The Real Top Five Signs That You’re Wealthy

US economic numbers since 2008 have been vividly reflecting the very tough situation that many people must now face with their livelihoods.  Yet within this  often bleak news, you may find your own proverbial happy place.

The Wall Street Journal published an article recently that discussed the top five signs that you’re wealthy.  While many may have agreed with the writer’s list, based on my research the signals tend to be different:

1.  Aging Backwards:  Place a picture of a wealthy person today next to his or her picture from 10 years ago, and you’re likely to see an almost cryptic reversal in aging.  This may be due to the fact that the person is happier and less stressed now that their definition of wealth has been achieved.

2.  No Longer Keeping Up Appearances:  A wealthy individual has reached a point where many others may not be able to achieve.  And he or she knows it.  So carrying a bag or wearing a tracksuit with “Louis Vuitton” plastered across it is seen as a gaudy and unnecessary display of insecurity.

3.  People Are Always Very, Very…Very Happy to See You:  Who wouldn’t want to bask in the energy of a person who has achieved what may be a life’s dream for most people on the earth?

4.  Winning $1M On a Reality Show Isn’t Worth the Embarrassment:  $1M is a pittance to a wealthy person in exchange for being ripped apart by Simon Cowell.  Actually, no amount of money would be worth it.

5.  No Longer Worried About Paying Next Month’s Bills:  Wealthy people’s lives are set up such that their needs are within their means.  And their means are at a level that personally makes them not worry about the cost of the things they’ve chosen to have in their lives.

The beauty here is that a person does not have to have a certain number of dollars in the bank in order to experience these signals.  As I wrote in a previous post, wealth means having things of value around you.  Money is simply the interim step between not having and having something in your possession that has a perceived value to you.

Other interim steps could include a handshake, a verbal agreement, or other tangible items used for commerce such as produce or livestock.  You may not need an interim step at all and create something of value in your life, as startup entrepreneurs do.  Or farmers.  Or clothing designers who can make a gown out of corn husks.

In other words, you don’t have to be rich to be wealthy.  These tough economic times are great moment to reset and determine what really has value in your life so that those things become your focus — not what you don’t have.  Easier said than done.  But once done, you may become happier.  And you may even start to age backwards.