Ep 001: Status, Work and Money

When we meet a stranger, most of us will break the ice by asking ‘what do you do for a living’? But unconsciously, with this question, we enable ourselves to make broad judgements about each other based on nothing more than a job title.

In this first episode of A Wealthy Life, I am diving straight into how our lives are shaped so much by the need for high status and important job titles – often at the expense of our own wellbeing.

This desire for status can lead us to fear change, or even retirement!

Combined with the financial pressures of providing for yourself and your family, it’s so easy to get trapped in a job because of the title, even if it makes you miserable.

I’m here to reassure you that you don’t have to do this alone. It’s ok to talk about money, and it’s ok to ask for help, because your time and happiness is worth so much more than title or salary.

Links & Resources:

Highlights from this episode:
(03:17) We all have labels
(06:08) We don’t talk about money
(09:17) My golden insights
(14:11) Understand your personal finances
(18:02) Talk about money with children
(22:21) Open the door to help

Has this podcast started you thinking about what A Wealthy Life might look and feel like for you? Why not spend another 3 minutes and take my online audit called Readiness to Retire Wealthy based on the five principles discussed in The Wealthy Retirement Plan book and episodes of this podcast? The assessment provides you with a personal score and report to help you take back control of your financial future – something business owners and employees both forget – but for different reasons.


Episode 001 Transcript – Status, Work, Money 

Welcome to A Wealthy Life. My name is Vicki Wusche and we are going to be talking all things wealth, obviously. Money, financial resilience, and a little bit of property investing–but not all just in this one episode. So, this week I’m going to be diving straight in with the challenge that our lives are shaped by the need for status and job title. 

For example, a leading question when you meet a stranger networking or at a party might be, “what do you do?” So typically British, “what do you do?” And unconsciously, what you’re doing is enabling yourself to judge someone. And it leads many people–men in particular, particularly those with status jobs–to fear change, to fear retirement; and that pressure and that role that you’re forced to keep into because of the judgments that others might make about you is something that you’ll come to hate. And if you don’t hate it already, you will hate it in the future.  

And that leads us to a second problem. So, not only have you got the pressure that comes with job title, but you’ve also got, frequently hand in hand–and I’ve seen this so many times–the self-imposed financial provider role that you then decide to take on in the family. 

And when you combine that–the social pressure of job status–with the family pressure of financial provider, stress is guaranteed. And it’s that anchor point in your life then that keeps you focused on making money and keeping a job because you need to make money, whether you’re miserable or not, and whether you’re earning enough or not, that becomes so ironic. 

So, let me just give you a little example. I used to go to the business shows over in XL and speak at a lot of events there. And one particular event show that I went to, I turned around and I was just asking people that passed through the stand that I had, mostly men, “when do you want to retire? What would you do if you retired early?” 

And it was fascinating. Over 200 guys I spoke to, practically all men–I don’t recall a single woman answering in the same way–and every one of them was either confused in that they’ve never thought about what life would be like if they weren’t working, or a surprising amount of aggression. And those that would then actually stop and explain to me as the conversation unpacked, that aggression or that confusion manifested, if you like, into worry. They were worried about what would come next. And either they were confused or that confusion came out as aggression when they spoke.  

We all have labels 

So, let’s dive in and really explore whether your life is being driven by your job title or whether you’re in control of a wealthy life and you’re the engineer of how you spend your time. 

So, starting with the concept of status; we all have labels and that’s how we work out how we ourselves fit into the social fabric of life. But also, when we meet people, how they fit into the social fabric of life. So, let’s start off with our status in the family and the labels that are attached there. 

So, you’re a mother, a father, a brother, a sister, a child. Then there’s the chronological status that comes in and that lets other people know where we are in the system. So, you’re at school, you’re at university as a student and you’re an employee or an employer or you’re unemployed or you’re retired and you can see there’s a sort of a chronology there. 

And with that information, when you speak to someone, there’s a huge amount of data that you can assume about their life. You can create unconscious biases and judgments. But also, you are unconsciously creating your life based on the fact that if, when you speak to people, you’re judging them, other people, when they speak to you will maybe be judging you. 

So, let’s just go in a bit deeper on the family. Are you the caregiver? Are you the homemaker? Are you the financial provider? And what do we mean by those specific terms? I’m going to take financial provider in this episode. And dig into that a bit deeper. So, this really harks back to caveman times. So, in caveman times you had the hunter-gatherers, or you had the farmers, depending on where we were in evolution. And in a tribe, there would have been the alphas, typically males in those days, or in some cases, females, as we moved into different eras. 

But these labels would have dictated the status that you held within the group, the level of responsibility that you took on within the group, and what your expected role was. So, are you the hunter-gatherers that you had to go out and find the animal, kill the animal? Or were you the person that came back that you prepared it, that you cooked it? 

Were you the caregiver? Were you the one that looked after the young, in the tribe? So, the financial provider in a sense is the modern version of a hunter-gatherer. Their role was to hunt and gather, in the old days, animals. And as your role now as financial provider, is to hunt and capture the money that the family needs to survive. 

We don’t talk about money 

So, there’s huge parallels there. And if you’ve unconsciously taken on this role, it’s an enormous responsibility to bear alone. If you go back to the tribe metaphor, there would have been a group of you that went out to kill the animal. Very few tribes would have had a lone person go out to kill a wild beast and bring it back. 

At least they were in pairs. Remember that; at least they were in pairs. Now, sadly, our culture, our modern culture, we’ve decided that we don’t talk about money. We don’t talk about this stuff. It’s a huge embarrassment. If you need to share this, that you can’t shoulder this all by yourself. And I really don’t understand, and as much as I love history and I haven’t been able to pick out; at what point did we change and decide that in our smaller units, it was going to be the responsibility of only one person? Or maybe it was actually the fact that we’ve started to move into smaller groups. That is the problem, as opposed to living in a larger community. 

So apart from the huge desire to grab you, shake you–and I’m going to do my best not to shout–I want you to know that you don’t have to bear this alone. And really, I suppose that might even be an underlying theme of this podcast; that I want to talk to you and I want you to talk to me. And once we’ve spoken, I want you to talk to everybody and I want everybody to talk to everybody about money. 

And if we spoke about money more, we wouldn’t be stressed. Because “a burden shared is a burden halved.” I don’t even know if that’s true. I think a burden shared is a burden evaporated. So, whether you’re part of a family–two parents or two adults, or even if you’re a single parent, like I was–you need to start sharing this burden of money and not talking about it, and work and how you feel about it, within your family group, whatever that is. 

And if you are single, then up to your parents or out to your siblings or over to your friends before it breaks you. That’s crucial. That’s crucial. And that’s what the majority, if you like, of those 200 people I spoke to at the business show were struggling with; no one had asked them what they were going to do when they retired. No one asked them if they even wanted to retire early, because they were stuck on that treadwheel and just stuck with the idea that they’d have to wait until they’re 65, and that’s not true.  

Now, I’m going to cover the flip side of the financial provider role in the next episode and the stress that that causes in families. But let’s stick with still the financial provider and the link between job title. 

So, your job title provides some form of status within the pack hierarchy. Maybe you’re the alpha, and of course, for some there’s even a link between your job title and the status that it brings and ego. Now, I can’t hope to overcome that in a simple podcast. So, we’re going to park that one for another day, but if we stick between status and now add in pay, you’ll see that there is a direct link between your job and your role as the financial provider, and the need to provide for your family. 

My golden insights 

And more importantly, I want you to keep hearing the message that that shouldn’t be a reason for stress or for misery in your life. So, let’s look at a few insights here, okay? Number one: if you just talk about it, it will be better. Number two: if you control your finances and you’re more conscious of your finances, it will be better. And if you can leverage your assets, as you have them now, into an alternative stream of income, you’ll be able to break your reliance on just one job. And again, that will relieve the stress. So, all of this is about how can you feel more comfortable, more confident, and more engaged with your money so that you don’t have to have a life ruled by a job title and roles that you you’re just putting on yourself. 

Other titles that you’ve taken on for yourself, whether consciously–because you might not use the word, “I’m the financial provider for my family,” but unconsciously you could be taking on that. So, I’m going to break these down these three points. First of all, let’s talk about it. And I did a little bit of a Google–don’t we all–and MAPS, which is the Money and Pension Service set up by the government, did some research.  

And in 2020–so obviously the research would have been a bit before that, but possibly during 2020 itself–they said that 29 million people were worried about money, and about the shame of talking about it, and about the burden that they might put on their family if they talked money to them and their money worries to them. And really that they were being stifled by their upbringing. 

