I was having brunch with a group of friends, and we were joking about another friend who always acts like he is wealthy, which he certainly is not. We coined him as being transwealthy, in other words his behavior transcends income brackets. Urban dictionary describes transwealthy as “a person whom identifies as a wealthy person, and most likely has a ridiculous amount of debt.” Which sums up our friend to a tee. At the time the thought made me chuckle, but the more I thought about our transwealthy friend, the more I realized this is a problem for a lot of Canadians. You don’t have to go much further than looking at the Canadian debt to income ratio which is currently at record highs at around 167%. Why do we have such a problem keeping our expenses in line? Do we have a need to keep up with Joneses? Do we want people to think we are rich? Do we just want things and can’t contain ourselves? Perhaps we need to start detaching success from “things”. Maybe we need to work on eliminating expensive behaviors that we think we need.


Let me remind you of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. Maslow's hierarchy of needs is often portrayed in the shape of a pyramid with the largest, most fundamental levels of needs at the bottom.

So, after looking at the pyramid, maybe our esteem needs have something to do with it. A desire for prestige and feeling of accomplishment, is this what is causing us act like we are wealthy when we are not, and spending what we don’t have?The irony of this is that would mean our esteem needs are jeopardizing the two most important needs of all: Physiological and safety needs: food, water, warmth, rest, security and safety. To think that we are really sacrificing security, safety etc. just for esteem?  Maybe we need to rethink our current “needs” and decide which ones are the most important to us. Maybe we need to draw out what our personal pyramids look like based on our actions. Does it line up with Maslow’s? What needs are you currently jeopardizing, due to your other needs and how can you fix that?