What net worth would you consider a person to be wealthy? What monthly cash flow would you consider a person wealthy?
Webster’s says wealth is “abundance of valuable material possessions or resources”.
NSC says wealth is a state of mind! Or at least it is once you get beyond the 1st level of Maslow’s hierarchy (basically physical needs). Studies have shown that in America, once you get beyond about $60K a year (more in Manhattan, less in the Heartland) additional income adds very little to one’s sense of satisfaction with life. Or to quote Abraham Lincoln, “Most folks are about as happy as they make up their mind to be.”
Victor Frankel in Man’s Search for Meaning said “The purpose of life is not a question we get to ask of life but one life asks of us.” So to paraphrase Victor, the definition of wealth is one I get to ask you, not one you can ask of others i.e. enough monthly cash flow is whatever is enough to sustain the lifestyle you’ve chosen. Enough net worth is whatever makes that cash flow reasonably secure. “Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen six, result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pound ought and six, result misery.” – Charles Dickens, David Copperfield, 1849
That said, the pursuit of mammon, the false god of riches, purely for its own sake, is spiritually dangerous, a slippery slope. “For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?” – Mark 8:36 (KJV). Furthermore, it’s the journey that brings us satisfaction, not the destination. “The moment of victory is too fleeting to live for that alone.” – Martina Navratilova
Security from external things is often an Illusion; the world is ever changing and one’s true security, one’s true wealth is always internal and lies in your abilities, your skills, the emotional anchorage/harbor you’ve created inside you, your self-esteem, your basic personal strength. I’ve faced 3 or 4 MAJOR crises in my business life; and that at least at the time it seemed possible to lose everything. Over time, I’ve come to accept that this is just life, that I’ve chosen to live a different life and with it comes risk and that while there are no guarantees, I am a competent captain and odds are that I will be able to weather the storms of life and if not, well, I’ll find a way to deal with that outcome as well.
“The only real security that a man can have in this world is a reserve of knowledge, experience and ability.” – Henry Ford, 1863-1947
“Ordinary riches can be stolen, real riches cannot. In your soul are infinitely precious things that cannot be taken from you.” – Oscar Wilde, 1854-1900
“Wealth is the ability to fully experience life.” – Henry David Thoreau, 1817-1862
“Being rich is having money; being wealthy is having time.” – Margaret Wander Bonanno, b. 1950, scifi/ghost writer, small press publisher
“There are one hundred men seeking security to one able man who is willing to risk his fortune.” – Jean Paul Getty, 1892-1976, founder Getty Oil, named richest living American by Fortune magazine in 1957
As always, I share what I most want/need to learn. – Nathan S. Collier