Is being rich all that is cranked up to be? Is being poor so bad? What is being rich?
Wealth is probably one of the hardest topics to discuss. In a society like the US where 1% of the population hold about 90% of the money it is really hard to really understand what “rich” means. Even when you dissect our society into economic levels the breakdown still looks like a very funny looking pyramid.
I have been in several economic levels in this country. At first my family arrived to this country with no money and not much more than the clothes on our back. Then I got my degree and a decent job to the point that I was able to afford a beautiful house. To some people, actually to a huge percentage of the population having 2 brand new vehicles and owning a house in an affluent neighborhood would mean that we are rich. In reality we are not, we have bills, debt, and will eventually be solvent enough to not use credit. I aspire to have all the things that I want, fulfill my dreams, but not to be “rich.”
The word rich is so inaccurate at times. I have met people that have a lot of money in my short life, but in reality it does not mean as much as most people think. Much like race, there is a lot of preconceived notions about how people are in higher economic levels, but those notions are less accurate than even race stereotypes. My Great Grand Father was the owner of two hotels, several properties and was able to give each one of his kids a house when they got married. My Great uncles drank and partied two hotels down the drain and in the end were left with nothing. If you saw either one of them on the street you would have never even imagined that they came from such wealth, because in the end money did not do much for their lives.
The people that bother me the most with the whole “rich” title is the “wannabes”. The people that are really not that affluent, but are somewhat comfortable and start to feel like the world owes them something. Truly affluent people are not like Paris Hilton or the girls from that TV show “Rich Girls” that parade around their wealth and seem to have a lower IQ than their pets. Some “rich” people actually care about education and make sure that their kids have the opportunities, but create their own wealth.
It is true that is a lot easier to make money when you have money. It is also true that the more money you make the easier things are to obtain. However, the rat race is not all that is cranked up to be if you are compromising, your family, your values or health in the process. If you were not born into wealth, you can get it; just make sure that you do it for reasons that you later are going to be proud of.
Going to a private high school gave me the opportunity to meet a lot of kids with parents that had a lot of money. They had amazing vacations and every toy that you might want. My first real vacation happened when I was an adult and my family took a trip down to Colombia to visit family. Some of those kids did not have just one bike, but several so when friend came over everyone could ride. I was amazed by it, but it did not bother me as I understood that even though my Dad could not afford all of those things, he always gave me everything he could. My Mom always made sure to make us aware that my Dad worked hard for us and that he was not just a good father but also an excellent provider. My Dad’s hobbies are almost all related to soccer, listening to the sport talk radio every day, going to play soccer on Sunday with the company team, or going to see a game. My Dad could never afford to go see a world cup in some far away land, but he was always content with what he had and I am content with what he gave me. More important than anything monetary, his lessons on work ethic and morals are more valuable than a vacation every summer or the latest toy in the market.
Some of my friends that grew up with a lot more than I did, grew up without their parents. They were taken care of by nannies or other family members while their parents continued their various careers. I remember one of my friends in school; I visited his house a couple of times. I met his driver, his cook, even some of his cousins but never met his parents. Not sure if he would have preferred all the commodities he had to some actual time with his parents.
Money is something that so many long for, but in reality I think that there are lot more important things in life; family being at the very top. Some of the happiest people I have ever met did not have a dime to their name.