There is always that one family that sticks out in your mind that exemplified wealth when you were growing up. There is something about how they lived, acted or who they knew that just sets them apart, etching this image in our minds as one element of what it means to be rich. Even if your family has money, there is that other family in the next town, you met on an international vacation or that has a bigger jet. There is always something that stands out as just too opulent.
A kiwi and a toothbrush are mine. A classmate often brought kiwis for lunch, and I had never seen this strange exotic fruit before. The fact that he could afford to eat them often was a sure indication he was rich. The other indication of having money to burn, was a scene in the original movie Arthur (1981), starring Dudley Moore. In the scene, Arthur chastises his butler, Hobson, for giving him a toothbrush that he had used the day before. Hobson knew that Arthur never used the same toothbrush more than once. I sat dumbstruck for the next several minutes trying to imagine having enough money that I would use a new toothbrush every day and throw the old one away.
These impressions stick with us and inform how we define monetary satisfaction, determine wealth and if we have "made it". Your memory may be a pair of sneakers, a car, wearing a particular clothing brand, location of family vacations or something majestic like a kiwi or toothbrush. This is an opportunity to be reminded of how wealth is measured as an adult. What is your standard; homes, accessories, family, vacations, friends, time or something else? Metrics are important, we need to ensure we are measuring according to the right benchmark.
How has this youthful definition of wealth stayed with you? How have you achieved the wealth you defined in your youth? How do you define wealth? How do your decisions align with living a rich life?