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Wealth means well-being

Jay Hughes is the best. He is the biggest influence (imho) for our industry’s perspective on family wealth strategy. He was recently being interviewed and I used Otter.Ai to transcribe the interview. Email me if interested in the transcript.

Jay’s most-used line these days is an opener for many of his conversations – he sets the table for what will always be a valuable use of your time with this line:

“wealth is well-being.”

Long-time Jay fans know how much words matter to Jay.

Jay uses the term “financial capital” when he is describing the financial resources of a family. Never the term “rich”, sometimes he uses “money” synonymously and certainly he never uses “wealth” to describe financial capital.

Because wealth means something else.

Wealth means well-being.

Wealth is well-being.

The etymology of wealth is “weol” in old English. The term meant “well-being”. The word “Commonwealth” reflects this original meaning to this day. This is the REAL meaning of wealth. Webster’s considers this use of the term “obsolete”.

Economists look at the interplay of labour, land and capital and worry when one economic influence overweights the others.

Yet here we are, living in the era of the financialization of everything. The currency derivative markets are estimated to have $12 trillion in notional value. Residential real estate overly financialized in the ’00s and we are still suffering the negative consequences of the asset-backed commercial paper meltdown to this day.

Even our attention is financialized. The algorithms that benefit from our attention derive financial value for those capturing our social media attention.

Wealth has been quite obviously financialized. The term “Wealth Management” meaning principally investment management and financial planning is certainly proof of that.

Yes, financial capital matters a lot. But it is certainly not everything we seek.

Here at Family Office Perspective we are all about bringing more perspective to wealth. To be honest, I’m sheepish that I’ve made it this far into the series without a blog on Jay’s quote.

Wealth is well-being.

FW = R (HC + RC)

Your family well-being is comprised of the total of the quality of your people (HC) and their relationships (RC), amplified by how well they use their time and financial capital (R). Use your resources wisely and choose your words carefully.