Rich

What does it take to qualify as wealthy or rich in my opinion? Well, it’s not just about salary. That’s only the start of it, at best.

I just read a very fun article in ApartmentTherapy about “time capsule houses” created because middle or working class people don’t have the resources to update and renovate. Then I saw a horribly tacky Instagram account belonging to a woman who seemed incredibly bourgeois but claimed to be “rich”. Very, very confidently claimed to be wealthy.

…Is it really that confusing to figure out what wealth is? Social class is? You know…it might be. It really might be.

I’d like to say that there are fascinating/somewhat useful “calculators” you can find that consider family size, your geographic location and etc. to determine what class you’re in, but since it became a sticking point for me on Instagram with other perfume collectors I’ve noticed that a real understanding of social class is lacking in the US. Well, and it wasn’t always because other Western cultures had a better grasp of it and when we were less important worldwide so did we, but since we try to be “egalitarian” or want to pretend we are in the US and since we rose to prominence internationally post WWII we have obfuscated the rhetoric and ruined perspectives. Ruined instead of liberating perspectives. Money, money, money. We only know money.

…I won’t delve into specifics because there are so many genuine imposters who use people to fake knowledge or identity markers and/or what I say might be ignored or mocked by others who don’t want to read it… But I will say this: net worth.

One of my mother’s (who either is or who raised me to clarify) first cousins is an incredibly elegant woman who grew-up with millionaire parents (literally) most of her life. She joined the Peace Corp when it was first started. She has her masters degree. She is very socially and politically well-connected. (Individuals in her family have been in the Electoral College for one example.) She’s been traveling around the world annually for decades. But if you visit her house there’s a (lovely – she bought it new) mink in the closet she at least used to wear to the opera or ballet but outside the closet not much has changed since she and her husband first built their home (he literally helped build it) in the 1960’s or 70’s. They even use the same dinnerware and place settings from that era. Only environmentally necessary or helpful things have changed… And they live in one of the wealthiest neighborhoods in the US. My whole family is like that though to varying degrees… I don’t exaggerate (unless you count my standards where there need to literally be 7 Harvard graduates instead of 3 and a few who could have but didn’t to say it’s a family trend, so to speak).

Why? Why are they like that? Why didn’t they use their millions to renovate their whole house?! Because they’re humble. Or were taught to be. Because they’re frugal. Because they value quality and life and people over…well…death.

That’s not to say they don’t get depressed. Morbidly depressed at times. …But…it’s better to have a pain of conscience or grief due to loss of someone you love to the point of severe depression than to get depressed because your 24th Louis Vuitton isn’t helping.

…But can you really even afford that 24th Louis Vuitton? I’m not saying luxurious indulgences are inherently bad but they are…luxurious indulgences. What is your net worth?! Can you buy the Louis outright or is it on credit? What else do you have in investments? How are you helping your community? How are you stabilizing your country? How are you helping the world? If you can afford 24 Louis Vuitton bags you should be literally saving the lives of dozens of people in impoverished countries every year or you’re being an absolute fool.

…What is your net worth?