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Wealthy Thinking

Updated: Mar 10, 2023

You may have heard that wealth is a state of mind. That may sound abstract but it’s 101% true. Wealth is less about a number on a statement or equity in a home than it is about how you feel and think about your money. Here are some examples:

  • In a study by Ashley Whillans, she asked people with at least $10 million in assets what they thought they would need to be happy and more than 75% of the respondents said just $5 to $10 million more than what they had would be enough.

  • The median wealth per capita in New Zealand in 2021 was $171,624, while the median wealth of Haiti is $193. Despite that, many New Zealanders may not feel wealthy.

  • The original meaning of the word ‘wealth’ meant something like ‘welfare’ or ‘well-being’ and had little to do with material possessions.

  • Joseph Heller once attended a cocktail party of a very rich Investment Manager, who made more in a single day than all of Joseph Heller’s book sales from his famous book, Catch-22. When asked how he felt about that, he replied with, “…I have something he will never have…enough.”

Supreme wealth is wanting what you have and not getting caught on the hedonic treadmill of constantly wanting more. This seems to be the common way so many people go through life though, thinking that material possessions and buying new things will deliver them a whole new level of happiness. This thinking is flawed at best, and at worst, can be dangerous. Material possessions tend to bring immediate happiness at the time of purchase, but that happiness fades over time, so it can lead to trying to fill this happiness void with another purchase. Then another. And so on and so forth. This is called the hedonic treadmill.



Most people tend to value many of the same things such as family, relationships, freedom, belonging, and security. It’s odd that many people don’t spend their time on these things, and instead spend on “stuff”. Stuff tends to lose value over time, whereas ‘values-based’ things tend to become more valuable over time (such as the people you love, the memories and experiences you make together, etc).


Anyone CAN have wealth; it’s simply a matter of what wealth means to you. For example, take stock of what you have, and contrast it to:


Once you do that, you may find that you have more wealth than you first realised. Your perception makes all the difference in your wealth.


If this topic interests you, here are some other resources you might also enjoy:

1. A 16-minute YouTube Video on Investing in Happiness

4. A TedTalk on why money can't buy happiness


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