Signals of Wealth is Not Wealth

I’ve been paying attention to the subject of wealth for a while now. For a reason not far fetched

Here are some things that seem to be obvious so far:

  1. More money isn’t necessarily wealth
  2. People will do anything to be perceived as being wealthy even if they are not
  3. Wealth exists on different levels
  4. Wealth is not only measured in monetary terms
  5. Beyond a certain level of money, all-round wealth becomes more difficult to be attained
  6. The kind of wealth that comes to mind by default (Bezos’ kind) will not be attained by > 99% of us
  7. Signals of wealth are what the majority optimize for and that’s why they won’t have the wealth.

The 7th is what got me thinking more than any other point.

Optimizing for Signals of Wealth

Flashy phones, cars, big houses, latest designers dress, flying first-class… and so on are signals of wealth not necessarily wealth.

The problem with our psych is that we equate all these signals to mean wealth and while those who can afford all signals of wealth may be wealthy in terms of money, they are not necessarily so.

However, because your psyche has equated it with wealth, it encourages us to start optimizing for it.

You tell yourself (sometimes subconsciously) if I use the latest Samsung and drive Benz and live in a large house that means I am wealthy.

The problem is, deep within that’s not what you are telling yourself.

What you are telling yourself after doing all that is…

“they will perceive me as being wealthy and accord to me the recognition of a wealthy person”.

That’s a mindset you have to consciously fight.

Wealth is usually in what others can’t see. Your investment in Amazon, your happy family, the phone you didn’t buy, the so on.

Others that are visible are signals not worth optimizing for.

Realizing this got me in another rabbit hole.

The true nature of wealth is custom made

In my nuclear family, what mama interpreted as wealth was are an investment on her children, and whenever we made progress, she’s always elated, for her wealth is growing. She defined her wealth.

Wealth being custom made is an interesting phenomenon because it goes down into another ancient Stoic Philosophy.

“We all love ourselves more than other people, but care more about their opinion than our own,” said Marcus Aurelius a Stoic Philosopher

As long as you care more about the opinion of others you will always take optimizing for signals of wealth as equal to wealth.

Because if you don’t fly first class how would they know that you are wealthy? If you are driving Toyota instead of Bentley how can they perceive you as a wealthy one?

Care for what others say in the area of wealth is the first impediment to true wealth.

Going down more in the rabbit hole I learned another profound thing…

Wealth is in your lifestyle and the options you have to yourself.

We may be earning the same amount of money but I will be wealthier than you. The reason is not far fetched as well here.

You fly first class every time you fly and I do economy. While you get a signal of wealth out in the world I have true wealth which is not visible to the world.

Remember I said wealth is what they don’t see.

Your lifestyle more than any other thing determines your level of wealth.

Well, this is a hole I’m still digging.

More to come.