When we think of wealth, we often think of money. Rich people have a lot of it. Poor people don’t.
But wealth refers to everything we acquire that enriches our lives.
Some things, like food, drink, clothing, and entertainment, are only useful when consumed. You can’t accumulate that kind of wealth, though it is important.
Other material goods, like property, buildings, furniture, and stocks, can be stored up and passed from generation to generation. They are useful as investments. But you either have them or you don’t. If you give something to one child, you can’t give it to another, and you can’t keep it for yourself. And in a disaster, they can be lost, destroyed, or taken away from you.
The third type of wealth is non-material, like education, spirituality, work habits, health habits, honesty, and courage. They are extremely valuable. Money can help you acquire some of them, but they can’t be taken away from you like other forms of wealth. They can’t be lost if you go bankrupt, or if your home is destroyed in a fire or flood, or if you are incarcerated. You don’t have to pay taxes on them. You can pass all of them on to all of your children. You can pass them on to friends, neighbors, and strangers. But not only doesn’t such generosity deplete your own non-material wealth, giving it to others actually tends to increase the amount you have even further.
They are like the fabled magic pot that produced an inexhaustible supply of porridge and was never emptied.
Which type of wealth do you spend your time accumulating?
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