Hill Harper Defines True Wealth

By Hill Harper for The Wall Street Journal

It’s been a rocky month on Wall Street. 500 point drops and gains have taken our stomachs and investment portfolios on a wild ride. Many of us are sick with anxiety and fear. We live in a society that over-values money. Material objects equate success so we chase money as intently as drug addicts chase a fix. Our relationship with money borders addiction but there is a remedy … a Wealth Cure.

This started out as a book about financial literacy. I really wanted to dispel some of the confusion over money matters. It seems, there are those who are financially savvy and able to cash-in regardless of the rises and dips in the Nikkei Average. Then, there’s the rest of America, just trying to get by. In some cases people are looking for quick, easy gains. We’ve seen countless individuals and corporations focused on creating new “schemes” rather than developing new ideas, products, or services. The easier route has been to devise plans to separate other people from their money.

My undergraduate studies at Brown and graduate degrees from Harvard prepared me for a multifaceted career as an actor, entrepreneur and philanthropist. I’ve made money in real estate, hotel, and restaurant investments. I’ve given away money through my Manifest Your Destiny Foundation. Lord knows, I’ve also lost money and endured sleepless nights watching stocks plunge, real estate markets crash, and savings spiral down the drain. In writing “The Wealth Cure,” I learned that having money and being wealthy are not one and the same.

At the end of a down day on Wall Street, we all need to be able to sleep peacefully at night. That comfort won’t come from our bank balance. True wealth is less about lifestyle and more a state of mind. Most of us maintain this complicated relationship with money … we always want more. Perhaps, it’s time we simplify our thinking and take a look at what really matters: health, relationships the ability to be gainfully employed and comfortably provide for our families.

As I was writing this book, I had a health scare that put a lot of things in perspective. Being a celebrity doesn’t have an iota of value when you’re looking death in the eye.

I have countless friends, old and new, who have allowed money to confuse their values, often pulling them away from other, more meaningful pursuits. The reality is wealth is an attainable goal: one that encompasses happiness and dream building. Shifting the way we envision wealth is first step in the cure. Creating a new definition of abundance can not only build our net worth but open the doors to joy and fulfillment.

I can’t predict exactly how long this shaky economy will plague our nation but I do know that regardless of what happens, true wealth can grow with or without the Dow.

Hill Harper is an actor, philanthropist and best-selling author. His fourth book, “The Wealth Cure,” hits bookstores today and the new season of “CSI: New York” debuts this fall.