Individual, collective, and generational wealth
With so many definitions and types of wealth, it can sometimes be difficult to decide where to begin with building it. Oftentimes, I teach the four types of wealth, which include: financial wealth, time wealth, physical wealth, and social wealth.
One may think, for example, “If I focus on building social wealth, I may have to give my time for free and this may impact on how much time wealth I can build at that time.” But, is this necessarily a valid concern? Does one have to pause the building of one type of wealth to grow another type? Not so!
Wealth, in all its varying dimensions, is a continuum. You will not have to get to the limit of one type of wealth before you begin to build another. There are no limits to the extent to which you can go with building one before activating another type of wealth.
With this confusion out of the way, please permit me to introduce to you 3 other dimensions of wealth that you should allow into your consciousness:
1. Individual Wealth
2. Collective Wealth
3. Generational Wealth
Since we can hopefully now agree that wealth is a continuum, I invite you to re-examine your wealth-building strategies. Who else is becoming wealthier as a result of your wealth-building activities?
The decision, for example, to provide financial literacy education opportunities to those closest to one has a significant impact on one’s wealth. It will determine whether the wealth is used in meeting other people’s needs, whether it is preserved, or whether it flows in another direction where it will be better utilized.
The same is true for when your employees have their resource-management skills built up. Their efforts at personal financial management will positively impact your organisation, they perform at their best, and your business is better able to survive tough financial seasons or enjoy accelerated growth during times of boom.
Let’s take a quick look at the 3 dimensions of wealth recently thrown into the mix:
1. Individual Wealth: It is the difference between what you owe and what you own. Your individual wealth translates to what is left after all required deductions have been made from what has your name exclusively on it. It is satisfying. It takes the pressure off you. Whether or not you put a figure on it, your level of individual wealth dictates what you can enjoy or not and for how long this enjoyment will last under certain conditions. Individual wealth is both a reward for work and a seed for future earnings.
2. Collective Wealth: This is an aggregate of what a group of people really own, whether the group is a family, friends, a community, a country, or a continent. The collective wealth within a family, for example, can be a determinant of peace within that family, irrespective of the wealth that individuals within that family possess. As we advance in building individual wealth, it is imperative that we pay attention to the level of collective wealth within our microcosms. The question to answer is: “What can I do to increase the level of collective wealth in this space?” Again: “How are my individual wealth-building activities impeding the collective wealth in this space?”
3. Generational Wealth: It is, as the name implies, wealth that a generation can claim to own in real terms. Many times, this is viewed only through the lens of wealth left to one by association with or relation to an individual within a family. Generational wealth, though, extends beyond what is inherited through blood relations or donations.
As we plan to grow and distribute the wealth we have acquired during our lifetime, we also have the responsibility to think about the generation behind us. We must make decisions today based on a commitment to preserve wealth for the next generation. We must also prepare the next generation for the wealth that we will leave to them. In doing this, we procure happiness for ourselves, for those within our circles, and for posterity.
In closing, I’d say:
Individual wealth will meet your needs and make you happy. Collective wealth will make others around you happy. Generational wealth will make posterity and the world happy with you. Work at making all three happen.