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Being comfortable with the 1%

Updated: Jan 11, 2020

I was at my volunteer shift last week when one of the staff members said "did you know the amount earned by the 1% is greater than the total of what the entire 99% earns?" The comment is innocent enough, but it was said with a tone of disdain. And another volunteer gave a head shake in disgusted agreement with this statement. They continued to discuss the unfairness of this reality. I was gratefully working on a busy project at the time and I was relieved that a response from me was not expected.

You see, I'm not so great at thinking on my feet. Responses for me aren't on standby and so I often remain silent. Most of the time, it doesn't matter. There are very few things I am so strongly convicted on that I wish to influence another person's position on it. VERY FEW.

So while this moment came and went, it caused me to pause and really consider why this disdain for the 1% exists. And it caused me to consider why I don't share in that disdain. After all, I have some paradigms of my own about money, wealth, and what we do and don't have, just like anyone else.

I happen to be an American. As an American, I am part of the 99%. At least I think I am - I don't actually know what the definition of the 1% is. I know I don't feel like the 1% and I don't fit with the image in my mind of what a 1% person looks like. I don't think I actually KNOW anyone in the 1%, so I can't even explain why I have an image of such a person anyway. How on earth would I know?

As an American, however, I am part of the 1% in global terms. You likely are, too. If you earned at least $32,400 in 2018 you are indeed in the top 1% globally. Check this article out if you don't think it's possible: