A look at Wealth from the funnel of Scarcity

May 29, 2023

I recently interacted with a young man called Divyanshu.

Extremely intelligent and articulate, he got admission into a very prestigious educational institution. Was awarded a partial scholarship, but being unable to afford the exorbitant fees, he resorted to taking an educational loan.

In his own words, the 24-year old Indian describes his experience with refreshing honesty.


I remember my very first day. As I could not afford to travel alone, I hitched a ride with a classmate, who had a car of his own. On campus, it did not take me long to unpack as my belongings were minimal, they all fit neatly in just one suitcase.

I gazed in wonderment as my room mates unpacked hordes of stuff. Laptops, phones, perfumes, watches, toiletries, garments, and footwear. Something for every occasion, and every activity. All exhibiting style and screaming class.

In comparison, my wardrobe was monastic. My phone was a friend’s spare one. I played basketball in torn Nivea shoes, my teammates sported LeBrons.

Even the conversations were enabled by wealth. What they were purchasing, the gadgets they have set their sights on, the homes their family members had, the cars they drive, their travels around the world (in business class or first class, no doubt), their culinary experiences in restaurants across India and the globe, their stays in upmarket hotels, their interactions with others in their social circle, and so on and so forth. It was a world I have never inhabited.

Working after graduation was an option, a choice, something they could experiment with, something they could ponder upon. Such latitude was inconceivable for me. I was obliged to start working as it was a dire necessity.

What I learnt from the years spent at the educational institution.

  • There is something called the ovarian lottery - the randomness of being born at a particular time, place, and identity rather than another.
  • Just because you match someone intellectually, doesn’t mean that it is a level playing field.
  • Living with the wealthy can be a psychological assault because of the constant stark awareness of one’s own scarcity.
  • The comparison and contrasts make you feel woefully inadequate, something nobody wants to admit. And the only way to escape that feeling is by earning money and hopefully getting wealthy.
  • My choices are propelled by financial constraints. I have to take up a job to pay my rent, to save, to invest, to repay my loan, to buy a house, to eat in a fancy restaurant, to travel, and to live. Their choices emanate from the options that wealth gives them. Their decision to work is a choice based on parameters other than money.

Did that make me bitter?


It made me question and it made me think. But my experience at the educational institution was enriching on so many levels. I met amazing people. I got exposed to a world and a life that was beyond my realm of existence. It helped me dream. I never thought I would aspire to reach great heights.

Did it make me greedy?

I think not.

While we can wistfully and philosophically and rightly state that wealth doesn’t determine our “worth” as a human being, there is no debating that wealth is a great enabler. It gives you the freedom to pursue what you want, walk away from what you don’t want, and pick a side. And that is what I desire.

More on Behavioural Finance

Larissa Fernand is an Investment Specialist and Senior Editor at Morningstar India. You can follow her on Twitter

Add a Comment
Please login or register to post a comment.
© Copyright 2024 Morningstar, Inc. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use    Privacy Policy
© Copyright 2024 Morningstar, Inc. All rights reserved. Please read our Terms of Use above. This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.
As of December 1st, 2023, the ESG-related information, methodologies, tools, ratings, data and opinions contained or reflected herein are not directed to or intended for use or distribution to India-based clients or users and their distribution to Indian resident individuals or entities is not permitted, and Morningstar/Sustainalytics accepts no responsibility or liability whatsoever for the actions of third parties in this respect.
Company: Morningstar India Private Limited; Regd. Office: 9th floor, Platinum Technopark, Plot No. 17/18, Sector 30A, Vashi, Navi Mumbai – 400705, Maharashtra, India; CIN: U72300MH2004PTC245103; Telephone No.: +91-22-61217100; Fax No.: +91-22-61217200; Contact: Morningstar India Help Desk (e-mail: helpdesk.in@morningstar.com) in case of queries or grievances.