As a kid, I remember learning that “six figures” is rich. Only rich people own houses. Only rich people drive cars costing over $10,000. Only rich people send their kids to private school.
Back then, rich meant stuff. Both of my parents were teachers. We weren’t rich.
And in one sense, it didn’t matter.
I grew up in Houston, walking distance from the Johnson Space Center. I went to great public schools. Even while my peers came from much wealthier homes — their parents worked for NASA, or for even more lucrative NASA subcontractors — our engineering-heavy community emphasized academic smarts. Thank goodness I was “booksmart” — I fit in.
Fast-forward 15 years, and I’m living and working in wealth-crazed, tech-obsessed San Francisco. Same issues, different scale.
Here, eight figures is rich. Only rich people own multi-million dollar houses. Only rich people drive cars costing over $100,000 — which they pay for in cash. Only rich people send their kids to the most competitive private schools.
Over the years, I’ve had hundreds of conversations with family, friends, colleagues, and acquaintances about what being “rich” means.
For some people, it’s money: when my net worth reaches X, I’ll be rich.
For others, it’s health: once I’m in peak physical condition, I’ll be rich.
For some people, it’s relationships: when I am finally surrounded by a community of friends and family I love, I’ll be rich.
For others, it’s living their purpose: once I finally do what I am meant to do, I’ll be rich.
What strikes me about these answers is that “rich” is almost always out of reach. No one “arrives” at being rich — there is always more to do, to achieve, to become.
I’m Andi. I am a social scientist and design researcher. I am fascinated by what makes people tick.
I’ve spent years researching and writing about public policy issues. I have worked with leaders of institutions ranging from private firms to governmental agencies on how best to understand and serve the fundamental needs of their communities.
Don’t get me wrong — numbers do and always will matter. For most people, you can’t save more than you make. But whether and how much and how you choose to save has a lot to do with what “rich” means to you.
I’d like to help you find out. I joined Varo for the opportunity to help millions of people find their own narratives and discover how those affect how they earn, spend, save, and invest.
My work here at Varo is design research. I am here to question, and listen, and understand. I am here to help all of you on your own journey to being “rich.”
I’d love to hear from you: [email protected].
Image Credit: Annie Spratt