What are wealth and income?

Think of wealth as a stock, something that you have a store of like stocks, gold, knowledge, spiritualism. Other words signifying wealth are assets, capital, affluence, fortune, richness, possessions.

Think of income as a flow, something that comes to you and which you use to pay bills, purchase goods and services, and perhaps even, save, thus creating wealth. Other words signifying income are pay, earnings, compensation, remuneration, wage, salary.

Wealth and income are typically measured in monetary terms--wealthy people are billionaires or the median income of U.S. families was about $35,000 in 1997. Wealth and income can also be nonmonetary, e.g. spiritual wealth, a wealth of knowledge, psychic income or the satisfaction bonus. People have political and intellectual capital. Some people have prestige but little wealth. The wealth of a community or nation could also be measured in monetary terms. The Bureau of Economic Analysis estimated the net worth of the United States at $25 trillion in 1997.

Anything that is saved from income contributes to a person's wealth. Wealth is the sum of all assets minus debts. Assets include property, bank accounts, stocks, bonds, art, collections, and intellectual property. Debts would be loans and liabilities that are owed. Graphs showing the distribution of wealth in the United States demonstrate considerable inequality. Wealth is more unevenly distributed than income.


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Updated:Tuesday, 22-Feb-2000 16:25:24 PST
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