What Does It Mean to Be Rich?


When you’re a kid, you don’t have much concept of what true wealth is—so you tend to relate it to experiences, or at least I did.

In my case, I understood wealth in the context of fast-food restaurants. I used to eat at my favorite restaurants, McDonald’s and Burger King, as often as I could.

I’d never do this now, of course. Maybe it was my generation or social class or just the brilliant marketing of soulless corporations, but for whatever reason I was hooked on fast food.

At some point I remember thinking: One day I want to have enough money that I can eat at McDonald’s any time I want.

Isn’t that funny? But I really thought that. I wanted to be able to eat what I want, when I wanted, without worrying about the money. And for me at the time (fortunately it changed), that meant McDonald’s.


I’m writing from the W Hong Kong, where I just arrived after beginning my latest Round-the-World trip. The W here has one of the best hotel breakfast buffets in all of Asia, which for all practical purposes means all of the world.

My breakfast is comped, thanks to my elite status with Starwood. As best I can tell, it costs approximately 10x what a meal at McDonald’s would. But if it wasn’t comped, I’d gladly pay. It’s so good! And I’m having so much fun waking up early, drinking unlimited macchiatos, and thinking about the world.

The lesson? Well, I’m jet-lagged, so you might have to wade through the muddle. But aside from not eating fast food, I think the lesson is to figure out what makes you feel rich—and it’s best if such a thing is somewhat obtainable.

I still think of wealth as it relates to food and experiences.

I don’t want to buy a boat. I don’t need a stable of horses. I want to live free of debt. I want to be generous, because generous people have more to give. And I want to appreciate what I have.

How about you—what makes you feel rich?

Comments here.


Image: Andrew

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  • Nancy says:

    Strictly from a money standpoint, the ability to travel, with enough left over to make a difference in the world. I am blessed to be able to do both. I have no desire for a lot of the other things we’re “supposed” to want. Big house, fancy car, multiple new tech items, etc. I see everything in terms of travel. When someone mentions the price of something they have bought, I immediately calculate what that sum would buy in flights, etc. Of course, what makes me feel the richest is the love of family and friends. Enjoy the trip!

  • Kumara S Raghavendra says:

    To be able to consume as much content as I feel like (video, audio, articles, books, etc) on the Internet at any given time, to be able to travel to new places about 4 times a year would make me feel rich.

  • Martin Baker says:

    Wealth for me = freedom

  • Mike Rudd says:

    Great post Chris, we’ll be using our HIlton Gold Status for free nights at the Conrad in Hong Kong in a few weeks…have a great time!
    Real wealth for me is relationships and experiences. Whether it is traveling the world, volunteering with friends, writing a book, having a reunion of some sorts, running a marathon, or simply taking the time to get fresh organic food and cook from scratch on a Tuesday night with my wife while enjoying wine and spinning Outkast and Beatles records.
    At the end of our lives…we can only be so fortunate to have relationships and experiences…and there’s no reason we can’t treasure or have them every day!
    Not just when we take a trip once a year.
    I encourage everyone to dig deep on their relationships this year and treasure them…they are special!
    That’s being rich to me…

  • Margaret Smith says:

    Once, when our children were young, something came on TV about folks who were rich – I don’t remember what it was. One of the kids turned to me and asked, “Mom, are we rich?” My husband and I said, almost in sync, “No”. But then I immediately said, “That’s not really true. We have everything we need, and some things we don’t really need, but want. Compared to the vast majority of the people in the world, yes, we are rich.”
    I’ve though about this exchange often, and never changed my mind. I perhaps don’t have everything I might want, but I am certainly not lacking anything I need. I have enough to share with others, which gives me great pleasure. Living where I do (in the USA), I can seek out and read pretty much anything I might want. I can travel some. My children are adults, on their own. and doing well. I live in a safe community, not torn by war or disease.
    Yes, I am rich!

  • Lauren says:

    For me it’s time–to work on art, to write, to take road trips, without having to worrying about whether I will have enough money to pay my rent.

