I recently read an article by Jessica Knolls for the New York Times entitled ‘I Want To Be Rich, And I’m Not Sorry’, which is a stark contrast to the false modest attitudes people seem to have adopted when talking about their ambitions. During my relatively humble upbringing in Northern England, statements like ‘money isn’t everything’ and ‘money can’t buy happiness’ we’re drilled into me endlessly; I was taught to be modest and grounded in my professional pursuits by choosing a career for happiness not the wage, but as a nineteen year old struggling to find a minimum wage job and still living with her parents I’m here to say- I want to be rich too, and I’m not sorry either. Admittedly, my motives don’t come from such struggles as Knolls who suffered sexual abuse from men and pursued money as a means of power and dominance in the patriarchal world of the super rich, I’m motivated by time, freedom and convenience.
I truly believe that time is our most precious commodity. If it wasn’t, we’d give criminals hefty fines instead of sentencing them to time in prison. Time isn’t just a clock ticking away, its memories and experiences you can never repeat that the poor miss out on; many Mother’s miss their babies first steps because they have no choice but to give up their precious time with their child and go back to work, people miss their favourite artist performing at their city because their boss won’t give them the time off, and in my personal experience I was forced to miss out on a cosy Christmas Eve watching films with my family last year because I had to stand outside in the freezing cold handing out free samples of perfume for an absolutely pitiful £7.50 an hour. Many years ago I watched the film ‘In Time’- a story about a world set in 2169 where time literally is money. On a citizen’s twenty fifth birthday they’re granted one year, which they can spend on their living expenses, with a loaf of bread costing a day, to a taxi ride costing two months, for example, until they ‘time out’- meaning the rich can live forever. Although our world isn’t quite as extreme, I did notice some stark parallels. The poorer you are, the more time you have to sacrifice. You have to force yourself out of bed, give up eight hours of your day, miss family events and plan your holidays around the 28 days a year you’re given off. Where as the rich are free to do whatever they like with their time; they don’t have to get out of bed if they don’t want to, they don’t have to waste their whole day under someone else’s control, they’ll never miss a birthday or Christmas and they don’t have to fill out a form and ask somebody else for permission to spend their OWN time, they can hop on a plane and go on holiday whenever they please. Like in the movie, the rich get more time than the poor. To give you some perspective, the UK wage for someone my age is £5.90 an hour and Beyonce earns £9,816 an hour, meaning that if we both gave up sixty minutes of our time, I’d be able to afford a McDonalds and Beyonce would be able to afford a luxury holiday to the Maldives. I’d have to sacrifice 1663 hours of my life stacking shelves to get exactly the same as her, whilst she’d be able to spend that time however she pleased. When you think about time as money and money as time, I defy you to not want to become rich.
Then there’s the freedom and opportunity a fat bank balance brings. When I was younger, I used to despise the song ‘Money, Money, Money’ particularly the line ‘All the things I could do, if I had a little money’ because it forced me to think about all the inevitable missed opportunities I’d have to face throughout life because I didn’t have the financial means to take them. All the places I wouldn’t see, all the concerts I wouldn’t experience, all the things I’d have to watch rich people do from the side lines. Of course, now I’m older I realise I have the power to change things and just because I wasn’t born rich there’s nothing to say I can’t die rich, but the message of that seemingly innocent song has stuck with me- money opens doors and if you don’t have enough of it you’re going to have to waste your life missing out. When I think about the person I want to be in ten years time, the image that comes to mind is an enriched, well rounded woman who has creative, fulfilling hobbies, travels often and runs her own business, but I know its going to cost a lot of dollar to get there and maintain that lifestyle, whether it be spent on art classes, plane tickets or stock investments. Freedom costs.
Compared to time and freedom, convenience seems like a relatively small benefit of being rich, but when you’re dealing with irritating problems on a daily basis it can feel like death by a thousand paper cuts, and it becomes even more frustrating when you know all the problems would be easy to fix with a spare grand or two. If I was rich, I’d be able to afford a car with a digital radio, four doors, a working key and a boot that opens, but instead I’m driving around in a ten year old Fiat listening to the same CD on repeat and dropping everything in my hands every time I want to open my car because it has a manual lock. If I was rich, I wouldn’t be feeling suffocated in a house that’s too small for four people; I wouldn’t be sharing a bathroom with the whole family, I wouldn’t be hit in the face by everyone else’s sh*t every time I open a cupboard, I wouldn’t have a bedroom that only accommodates a bed OR a desk and I wouldn’t be rushing to finish this blog post before everyone else gets in and takes up the only space available to work in the house. Granted, these are all first world problems that I’m very fortunate to have, but that doesn’t mean I can’t strive to solve them. You wouldn’t settle with a broken foot and not go to the hospital just because someone else has a broken leg, so why should you feel guilty for wanting to solve minor inconveniences just because other people have bigger ones?
My plans for wealth don’t just stop at time, freedom and convenience. I want to be filthy rich- I’m talking driving-my-ferrari-from-my-penthouse-in-Manhattan-to-the-airport-so-I-can-fly-my-private-jet-to-my-private-island-in-the-Maldives-before-taking-a-month-long-trip-around-the-Indian-ocean-in-my-private-yatch rich. I want all the things people see as gluttonous but secretly wish they had. I’m done with being modest and humble, I’m not going to settle for a two up two down in Middlesbrough when there’s luxury apartments in New York to be enjoyed just because people I don’t know nor care about think I’m aiming too high.
I want to say a personal Thank You to Jessica Knolls for giving me this confidence by being the first woman I’ve ever seen to be so bold and confident in her pursuit of wealth, and for alleviating the guilt young women like myself feel when telling other’s we’re chasing money too. I hope by writing this post I’ve inspired you to become a little less reserved and a little more ambitious with your goals I’d love for the comment section be a place where you can be unapologetically ambitious- tell me one thing money CAN buy you that you want to possess, without feeling like you need to ‘humble yourself’. Megan x