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
In 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