  • Marcy says:

    I like being able to plan to do some things I’d like to do with how much it will cost being an afterthought. Really, though, once I know how I’ll be able to pay for my sons’ college, I’ll go back to feeling rich enough.

  • Chris says:

    I loved that you mentioned in the post that you don’t want the boat.

    For me, to be rich I want the boat. Luckily for me though that is all I want. I want a small simple sailboat and to be able to let go of everything else. A boat that has what it needs to sail independent and untethered, ready to discover and enjoy the world.

    I read about those who have already achieved my goal and am happy to report it requires significantly less money then most (including me) thought.

    I have my date set. Getting closer every day.

    “The entire ocean. The entire wo’ld. Wherever we want to go, we’ll go. That’s what a ship is, you know. It’s not just a keel and a hull and a deck and sails, that’s what a ship needs but what a ship is… what the Black Pearl really is… is freedom,” Capt. Jack Sparrow.

  • Aaron Bailey says:

    I had a similar feeling when I had breakfast at the W Hong Kong, with an amazing view of the harbor. Life is good.

  • Samuel Mandell says:

    Wow I had the same childhood measure of wealth. For me it was the food courts at the malls. I used to think to myself “one day I will have enough money to eat at any of these places!”

    I, unlike you however, did not outgrow my love for this kind of food 🙂

    When I got my first job that was what made me feel the most like an adult, being able to go out to any restaurant I wanted, as much as I wanted. More than any car, more than any object, it was this that made me feel like I had made it.

    Keep up the great work, I’ve been enjoying this blog.

  • Heather George says:

    I have been thinking about this a lot lately, and am feeling beyond “rich” beyond my previous wildest dreams, since moving to Kauai recently. There is an astounding wealth of natural beauty, flora & fauna, clean air & water, and friendly people (the aloha spirit alive and well!) here. I am also in the process of simplifying my lifestyle, including less work, which is creating more time to enjoy all this wealth. As others have basically said, time is the ultimate luxury. Enjoy your travels and thanks as always for your thoughtful inspiration!

  • Kalie says:

    I agree so much that being rich is about much more than money and possessions, and being generous is the richest feeling of all. A proverb says, “There is one who pretend to be rich, but has nothing; Another pretends to be poor, but has great wealth.”

  • Dan says:

    Quite simply, feeling adventurous makes me feel rich. The feeling of exploring the unknown, realizing the seemingly unlimited realm of new possibilities, all creates a sense of of having more than I could ever possibly need or want in life.

  • Laura Neff says:

    I have a distinct memory of being 23 and in my first corporate job, telling a high school friend on the phone, “I’m going to make so much money, I’ll be able to buy ALL my clothes at Banana Republic and Ann Taylor!” That makes me laugh now, but there’s still some kernel of truth there. I love beautiful clothes that make me feel on the outside like who I am on the inside. Part of what that means is that I don’t care so much about where they come from as I do about how I feel in them and whether their production caused harm or created good. To have the means to purchase only those that created good would feel, to me, “rich.” Also, having days that feel spacious, with abundant, radiance-creating foods, surrounded by people I love who also inspire me, with a healthy dose of Nature and challenging movement mixed in…all while doing good work in the world in minimal time with maximum impact…yes, all that feels so very rich to me!

  • cindy paul says:

    I feel rich or rich means to me when I can give to the less privileged or I see the person next to me needs something or that one thing more than I do and I can immediately give without hesitation. Also looking at my two lovely amazing kids a girl and a boy I feel like am super rich that they know no fear and gets everything that makes life comforting eg food cloths and mom and dads love.

  • Laura Simms says:

    Love this. Rich to me feels like the freedom and flexibility to see the people in the world I care about the most, choosing how I spend my time, living without debt, and affording a small number of high quality things.

  • Colin says:

    Hey Chris, such a powerful post with very few words. I love it!

