By Rick Kahler via Iris.xyz

One of the pillars of my profession of financial planning and counseling is to help people get richer. For many people, this statement might evoke the idea of “income inequality” as summed up by the phrase “the rich get richer and the poor get poorer.” This is a common money script around a topic that evokes a lot of difficult emotion.

Of course, there are people who have wealth that tends to increase over time. This includes some who inherit vast wealth and others who achieve wealth through business ownership or creative successes. It also includes those who live on less than they make, invest the difference, and make sound investment decisions with the money they have saved.

Regardless of the economic class people start out in, one of the goals of financial planning is to help them expand their lifestyles—in in other words, to get richer. We help them build wealth so they can afford to send their children to college, or can take care of themselves in old age, or can someday not have to work for an income. We help the poor to become middle class, the middle class to become affluent, the affluent to become rich, and the rich to become richer.

When I frame “the rich getting richer” in that manner, people typically respond, “I never thought of it that way.” It contradicts the popular interpretation that the way the rich get richer is by taking from the poor, hence “the poor get poorer.”

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