Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Wealth Inside Out

Each of us has our own definition of wealth--what it feels like, looks like. We might even be able to describe it in financial terms; i.e. how much money we have, how much we want, how much we need.

Would you be able to describe it? Would your definition include external factors and trappings such as net-worth, number of personal dwellings, ability to fulfill your dreams, have financial security? Would you describe your feelings, attitudes and beliefs about your wealth?

Whenever I've asked individuals, families and/or groups to think about their personal wealth, I've found a common reaction and initial response. Most people of all levels of financial wealth are mystified and a bit perplexed. They really have to think about it. More perplexing is how they feel about it. They often reiterate the question aloud, "How do I feel? Do I feel wealthy? Hmm. That's a very good question. I'll have to think about it."

As an example, having and taking the time to enjoy a favorite hobby; spending relaxing time with family and close friends; finally engaging in a wish-list hobby could be ways that we feel wealthy.

It's obviously a complex issue which requires some contemplation, reflection, soul searching. Yet, the financial industry of which I am familiar, defines wealth in numerical terms for the most part. It's how we've become accustomed to judging our financial advisers; i.e. how much did I make? how are they performing?

Wouldn't it be more meaningful if we could describe how we wanted our money to serve our life's activities and purposes so that we felt wealthy inside and out? For me and the many people I've known, the answer is unanimously "yes".

So let's always think about our wealth holistically and be aware of wealth not only from what it might look like from the outside but how it will serve our very core of what matters most to us in life.

I'd enjoy hearing your ideas and definitions of what "being wealthy" means to you personally.

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