    In high school and early college I was determined to own a fleet of Ferraris and other exotic cars parked in the garage of my mansion. That is what rich felt like to me, and life wasn’t going to be ok until I got there.

    Now that I’m a little wiser (only a little,) I measure wealth in the amount of time I have to do the things I want with those who I care about, have the experiences I want to have, and the amount of difference that I can make for others. After reading this post, I realize and am very appreciative for how much wealth I currently have. Although, I can’t say I won’t alway turn my head if nice looking Porsche passes me 😉

  • MarieZJohnston says:

    My (adult) daughter and I just had this exact conversation today on the eve of our departure to Myanmar for two weeks. It is easy to forget how privileged we are individually and as a nation, easy to forget how blessed we are to live in relative peace.
    For me wealth is to have the gift of time to spend with the people I love. To come together in unfamiliar places and share the adventure of discovery; not only of where we find ourselves, but the inner discovery that comes with travel.
    Being rich is to live comfortably within my means, free of debt and yet in want of nothing required day to day. Good quality food to share with people I love. And time to participate in and give back to the tribe and community that is important to the quality of my world.

  • JJ says:

    Being rich means having enough money (and the financial literacy) to support my lifestyle without having to work 9 to 5 (or some variation) for an employer. While my lifestyle requirements don’t call for a high cost of living, I’d still need more than the minimal amounts for food, shelter, clothing, etc. I’d say being able to support my life and non-financial goals through entrepreneurial activities is a good sign I’m “Rich”.

  • Mark Guevara says:

    Wealth for me means being debt free and being able to travel wherever & whenever I want to.

  • Chris @ Flipping A Dollar says:

    I wanted to be able to wear a new pair of socks every day. It was only $1 per pair at that point, so $365 a year seemed totally worth it. I just love the feeling of new socks!

  • Joan says:

    For me, feeling “rich” would just be not having to think about whether I could afford fairly everyday things.

    I want to be know that I can pay all the bills whenever they arrive in the month without worrying when payday is. I want to know that I can say yes to a dinner invitation or a new pair of shoes that feel amazing and not have to worry about the cost.

    I’m not really talking about “big” stuff here, and I’m not a super-frequent shopper/spender. I’d still carefully weigh the value of a major purchase like furniture or a car or a larger trip/event. But to be able to do the everyday stuff without concern… wow.

  • Lorna says:

    About 20 years when I was earning very little, I decided I would know I was well off when, every week, I could afford to buy:
    – a book
    – a bottle of wine
    – a bunch of flowers
    and I could switch on the heating if I was still cold even after putting on extra jumpers!

    That formula hasn’t changed. I rarely buy all 3 in any week – it’s never been about buying them, but about the freedom to buy luxuries, and those are mine. They’ve never been expensive versions: I’m in the UK so I’d be paying around £6.99 for a paperback (although I usually just borrow from the library, for free), £2 for a bunch of daffodils, and £5.99 for a nice Merlot (nice enough for me, anyway). Cheers!

  • Mike Goncalves says:

    Loved this post Chris. Couldn’t agree more…wealth is so much more than money these days.. at least to me it is. Hilarious that you loved McDonald’s growing up… me too! I too wish I had more money as a kid where I could not only get a value meal, but also add chicken nuggets to my order (they were always so expensive). What makes me feel rich more than anything, is my health. Feeling good every morning that I wake up. Injury free, no pain, and no illness. If I can have that the rest of my life, until my passing day, I will live a very rich life. In addition, having time to do more of the things I love, spending it with the people that are most important to me, makes me feel rich beyond measure. The third for me and just as important as the first two, is the ability to serve, help, and make a difference in the lives of others. Even if it’s just smiling at someone, holding the door for them, letting them into my driving lane, or buying them a cup of coffee. Being able to provide these little gestures of service to others makes me feel like the riches man alive. It’s awesome…’re awesome! Thanks for this post. Cheers!

