How Do You Define Wealth?

What kind of ice cream is the best?

Yeah, impossible to answer, right? If I asked that question at one of my live events, I would get at least a thousand different responses. That’s because the answer is open-ended. There’s no one single definition of great ice cream!

Being wealthy is a lot like that. Every person’s definition is different.

Recently, I polled my Retirement Challenge group on Facebook and asked them the following question:

“What does it mean to you to be wealthy?”

As I suspected, the answers were all over the place. I loved reading about the ways people wanted to spend their time when they no longer had to work—how they wanted to give, and who they wanted to spend time with. As you read some of the responses, notice whose answer matches your own. And notice what people did not mention when they talked about being wealthy.

My son’s continued health is all the wealth I need. Grateful every day. —Leslie M.

Wealth = power over my time. We work hard, but can drop everything on a few days’ notice and take a few weeks when it fits. I love the freedom to choose. —Kim S.

Surrounded by people I love who love me unconditionally that I can be truly myself and comfortable around. Full trust and support. I can’t think of a better way to feel wealth. —Eric D.

Being content in the overabundance of blessings that surround me. Blessings are everywhere; you just have to look for them! —Elizabeth A.

Being able to go through normal life without being concerned about paying basic bills. We’d like to give gifts as they come up, give to charity, travel moderately, and keep our home and vehicles in good condition. —Tiare W.

 Not getting a knot in my stomach when an unexpected expense/setback occurs. —Rebecca C.

No debt. Well-funded retirement. Great health. Great friends and family. And a good dog. —Joe K.

Having enough passive income to pay for your minimum expenses, therefore being able to work because you want to, not because you have to. —Daniel H.

Wealth has nothing to do with money. It is recognizing the providential hand of God in your life, remembering to be grateful for every blessing, pausing to give Him thanks, and then sharing the stories with others. —Hope W.

Having enough money to travel! —Amanda T.

Options. —Chloe C.

Happy, healthy and living within our budget while saving for retirement and giving. We know the Lord, we live in a modest home, we make a decent living, we have four adult children and four grandchildren. We have budgeted every month since graduating FPU in 2010, and we are saving for retirement as well as giving. Life is good and we are happy. This is wealthy! —Marty F.

FREEDOM. —Brandie G.

Giving. It’s the most fun I can have clothed not involving sugar, fat, or chocolate. —Richard H.

Having enough money saved so that I don’t have to worry about what tomorrow brings. —Mindy S.

From the financial stand point, it is for me to live the same standard of living that I have today, debt-free and with enough resources to outlast my time here on earth. —Steven D.

Having everything I need, some of the things I want, and the wisdom to share the rest! —Christine G.

Did you notice similar themes? Freedom. Choices. Security. Giving. Spending time with family and friends. Those are great dreams to chase!

Did you notice what wasn’t a definition of wealth? Big houses, fancy cars, fancy boats, or exotic vacations to parts unknown. Not one person mentioned any of these things. Not a single person. Why is that? Because when you take the time to stop and ask yourself what real wealth means to you, you discover it doesn’t mean a bank account ending in 12 zeroes. No matter what Hollywood or the media says.

My challenge to you is this: Decide what you would want to do if you didn’t have to work anymore. That’s your retirement dream. Then figure up how much money that would take. That’s your financial goal. With those two things in your sights, do whatever it takes to reach those goals and achieve those dreams.

It will take sacrifice and focus. It will take work. And it will be worth it.

Because you will be truly wealthy—however you define it.