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and global scale is not really a secret; it’s in plain sight, and it’s called moderation.”


Choose Lasting Wealth “Imagine an economy in which life is valued more than money and power resides with ordinary people that care about one another, their community and their natural envi- ronment,” says David Korten, Ph.D., the co-founder of Posi- tive Futures Network and author of Change the Story, Change the Future: A Living Economy for a Living Earth. “When we choose real wealth,” says Korten, of Bain-


bridge Island, Washington, “we can have exciting hobbies and adventures; work that challenges and stimulates us; and spiritual connection with a universe that’s infinitely larger than a stock portfolio. Instead of more stuff in our already- stuffed lives, we can have fewer things, but better things of higher quality—fewer visits to the doctor and more visits to museums and friends’ houses.”


TRUE WEALTH T


Living a Life We Love is Real Affluence by Judith Fertig


raditional economics has us thinking in opposites—in terms of assets and liabilities. We consider the value of the material things we’ve accumulated: We add up our


assets, which may include stocks, bonds, real estate, bank ac- counts and retirement savings. Then we subtract what we owe: Our liabilities may include a home mortgage, credit card debt, insurance premiums and student and vehicle loans. The bal- ance is deemed our net worth. Figured this way, our net worth changes every minute and can sometimes shift dramatically. There is a better way to assess our wealth, because we


are overlooking, dismissing or squandering valuable re- sources and benefits such as time, personal health, spiritual well-being, social connections or community in order to buy temporal things that will only depreciate over time. Golden, Colorado, author David Wann explores this theme in his book Simple Prosperity: Finding Real Wealth in a Sustainable Lifestyle. He remarks, “The U.S. may be on top when it comes to spending, but we also lead the world in debt per capita, children in poverty, percent of people in prison, obesity and infant mortality.” In fact, the U.S. has recently been ranked 42nd among countries in longevity— right below Guam and just above Albania. “So where is all the spending really getting us?” he asks.


“We need to be getting more value out of each dollar, each hour, each spoonful of food, each square foot of house and each gallon of gas. The secret of success at the local, national


32 Lehigh Valley www.healthylehighvalley.com


Step One: Taking Inventory of Our Stuff Suze Orman, owner of the Suze Orman Financial Group, in Emeryville, California, and the bestselling author of The Cour- age to Be Rich: Creating a Life of Material and Spiritual Abun- dance, ponders whether having stuff is worth it and suggests we take an inventory of what we own. “Think about the value of each object—what it cost you when you bought it, what it’s worth in dollars today, and what it’s worth in an Earthly, mate- rial representation of who you are now,” she says. Orman suggests that we go through every closet and cupboard and recycle or throw away items that no longer serve us well, and then reconnect with items we cannot part with, such as family mementos. “Think of these items so precious to you and how little, in fact, they cost you,” she says. In this way we define for ourselves the true meaning of worth, and it’s never about the stuff. Once we have a handle on what we own, it’s time to turn to what we want and how we can get there.


Step Two: Re-Evaluating Life Goals Just as we would do a personal financial assessment before we make plans to achieve financial goals, a life audit helps us determine our priorities for living happily and productively. Ximena Vengoechea, a design researcher for Twitter, Inc., in San Francisco, recently did this using 100 sticky notes dur- ing one dedicated afternoon. She wrote a single wish, one thing she’d like to do, on each note.


During this “spring cleaning for the


soul,” as she calls it, Vengoechea reaf- firmed her thirst for learning and adventure. Taking it a step further, she analyzed how she spent her time and how often she saw the people most important to her, mapping the data as pie charts. She discovered that most of her time was spent in work-related activities and not


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