  • Steve Reed says:

    Great post Chris, it’s something that I have thought about a lot over the years. I probably don’t have a definitive answer, because these things are always evolving, but my answer now is….

    Wealth, for me, is not about the size of my bank balance per se, it’s about how I feel, how I can support my family, how I can enjoy the experiences we have in this incredible world we live in. It;’s about how I can connect with people and share experiences.

    That said, financial ‘wealth’ has a lot going for it, not for the cash component, but for the feeling it gives you to feel free, to hace choices, to not be constantly in a state of panic about paying the mortgage or putting food on the plate.

    Those things don’t need to cost a huge amount, although it seems so many people are keen to live beyond their means, and they pay the price later on.

    I need enough money to give me a feeling of security, to be able to travel, to be able to sit in a cafe with my laptop and a Latte. That makes me feel rich. I do that every day.

    Realistically, if I do accumulate wealth over time, I’ll use it to support good causes, to help others to improve their lives, to make a difference. But on a day to day basis, I don’t need much to feel wealthy inside.


  • Robin says:

    I think I feel rich because of the connections I have made, and kept, in my life so far. I think about the students I’ve taught and know that those who remember me or cherish something I gave them, keep that richness alive. I smile when my cat greets me at the door because she recognized the “beep” of our car alarm. I know, that on some level, she recognizes the love that we bring to each other’s lives. Some connections may get lost in time, but the memories and positive interactions remain, reminding me that I am rich, regardless of the balance in my bank account. Thank you Chris for this thought-provoking post.

  • Scott says:

    I feel rich when I’m free which means being able to live and work on my own terms. It’s an amazing feeling to be able to do what you want and work on things that matter to you. Being rich to me also means living far enough below my means that I feel comfortable from time to time spending a lot of money or helping someone else. I don’t need an extravagant life, just the ability to do what I want.

  • nadja says:

    Apart from the horses (I DO want a stable full of them) your definition of richness resonates with me. I think that especially food makes for the best memories ever. I can recall almost every course of a good menu in a special restaurant, no matter how long ago I ate it. Eating in good and creative restaurants is a form of luxury for me.

  • Tom McCallum says:

    I certainly feel rich, and it has little to do with money and financial assets.

    Why do I feel rich then ?

    It is linked to my declaration that I am retired… but not retired by the conventional definition. I work longer hours and with more passion and energy in that direction than I ever have… so what do I mean by retired ?

    I’m retired from feeling like I work because I HAVE to. I work because I WANT to. I LOVE my work. It is my passion, and is closely aligned with my intent and purpose as a human being. Everyday I bounce out of bed wondering how the work I do can make a difference and who it can make a difference to… and, in so doing, it makes a difference to me too.

    By this stage I guess you can understand why I feel rich. My life is rich with opportunities and possibilities.

    Thanks, as always, to Chris for his inspiring blogs and writings !

  • Chris says:

    To be able to spend time in Nature (*World Wide) enjoying and photographing the beauty of the natural world at will with my family, and sharing images that I’ve made with the world. Irregardless of cost, unencumbered by constraints of whether I could afford it or not.

  • Khaled says:

    For me, wealth means the ability to be there for a friend or anyone in need, on a moment’s notice. That might mean I can hop on a jet to be in NYC that evening for a drink and to help a friend in need, or it might mean I can fly a friend out to Boulder for a much-needed vacation.

    It might even mean I can provide resources for my friends to pursue their dreams, like investment capital or connections for jobs.

  • Sonya Lea says:

    Thanks for an intriguing post, Chris. My word for ‘rich’ is ‘wealth’. The ways I feel wealthy are through honesty in my relationships, being an activist for the disadvantaged or wounded, and living as a creative human, including taking time in solitude.

  • Gretchen Icenogle says:

    Time. Love. Beauty. Quiet. The freedom to walk toward what beckons and away from what repels.

  • Alex Clifford says:

    “Without money, we’d all be rich”

    Being able to eat in a restaurant was definitely a big thing when I was younger. But now I think time is the most valuable thing we have.

