Shortly after deciding to add a section about wealth to my website, I listened to an interesting ebook called “The Wisdom Of Life” by Authur Schopenhauer which discussed the different types of wealth. I found this relevant to myself at this time as it heavily drew the link between wealth and happiness, looking deeply into different measures of wealth also. This prompted me to decide to discuss the different concepts of wealth within the book and discuss how and most importantly why I want to increase my physical wealth but also how I will be increasing my other forms of wealth through my wider ambitions.
A key reason why I was so intrigued by the different forms of wealth and why i wanted to write about them was because wanting to increase my physical wealth is somewhat in opposition to how more recently I have been wanting to think; focusing less on monetary wealth and instead concentrating on what I find enjoyable and makes me happy. I’m very much in agreement that a combination of Schopenhauer’s three key elements of wealth below do contribute to your overall contentment and your overall wealth, with the key question being how and how much value you should place on these different aspects of wealth.
This is the fundamental area of wealth that I will be writing about how to increase, but understanding the drive behind this is key for me. Money can buy possessions and allow you to index your status against what you have compared to other people. This, however, is very much not what I am looking to do. I have just sold not only my house but also most of my possessions as I have moved to Australia. During this process I realised how the things that I had and had resisted selling for so long actually had burdened me and I was left feeling freer and more content after getting rid of them.
When studying economics I learnt money can be used to buy 2 key category of items – your needs and your wants. Your needs are what are essential to survive; food, shelter and clothing. Your wants are everything else that you could physically live without. Schopenhauer further subdivides your wants into things that engage your senses and luxury items. I wish to build my wealth to primarily support my needs but to also allow me to have more engaging experiences that make life more enjoyable rather than buying luxury items that offer little actual value to help me experience, grow or improve.
This approach to what I intend to purchase with my physical wealth aligns to a book my brother told me about called Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki. In the book it outlined the concept that wealth should be a measurement by how long you can survive at your current level of spending if you stopped working tomorrow, rather than how long the number is when you check your bank balance. In essence, this approach means physical wealth is a measure of not only your savings, but also your outgoings and importantly your passive income. As I intend to moderate my purchases, focusing on needs and experiences, I can more effectively improve my prosperity by growing my passive income streams. My overall aim is to build my passive income so that it provides enough to sustain my outgoings indefinitely.
I’m a firm believer in the old saying that “money can’t buy you happiness” and I agree that to a large extent this is true. What Schopenhauer does discuss though is how money can make you feel freer and allow you to have a more open, less burdened mindset which is really what I want. The key here seems to be to have money but not to use it to define who you are or your status. I wish to build monetary wealth not to buy things but so that work becomes something that I can do whole heatedly because I am passionate about what I do rather than because I have a bill that needs to be paid.
Wealth in personality is another element that is discussed in the book and in reality for me was a significant motivator in terms of my decision to move abroad. Your personality in this instance covers much more than just your sense of humour or what makes you happy or sad but instead your personality is everything that makes you who you are. This includes your health, strength, beauty, temperament, moral outlook, intelligence and education.
A healthy beggar is happier that a sick prince
Schopenhauer uses the above quote in his book and this holds a lot of weight. Physical possessions will not get you very far if you are too ill to enjoy them and it is far easier to derive happiness from what you do if you are fit and healthy rather than sick and bed ridden.
I felt in the UK, a fair portion of my life was spent watching TV and playing computer games, which whilst entertaining, didn’t provide much gratification beyond the short term. In moving to Australia, I am ambitious with what I wish to achieve as I am aiming to improve my health and strength by going outside more to explore and exercise. I also wish to develop my intelligence by reading and generally spending time investing in myself; learning skills and researching things that interest me. As a by product I also hope that by building my understanding and broadening my experiences that it helps to round my personality and improve my temperament. I believe doing these things will make life, and myself, more interesting. Schopenhauer describes how if you are intelligent you do not need to worry about boredom whereas if you’re not intelligent, you can’t see beyond what is immediately apparent.
Position is the third type of wealth discussed that people can measure themselves on and this is something that is presented as being a hollow and artificial form of wealth. In some aspects I agree with this but I also believe that humans are a sociable species and therefore some level of value should be derived from others opinions although I would apply less weight to this area.
Rank is highlighted as a key element of positional wealth, where people will assign value to others based on their titles and positions within both work and larger society. The idea is discussed that your value isn’t defined by your title, job or other attributes and people should be respected for who they are and not what their title is. Achieving a title won’t impact your ability to do something and I agree that you shouldn’t benchmark your success by the title that others assign to you.
Schopenhauer also takes this further and says how an inwardly rich person should not measure their value based on others opinions and that worrying about others opinions limits your ability to concentrate on what’s important. He estimates half of life’s anxieties could be linked to the opinions of others which is something that distracts you from what you should be doing and can bring you down. Whilst I generally agree with this to a degree, when taken to the extreme this suggests that other people shouldn’t matter which I believe would lead to selfish attitude in some situations as I have seen this from others in the past. Instead I believe that moderation is key. The right people’s opinions can help you grow, whereas the negative influence of people who you don’t care about shouldn’t be a concern. Keeping positive people in your life is important though as people make experiences more memorable and worthwhile than the experience itself most of the time.
Hopefully this provides some food for thought about how and why i intend to grow my wealth. Whilst this section will usually focus more on improving my wealth in terms of prosperity, my wider site will look at how I am developing the other aspects of my wealth around my personality in case that is of interest too!