HOW "WHEALTHY" ARE YOU?

Exactly how does one go about introducing a new word into the English language?

 

Is there a form to fill out? Somebody you need to talk to? A video that has to go viral?

 

I’d like to propose a new word for the dictionary. Can somebody hook me up with a contact at Merriam-Webster’s New Word department? I mean, there has to be such a thing, right?

 

How else did words like hashtag, hotspot, tweep, selfie, gamification, staycation, dubstep, fracking, man crush, crowdfunding, steampunk, and baby bump make it into the dictionary in the past year or so? In 2014 alone, Marriam-Webster’s dictionary introduced one hundred and fifty new words.

 

Surely, there’s room for one more.

 

I assume making it into the hallowed pages of the dictionary is the pinnacle of a new word’s greatest ambitions, right? To be included in the great treasury of all words alongside other distinguished words – many of which have been around for centuries – has to be what it means “to have arrived” in the world of words.  After all, if you can be found in the dictionary you are now an official candidate for Scrabble.

 

That’s pretty heady stuff for a word.

 

 

My New Word

 

The new word I’d like to introduce is “Whealthy.” No, that’s not a typo. The word is “whealthy” with an extra “h”.  Yeah, the first “h” is silent; officially called a digraph along with other familiar arrangements of consonants like ch, th, ph, and sh. Like in the words “what” and “where” or “why.”

 

“Whealthy” is a mash-up of the words “wealthy” and “healthy.”  It has to do with the healthy management of one’s money or wealth.

 

whealth.y (whel’the) adj. 1. to manage one’s wealth in a healthy manner
2. of, characterized by, or suggestive of financial health – whealth, n.

 

What do you think? 

 

Used as a noun, it would be “whealth.” Like a financial doctor, your broker wants to discuss “some concerns” he has about your “whealth.” He might say, “As your primary whealth-care professional, I need to inform you that the continued abuse of your credit card may be hazardous to your whealth.”

 

See, “hazardous to your whealth”! That just works, doesn’t it? The word has so much potential. I can already see its star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

 

The only catch is how to distinguish it from its similar-sounding cousin “wealth.” Would you always have to say, “That’s ‘whealth’ with an h”?

 

I’m pretty sure always having to explain your word is going to hurt its chances for popular acceptance. That could prove cumbersome in a conversation.

 

(Details! I’ll work that out after I get the nod from the academy that my word has been nominated for inclusion in the dictionary. I’m already nervous. Limo, red carpet, tuxedo, and paparazzi. Pretty heady stuff for a writer.)

 

As an adjective, “whealthy” is used to describe somebody who has a very healthy financial picture. “Oh, he’s very whealthy. He never buys anything he can’t afford. Yep, saves for everything, that one.”

 

To be whealthy is more noble than wealthy. It’s more of a compliment to be referred to as “whealthy” than merely “rich.”

 

You see, being wealthy is not necessarily the same thing as being whealthy.

 

Whealthy has nothing to do with the kind of money you make or the amount of money you have. Whealthy doesn’t have anything to do with the lifestyle you lead. It’s not about what you drive, the size of your house, the brand of clothes you wear, or where you go for vacation.

 

People without a lot of money can be very whealthy.  People who make minimum wage and only work part-time can be extremely whealthy. Whealthy people can drive older model vehicles, live in a mobile home, wear thrift-shop clothing, and never go anywhere fancy, let alone on a vacation. Many blue-collar people can be much whealthier than their more extravagant neighbors who live in the prestigious areas of town, drive their foreign imports, wear designer brand names, and take multiple vacations to exotic places every year.

 

In truth, whealthy people are much better off than wealthy people.

 

 

Imagine a Whealthy World

 

Imagine a world where people were more concerned with being “whealthy” than being “wealthy.”

 

Oh, the credit card companies wouldn’t like it one bit. Car dealerships, health clubs, cable television companies, mortgage lenders, and a lot of enterprises hawking their wares on billboards, television, and the internet wouldn’t think a “whealth-conscience” world would be a great place to live. It would be similar to how fast food chains and soda companies would feel if the entire population decided to swear off junk food. They’d go crazy at the idea of the world getting all healthy on them.

 

There are plenty of people out there who would feel the same way if everybody got “whealthy” on them. After all, they make their living leeching off the financial unhealthiness that thrives in most people’s lives.

 

A “whealthy” world would revolutionize the entire niche of strategically placed impulse-buying traps you find everywhere you shop. It sure would alter what the area around the cash register would look like. Candy, soft drinks, magazines, lip balm and trinkets no child can live without (apparently) would become a thing of the past. Would moms even know what to do when checking out their groceries if they didn’t have to spend the entire ordeal impatiently negotiating with relentless children whining, “I want one of those.”

 

“Whealthy” is about consistently honoring the fundamental practices of healthy financial management and enjoying the many rewards that come with such discipline.

 

Oh, there it is. The “D” word: discipline. Yep, whealthy, like anything having to do with health, ultimately comes back to discipline. You know, self-control? Discipline is the one trait that most distinguishes whealthy people from wealthy people. It is the ability to discipline one’s thinking about financial choices that jettison them into whealthy status.

 

Now, that’s not to say wealthy people aren’t whealthy people. Many of them are wealthy precisely because they are whealthy. But don’t assume for a moment that just because they are wealthy, they are also whealthy. Being wealthy does not necessarily mean a person is whealthy. (Did you follow that? That’s a lot of wealthy’s and whealthy’s used close together. If you have to read it a second time, I’d understand. In fact, I’d encourage it.)

