We often don’t worry about something until we realise that it’s limited. If we have lots of something, it’s a fortune. If we don’t, it can become a focus of concern and anxiety.
Young children generally don’t worry about much if their needs are met. With access to their parents’ love, attention and confidence, children have much of the social affirmation they need. When school starts and they are placed in a room with lots of other children with similar needs and only a handful of adults, they quickly become aware of social capital.
Within a few years, money becomes more of an issue. Realising we can’t have everything we want, when we want it, awakens us to the importance of financial capital. As soon as we are old enough to start earning money, we jump at the opportunity, whether babysitting, washing cars, a paper route, waiting tables or any other casual position.
With increasing age, our good health becomes harder to maintain. It can happen for some in childhood years; for others, it kicks in around their twenties and thirties when weight gain is the first sign of an ageing body. And, with significant health scares or ageing, our acute awareness of how little time we have left leaves us aware of our time wealth.
If we want to know just how wealthy we are, we need to consider all four of the types of wealth above:
- Social Wealth
- Financial Wealth
- Health Wealth (Physical & Mental)
- Time Wealth (Freedom)
The amount of support for and from others that we enjoy is our social wealth. Investopedia defines social capital as a set of shared values that allows us to work together in a group to achieve a common purpose effectively. The idea is generally used to describe how members can band together to live harmoniously.
In a way, our social capital is our most important as it allows us access to the finances, health, and time of others in our social sphere.
Indeed, money doesn’t make us happy, but having access to financial resources to build and grow is essential to the contributions we can make in our social circles, in protecting our health and affording us freedom of our time.
When we assess our financial portfolio, we often see health in terms of medical cover for emergencies and chronic illness. But it’s so much more than that. It’s physical, mental and emotional, from every bite of food we eat to every word we read and repeat, from how we manage anxiety to how we manage our sleep; our health wealth is integrated into every choice we make.
We had absolute freedom of time in our first few years of life, and we didn’t realise it until we traded it for schooling, working, and maintaining our health. We need to be intentional about reclaiming our power in this wealth area, and we do this through building our social, financial and health wealth.
Our fortune is not just the balance at the bottom right of our monthly bank statement or acquired total assets. It’s so much more meaningful and purposeful when we can see the areas in our lives that accrue and attribute value and make us fortunate.