By Christopher Zoukis
So-called “rich” people sit at the pinnacle of the financial pyramid. Even the so-called “moneyed” category, those making $200,000 or more per year have access to more money than 97% of the population in the U.S. This means wealthy people compose an elite group, a group that is separate from all other groups, in a financial sense. Like any other homogenous group of people, wealthy people tend to think and act the same as other wealthy people. This is an example of acquired behavior, which takes place because wealthy people socialize with other wealthy people, just as any group with definite characteristics tends to socialize with those of similar characteristics. They feel comfortable with people who are “like” them.
This tendency explains why there is an Irish enclave in Boston; a Dutch enclave in Ann Arbor, Michigan; and German Baptist enclaves in Pennsylvania. People feel comfortable around other people who are similar to them. It also explains why people from an upper-middle-class suburban area feel uncomfortable around outlaw biker gangs. Each of these groups is distinct from the others for any number of reasons, which means they acknowledge those in their group, because they are similar. This similarity draws them together.
Wealthy people prefer to associate with others of the same economic level. They feel comfortable with each other. This comfort-zone is as much psychological as economic, which means it is emotional. Any business or individual who desires to market and sell luxury goods and services to the affluent needs to recognize this elite psychology, and incorporate it into marketing. To put it bluntly, the wealthy feel and believe they are different and distinct from the other 97% of the population. In that sense, they are special. Feeling special is an emotion, and emotions need to be affirmed. Which means wealthy people crave acceptance, approbation, and confirmation of their uniqueness.
This desire for affirmation is normal and universal. Each human being wants to feel special, desires acceptance, and searches for approbation. Everyone wants recognition, including wealthy people. Even rich people feel unappreciated. They drudge through their projects, jobs, and daily lives like anyone else.