What does wealth mean to you?

Wealth has a different meaning to everyone, and sometimes it is important to realize how much we already have.

What does wealth mean to you? Is it having more money than you know what to do with? Or, is it to by realizing what you already have around you makes you wealthy? To some people, money is not everything, and their pursuit of wealth entails the helping of others to achieve what brings them happiness.

Why do so many of us attribute wealth to money? It’s easy. Almost every time you look up the definition of wealth, it pertains to assets, money, valuable possessions or property. I could only find one case where wealth was defined as something other and that was happiness; it then stated that the happiness definition is obsolete. Of five websites searched regarding the definition of wealth, only one, Dictionary.com, alternately defined wealth as “an abundance or profusion of anything; plentiful amount: A wealth of imagery.”

With this being said, it might be wise for us to begin a proactive initiative to change our definition of wealth. Why, you ask? According to a study by Mark Rank, a professor of social welfare at Washington University and Thomas Hirschl, a professor of sociology at Cornell University, 40 percent of American adults will spend at least a year below the official poverty line. According to the Economic Policy Institute, the wealth inequality gap in the 1960’s for the wealthiest one percent was 125 times that of a median household. In 2010 it had grown to 288 to one. How do you make the top one percent? You have to be worth more than $8.4 million.

How do you begin your journey toward the one percent club? Assess you values and set goals that reflect your definition of wealth. A good place to start is by assessing your financial health; you can begin at MIMoneyHealth.org.

Michigan State University Extension offers financial management and home ownership education classes. To find classes in your area, you can visit the MSU Extension events feed or MIMoneyHealth.org.

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