 

If I have learned anything in thirty-years of coaching some very wealthy people, appearances can be deceiving! It is amazing the number of people who appear to be living an extremely wealthy life – in a very convincing fashion – that are just one paycheck from broke; one disappointed client from financial ruin; one lost contract from bankruptcy. They are often leveraged to the hilt, grossly underinsured, in debt up to their eyeballs, and pursuing a lifestyle that is far beyond their means.

 

It all comes down to appearances. What you don’t get to see is the fear, the guilt, the shame, the ulcers, the high blood pressure, the migraines, the calls from collection agencies, the smoldering anger, the growing resentment, the sleepless nights and the drinking to drown the sorrows. It’s not always very pretty inside of “wealthy.”

 

However, inside of whealthy it’s always beautiful. Always.

 

 

Whealthy 101

 

Whealthy people often understand and honor several very wise financial disciplines that wealthy people never really grasp. Here’s a short list of just some of the important principles that govern the thinking of very whealthy people.

 

·      Do without.

·      Make it last.

·      Doesn’t have to be new.

·      Doesn’t have to be the biggest.

·      Doesn’t have to be the most expensive.

·      Doesn’t have to be name brand.

·      Doesn’t matter what other people think.

·      Even if I can, doesn’t mean I have to.

·      Even if I could, doesn’t mean I should.

·      Not right now.

·      There are more important things.

·      No use buying more when we’re not using the ones we have.

·      We have plenty.

·      When I have the cash.

·      We’ll just have to wait.

·      We have exceeded our budget for that this month.

·      We don’t use a credit card for those kinds of purchases.

 

 

There are more, of course, but these are some of the most important values that guide a whealthy person’s life when it comes to healthy financial management.

 

People who don’t make a lot of money can be much whealthier than their wealthy peers precisely because they know how to live within their means and enjoy the peace that comes with being grateful for what they have. Wealthy often comes saddled with a whole lot of social pressure to live a certain way in order to maintain an image of affluence. That image is usually pretty expensive. Sadly, nine times out of ten, it is just outside the financial limits of those who want to live there. That’s where we get terms like “house poor,” “strapped,” “in over our heads,” and “keeping up with the Jones’.” They are all born in the homes of people who live just beyond their means even when they have more than enough money.  It’s the desire to have just a little bit more than what they can really afford that puts them over the edge.

 

That edge is often a cliff.

 

Get a few wealthy people to shoot straight with you about their lives and many of them will tell you in so many words, “It’s not all it’s cracked up to be. The more money you make, the more you spend.” As one client said to me, “Bigger paycheck, bigger problems.”

 

So what do whealthy people do better than wealthy people? Well, the list is fairly long, but here are just a few of the key strategies that typically characterize very whealthy people.

 

 

Whealthy people avoid the danger of consumer credit at all costs.

Simply put, whealthy people believe a credit card is hazardous to your wealth.

 

Whealthy people understand the value of delayed gratification.

Whealthy people believe the person who saves up for what they want is happier, regardless of how long they might have to wait to possess it. It just feels good to buy something without going into debt to do it.

 

Whealthy people honor the discipline of a budget.

Wealthy people understand money really doesn’t grow on trees. They live within their means and carefully manage what they have by sticking to a plan for how to spend what they have, not what they wish they had.

 

Whealthy people prepare for the needs of the future.

People who set aside a percentage of their income each month in savings worry a whole lot less about having what they’ll need in the future for automobiles, college, weddings, and retirement.

 

Whealthy people enjoy a genuine contentment with what they have.

Whealthy people understand it is not happy people who are grateful, but it is grateful people who are happy. What’s that saying? “Gratitude turns what we have into enough.”

 

Whealthy people believe money can’t buy happiness.

Oh, everybody is familiar with the phrase, “Money doesn’t buy happiness.” However, most people keep falling for the same ruse. They really want to give greater wealth a try in the hopes they will be the exception to the rule. They are the same people who keep proving the point that “money doesn’t buy happiness.”

 

Whealthy people recognize that saving money is generally wiser than spending it.

Saving is a difficult discipline to honor. Spending it is a hard habit to break. Whealthy people are generally much more disciplined than their wealthier counterparts.

 

Whealthy people determine to live well within their means.

It’s the simplest rule of acquiring wealth. You have to spend less than you make and multiply what you save. The better you do either of those, the whealthier – and wealthier – you become.

 

Whealthy people understand the importance of an emergency fund.

Whealthy people know that some money set aside for those unexpected expenses that inevitably arise in the course of a year is one of the wisest moves a person can make when it comes to financial health.

 

Whealthy people are not suckers for the seduction of advertising and peer pressure.

Whealthy people are mature enough to know that most of what people are selling will not really deliver what is promised and most of what their friends are buying is not really making their lives any better.

 

 

That’s only ten of the most crucial disciplines of a whealthy person. Using that list as a place to start, how would you evaluate your current financial health? 

 

If you were to appraise your financial “whealth” based on these ten markers, how are you doing? On a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being Awful and 10 being Awesome, where would you evaluate yourself when it comes to how “whealthy” you are?

 

Be honest now. This is a serious matter. We’re talking about your whealth!

 

We call a visit to the doctor for our annual checkup a “physical.” It’s intended to provide us a current evaluation of our health. Does that mean a visit to your broker for an evaluation of your wealth should be called a “financial”? When was the last time you sat down with a qualified person – an objective person, for that matter – and had a very candid discussion about your whealth?

 

As a Life Coach, I have found time and time again that much of the stress in our lives and the relational drama in our homes are often sourced in financial disarray. The underlying toxins of mismanaged finances poison so many delicate dimensions of our life and rob us of the happiness, the peace, and the contentment we all long for in our life.

 

Maybe it’s time we adopted a new word; something a bit more helpful. What if we dropped the old familiar go-to of “wealthy” and learned what it means to be “whealthy”? It might make all the difference in our world.

 

If only such a word existed.