Share the Wealth

Why is it, whenever someone comes into a nice windfall, some people immediately say “Congratulations!  So when are you taking me/us out to lunch?”  I’m sure they’re [mostly] joking, but still . . . the thought was obviously somewhere in their head that they should also benefit from another’s good fortune, otherwise, they wouldn’t have said anything.

And I’m only talking about winning, say, a small contest, worth no more than $200.  I recently won such a contest at my company and after they made the announcement, I kid you not, I had people whose names I didn’t even know asking me when I was taking them out for lunch.  I dread to think about how those same people would respond were I to win a big Lotto jackpot.

I’m mostly just ranting here, but it is a question that intrigues me.  Do the people who respond with a “what’s in it for me” comment really feel they deserve some sort of reward for simply knowing the winner?  Are they so incapable of letting someone else shine for a moment that they have to somehow turn the conversation back onto them?  Or are they simply trying to make small talk with an attempt at humor?

I ask these questions, because I’m working on creating a wealthier life for myself and my family, and need to know how to handle these people when they approach me in the future.  It’s been a hard struggle, working on becoming wealthier, because there appeared to be this a strongly held belief when I was growing up that people who sought out money or fortune were greedy, selfish and elitist.  In fact, I think that attitude permeates much of the overall culture, especially in the middle- and lower- financial classes.

It’s unfortunate that there are people who think in terms of The Haves and Have Nots, and they live on all sides of the financial spectrum.  I’m not saying there aren’t those who want to be richer than others, and will do anything to make that happen, even if it means keeping a financial divider between people; I’m certain there are.  But just because someone is trying to keep you down where they think you belong, doesn’t mean you have to agree with them and stay there.  There’s absolutely no reason every human being can’t be as rich as s/he wants to be.

Yes, it might be harder for those who came from poverty levels, or those who weren’t taught how to handle finances well, but especially with the enormous amount of information available online nowadays, it’s still a completely attainable goal.  Will it take hard work?  Yes.  Will it take sacrifice?  Quite probably.

And when I finally achieve the level of financial freedom I want, I should be entitled to share it with whomever I want . . . or not to share it, as the case may be.  And I shouldn’t feel guilty just because I might not want to share my wealth with the random people who walk up to me with their hands out.  I’m sure I will share some of it with friends and family–just because I like to give to people I care about–but even then, if I wind up giving and giving to someone who isn’t willing to take steps to increase their own wealth, then it seems I’m hardly much more than an ATM for them.  And I can see how that could harbor some resentment down the line.

These are the thoughts about money that are foremost on my mind right now, so it sticks in my craw whenever I hear the words, “Congratulations!  So [what’s in it for me]?”  But maybe I’m seeing it in the wrong light.  Maybe the people who make said comment really are just trying to be funny.

What are your thoughts on this?


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. cminichino
    Apr 18, 2014 @ 10:44:16

    Intriguing question. I think people are sometimes at a loss about what to say in any “extreme” situation, having to do with money, or death, or even engagements. So unless someone seriously asks for a handout, I chalk it up to awkwardness and attempt at humor.
    One other thing about money — it falls among those things that are held private. No one with any sense of social cues would ever ask How much do you earn? for example. I’ve found even when speakers/writers address us, they’ll tell us everything but what exactly was their advance! And except for the IRS, who knows what royalties we earn? Some will talk about their sex lives before they’ll discuss their specific financial situation.


    • Alyx Morgan
      Apr 18, 2014 @ 11:20:07

      I agree with you, Camille, that money is one of the discussion taboos. I don’t exactly follow that precept–I’ll tell anyone anything–but I guess I can see the sense in it, especially if it’s going to create a divide between people (whether real or perceived).

      And you’re probably right to lump it in with the other “extreme,” Camille. Any of those awkward attempts at humor because people feel the need to say something drive me a little crazy. What’s wrong with just saying “Congrats!” or “I’m Sorry?”

      Anyway, thanks for stopping by today, Camille. It’s always nice to “see” you here. 🙂


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