Determining Your Net Worth

During our home selling efforts, Len and I took the opportunity to review our net worth. Anemic by many people’s standards, we’re glad our “portfolio” isn’t made up of finances alone.

Three Oaks Recreation Area — Crystal Lake, IL

We enjoy a different type of wealth — the recession-proof kind that retains its value regardless of the economic climate.

And while the financial side of the ledger might look a bit bleak to some, here’s a glimpse at a few of the items on the non-financial side of our ledger:

  • Peace of mind
  • Physical health
  • Spiritual abundance
  • Loving relationships
  • Unlimited potential
  • Gratitude
  • Laughter

Holy Toledo — we’re not rich, we’re downright wealthy!

What’s your net worth?

Laurie Buchanan

Whatever you are not changing, you are choosing.” — Laurie Buchanan

The Book—Discovering the Seven Selves
The Experience—Life Harmony

© Laurie Buchanan 2013

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73 thoughts on “Determining Your Net Worth

  1. Laurie, your topic is timely and I share your definition of wealth. The ones that mean the most to me right now are these: connection to God, a clear conscience, and the love of family including my soulmate Cliff. Great post!

  2. Laurie — I am overflowing with hope for people and a never-ending supply of confidence that we can change our ways to make everyone’s lives free of war, famine, and poverty. I have to trust Spirit to guide my actions because I am only one person, but if enough people tap into their wisdom, it can happen.

  3. Yes, yes and yes! Being wealthy from more than a financial place is conscious choice and awareness.

    I think I maybe be short in all areas of my life at the moment? Keeping the balance is a daily, moment to moment experience!

    I am Love,

  4. I love this, Laurie. Indeed, a person’s wealth cannot be defined by his/her riches. I’d say if you’ve got that bullet point list, you are, indeed, in good shape. I think the greatest net worth my husband and I have is the ability to live in such a remote, diverse area – sharing it with the wildlife that call it home.

  5. Agree. A little short in the bank account.. but what is that compared to everything I have? Yesterday I was grateful that I had the ability to walk on my own so I could run errands for others who cannot. Being grateful in the moment for small things (which are actually very big) increases my overall wealth.

  6. Having been Blessed with what I call a successful life for the last decade or so, I find myself sometimes feeling sorry for those who only have money to show for their years on Earth. A great amount of cash flow can keep the wolf from the door for only so long, but most will find that heart-ache, illness and other troubles will come down the chimney. Wealth of the type you describe is a great screen to keep these other beasts from ravaging your days and nights.

  7. Knowledge is understanding — the kind of wealth where we can be at cause where the effects of life could be overwhelming. We can always start a new day and find some part we an change to put back smiles and new adventures. I would resonate with what Barbara Kass said completely as something stable to follow.

  8. I really enjoyed your thoughts this morning. It’s such a good focus. We have been doing some retirement assessment and thinking of ways to downsize, too, and part of that requires us asking what means the most to us. And we came up with a similar list. We want to maintain our good health and focus on family and friends, of which we, too, feel a wealth that is invaluable. I think when the focus remains on these things to bolster wellbeing, then decisions simplify and we need so much less to get by! I sometimes wish we’d truly seen that as “enough” when we were younger. It would make downsizing a lot easier. We have too much stuff!! 🙂

    • Three Well Beings – “…and we need so much less to get by!” Your words are so true! Let me explain…

      In May, in preparation for selling our home, we did a deeeeeep purge, taking everything we didn’t need to a local donation center.

      Then we packed almost everything except 4 of this, 4 of that, 4 of the other thing. Just enough to “get by” until the house sold.

      Our home didn’t sell yet. So yesterday we took it off the market until Spring, when we’ll put it back on.

      But we learned that we live very comfortably with 4 of this, 4 of that, 4 of the other thing and are going to be very comfortable donating the rest of what we learned we didn’t “need” once we unpack it.

  9. Wealthy you are Laurie! We had a wee dip in David’s health portfolio a few years ago but it has recovered nicely. Other than that, it is simple abundance all the way. The nice thing about this kind of wealth is the more you share the more it grows and the interest is self determined. All the best of Tuesday to both you and Len. Hugs with lots of love to you both!

  10. Hi Laurie I love all that you value especially laughter , it’s essential in a relationship. My sister and myself grew up with a mother with depression so we had to learn to be resourceful . Our house, when we were kids, had a cloud on the top on a sunny day (through no fault of my lovely mum she was ill) so we had to learn to build a rainbow . We are still building rainbows now , my sister with her wonderful crafts , and me with my writing .
    Cherry x

  11. Such a huge topic Laurie.
    All the things you listed are important to us.
    So are a healthy flourishing natural environment.
    So is membership in our communities.
    We know about a third of the 4,000 people in our small district of Kaikoura. We are the smallest mainland district in New Zealand, well over an hour’s drive from the next major town in any direction.
    Our community of friends in the wider world is also important to us. We left home on Sunday, and travelled north to Napier where we stayed with friends (6 hours driving and 3.5 hours on the Ferry – which was delayed and hour and a half). Monday we saw two clients in Napier, then drove north to Gisborne (3.5 hours) and saw our clients there. Those clients are all as much friend as client. Then we stayed with friends in Gisborne, and talked to after midnight (after I had repaired their piano so that Ailsa could play it).
    Yesterday we drove from Gisborne to Tauranga (4 hours), saw our clients there, then on up to Whangamata (1.5 hrs) to our clients there, then on to our friend’s place at Thornton Bay on the Thames coast (1 hr).
    Today is a rest day, where we get to walk on the beach and in the bush, before going up to Auckland tomorrow with all of Jewelia’s worldly possessions in the back of our 4WD.
    We treasure that we have friends in most towns in NZ, who seem happy to see us and spend time with us on our infrequent visits.

