THE BLOG
03/25/2014 02:01 pm ET Updated May 25, 2014

Redefining Wealth

What does it mean to be wealthy? If I asked a few hundred people that question, I'm likely to get a few hundred different responses. Why, because our definition of wealth is very personal and situational.

If I ask a homeless man what wealth is, he may say it's having a pair of shoes, a warm coat, and a place to sleep indoors for the night. A millionaire business woman might say that to her, wealth is about having several properties and a private jet; for her it might mean sending her children to the best Ivy League schools. A single mom might tell you that wealth is a comfortable home and enough money to feed her children and buy their school supplies.

I will admit that I have longed for material things in my life. I will admit feeling envious of people that can afford to buy expensive clothes and drive a brand new car. I have been guilty of trying to keep up with the Joneses, and the Kardashians, until I began to truly redefine wealth in my own life.

Right now, as you're reading this, I want you to put a price on your health. Did you come up with a number? What about your life? How much is your life worth? No cheating, I need a number! What about the life of your children? Would a million dollars be enough to give them away to a stranger? What about 10 million?

I'm sure you understand why this exercise is so tough -- there are things in your life that you simply cannot put a price on. Yet we do put a price on these things every day.

Everything in our life is about exchange. We live our lives in a modern-day barter system that trades something (usually time) for something else (usually money). We trade time with our families for time at the office. We trade time taking care of ourselves for time at the office.

Does anyone else see the irony in the fact that we work eight, nine, ten hours a day at a job we hate so we can afford a big, beautiful house in the country that we never see because we are working eight, nine, and ten hours a day? Please tell me I'm not the only one that sees this!

Please don't misunderstand me, we all have to work and make a living. The question to ask yourself: "at what expense?" What if that stressful job that you hate is causing so much stress that it is literally taking years off your life? That bonus check will buy a lot of things but it most certainly will not buy you an extra five or ten years with your family.

It's time to start redefining wealth in your life and the best place to start is by adding up all the things in your life that money cannot buy. Money can't buy you healthy children, happy children, a happy marriage, peace of mind, love and respect, or a strong healthy body and mind. Certainly having enough money to cover your expenses, take care of your obligations, and save a little for a rainy day helps with peace of mind, but money alone does not define wealth!

It's time to redefine wealth in your own life. Start by listing all the things in your life that you're grateful for, and that money can't buy; then, write your own personal wealth statement. Here is mine:

"I am wealthy when I enjoy good health and the vitality to do all the things in life that I truly enjoy. My wealth can be defined by the relationships I cultivate and enjoy on a daily basis, the number of true friends I have to call upon, and the feeling of happiness and joy I get when spending time with my loved ones. I am rich in knowledge, caring, and compassion for others. My money feeds my belly and satisfies my debt; my wealth feeds my life and satisfies my soul."

Be extraordinarily grateful for the wealth that you have all around you; you are richer than you think!

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