When people think of wealth, they might think of examples in film, such as Veruca Salt from the 1971 classic Charlie & the Chocolate Factory. Little Veruca had everything she wanted in life but desired one of Willy Wonka’s geese that laid golden eggs. When Wonka refused to sell the little girl’s father one of his prized fowls, the girl broke into song about how she wanted everything… and ultimately labeled a “bad egg” and sent down the garbage shoot.
The truth is people don’t always fixate on money and possessions—even those who have plenty of it to support their families for several generations. The meaning of wealth can be different depending on the person. Here are different kinds of wealth that you cannot measure in dollars and cents:
Wealth in relationships is spending quality time with friends and family. It’s devoting time to staying connected through lunches, golf games, and watching over grandchildren. It’s phone calls made just to check-in or walks in the park to discuss triumphs and trials. Building strong relationships contributes to overall well-being, and the efforts you take to stay connected socially pay off immensely. Staying connected through relationships builds a support system to lean on during trying times, especially as you age.1
Wealth for some individuals means being laser-focused on personal growth through education and experiences that help them see the world differently. By gaining knowledge and expertise in intentional ways, they improve their problem-solving, leadership, empathy, and influence.
In a 2018 study by the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, respondents who attended college accumulated much more wealth than those who did not – even if their parents did not attend college at all. Those who did not attend or finish college (but their parents did) suffered downward mobility of -16% income.2
Many individuals identify wealth as having a purpose in life and choosing to help make the world a better place. Perhaps in their younger years, someone helped them overcome a challenge or disability, so they donate funds and volunteer for causes that are personally close to them. Establishing a way to give is a fulfilling way to leave a lasting legacy for these individuals.
How do you define wealth?
Your definition of wealth determines how you plan for the future you envision. Connect with your financial professional to discuss your personal wealth goals. Doing so can help you feel more fulfilled by leaving a legacy that will make you proud.
1 Psychology Today. The Importance of Relationships in Aging. Marisa T. Cohen Ph.D., CPLC. March 1, 2020.
2 Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. Demographics of Wealth, 2018 Series, Essay No. 1. The Financial Returns from College across Generations: Large but Unequal. William R. Emmons, Ana Hernández Kent and Lowell R. Ricketts.
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