Don’t Define Wealth with a Measuring Stick

Key Takeaways

  • It’s easy to measure tangible things, but difficult to do the same for the intangible.
  • Wealth is made up of both tangible and intangible parts.
  • Don’t let your wealth lead you; put it in second position.

Take a minute to think about what you know as tangible versus intangible things in life. The tangible are easy to deal with – they’re what we can see, touch, and feel. Intangibles are tough, though. Thinking about this is related to a recent article, “The Highest Forms of Wealth,” which starts off with the sentence, “Wealth is easy to measure but hard to value.”

Indeed, the tangible side of wealth is easy to measure – total up your numbers and there you go. What’s tough is figuring out the intangible aspects of wealth. But when you’re dealing with wealth, you probably don’t want to define it with a measuring stick.

We consider both the tangible and intangible sides of wealth for our company’s clients. We have a framing formula that we share with them and it’s WOE = IC + RP + DS.

WOE is the Wealth of Everything – it encompasses all aspects of wealth, both tangible and intangible. IC is investment consulting, which you’re likely familiar with. RP is relationship partnership – working with all the people who help you with your wealth, such as family members, your accountant, your attorney, your insurance agent, and us. Finally, DS is deep support, which is really intangible. Deep support makes you feel good because someone is supporting you and your wealth.

The further you get in life, the more you recognize the importance of the intangible aspects of wealth. The article points out that the highest form of wealth affords you freedom to do what you want, when you want. It also allows you not to have to think about money, freeing you from worrying about it.

Note that having a lot of money doesn’t necessarily equate to having achieved these intangible aspects of wealth. As the author points out, there are many CEOs who have very little free time, despite having wealth. And if one looks back at the Vanderbilts, they had enormous wealth, but they also had an enormous number of problems and worry.

It’s important to recognize that wealth is in the second position in life. You, your family, the people around you – they’re the ones in first position. Therefore, the second position supports the first, to put it quite simply. Let your wealth support you, don’t let it lead what you do. By viewing it this way, you’ll be better positioned to measure the true value of your wealth. Until next time, enjoy.


If you’d like to read more on this topic, here are a few of our past Coyle Blog posts that you might enjoy:

Living a Wealthy Life

The Wealth of Everything



Gary Klaben serves as a Financial Advisor, and visionary for Coyle Financial Counsel. He has over 30 years of experience and is the author of Changing the Conversation, Wealth of Everything and co-author of The Business BattlefieldWhether advising his clients, mentoring his team, or coaching entrepreneurs, he is always simplifying complexity and motivating others to take the next action that’s right for them.

Learn more about The Coyle Process, approach designed to get your arms around the big picture, so you can make informed financial decisions. Ask Gary about The Coyle Process and schedule a complimentary consultation and start living the Good Life Managed Well™.
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All information is from sources deemed reliable, but no warranty is made to its accuracy or completeness.   This material is being provided for informational or educational purposes only, and does not take into account the investment objectives or financial situation of any client or prospective client.  The information is not intended as investment advice, and is not a recommendation to buy, sell, or invest in any particular investment or market segment.  Those seeking information regarding their particular investment needs should contact a financial professional.  Coyle, our employees, or our clients, may or may not be invested in any individual securities or market segments discussed in this material.  The opinions expressed were current as of the date of posting but are subject to change without notice due to market, political, or economic conditions. All investments involve risk, including loss of principal.  Past performance is not a guarantee of future results.

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