Friday, May 31, 2013
Poor vs Broke
Kid: "Dad, are we poor?"
Dad: "Nope, we're not poor. We're just broke."
And this started me thinking. Every month it seems I set down in a budget council with my boss (wife) and we discuss where all the money is going to go for the next few paychecks. Most of these council sessions end up with us selecting some priorities that get pushed off of the budget. (This means we don't spend money on them for those of you in Washington D.C. Try it some time.)
Spending all of the money, or allocating it to things like food, and rent and car repairs doesn't mean I am poor. Poor is when there is no money. Broke just means we have reactively spend money on what must be spent on. (Being in debt is a form of broke.) The spending items become prioritized and sometimes some priorities don't get any money on them in a paycheck. (This doesn't mean I don't want to spend money on them.)
But I look around the community of America, and I see people that think like this child. They think they are poor. They think this because they think whenever they can't afford what they want, that it is a form of poverty. This is false understanding of the world.
As an American, I live in a truly rich nation. And if you have the time and they ability to read this blog, chances are that you do too. Why? Because as much as I like this blog, it is not an essential. It is not, food, shelter and clothing.
Missing essentials is poverty.
If you live in a place where there are no shoes to buy, or no houses, or no food. This is a poor place. The essentials are missing. No matter how much money you have, you can't buy something that is not on the shelves of the store.
How much you like something does not determine if it is an essential. Food to sustain life is an essential. (Chocolate is not an essential, sorry.) Clothing and Shelter to protect yourself from the environment and keep you healthy is an essential. (Clothing from Abercrombie and Fitch is not an essential.) Drinkable water is essential. (A 2 liter of your favorite soda is not an essential)
Entertainment is not an essential The internet is not an essential. Almost everything you spend money on is not an essential.
We live in such a rich nation, our homeless have cell phones.
We live in such a rich nation that we don't worry about starvation, we just worry about hunger.
There are no poor here, only the misinformed. (And those bad at budgeting.) And that is most of us.