I think that’s a shocking number. That’s a third of the UK worried about money. And really, there is no need. Yes, you might have reasons to be conscious of money and how you’re spending. You might even be in debt. But what does worrying about anything ever do? It never solves anything. Worrying is just an emotion. It’s not an action. It’s doesn’t produce a result, except maybe stomach ulcers and a headache and a tight neck. You know, worrying about money will get you nowhere. It’s translating that into an action. And half of the action is knowledge, in a way.  

But then it went on to say that 48% of people regularly worry about money. And that’s because, ironically as answered in the next episode, we’re not talking about it. And don’t think just because you’ve got a good income that this is something that is only experienced by people on lower incomes or even on benefits; people of all income ranges are worrying about money and most of that worry is needless, and all of that worry is pointless. So, I think I probably hammered that point home enough for you. And I’m going to pick up on it again, as I say, in the next episode and in future episodes.  

Understand your personal finances 

So now let’s really look at controlling your finances. Do you really understand your personal financial position, or are you just going to work? Because that’s what society trained you to do. From an early age you’re supposed to learn, then you go out and earn, and then you retire exhausted and with a bit of luck–and this is, sorry, a horrible way to put it–but actually you’re supposed to die before you can get your pension because pensions were created–and I’ll find all the stats for you on this–but pensions were created in the old days by employers to pay their workers a retirement contribution when they finished working for them. But what they did was they worked out what was the average age that people died at and then they set the pension date beyond the average death date. So, in the early days, people were lucky if they lived beyond when they were 45 so, pensions would have been set at 50. 

We’ve got pension set at 65, but you’ll notice that they’re starting to creep up. And that’s because we’re living longer. And as we live longer, we’re creating more of a burden on the government and the government can’t afford that. So, the old system, which is: “go out, learn, earn, retire exhausted,” actually should have been: “go out, learn and die on the job and then as the government will never have to pay you a pension.”  

And this is causing a problem because also pensions are frequently not enough money for people to actually survive on for all the years that they have to live post a normal working age. I wandered off into pensions, but let me bring you back to this general point of personal finances. 

If you don’t understand how much you need to earn, how can you even be sure if you’re earning enough or if you’re earning more than enough, than you need to cover your regular bills? You might even be regularly spiralling into debt because you’re just not checking. And one of the things I’m going to do as part of this first podcast is share with you a spreadsheet that will really help you start to make sense of your earning and your spending habits in a much more conscious way. 

One that isn’t feared and one that shouldn’t be ignored. And I’ll put all of those details in the show notes at the bottom. So, before we go on, let me just share a couple of stories to sort of really hammer this idea home of checking your finances and talking about it.  

So, during the last couple of years, as I said, I’ve spoken to literally hundreds of people; just having calls with people that I meet, networking, talking to them about money, because once you offer people the opportunity to talk about money, it’s amazing how many people take you up on it. And it’s great that they speak to me about money, and you’re welcome to speak to me about money, but at the end, I’m going to encourage you to speak to your family about money because they’re the ones that really need to be having the conversation with you.  

So, this first person that I spoke to was a self-employed consultant and during 2020, they really struggled when their bonuses stopped because most business stopped. So, they were still getting in a basic wage, or they were still getting in a furlough payment, but actually the way their life was constructed is their bonuses that really made a difference to them. And rather than talk to their partner, they mistakenly embraced the role of financial provider and turned to credit cards as a way to solve this gap in their diminishing income. 

By the time they got to 20,000 pounds in credit card debt–all of it on interest-bearing credit cards–they stopped opening the mail. And then we started to have a chat. We were chatting about other things and then I said, you know, “this is what I do,” and they went, “can we have a conversation? So, we did.” 

Their relief when we started speaking, when they finally opened up to me, was palpable. Now, interestingly, it took them a couple of conversations before they would get there–some people open up instantly–but once we’d start in speaking, they were absolutely clear on what they needed to do to stop the debt growing and how to then repair the debt that they’d got themselves in. They’ve now got a clear plan so that over the next 12 months, they’re not only not stressed to the point of misery anymore, but they’ve actually got a palpable, tangible plan that they can put into action to reduce and clear all of this debt in the next 12 months. 

