In my 20s, I thought earning a hefty salary and being at the top of a masthead would be the be-all and end-all. As I approach my 40s, I realize true wealth is actually freedom and wellness. There’s no doubt that being financially comfortable is important, but it shouldn’t be a proclamation shouted out across the front of a baby tee; rather, it’s a measure of how able you are to spend your time and energy on the people and endeavors that matter to you most. Simply put, money and perceived prestige aren’t the only currencies in life. Time and good overall health are equally as significant.
For me, real success means being able to afford to fly across the country to see my younger cousin graduate from college or to spend a leisurely Sunday hanging out with my closest friends or simply take a quick early-morning run along Chicago’s lakefront. Creating memorable experiences are the moments when I experience wealth in its most expansive meaning.
These thoughts were at the forefront of my mind as we planned our annual wealth issue and began to speak to millionaires who, in addition to building their fortunes, have also gained personal independence. Their collective message to EBONY readers: Love who you are, and the money will follow. Individuals invite fortune and prosperity into their lives by remaining true to themselves, their core values and those they love. Plus, honoring who you are and affirming your talents has a multiplying effect. It radiates out from you to your family members, to your community and—if you’re destined for it—to the entire world.