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The Difference Between Riches and Wealth Lie Within the Questions We Don’t Ask

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Remember back in the day, when all you needed was a million dollars and you would be set for life? Before student loans, mortgages, Uber rides (those receipts add up) being a millionaire was my future occupation. No idea of how I would get the money or how it would last the rest of my life. But at 8 years old, I was fascinated by those seven digits.

As a child, I always wanted to be “rich”. What does that mean? Bruno Mars’ song, “I Want to Be A Billionaire”, pops into my head. Constantly watching TV shows like Who Wants to be A Millionaire and Jeopardy, I thought, “I made it to $50,000 without using a lifeline, I can win that easy”.

If the modern phenomenon of the internet and social media has taught us anything it’s that nobody is alone in how they think.

Money: The Ultimate Power & Control

How many of us play the lottery or wish for that inheritance from a long lost relative we never met? I know I do. Quick money. Easy money. Money we don’t have to work for. Many of us, even at 24, have been working all our lives. The job we are endowed with from birth. Being there for our family. Often on a shoestring budget, adding more stress and pressure.

So, the idea of being rich is a dream many of us have without an idea of how to attain it.

Our desire for money motivates our university choices, career paths, who we date or if we date at all. I’m starting to come to the realization that being rich is built on a foundation not meant to sustain. The rich people in society are not as far from poverty as we may think.

Granted, anyone living paycheck-to-paycheck would love to be rich and I wish we all can experience a time of financial stability.

What Rich?

What I have learned in my 24 years of naively curious optimistic realism, is that being rich mainly allows you to buy more things. To put money back into the economy like everyone else. A higher quality of items, but essentially the same.

Dave Chappelle said it best when being interviewed on David Letterman.

Whether you have $10 million or $50 million, the difference in lifestyle is not as drastic. That got me thinking. Besides the shear numbers, what makes these people different?

Being Rich vs. Being Wealthy

“Wealth is your ability to convert your knowledge and experience into cash and equity.” — Chris Do. The Futur

It seems to be always asked of successful people, “What is one piece of advice you would give your younger self?” Although I am by no means at the point of success I aim to be, my advice to my even younger self would be:

“Take advantage of the people around you, especially family and friends.”

Surprising?! I hope so. “Take advantage?! I would never. I love my family… and some friends.”

This may strike at your moral compass. Hopefully, it gives you some unease. Take that feeling with you, because it will begin to make a lot more sense.

Your family has an obligation to you, whether they know it or not. Remember, we are handed the responsibility of caring for the people closest to us, at birth. It is their job to provide you with the necessary information for you to be a functioning member of society, at the very least. Our Parents, Aunts, Uncles, Siblings, are given a duty to us and us to them.

What Wealth?

It just happens to be that we don’t cash in on the knowledge, failures and successes they have had in life. We don’t ask the right questions. We don’t ask enough questions.

Shame and embarrassment preclude people from divulging information from past mistakes they so steadily try to outrun, in hopes to spare themselves the judgment from those whom they hold closest.

Our family, friends, teachers, mentors, people we see at the bodega everyday are sitting on a massive pile of knowledge and experience that they have yet to cash in. See the value in it. Ask the right questions. Gain the wealth of knowledge to sustain you and the people you love for lifetimes. Spread the wealth.

I often see people use the term “Generational Wealth”. That seems redundant to me. Wealth in itself is generational because it’s held within knowledge passed along. Riches can be lost, Wealth can be forever.



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