If you grew up in the 90s, “poser” was the ultimate insult. Posing meant faking, pretending to be something you weren’t. I don’t want to be a poser.
So all pretending aside, let me be clear: I live in a 1400 sq ft home and own two cars, a dishwasher, a Kitchenaid mixer, and more computers and televisions than I care to admit. Actually, it’s hard to tally the latter when married to an engineer with lots of Projects. Though he just did some major decluttering–yay!
But back to my point: I am rich. Filthy rich, by any standard outside the time & space in which I live.
Lucky, fortunate, blessed, spoiled…you name it, I’ll claim it. I am the global 1%.
When I say pretend to be poor, I don’t mean it literally. Not even a little literally. I think the fact that it’s the title of a web page should give that away. (Think computer, Internet, leisure time when I’m not scavenging for my next meal or side hustling to pay the electric.)
I’d never want to insult the truly poor, or equate my truly lavish lifestyle with an impoverished one. So I’m just putting it out there, loud and clear, that I know I’m rich. And I believe wealth is a huge responsibility that should be used to help others.
In my mind, pretending to be poor represents the only attractive alternative to pretending to be rich. I suppose there’s a third option of breaking even, but that’s hard to pull off with precision and undesirable since it means you have nothing to share or save for the future.
So that leaves only two feasible options: live on more than you make, or live on less. And if you choose to live on less, why not live on a lot less, if possible? That could free up so many resources–both time and money–for doing what really matters.
The 1.74 trillion dollars in American consumer debt (credit & auto) indicates a startling pattern of living on more than you make, i.e. pretending to be rich.
By “pretend” I also hope to evoke not taking yourself too seriously. Sure, we’re trying to live on less, but we’re not claiming to be the most hardcore frugal freaks out there. I buy crazy indulgences like chocolate, alcohol, makeup, and pants without holes in them regularly. I break stuff, lose stuff, and buy stuff that doesn’t work out not infrequently. And each year we burn syrup, lose a chicken, and leave some garden tomatoes on the vine too long, all without causing our family financial duress.
We are not the most wealthy, successful, organized, creative, or generous people out there. We are not the best at life. We’re okay with faking it will we make it, and that’s very much what I mean by pretending.
The truth is, we’re all posers on some level. Now it’s been termed Impostor Syndrome; we’re all a bit insecure as we strive to become something we’re not yet. The important question isn’t whether you’re pretending, but what will you pretend to be?
I’ll strive to live on less, so I can be more useful.
I’ll strive to give more, to help those who have less.
I’ll “pretend to be poor” because I don’t want to pretend to be rich.
I’ll “pretend to be poor” so I can build wealth. Wealth that can help others become “rich in every way.”
Do you ever feel like a “poser”? What are you striving for this year?