What Is Wealth? – Know Your Destination

You already know that no one can give you a guaranteed path or way to wealth, prosperity, and fortune. Hence, I can’t tell you how to get rich right away, either. Instead, you will find thoughts and reflections on how to build and successfully follow your way. So do not expect the philosopher’s stone here! But you can expect thought-provoking ideas and observations that I have made, and that might help you to achieve your goals.

That said, first of all, you have to know that you have to fill the concept of “wealth” with content. This task is the first step of your journey, and it is stressful enough. But it is also an excellent opportunity to think about your life, your targets, and all the things you want to achieve. Therefore this little venture is worthwhile in any case.

The first obstacle that will cross your way is that only a few people are aware of how complicated and complex such a simple term “wealth” could be when you reflect these concepts a little bit more. Four words in which the universe is.

This complexity has to do with the different worlds of people’s perceptions. That is why I want to start with the concept of “wealth” which is the first important parameter in our formula. In particular, I want to address the following topics in more detail (click show to open contents).

1. The Different Perception Of The Same Things

The path to wealth and prosperity certainly exists as an abstract entity. Of course, anyone has a kind of imagination of wealth or prosperity. But, and here comes the twist, everybody understands it as something different, and everybody has another perception of this concept. Try to ask in your environment what exactly would have to happen for the other person to describe him- or herself as wealth.

The reason for this is that “wealth” and “path” are two extremely vague terms. Primarily the word “wealth” is not subject to the laws of nature. For example, the Oxford Learner’s Dictionaries gives the word wealth the attribute (uncountable). Oxford Learner’s Dictionaries simply describes wealth as “the state of being rich”. However, this description is tautological at best because wealth, as well as being rich, is something intangible. It cannot be seized with concepts of mathematics, physics, or chemistry. You can count your money but that means nothing.

Wikipedia, in turn, defines wealth as follows:

Wealth is the abundance of valuable financial assets or physical possessions which can be converted into a form that can be used for transactions.

Every defines wealth or being rich differently. Different people place different hopes, ideas, and wishes into the idea of wealth. Thus, there cannot be a specific path that leads to wealth. Too complicated? Don’t worry; we will go into more detail.

2. The Conception Of Wealth And Prosperity

Remember the picture of the sign on a chest with the word wealth on it? Many people could reach into the chest and take a piece of its contents. Still, we’d probably have all kinds of different things, even if everyone says at the end that the sign told the truth.

For some people, wealth is already achieved when they are healthy and have enough to eat every day for themselves and their families. This is undoubtedly the simplest definition, but it is legitimate and, at the same time, extremely modest. This attitude is aptly expressed by the following proverb:

A healthy person has a thousand wishes, a sick person, only one!

Someone who says something like this may have his reasons for referring wealth to a state in which he can simply satisfy his or her basic needs. It may speak from it a lot of life experience, and the knowledge that much that seemed safe one day can break away in another. So we are already wealthy when we have satisfied our primary needs? Well, as I said before, this would be a very modest attitude, but it is very likely to apply to very few people.

2.1. The satisfaction Of Needs

But does wealth have anything to do with the satisfaction of needs?

Of course, you know Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. According to his model, the needs of humans are arranged in the same way as the levels of a pyramid. In order to reach the second level, people must first climb the first level/satisfied the needs on the first level, etc. Let us take a brief look at the structure of the individual levels:

  1. Physiological needs water, food, sleep, clothing
  2. Safety needs personal security, resources, healthy, property
  3. Love and belonging friendship, sense of connection, family
  4. Esteem status, self-esteem, recognition, freedom
  5. Self-actualization morality, problem-solving, the best version of oneself

It almost seems that Maslow did not see wealth or becoming wealthy as a need that must be satisfied. Instead, it appears that the issue of wealth plays a role at all levels. Those who have achieved wealth are more likely to be able to meet their primary needs and are generally (whether justified or not) more respected within society.

2.2. Wealth Is A Tool, Nothing More

So how can we describe wealth? So far, we have not been able to find a halfway useful concretization of this abstract concept that everyone has. But the above was quite helpful. We now know that achieving wealth is not a need that is necessary to satisfy a newer need.

2.2.1. How The Satisfaction Of Needs Is Nevertheless A Crucial Point, But Only Elsewhere

Nevertheless, when we ask people whether they want to be wealthy or more wealthy than they are now, very few will deny. But why, if it does not go hand in hand with the satisfaction of a need? I think that is quite simple because wealth allows needs to be satisfied indirectly at all levels of hierarchy. To put it short, money does not make you happy, but you can use the money to buy things that make you happy.

Accordingly, the Wikipedia definition is too abstract for our purposes. It ties in only with the ability to make transactions. That is correct in itself, but anyone who, given this definition, would like to say at some point that he has achieved wealth will never arrive at this destination because the possibilities of transactions are infinite. Accordingly, the endless accumulation of money would be necessary, as well.

2.2.2. The Understanding Of One’s Own Needs Enables Achievement Of Wealth

So we can state that wealth is a condition that allows the satisfaction of needs. And since wealth ultimately facilitates the satisfaction of every level of need, becoming wealthy becomes a desirable goal for many people. But it should not be an abstract goal, which is extremely important for the next point. The question must be, what level of need-satisfaction do I want to achieve, and what degree of wealth do I need to reach that level.

That’s why the things from the chest with the sign “wealth” on it will be so different. A frugal person will need an entirely different kind of prosperity to satisfy his or her needs than the lawyer of a large law firm or the manager or business consultant etc. One will be considered wealthy with a net value of USD 100k and the other with a net worth of USD 1 million. Of course, the one with USD 1 million is wealthier. At least that’s what most people on the street would say. But what is the point of going for that USD 1 million if you only need USD 100k? Why should Diogenes of Sinope have followed the same path as Alexander the Great when a single barrel would have sufficed for his needs.

How to become wealthy

2.3. The Qualitative And Quantitative Side Of Wealth

Becoming wealthy is thus the search for a way to fulfill one’s needs independently and freely. Wealth is, therefore, a means to reach all levels of need satisfaction. Thus, everyone can theoretically (we will learn in Part 2 that there are more aspects to consider here) pursue his or her happiness.

But this also makes it clear that the functionality of wealth is not infinite. And this addresses the qualitative side of prosperity. At a certain point, the quantitative accumulation of wealth no longer adds value to the satisfaction of your needs. Those who still want more no longer focus on achieving more happiness – a pointless undertaking!

The following graph illustrates this point. Insofar as wealth is a tool to satisfy needs, then at some point the wealth will be sufficient to achieve this goal. The ideal state is marked by the green area below. Here, wealth is available in sufficient quantity to meet the needs.

Precisely this point at which the wealth reaches the satisfaction of needs should be your personal goal. Otherwise, you will no longer pursue your happiness, but only an unreachable destination lying in the infinite distance.

3. Conclusion

So people who want to become wealthy and are, therefore, looking for a wealth formula must first become aware of what they understand by wealth. This determination of the destination is, therefore, the first parameter or variable in this formula.

Otherwise, you would wander through your life without ever reaching the destination. In particular, you have to understand what needs you want to satisfy and to what extent wealth is necessary to do so. Therefore, wealth is just a tool, and it takes more components to build something that has real value.

Of course, first of all, these are not earth-shattering findings. Wealth is relative… Wow. Nevertheless, we have already stated this in the introduction. So what’s the point? The point is that people should ask themselves what they want to achieve with their desire for more and more money and more prosperity. Wealth is infinite, but life isn’t. So if you are looking for a way to get rich, first ask yourself what you would do with it and how it would help you.

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