Make no bones about it, America is still firmly in the
clutches of the great recession. Times are tough. People are going without. The
economy is still down, foreclosures are still taking place at alarming rates,
and millions of Americans are unemployed or under-employed. Money is hard to
Many authors and writers are composing works about how the
US economy might rebound; others are giving useful tips to people about how to
live with less and how to save money.
One woman, however, is singing an entirely different tune.
In her new book : How to Transcend the
Paradox of Privilege and Liberate Your True Worth, author Valery
Satterwhite focuses on the problems, emotional and otherwise, of a group not
often looked at in a sympathetic light, particularly in our current economic
Of course. Millionaires. Those unfortunate and
oppressed souls who have gotten the short end of the stick one too many times. The
kneejerk reaction for many struggling Americans to such a sentiment is one of
dismissal. “Rich people problems,” is what many would say with a roll of the
Satterwhite, though, is unabashed when it comes to her
message. At her book signing at Pages bookstore in Manhatten Beach, a pleasant,
independent book shop whose book prices probably include a surcharge to cover
what is sure to be extravagant rent, Valery read some passages from Money Moxie to a small group of women.
During her reading she referred to a ‘paradox of
privilege’ over and over again, and each time with a straight face. Had the
crowd been made up of middle-class folks Satterwhite may have been booed and
hissed off stage.
Instead, the crowd of wealthy women in the posh beach
community seemed to identify with Satterwhite. The reality of her message hit
home for them.
What they understood was that wealth brings a whole
host of issues, psychologically and emotionally, that most people never have to
face and that most wealthy people are unequipped to deal with. “Mo’ Money Mo’
Problems,” is the way late rapper Notorious BIG put it, and it’s hard to find a
more succinct way to phrase the situation.
Poor people do not have to worry about being used for
their money. Members of the middle class hardly have to worry that their
boyfriend or girlfriend is only around because of the nine year-old Ford Focus
in their garage.
Satterwhite is quick to point out that children of the
ultra-wealthy live with enormous pressures that most children never do. Besides
the sometimes monumental pressure to succeed, many children of the super-rich
are raised in warped households where money is used as a weapon and/or is seen
as the only indicator of stature or authority within the family.
That many of the super-rich live in a “gilded cage,” as
Satterwhite puts it, is annoying to many of us who live in ugly, rusted cages
misses the point. The gilded cage carries its own unique problems and delving
deeper into exactly what those problems are is a healthy exercise for any of
Much of our society is preoccupied with money. We watch
an endless stream of game shows and reality shows where the winner takes home a
boatload of cash, we flock to gas stations in droves to get a Quick Pick when
the Powerball jackpot creeps over $100 million, and we spend billions of dollars
every year on books, tapes, and seminars claiming to teach the secrets of how
to get rich. Is it any wonder, then, that those who do have a lot of money can
easily develop distorted views about their own worth?
Because Satterwhite has a specific message for the
super wealthy, does not mean that the rest of us cannot find value in it. And
don’t worry, if the problems that Satterwhite discusses do not apply to you directly,
if you succeed, there’s a chance that they might just apply to your children.