What is Wealth?

By David S. Chang

What is Wealth

When I invested in my first stock at 14, wealth to me was making as much money as I possibly could. Since then, and being in the finance industry for two decades, the most important thing I have learned about wealth is that no amount of money will ever make you feel wealthy.

While many equate Wealth to mean Financial Independence, there is actually a big difference between the two. To be financially independent is to be financially free, where you have met your financial center of mass and the interest or income is enough to maintain your standard of living without having to work. 

If you do work, it is because you want to, not because you have to. To be financially independent means you have to hit your number that you need to have saved and invested. However it doesn’t necessarily mean you are wealthy. Wealth actually has little to do with finances and an actual dollar amount.

It has everything to do with our mindset and money mentality. What do I mean? I know millionaires who have more than enough money but are unhappy and rarely experience true wealth. I know others who aren’t financially independent but are some of the happiest people I know. In many respects, the people with less money are wealthier. How is that possible?

Experiencing true wealth is coming from a place of abundance, to be truly alive and content. The secret to true wealth is gratitude. It is where you are no longer worried about anything else except enjoying life to its fullest and sharing what you have with others. When you redefine wealth in this manner, you realize that you are as wealthy as you make yourself out to be, regardless of how much money is in your bank account.

Whereas being financially independent is an external monetary amount, being wealthy is internal and psychological. If you have all the money in the world but don’t feel content or grateful, then you aren’t wealthy. That is why “There is no amount of money in the world that can make you feel wealthy.”   

So many people strive to be wealthy but don’t realize that they already are! Being wealthy means to have the right, SMART mindset. It is one where you have cultivate and develop. If you keep score in life purely by dollars, then you don’t have the right mindset. You will never be happy and always want more. That is our human nature!

Once wise person jokingly asked, “Would you rather have 14 wives or $10 million dollars?” Of course we would initially reply with the $10 million. But his reply was no, you would want the 14 wives “because then you know you have enough!” Financial Independence gives you the chance to do what you want, wealth gives you the chance to enjoy them. 

Having both wealth and financial independence gives you greater contentment, greater freedom, greater sense of abundance, and the ability to do what you want, when you want, and with whom you want. It gives you the life that you deserve! Wealth is much deeper than finances, which is why regardless of your finances, you can CHOOSE to be wealthy now and enjoy its benefits!

Wealth is more than just a number or the investments you have. It is about finding the different types of wealth in what I call your “Inner and Outer Stable Tables.” Each leg of the table is a type of wealth that needs to be cultivated and invested in! People who experience true wealth have the SMART view and balance on:

Inner Stable Table:

  • Spiritual WealthKnowing your true meaning and purpose in life. Knowing your why in life. Do you have true meaning and purpose in your life?
  • Physical Wealth – Being healthy and having the wellness for optimal energy to perform any tasks at your maximum peak. Do you have the optimal level of health, energy, and wellness? 
  • Emotional Wealth – Having the resiliency to overcome and eliminate negative emotions and to find the best in any situation. Are you emotionally satisfied and living a life of passion?
  • Mental Wealth – Knowledge, expertise, skills, abilities, and experience to accomplish what you put your mind to. Are you mentally stimulated and feel you are making a difference?

Inner Stable Table

Outer Stable Table:

  • Professional Wealth – Being in a profession that you love to be in, are passionate about, are making a difference, and are fulfilled. Are you fulfilled in your job and enjoy what you are doing?
  • Social/Relational Wealth – Having people you love and people who love you. Relationships that you care about. Do you have strong bonds and love with family, friends and associates?
  • Environment Wealth – Living in an area that you love and being in a location surrounded by what you want and need. Are you living in a place where you are happy, peaceful and have the time to do what you want?
  • Financial Wealth – Having the money and resources to maintain your standard of living without having to work. Lastly, do you have financial peace of mind and live to work, not work to live?

Outer Stable Table

In addition to these types of wealth, there is

  • Time Wealth – Time to experience what you want and accomplish!
  • Charitable Wealth – Giving back to the community and adding value to people’s lives

Once we understand that true wealth is defined by our “stable tables,” we are no longer trying to get beyond scarcity, we are already starting beyond it! Review the types of wealth above and list all the things you can be grateful for. By associating all the things you have gratitude for, you put yourself in a different emotional and psychological state (the SMART Mindset!).

From this state you can discover your true personal sense of wealth and abundance. This is important because you are not relying on anyone else to define wealth for you. Instead of focusing on what you don’t have or what you can’t control, focus on what you do have and what you can control. We will find that many of us have the types of wealth above that we take for granted. 

Now that we know wealth is much more than money and finances, take the time to reassess and redefine what wealth means to you! How wealthy are you on each of the items above? What can you improve upon? Are you where you want to be? Are you content in life? Are you adding value to people’s lives? What are the things you are grateful for today?

Once you understand what the proper definition of wealth is, then success is no longer pegged to a dollar amount, but pegged to things you can directly control. By being balanced and hitting your targets of each of the wealth items above, you can live the life of true riches, contentment, and abundance!

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David S. Chang

Award-Winning Entrepreneur, Wealth Manager and CEO | Chief Editor, Author, Keynote Speaker, Consultant ArtofThinkingSmart.com | Political Consultant | Army Officer National Guard | Living To Fulfill Needs, Solve Problems, and Live Passionately!

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