    Having a small work schedule that lets us live well, eat good food, get plenty of sleep and spend out time adventuring and making friends… that’s a rich life in my opinion.

    What pains me is all these office-based people on the “deferred life” plan… thinking in 15 years time they could retire and enjoy life. When the life they’re really looking for is right in front of them, if they just changed a few things.

    Time and health are the only assets you really have.

  • Rick Barlow says:

    NetJets. Boarding a Falcon 2000 at a few hours notice and launching into the sky like a rocket. No airport lines, no crowds, no schedule but your own. That felt very rich. Yeah, yeah; family, friends, experiences, giving, yada, yada, yada. Sure, that’s all good, but you can have and do all that regardless of your income. So, strictly speaking, if we’re talking about what makes you feel like you have extraordinary wealth (for you, not necessarily for Donald Trump), private air travel does it for me (used to). I can’t imagine a breakfast buffet coming close.

  • Ginny says:

    My story goes back many years. I was moving back to my home state following the death of my husband. With two small children in tow, my concern was to find a place to live that had good schools—for free. That search led me to a humble house, literally on the other side of the tracks in a suburb with excellent schools.

    Late one night, for whatever reason, I found myself ruminating on the housing plight of refugees and the slums and the poor sanitation that desperately poor live in throughout the world. In thinking of my own house, I realized that whole families could live in each one of my bedrooms with the outstanding advantage of having running water, climate control, sanitary facilities, and free quality education to boot. It struck me that I lived in a palace¬. I was indeed rich beyond belief.

    Thank you for taking me back to that moment. I still feel incredibly rich just living in a first world country with all the privileges it brings.

  • Katrina Martin says:

    Meeting new people and spending time with people that appreciate for who I am makes me feel rich. I just met a DJ from Brooklyn that was visiting New Hampshire and we danced, talked and partied until 4:30am. It made me feel like $1million!

  • Kimberly Houston says:

    For me it’s all about the light bulbs!

    I mean, certainly I feel rich when I consider all I have that makes life pretty easy, comparatively speaking: shelter, running water, interesting work, great friends and family, good health, access to the Internet and so on. But one of the little quirky things that makes me feel “rich” is having a big supply of light bulbs! I know it’s crazy, and I don’t know why this is — I didn’t grow up in a house where we struggled to have enough of them, but for some reason, if my refrigerator is full and I have lots of light bulbs, I feel like everything is ok in my world. Just the other day, I had to replace the bulb in my desk lamp, and nothing made me happier than opening my pantry and seeing two dozen light bulbs of all varieties and wattages to choose from. Very odd, I know.

  • Edie says:

    My parents are from Panama and Belize, so my concept of wealth is significantly different than most people here in Portland! For one, having an nice apartment with mod cons is incredible! I don’t have to cook over a stove power by propane. I work in a lovely manufacturing facility and I don’t pick coffee beans. Electricity is cheap. Food…is not as good, but by God there is plenty of it, it’s cheap and you can choose to be as fat or skinny as you like. I can buy a house in the metro area for far less of my income. There are free libraries and access to community college courses for cheap.

    I feel very wealthy indeed.

  • Catina says:

    For me, to be rich is to spend my time however I choose. I’m still working a 9 to 5 so I’m not there yet but sharing and giving, time with loves ones, travel and enjoying good food are most fulfilling.

  • Gonzalo says:

    I want to FEEL free. To go wherever I wanto to go. To spend my time the way I want to spend it. To help the people I want to help and when I want. I want to move freely around the worl without heavy restrictions. To learn whatever I want to learn and to create what I want to create. And to experience what I want to experience. Thanks!!!!!

  • catherine winter says:

    ha ha funny you should say that about a boat. i just put an offer on a boat today! not a big boat, not a new boat. a boat where i can spend several months a year floating around exploring new places and meeting new people. a boat where my friends can gather and watch the sunset and talk about what they did that day. that’s makes me feel rich, having the time to slow down, with good company, and watch the sunset.

