You May Be Wealthier Than You Realize
When we talk about personal wealth, it’s often through the lens of money.
But financial wealth is personal, not relative, and it’s only one slice of the overall wealth pie.
I probably earned three times more last year than my mom made at her highest yearly earnings ever.
But I earned far less than several of my friends who have created and sold television shows, the ones who are C-Suite Executives, or the ones who have grown their companies to millions in net income.
One set of eyes on my financial situation would say I’m doing quite well. Another set might say, “ooh, she’s got a long way to go.”
Here’s the deal. I’m the one who gets to define my personal wealth. And I base that on more than just money.
It’s important to define not only your financial wealth goals but wealth in all areas of your life; where are you now, and where do you want to be?
So, what else should we consider, Deanna? Well, read on to discover the seven areas of wealth in your life.
Think about your spouses or partners, your children, and grandchildren, your parents and siblings. How wealthy do you feel right now in this area of your life?
Now think ten years down into your future. Suppose you were making the kind of investment decisions of time and energy that would grow your wealth in this area. What would you be experiencing and feeling in your familial relationships?
This is an area where I could easily focus on what I lack. I have two living relatives that I’m aware of – my mom and my brother, and I only have a relationship with one of them. I haven’t seen or spoken to my brother in close to 18 years.
But, here’s what I choose to focus on. I’m grateful for the kind of mother my mom was to me, especially as a young child. There was no doubt she loved me, she made sure all of my needs were met, and I grew up with a strong sense of security when I was very young.
What I would love to create in my future is a loving partnership with someone kind, compassionate, funny, inspiring, attractive to me, and able to hold their own in a deep conversation.
How about you? How do you invest your time and energy into your family? What would you like this to look like in your life investment portfolio?
Friends and Community
Having a solid community of friends and connections is essential for our overall well-being. Think about your current state of friends and the communities in which you’re engaged. Do you feel energized by them? Do you share similar interests and values and appreciate each other’s differences?
Now think ten years into your future. What kind of investments do you need to make if you want to grow wealthier in this area? What types of experiences would you like to create with your friends? How would you like to serve and receive within the communities you belong to?
I feel super-wealthy in this category. I’ve got great friends who I love and appreciate. Some I see pretty regularly, and some are far away. Even with friends I don’t often see, I can feel an energetic shift of warmth and gratitude just by thinking of them.
Are you making investments in this area? Does this feel important to you?
Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “The first wealth is health.” Sadly a lot of us won’t get that until we lose our health. And, indeed, we won’t be able to enjoy any of the other categories of wealth without it.
How do you feel about your health? Do you make it a priority? What kind of investments of time and energy do you make in this category?
Now think ten years into your future. Are you healthier? What do you want to be able to do with your body? Are you hiking, biking, or exercising regularly? Are you fueling your body with good nutritious food? Are you sleeping well? What about your mental health?
Two years ago, I added Health to my list of values. I put it in the number one spot. But it’s only been in the last year that I’ve made specific conscious choices to invest in my health regularly and consistently. The payoffs have been increased energy and vitality – totally worth the investment for me.
How strong is this area in your life investment portfolio?
Personal Growth and Spirituality
How do you relate to yourself? Do you like who you are? Do you, dare I say it, LOVE, who you are? What are you learning about yourself and the world around you? Do you have a connection to something bigger than yourself?
Take yourself ten years into the future. How would you like to have evolved as a human? What are the personal beliefs that sustain you? Who would you like to be in difficult situations or in challenging conversations? What are the character traits you’d like to develop?
I can sometimes over-invest in this area. I’m learning that it’s often quite helpful to push pause on my personal development to ensure I’m taking things in and applying them, not just learning and moving on.
In budgeting language, I’m often over-funded in this area. As a result, I’ve learned to take some of my time and energy and move it to other categories.
What does this area look like for your life investment portfolio? Do you need to strengthen it, or are you like me and need to invest in other places sometimes.
How do you feel about your work? Does it light you up? Do you know that only 20% of Americans feel very passionate about their work?
We spend 30% of our lives working. The environment, our co-workers, leaders, and what we were tasked to do all play important roles in our satisfaction. How wealthy do you feel in this area right now?
You know the drill by now; take yourself into the future ten years. What would you love to be experiencing in your work life? What kind of work are you doing? Who are you doing it with? In what type of environment are you working?
I’ve worked for myself for the last 18 years. It hasn’t always been easy, and sometimes it’s kind of lonely. So I’m looking to invest more fun and playfulness in this area of my life.
What about you? What kind of investment do you want to make in this area of your life?
This quote by Maya Angelou moves me in profound ways – “You have no idea what your legacy will be because your legacy is every life you touch.” This category of wealth is all about the impact you want to have on the world. It doesn’t have to be the whole world, just your part of it.
Are you showing up the way you want in the world? Do you make it a practice to leave people better than when you joined them?
Ten years from now, are you doing anything different? Are you more intentional with your interactions with people?
I still remember Earl, the parking attendant at an underground garage I parked in while working in downtown Portland. Earl rarely saw the sun during the day, and yet he was so intentional with his energy.
He gave everyone the best he had every day. He parked the cars of CEOs and underwriters; it didn’t matter who you were; he was ready with a smile and a gentle way about him that made you feel better coming and going. It was easy to love the human he was.
Earl died a couple of years after I left Portland and moved to Chicago. People PACKED into his funeral. It was standing room only. His legacy was far more incredible than he could even imagine because of who he was and how he showed up in the world.
What about you? What kind of legacy do you want to leave behind? How do you want to be remembered? Are you already wealthy in this area?
Finally, let’s talk about our money. Hopefully, if you’ve made it this far, you can see that wealth is defined in many ways.
And when it comes to finances, it’s all subjective. How much money do you need to feel wealthy? What do you want to do with your money?
Now taking yourself ten years into the future, what’s the mindset you want to have around money? Are you focusing on abundance or what you perceive you lack? Are you saving it or spending it? Do you give generously? Are you a steward of your money?
I grew up witnessing my family struggle with their finances. There were multiple bankruptcies, lots of debt, and no savings. Intergenerational wealth isn’t a thing for me. So the story I picked up was that money is difficult to manage, and you’ll never have enough.
For the most part, I’ve changed my beliefs around money, but I still see it showing up in ways that contribute to my overworking to ensure I have enough and over-saving at times and not letting loose to enjoy the fruits of my labor.
How do you feel about your finances? Do you feel wealthy? Enoughness? What energy do you have around money?
I hope that as you read through these different categories, you realize you may be wealthier than you initially thought or that you know where you’d like to invest your time and energy to increase your wealth.
If you want to spend some time with me on creating stronger, more helpful beliefs around money, join me on Wednesday, June 23rd at 5 p.m. PST at the next Moffitt Talks Live we’re talking Mastering Your Money Mindset. Click here to register. It’s free!