Material and spiritual wealth are contrasting concepts. One is to be earned while the other is to be gained.

Material wealth represents physical and tangible material possessions, either in the form of money or assets. While spiritual wealth relates to the way of living a meaningful life. 

Although we tend to think of wealth in material terms, there are other important types of wealth that should always be considered.

Let us explore the differences between material wealth vs spiritual wealth.

What is Material Wealth?

Material wealth refers to owning material objects that we buy or earn through persuasion and efforts.

The simplest definition of material wealth is owning something that we can buy with money. However, material wealth can’t only be defined as having fiat money in one’s bank account.

The very definition of material wealth can change as every person’s perspective of being wealthy is different. As it relates to different material possessions, each of us attributes a certain value to them.

Broadly speaking, we can define material wealth in a few different ways:

  • Having sufficient money to buy anything.
  • Owning the desired piece of property such as land, a house, a vehicle, or a business.
  • Owning scarce assets or commodities like gold, diamond, etc.
  • Achieving financial independence to eliminate the need to earn.
  • Accumulating sufficient money to become debt-free.

However, it is important to make a distinction between material wealth and materialism. Material wealth relates to having material possessions, while materialism is the desire to have material wealth.

Material wealth can be earned and accumulated. Likewise, it can be lost and depleted. It means it isn’t everlasting and no one can ensure that, no matter how much wealth you have accumulated.

What is Spiritual Wealth?

Spiritual wealth refers to developing the inner self. In order to know and achieve the purpose of life.

Like material wealth, spiritual wealth can also have different definitions depending on the life goals of each of us.

One of the most common definitions of spiritual wealth is dependent on our state of connection with God. Each person will have their own definition of spiritual wealth, and it varies considerably depending on our cultural background, and views of the world.

So, what does spiritual wealth mean to you?

You may define it in one of the following ways:

  • Achieving a strong bond with religious preaching and a strong connection with God.
  • Having a state of righteousness and remembrance.
  • Achieving social, community, or influential wealth.
  • Empowering oneself with esteem knowledge, intellectualism, and emotional intelligence.
  • Enjoying good health, peace of mind, and the satisfaction of living a purposeful life.

Whatever way you define spiritual wealth, you’ll get a constant, the spirit. Unlike material wealth, it cannot be accumulated or earned. It can only be gained and developed.

It means that a spiritually wealthy person can never be poor again. However, unlike material wealth, no one can inherit it or pass it on to heirs.

Examples of Spiritual Wealth

As mentioned, spiritual wealth can mean different aspects for different people. Therefore, we can take a few diverging examples of spiritual wealth. Here are some of the most common examples of spiritual wealth:

  • Life’s purpose
  • Knowledge
  • Physical Health
  • Influential wealth
  • Courage and righteousness

Purpose of Life

Spiritual wealth means to achieve and live a purposeful life. It can mean living within your means all your life and seeking wealth in non-material achievements.

It may mean devoting your life to religion or community. Perhaps, it would mean learning and attaining knowledge, and constantly improving yourself.


One of the major examples of spiritual wealth is gaining knowledge. It means that learning valuable things in life can be seen as a form of spiritual wealth.

Getting formal or informal education would be only an integral part of gaining knowledge, not the end in itself. 

Physical Wealth – Health

Another way of defining spiritual wealth is to achieve physical wealth and be healthy. Although no one can ensure this, being healthy can be considered a form of spiritual wealth.

Community and Influential Wealth

It means devoting your life to the community. Being influential means having a positive and everlasting impact on the community and the world. For some individuals, the positive impact they can have on those around them can be considered a form of spiritual wealth.

Courage and Righteousness

Another example of earning spiritual wealth is to follow the paths of courage and righteousness all along with your life. By doing so, many individuals will consider themselves spiritually wealthy.

Material Wealth vs Spiritual Wealth

Material wealth and spiritual wealth are at odds with each other. You cannot earn both at the same time as one comes from the inner self and the other from the external side.

Material wealth can be earned and accumulated, and it can also be inherited. It is the physical and tangible form of money. It can also be accumulating scarce resources such as money, commodities, property, or businesses.

On the other hand, spiritual wealth is achieving the purpose of life. It means believing in the right path and achieving a sense of satisfaction.

Since everyone has different purposes in life, spiritual wealth can take different forms. The constant is the relationship between one’s life goals and the spirit.

Unlike material wealth, spiritual wealth is gained throughout life. It is intangible and invaluable as no one can inherit it.

If you can develop an understanding of both concepts, you can create a balance between both by accumulating material wealth, while following your life’s purpose.