Money Matters: Why All the Secrecy?
As I alluded to in another article, I am amazed at how people will sit around the dinner table and openly share intimate details of their sex lives, medications, and even psychotherapy before they'll divulge their income.
Why all the secrecy around financial matters? What key to our inner selves is hidden in our balance sheets?
Interestingly enough, at other dinner tables (usually the dinner tables of the affluent), I have seen quite an open approach to money. Not only are incomes, tax-saving techniques, and assets openly shared, but there is an air of helpfulness in the tone of the conversation. Everybody wants to share their strategies with others, in order to both teach and learn new techniques.
I am reminded of the book Rich Dad Poor Dad, where the author Robert Kiyosaki refers to his two fathers: His real dad (the poor one), and his adoptive dad (the rich one), who teaches him all there is to know about becoming and staying rich.
One of the themes explored in the book is how affluent people approach their money matters, and it is irrefutably stated that if you want to be rich you must keep company with rich people. Not only is this because they have a lot to teach somebody who aspires to grow financially, but I believe it is also because of a positive attitude and energy towards money in general.
There are also patterns I've detected among people whose financial situations aren't what they wish; I've noticed a brand of distain towards money in general (and those with money). I have to wonder why this is, and if it ties into the desire to keep finances private. People who don't have money (and aren't happy about it) not only regard those with money very negatively, but some go so far as to see money itself as being evil. “You can't want money - it will make you a bad person. You can't have money - it comes at the expense of morals or general empathy towards others”.
I wonder if the people who feel this way think that people with money are the ones living in the big fancy houses driving the luxury cars and wearing the latest fashion. Do these people feel the same way towards the Millionaires Next Door, who are more characteristically the world's affluent, but don't flaunt it? Is that as disgusting to people who see money as being evil?
Of course I am generalizing in the extreme. Not all people without money feel that the rich are immoral or that money is the root of all evil. I am just noting patterns I have observed through my years in the financial industry, and extensive reading I’ve done. Both friends and clients have typically fallen into one camp or another.
And ultimately, rich is a state of mind. I have met poor people who think they are rich and rich people who think they are poor. Stay tuned for a follow-up post on a different way of defining Wealth altogether.