THE BLOG

Are the Rich Greedy?

04/24/2011 09:49 pm ET | Updated Jun 24, 2011
  • Grant Cardone New York Times bestselling author; Executive producer, 'Turnaround King'; Radio host and Twitter top sales expert.

Are the rich really greedy or is this just what those that aren't rich say about those that are? And can a person's income or net worth determine whether that person is greedy or not? When a person is promoted from a job paying $60,000 a year to one paying $250,000, does he/she suddenly become consumed with greed?

It is preposterous to think that that amount of money a person earns or the wealth they control have anything to do with greed! Greed is defined as the excessive desire to possess wealth or goods with the intention to keep it for one's self. Greed by definition is then determined by desire and intention not by a person's net worth.

It seems that the rich are most often labeled greedy by two groups:
1) those that haven't created financial success.
2) those with political agendas.
This labeling is created from myths and misinformation about the rich. The misconception that the rich don't help or don't do their part or that they are greedy only demonstrates a misunderstanding, even an ignorance about the rich and wealth. This thinking stands in the way of entire classes of people from ever improving their financial situations.

The Obama administration asserts that financial literacy is a 'national crisis'. Surveys suggest 75% of all workers don't know how much money they need for retirement. Multiple studies of 12th graders produced consistent failing scores of only 50-55% on practical money questions. In my seminars I often hear, "if I had $1 million I would use it to help the less fortunate." I always respond, "The most effective way to help the less fortunate is to quit being one of the less fortunate!"

If you don't come from wealth, I didn't, then the only way to create it today is through hard work, risks, entrepreneurial effort, innovative thinking and by saving and investing! Those that create wealth honestly should be admired not labeled. Go to any third world country and financial success is admired and perceived as an ethical issue -- a duty, obligation, even a responsibility.

Be honest, do you have a resentment of rich people? Do you believe rich people are greedy, shallow, unhappy and dysfunctional? Do you believe that the rich got rich by stepping over others? Do you believe the rich made money their god or that they don't care about the less fortunate? If you harbor any of these beliefs creating financial security for yourself and your family is going to be almost impossible!

And what about all the misinformation and myths about the rich. Consider the most simple of facts that if you are reading this from a computer you are rich compared to most people in the world. 1/3 of the people on this planet live on less than $166 a month making even those at poverty levels in the USA wealthy by comparison! The median income in the USA is $44,000 a year but the world median income is $2000 a year. The next time you say, "the rich are greedy", by world standards, you are talking about yourself!

Also, we determine who is rich and who is not. You may resent the hedge fund guys on Wall Street or the CEO's of the big banks but it is you and me investing in their funds and banks. Steve Jobs' net worth is in the multi-billions and was determined not by him but by all of us buying the products he has been responsible for creating. Not even a criminal, is able to create riches without the help, trust and support of the marketplace.

Others suggest that the rich are greedy and don't give their fare share. The top 1.4 million earners in 2008 paid over 38% of ALL the income taxes collected by the IRS. Consider, that just those earning incomes over $1 million/year were responsible for over 50% of all charitable donations?

I have been studying the wealthy for years and one of the biggest differences is a willingness to work with no pay in hopes of some bigger payoff later. The poor and middle class see working for nothing unthinkable. At the age of 29 I went into business for myself and my income dropped by 70% to less than $35,000 a year for the first three years until I figured out how to make it successful. Minimum wage may have made a bigger middle class, but it also trapped millions of people to think in terms how much they get paid per hour rather than how to create their financial freedom.

Before you jump on the 'rich people are greedy' bandwagon consider the facts:
1) Rich has nothing to do with greed
2) They pay most of the taxes collected
3) They are responsible for 50% of all charitable donations
4) Resenting the rich guarantees that you will always be poor or that you have a political agenda!

Grant Cardone, NY Times Best Selling Author
The 10X Rule-The Difference Between Success and Failure