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Middle Class Anxiety
In his book A Millionaire’s Common Sense Approach to Wealth, Dexter Yager introduces a concept he calls ‘middle class anxiety’.
Here is how Yager suggests you can diagnose someone with middle class anxiety:
- Continually worrying about appearing ‘upper class’
- Feels the need to impress people specifically by the quality of items in the home
- Horrified at the thought of appearing middle class
- Focuses on appearing as if you have achieved something
- Fashion choices are made based on impressing instead of comfort
- Vocabulary is used to elevate status instead of communicate
Here is what Dr. Thomas Stanley at the Affluent Marketing has to say (as quoted in Yager’s book):
the true financial goal of most Americans is not to be rich, not to be affluent, not to be wealthy. The true goal is to appear affluent and seem wealthy.”
If we are honest with ourselves I think each of us could say to some degree we have middle class anxiety.
How To Deal With Middle Class Anxiety
Here are some suggestions for winning your battle against middle class anxiety:
- Read the book The Millionaire Next Door. The book highlights the true spending and lifestyle habits of millionaires. The habits are different than most people perceive.
- Determine why you would be most likely to go into debt. A known enemy is always less threatening than an unknown enemy.
- Know how to properly define your net worth.
- Keep a budget to be sure you are always spending less than you make.
- Talk to a friend or church leader. A healthy perspective can go a long way.
- Read your Bible. The Bible will continually remind you of why you are significant. It has nothing to do with the perception of others. As an example, read Psalm 139.
- Try something new. Remove some action you have been depending on for affirmation from people. Invite someone over and serve dinner on your regular dishes. You will find that genuine friends will not care.
- Be open with your spouse (if married). If your spouse is aware of what is happening he or she can be supportive.
- Give something away. You will find a greater joy in giving something than on depending on it for meaning.
- Pray. Confess to God your difficulty in releasing things. Through prayer God can make you more and more into his image.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. (Psalm 139:14 NIV)