Why we’ve gotta learn how to be rich— even if you are

Pop culture trained us to view money as the magic bullet of instant happiness, but movies usually gloss over the financial management questions that come with the territory. Whether it’s poor to middle class or lower middle class to upper, climbing the socioeconomic ladder invites big changes into daily life. 

Check yourself before you wreck yourself 

We’re all familiar with stories of the infamous lottery winners quickly going bankrupt and business magnets who came from nothing spending modestly. What they have in common is that suddenly or steadily acquiring assets doesn’t mean someone knows how to be wealthy.

Having extra zeros on a bank balance won’t automatically cure financial PTSD or suddenly make someone financially literate. Money magnifies our worst impulses which can prove to be dangerous to folks who can’t get themselves under control to deal with their financial situation. For those from humble beginnings, often their sole focus is climbing the ladder so they fail to plan for their arrival and what awaits, because what awaits can be overwhelming. Money is deeply emotional for people, and an elevating financial status can stir up and expose new feelings, often to their surprise.

The cost of being an ostrich becomes too high

When you don’t have money, it’s easy not worrying about setting any aside to invest or teaching yourself about financial literacy as it pertains to the markets and/or economy. But once you get money, it’s unwise to keep your head buried in the sand, as this tends to be where financial mismanagement, missed opportunities and irresponsible behavior can get expensive. Shaq turning down Howard Schultz’s early investment offer in Starbucks is one such missed opportunity. 

There comes a junction where people must actually learn the unglamourous but necessary mechanics of being and staying rich. Good investments can sail on by if someone hasn’t learned how to spot them. Taxes can go unpaid and handouts to family & friends can spiral out of control and lead wealthy people into bankruptcy or even jail if they aren’t on top of their finances. Buying flashy supercars won’t last forever if money isn’t properly tended.

While there’s no need to plan for good financial luck, everyone should become financially literate so they can plan for sustainable financial health.

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