Don’t Confuse Money with Wealth

What does the term “being wealthy” mean to you? If you’re like most people then it’s got something to do with things like bank balance, assets and annual income. From a young age, most of us have been groomed to make money. At the very least we’ve been taught to value it and at worst, we’ve been programmed to worship it. Some of us have been encouraged to marry into it and some have been educated at the ‘money equals happiness’ school.

Here’s what a well-known Australian model tweeted yesterday (March 6):

Swipe charge, swipe charge, I miraculously feel so much better! Don’t believe people who tell you ” $ can’t buy you happiness”. Lies!


Somewhere, somehow, this girl has learned that money equals happiness. So much so that she feels compelled to share it with the world.

Most of us have been trained to get the best education in order to get the best job with a view to making as much money as possible because, in our culture, ‘successful’ people are the ones who own and earn the most. That’s the rule. Might not be your rule, but it’s definitely the group rule; just look around. If there’s one thing we Aussies love, it’s stuff. A little stuff: bad. A lot of stuff: good. The most stuff: winner.

The rule is: “he’s rich, therefore, he’s successful.”

A Different Kind of Poverty

The fact that he’s mentally, emotionally and physically bankrupt doesn’t matter – look at his expensive car. And don’t worry about those ten different medications he’s on – look at his gigantic house. Sure, his addiction to work and money has destroyed numerous relationships including his marriage but that doesn’t matter either – look at his bank balance. And yes, a self-induced heart-attack or stroke is just around the corner because he’s fat as a house and totally unfit but have you noticed his very expensive suit and watch? Oh yes, he reeks of wealth.

And poverty.

On a psychological, sociological, emotional and physiological level, some people with an abundance of material wealth live in poverty because, instead of their money being a resource, it has become their purpose, their obsession and their identity. And ultimately, having their identity and sense of self rooted in something that can be taken in an instant is a sure-fire recipe for insecurity, anxiety, paranoia and misery.

That is, mental and emotional poverty.

What Money is and isn’t

Now, before anyone jumps up and down and accuses me of having double-standards (I get paid pretty well) or being disconnected from reality, I’m not – for one moment – suggesting that money is unimportant or irrelevant in our day-to-day existence. Of course it isn’t. But we need to recognise it for what it is and what it isn’t.  What it is, is a resource. It’s not life. It’s not happiness. It’s not love. It’s not compassion. It’s not health. It’s not kindness or connection. It’s not fulfillment or contentment.

It’s just a thing.

A thing that we personally assign value and meaning to in our lives. So, what do you value and what does wealth look like for you?

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