What is Wealth?

What is Wealth?

There is an old saying, “Some people are so poor, all they have is money.”

Would you rather be “rich” or “wealthy”?

What’s the difference?

“Rich” is having abundant financial assets; money, real estate, investments, material possessions, etc. 

But what other assets do you possess that you value more than these financial assets? 

In a survey, most people said that they value their family, their health, and their faith more than financial assets. 

Real wealth is so much more than money. None of these are indicators of true wealth; they’re indicators of monetary wealth. True wealth is the ability to live life on your own terms, the freedom it brings to your life.

Being rich and being wealthy seems to be synonymous as both involves having a lot of money. However, there’s a big difference between the two; the main difference between being rich and being wealthy is knowledge. 

Wealthy people know how to make money while rich people only have money.

Income, net worth, and lifestyle are all ways of measuring wealth, but they aren’t the essence of wealth. The real point of wealth is the freedom it can bring you. Wealth means being able to spend your days the way you choose, rather than working to earn more money or worrying about how much you have already.

Even our scriptures teach us to maintain a balance between wealth and family.

During the Mahabharata, before the Great War started, both the Pandavas and Kauravas were given a choice, they were asked to make a choice between Krishna or all his army and resources. 

The Kauravas decided not to choose Krishna and go for the strength and resources of his vast army.

In life, Krishna symbolises family and his army stands for money and wealth.

Today some people prefer to go for the army, i.e. money while sacrificing Krishna, i.e. their family.

Life is all about choices and what you do with those choices. It is up to you to maintain the balance.

Always go for real wealth and have the skill to know the difference.

In the Puranas, it is said Vishnu always attracts wealth. That is why his abode, Vaikuntha, is the land of happiness; it’s a playground or ranga-bhoomi. 

Contrast this with Swarga, the paradise of Indra, king of the Devas, who is constantly fighting asuras. His abode is rana-bhoomi or battleground as he chases Lakshmi and tries to prevent the asuras from taking her away. Let us look at this as an idea – happiness comes when Lakshmi walks our way not when we seek to grab her.

According to the Oxford Dictionary, Wealth is an abundance of valuable possessions or money, the state of being rich; material prosperity, Plentiful supplies of a particular resource or desirable thing.

According to Wikipedia, Wealth is the abundance of valuable financial assets or physical possessions, which can be converted into a form that can be used for transactions. 

Many English words associated with wealth are derived from the Latin words describing Roman gods and goddesses of wealth. According to United Nations Roma Victrix, three Roman wealth Gods named Eventus Bonus, Abundatia and Fortuna share notable similarities to the words bonus, abundance and fortune. 

Wealth is usually a measure of net worth; that is, it is a measure of how much a person has in savings, investments, real estate and cash, less any debts. Wealth measures the value of all the assets of worth owned by a person, community, company or country. 

However, the word wealthy is like the word happy; it means something different to everyone. What is wealth? The definition of wealth is personal. What it really means to be wealthy is entirely up to you.

To some people, wealth is always going to mean moneybut we can’t all be wealthy in that way. There are so many other ways to be wealthy because there are so many definitions of wealth.

Charles Schwab regularly conducts a Modern Wealth Index Survey in the U.S.  According to the results of the 2018 survey, Americans say the things that make them feel wealthiest in their day-to-day lives are having personal free time and spending time with family. When asked to focus on the numbers, respondents said they needed $1.4 million on average to be “comfortable”, or $2.4 million to really be wealthy.

Even if we think of wealth in terms of Rupees or money spent, it’s not that straightforward. 

For some people life’s little luxuries make them feel wealthy; 

If you had to live your life all over again, what would you do more, earn more money or enjoy the little luxuries more.

Remember that Life is like one of those races in nursery school, where you race with a marble in a spoon kept in your mouth. If the marble falls there is no point coming first. It is the same with life, where wealth is the spoon & health and relationships are the marbles. Coming first counts only with the marble still in the spoon. There is no point in just having the spoon at the end of the race.

I remember reading the famous story written by Grace Bluerock, a Nurse who spent six years in hospice care, sitting beside dying men and women listening to their stories, while they made peace with themselves. She noted the biggest regrets that they had and were expressed by them time and again.

Kindly note that earning more money or getting more wealthy was not one of the regrets and not mentioned by any of patients and mind you they did not constitute the wealthy or came from the “Rich” class.

Most people have it all wrong about wealth.

Wealth is not the same as income.

Wealth is what you accumulate, not what you spend.

If you have a good income & spend it all, you are not getting wealthier; you are just living a high life.

