As the Butler for a billionaire family, I've often been queried on the way I refer to people with money, and what the proper adjective might be to describe those with means.
I never thought about this as being a point of interest, but I can see how it might be. And while I'll certainly not cast judgement on what's right or wrong here, I can certainly share my observations.
So here we go with the three most common adjectives used to describe "the other half".
Well, this is a polite word generally used to show respect. You hear it mostly used in professional service jobs, such as a Lawyer or Investment Counselor referring to their "wealthy clients". It's also frequently used, again in a respectful way, by those of us who do not have wealth. But trust me here, rich people would never refer to themselves as "wealthy".
This is the worst possible way to refer to rich people! But we hear it all the time. Especially on TV when describing some crime or misdemeanor committed by "teenagers of priviledged backgrounds". My best guess is that when used in this way, privileged means access to money.
But what a bastardized use of a perfectly good word. Wasn't Mother Teresa privileged in her life's work with the poor? Aren't we privileged if we find someone to love in this world? I feel privileged if someone unexpectedly smiles at me at the supermarket!
I've never heard people with big bucks refer to themselves as privileged. "Lucky" is the word they'd more likely use. And they all know that luck can run out! (There are even some rich people who feel burdened by their money, and give it all away! Go figure.)
Now here's the down-and-dirty word -- "Rich" !
While perhaps a little more vulgar, it's simple, it's to the point and without any affectations. Rich people know they're rich, and that's how they refer to themselves.
So when I refer to people with deep pockets as "rich" (as I've done throughout all my posts), I'm not purposefully being crude, or vulgar or disrespectful. Just trying to deal with reality.
And equating respect with money, by the way, is entirely wrong altogether. Just because they have money, should we respect a corrupt Hedge-Fund Manager? (I guess that was redundant, ha!) Or a drug lord? Should we offer respect to a suddenly-rich bank robber, or lottery winner, or someone living entirely off inherited money?
So lets draw the line:
People with big bucks are simply rich. Not wealthy, not priviledged -- just rich. And they may or may not be deserving of respect, depending entirely upon how they acquired their money, and how they use it.
If you've actually read through all this, please leave a comment! I'd be happy to hear your opinions, not just what's rattling 'round in my own head!
Thanks for reading,
And good night,