The Fantasy of Wealth and Security

Don’t go around saying the world owes you a living. The world owes you nothing. It was here first.

– Mark Twain

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Just how wealthy are you really? In other words, how well have you hunted and gathered scarce resources that will allow you to survive and flourish in the days going forward?

Many people look at wealth in terms of “personal net worth.” While that’s a fairly standard way of measuring a person’s ability to survive and flourish going forward, it’s also a bit misleading. First, let’s look at what most people think of when they use the term wealth:

“Liquid” Assets

– Cash in your pocket
– Bank account funds
– Sellable personal possessions

Speculative Assets

– Stocks
– Bonds
– Mutual funds
– IRA’s
– 401Ks
– Pension funds
– Real estate
– Business ventures

Social Contract (a.k.a.”Entitlement”) Assets

– Social security
– Medicare
– Government bailouts
– Insurance
– Inheritances

The key point to note here is that none of these assets are really stable or certain.

Liquid assets are subject to constant fluctuations in societal confidence. What you have in your pocket or in your bank might become totally worthless overnight. Speculative assets are simply gambling. All the advanced financial and statistical modeling by the hyper-educated experts is just overpaid guesswork. But social contract assets are by far the most misleading. These are essentially handouts that are distributed by total strangers to total strangers solely on the whims of total strangers. And in the case of “pay-as-you-go” assets like Social Security, many these total strangers haven’t even been born yet.

Bottom line, your only real asset is your ability to find, keep, and effectively utilize scarce, life-enhancing resources. This is comprised of:

– Your physical health – how physically robust and energetic you are (i.e. your level of “fitness”)

– Your mental faculties – how well you utilize your senses to take advantage of and ensure your survival and dominance in your immediate environment

Remember, most “assets” are nothing more than artificial constructs that require either gambling or grovelling. So work on building your strength and your wits so you can do your own “hunting and gathering” out in the urban jungle. And learn to not only accept uncertainly, but to also thrive within it.

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