I’ll bet you’re thinking I’m going to present some lengthy and detailed diatribe about a manner of garnering, investing and saving money. After all isn’t money tantamount to society acknowledging our true wealth? And isn’t wealth the ‘true measure of a man’? If that’s what you’re thinking you might as well stop reading right now.

Money is only one measure of wealth. Sometimes people don’t feel wealthy enough with our US currency but feel the need to buy currencies from other countries to round out their portfolios and stave off any economic shifts that threaten their well being. Don’t get me wrong, dollars in whatever form: cash, stocks, IOUs, foreign currencies, etc., are good things, and I personally feel the more the merrier. BUT, I also believe you can be an extremely wealthy person without a lot of mullah.

I think my mother measured her wealth in terms of vodka and slippers as we found 6 gallons of vodka and 30 pairs of unworn slippers in her house when she passed away. And she wasn’t even a hoarder… in the traditional sense anyway! If things like her stashes are what exhibits true wealth then it’ll be mayonnaise for me….I’ve got several jars in the pantry and can get a little twitchy when I’m down to just one or two. And this spoken like the mostly vegan that I am. Ha! There are other things too: I have to admit I feel more satisfied when I’ve got 8-10 rolls of paper towels stockpiled. I can take on the world!

I love and collect paper, particularly expensive Asian paper. While I can scream and beat my chest and rant and rave when the bill for my car registration comes, I’ve got reams of paper that cost me a fortune and that I will probably never do anything with except look at. It’s what you value that makes you feel wealthy, no?

Continuing the paper theme for me, I have lots of books – real paper books, not electronic versions, and they make me feel wealthy. I have an entire wall in my office lined with shelves filled with books. I have sold a ton of used books too, and the $3.50 I’ve gotten for 10+ boxes of books is real mad money for me. Obviously, I’m not talking dollars and cents kind of logic here.

Okay, I’ve covered the ‘stuff’ of wealth. Now let’s look at a less tangible commodity.

In my opinion, the value of friendship is an excellent and altruistic way of measuring wealth and showing how to be wealthy. At parties where I’m being feted – yes, there have been a couple of those occasions – I look around and feel wealthy… I am thrilled by the wealth of having these people stand by me, and I envision that now infamous Academy award speech of Sally Field, “They like me. They really like me.” Nothing exemplifies the bounty of a life, to me, more than the number and character of friends one can count on to be there for you. Granted, this group would be greatly reduced if I was having trouble and needed help moving, for instance, instead of providing food and drink. Seriously though, I’ve always felt friendly people are an unquantifiable measure of one’s wealth.

Dollars and cents come and go; it’s good to measure wealth in other ways. It’s also a good thing to look at different options available around wealth so we don’t feel so stuck in this crappy economy. I know how to be wealthy, and it doesn’t involve saving or hoarding.

What is your true wealth? What makes you feel ‘full’ and able to stand strong in harsh economic and emotional times?