How do you measure your wealth?

Seems to be a topic I’m supposed to address today as two other intersections of communication this morning have dealt with a question that just seemed to take shape in my mind.  It was sort of a ‘misty’ appearance that took on a ‘feel’ and since it was in the back left side of my brain (you know, the creative side), it must be the ‘right’ idea to ‘write’ about (only left brained people are in their ‘right’ mind?)  Anyway, this is bound to be scattered onto the screen.  And it’s ‘Worth’ noting here that my ‘blog assistant’ raises mostly others’ blogs as related to the conquest of money as wealth.

First, the idea, the question.  Now the common answer (as noted above) is to add up all the numbers in one’s pay check/direct deposit with the numbers that are already there in the checking account with those in (and here’s where we start to lose some people) the savings account, and then include what is in that big coffee mug on the top shelf in the back of the cupboard, and finally what’s in that Tupperware bowl under the third rock from the porch step.  (don’t bother with the bag in the freezer or looking in the mattress)  But that’s just the money that measures the wealth, right?  It can’t be the real wealth…

OK, then how big is that house of yours?  What kind of car are you driving?  How big is the pick-up truck?  Do you have a boat?  150HP or is that a 250HP Mercury motor on the back?  Vacation cottage?  Second home?  Annual vacation trip to the tropics planned yet?  This can’t be the real wealth.  Next year you’d need to acquire all new models and find new locations to travel to with them.  What’s the real wealth?

It has occurred to me in the last three years as I’ve looked for satisfying work that real wealth is in the creativity we have developed within ourselves.  Can we feed ourselves with what we’ve learned to do?  If we have, if we have worked to generate talent and skill with our creativity, then we are as wealthy as we need to be.  When others find value in our creative skills we may gain more wealth through additional application of our skills, and when others don’t value or need our skills we still have what we need to take care.  St. Paul wrote;

“11 Not that I am referring to being in need; for I have learned to be content with whatever I have. 12 I know what it is to have little, and I know what it is to have plenty. In any and all circumstances I have learned the secret of being well-fed and of going hungry, of having plenty and of being in need. 13 I can do all things through him who strengthens me.”  (Philippians 4; NRSV RC)

Our amount of money and possessions rises and falls with the economy, or inversely with same.  We are all ‘created equal’ in that there are no titles, no ‘blue blood’ that makes one better than another, but that we all have some capacity to be creative and to choose to exercise that creativity as we see fit.  Nurturing and exercising this gift brings other opportunities as well as painful lessons.  Both are needed as we continue to grow, especially as we grow our creativity and hence our wealth.

Your thoughts?

Update; 9-18-13; so National Public Radio runs a story the day after this is posted about helping kids learn financial management.  Here’s the link, for as long as they hold it on their servers.   All three of the links originally attached below have programs for kids.

Financial statistics for the Wall Street and the associated industries demonstrates that the financial cycle for the U.S. market is on a 13 – 17 year cycle.  Our economy bottomed out in 2008-2009, so we are four years into the upswing of this cycle.  It’s ‘worth’ noting for the exercise of your own skills, whatever they may be.

For additional consideration of this topic, Compass Catholic Ministries and Crown Financial Studies, as well as Dave Ramsey programs are worth the investment of time for sharpening your financial skills.  Generating the creativity is only the foundation for your wealth.  We all still need some measure of that wealth to buy the groceries, whether its the cook doing our buying, or whether we are the cook…

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