If you aren't concerned about what to do with your affluence, you begin to feel marginalized. We are second- and third-class citizens, unfortunate because we don't have as much money as others, and immoral because evidently there's nothing stopping us from getting it but ourselves.

I opened an IRA last year, and I was never more glad for it than when a friend asked me, with the casualness she might have employed to inquire about what brand of shampoo I used, what investment house I used. Not having an IRA would have been, to her, equivalent to not paying child support, not wearing a seat belt, or smoking. I didn't mention the fact that I had less than $3,000 in the account. I didn't mention that the only time I see the financial page is when I'm flipping through on my way to the arts page (and sometimes the horoscopes). It's a secret shame, this being unwealthy.

Political policies aren't designed to help the willfully unwealthy. And why should they be? The only system that's hurting us is our own value system. We were dumb enough to take the moral high road back when everyone else was busy getting rich.