So, worry served no purpose, not opening the mail served no purpose–in fact, it was worsening the problem. One conversation–all right, in their case it was two or three conversations, but same point—one conversation with me and then they’ve got a plan so that they can clear this debt. And that’s what I want you to do. The stress on that one partner would have been felt by the whole family, whether they realized it or not.  

Talk about money with children 

So, another family unit realized how vulnerable they were during this period. And they decided that they needed to discuss their finances in a safe way. And they came together as a partnership to have a conversation with me. It was almost like marriage guidance for money in a neutral space. And they owned up secret stashes of money, they owned up where they were worried about money and spending habits, and whether one thought that one was overspending in one area; and then the other thought that the other was overspending an area. And we completely cleared the air, put in place some actions so that they could be more open about money, both with one another, but even more importantly they’re now discussing money with their children and bringing them into the conversation. 

And this talking about money with the entire family, especially your children–and you’ll have the conversation slightly differently if you’ve got a four-year-old to if you’ve got a 14-year-old to if you’ve got an 18- or 20-year-old–but it’s the best lesson that you can share.  

So, then the last point that I took you up on was leverage. And I’m not going to go into this in detail now, I’ll pick it up on future episodes over the next couple of months. So, you’re going to have to keep listening. We’re going to hook you in and make you want to, auto subscribe or whatever it is that you can do to these podcasts that you keep getting them coming in your inbox every month. 

And these are going to go out on a weekly basis. So, you know, I really want to get this information to you quickly. But, in general, once you’ve reviewed your cash position, you can then start to look at your assets. And assets aren’t just financial. It can be your knowledge. It can be your time. It can be your experience; but look at your assets and your liabilities. 

What do you own? What can you access? What can you release? And once you’ve looked at this, you’ve almost done this ‘stock-take’ of everything that’s in your life. What’s performing well and what’s not performing well? And you can even do this with your time, and let me give you an example on your time. You’ve got a job that doesn’t create enough money for you, so you could benefit from finding another way to bring more money into your life.  

It could be that you get another job that pays more. It could be that you get a second part-time job. It could be that you sat down and you looked at your expenses and scale back on what you’re spending; not so that you’ve got a miserable life, but so that you’re not overspending. There was a phrase wasn’t there: “living beyond your means.” 

So, I asked you to do this and you say to me, “but I haven’t got enough time.” But, when we actually analyse your time: you work Monday to Friday, you work nine to five, you’ve got an hour each side to travel to work, if you’re traveling to work. And yes, you’ve got some family duties that you’ve got to put around that, but you’ve still got, let’s say, 3-4-5 hours a night that you’re watching TV. Even on a Saturday when you’re not with your family, you could get up a little bit earlier. Or, in an evening or something, you could still put in at least probably three or four hours over a weekend.  

So actually, the truth is there is plenty of time in your life to look at your finances. It’s just you haven’t prioritized that as something that’s important to you. And maybe because you’re so stressed about money and carrying all that burden yourself, when you do have time when you’re not working and earning money–not that you’re aware of whether you’re running enough or not–you just want to relax. But you can’t really relax because somewhere in there has got to be pecking away at you, money worries. And whether it’s conscious or unconscious at the time, it will be pecking away at you. 

And if you can prioritize understanding your finances, then you do have plenty of time. So, this idea of doing an, an asset audit or a resources audit, and looking at what’s performing well–what’s contributing to a wealthy life for you, and what’s not–is really, really important. So let me just link all of these ideas together for you as we started to come towards the end of the podcast.  

Open the door to help 

Let me ask you these questions: are you happy at work? And if not, are you just working because your job title gives you a pay slip each month that you are hoping is enough? Do you even know if you’re earning enough? Do you monitor your spending habits? Do you spend more than you earn? Do you know that? Or, do you talk about money with your family or a partner? And if not, why not? Are you unnecessarily trying to protect them from financial stress–which I guarantee you, you are not. Because we know, we know when someone’s stressed. They might not be saying what they’re stressed about, but we know it. 

So even though you think you’re protecting them, you’re not. And I know that all sounds a bit gloomy and miserable there. But let me say this: I’ve spoken to hundreds of thousands of people over the past–even if I just go over the past 14 years. And before that, tens of thousands of students–not that students aren’t people, because yeah, they are people too. But of all of those people I’ve spoken to, I can guarantee you that none of them spoke about money enough. And by not talking about money, you close the door on help. And whether that help is about controlling your spending or exploring ways to make more or simply making it more conscious so that you’re clearer of the financial position you’re in; you’re not talking about money enough.  

