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How Much Are You Worth?
Separating personal worth and wages

Some reading this site are in a very unusual position -- you don't need to be paid for your work. You might have sold a business, received an inheritance, or earned and saved substantial assets. Whatever the reasons, we could live for a few years -- or for the rest of our lives -- without earning more.

This freedom puts you in a special position to disentangle from social pressures that equate good work with good money. Yet it is not so easy in a society that places so much emphasis on earning power. Like it or not, pay (or lack of it) may affect your feelings of self-worth and your judgments about the worth of your work.

How might you separate your paychecks from your self-esteem? Here are suggestions gleaned from our interviews:

IF YOU CHOOSE NOT TO BE PAID FOR YOUR WORK, you can take steps to feel confident as a worker and to claim your unpaid accomplishments as real work. These might include:

IF YOU DECIDE TO BE PAID FOR YOUR WORK, your challenges may include determining what compensation you want, and keeping a sense of perspective about the importance of money. Steps you might take include:

Adopted from More Than Money, a quarterly journal published by and for people with wealth. Each issue is filled with personal stories, practical ideas, and humor, focusing on a particular theme. For more information, email:; or call (800) 255-4903.

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