Wealth is the result of a lifestyle of hard work, perseverance, planning & self-discipline.

Wealth may mean different things at different stages in your life. 

Before you chase wealth, define what wealthy means to you. Being wealthy does not have to revolve around money; to me, wealth is about being able to do what I enjoy for a living and without worrying about having enough money. To others, it might mean owning property or amassing a million dollars.

I remember reading somewhere, “A car is not a symbol of success or wealth & walking doesn’t mean poverty.”

In my youth, some of my friends and neighbours exhibited a lavish lifestyle; Big bungalows and summer houses, High-end cars, branded attire and frequent holidays. In my naivety, I assumed that that was how rich people lived. 

Without recognising the value-eroding nature of the apparently outward stamps of wealth, I judged their wealth status based on the number of depreciating assets they owned. 

It was only much later that I realised that it was far from the truth. What I had failed to realise was that such an ostentatious lifestyle was the result of countless consumed paychecks and such individuals were the victims of instant pleasurable moments, rather than delayed gratifications. 

As I grew in age, after many a costly mistake, that I began to understand the genuine meaning of wealth. 

Wealth is the portion of paycheck that we put to work or invest every month. 

Wealth is the money that we deploy to earn more money for us.

Wealth is the financial or physical asset that we accumulate to achieve financial independence. 

Wealth is something that pays your own pocket, not your lender. 

And last, but certainly not the least, wealth is not a depreciating asset that we love to flaunt on social media. 

Wealth is what you don’t see. It’s the bigger bungalow not bought, cars not purchased, the diamonds not gifted, the exotic holidays foregone; the upgrades declined, the renovations postponed, the brands not bought. 

Wealth is the assets in the bank that haven’t yet been converted into the depreciating assets. 

We are under no circumstances, advocating that you should not enjoy life or live the life of a miser but are just saying that please don’t do it at the cost of compromising on your future goals. The present gratification can wait, but your child’s education or your retirement will not wait and the cost of not meeting those goals will be far higher than the pleasure of current gratification.

Stop competing with the Joneses, create a passive income source and let that income pay for all the luxuries that you want; till then focus on your goals and invest for them.

Create wealth, so that you no longer have any money worries now or in the future, Do it so that you can follow your passion and do what your heart desires, do it so that you can do more meaningful things in your life.

Consult your financial advisor today and create “Real” Wealth.

Happy Investing!

Stay Blessed Forever

Sandeep Sahni

Read our other Blogs on the subject

https://www.sahayakassociates.in/resources/our-blog/2553-sahayak-associates/sahayak-associates-blog/8432-money-is-a-means-not-an-end
https://www.sahayakassociates.in/resources/our-blog/2553-sahayak-associates/sahayak-associates-blog/8172-is-money-really-important
https://www.sahayakassociates.in/resources/our-blog/2553-sahayak-associates/sahayak-associates-blog/8166-wealth-is-evil

Note: All information provided in this blog is for educational purposes only and does not constitute any professional advise or service. Readers are requested to consult a financial advisor before investing as investments are subject to Market Risks.About The author

Sandeep Sahni

Sandeep is an alum of IIM Lucknow with a Post Graduate Degree (MBA class of 1988). His also an alum of Shri Ram College of Commerce, Delhi University (B.Com. Hons. Class of 1985.)

Sandeep’s investing experience and study of the Financial Markets spans over 30 years. He is based in Chandigarh and has been advising more than 500 clients across the globe on Financial Planning and Wealth Management.

He has promoted “Sahayak Gurukul” which is an attempt to share thoughts and knowledge on aspects related to Personal Finance and Wealth Management. Sahayak Gurukul provides financial insights into the markets, economy and Investments. Whether you are new to the personal finance domain or a professional looking to make your money work for you, the Sahayak Gurukul blogs and workshops are curated to demystify investing, simplify complex personal finance topics and help investors make better decisions about their money.

Alongside, Sandeep conducts regular Investor Awareness Programs and workshops for Training of Mutual Fund Distributors, and workshops and seminars on Financial Planning for Corporate groups, Teachers, Doctors and Other professionals. 

Through his interactions and workshops, Sandeep works towards breaking the myths and illusions about money and finance.

He also writes a well read blog; 

https://sahayakgurukul.blogspot.com
https://www.sahayakassociates.in/resources/our-blog

He has also conducted presentations, workshops and guest lectures atManagement institutes for students on Financial Planning and Wealth Creation.

He can be reached at:

+91-9888220088, 9814112988

sandeepsahni@sahayakassociates.com 

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