The Wealthy and The Rich

Rediscover and see the world of the Wealthy & The Rich in a new light for better understanding and fresher perspective.

The definition of “Rich” is “having a lot of money or valuable possessions” says the Cambridge dictionary. Moreover, we give the designation of “rich” in most of the times when focused on materialism, money, possessions and property. And it’s this economic wealth that is claimed to divide the people. As a matter of fact “the rich” has become a hostile term in these times as a BBC news magazine article pointed out back in 2011 and this hasn’t change since, quite the contrary, this view has escalated. So, where does the hostility, the disfavor up to hatred towards the wealthy come from?

Social Science and the Rich

A social sciences view greatly favours the poor social classes when it comes to research about prejudices and stereotypes, but there are only a few studies about rich people. According to the Social-Comparison theory, a substantial part of our thoughts centers on comparisons with others, i.e. in attractiveness, in intelligence and, precisely, in wealth. In order to compensate for their own envy, members of the lower social strata then often try to demonstrate superiority in dimensions other than money, be it a supposedly higher level of education or a greater heart for their family or others in general. One frequent allegation: Rich people have lesser regard for other human beings.

Money is not a Cure it is for Enjoyment

Interesting to note that, it is precisely those who have never had a significant amount of wealth that see wealth and money as the solution to all of their problems. Wealth is, however, at most, a solution best when it can be enjoyed. This entails, of course, as well the ability to enjoy the burdens of property. The assumption that fears of loss decrease with an increase in wealth is unfortunately not only wrong; it is exactly the other way around. And take note, whoever is not happy without money, is not happy with money either.

Who are The Rich?

So who are “They”, these haves? Are they all the same? Many people, in the group of the have-not’s (not meant as disrespectful as it may sound), believe and are made believe that they are, but still argue for some generalisations:

  1. The most misunderstood category is the heirs of great fortunes, as they have done nothing for it, so it is perceived by the general view.
  2. Next are the so-called “income millionaires”. The common misconception is that: Nobody can make that much money in an “honest” manner, that doing so leaves a lot of human collateral left behind. And that nobody is worth so much, especially compared to their staff.. so on, and so forth.
  3. And also, “entrepreneurs”. Some, who have achieved something perceived as ‘extraordinary’, have a certain reputation in popular belief. Nonetheless, all the other entrepreneurs who have allegedly not accomplished something recognizable find themselves in category 2.

In the End they are Simply People

However, the above described populations consist indisputably of individuals, human beings, who are like anybody else. With the same basic needs, likes and dislikes. Some are introverted, others are extroverted. A few love the spotlight, the majority prefer privacy and anonymity. There are the lavish spenders, others save every cent, penny, and dime. Actually, you can find these characteristics in every step of the income and wealth ladder, but with indeed different press coverage, thus less visibility.

The Rich and Wealthy According to the Public Eye

When it comes to the media, what is their responsibility when it comes to the perception of the rich and wealthy and this exaggerated and one-sided labeling of the prosperous? Not only have the tabloid press, who‘s business it is to stalk the famous, glamorous and noble elite, the mass media, cable TV and even the higher level media are feeding their readers and viewers with stories about the unattainability of a partly or mostly arrogant rich clique because they have a vital interest to maintain this picture. By continuing to tell fairy tales that the gap between rich and poor is solely based of an unfair system, in which this community only acts at the expense of the lower classes, and that the years where everybody could make their own fortune are over. Why? On one level they really don’t know better. But primarily it is because the truth is not a gripping enough story to provoke their audiences to read, that almost all of the rich and their ancestors have achieved their status by mean of diligence, persistence, austerity and sometimes personal sacrifices. By having a clear focus, one goal, patience and, perhaps the most important attitude, not staying in the comfort zone, is the true reason for most of them climbing up, neither pure luck nor an extraordinary instinct alone.

Perhaps it is the perception of the media that you proverbially can’t tell your readers, hey, it’s “your fault that you are there where you are.” But why not? Shouldn’t it be part of the media’s responsibility to provide motivation, inspiration and a more honest view? And what about their responsibility in general, the role they play in portraying an overall negative and judgmental view of the upper classes?

The Truth is Already Out There

There is plenty of literature that well describes the specific talents, mindsets and behaviors which the rich and successful people have in common, that make them stand out and are key to their success and to retaining their status. Here are two well-known examples, the books: “Think and Grow Rich” written by Napoleon Hill over 100 years ago. This book is the gold standard of our modern society and who created the benchmarks based on his actual interviews (not hearsay) the habits and points of view of rich people over a 20-year period to identify the differences in thinking and acting. This book continues to influence the large population of success gurus and experts of our time.

Also the best selling book “Rich Dad, Poor Dad” written by Robert Kiyosaki. This book takes a view from the other side, starting with the basics of economic behaviors and translates them into actions to implement into one’s life. He accentuates the distinctions between business driven and simply higher qualified people, whereas education is universally recognized as the primary key to success. And of course, the earlier in your life that you adopt such views, create these experiences, and take action on them, the greater your success might be. At its core, the steps to success are about leaving your comfort zone and in dealing with matters you usually don’t like, almost nobody likes to look at; our own weaknesses and need for emotional and inner healing for to be rich, requires an inner richness.

A Healthier Perspective of the Rich and Wealthy

Generally speaking, people’s typical behavioral patterns are to follow the easiest, less painful and demanding path. Sure, it’s not in everybody’s nature to stretch themselves and take risks as an entrepreneur or even to manager level. Greater awareness and knowing the levels that the rich and wealthy have to go to, to achieve and maintain their wealth is the start of a fresher perceive on what it means to be rich no matter which step got them there is a start to a healthier perspective in what it means to be rich and wealthy.

Becoming rich is not the wish of everyone. Others have alternative goals and other priorities in their lives than becoming materially rich. They may seek a different kind of richness, which is still meaningful and valuable and they make an effort to achieve this, too. Take comfort in the knowledge that in this journey of life, you don’t need wealth in order to be happy. Happiness comes from within. It cannot be achieved from outside sources, people, circumstances or objects. It is amplified yes, but not achieved in this manner. Happiness is a choice and state of mind. This is the only guarantee to be able to enjoy your wealth, it’s in everybody’s hand to change things to the better in their life, with or without money.

 

Dirk Burmann

Dirk Burmann is Co-Founder and Partner of Terbium.Group, investing, co-investing, incubating, enabling and pivoting existing companies with full executional power. Focus is on innovative and sustainable projects/businesses. He holds a CPA and has been active in all kinds of finance including mergers & acquisitions, funding and institutional investments for more than 25 years. He is also a Keynote Speaker on the subject of finance. He has two children and is based in Munich, Germany.

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