We may think that being rich and being wealthy are really the same thing but in fact, they are miles apart. Morgan Housel author of “the psychology of money”, describes the highest form of wealth as “being able to do what you want, when you want for as long as you want.” It’s being able to control our time and having independence and autonomy.
Being rich means that one has lots of cashflow or money allowing one to buy all the things that you want. People in this situation can often get caught up by the need to have the latest and the best of everything and often what they have becomes who they are. Their possessions show off their financial success and how they believe they are seen by others.
Being wealthy means that one has unspent savings and investments that provide one with the ability to be able to enjoy the intangible things in life like experiences, time alone or with loved ones. The ability to do what you want when you want. The amount of these savings and investments needed to enable this life can vary depending on how you want to live and does not necessarily have to be a huge amount.
Many rich people are never wealthy as they become slaves to keeping up appearances and never get to a point where they are satisfied with what they have. Often this behaviour leads to self-loathing and family infighting as their offspring adopt the same habits and outlook on life.
I am not saying that one must be a pauper to be wealthy, not at all, but simply that having lots of money does not guarantee real wealth. Many of us will have witnessed friends who change once they become rich, remaining grounded and in touch with what really makes us happy is not always easy to do.
We also see people who become rich, change, and then lose everything because they have not been able to maintain their new spending habits. Most lotto winners are bankrupt 3 years after receiving their winnings.
Real wealth comes from understanding what makes us happy and being able to keep that as our focus daily.
It is easy to envy people who are rich but remember what Bob Marley said: some people are so poor, all they have is money.