More Than Money
Issue #28

Who Knows You're Rich?

Table of Contents

“The Rich Kid”

I grew up knowing my family was wealthy. I was eight years old when I asked,"Daddy, are we rich?" His answer was an astonishing, "Yes." From that day on, my parents answered all of my questions about wealth, but they were adamant that I never discuss the topic with anyone else. I grew up feeling different from my peers and not knowing how to respond to people asking me about my money. Wealth was a dirty little secret I carried around in my back pocket.

I avoided all talk about money, but the subject would repeatedly come up. I did not know how to respond to money questions from people who didn't understand how I could afford certain luxuries. My peers magnified in their own minds what I felt were mere subtle differences in lifestyle. In their eyes, I stood for all that they did not have. It was a heavy burden to carry around and one from which I could not escape.

In high school, a new dimension was added to the financial divide between my peers and me. Some of my wealthy classmates displayed an attitude superior to everyone else. They believed that wealth brought them elevated social status and bragging rights. "If this is what being 'out' about money looks like," I thought, "I certainly don't want people thinking I'm like that!" My worst fear in life was being stereotyped as "the rich kid."

So, I continued living in denial for years, pretending to myself that I wasn't rich, thereby denying a part of myself and feeling very guilty for having wealth.

My whole world turned around three years ago when I attended a conference for young people with significant wealth. For the first time, I felt safe enough to discuss my financial situation with non-relatives. The supportiveness of the conference group allowed me to tap into feelings I had suppressed for years. For the first time in my life, I was with people who knew exactly what I was going through. I returned home full of confidence and pride in my values and myself.

I realize now that my friends know about my money; however, they value my personality over my checkbook. I use my uncommon financial situation to encourage others to be open-minded about unique people. Brutal honesty about my wealth may be returned with strange looks at first, but my hope is that people will learn to accept the diversity of people in the world. I am active in philanthropy and feel that my money and time can be used to help organizations that need vital resources. I will never again feel guilty for being blessed with money, because my intentions are sincere and I am on a mission to prove just that.

- anonymous author

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