Rich, poor: Why the poor are screwed

Image: globaleduc.wordpress.com
Image: globaleduc.wordpress.com

This truth is self-evident: it sucks to be poor. I mean, it sucks so obviously that even the kids know it.

I’ve felt poor many times in my life. When I was little and I desperately wanted a Barbie. When I was graduating high-school and didn’t want to go to prom because dressing up would be too expensive. When I was in university and only came home once in 6 weeks because that’s how long I needed to save for the train. When my dad died and I had all this debt to pay back.

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Are we rich or poor?

Image: MikeAndMollysHouse.com
Image: MikeAndMollysHouse.com
I’ve been thinking a lot about the ways we spend our money lately. And I came to wonder how we look to other people.

If you look at me in my casual, slightly worn-out clothes on my way to the grocery, and you notice the wind playing with the cloth bag in my hand, you’d think I don’t look very classy. You’d see old trainers on my feet, and maybe you’d catch a glimpse of my shopping list as I put it in my pocket – a shopping list that’s written on the back of a calendar sheet reading “GUST”. (When I tear off calendar sheets, I cut them into really small pieceds and then staple the little ones together to later use for notes… or shopping lists.) Judging by what you saw when I walked past you, you’d think I look like someone who counts the pennies in their hand. (Which I do.)

Let’s say you follow me to the store and watch me shop. You’d see me regularly check my shopping list and only take the items which go there. Those would be things like meat, fruit, white cheese, bread – and usually no potato chips, instant meals or pre-cooked food. In other words, I only buy meal ingredients, stuff that’s used for cooking and no junk or lazy food. Seeing that, you’d again think I look like someone who is… well… poor.

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The rich buy assets, the poor buy liabilities

The phrase “The rich buy assets, the poor buy liabilities” became famous with the book Rich Dad Poor Dad as it was one of the lessons Rich Dad allegedly taught to author Robert Kiyosaki. The book is a worldwide bestseller, but it’s been criticized on many of the points it advocates.

picture money can't buy happinessI’ve been thinking about that phrase – Rich buy assets, poor buy liabilites – I’ve been thinking about it quite a lot. Especially since our newlywed money and finance is not in a great shape. Is the secret key to getting rich that simple – just buy assets instead of liabilities?

It makes perfect sense to put your money into stuff that pays you back – like a rental property or a stock portfolio; investing is all about putting money into stuff that will help you make more money later. But us humans are so gullible! We have a hard time saying “no” to that seductive, shiny, brand new flat screen that is way cooler than the flat screen Peter bought last month (and made rounds at the office bragging to everyone about it). So we buy it and do a little Tarzan-style victory dance in front of Peter’s desk. Take that, Peter!

According to Kiyosaki, the rich invest their money by buying things called “assets” – things that put money in your pocket like rental properties or stock portfolios. The poorspend their money on things called “liabilities” – things that are basically money-pits and never put money in your pocket. Like that flat screen we were eager to rub in Peter’s face.

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5 Things Nobody Tells You About Being Poor

This AWESOME piece of writing is by John Cheese, originally publiched on cracked.com.

#5. You Get Charged for Using Your Own Money

McDonalds jobs…Let’s say you’re running late for work and hurriedly stop to get gas, paying with a bank card. In your haste you forget to write the $55 down (gas being $4 a gallon, you know). So while you spent the last week until payday thinking you had $50 in your account to absorb minor purchases, you actually were $5 in the red.

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When’s the right time to have a baby

Teen mom. Img: fanpop.com
Teen mom. Img: fanpop.com
Did you know that Romeo and Juliette were just 12 when they wanted to get married? Back then, no one found it disturbingly odd.

History shows that the age for having your first child is consistently going up. My mom had me when she was 25, and many women of her generation (born 1959) had their first kid at age 20-22.

Huffington post offers an interesting article on when’s the best time to have a baby. Biologically, that would be late teens to early twenties: your body is stronger, and so are your hormones. You have more energy to run after your two-year old, and those sleepless nights when the youngster explores their vocal abilities take less of a toll on you. (Also, you should have your last baby before 35. You can still have kids after 35, but it’s pretty hard on your body.)

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Strategies for getting rich: savings vs. skills

We all want to be rich. But few of us are ready to work at it.

You know how some people say “I don’t want to be rich?” Haha! Does that mean that if they won the lottary, they would just give the money away because they “don’t want to be rich?” Of course not.

What these people mean is they DO want to be rich (or at least won’t mind being rich), but they don’t want it bad enough to put in the effort. And they don’t want to  put in the effort because they think it’s TOO MUCH effort.

It’s not. No it’s not. Many people think that being rich is suuuuper hard, but that’s just because they are working at it the wrong way: by working. Try this instead:

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Want to be rich? Think money!

From my office window, I see a yellow apartment building in consturction.

A poor person would think, “I could never own one of those apartments…”

A middle-class person would think, “How much would it cost me to buy an apartment?”

A rich person would think, “How much money would this building bring?”

I work and meet with a lot of people. Until recently, I was only interested in the way rich people think, so I could learn from them and copy the things they are doing right. If I talked to a poor person, I deliberately tried NOT to listen when they talked about money because they were so negative.

Love without money or money without love?

Love without money?
Love without money? Src: from the movie Breakfast at Tiffany

They say money can buy you a dog, but only love can make it wag its tale.

Wow. We must be pretty hooked on the idea that money can’t buy love – we’re bringing dogs into it!

That idea looks great on the big screen, too: love stands higher than the material world. Tons of Hollywood scripts revolve around the cliché of a rich guy chasing after a girl who doesn’t love him and is, instead, in love with a poor guy. The rich guy is either boring or doesn’t truly love her, while the poor guy can give her everything she needs – except money. Girl runs off with poor guy to live happily ever after, THE END, roll credits.

Only we never really know if they do live happily ever after. The movie usually ends at, or soon after, runaway point.

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