How Do You Define 'Wealth' for Yourself?

November 21, 2017

Investopedia defines “wealth” as the following:

Wealth measures the value of all the assets of worth owned by a person, community, company, or country. Wealth is determined by taking the total market value of all physical and intangible assets owned, then subtracting all debts. Essentially, wealth is the accumulation of resources.

Definitions that are traditionally tied to financial wealth—such as the one above—are what most of us might use as a guide to define our own wealth. You may ask yourself, “Do I have enough?” while someone else might ask him or herself, “How can I get more?” while still others may never consider wealth in the context of their finances in the first place—it’s just not in line with their values. 

In the definition above, one phrase catches our eye: intangible assets. If intangible assets are viewed as a resource, how do we go about measuring them? Intangible assets are those resources of ours that aren’t physical: we can’t touch them, we can’t put them on a shelf, we can’t show them off to our friends or coworkers. In addition, what any of us individually views as an intangible asset might be much different than what someone else does.  

During the holiday season, it’s easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle and worry about financial resources. Do I have enough to get my boo the MUST HAVE tech gadget of the year? Will people be disappointed if I forego my usual level of gift-giving this year? Do I owe Uncle Bob/Aunt June/Cousin Cindy/Coworker Jim a present since he or she got me something? These are all valid questions, and there aren’t any right or wrong, black or white kind of answers.

It’s also the time of year when there’s a lot of external pressure to “show off”—whether that’s throwing the ultimate friendsgiving shindig, or donning the cutest sparkly dress to your office’s holiday party. These situations can cause a lot of stress, especially if finances are tight or you’re dealing with some unrelated issues as well.

So how do YOU define wealth? It’s a difficult question that, by our estimation, will have answers that vary from person to person. But with Thanksgiving coming up later this week, it might be as good a time as any to sit down and have a heart-to-heart with yourself. What are your values? Does what you consider wealth bring you peace or stress? Do you find that expressing gratitude brings you even more wealth?

What makes you feel wealthy? Leave a comment about your personal views toward wealth, and what it means to you to have enough.