One of the best definitions for assessing one’s wealth I’ve heard was how long you could go without a paycheck – I think this one is better than determining one’s wealth by their salaries or the consumer goods they own. Many people with high salaries struggle to make the mortgage payments on the McMansion, the payments on two SUV’s, credit card payments, student loan payments and other costs associated with that lifestyle. On the other hand, there are people with moderate/low salaries that have managed to accumulate notable savings and assets through diligence and discipline and thus have a more secure standard of living than a hyperconsumer with a high salary who may see their world crash down around them in the event of unemployment, a reduction in income or even a significant expense (say, killer medical bills, unexpected sewer work, etc).
If you haven’t made it a goal of yours already, you should strive to become wealthy per this definition. Some say you should make a point to have six months to a year’s worth of expenses squirreled away in the event of emergencies. I know that sounds like a daunting figure, but that figure can be reduced (and voila, a surplus created!) by making meaningful cuts to your monthly expenses, finding ways to conserve resources, storing food and supplies purchased at opportune times and learning to do things for yourself. Slowly but surely you’ll build a safety net and steer clear of the breadline should something happen… and if you don’t experience a personal financial crisis, you’ll still sleep better knowing that if one did happen, you’ll be able to make it through.