November 12, 2013 Leave a comment
I help people with money. I help them preserve and/or grow their money. Our industry is demonized by the public frequently, however I believe it is innately misunderstood. So let me take you through my thoughts on why what we do is one of the most important professions around.
So why do we do what we do? Simple – Money is the greatest form of good. Money is purchasing power. Purchasing power is the ability to fulfill a need for either one’s self or a need of others. Therefore money is the most powerful tool on the planet. Clothes only fulfill one need, food another, but money has that transitory property whereby it can fulfill any need. Therefore the owner of money has the power to use the money as he sees fit, thereby providing him directly with the power of his paper. So by helping people retain and grow their money, what we are actually doing is providing individuals with the power to meet any need that they may have, or any need that another will have.
Now that there is an understanding of what money is, and why it’s so passionately pursued, we can understand why wealth so often leads to power. Wealth changes how a person is viewed. Why does this happen? We already answered that. It’s because wealth means that an individual posses a great deal of money, and money is power. Therefore that individual posses a great deal of power not just to meet any need he may have, but also to meet any need that another individual may have. Therefore wealthy people are viewed at having a greater ability to meet the needs of an outsider than someone without wealth. It’s why if a person with a $100,000 car pulls up to a restaurant they will get the best valet parking service, best table, and the best service. However an individual without wealth will receive nothing special. This happens because the individuals providing the service know they will be compensated for their service, and the person with wealth has the power to meet more of their needs than the individual without wealth.
This seems to be common sense right? I would think so, but if this is so why is it such a common trait of society to harbor resentment for those with more wealth than them? One would think that they would fully expect an individual with more wealth to be treated better than himself. The main reason is that money is misunderstood by both those that have it, and those who don’t. Then stemming from that base of confusion there are two main reason that emerge as to why individuals tend to resent those with more money than themselves:
1. Because people are, by nature, competitive and wealth is an absolute. Men can argue all day about who is stronger or faster, they may even compete in a race, but the fact that one of them won and one of them lost won’t settle anything. The loser will simply bring up any excuse he can think of (poor surface, wasn’t feeling good today…etc) in order to avoid admittance that he is the inferior runner. However money is an absolute. If a man has more money than another man he simply can fulfill wants and needs that the other can not. He has access to a level of service that the poorer man will not. There is nothing the poorer man can argue with, because unlike athletics there is nothing to quarrel over. It’s simple, the one has wealth and the other does not. The one can have a Lamborghini, the other can not. The one can access exclusive country clubs, and the other is not allowed in. The richer man will live a different life than the poor man, and there is nothing the poor man can do besides toil away hoping to earn what the rich man has, which is the same as admitting defeat to the richer man.
2. People confuse money with greed. When society belittles the rich they do not do it because the number in their bank account is larger than the general public’s, rather they demonize them because of the attitude that befalls those of wealth. The wealthy tend to be pompous and greedy. The always want more, and they expect to be treated differently, and that irritates society.
The third paragraph and #2 are a perpetual cycle. Because of their wealth, wealthy individuals are treated differently by other members of society because the rest of society wants a share of their wealth. However because they are constantly treated differently, the wealthy begin to expect it. Then when they begin to act pompous, society turns on them although it was society who made them that way in the first place.
So us as wealth managers are an extension of the wealthy as they tend to be our clients. Therefore society from time to time will degrade what we do because we are seen as being providers of this hateful item called money. But money is misunderstood for the reason I laid out above. And for those same reasons, money is the greatest good. So what higher calling can there be than to help individuals grow their potential to fulfill their needs, and the needs of others?