The Case of Financial Privilege or lack thereof

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There is a high number of financial privileges experienced in the personal finance community. We all have experienced some of these privileges to a varying degree. The mere fact that we have access to a lot of personal financial education, and are able to write about our growth and success on our various platforms is a testament to our privileges. Compared to the rest of the population, we are more privileged than we think we are, some more than others. Due to these privileges, people have been shamed, ridiculed, and silenced from sharing their financial journey and success. Why do we shame people for their privileges?

I have seen and read several articles about people who share their success stories, and then received criticisms regarding their accomplishments. When Bola Sokunbi of Clever Girl Finance had an interview with Money magazine, she was shamed for simply not having student loans. Yes, maybe not having student loans put her far ahead, however, it is definitely not an easy feat to save $100, 000 in 3 years. When I read people’s financial success stories, I get a little jealous (I’m human) and wish their accomplishments were mine. I also take a little lesson from their playbook to see how I can achieve my own feat giving my own privileges or lack thereof.

We all have our own Privileges

When talking about privilege, people picture a white, male person. While this account for the highest level of privilege in our society, it is sometimes not the case. In this community, I dare to say that married couples are privileged and more likely to build wealth faster than single people. People who earn six figures income are also more likely to build wealth faster, so do people who graduated from colleges without student loan. Despite this, it takes a level of grit and discipline to be better than the average, and they should be proud of their accomplishments without naysayers criticizing them.

I have a little bit of financial privilege myself. I call it “a little bit” because I am not a white male, and I do not come from a rich family. So what financial privilege (if I may even call it that) do I have? I am a twenty-something year old adult who lived with her parent after graduating from college. I recognize that this is a huge opportunity, and not a lot of people are able to do this. While living at home has afforded me the opportunity to be able to make  progress with my student loans of $50, 000, I know a lot of people who have this same opportunity and are not taking advantage of it. I’m incredibly grateful each day for this opportunity, and I’m glad that I used the opportunity wisely. I was able to pay a significant portion of the loan because I was disciplined to maximize the opportunity. I was not going out to eat everyday, and packed my own loan lunch while also contributing something to the household.  I also did not buy a new car like someone had advised me to. 

In the same vain that I think people should not be shamed for their privileges, I also think we should endeavor to be more transparent about our success. While it probably sounds better to tell us how you pay $100, 000 loans in less than two years, it is important to give people perspectives. Life is already hard enough, people should not have feel like failures because they could not accomplish the same things when they think the situation is the same. Let us remember that mental health is quite important.

For people with less privileges, understand that life is unfair. We are always going to be faced with people doing better than us or having more privilege than us. The  least you can do for yourself to be ahead is finding ways when to improve yourself. Let’s not shame people for the privilege that afford them to be far ahead than most. Remember, there are many who are more privileged than them, but squandered those privileges. Also check out Rockstar Finance for blogs or stories that apply to your particular situation.

For people with more privileges, acknowledge your privileges and own it. Also, be kinder to people. Not everyone can simply pull themselves by the bootstraps, poverty is real.

As this  instagram post from Farnoosh of SoMoney says, let us be more transparent, and also give people opportunity to be transparent.

So what say you? Do you think it takes a lot of discipline to succeed financially even with some privilege? Do you disagree, and think privileged people should not be proud of their journey to financial success?

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