Could You Survive in Wealth?

A lot of hidden rules are taken for granted by a particular class. We have the knowledge to survive in our class, but are probably woefully unprepared to survive in another class. How well would you do in another class?


How many of these tasks do you know how to accomplish?

1. I know which churches and agencies provide free clothing.
2. I know which grocery stores’ garbage bins can be accessed for thrown-away food.
3. I know how to get someone out of jail.
4. I know how to fight and defend myself physically.
5. I know how to get a gun, even if I have a police record.
6. I know how to keep my clothes from being stolen at the laundromat.
7. I know how to get by without a chequing account.
8. I know how to live without electricity or a phone.
9. I know all the local bus routes and times.
10. I can entertain a group of friends with my personality and my stories.
11. I know how to move in half a day.
12. I know what to do when I don’t have money to pay the bills.
13. I am very good at trading and bartering.


How many of these tasks do you know how to accomplish?

1. I know how to get my kids into Little League, piano lessons, etc.
2. I know how to properly set a table.
3. I know which stores are likely to carry the clothing that my family likes to wear.
4. My children know the best name brands in clothing.
5. I know how to order in a nice restaurant.
6. I know how to use a credit card, chequing account and savings account. I understand term life insurance, disability insurance, house insurance, flood insurance and replacement insurance.
7. I talk to my children about going to university.
8. I know how to help my children with their homework and do not hesitate to call the school if I need additional information.
9. I know how to decorate the house for the different holidays and have decorations on hand.
10. I know how to get a library card.
11. I know how to use many of the tools in the basement or garage.
12. I repair broken items in my house almost immediately, or know a repair service and call it.


How many of these tasks do you know how to accomplish?

1.  I can read a menu in French, English and another language.
2. I have several favourite restaurants in different countries of the world.
3. During the holidays , I know how to hire a decorator to identify the appropriate themes and items with which to decorate the house.
4. I know who my preferred financial advisor, legal service, designer and domestic-employment service are.
5. I have at least two residences that are staffed and maintained.
6. I know how to ensure confidentiality and loyalty from my domestic staff.
7. I have at least two or three “screens” that keep people whom I do not wish to see away from me.
8. I fly in my own plane, the company plane, or business class.
9. I know how to enroll my children in the preferred private schools.
10. I know how to host the parties that “key” people attend.
11. I am on the boards of at least two charities.
12. I know the hidden rules of the local exclusive women’s organization.
13. I support or buy the work of a particular artist.
14. I know how to read a corporate financial statement and analyze my own financial statements.

This grid provides an overview of some of the hidden rules among those living in poverty, the middle class, and wealth.

POSSESSIONS People Things One-of-a-kind objects, pedigree pets and family
MONEY To be used, spent To be managed To be conserved, invested.
PERSONALITY Is for entertainment. Sense of humour highly valued. Is for acquisition and stability.

Achievement is highly valued.

Is for connections. Financial, political, social connections are highly valued.
SOCIAL EMPHASIS Social inclusion of people they like. Emphasis on self-management and self-sufficiency. Emphasis on social exclusion.
FOOD Key question:

Did you have enough?

Quantity important.

Key question:

Did you like it?

Quality important.

Key question:

Was it presented well?  Presentation important.

CLOTHING Clothing valued for individual style and expression of personality. Clothing valued for quality and middle class acceptance. Label important. Clothing valued for its artistic sense and expression.  Designer important.
TIME Present most important.

Decisions made for moment based on feelings or survival.

Future most important.

Decisions made against future ramifications.

Traditions and history most important.  Decisions made partially on basis of tradition and decorum.
EDUCATION Valued and revered as abstract but not as reality. Crucial for climbing success ladder and making money. Necessary tradition for making and maintaining  connections.
DESTINY Believes in fate.  Cannot do much to mitigate chance. Believes in choice. Can change future with good choices now. Noblesse oblige: The wealthy have an obligation to conduct themselves nobly.
LANGUAGE Casual register.  Language is about survival. Formal register.

Language is about negotiation.

Formal register.  Language is about networking.
FAMILY STRUCTURE Tends to be a combination of matriarchal, and patriarchal, depending on the issue. Tends to be patriarchal. Patriarchal unless the woman has the money.
WORLD VIEW Sees world in terms of local setting. Sees world in terms of national setting. Sees world in terms of international view.
LOVE Love and acceptance conditional, based upon whether person is liked. Love and acceptance conditional and based largely upon achievement. Love and acceptance conditional and related to social standing connections.
DRIVING FORCE Survival, relationships, entertainment. Work, achievement. Financial, political,         social connections.

This information helps us understand what is valued by some members of these classes and how they may function.