If you asked 100 people, “what is wealth?” you most likely would receive 100 different answers. Surely, a common theme would be something around finances, and how much money is in the bank, but there is no specific number that defines wealth; so, what is wealth really? The idea of wealth has been around since the beginning of the human experience. By breaking down the idea of wealth we can see it is fluid, and unique for every individual.
What does it literally mean?
The root word comes from the Old English, “weal” which meant welfare, or wellbeing. Eventually, weal was coupled with health to transform into the word wealth and went on to mean an abundance or fortune of wellbeing connected towards resources. Just as health is considered the maximization of our physical state, wealth is the maximization of our financial state. The current definition is not far off, Oxford describes it as, “an abundance of valuable possessions or money.”
What does it culturally mean?
If the above question were changed towards, “what is an indicator of wealth?” many people would have likely responded with luxury cars, large bank accounts, and big homes. Yet, this is a very relative and cultural interpretation. For some people wealth looks like clean water and warm meals, while to others it means generational power and success. Different backgrounds and perspectives generate different ideas of wealth. Being “wealthy” ultimately is achieved when financial resources satisfy individual ambition, which is shaped and defined by internal and external influences. Viewing wealth through the cultural context sheds light on what wealth means to yourself, and others. It is important to work towards creating wealth that is meaningful definition to you, and not just a manifestation of how wealth is defined in our culture.
What does it personally mean?
This question cannot be answered by anyone other than yourself. Try to envision the number at which you believe you would consider yourself wealthy. That figure is most likely a shallow interpretation of the view on wealth. Now envision the lifestyle and ambition that would accomplish a satisfying life. That image is most likely a better representation. To replicate the most accurate picture of what wealth means to you, take a deep dive into what matters most to you. What do you value? How have your experiences in life shaped you? Understanding yourself better will sharpen your idea about personal wealth.
Being wealthy, ultimately, is being able to utilize financial resources and prosperity to achieve your long-term goals and dreams, however that is defined for you. And here at Burkholder Wealth Management, we specialize in building and preserving that wealth. We understand wealth comes with responsibility and must be appropriately handled. We are here to help, after all, we are wealth managers!