You Are Better Off Than You Think
Meet Ingvar Kamprad.
He is 86 years old and rides the bus to get around. If he has to go somewhere the buses don’t, he drives his 15-year old car. And when he has to fly, it’s always in coach. He’s your typical middle-class retiree.
Except Ingvar is no typical middle-class retiree. He’s the founder of Ikea and rumored to be worth over $40 billion.
Thought you knew what ‘rich’ and ‘poor’ looked like? Think again.
From Condos to Coupons
Executives on Wall Street might look like they’re living on easy street, but behind the closed doors of swanky Manhattan condos, there is some serious coupon-clipping going on.
Take Daniel Arbeeny, a Wall Street headhunter who lives in one of New York’s most prestigious neighborhoods and is the stereotypical picture of wealth. Instead of taking annual vacations to luxury ski resorts across North America, Arbeeny now browses flyers for discounted groceries. He is not alone.
Once the recession hit, many mid-level Wall Street executives found themselves unable to afford their luxurious lifestyle. Faced with a new normal, they had to reset their expectations and make difficult choices. Though they may still be in the top 1% of earners, these powerful executives are not financially healthy.
How can that be?
Financial health means being able to endure unexpected money events without dramatically compromising your lifestyle and your life goals. Though these executives are well paid their money choices meant that when the recession came they weren’t ready. Suddenly their lifestyle was unsustainable and their life goals were out of reach.
A sense of peace and security is not determined by the size of your paycheck, but by the state of your financial health.
The Healthy Debtor
Take the story of Erin Frank.
Erin was a young woman who moved to New York with $28,000 in student loans. After getting a job paying just $30,000 a year, she managed to rack up another $16,000 in credit card debt. With expenses greater than her income and a growing pile of loans she was far from being financially well.
But by making a series of deliberate decisions about her lifestyle and life goals, Erin went from being another consumer debt statistic to becoming a model of financial wellness.
Struggling to make ends meet and pay off her mounting debts, Erin started a financial support group. Over several years she was able to pay down her credit card debt and start chipping away at her student debt. Now she’s even saving for a home.
Despite her modest paycheck and initial debts, Erin is now a model of financial wellness. She understands her finances, educates herself, and takes small steps everyday to improve her financial health.
Why You’re Better Off Than You Think
From Ingvar, to Wall Street, to entry-level America – things aren’t always what they seem.
We often compare ourselves to the perceived financial successes of others and get discouraged when we can’t afford the luxuries that they seem to enjoy. But if we look a little closer, some of those who appear to ‘have it all’ are actually wrestling with major financial stress, and some of those who seem to have not very much are happier and more secure.
Financial wellness is not a dollar figure, a large home, or the ability to spend without a care. Financial wellness is living the life you envision for yourself, fulfilling your dreams and weathering life’s challenges. As Ingvar might tell you, it’s definitely not based on what kind of car you drive or whether you fly first class to Aspen.
Are you ready to get the real picture of your financial wellness? Do you want to know if you’re better off than you think?
Sign up for Moven. You’ll get instant access to your CRED score, a simple measure of your financial health.