  • Wayne Jones says:

    When I was young I had a friend whose parents had their own business and when we went to his house after school he had chocolate coated biscuits (for those in Australia they were Tim Tams). We NEVER had Tim Tams in our house so I thought they were really rich.

    These days I have my own business and don’t want for anything material so time is my biggest asset and so I consider myself wealthy because I manage my day to suit myself and not others. I keep my diary free of useless meetings and do things that I enjoy and if tomorrow was the last day on this earth I wouldn’t want it to look much different to today or yesterday. Reading, friends, a run near water…

  • Leon Harte says:

    I feel rich when I lay down at night in my king bed, next to my wife of 30 years. I lay there in the dark and think how so few people in all of human history ever had it so good. I know that at that very moment there are literally millions of souls with no home, no warm bed, no food, and for many.. no hope. Yet I can lay there in great comfort, and can be grateful that I may even have yet another such day within a few hours when dawn breaks, and I’ll rise to make the best cup of coffee anyone has ever had.

    Those are times that I feel ‘rich’. But as Chris said: “I want to be generous… and ..I want to appreciate what I have.” And if I can be a true friend and a real blessing to someone else in any way, then I know I am rich beyond measure.

    Although, the boat (a schooner in the Caribbean?) would be nice, too. 🙂

  • Jennifer Black says:

    Do you know what makes me feel rich? My Soul. Do you know why? Because every day of my life I go to millionaire homes in Los Angeles, California, and I teach yoga to people who always have more money than me. They have better cars and better manicures and certainly better clothes. But they sit on their mats, and they look right in my eyes and expect me to help them feel better about their bodies and their lives. They ask me to teach them to free their minds. Can you imagine that? The poor girl helping the rich man find more gratitude and a deeper breath. I think about this all the time. Sitting in front of them, I know I have the real wealth. I know how to love myself. And I know how to teach others to do that, as well. I will always know this secret: The only true wealth is found within you. I have living proof of that. Money will never own me. And no dollar can ever own strength. The soul is the greatest investment. And no matter what my bank account ever says, I will always know what true wealth is. I’m so very grateful for that. Thank you, Chris!

  • Rod says:

    Great post Chris. The rich question has haunted me for a long time as I worked developing luxury houses for others. Not being able to afford one of these beautiful multi million dollars homes myself I felt like I was missing out. However after making a little money and realising I had enough to not have a 9-5 job anymore I realised how rich I was. Watching all these other people that I sold expensive homes to work harder and harder to have a bigger pool or a better view with more debt and no free time seemed like insanity to me. After growing in a working class suburb in Melbourne with the family holiday to the same location every year in a caravan park I now feel blessed that I can ski where I want and travel when I want. Richness to me is freedom and flexibility to choose to do things on my own terms. Enjoy your round the world trip I am just planning mine.

  • Sheralyn says:

    Feeling rich to me means to have enough money to take care of basic things like a decent place to live, the food I like to eat, enough clothes to get by etc. And in addition to that, to not have to spend too much of my day trading my time to earn money – instead, to spend more of my time on things that I actually want to be doing 🙂 And last, but not least, to have enough money to splurge when I see some thing or experience that I want.

  • Amanda says:

    Freedom from within

  • Teresa says:

    I agree with rich=freedom. Being free of others control would be the best feeling. Im working hard towards that day.

    Outside of that, rich=
    •love of a best friend i have known for 27 years
    •being with an incredible life partner
    •wonderful family

    I guess im already rich:)

  • Idara says:

    My definition of what makes me feel rich encompasses: 1.) Peace of Mind 2.) Excellent health 3.) Personal & Creative Freedom 4.) At least one stream of passive income so I can choose whether I wish to work for renumeration or be of service to others just because it’s a cause that moves me

  • Urell Odama says:

    What makes me feel rich? When I am out of debt – and who knows when that will be.

