The Fit Student – Poor, Poor Rich

Would your heart bleed if Bill Gate’s riches caused him agony? If Hugh Heffner had had just about enough with women? If Jeff Bezos got sick of books?

I got it wrong. In my last article, I listed the plusses of poverty. I said a lack of cash shrunk belly fat and upped desire. I said the wealthy climax into doldrums. In other words, I shared the view of classic underearners: wealth is wicked.

My poor woman’s mindset since got jolted. How? I read Barbara Stanny’s book Secrets of Six-Figure Women. Not a size six figure from too little cash stashed for dining out. Nor the alphabet-letter-size figure from eating Mom’s cake-fed free-range pig. Instead, Stanny’s six-figures signify your someday salary.

You can earn six figures, whether you’re a social assistance heir, a wheelchair rider, an ESL star, a single pop, a locked-up senior, or a Starbucks Barista. Set aside excuses, and act.

Today, my boyfriend and I watched a fellow with wild hair and a frumpy suit enter an elevator. My boyfriend stated the guy looked like he came straight from a shower. We parted ways, but not before eyeing him rev his sports car. So, no excuses. That guy’s appearance doesn’t hold him back; neither should yours.

Have you been duped to believe your top dollar is less than oodles? Barbara Stanny lists traits of underearners in her book Secrets of Six-Figure Women: Surprising Strategies to Up Your Earnings and Change Your Life. Her comments below appear in bold and rich italics; mine in hard-up plain font.

Underearners are fine with meager salaries. Stay clear of jobs that pay poorly: teaching, clerical, and nursing fields. Instead, apply for jobs with opportunities for raises and promotions.

But what if you’re competing in a bust economy like Alberta’s? Well, support a pro-business government and apply for 6-figure jobs once the economy revs.

Underearners don’t put a high-price on their worth. Don’t dupe yourself to believe you’re not worthy of six-figures. (Minorities often lower their wage ideals. Starving students do, too.)

I fear my looks lower my value. My face is bare and my gray roots sparkle. Surely, we don’t have to look like Margaret Thatcher to earn six figures. But good hygiene, manners, and a smile can up your dough.

My rich brother says appearance is everything. He wears imported silk suits. Yet, he cuts his own hair. And many of the suits downtown have bellies and bald scalps. They make six figures. Why not you?

The best solution for upping the looks? Go hard in gyms—and lounge in steam rooms.

Underearners volunteer services for work in the private sector. Don’t do services pro bono because you’re too humble to charge. Ask for a decent wage. Value your skills.

At a college, I watched a job interviewee state a salary range that started at minimum wage. He got what he asked for—minimum wage. The college toyed with him for a few months and then fired him. The moral? Value your work because others may not.

Underearners sabotage their work. Don’t set yourself up for failure by job-hopping, by starting spats with coworkers, or by applying for roles you’re unqualified to tackle.

I set myself up for failure. I prepped for a social media position by reading Facebook for Seniors. My first day of work? I fumbled to figure out how to fire off a Facebook message.

Yet, overreaching held benefits. I learned at hyper speed on the job. After the stint, I studied social media hard. Within six months, interviewees called my social media skills “impressive.” But most of all, I discovered my passion.

My advice? Don’t set yourself up for failure, but do push your potential.

Underearners get buried with debt. Don’t borrow just to get by. Don’t barter either. Instead, earn cash and avoid debt.

When my molar broke, I pulled out Visa. When I needed business suits, I pulled out Visa. My debt rose, along with my stress.

Did I really need a new molar? Many cultures have high rates of missing molars. Plenty of six-figure earners lack more than a molar. So, tuck away that Visa.

Let’s take that further. Did I even need a degree? Many six figure earners have high school or less. Some climb upwards for years within stable companies. Some set high standards and luck out in the first year. Some start businesses that wind up worth millions. No limitation can hold you back.

So, what do six-figure salaries reduce to? Having a goal. You may lack the education, the looks, the lineage, but with a goal, you’ve got the shot at six figures.

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