Why I’ll (Probably) Never Be Rich

I’m pretty sure that I’ll never be rich. It’s not because I have a ton of student debt (though I do have quite a bit) or because I’m terrible at saving money (I’m actually somewhat okay at this). No, I think that I’ll never be rich for two big reasons.

The first is that I would much rather give away money than keep piles of it in the bank or buy fancy luxury goods. I like having nice things and having extra money, but I also feel the need to give back what I can and to help people who are in need. I don’t have much money or time, but when I have them, I try to give back as much as I can.

The second reason that I apparently have some natural talents and abilities that aren’t common, but seem common to me, so I don’t take advantage of them. Since I listed this as one of the things that is prevented me from being rich, I obviously am aware of this problem. However, this awareness only seems to manifest itself when I am applying for jobs or having a deep, insightful conversation with a friend. Here are a couple of examples of the apparently not completely normal things that I’ve done that feel pretty normal to me:

  •  I taught myself enough of the syntax and semantics of an obscure Xerox programming language to cut a 40 page program down to about 20, which in turn reduced the amount of time that it takes to update the code from about a week to about 15 minutes.
  • I served as a campaign intern during the last election for about 10 hours on the weekends while I worked full-time and took graduate courses. I got an A in my class and my field organizer told me that I was one of the best and most reliable interns that they had. I also did something similar, but more intense years ago when my mom was first diagnosed with breast cancer.

Often when I think about these things, a very very small part of me recognizes that I could probably harness my abilities and brain power to move way up the class ladder. But before I can figure out the perfect use of my natural talent, I realize that I need to do my homework or shoot/edit photos or clean up my apartment, etc.

Unless I win the lottery (which I never play) or inherit millions from a rich relative (which I’m pretty sure that I don’t have), I think that I’m going to remain solidly in the lower rungs of the American middle class. Don’t get me wrong. I know that having enough income to keep your family fed, keep the lights on and keep a roof over your head are privileges that a shocking number of people don’t have, but sometimes I just feel like I’m on the cusp of being able to achieve so much more than that.