Rethinking Wealth, Prosperity, Assets,  Success, & Riches in Personal Finance 

By: Marlon J. Broussard  

In a couple of recent posts to MoneyBlog, I have begun to explore the concept of “true” wealth, and what it means to be “Truly Wealthy”. By now I’m sure that you have figured out that I’m not referring to the very popular global view of fame, fortune, and a limitless existence where nothing is beyond your purchasing ability. An interesting fact to take notice of is the lifestyles of those select and elite few that have attained the status and possession that we, mere mortals can only dream of. The endless scandals, corruptions, infidelities, divorces, improprieties, and suicides committed by celebrity actors, musicians, politicians, and clergy – should be more than enough for us to begin to question not only whom we chose as role models, but also the very things they posses that we fantasize about. These things obviously aren’t enough to produce the internal peace, happiness, and joy that we all so desperately desire. Let’s begin by exploring some simple definitions. (go to Wealth – an Old English word that means “well being” – this word began to be associated with money when English commoners began to look at the limitless lifestyles of the Royals and associated such riches with well being. Prosperity – means the state of prospering. To prosper in Old Latin means to go “according to expectation”. This word was more commonly used in relation to crop farming and animal husbandry. Asset – in modern usage an asset is a useful or desirable possession that is easily converted into cash. It however originated in Anglo French from assez which means “enough”. Success – an attainment of wealth, position, or honors. It’s origins are from the Latin word successus which means “an advance, succession, or happy outcome”, also from succedere (succeed), meaning “accomplishment of desired end”. Riches – having wealth or great possessions. However, it originates from both the Old English word rice which means wealthy (in the modern sense) and powerful, and the German word reich (as in Hitler’s Third Reich) which means to be a ruler or powerful. So… do you really want to be rich? 

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My primary point here is to help you see the truth behind our aspirations for “wealth” or “riches” and what we are really saying when we declare our desires for the same. Someone who proclaims a desire to be wealthy often overlooks the “true wealth” they already posses and the exponential leverage that can come from investing the right resources in those things. However, it is my opinion that what most people mean by a desire to be wealthy, is not to be in a state of “well being” which has nothing to do with money or possession, but rather, they may in fact be speaking to their desire to be “rich” in it’s truest sense, and obtain the “power” and nobility that comes with it. In the same manner, I believe that the vast majority of us (especially in western society) overlook the “assets” we posses. I am of course referring to assets that supersede cash. Emotional Assets, Physical Skill Assets, Intellectual Assets, Relationship Assets, Social Assets, and Civil Assets head this list. 

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