Earlier this week I got to do one of my favorite work tasks: teach college students about money. A big part of my job is creating a financial literacy component for the program I run and I love to do it, both because how people think about money fascinates me and because I get to tell these students as the things I wish I had known when I was just starting out in the world.

As part of my talk this week I mentioned that 3.5% of the US population has a net worth of a million dollars or more. The rest of the talk focused on how my students could join that 3.5% (hint: start saving now kiddos. The earlier the better).

I also read an article this week that said that only 5% of Americans engage in vigorous exercise on any given day. 5%. I find that shocking though I have been part of the 95% for most of the last decade.

I thought about the 3.5% and the 5% a lot this week and have decided I’d very much like to be a statistical outlier. I want to be part of the 5% that is engaging in vigorous exercise. I’m on track to get in 5 workouts this week and it feels very good to say that. I’m a 5 percenter this week.

 I also want to be part of the 3.5% that has built wealth for themselves.  My husband and I recently made a really big financial decision, one that I think (hope/pray/dream) will be the smartest thing for us longterm but that may (probably will) have some short term negative repercussions. But I’m only 32. I choose to believe, right now, that I can still get there if we make smart choices in the next couple of years especially.

Sometimes I get down about how long and slow a process it is to reach big goals. But, right now, today, I’m starting to feel a little optimistic.


Other very small populations I’d like to join:

– people who finish NaNoWriMo (starting next month. Gonna go for it!)

– people who finish Olympic distance triathlons (I don’t even dare dream of Ironman distances at this stage of my life. But I figure the vast majority of people never even try to do tris so this should be a small enough group)

– people who have the balls to go for the things they want the most (I don’t know how big this group is but I want to be a part of it)

3 thoughts on “Outlier

  1. Gretchen says:

    Wow, that 5% is shocking, but explains a lot. Don’t know where I’d fall, exactly. Depends on what they call vigorous, I guess. I am up and moving every day but sometimes it’s not more than walking the dog. Hmmm, something to think about.

  2. Mads says:

    What a great post!

    I sometimes feel like I am in the “majority slump”. Being an outlier is hard work!

    (I even signed up for NaNoWriMo last year and didn’t complete a single day. Psh)

  3. Wendy says:

    @Gretchen, I think they’d count dog walking in that 5%. They count making dinner as “moderatly active” so I think any walking was in the “vigourous” category

    @Mads, when I did NaNoWriMo the first time I think I maybe did 4 days and had less than 4,000 words at the end of it. Being an outlier is hard work!

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