Typically to reach or achieve a goal, we must define it! What is our vision? For many traditional FIRE community types the goal is saving/investing 25 times your salary. It’s a nice rule of thumb, but there is more to the equation than a number.
People have different perspectives on what defines wealth. This is one of the most interesting aspects of personal finance. On one extreme there are folks that will never be satisfied with what they accumulate. Think Pharaohs and dictators. There is no end to their desire for riches and power. No matter how many gold toilets and palatial estates, it never seems to satisfy. On the other end, some folks may have relatively little, but live a rich life of friends, family, nature and for the most part are rather content. I wonder why we can all be so different but part of the same species…
As a middle class American seeking financial independence, it may be an important part of your strategy to define your own “True Wealth”. I find that our definitions certainly evolve with time as the vision for our lives may change and adapt. We may be different people compared to 16, 30, 40, etc…
Here are a few definitions I have heard from folks. Some people seek an exact number, others seek a general and fluid description:
1. “A solid middle class life in America is a nice definition of wealth. Own your home, have a couple cars and be able to afford to raise your children. A nice vacation each year. Doesn’t get much better!”
2. “Over $1 million in assets that can produce income and can be drawn upon to sustain our family.”
3. “The American dream is not what we think it is in a traditional sense. We are mainly on our own in the US. The individual takes on all the enormous costs associated with life. Wealth to me is living small and avoiding debt. Being debt free and self sufficient.”
4. “My own piece of land and small business, that is being rich in the US.”
5. “The new wealth is time. People are frantically running around from work, events, errands and constantly glued to their electronic devices. Wealth is a hike through nature or playing a board game with your friends or family.”
The point here is to inspire one to do some soul searching and define your own wealth. Is it nature, family, health, money, shopping? Reject the lame stereotype perpetuated in the media and make your own way.