Is Self Worth the New Net Worth?

Many people like to track their net worth and their expenses on a regular basis. I personally think this is an excellent idea, however, while healthy finances are important, as humans, we generally long for more in life, such as healthy bodies, meaningful communities and a sense of purpose. Sometimes our pursuit of increasing net worth can interfere with these intrinsic values.

So, instead of just focusing on increasing net worth, how about we start by increasing self worth first and then integrate net worth?

Instead of focusing purely on a particular income and comparing ourselves to our peers, could our society value pursuing activities and businesses that bring more purpose to our lives and to the lives of others?

With simple (low cost) living, could we move to a workforce that values part time professionals who have time for healthy eating, exercise and meaningful relationships?

Can we value cooperation over competition?

Can we start to value sabbaticals for creative and meaningful pursuits, instead of worrying about a gap on our resumes?

Can we create “no-brainer” budgets by coveting people, time and creative pursuits over shopping?

Can we find more happiness in volunteering rather than keeping up with the Jones’?

Can we value the conservation of resources and eco-system services over mindless consumption?

Think of it this way: If you knew your time was limited on this planet, would you look back at your life and value the money sitting in your account, or would you value how you made a positive difference in the world? Well, all of our lives are limited, so while it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t build up healthy finances, we need to take care of our intrinsic and physiological needs as well.

How about you? Does your self worth match your net worth?

17 thoughts on “Is Self Worth the New Net Worth?

  1. I used to be so much happier when I valued happiness over material gain. As soon as I switched gears, I had more $, but less happy. So for sure, what we focus on and what we value is what we’ll get. I’m so glad you’re back, GG! You continually turn the prism and remind us what life should be about. Simplicity. Mindfulness. Generosity of Spirit. Joy.. :)


  2. BOOM! Preach!

    And this comes from a major lover of net worth tracking (8 years + now!) and builder of the Blogger Net Worth Tracker over on my other site – Rockstar Finance, haha…

    But everything you say is truth, my friend. Money is important but not the end all be all. LIFE matters.


    • Thanks for the comment! It is funny, because I thought about editing this post to add a few of my favorite PF blogs that emphasize meaningful living in addition to finances. BudgetsAreSexy is at the top of that list!


  3. It’s such an interesting paradox — before we started planning for early retirement, net worth wasn’t even on our radar, and wasn’t something we connected to self worth. But now that our net worth represents progress toward our ultimate life goal of financial independence, it’s absolutely tied up in our self worth. Kinda backwards, huh? But love the points you made here, and we do focus on what good we’re doing in society (and can do more of when we quit our jobs), how we can make the smallest footprint on the Earth, and how we can spread positivity instead of negativity. Will say, though, that our net worth is only tied to our self worth because of what money represents, not because of the money itself. We don’t care about status or the Joneses or any of the rest of it. We just care about freedom, and money is what buys that!


  4. I love this, especially the part about trying to value part time professionals and a balanced life more. Last year I quit a job with a CRAZY pace to be a stay at home mom. I just couldn’t see that employer ever caring about me enough to let me live a less harried life, even if I did go part time.
    It’s definitely not all about the money- since we have put happiness at the forefront of our priority list, we have found much more peace and satisfaction in life. Great post!


  5. Your piece reminds me of Bhutan, where in 1972 the fourth Dragon King, Jigme Singye Wangchuck declared that the country would strive for boosting Gross National Happiness (GNH), not GNP. GNH consisted of four pillars: 1) sustainable development, 2) preservation and promotion of cultural values, 3) conservation of the natural environment, and 4) establishment of good governance. What a country! Wish we had a Dragon King or three here in North America. :-)


  6. Your piece makes me think of Bhutan, where in 1972 the Fourth Dragon King said the country would pursue boosting Gross National Happiness (GNH), not GNP. The four pillars of GNH were 1) sustainable development, 2) preservation and promotion of cultural values, 3) conservation of the natural environment, and 4) establishment of good governance. What a country! We could use a Dragon King or three here in North America. :-)


  7. Great write up! I find that when I am happy it generally translates into me being more productive at work and needing less to satisfy empty ambitions! Without a good self worth I think we would all be stuck trying to buy our way to happiness.


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