Envy will kill ya! Darned Sibling Rivalry.

Perhaps you’re like me. Perhaps you too have a sibling who is particularly high achieving. I do. I have a brother with whom I’ve always been compared and worse yet set against. I doubt my parents actually realize this.

I’m beset with high achievers with whom to be compared. All around me our family and friends who populate the 1% that so many Occupy Wall Street protesters claim to be greedy. For the record Dictionary.com defines greedy as:

1.excessively or inordinately desirous of wealth, profit, etc.;avaricious: “the greedy owners of the company.”

Were I defining the word I would add the phrase “…for that which is not rightfully yours”. For I don’t think its greedy to want to possess and enjoy that which is yours, that which you’ve earned.
My brother is just one year my senior. He used to brag to me what his income was for years. It was quite juvenile, but synonymous with the sibling rivalry he and I seem forever engaged in. He stopped telling me his pay 12-15 years ago when it became clear he had reached 7 figures per year.  He remains a 7-8 figure-income-earner per year.
But if a world travelling millionaire brother isn’t bad enough, there are also my in-laws. My sister-in-law is a Cal-Berkley educated lawyer for Microsoft. Her Dad, my father in-law, is a former 20 year state Senator and college football hero for the local school, University of Washington. Heck, even my best friend makes over $100k yearly driving a bus for Metro.
The Occupy Wall Street protesters who defiantly cry that they’re “the 99%” have an envy problem. They resent the wealth distribution in the country. They hate that the upper earning 1%, in which my family is well represented, earn 17% of our nations income. They claim that 1% should share more of what they have. Never mind that the same 1% pay for 38% of ALL Federal income tax, that the upper 10% paid 70%, and that 51% paid 100%. 49% of Americans paid 0% of all collected Federal Income tax, courtesy of those evil George Bush tax cuts. Talk about “Things that make ya go, hmmm?
If anyone has a right to be envious its me! I was raised in the same house by the same single father as my millionaire brother. I met my wife when my professional attorney sister-in-law was 12 years old. And I met by best friend 25 years ago when he had just started his Government work, long before his seniority and good service pushed him into the upper income levels. I watched all these people grow from humble beginnings to good or great financial success.
My personal achievements have been comparatively humble. I’ve worked hard my whole life. Other than two short stints on unemployment I’ve never taken public assistance or a government hand out. I’ve never been in the upper 1% of income earners, though I was certainly in the upper 5%. I’m not complaining. I’m not poor. I’ve done well. I live well. But compared to some in my family…lets just say I’m a little lower on the food chain.
So am I like the OWS protesters desirous of more of my immediate family’s money? Do I feel ripped off? Absolutely not. In fact, sometimes I feel sorry for my wealthy family members. They are all tied to their jobs and the responsibilities therein. For six years I’ve been an independent small business owner answerable to no one. Before that I worked a sales job for thirteen years in which I seldom worked more than 30 hours per week.
My brother, sister-in-law, father-in-law and best friend worked long hard hours day after day, month after month, year after year to earn everything they have. So have I. But my wealth has yet to come. It will. But I’ve enjoyed a lot of freedom and independence in the meantime (…he laughs knowingly). I’m proud of my family.
For the most part the OWS protesters are young and seem to be experiencing a tough time. They come from a generation given everything, including trophies merely for participating on a sports team. They don’t have the experience of knowing what we know. Things get better. Work hard, don’t quit, overcome obstacles, don’t spend money frivolously, and always anticipate the dawn. So its my hope they will filter away in the increasingly cold days ahead and that their “movement” will be largely ignored. As it should be. Because its little more than entitlement and envy.
Thanks for visiting. Comments are welcome.