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In this episode, one woman talks about her experience working as an au pair for a wealthy family. Get your tickets to the TFD digital summit today!

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Through weekly video essays, "Making It Work" showcases how *real* people have upgraded their personal or financial lives in some meaningful way. Making your life work for you doesn't mean getting rich just for the sake of it. It means making the most of what you have to build a life you love, both in your present and in your future. And while managing money is a crucial life skill for everyone, there's no one "right way" to go about it — you have to figure out what works best for *you,* full stop.

Video narration by Andrea Cordero

Video by Grace Lee

Based on an article by Lauren Thornberg

The Financial Diet site:

Hi, everyone.

It's Chelsea and I am just popping in quickly to remind you, if you have not gotten your tickets yet, if you have not even heard about it yet, TFD is hosting its first-ever all-day digital conference on Friday, October 16th. We're calling it The Big Reset 2020 because it's everything you need to completely turn around your life and your finances in 2020.

Take back and reclaim this terrible year. We're going to be doing all kinds of stuff-- from interactive workshops, to deep dive panels, to live mentoring, to all kinds of take home activities, and fun interactive events. And if you can't make it on the day don't worry because every ticket-holder will get full access to the whole summit after-the-fact to watch whenever you want.

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In 2017, I graduated high school and moved to China to become an au pair. Basically a nanny but the main responsibility is to entertain the child. I worried I'd experience culture shock and I was right.

However the shock wasn't what I expected. I assimilated into Chinese culture very well. It was the culture of wealth that I struggled to understand.

Over the course of 10 months, here's what I learned about what rich people value. Number one, they're obsessed with prestige. Upon being hired, I was asked where I was going to college.

My answer, a public university, disappointed them. Our last au pair went to Georgetown University. I felt confused, even embarrassed.

I was there to care for a child. What did my college choice have to do with it? That was only the beginning though.

Everything was about prestige and very little was about genuine quality. The child I cared for, who I will call Y, lived under the shadow of her parents' obsession with reputation. Her ballet teacher was among the most famous contemporary ballerinas in all of China.

She attended the number one public school in Beijing. Every time we went shopping, her mother would shove clothing at me asking, is this a famous brand? If it was, she'd put it back and two days later return home with an identical knockoff piece.

It was never about quality; it was about image. And wealthy folks in other countries think this way too, of course. Upon returning to the US I started noticing more evidence for this obsession with prestige, especially on campus.

My wealthy peers who went to private high schools never failed to mention the prestige of going to a well-known high school. Firstly, I had never heard of these schools. And secondly, we all ended up in the same place, so why did it matter?

To them, it wasn't the outcome of paying tens of thousands of dollars to pass or fail algebra. It was the promise of prestige. The idea that someday they would mention where they'd attended high school and they're captivated audience would say wow.

That day would likely never come. But the promise was there. And that's what rich people crave.

Number two, they value exclusivity. I was given many exclusive experiences simply for working for a wealthy family. I was taken to the opera through their personal connections, a film festival, a month long vacation at a private resort, and the houses of actors, directors and socialites.

I recall walking past crowds of journalists and onlookers into the film festival opening ceremony and wondering, why am I here? I do not deserve this. It felt too exclusive for me as though I were intruding into something private-- something for rich people.

Rich people love exclusivity because it reminds them that they're special. We all want to feel special. But they have the means to constantly receive that comfort and often without even realizing they're seeking it out.

They live in gated communities, go to expensive private schools, and join country clubs. When they sit in first class as the economy passengers file by, the message is clear. When the curtain between us closes we are no longer the same.

Number three, they value hard work, sometimes. I worked hard to be where I am today is a common refrain about the wealthy. In the case of Y's father, this was certainly true.

He was born poor and was miraculously discovered by a traveling Beijing opera troupe. He was the epitome of upward mobility. He worked hard to achieve his success.

His child, However, did not. I was forced to do her homework for her because it wasn't worth her time. So the task fell upon me, a 19-year-old, to complete a 10-year-old's schoolwork.

I remember telling her once that she had to work hard in life because nothing in life is handed to you. Knowing fully well that honestly plenty of things had been handed to her-- a spot in a top school, a constant flow of au pairs. Her parents even wrote, produced, and directed a whole movie so that she could be a film star by age 7.

Her response to my middle class wisdom-- I don't want to because working hard takes time. For the wealthy, working hard can be optional. In the wake of the scandals regarding the wealthy paying for their kids' admission at top universities, it's become more and more obvious that for those with means, hard work can be bypassed for a fee.

Number four-- they view authenticity as a commodity. The trope of the starving artist is romanticized by the wealthy. Wise father who grew up poor spoke highly of his students who came from less privileged backgrounds.

When we all went to the cinema to see Loving Vincent, the whole family gushed over Van Gogh's authenticity and anguish. This wealthy family loved the poor but only if they produced art. Other poor people didn't matter.

This has some very positive effects. Some rich people are willing to pay more to purchase handcrafted clothing, donate to museums and support live theater because they have the means to do so. Wealthy patrons often allow the arts to thrive when public funding is insufficient.

And funnel money toward initiatives that could benefit lower class artists. But there is a darker side. Wealthy people in their pursuit of the most authentic fur or the most underground music scene, enable gentrification and push out the very culture they so admired.

When there is no more authenticity left in one place, the wealthy will reach for the next scrap of it to enjoy. They do not see the destruction behind them only the excitement ahead. A culture's authenticity is merely a commodity for their consumption.

My venture into the world of the wealthy left me feeling alienated, humiliated, sometimes even bitter. But it gave me a sense of understanding I previously did not have. A world built on the values of just a handful of people is not a world where the rest of us can live happily.

We must question ourselves. What good is the search for prestige when it comes at the expense of others? Is a world where we value people only for their creativity or productivity a world worth maintaining?

Should we want to live in a society that desires exclusion? I spent only a brief period living in the world of the wealthy. But it was enough time for me to realize that it was not a world I ever intended to return to.

If you are a small business owner or freelancer you're used to wearing many hats. But often delegating your business tasks can end up saving you a lot more in the long run. We highly recommend using the services of a certified public accountant to help you reach your business goals.

CPAs are qualified financial experts who give advice all year round, not just during tax season. Thanks to their financial expertise and broad business knowledge, they can help you with the parts of your business you should almost never DIY. Such as financial and tax planning, business valuation, accounting services and setting and meeting your business growth goals.

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