Wealth Is More Than Material

I have been blessed with three wonderful daughters. The eldest was married a couple of weeks ago and it was a magical day — one I will always remember and cherish. It’s a big deal when you walk your child down the aisle, knowing you’re about to step aside, leaving her and her soon-to-be husband to begin their life together.

The significance of the moment really put things — put life — into perspective. And, as I looked around the room, filled with friends, family and love, I realized what a truly wealthy man I am — and I don’t mean in the material sense.

When you have your health, when you have a loving and supportive partner, when you see the values and lessons you hoped to instill in your children take root, when you are lucky enough to earn your living doing something you’re passionate about, then you have a life filled with an abundance of riches. That’s what I’m talking about.

Not that I’m suggesting we shouldn’t want to be prosperous, to be successful, to be financially secure, to enjoy and benefit from the other definition of “abundance.”

“Wealth” is, after all, the business I’m in. My job as an Investment Advisor is to help my clients save, grow, protect and pass on their assets. To make sure they have enough.

And that’s where the idea of “abundance” becomes interesting and subjective. As was pointed out in an article on abundance I read recently, it’s different for everyone. It’s personal. Some people feel they have everything they need and want with an income of $100,000 or $200,000 a year, while for others it’s many times that amount.

What it boils down to is, knowing yourself. Knowing what it takes for you to sleep at night. Knowing what “enough” is for you— enough for the necessities, enough for some indulgences, enough to provide for your family, enough to share with the causes you care about, enough to see you through your life and leave something behind. Enough to make you feel both satisfied and safe.

Enough to make you feel successful. You. Not as compared to anyone else – but by your own standards, your own needs and wants, by what matters to you. We short-change ourselves when we measure ourselves by someone else’s ruler. Who cares if the other guy has more houses? “Abundance” is in the eye of the beholder. What fulfills us, what brings us joy and contentment is as individual as we are.

Alan Friedman is an Investment Advisor with CIBC Wood Gundy in Toronto. The views of Alan Friedman do not necessarily reflect those of CIBC World Markets Inc. CIBC Wood Gundy is a division of CIBC World Markets Inc. a subsidiary of CIBC and a Member of the CanadianInvestor Protection Fund and Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada. If you are currently a CIBC Wood Gundy client, please contact your Investment Advisor.

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