  • Anita R. Lunn says:

    Many people think lack of money is their biggest life problems and having plenty of it is their biggest achievement in life but the truth is, living life to the fullest is what makes you really rich. Great blog!

  • Chelsea says:

    Sometimes I think feeling rich comes from what types of clothes I wear, or what “looks rich” around the house. I love that you said that generous people have more to give. Its the “It’s more blessed to give than to receive” mentality. So many people I see that are rich, don’t have that generous spirit. And those that I would consider poor are the ones who give the most out of anyone I know. So, rich isn’t what you can see, It’s what you do with what you have. And those that are the most selflessly generous are the richest in the world. So much to think about on this one. Thank you for making me contemplative. 🙂

  • Sonia says:

    To me wealth is how you feel in relation to money. Some people may consider me wealthy, some may not, but I consider myself wealth because I don’t have to worry about money. I’m debt free living in a developing country. I can do anything that I wanted and know that I can afford it, of course the things I want are quite reasonable. Wealth is the lack of anxiety in relation to money and financial freedom to pursue your dreams.

  • Caroline says:

    My version of Being Rich = Doing what I want, when I want, with whom I want, including and not limited to travelling extensively and always being able to eat wherever I want, and whatever I want. So, like you Chris, and I imagine many of your other readers, it’s less about the materialist stuff (minimalism anyone?) and more about the experiences and the company I keep, with the freedom to be myself in every sense of the word.

  • Irwan says:

    Being RICH for me equals to being debt-free and enjoying financial freedom. The ability to afford a holiday trip out anywhere in the world at any time I wish without being bound to the constraints of money or time. The ability to afford the little things in life that I want like that Nike sneakers or an iPhone 6 (Still using a 4S btw) worries-free and without calculating my bank balance in my head. The ability to treat close friends and family to dinners, movies and trips as and when I feel they can do with a little cheering up or whenever I want their company.

  • Aleksei says:

    For me being rich means have the time – the time to do whatever I want, without the obligation to be anywhere particular.

  • Jerry says:

    Enough money to cover the basics of life in a comfortable style, while being able to do my art (theatre, especially Shakespeare!) and bring it to the people who live in New Mexico (dead last in the arts AND education!). No grand dreams, no need for applause or accolades (other than respect). I’m getting there!

  • Francisca Villanueva says:

    I remember one time, I don´t know exactly what I was doing, but there was a conversation with a friend where we were planning how to get a big price. For me, at that point (I was above 25), it was to get a car full of chocolates and toys! When I realize that this was still my automatic response to my ideal of a fortune or a tresure, then I felt really joyfull and happy. My inner child is still live and kicking!, i thought.
    I have to say though, that the most powerfull feelling of security and freedom while I´m traveling is, like you, the food: being able to pay for wherever, coffe or meal.

  • Connie says:

    When I was a kid, my idea of wealth was being able to buy all the CANDY BARS I wanted. That absolutely never happened, because by the time I was a teen making my own money, I didn’t want to buy candy bars anymore; I spent my money on fashion. 🙂 Having lived in two developing countries where people are more content than any of my friends are here in the USA, I think wealth is definitely an attitude toward material things. Just having enough. As G.K. Chesterton said, “There are two ways of having enough: accumulating more and more, or desiring less. I choose to desire less. How little can I live on and still be okay? Saving money in a 401K can disappear overnight, thanks to Wall Street. So it’s best to know how to get along on less, all the time, and learn how to be content in whatever state I am in. That last statement, by the way, is from St. Paul.

  • Nader says:

    Oh man, what a great question. For me it wasn’t exactly food, it was more like toys. As a kid, being rich meant I could have any toy in the world. And I would have the coolest toys ever. I would always see kids with these toys that were so different, and I would get jealous because of how cool it looked.

    Well, now it’s more like high tech toys that can do high tech things, like drones! Lol 😀 that would be cool to have!

