Confusing income potential and wealth

This is more of a mental note for myself. The connection between wealth and income is very obvious, yet we tend to think they are one and the same. I do it all the time.

Let me break it down for myself:

Income should be called by its rightful name: income potential. All employed people have some kind of potential which is promised on contract or merely estimated based on possible growth.

This promise gives us a sense of pride. We even use it to acquire things making promises to others very far into the future (debt).

This promise should not be confused with wealth. Wealth is not a promise. It is the assets we own now. The value we already have. Something we can realize today. Wealth unlike income potential is something we can inherit or build up over time.

Income potential is not guaranteed and wealth mismanaged can disappear. There are certain intangible things that can be considered wealth, the things no-one can take from you.

The sad thing is that people use income potential to acquire more. I’m not in favor of debt, but I understand why people use their potential to acquire things they can’t yet afford.

I constantly need to remind myself of this. In previously disadvantage communities income potential is often mistaken for wealth and this gives individuals a false sense of security. Wealth is not security, but is much safer than a promise.

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