Yesterday I was perusing the Wall Street Journal’s wealth and finance blogs. (What can I say? I’m hip and egdy like that. Parents, ask your kids to explain the WSJ to you.) And I came across this article, “Job Worries of the One Percent” that really struck me.
The overall gist of the article is that uber-earners are uber-spenders but right now they’re nervous so they’re saving, not spending which has potentially troubling implications for the economic recovery. If you regularly read the WSJ and its ilk, you’re probably like, “Um, duh.” And if you don’t you probably just fell asleep. So that wasn’t the interesting part.
What struck me was according to a new survey, fully 28% of the top 1% of earners are worried about their jobs and 38% are worried that they might run out of money at some point during their lives. So people who make over $350,000 annually are freaked out that they’re going to go broke or be unemployed.
Recently I’ve also been reading some blog posts about how difficult it is to keep life in balance and how much pressure there is to appear like you do, in fact, have that perfect balance. Whether it’s on line or in real life, we all tend to show each other our highlight reels. Kind of like we’re cleaning up for company.
I don’t think there’s anything necessarily wrong with that. Filling your facebook page with smiling pictures and witty sayings is a way better idea than posting snapshots of yourself in raggedy underpants and booze-fueled diatribes against your ex.
But constantly being bombarded by everyone’s highlight reels takes its toll. It’s really easy to fall into the trap of feeling inadequate or shortchanged. Hell, apparently over one third of the highest earners in the country are worried about not having enough money. Not that people with high incomes don’t have problems, financial or otherwise, but given the over all picture it seems like there’s some severe perspective loss going on there.
Sometimes I feel like figuratively speaking I’m that guy sitting there in his Mercedes on his way to dispose of some income going, “OMG! I DON’T HAVE ENOUGH MONEY!!1!!!! What if I RUN OUT?!?! Maybe this isn’t the year I buy a boat… OMG NO!” and then snapping at my well fed, well clothed, healthy, safe family because MONEY TROUBLE STRESSES ME OUT!1!!!
I’m not a top wage earner but I really do have a lot of good things and good people in my life. But it’s still so easy to look at someone else’s highlight reel and focus on That One Thing that someone else is on top of right now that I’m not.
If you’ve got more than one thing that you care about in your life you’re lucky. Equally if you’ve got more than one thing in your life you can’t be 100% focused on any one thing all the time.
You can be killing it at work, parent of the year, master of all domestic projects, connected friend and community member, attentive romantic partner, centered athlete and self-care guru, and plugged in global citizen. But there’s no way you can be all those things at the same time.
And that’s cool because no one can. So it seems kind of messed up that we think we’re supposed to.
I need to work on remembering this.