Lately, it seems like the media and world in general, are against the top 1 percent of income earners.
It’s presumed that the fortunate top 1 percent have it easy and they just go to work socialize. Perhaps they go to the golf course and play 18 holes while the rest of the workers (those lowly 99% of income earners are such tools) slaves away making the money for the top 1%.
Actually perhaps there are a few like that, but they don’t last long and their numbers are very low. Eventually someone a bit leaner and hungry knocks such slacker off of their perch. So the image of a top 1 percent income earners does not reflect reality.
What makes me so sure? I’ve seen the suffering of a friend that made it to the top 1%, here is his story…
Jon was a VP of finance when I knew him. He was a very friendly guy to great, but behind closed doors, he was much, much more. If you met Jon, you would think what a nice guy, a family man and overall a class act. Jon really was a great guy but he was also a businessman with business drive. He had so much drive that he would stay incredible late working with the then CEO of the company I worked at. Once I was part of their discussions, and this wasn’t the Jon that the other employees knew.
I consider myself a keen observer, so in my mind I put a few things together and painted a crude picture in my mind what his personal life must be like, and it wasn’t pretty. Mostly he held it together quite well, and stuck with his huckleberry routine, until one day when we had the classic moral building exercises that always happens at larger corporate businesses (or so it seems).
During this “feel-good” meeting, Jon got up to speak. He was delivering an excellent speech on going a little bit further than the other guys. After all, it doesn’t matter if you win the race by a nose or a mile, what counts is that you put the time in and win…
That’s when it happened, Jon started going on and on about the time commitments, when he deviated off course and started talking about not seeing his kids. A red flag in my mind went off, thinking “Hey, this isn’t part of the speech, it doesn’t fit”. At that point, Jon continued with his speech, but literally he started crying. Being a pro, he continued with the speech after jumping back on track. He used his charisma and polished looks to deliver a speech that appeared to most in the audience that the man just had incredible passion. But, there are a few of us that knew what really happened. It was an eye opening glimpse into his 1% life, and honestly since I have kids, I choose my kids. Even if I had the potential to get into the 1, 5 or even 10% income classes, I wouldn’t want to sacrifice the time that I could have spent with my kids doing things (although blogging is really taking a big slice of that time!).
My friend has since moved on to head up another company as a CEO. When I knew him, he had just crossed that threshold to the 1% club, but not he is firmly ingrained in the 1 percent group. I don’t see him much anymore, but I’m sure if I did, he would still great me with his warm, but polished and rehearsed greeting. I’m sure he still works long hours and cries (literally) about his kids growing up, being raised almost sole by his wife.
So before you think that the top 1 percent group has it so great, think of my friend. If you do, you’ll see why I’m more than happy to live a more (money and time) balanced life, at least now. I’ll probably regret it when my friend is vacationing in Europe (lol). I’m pretty sure he has crossed the threshold to financial freedom already. Still, unless you’re buffett, you can never have enough money…
I hope you found as much value as I did watching Jon’s story unfold when my old friend gave his speech.
Update! I just read that the top 1% earn 17% of the total income in the US, but pay 37% of all the tax revenue brought in! Check out this Money.cnn.com article called: Who are the 1%