How Wealthy Do You Feel?

Being well off is relative.

Being well off is relative. If you don’t believe me, just answer this question:

Pretend you make $100,000 per year. Are you wealthy?

Chances are that your answer will depend in large part on where you live.

Where you live matters

  • If you live in Manhattan, New York, you’re likely to say no.
  • If you live in Clark Fork, Idaho, you’re likely to say yes.
  • If you live in Phoenix, Arizona, your answer is going to depend (a lot) on the particular neighborhood you live in.

Whether or not someone else considers you to be well-off depends on that person’s perspective as well, but that perspective may not agree at all with your own.

Comparison-based

In other words, more than anything, feeling wealthy is generally based on a comparison of how much we have with how much the people around us do or don’t have.

When we have a lot more in comparison to others, we’re wealthy. When we have a lot less in comparison to others around us (even if the people we’re comparing ourselves to would be considered wealthy by the vast majority of Americans) we’re not.

The flip side of this though is that it’s easier to feel wealthy (and content) if you don’t compare yourself with others, or especially if you compare yourself with a period in your past where you didn’t make or have much at all.

So how wealthy do you feel? Do you think that others around you would view you as wealthy?

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2 comments

  • How wealthy do I feel? Not very (well, if I compare myself to some of my peers…though its hard to ascertain how much they really make). But I think you make a very crucial point, comparing yourself to others might be depressing, especially when you aren’t “doing so well”. Instead, compare yourself to your past and future goals of the kind of wealth you’d want.
    Secondly, wealth is relative in other terms as well, not everyone views their net worth as their wealth, there are criterias of wealth eg. family and friendships etc so for-example, I might be money poor and friends wealthy :)

  • I think it all depends. Wealthy to me would be enjoying life and having a great time with family – which is not all related to having money.