The Four Meanings of Wealth

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I'm excited to announce that my ebook on personal finance, The New Meaning of Rich, has been revised and updated! In fact, I'm so stoked on the new(ish) book that I'm making it free for the next five days, starting on Tuesday, Nov. 1, 2016.

To give you a taste, the following article is a syndicated post written by yours truly on the Pick The Brain platform. It discusses the main principle in the ebook. 

“Our souls are not hungry for fame, comfort, wealth, or power. Our souls are hungry for meaning, for the sense that we have figured out how to live, so that our lives matter so the world will at least be a little bit different for our having passed through it.” – Rabbi Harold Kushner

We live in a world where the true meaning of wealth has been lost.

In years past, a dream of riches was synonymous to Charlie Sheen’s character in Wall Street. Today’s world is one that no longer fits that dream. Greasy-haired stock brokers who grind their way to the top is not the idea of rich anyone believes in anymore. There is a problem, however, in that we lack any other definition of wealth.

We need to change how we think about wealth. We need to redefine what it means to be “rich.” Wealth, defined in this modern age, is a true ownership of your emotions, time, location, and ability to give back. When you follow this definition of wealth, and focus on maximizing each area, the monetary riches follow, 100% of the time, every time.

Traditional Meaning of Wealth

Before we go on, it’s important to define what wealth means in the traditional sense, too. Traditional wealth places high-value on monetary possessions, or “shiny objects.” The faster your car, the bigger your house, and the more lavish your vacations, directly reflects how rich you are, and therefore how much wealth you have.

Using this traditional definition, the more cars you have, the happier you are. But this can’t be, on both an emotional or logical level.

Think about owning cars, which traditionally depicts the idea that money buys happiness. You’ll see that there’s a law of diminishing returns to the amount of happiness you receive from an increasing number of material possessions. How much satisfaction, for example, will you receive from owning three cars vs. two cars?

The first car you own has a massive impact: the new mobility is literally life changing. You can commute to your job, you can meet your friends for fun evenings, and you can go on long drives when you need to clear your mind.

As you add cars to your life, its marginal impact on your life decreases. Therefore, you can see how you receive increasingly less happiness with increasingly more shiny objects:

By car number four, it has such a minimal impact on your life that you barely even feel the effects. By car number 5, you’ve had to focus so much time and energy on building enough wealth to afford it, that it actually decreases your happiness.

And this doesn’t even take into account the hollowness you feel from the emotional fact that you thought all along that car number 5 would be the differentiating factor in your life.

Therefore, our definition of wealth needs to change. Our idea of rich has to be updated in this new age.

The New Meaning of Wealth

Look, I hate to be morbid, but we’re all going to die. No one makes it out of this alive. The quicker you understand your own mortality the quicker you’ll understand the following question: If the ultimate goal of life is happiness, then how should wealth be defined?

True Wealth should be the true ownership of the following four categories of your life: Emotions, Time, Location, and Reciprocation. True riches should be the maximization and fulfillment of each one of these Principles, in the way you see most fit:

1. Emotional Wealth – The accumulation of positive emotions and experiences. Full ownership of your emotional stability means that you are in control of yourself and aren’t affected by outside factors.

2. Time Wealth – The ability to spend your time in the way that provides you with the most personal value. Full ownership of your time means that you decide how to allocate your time in ways that move your life in the direction you want.

3. Location Wealth – The ability to travel – or live – wherever you want, whenever you want. This doesn’t necessarily mean the monetary resources to do this, but rather the time, energy, and career that’ll allow you to do so. Full ownership of your location means you can work, live, and vacation, wherever and whenever you want.

4. Wealth of Reciprocation – The capstone Principle of Wealth. Taking each of the three previous Principles of Wealth, it’s the ability – and desire – to spread the happiness you’ve gained. Full ownership of reciprocation means the unbridled spreading of positive emotions, lifestyle, and happiness.

When you think about wealth as these four Principles, it’s much easier to see how becoming rich actually increases your happiness.

And although each Principle of Wealth should be improved upon in order, they are all connected, and they are all perpetual:

Your Emotional Wealth will allow you to see with clarity, which will give you insight on how to build a life that gives you freedom of time, which will allow you to live and travel wherever you want, which will expand your circle of influence and ability to give back, which will further increase your Emotional Wealth.

When we are able to define and then increase our happiness through this new meaning of Wealth, it will actually allow us to produce money and things, or more importantly, the right amount of the two that’ll make you feel alive and satisfied.

Pursue your passion and happiness and the money will follow. Trust me.

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