The Value of $1000: Using One Type of Wealth to Cultivate Another

Hine, Lewis Wickes, photographer. Pitching Pennies, Providence, R.I. For Child Welfare Exhibit -13.Location: Providence, Rhode Island. United States Providence
Rhode Island, 1912. November. Photograph.

Over the weekend, my family found $1000 dollars in cash on the ground in a parking lot for a natural history and culture museum located in the US. That is a significant amount of money for our family to find considering that would cover two thirds of our monthly rent. Given the care with which the ten crisp $100 bills were found (with one of the $100 bills neatly folded and taped around the other nine bills), it was obvious that this money was wrapped with intent. Maybe it was money grandparents had withdrawn from the bank to spend while on holiday with their grandchildren or money to be used while on holiday for a family visiting from overseas. After looking around the parking lot to see if anyone was looking for the lost money and no seeing anyone, we picked up the money and proceeded to the museum’s entrance to begin our visit. At the front desk, we inquired if any of the museum visitors had reported losing anything of value recently. We were told no, so we left our contact information at the front desk should someone come asking about the missing money.

A week since finding the money, we have yet to receive a call. During that time, my wife mentioned that she had heard of well-off, generous people leaving large amounts of money in random places in hopes that it would find those who needed it. While we certainly could have easily applied the money to our monthly expenses or put it in savings, we decided that money could be used to cultivate more wealth for ourselves and others with value beyond $1000. Below are few examples of how you might be able to cultivate different types of wealth the next time you unexpectedly come across a bit of good fortune.

Cultivate a wealth mindset with kids

Upon finding the money, our kids immediately knew the monetary value of $1000 when we found it. As my wife and I were discussing out loud about what to do with the money when we found it, our two youngest kids (5 and 7 years old) said we could finally buy some big Lego sets they had always wanted to own. Conversely, our two older kids (10 and 11 years old) were less eager to spend it right away on toys. Hearing our kids share their thoughts, my wife and I took the opportunity to discuss all the different ways the money could be spent that could health cultivate wealth for ourselves and others. We talked about booking a hotel night on the coast for an aunt and uncle who have always been warm and generous to us, donating a portion to the museum we were visiting, or putting the money in an interest-bearing account until we could figure out what to do with it. Having an open conversation about what to do with the money created an opportunity for my wife and I to help our kids cultivate a wealth mindset. This mindset includes the value of delaying instant gratification (e.g. Lego sets), thinking about how one type of wealth could be used to cultivate wealth for themselves and others (e.g. the joy one feels about making loved ones happy), and redistributing one’s wealth and good fortune when basic living needs are not a daily concern.

Statue “Thinking Women”. , None. [Between 1921 and 1922] Photograph.

Let good fortune serve as a reminder

For the majority of people in the world, on any given day, we do not spend $1000 or even one tenth of that amount. Many of us, consciously or unconsciously, spend our money within a limited monetary range on a daily basis. Therefore, when we come across a significant amount of money that we did not expect to spend that day, there is no pressing need to spend that unexpected money immediately. If you are fortunate to not have to spend that money immediately to avoid eviction from your home or bring home groceries to feed your family, then let that serve as a reminder to you of the value of the wealth you already possess. Any value of wealth that provides you with a sense of security is worth appreciating regularly and is a reminder to continually make efforts to preserve and grow that wealth foundation. Forgetting that you have built this wealth foundation can prevent you from devoting your time and energy to cultivating different types of wealth that have yet to be established and growing your existing wealth to levels that provide benefits beyond yourself and immediate friends and family.

Convert one type of wealth to another

Wealth can be cultivated and grown in three different ways. First, you can focus all your attention on cultivating and growing one type of wealth at the expense of neglecting all other wealth types. For example, a sole focus on cultivating professional wealth can lead to the neglect maintaining and building your social wealth among family and friends. Second, you could try to cultivate multiple types of wealth at the same time, but that can lead to stretching your resources and energy too thin and result in burn out or a limitation and potential loss of wealth in more than one area. Parents or people in time-demanding work environment wanting to maintain an active social life can easily identify with to this second approach. Finally, you could consider converting one type of wealth to another time of wealth. For example, when I spend time (a type of wealth) helping out in a community garden or local primary school once a week for an extended period of time, I find that my health and social wealth grows. With each conversion, you see your wealth in multiple areas grow over time. Understanding the importance of converting wealth from one type to another is key to cultivating wealth in multiple areas to levels you once thought were impossible. Converting wealth types across generations will only compound your returns over time.

American Red Cross, photographer. Finland News Service, THE HAPPIEST REFUGEE, Baby gets his sunny disposition from his father who is happy to reach the American Red Cross relief station at Terijoke, the frontier town on the border of Finland after the viccisitudes of a long journey from the interior of Russia. Father and baby are making the long round about journey to the Ukraine in the hope of meeting the mother of
the family from whom they were separated by the fighting in Russia. Finland, None. [Between 1919 and 1929] Photograph.

The true value of $1000

As you may have come to realize, determining the true value of the $1000 we found is not based upon the sum total of the numbers printed on each bill. The value is linked to the types of wealth that we are able to cultivate through our discussions and decisions about what to do with our luck finding. While we may never find out who lost or left the money in the parking lot that day, we are grateful for the contribution is has made to helping us cultivate our wealth beyond $1000. At a later date I will provide an update as to what we decided to do with all the money and the types of wealth it helped cultivate for us and others. In the meantime, I hope each of you are as favorite to receive unexpected blessings after reading this post and will pause to consider what discussions and decisions need to take place so that the initial value of those blessings can be effectively converted into something that contributes to the cultivation of wealth for yourself and others.

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