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  • Ted says:

    Rich to me is happiness. Doing things, whether for professional purposes or recreation, being happy and providing happiness is how I feel rich. There are pieces that build happiness – family, profession, financial, etc. – but if all those choices are made in the name happiness, I feel I’m on the right track.

  • Gita says:

    I think often too much emphasis is given to “rich”. Really, does it really matter, if you are rich, or what you equate to rich?

    I would place a lot more emphasis on good relationships, health, caring and sharing. Does that make me feel rich? I don’t believe I think that way. I think, what fun! What magic! How lovely! Lucky bug ( expression from my teenage niece)!

    I must confess I am a trust fund kid that created her own trust fund 🙂 Material is important, not so sure it really makes the world go around.

    Chris, thanks for your website. Enjoy reading it.

  • Stephan Giannini says:

    Interesting question. I realized while perusing the answers that what would make me feel rich is if I could take dates out to eat, drink, etc. without having to make a value return calculation. I think that is why I love to travel. So many places are cheaper then the NE US where I live, it’s nice just to be able to treat someone ( or myself) to a nice meal and not think about it to hard.
    What are the best places for delicious inexpensive meals? Thailand was my fave so far.

  • Sasha says:

    Thank you for your thoughts and this discussion. It’s so important to talk about money, wealth and what we need and how we feel about it!

    When I was growing up, wealth was a taboo topic. My mother’s family came from old money and my father’s family came from no money. As a child I didn’t know about rich and poor, but I knew that I lived in two very different worlds with each of my parents, who were separated.

    As I got older, being rich for me was something I was ashamed of, I wanted to apologize for.
    But I made good use of it, I went to college and graduated without debt, and I got a job that I like that pays well. I am making my own money now, and I am proud of myself. I did not “pull myself up by my own bootstraps,” I got a really big lift up, but then I did as much as I could with it…

    Being rich, being poor, it is not by way of luck or merit, it is by design of economic structure, one that neither you nor I had any hand in. The reality of being rich, being poor, being in-between, feels, tastes, smells very real and it becomes the reality of our lives, but it is not who we are as humans because wealth is a fabricated construct. If we take away fabricated wealth created by economic system for a moment-and examine what we truly need=food, water, shelter, love, and yes, labor and creativity, passion, and a sense of belonging (some of which is attained by having a certain standard of living similar to those around us).

    Working gives my life value, it makes me feel useful and smart, and I like having something to contribute. I like working, and I am grateful that I have paid work, that I have time off, that I have people to love that love me, that I have good food to eat, a warm bed, I’m not living in a war-zone or a prison, and I feel like I can afford to purchase items that feel necessary given the society I live in (like cell-phones, computer, travel). Definitely feeling satisfied and grateful.

    If I could increase my wealth in two areas, I’d like to be more generous (make a habit of it), and more forgiving (not sub-consciously judging people for their economic standing/class). Dear blog post commenters and god of internet googling strange thoughts that come into my head, give me the strength to be both generous and forgiving.

  • Mary-Celeste` says:

    My husband and I are still “starving students,” but we have no debt, our apartment is comfortable and safe, and we have a car and live in a place where cheap entertainment and good friends can be found in spades. I say we’re rich. We need to be very, very careful with our money, but we have more than enough money to eat plenty of delicious food, both at home and at the occasional restaurant. Because we’re associated with the local university, we can freely access all the recreational and fitness equipment and every resource the library has to offer. Each room in our apartment is very small except for the living room, which has enough space to jam a generous number of our friends into it for movie nights, game nights, and parties. We have everything we need and more, and the most precious things in my life simultaneously cost me everything and nothing: my husband and my religion. Thanks for this post. It’s a good reminder to me. I would feel richer and more blessed if we didn’t need to constantly be concerned about finances: rent, insurance, and other “necessary” expenses, although I suppose these problems could only grow in the “real world” once I’ll have left college-land. 🙂

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  • muyag says:

    you inspire me chris, that’s why i love you somuch. I feel rich when,i can always meet my needs and generously assist the needy around me.

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