“If we command our wealth, we shall be rich and free. If our wealth commands us, we are poor indeed.” Edmund Burke
Most people think of the word ‘wealth’ in terms of money only but, in my opinion, this is a narrow view of what it means to be wealthy. Wealth consists of every area within our lives such as our health, relationships, finances and time.
I firmly believe that our wealth can be broken down into four distinct areas:
- Money (financial wealth)
- Status (social wealth)
- Freedom (time wealth)
- Health (physical wealth)
Money (financial wealth)
Financial wealth (money) is what we naturally think about when we hear the term ‘wealth.’
What does financial wealth really mean, though?
In my opinion, financial wealth is financial freedom, which is the ability to do more of the things we do like and less of the things we don’t. This is complete freedom from financial worries, which is one of the chief causes of anxiety. If we give ourselves options and choices, we can help rid ourselves of potential stress and anxiety.
Financial wealth consists of understanding complex areas such as investing, spending, and budgeting as well as the need to be more financially savvy and understanding of our behaviours.
Picture yourself in the future where you never have to worry about money ever again. Imagine how that would make you feel, and how that would change your relationship with the world, people around you and your family situation.
Status (social wealth)
Social wealth (status) is one of the most underrated types of wealth that exists because we don’t typically think of status as a form of wealth. We understand that status has value, but we never make the connection that it’s actually a type of wealth.
We have all heard of the phase ‘keeping up with the Joneses’ and our obsession to do this can often lead to our downfall. Taking on too much debt to buy the latest ‘thing’ is very common and can lead to a number of emotional and financial pitfalls.
Social wealth largely comes down to how we interact within the world. Yes, it also deals with luxury cars, houses, and our appearance but it mainly deals with what kind of character we create and how others interact with this character and perceive it.
Freedom (time wealth)
Freedom is defined as having our own time to spend how we want, where we want, with whom we want.
Time is what the majority of us deep down really crave. However, time is something that is rare in the modern day for the majority of us because we spend a lot of our time dedicating ourselves to earning money and building our status.
To fully embrace freedom we all need to make sure we understand that time is finite. It is the one thing that we can not get back and it is definitely not on our side.
Many people I speak to tell me that they are ‘cash rich and time poor’. This is not the position that we want to be in if we want to feel wealthy.
Health (physical wealth)
Our health is the glue that holds all the other types of wealth and our life together. Without our health, we can achieve none of the other types of wealth – at least not in a long-term, sustainable way.
The majority of us fail to understand that health is true wealth. We fail to invest in our bodies and minds and aren’t even aware that this is even a worthy pursuit in terms of achieving all types of wealth.
With the right mindset we can easily enhance our health. Simple changes to our nutrition, sleep and activity levels can have a major impact. If we couple that with understanding more about our body and minds through reading and surrounding ourselves with the right people, it can be a real game changer for our overall sense of wealth.
The trap of the four types of wealth
To be truly wealthy, there is a trap that we must avoid at all costs. It is:
‘Be wary not to get lured into things full of money and status that will rob you of freedom and health.’
This is the major problem that the modern world is plagued with. It is critical to understand that we can easily fall into this trap if we don’t pursue what is meaningful and wise on our journey through life.
The majority of people will chase money and status at the expense of freedom and health. In the long term this can produce nasty consequences.
What good is it if we have all the money and status in the world if we don’t even have the time to enjoy ourselves, or the physical wellbeing to feel good during the process? This trade-off is often made unconsciously as opposed to consciously and there is no good that will come from it.
We all have the ability to achieve all four types of wealth within our lives and only when we do get to this point can we begin to feel the wealth of fulfilment. This occurs when all four types of wealth are at play at the same time and in the right balance. This is the place where we should all strive to be.
Each of these types of wealth requires years of dedication, practice, humility, learning and understanding. It should be viewed as a lifelong process that doesn’t end because there is no final destination.