It’s powerful when you reach the same destination on two different journeys
In my last blog post I discussed the fact that there many forms of wealth: not just financial, but also social, physical, mental and time. And I said that focusing on financial aspects alone may not be the best, or even a good, use of your abilities, because you might be able to gain more happiness via a greater focus on non-financial forms.
I got there after I saw a LinkedIn post that mentioned that money is not the only form of wealth. And I was very pleased to be able to write along the lines that I did, because it reminded me of a previous piece I had written about many forms of intelligence.
Well, my subconscious mind evidently liked this angle, and continued its pursuit. And one morning, in the shower, it reminded me that I had written a much earlier piece, for which I got the idea from Dr Ed Jacobson, that broadly encompassed those same multiple forms of wealth, but that time from the angle of what Ed called your Life Abundance Portfolio.
An extract from that earlier piece:
Life is about so much more than money. Ed reminds us that we have all kinds of interactions and experiences in life. I can’t remember the labels he used, but here are the words I use to remember his concept. He said there are seven aspects of life to consider. I remember them in pairs:
- family and friends;
- work and play;
- physical health and mental (including spiritual) health;
- and, oh yes, finances.
I then added my own observation that I think of those seven categories as the seven asset classes in your Life Abundance Portfolio. And when we’re considering life’s abundance in the way Ed suggests, it’s clear that money is only one aspect.
Well, my subconscious must have liked the parallel notions of forms of wealth and a portfolio. That’s because a portfolio is a collection of things. So a “life abundance portfolio” is a collection of things relating to life’s abundance. An asset class is a group of things with similar characteristics. So the whole phrase describes all the stuff relating to life’s abundance, classifying them under seven headings. In other words, think of everything that makes your life feel full and complete, under the seven headings listed.
And that’s essentially the same thing as saying that those are different forms of wealth.
My conscious mind now compares the lists.
Ed’s list has family and friends; the list of forms of wealth has social contacts. Ed’s list has work and play; the list of forms of wealth doesn’t mention those – but they are the ways of usefully spending your time, which is in the list of forms of wealth. And both lists explicitly mention physical and mental health.
So, I think, pretty similar, if not virtually identical. And we’ve ended up with those virtually identical lists as the destinations on two different journeys. One explored forms of wealth, the other explored life’s abundance – and as soon as you remove the restriction of defining wealth as money, lo and behold, you end up with the same components.
I don’t know about you, but I find that powerful.
Somewhere my subconscious must also have hearkened back to Ed’s list, because at the end of Walk 4 of my Life Two book – it’s called Walk 4 because the book is a slow guided tour of the land of Life Two, and I help you explore the territory that so many people are afraid of – I suggest the same sort of exercise as I did at the end of my previous piece. Rate your satisfaction with each of your forms of wealth (or asset classes in your life’s abundance portfolio), and when you decide which ones you’re uncomfortable with, see what’s within your power to improve your satisfaction with those forms.
Again, the same exercise in both cases. Yes, at least my conscious and subconscious minds are consistent!
Whether you think of many forms of wealth, or many aspects of life’s abundance, you end up with virtually identical lists.
I have written about retirement planning before and some of that material also relates to topics or issues that are being discussed here. Where relevant I draw on material from three sources: The Retirement Plan Solution (co-authored with Bob Collie and Matt Smith, published by John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2009), my foreword to Someday Rich (by Timothy Noonan and Matt Smith, also published by Wiley, 2012), and my occasional column The Art of Investment in the FT Money supplement of The Financial Times, published in the UK. I am grateful to the other authors and to The Financial Times for permission to use the material here.