What is Wealth?

I always knew I was going to be rich. I don't think I ever doubted it for a minute.

-Warren Buffett

Is the key to happiness wealth?

Or is the key to wealth happiness?

And what, truly, is wealth?

Every good discussion starts with an interesting question. I have found in life that the key to learning is to have a question. Without a question, your mind is like a locked box. The question is the key that opens the world of possibilities. And once your mind is open, you will be amazed at "all the thinks you can think!"

These articles will range from the pragmatic how-to tips & tricks, to hard-nosed scientific research results, to the fanciful, to the metaphysical. Occasionally, I may even get silly. But ultimately, my goal is to help others in their pursuit of a better life. To maximize what you get out of life, you need to maximize your health and wealth. So let's start with wealth, a subject near and dear to many hearts.

What is wealth?

Is it economic, having lots of money?

Is it material, having lots of stuff?

Is it power, the ability to have others do your will?

Is it emotional, being loved by many?

Is it spiritual, having a close relationship with God or your higher power?

Is it a state of abundance, where you simply have more?

Most people think of wealth in terms of their paycheck. And most people do not count themselves among the wealthy. A paycheck is, after all, trading hours for money and there are only so many hours in each day. Each hour you spend working is an hour you don't spend doing something else. In wealth management terms, there is an "opportunity cost" to going to work each day. You lose out on the opportunity to do something better. A future article will talk about ways out, practical ways to improve your income starting today.

My dictionary also defines wealth as "A large aggregate of real and personal property." To me, this means "lots of stuff." Is wealth about how big your house is, or what car you drive, or the new stereo or computer or other fun piece of consumer electronics you just bought? Or might your stuff be actually getting in the way of your ability to develop true wealth? On another day we'll talk about the difference between stuff and wealth-building tools.

In days gone by, being wealthy meant you could own other people, as servants or slaves. Today, many people think being wealthy means you don't have to care about "the little people." Only your needs matter. But a future post will explain a seeming paradox: In order to lead, you must serve.

An older definition of the word wealth means well-being. Is it enough to be loved? Do material things matter at all if people care about you? Or is money a way to buy the love you need? Its no secret that the most popular guy at the bar is the one who bought the last round. But on the other hand, Mother's Day cards are the best selling special occasion cards. Yet without wealth, even the most loving mother cannot meet the physical needs of those who depend on her. We'll talk a bit about the thought that "Money can't buy me love" but why even today "Diamonds are a girl's best friend."

While most people think of wealth in material terms, there are those special people who shine with the light of spiritual wealth. Some think a rich man has as much chance of entering heaven as a camel's chance of fitting through the eye of a needle. But with God, all things are possible. Spiritual wealth may require a vow of poverty for some, but if service is truly God's love manifested, perhaps wealth is a measure of one man's ability to serve others. Warning - if you are offended by this sort of talk, be sure you skip that article!

In its purest sense, wealth is about abundance. We will have many happy hours talking about how you can change from a person of limited means, to a person of abundant means.