    We treasure that we live in a place where the vast majority of people are friendly and honest and supportive of each other. A place where you can leave the keys in your car even in a main street, or a side street or a parking lot, and over 99% of the time, nothing is touched. (There are a few thieves here, but they are very much the exception rather than the rule.)
    Ailsa just came back from a month in Madagascar, a place where corruption, theft, poverty, and environmental destruction are endemic. Anything not tied down is stolen.
    Living in a place where integrity and cooperation are operative values is huge for us.

    Then there is the whole idea of money.
    Money is a market measure of value, and markets value scarcity over abundance. No one will trade anything for something they already have all they need of, and in a certain sense that makes sense. Yet when the whole system becomes about making money, and monetary value dominates, it puts in place incentives to drive everything to a level of scarcity that people can make money out of supplying it. That is completely contrary to the basic needs that most people have for an abundance of a few basic necessities (air, food, water, shelter, communication, education, sanitation, freedom and security).
    This incentive of markets to focus on scarcity has now come into direct conflict with the ability of our technology to deliver abundance to everyone. We can do it, but we don’t, because there is no money to be made in doing so, and most people have become so focused on money that they have become divorced from the real values in their lives.

    So yes, we are with you.
    We have very little money by the standards of our culture, less than a 100K in the bank.
    We are debt free with our own home, and we have a small farm growing trees that are still about 15 years from being big enough to harvest. We have a few toys, computers, phones, cars, boat, washing machines, glasshouse and garden, workshop with tools for woodwork, metalwork, electrical and electronic repairs. Yet by the standards of our society we are middle income (though by Madagascan standards we are extremely wealthy – top 0.1%).

    Our real wealth is in living in one of the most beautiful and secure and caring parts of the planet, in a society that is largely without barriers based on race or class or income or anything else.
    It lies in our freedom, our security, our opportunity and in our daily experience of being.

    It seems to me that Ailsa and I are amongst the wealthiest people to ever have lived.

    • Ted – I oh-so-resonate with what you’ve shared here! And I love that you and Ailsa enjoy your freedom in not only a phenomenally gorgeous part of the world, but a secure one, to boot! I love that you can drive from Point A to Points B, C, D and E and have friends everywhere you go.

      Side note: I thought I knew a lot about you, but I was way wrong. I had no idea that you repair pianos, too! 🙂

      • Hi Laurie
        I’ll have a go at fixing anything.
        I’ll have a go at making most things work more efficiently.
        Not afraid to have a go and fail. Sometimes I fail, sometimes it works.

      • Ted – I like your attitude! You’ve got a 50/50 shot and if you can make it go, well then it’s the satisfaction of a job well done and money you saved on repairs 🙂

  12. Love this Laurie. Mine is much like yours. So much to be grateful for. Years ago when I moved back to the US from Ireland, I only had a $1,000 loan from one of my aunts and no job. When I would meet people I didn’t know and they would ask “what do you do” I initially would tell them I would looking for a job. Then when I got tired of that answer I knew of a better answer. So I responded that I was independently wealthy. And truthfully, I was…rich in the love and support of family and friends (near and far).

  13. We have always practiced Voluntary Simplicity. I wish more laughter was on my list. Then again I am an amazing analyst ethicist and that being on auto pilot is usually worth the trade off

    The financial component right now and the government strangeness that surrounds us right now means we may never be able to retire. I think if we were comfortable enough to go out to dinner or a movie. – even take our little trip to SF for US Thanksgiving we might be able to see more blessings. Abundance right now.
    I am only 14 days into having health insurance after. 64 years I don’t know why a few want to take that away so quickly. ? It is a challenge to stay positive and yet I know we have found a way so many times before. They can not defeat my hope

  14. One of the most quoted interchanges in the American masterpiece CITIZEN KANE is as follows:

    Thompson: He made an awful lot of money.
    Bernstein: Well, it’s no trick to make a lot of money… if what you want to do is make a lot of money.

    I think that puts the obsessive money obsession into proper perspective and again you have treated your readers to a magnificent post. Yes, what you and Len have Laurie, can never be bartered for money, and it’s astonishing to realize how many people in their never ending quest to increase their financial worth, do it at the expense of the things that really matter in life. Yes, everyone needs to have a bit for a rainy day, but at the end of the day there is far more unhappiness with financial security than many will acknowledge.

    I’d like to think I have a good part of what you cherish too Laurie.

    • Sam – I had the privilege of meeting you up-close-and personally with your family. Len and I got to interact with you as a group. I can gladly vouch for the fact that you have “a good part of what I have.” 🙂

  15. Oh, I love this post, Laurie. Sara and I are wealthy, as well. We talk about it frequently, especially since this move–and it has not a damn thing to do with money. Isn’t that wonderful? We are both so happy–and happy together especially. Today we celebrated 7 years since our original commitment to one another.
    Hugs from Ecuador,

  16. Laurie — I give thanks every day for how I’ve been blessed! My home, my canine companions, my writing and my friends and family. We’re still on two/four legs and well fed. Life is good.

  17. Trying to be attuned, mind, body & spirit. It is the trying that allows the fulfillment. If my checking account wants to come along for the ride, so be it.

  18. Peace of mind, strangely enough about 90% despite things that should make it less. Physical health, same. Spiritual abundance 100% Loving relationships 100% Unlimited potential, 80% but that puts a limit on it, doesn’t it? Gratitude 110% Laughter 110% So what’s my net worth? You’re the real sage 😉

  19. Super-rich here, and getting richer by the minute. 😉
    And having downsized in the new house, feel even more abundant, however paradoxical it may sound to some – but you know what I’m talking about, Laurie. 🙂
    Freed up a lot of creative energy getting rid of unnecessary physical possessions.

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