How Do You Measure Wealth? Part 1

How Do You Measure Wealth? Part 1

by Bill High

Have you noticed how much billionaires have been in the news lately?

It’s a bit fascinating to me how some of them use their money. Some of the Russian oligarchs, for instance, have large real estate holdings in the United States—a $42.5 million dollar apartment in New York, or four floors (worth $42 million) of a seven-story mansion, or a $600 million dollar yacht.

In a December 21, 2021 article “The world’s billionaires: where they live and how they spend their wealth” Ned Quekett, writing for The Drum, notes that there are nearly 3,000 billionaires in the world today. Those billionaires can usually allow themselves to spend $80 million a year on things like private jets, homes, remote islands, cars, art, yachts, and yes, even trips to space.

Those numbers are far beyond most people’s reality. Hearing them, what kind of response do they bring to you? Envy? Incredulity? Or perhaps irrelevance?

I suppose if we measure wealth by financial means, we might view ourselves as bare skeletons by comparison. Or if we measure our wealth by the experience some opulence might afford, we might see ourselves as somewhat deprived.

But what if we measured wealth by …

  • the satisfaction of reading a good book
  • perhaps even better, a child or grandchild snuggled in your lap listening to you read a good story
  • a regular evening walk with your spouse recounting the events of the day
  • the skill in drawing out a hurting co-worker to tell their story
  • a smile to the grocery clerk, or having the server tell you their story
  • leaving an extra tip

Perhaps if we measured wealth by these things, we’d smile knowingly at all this billionaire talk. For true wealth cannot, and will not, ever be decided merely by the financial assets on your balance sheet.

Join me, would you, and list some of the ways you define wealth.

In fact, let’s grow this list, mark it, and share it as good news in a world wanting more!



Photo by Xavier Mouton on Unsplash.

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Published June 6, 2022

Topics: Lessons with Bill

American ValuesCulture CommentaryLessons with Bill

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