The Importance of Being Wealthy Versus Being Rich

There’s a difference! Often when we hear ‘wealth’ we think that person has a lot of money. Money, really, is just the ability to purchase things. That’s nice, but as they say, money doesn’t buy happiness. We’ve all had times where we were so excited to purchase that shiny new thing and an hour later we felt remorse about buying it.

Money is really the things we exchange for other things, like bartering, except that money has an agreed-upon value. Money makes it easier to transact. The cash in your pocket is currency, a type of money. While your bank statement shows how much money you have, it is not currency, it is money. If you have a lot of it, you could be considered to be rich. Good for you.

Search the list of richest individuals in the world today. Or don’t – I did it for you. How many of those people on that list do you admire? How many have a great family? How many are happy? To be clear – some of them on the list have those things – but many don’t. They are rich. So rich, that the numbers become meaningless. They can purchase nearly anything, but something always eludes them. Clearly, one can have a great family and happiness, and still be rich and on this list. But, being rich alone doesn’t give one those things.

Wealth, on the other hand, is less tangible. It is an abundance of those things that make one happy. That person who runs his own business and makes enough to buy a great house and a boat might be wealthy. But, the person who works at an office and comes home at 5 every day and spends time with his family, but can’t afford a boat might still be wealthy. Wealth is about the mindset of the person. It’s about being content with one’s place in life. It doesn’t mean not striving to make one’s self better, just that the betterment is not the constant fight. If one is constantly fighting, one certainly cannot be happy in their current state, and they cannot be wealthy.

Once wealth is achieved, riches are easy to follow. Riches shouldn’t be the goal, but rather a happy side effect. If one doesn’t have wealth, they will find it harder to become rich. They might do unethical things to get there. They might be a bad person in their interactions with others. They might put others down to climb ahead. They might put themselves first above their family, friends, and community. They might even get on that Forbes list, but most don’t. Most fail and we never hear about them.

Wealth is a mindset that you can achieve right now. Wealth comes from balance in our lives. It comes from spending time with family and spending time at work. It comes from balance of expenses and income and is not about excesses. It is about giving back to others – not of repayment – but of a true desire to help. It’s about working for the future, but being satisfied with the present. That’s true wealth, and it has nothing to do with riches. Strive for wealth. Achieve that and you’ll have no need for riches.

Dr. Equity