What does 'being wealthy' mean?

Tony Larkins says people have different ideas of what 'wealthy' means.

Tony Larkins says people have different ideas of what 'wealthy' means. - Credit: BEACON WEALTH

To answer the question, you need firstly to decide what ‘wealthy’ means to you.

The first thing most people think about is money, and then just how much.

According to the latest Sunday Times Rich List,  the UK has 171 billionaires, up 24 in 2020. And a 2019 Charles Schwab Survey in America establish wealthy as $2.3m or about £1.5m. This survey is perhaps more realistic once you take into account the value of a house and pension funds, but it’s all relative. You can be asset rich and cash poor.

There are people in the world for whom clean water and a roof over their head would make them feel wealthy, and others who have a nice house, good pension and a simple lifestyle who would not regard themselves as wealthy.

It is not uncommon for me to have conversations with clients who struggle to apprehend they have sufficient wealth not to worry. These clients normally fall into one of two categories. Those who have received a large inheritance and are not used to having money, or those retiring with no debt and a great pension but are fearful about the sudden lack of salary.

So what is wealth – is it having a happy life with £1 more than you need… quite possibly. This sounds like a lifestyle most of us would want.

I know of people who say they want to be wealthy but do nothing about it, and others who go from doing one thing to another, looking for the next great 'get rich quick idea' and who are never happy.

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Money doesn’t mean happiness. This is easy to say if you have money, and I realise most people do not have enough, but as I said before it’s all relative. Money can certainly take away lots of worries but it doesn’t actually make you happy, it’s what you do with it. By this I mean, you can buy nice things to surround yourself with, enjoy holidays (eventually) and help family, friends and charity. But it can also buy you time.

I think being wealthy is the quality of your life – the life you want to live, not the one that looks good.