“Katie is richer than me, isn’t she?” My 6-year-old son Paul asked the question in a near-whisper while we were visiting my best friend—whose name happens to be the same as mine.
We had spent Thanksgiving with my aunt, uncle and cousins in Philadelphia, and were spending the rest of our vacation with Katie and her family in their brownstone in Brooklyn, N.Y.
Paul is at the age where he wants answers to some of life’s mysteries—he’s already asked us how babies are made and what happens when you die.
Nonetheless, I was taken aback by his blunt net-worth query. The value of Katie’s house is apparent to anyone familiar with per-square-foot real-estate values near Manhattan, but how could a child have so quickly perceived the differences in our two families’ economic realities? I hated to think that Paul’s relationship with my closest friend and her family could be colored by jealousy or a sense of division between us.