Posted by: universitymindlab | July 22, 2008

A New Way of Measuring Wealth

A New Way of Measuring Wealth

By Bakari Akil II, Ph.D.

If wealth is only measured through what we want, then we will never be wealthy.

For instance, imagine a person who is single; lives in a 3000 sq ft home; has a car that’s paid for; little to no debt and an $80,000 income. They are able to meet all of their monthly obligations and still put a substantial amount away for retirement and savings. However, they are very unsatisfied with their economic life.


Because they want to live in a 6000 sq ft home; make $500,000 a year, drive a Bentley instead of a BMW and vacation in Rome and Prague instead of Las Vegas and New York. Their preoccupation or obsession with what they want and can’t afford (at the moment) doesn’t allow them to see the wealth they possess. They often put themselves down or feel inadequate because they have not accumulated a certain level of resources. This brings me back to my opening statement:

If wealth is only measured through what we want, then we will never be wealthy. 

Now let’s look at wealth in another way. What if we measured wealth according to being able to afford what we need? And this statement is not to belittle the desire for whatever level of wealth you would like. However, my needs are food to eat; beverages to drink, a place to live, transportation, clothing and the well being of my spouse. In my case, I can meet these needs for an extremely long time. Of course, I have a standard of living that I apply to this basic outline of needs and it’s a standard that I am very comfortable with.

So the question is, how well we can meet our needs? That is the true measure of wealth.

If you can meet all of your needs, then you are wealthy, Period!

How long you are able to meet your needs without working also determines true wealth. I am all for increasing the amount of resources that flow in, in order to do fabulous things. However, not recognizing the wealth we already possess and how able we are to take care of our real needs does an injustice to our psyche and self-esteem. Further, not acknowledging our ability (e.g., resources) to meet our needs (and in some cases, extraordinary ability to meet our needs) doesn’t allow us to take advantage of the wealth we already possess. The quest to leverage our current resources through debt and unchecked spending to buy goods and services places us at a disadvantage and doesn’t allow us to exploit what is available if we lived within our means.

Many of us are already extremely wealthy and just don’t realize it.

Until next time….


If you enjoyed this writing, leave a comment. It is always appreciated.



  1. I recently came accross your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog.

    Tim Ramsey

  2. Thanks Tim,

    I appreciate it….

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