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Net Worth Does Not Equal Personal Worth

Updated: Jul 21, 2023

I recently completed a survey for an organization I trust. I was coasting through the basic demographic questions when I was dumbfounded by the question about children. Not because I’m confused by my kids but because there was an additional option I had never seen before. In addition to the traditional options of dependent children, adult children or no children, there was an option for “supporting an adult child.” After getting over the initial shock of this new option, I had to ask myself if helping an adult child get through college qualified as “supporting an adult child.”

Either way, it says a lot about our society when something becomes such a norm it is an option on o

Net worth and personal worth are not the same. It is important to know the difference.

Your net worth is a number. It is the mathematical number that represents the value of all you own minus all you owe. Your net worth is a mathematical measurement of what you own. It is the result of the equation Assets – Liabilities = Net Worth.

Your personal worth is the value of what you are, your character and the talents you have to share. Your personal worth is your value to the world. It is who you are as a person, friend, family member, citizen and co-worker.

Never confuse your personal worth with your net worth.

World figures like Gundi, Martin Luther King and Mother Tereasa are examples of people with great personal worth but little to no net worth. These people not only had a significant impact on those who know them but on the world. The impact they had on our world is hard to measure and many say was priceless. Yet, they had little if any financial worth.

In mid-2015 I was driving in downtown Des Moines. Just off the exit ramp of the interstate there were two panhandlers. One was a young woman. Mid-20’s I’d guess. She held a sign that read, “Too proud to prostitute.” While this is an extreme example, this young woman knew her lack of money didn’t mean she lacked personal worth. I have found most people are uncomfortable with this example. I get it. It’s raw. And I don’t agree with the approach or actions of the young lady, but it does help make the point.

Many of us have swallowed our pride at some point in order to pay the bills. My mom swallowed her pride each day she stayed with my father. As a young cocktail waitress, I put up with rude and sexist comments while I did my job. In the corporate world, I witnessed women working insane hours, regularly sacrificing time with their husbands and kids to keep up with unrealistic workloads.

I believe money is very important, so important that it is worth writing a book about. But it is only one important aspect of our lives. Health, wellness, and relationships are also very important.

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