It is quite a common thing for us to use the two terms Wealth and Riches interchangeably and synonymously with each other and indeed to many the meaning between the two remains the same.
However, I find myself leaning towards a different notion on the above. Let me explain. Although both words are used to refer to a state of financial wellbeing or stability I believe there are differences between the two. If given an option, I would rather choose be Wealthy than to be Rich.
For me, the difference is quite simple. Wealth, which refers to the amassing of resources that you have worked hard for and which resources are not limited to money may be inclusive of other assets. to me wealth’s meaning differs from riches largely the way you spend it is cautioned, measured, disciplined and restricted.
On the other hand, Riches are more of a sudden or relatively rapid accruing of resources-usually in monetary form. It is quite possible that such status is also a product of hard work. These riches are then spent a bit more frivolously and less measured. The average “rich man” then chooses rather to exhibit their riches and to validate their “wealth” (note that I dare to put it in speech marks)
Let me take it further, for some reason, the rich person feels that unless the world notices their affluence and monetary well-being, then they somehow feel robbed of the full benefits of being a rich person. There is no doubt that there is an almost overpowering euphoria that engulfs one in the moment of experiencing the sudden windfall in whatever form it may come, inheritance, lottery, business success or otherwise. However, if unabated, this same euphoria can turn into almost a drug addiction. Seeking that ever elusive feeling of satisfaction and validation through societal credence. This then leads to the reckless and often ill-advised spending spree that most people go on. Just a simple outlook on the society we live in and the people that surround us, you will not fail to find examples of people that fall into this category.
Wealth on the other hand, by definition (to me that is), demands respect, discipline, careful spending and an avoidance of public approval or validation. Do not get me wrong, this doesn’t mean that the Wealthy person doesn’t get to enjoy their financial gains or indulge in that dream aspiration or guilty pleasure, it just means they do this in measured steps, which are not only meant to avoid the public eye as they elude the euphoria of attention, but they also make sure such indulgences are of a long term benefit or at the very least will not cause them to regret their choices. In other words, the wealthy, even though well-off, works to still not only earn more but to maintain that which they have and never losing sight of where they came from and what they also aim to achieve, and if possible also avoiding the pompous behaviour that can so easily creep on one. They also make an effort to assist their fellowman and in no way judge or belittle those that may find themselves in lesser fortunate circumstances. For the average Wealthy person, it is more about what good they can do with what they have.
In reality it matters not how you accrue your financial status whether sudden or a result of hard work but I rather think how you then react to the situation is what places you then into the category of the Rich or the wealthy. It is quite unfortunate that most of the people we have today are RICH and not wealthy. They are focused on the personal gain, gratification and aggrandisement, never concerned about the next being as long as they have gotten their own “piece of the Pie” To such people it becomes more about showing the others what I have achieved and how successful I am and what I have become.
Like I said, these are merely my own notions based on what I observe but then again, I leave you with the question, Are you Rich? Or are you wealthy?