Chris McLeod was five years old when she first saw a $100 bill. She was at her friend’s house and all she could do was to imagine how much candy she could buy with all that money!
There was a lot of tension around money in Chris’ house, but the opposite was true in her friend Amy’s house.
Her grandfather filed for bankruptcy when the family business failed, and her grandmother got a job outside of the house for the first time at the age of 50. Her grandfather passed away a year later.
Money beliefs get passed down from the parents to their children, no matter the class. Growing up during the Great Depression, the sense of scarcity was weaved throughout their life.
Chris’ parents were the first in the family to go to college. Their higher paying jobs allowed for Chris to grow up in a much more financially comfortable environment. When Chris went off to college, she was no longer of the wealthiest group and was surrounded by students who came from wealthier families from all over the world. She graduated with a law degree and had no issues getting a job, unlike her wealthier friends. She used to work summer jobs and knew how to deal with workplace-related issues. Her friends, who have never worked a day in their lives, found it difficult to find jobs.
“The wounds of wealth are the ways that money or the pursuit of money negatively impacts our sense of self, the choices we make, and how we see the world.”
There are disadvantages of growing up in extreme wealth.
Those who grow up in poverty are likely to face great barriers to personal success. The children of the wealthy families suffer in very similar ways. They may never get the opportunity to find meaningful work, the inability to delay gratification, accept unhappiness, and more. This leads to low-level depression, difficulty finding and keeping meaningful employment, forming and keeping intimate relationships, and more.
There are people who feel complete, like they’re a part of the community, no matter their level of wealth. They are donors.
Chris shopped freely, drank wine, but felt restless. She wasn’t motivated by money. So she quit her job and spent a year teaching horse riding. She then got a job waiting tables and looked for a job that she felt passionate about. She said, “That’s one way to tell your parents you don’t care about money when you’re waiting tables with a law degree.”
She stepped off the fast track and got a job in non-profits.
You have to make your own choices. Live within your means and do meaningful work. And be okay with having your own definition of what money means to you.
“Giving is a way of healing the wounds of wealth.”
After getting married to a fellow lawyer, divorcing him years later, and finding herself on her own again, Chris found herself working for organizations that support women. “I felt a great deal of passion and purpose in my life, and I felt rich.”
“The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.”
“If we can collectively focus our giving … we can heal the world.”
Give your wealth.
Blog post written by Kseniya Martin.