Former Banker Measures True Wealth in Ingenious Way

Former Banker Measures True Wealth in Ingenious Way

You might take money advice from a banker, but what about a reformed banker?

Hear us out. A former Goldman Sachs investment banker posted a thoughtful essay of sorts on Business Insider last week on what it really means to have wealth, and it cracked our minds open to a new way of thinking about money.

Most of us think of "wealth" as a hazy--or in some cases very precise--number, after which happiness will follow. Six figures. A million bucks. 100 million bucks. Enough to retire. More than your parents. More than your neighbor. A McMansion in the suburbs with a car elevator for your Maserati.


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But Mr. Anonymous Banker disagrees with this thinking. Take Mike Tyson, who he brings up as an example. At one point he earned $30 million a fight, yet declared bankruptcy in 2003. Would Tyson ever have enough?

RELATED: The Science of Spending: What Really Makes Us Happy?

What Banker is trying to point out is that all you need to be wealthy is income that is higher than your expenses, especially if that applies to the rest of your life. And he disagrees with the idea that hitting the lotto automatically means a triumphant walk away from your job. Yes, if your job sucks but pays the bills, being able to walk away is a bonus. But finding the right work, and being able to live on it, is true happiness, and should be the goal.

He sums it up this way:

"If you have enough assets plus passive income to cover your personal lifestyle expenses for the rest of your life, and that money allows you to work at something you love--without concern for the amount of compensation--then you are wealthy."

So, listen up those of you working at high-paying, soul-sucking jobs: While you may have a swank house or apartment, designer clothing and a doggy daycare for your two purebreds, you're not truly wealthy if you hate your job.

Refreshing, right?

Tell us: What do you think of this definition?


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