• Courtney Kirschaum

Richie Rich-ism is a thing

Richie Rich was a cartoon character introduced in 1953.

Dubbed "the poor little rich boy", this only child of fantastically wealthy parents is the world's richest kid.

He lives in a mansion and has two of everything. His middle name is a dollar sign, $.

While the entire world heaves through change before our very eyes, some are revisiting a revealing experiment.

Decades old, it's commonly known as the blue-eyes, brown-eyes experiment.

Short version: it shows what happens when you’re treated like a bad person and advantages are withheld based on the color of your eyes.

Devised and conducted by an elementary school teacher who had her class take turns experiencing both entitlement and prejudice, the results were shocking.

Why’d she do it?  

In 1968, Jane Elliott’s 3rd grade class made Martin Luther King their "Hero of the Month."

When he was murdered that same month, the kids were torn up about it. 

How do you explain that to 3rd graders?

It was transformational in part because it revealed one reason racism is so insidious: you have to experience it to truly understand it. 

Someone "trying to explain" doesn't begin to get the job done. 

That's true of something else, too. 

I suggest another experiment...

It would start in elementary school and be revisited as you grow up.

Half of your class gets financial security and lots of discretionary cash.

The other half gets to be poor.

Who gets to be which is as random as birth.  

If you’re born in the first six months of the year, you’re poor. If you’re born in the last six, yee haw! You’re rich!

Cause that's how it is. 

Born rich or poor, you have nothing to do with it.

Perhaps you’ve noticed people are treated differently based on their wealth or lack of it. 

You go to better schools, get tutors, SAT prep classes and coaches, or simply pay someone to take your SAT, either way…

You get into better schools, which you can afford. This invariably leads to better jobs, better opportunities.

Student loans? Don't make me laugh.

Your parents help you with your resumé and navigating office politics. You learn the difference between a salad fork and a dinner fork early.

Money has rules that can only be learned through experience not explaining. 

Imagine if from a young age, you got to experience both wealth and poverty?

You learned the rules that support wealth instead of just survival. 

If you’re rich, you get to to be poor. Betcha can't wait!

You get to stand in line with your mom while she applies for food stamps.

You get to decide if you want to buy groceries or pay the electric bill.

Maybe you get to go without health insurance or only have one family car or no family car. 

Rich side of the class?  

Come get a passport and enjoy a year abroad. Bon Voyage!

Poor side?  

You get a summer job. Too young to work? You get nothing. 

Oh, wait, I forgot! You get blamed and shamed for being poor, so, not nothing. 

Rich? You get to experience higher and more complicated taxes.

Transitioning from poverty to wealth? Don't understand more complicated taxes? You get a stiff tax penalty. 


Decide whether to put that $50k interest in your college pal's start-up or an Index fund?

Poor? What's an index fund? Not knowing things like that keeps you poor. You get that right?

Think more money will solve all your problems? 

Why not find out? 

Imagine if a 3rd grade teacher tried this today. 

No matter how much money you have, more money comes with a new set of unwritten rules.

Imagine what you'll learn when you experience having the money you dream about and are probably working hard to get.

That’s where the Game takes you.

It's not a money management class.

It's you with whatever "more" money means to you.

You think you'll know what you'll do with it, but almost no one does when it actually happens.