Have you ever wondered about why so many millionaire next door types understate their considerable socioeconomic success? They don’t have a strong need to display their economic productivity by buying luxury products and expensive homes. In a major way, their real achievements are the badges of their success. For example, financial success, especially economic independence, is its own reward.
Conversely, those people who have an insatiable desire to publicize their considerable ability to spend predictably end up as pro forma members of the Income Statement Affluent crowd. Yes, it costs a lot of money to convince the faceless crowd that you are a big income producer. Typically these people are living on a hyperspending treadmill. I was reminded again of this fact after reading a recent article in the Wall Street Journal.
Diane Warren has written more than 1,500 songs for everyone from Celine Dion to Rod Stewart. In fact her client list reads like a “Who’s Who in Popular Music.” I have found that most of the people in the “singer” category are hyperconsuming income statement affluent. They constantly need to be on stage in front of an audience, and not just to earn a living. In one way, these people are primitive life forms. They personally have to hunt and gather income and fans relentlessly.
But Diane Warren is just the opposite. She’s a member of the group that anthropologists refer to as “cultivators.” Cultivators plant seeds, grow crops and trees, raise cattle and write songs. Songs unlike live performances can be inventoried and can pay royalties to the writer for more than a lifetime.
According to the article, “Ms. Warren doesn’t care if the average listener doesn’t know she wrote the song. ‘I want them to believe the singer so much that they believe they wrote it. I just want my name on it and on the check!'”
The need to display success via consumption is a major impediment to building wealth. So teach your children about the beauty of cultivating and the harsh reality of being a perennial hunter/gatherer.