Why is it so hard for white people to talk about generational wealth?

Photo by Christine Roy on Unsplash

I’ve noticed lately that it still seems difficult for people born into generational wealth to ever admit to it. I understand finances can be relative, and to some people what they have may not seem like a lot in comparison to other people. At the same time, I’ve known a lot of well off white people and no matter what they can’t seem to admit to their privilege's or hide behind other excuses as to why they’re not wealthy.

“I’m poor” or “I’m broke”. An exclamation I’ve heard out of numerous people my age. I’m a millennial too, and it is proven statistically that we aren’t growing up in similar circumstances as our Parents. At the same time, how much of it are you looking to receive through trust funds or inheritances eventually? How much of your success come from friends or family members lending you money?

No matter how much your Parents may have drilled into your head about financial independence, how many times have you relied on them for help? Do you not question your Parents assets, or their financial opportunities, or what they themselves received through varying generations? What about nepotism? Isn’t networking or what we understand it to be a form of nepotism?

You sometimes see modest financial profiles on various people and families in news and media publications. Those who make a lower middle class incomes even. They claim in their profiles how they do their best to save, or how they pinch pennies.

No one ever asks them what their Parents do for a living. Loans for cars, tuition, or travel. Yet they are always educated, and they always seem to make a least one trip overseas in a year, and maybe they do end up getting married and affording a lavish wedding somehow, or they end up buying a condo seemingly out of nowhere.

It seems to be something that’s left in the shadows, rarely talked about even among peers. It’s a conversation I’d really benefit hearing from, as someone who grew up in a low income household.

I still have my major privilege's, one I’m white and Indigenous. So through out my life, including when I lived in Toronto my Indigeneity, my ethnicity, was well disguised. Which I inherited from my Mother and other European ancestry. So, when people would lament about their money matters when I lived in one of the most expensive cities in the world, I was guessing they assumed I was just like them. I.E I was white, and my Parents were there to finance my lifestyle in Toronto. It often seemed to be a give in.

I knew people who stole from Value Village who’s Parents were well known and wealthy. This information wasn’t found out easily. It was found out through bits of information, and shopping with them at Value Village. They also managed drug/alcohol habits, and other vices, next to gym memberships, or spa dates I could never afford.

At the same time they still lamented about rent, about general finances, and they weren’t working major jobs providing even a middle class income. Yet, they were world traveled, university educated, and often rode around on expensive bicycles and accessories. They could also afford a random bought of lavish retail therapy without much worry coming to mind. They could afford to furnish apartments, disguised behind vintage to bring on the assumption they weren’t pushing their limits, but still being calm, cool, collected.

I want more transparency about wealth and where you get it. Not just so your coworkers know you’re all being paid a fair wage, but because even amongst friends who go out for dinner. So the one person who maxed out their credit cards doesn’t have to help pick up the check. Help your friends out who need it, and don’t expect them to pay it back. Learn about their families, and where they come from. It’s not that difficult, if you really cared.

#twospirit Kahnawá:ke Mohawk🌱 I enjoy writing about pop culture, fashion, music, sexual health, and more.