This is laid on with sort of this cultural overlay that’s through our upbringing and everything else; we’ve got this idea that it’s not polite to talk about money and that’s absolutely rubbish. It’s some, I don’t know, posh upper-class historic thing that the–probably the Victorians, or just after–brought in, to say that they were all so wealthy, they didn’t need to talk about money within the family or at the dinner table. 

And that’s not who we are and that’s not the lives that we live and that’s not the way that we need to live. Let’s talk about money more. That’s the message. Especially with our children. I even wrote one of my books, Property for the Next Generation–and I’ll tell you about that in another episode.  

I wrote that book because my daughter turned round to me and said, “you invest in property. Would you buy me a house?” And when I finally finished laughing–that’s the story I write. Meanwhile, she’s gone off and she’s doing very well for herself on her own because of the response that I gave her. Money’s not the problem. Work’s not the problem. Your job title is not the problem. Stress is not inevitable. Staying in a job because of the money that you think it brings into the family, and the status, but it’s making you miserable and not financially empowered, is a problem.  

So, I’ve run out of time. You’re going to hear me say that a lot on these podcasts, because I’m trying to keep them short and bite-sized so that you can cram them in on your journey to work or in your lunch hour. But I could literally talk for five hours on any one of these topics. So, I’m going to give you a prize: if you can count at the end of this, how many episodes I say: “I’ve run out of time.”  

But look, I really hope you enjoyed this episode. And more importantly, that you’ve gained some really powerful, personal insights that maybe you’re trapped by your job title and this notion that you’re the financial provider, that you’re trapped by your lack of financial conversations and really you could be living a wealthy life. You just need to talk to those that matter to you about money, which–as much as we might not like it–does matter. And I’d really love to hear your thoughts on this, of course. I’d love it if you email me any questions that you’ve got, you’ll find my email in the show notes. 

And of course, check the show notes because I’m going to put in there the free resource that I talked about, an Excel spreadsheet that I normally share with the readers of my book, The Wealthy Retirement Plan. And it’s called “The Wealthy Resources” and it’s a spreadsheet with instructions on one page, and then you can fill it out. And it’s just a tool for you to start recording how you spend money and then look at the money that’s coming in and go “ah, that’s interesting. I didn’t realize I spent that much on that particular thing or that this particular thing we’re paying for and that we don’t really make use of, or don’t really need anymore.” 

So, it can really bring clear your spending habits. So, I I’d love you to check out the show notes and look for that. It’ll take you through to a link to my website, I think, where you just have to put in your details and then you can download it. So, the purpose of this episode was really to plant a seed or three and just ask you some questions. Are you doing a job to earn money or because of some archaic need of status? Or because it makes you happy? And if your job is making you happy, and making you enough money, great; you’re well on your way to a wealthy life. But if it’s not, and you’re stuck and trapped by a job title and status and this financial provider role that you’ve taken on for yourself, and not talking about money, then you don’t need to shelter this burden anymore. 

And I really wanted to make this one of the first podcasts I put out there, because if we can break this pattern, then everything else is going to be easy. So, are you just doing a job to make money and you don’t even know if it’s enough? Do you talk about money enough or you shouldering all the burden yourself? And, are you aware of your financial position or is your head buried in the sand? Let’s get conscious about our money.  

So, thank you very much for listening. And if you listen along right now to the next episode, you’re going to hear about how clear are you about how much money is coming into your household? And that’s going to answer the 50% question that I mentioned earlier on. Listen to the flip side and the consequences of keeping silent about money. So, if I haven’t convinced you now that you need to be talking about money, the next episode might even be rubbing a bit of salt in the wound to really make you make that change  

And above all, I’d really like to thank you for your precious time, to listen to A Wealthy Life. My name is Vicki Wusche, and I hope that this episode has brought so much needed “Whoosh” into your life.  

You’ve been listening to Vicki Wusche – wealth strategist, author, and property investor. With a name like Wusche, spelt W-U-S-C-H-E, I’m easy to find on all the usual social media channels. Do come and connect. Been loving the podcast? Then join the listener Fan Club, where I will share extra insights and host webinars. Links to this and more of my story are both in the show notes and on my website: See you on the next episode!