What is the Difference Between The Middle Class and The Upper Class?
What is The Difference between the Lower Class and the Middle and Upper Classes?
Possessions. Access to education, healthcare, jobs, money, and loans.
What is The Difference between The Middle Class and the Upper Class?
Some are born into The Upper Class. Others achieve it. What is the difference between those who achieve it and everyone else?
People who climb out of the Lower and Middle Class, let's call them Climbers, have Vision, perhaps more than anyone else. They find a vision of what they want their life to look like. They find a vision of what their children's lives should look like. Their vision carries with it conviction. Everyone has some vision of what they would want their ideal life to look like. But, these Climbers have such a vision, such a conviction. Their eyes are fixed on the goal.
Still not getting it? Read the scenarios below. If you get it, just skip them.
Here's a scenario-
You are 45 years old. You are making $180K per year and killing at at your investment firm. You are married and have children. You graduated college with $60K in debt and you've got it down to $20K. Your spouse works 1/2 time to have time to focus on the kids. So total income is around $220K after taxes. You live in the nicest suburb around because you feel it is where you "belong." You and your spouse both drive new SUVs to haul around your kids to all of their sporting events. You always wanted a cabin, so last year, you bit the bullet, and purchased a family cabin for $400K on a lake 3 hours away. Now that you are on a lake, you need a boat. Your kids want to learn how to wakeboard. You end up finding a GREAT DEAL on a wakeboat for $60K. Oh, did I mention your kids go to private school? So you're shelling out $12K per year per kid for their education. You feel like you are "rich." Heck, no one in your family ever had what you have. You've "made it," right? But add up the mortgage, the car payments, the cabin mortgage, and the boat loan you just took out, you have more debt than you do equity. Or if you're lucky, you've got $200K in equity and a whole lot stuff. That's the end of it.
Here's another scenario-
You are 45 years old. You finished residency +/- fellowship at age 31. At that time, you had $300K in student debt. Now, you are married and you have 3 kids. You spent the first 5 years of practice paying off your student debt. By age 36, the only debt you had was your house. You don't buy cars newer than 5 years old. You have never had a car payment. By age 41, you had cut your mortgage in half. The house you bought is just on the edge of the country and has 20 acres you plan to parcel off for housing lots as people move out. Your spouse homeschools the kids up until age 10, saving on private education. You are a "Rich Dad Poor Dad" fan, so you've learned to pay yourself first and also be generous. As a mid-career doc, you're making $250K after taxes. You are committed to rising out of the Middle Class, so after paying off student debt, you and your spouse committed to saving/investing >50% of your income. You have >$600K in equity (includes stocks, a few bonds, and 2 rental properties) and $100K mortgage debt remaining. You have a plan to be financially free by the time you are 55.
Climbers learn to say Yes and No.
In the second scenario, the doctor has the ultimate Vision to be financially free above all else. The priorities are all turned on their heads. Climbers understand the power of focus. They didn't have the cabin or the wakeboard. But the financial education that the doc in scenario 2 provided to his or her 3 children is worth mountains more than the weekends at the cabin.
Climbers learn that they have the opportunity to say Yes and No to every opportunity. The investment banker in scenario 1 thought that he or she needed to say yes to every good deal or opportunity that came across their path. And in the end, all they had was a lot of possessions and debt. The doc, who I am calling a Climber, learned the power of saying "NO!" to good opportunities so that he could say "YES!" to great ones later on.
If we want to be powerful, if we want to make a difference in this world, if we want to set our children up for success, if we want to be a Climber, we must learn the power of saying "No." That power only comes when you have a Vision of that to which you want to say "Yes."
If you are a hard worker, you will have many, many good opportunities in your life. You will also have a few great ones. Make sure you can "Yes" to the great ones by finding your Vision now. Latch on to your Vision, make it your master, and hold on with everything you've got. It's going to be a wild ride!