Opinion: Wealth is not about money and possessions

I was prompted to write this post a few weeks back when I was talking to Alex about our financial plan and we got to talking about what we considered being “wealthy” was. Funny enough what Alex consider’s wealthy and what I consider wealthy varied but also had some distinct similarities.

So, here is my question…is wealth subjective, objective or both?

As I sit here and write this post, I can’t help but remember that time Kanye West admitted how deeply in debt he was or the six times Donald Trump filed business bankruptcies. I mean when we think about people like Kanye West and Donald Trump we think of wealth, lavish lifestyles and money dripping from the kitchen sink. So, how do two seemingly wealthy people get into bigly amounts of debt?

There’s no simple answer for that; there are plenty that will say “in order to make money you have to spend money” and those that say “people like Kanye put on a facade and spend on ridiculous things that get them into debt.” These statements may be true, but I think it might go deeper than this.

Believe it or not, your perception about wealth, affluence, social status and money can either help you or hinder you on your financial journey. Most people will compare their finances to their friends, I know I’ve been guilty of the “oh I saw so-and-so got a new Mercedes Benz, she must be doing really well. I wonder how much more she makes than me?” But, there are so many things wrong with that mentality, the first being envy is such an ugly trait and secondly, wealth cannot be measured in such material things. If you perceive cars, houses, boats, shoes, purses, and anything you can think of as wealthy, then I’d encourage you to change your perspective.

Look at money differently, look at it as a tool to help you live a comfortable life, a stress-free life, a happy and healthy life. Just because people own fancy things, doesn’t mean they have all the above. Having financial stability isn’t a competition, its a personal journey.

For me personally, wealth is subjective, financial freedom is objective.

Wealth is something that gets thrown around A LOT. Lifestyle of the rich and famous, spending thousands on purses and shoes, buying houses on the beach. So, what makes wealth subjective to me?

I think it’s more than the objective fact of what’s in my bank account and the overall concept of money and possessions. I think of my health and the health of my loved ones. I think of my friends and the joy they bring me. I think of my faith and my spiritual growth. I think of my career and the difference I’m making in my community. These things make me feel wealthy and this feeling is beyond my personal net worth. Can I go and buy a yacht tomorrow, hell no! Do I have Kim K’s bank account, LOL! But what I can do tomorrow is enjoy the day with the people I love and have a positive attitude towards my life and the financial circumstance I am in.

Now, the objective part of wealth is what I consider to be financial freedom and this is a different story all together. You have money in savings, you can pay your bills, you have discretionary income, you’re debt free, and have a plan for retirement! Sure, you may not drive a Rolls and live on Star Island. However, if these are some of your life goals keep at ’em!

Financial freedom is objective because it’s measurable. Like I said above, money in a savings account, bills paid, vacation money, working towards your financial goals, if you can measure these milestones you’re on a journey towards financial freedom. No one can argue your financial freedom because it’s written in black and white when you look at you assets, liabilities, and cash flow. Work towards this tangible goal of living a life that makes money work for you, not the other way around.

I think we all need to take a pause and appreciate our financial journey and realize that whether or not people think you’re wealthy or not shouldn’t matter. What matters is that every day when you wake up you make the conscious decision to be a little wiser with the hard earned money you have.

Sitting here and thinking Cardi B is so wealthy and I want to be just like her can fog your path towards financial freedom. Don’t sit and think what these celebrities have, instead think about becoming financial free, knowing that setting your bills to autopay won’t overdraft your bank account, or that you have enough in an emergency fund to cover 3-6 months of expenses. Being wealthy with thousands of debts is just another headache, but living below your means and enjoying every single day and having your finances in order, now that’s what I call financial freedom.

My goal with this post is to put it out there into the universe that your financial journey is your own, no one else’s and your end goal should be financial freedom, not just wealth. Don’t compare your journey with those you see on TV and Instagram, don’t sit there and think they have it better than you do because you never know what’s behind that Bentley.

Work towards your own goals, try to achieve that financial freedom and I can guarantee you when your perspective on money changes, your perspective on happiness changes too.

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