We recently asked Vista intern, Peter Za, to share his reflections on the meaning of wealth. A graduate of Cleveland High School, Peter is entering his junior year at Babson College in Wellesley, Massachusetts, where he is studying finance. Peter arrived at Vista through Portland’s Emerging Leaders program.


Throughout my life, I have been taught that wealth is synonymous with money.

Growing up in Thailand, some of my friends had well-do-to parents who seemed wealthy to me because they had luxury homes and expensive cars.

When I moved to America at the age of eight, people in my community would tell me to get a good job when I grew up so that I could make a lot of money and be wealthy.

These perspectives on wealth were admittedly limited.

When I started studying at Babson College and interning at wealth management firms, my view of wealth radically changed.

Wealth, I learned, is not always about money.

Wealth can also be intangible, and that’s often where real value begins.

When we think of wealth, we often envision tangible things that can be seen and easily quantified—cash, coins, cars.

But interning opened my eyes to other important assets—real estate, stocks, bonds, and commodities—that constitute wealth.

Still, this is not a complete picture of wealth.

Wealth can also be intangible, and that’s often where real value begins.

Two types of wealth that I value are time wealth—the freedom to pursue what we want, when we want, whether it be traveling, learning a new language, or building meaningful relationships—and good health.

There’s a saying that goes, “Your health is your wealth.”

Without good health, we might not be able to achieve our highest potential or, at the very least, we might not be able to do all the things we’d like to do.

I’ve heard many stories of people who make their fortunes but come to the end of life full of regrets. They wished they had spent more time with their family and loved ones. They wished they had explored other cultures and done things they never took the time to do.

It’s a sad truth of our modern day: Too many of us give up precious time and even compromise our health to achieve financial wealth.

To me, wealth means having a balance of financial success, time to pursue dreams, and good health to enjoy life as much as we can.

But the greatest wealth of all is when we feel content and grateful for what we have—wherever we are in life.