This week, the MyBankTracker editorial team discusses what being “wealthy” means to each of us personally.

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kokorowashinjin / Flickr source

Laura: My dad was giving me a lecture on the difference between being “rich” and “wealthy” and he said that being rich is what you have now, and wealth is what you have for years down the road.

Growing up in the suburbs, I used to think it meant living in a four bedroom house, with three garages, and a Lexus. And being able to live in a nice school district!

Amy: I think it’s been well-documented that after people earn a certain level of income, their happiness is not much affected if they keep earning more than that. So for me, I don’t aspire to earn a lot of money, just enough that I can live comfortably, and still have a lot of time to do what I want to do. That’s my definition of wealthy.

There are a lot of rich people who don’t see themselves as rich, and are really unhappy despite all the money they have. I don’t think being extraordinarily rich is my definition of wealthy.

Claire: So it’s not based on money, it’s based on a lifestyle.

Amy: Yeah. I think it would be a lie to claim that money has no effect on a person’s happiness, because it clearly does, but as long as I can live comfortably, being a millionaire is not something I aspire to.

Laura: What’s comfortable to you though?

Amy: I think that’s hard for me to say definitively right now, because I’m single, I don’t have a family to raise, I don’t have a house to buy…

Claire: Comfortable is probably not having to stress about bills, not being worried about that kind of stuff.

Amy: And still having money to spend on recreation, or non-necessities.

Claire: I think my definition of wealth is part-money, part-lifestyle. You have a certain level of income so you’re not stressed out about stuff, you can hang out with your rich friend if you want, you can take trips if you want. I think more important than that is time, because time is money. If you have a lot of time and freedom to do what you want without being bogged down at a 9 to 5 job, I think that’s great.

Laura: What would one year of living the ideal life be like for you?

Claire: I would wake up in the morning, have my coffee, not have to go to work, not have to be in the office. Go for a hike if I want… I used to see that all the time in L.A. with actors and freelancers. On a Tuesday at 11, the gym is packed. The hiking trail is packed.

That’s ideal for me, being able to take my hobbies to the next level, and have time to be able to do stuff like that.

Simon: My definition aligns with your definitions. I would like to wake up and not have to worry about going to work. I would think about a day when I would own a bunch of real estate and that money would earn me more money as a passive income stream, and I can just wake up and do whatever I want, but still have enough money to live on.

Amy: I think that’s really hard to achieve, especially because for a lot of people, once they reach a certain level of income, they aspire for more.

Simon: Yeah, it becomes a numbers game.

Amy: I think the scariest thing is that so many young people spend so much of their lives making money that they don’t have time or energy for anything else. By the time they realize this, it’s too late.

Simon: Do any of you guys consider yourselves wealthy?


Amy: No!

Claire: Hell no.

Laura: No.


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MyBankTracker readers, what is your personal definition of being wealthy? Money? Time? Travel? Let us know in the comments below.

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  • To the phony populists among our politicians (Fat Al Gore and John “$400 Haircut” Edwards come to mind as the phoniest), “wealthy” and “the rich” means anyone with one more dollar than the speaker. “We” are overtaxed and oppressed, “the rich” are oppressing us and should be taxed at over 100% in the name of “social justice” and such.