Unwrapping True Wealth: Beyond Assets and Cash
As the holiday season embraces us with its bright lights, bustling shopping, and festivities, it caused me to pause and reflect on the underlying meaning of wealth. Traditionally, we associate wealth with financial prosperity and abundance. When you think about it, however, the true essence of wealth extends far beyond the realm of money in the bank and the assets you own. At the recently held Annual Financial Year Kick-off, Angus Young, CEO of NCB Capital Markets Limited, reflected on what wealth means to him, noting three key pillars: Good Health, Love and Freedom as being the true treasures of wealth.
Good Health: The Foundation of True Wealth
One of the greatest gifts we can have is good health – mental and physical. Health is often considered a key pillar of wealth for several reasons. It allows us to enjoy life, spend time with loved ones, and pursue our passions. While financial prosperity is undoubtedly important, good health provides a foundation for individuals to fully enjoy and leverage other aspects of life. Because true wealth starts with a healthy body and mind, take a moment to cherish your well-being and that of your loved ones this holiday season. Be intentional about implementing plans and protective measures that allow you to live a life that mitigates the impact of illness on your physical and mental health and that of your family. Prioritise nurturing them as you do your financial well-being.
Love is considered a key pillar of wealth because when present, it defines the nature and quality of the connections we share with others, be it family, friends, or the broader community. Love, which is the underpinning of quality relationships, significantly contributes to an individual’s overall well-being and life satisfaction. The holiday season, often associated with love and togetherness, epitomises the importance of shared experiences. While financial prosperity is important, the richness of life is often deeply intertwined with the quality of interpersonal connections. So take a moment during the festive season to embrace the wealth of having meaningful relationships and to create new memories or treasures of the heart. It is these shared experiences that create lasting memories and contribute to a sense of love, abundance, and wealth in our lives.
Freedom: A Priceless Resource
It’s true that we’ve spent most of the year in the hustle and bustle of earning, working, saving and investing. But why? What is it that continues to drive us daily? As Young reflected on his third pillar of freedom, it sparked an important question: Are all our efforts preventing or bringing us closer to achieving freedom? Freedom could be considered a measure of wealth beyond finances because it represents a state of autonomy, independence, and the ability to make choices that align with one’s values and aspirations. In fact, beyond financial success, true wealth is often associated with the freedom to choose one’s lifestyle, career path, and creative or other passions. When one scans the pages of the lifestyle of the wealthy, it is often not just a story of investments, stocks, bonds, and portfolios. In their pursuit of a satisfying life, we also see the freedom for leisure, hobbies and personal passions like giving back to the community.
In addition, and dare I say critically, freedom fosters an environment conducive to creativity and innovation. Individuals who have the freedom to think creatively and explore new ideas are more likely to contribute to personal growth, professional success, and societal progress. This intellectual wealth goes beyond monetary measures but when invested to produce new value for society, results in immense financial return on investment (ROI) in the medium to long term.
As we reflect on these measures of wealth beyond finances, I could not help but share one last pillar from my heart to yours – Gratitude.
Gratitude: The Currency
Gratitude is a currency that holds immeasurable value. Emmons and McCullough (2003) described gratitude as “a felt sense of wonder, thankfulness and appreciation for life”. Gratitude is considered a key pillar of wealth because it plays a fundamental role in shaping our perspective on life, fostering contentment, and contributing to a sense of abundance. Because the richness of life extends beyond material possessions, gratitude, as a mindset and practice, enhances overall well-being and adds depth to our experiences. So, taking time to appreciate the present moment, acknowledging the positive aspects of our lives, and expressing gratitude to those around us are ways to enrich our emotional wealth. This emotional wealth allows us the mental latitude to explore opportunities around us that can further enhance our financial well-being. So as the mantra goes: “Gratitude is a must.”
While financial prosperity is undoubtedly important, true wealth goes beyond the accumulation of wealth and assets to encompass the freedom to live a fulfilling and meaningful life aligned with one’s individual preferences. True and holistic wealth involves a tapestry of elements, including health, relationships, freedom, and gratitude. In an era where material possessions often take centre stage, these pillars serve as a timely and essential reminder that the real measure of wealth often lies in the intangible aspects of our lives. As the holiday season unfolds, it is a good time to redefine and reflect on our understanding of wealth beyond assets and cash. Let us embrace the richness of life in all its forms and remember that the most valuable treasures are often found in the intangible moments we share with those we hold dear.