than the people that did not! As I examined more closely, the wealthy seemed to live a more fulfilling life – and this fact was the driving factor in my personal quest to get it. I wanted a more fulfilling life.

What do you think of when you read the word wealth? Most likely, the first thoughts that pop into your mind are all the things that you can buy. Perhaps a 60-inch LCD television with remote control that can launch a rocket as well as turn on the fireplace is your dream? Or maybe a yacht moored out in the pristine blue water of a Mediterranean bay (complete with wait staff of course)? Or even a shoe closet bigger than your college apartment stocked with the finest shoes hot off the New York runways. All these things are fine and would be really cool to have, but there is a danger in this type of thinking.

Motorboat photo by Maxine Simpson via Flickr Creative Commons

Wealth is a subjective. When are you really wealthy? I recall watching an interview with a hedge fund tycoon that talked about his yearly income which was in the billions. Yes, you read income not wealth or net worth.  This guy admittedly could buy anything in the world and couldn’t spend his money in ten lifetimes. This is an extreme case to show you the sliding scale of wealth we are dealing with. Many people consider themselves wealthy if they can merely control their own life and make decisions on what to do with their money – in other words, they don’t have it spent before they make it.

People often mistakenly associate wealth with success. Although wealth may be a result of successful planning or even achieving one’s goals, it is impossible to measure success by the amount of wealth a person has accumulated. Like wealth, success is subjective. I am sure you can think of hundreds examples of success being achieved with no creation of wealth. The birth of a baby, the finishing a marathon or graduating with a bachelor’s degree can all be examples of success without the presence of wealth creation. Moreover, a person born into a wealth may project success as they have their driver drop them off at the front curb of their high school. Therefore, success may be achieved with or without wealth and wealth may be achieved with or without success.

When you measure your wealth by the amount of things you have or can have, you end up empty and always craving more. I believe wealth offers freedom and options for your life and should be defined as such. If you didn’t have to go to work what would you do? If you actually had the option to plan out your entire day from scratch, would you go to the beach, play a round of golf or write a novel? My challenge to you is to measure your wealth simply by reflecting on your day. How did you spend your day? Did you do whatever you wanted to? The most important thing wealth will buy you is freedom. What you do with your freedom is up to you.