Wealth: It’s All Relative

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Thu, Oct 1 - 12:01 pm EDT | 5 years ago by
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We tend to wince when we hear about a lose of billions of dollars. But it’s all relative. Consider: CNN Money reported this morning that the super rich have lost $300 billion. We cringe at the thought. That’s a lot of money. But the impact of the loss is relative. Bill Gates might have lost $7 billion in net worth, but he’s still worth $50 billion. I’ll bet losing that $7 billion affected Bill Gates a lot less than it would affect me to lose $10,000 this year.

“Rich” is relative

BillgatesIn the end, whether or not someone is rich is relative. Rich compared to what? Compared to your neighbor? Compared to what you think your life should be? And, of course, there are many different versions rich. Rich in love? Rich in lifestyle? Wealth, for some people, is about more than money. The key, though, is to figure out your idea of wealth and find what makes you happy. I’ve been thinking about this a lot since reading about wealth and generosity at Bible Money Matters and on being happy at Get Rich Slowly.

For some people, collecting material things and having status is a source of pleasure. For others, being surrounded by loved ones brings happiness. Others like to head out and find adventure. In the end, you have to decide what you want to define you. I like to live my version of comfort, donate to causes I think will do good, travel a bit, and have enough money so that I can do these things without going into debt. I know that money alone isn’t going to bring me happiness, but it sure is a great tool for doing some of the things I like and enhancing my lifestyle in small ways.

What makes you happy? And are you “rich” enough to afford it?

Image source: U.S. government via Wikimedia Commons

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  • http://www.blog.budgetpulse.com Craig

    Agree, it’s all subjective especially to the person and situation. But the average person has a basic idea of what wealth is to them and what monetary value that wealth needs to be for them to feel safe.

  • http://www.happiness-after-midlife.com Dr. Frank Bonkowski

    For me it’s not about money at all. I relate to the thinking of the Dalai Lama who proposes that our happiness is based on mental peace or inner tranquility. To arrive at that state we need to express or develop love and compassion for others, especially our enemies. In fact, they are our greatest teachers. Tolerance and patience should be our friends; hatred and anger are our real foes. Genuine sympathy, universal altruism, caring and responsibility are ways of being that can transform our lives. For more on happiness, check out http://www.happiness-after-midlife.com/e-book.html.

  • http://thebizoflife.blogspot.com/ The Biz of Life

    Joe Heller

    True story, Word of Honor:
    Joseph Heller, an important and funny writer
    now dead,
    and I were at a party given by a billionaire
    on Shelter Island.

    I said, “Joe, how does it make you feel
    to know that our host only yesterday
    may have made more money
    than your novel ‘Catch-22′
    has earned in its entire history?”
    And Joe said, “I’ve got something he can never have.”
    And I said, “What on earth could that be, Joe?”
    And Joe said, “The knowledge that I’ve got enough.”
    Not bad! Rest in peace!”

    –Kurt Vonnegut

    Used by Bogel in his book entitled Enough. It’s all about peace of mind and integrity.

  • http://link Settor41

    Care and compas- sion have to be number one. ,

  • Miranda Marquit

    You’re right, of course. You need to determine your own financial goals, and decide on your own definition of success. Then figure out what you need to do to reach your own level of success. It’s when we start trying to live by others’ definitions that we run into serious trouble.

  • Miranda Marquit

    You make a great point. Money does not have to be our main motivating factor.