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Poor People Earn Millions Too

May 8, 2011

In my 2nd book I uniquely defined POOR as an acronym for Passing Over Oneself Regularly. Not until now, 6 years later, did I really explore the philosophical essence of this acronym, largely due to one of the “Thinking Exercise” sessions I was having with my 3 sons. I randomly choose words for us to discuss and for this session “poor” was the word of choice. I was proud that even my youngest son, who is only 10 years of age, was having lightbulb moments as we discussed what poor really means.

I asked them in their opinion what is meant to be poor. Their interpretation all weighed on the “absence of having”, which is true, but interestingly they, like many of us, believe it is the absence of having material things and money. The truth is, poor has more to do with our thinking than it has to do with our “tangibles”. I went further in our discussion and asked if they think habitual spending is a disease. (I asked because this is what I believe.) They were bewildered and eventually divided on their answers. They identify disease with the plague, a rash and even ringworm. I had to explain that diseases aren’t always seen or heard. It can be a “disease of doing.”

Here’s the thing. Habitual spending is a disease just like drug addiction should also be treated as one. Anytime treatment is needed to break a habit, it should be classified as a disease. It’s like the asthmatic child who relies on his pump, or the diabetic senior who depends on daily insulin shots; without their anecdote, their true symptoms reveal themselves. This is what regular paychecks do. They mask the “poor” in us until we lose the income.

Like functional drug users who can support their habits with income, so are habitual spenders able to. The problem is we are only able to see the truth of a functional drug addict when their income stops. Those who are homeless are also those whose loss of income revealed the truth about their spending disease. The real question we should ask ourselves in this horrible economy is, “What do people crave gaining employment or higher wages for?” Is it to spend beyond basic needs? I was told that happiness was around before money. So saying money brings happiness is like saying the child birthed the mother. Happiness was here before money. Despite this truth, we kill, lie, and cheat for the money that we believe will bring us happiness? Do you see the comparison I am making with drug abusers now? Take a look at the news and you will see that income has nothing to do with wealth. We witness high earning celebrities and athletes stricken with tax trouble and foreclosures.

Why do we fight to earn more wages every year? Are we stricken with the disease of habitual spending? Many people confuse income with wealth and wages with economic prosperity. Wealth building is not rocket science. If you are unable to control your impulsive spending you will be unable to build wealth. If you are unable to control your impulse spending, you may have to accept that you have a disease. Examining what we REALLY do with the money once we get it is the tell-tale sign of who we are. When we break this down to a basic concept, we are able to see that many “workers” are actually poor like those living on the streets. The difference is the worker is simply able to support their habit.

Addicts justify their addictions. Are you in justification mode? Do you believe “habitual spending” is really a disease? Husbands before you go showing your wives this column, stop on your way and take a look in the closest mirror. Do you habitually spend but on things you “believe” are important? Is “poor” more prevalent in our society than we recognize? If you are unable to build wealth even though you earn a decent living, you are simply the conduit to the rich, even if they earning less money than you are.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Malcolm permalink
    May 9, 2011 5:49 pm

    I think this is a great point. Spending can definitely be an addiction that is hard to break. Whenever I spend money I try to justify it by purchasing things that will directly or indirectly make me or save me money. Although this might just be an excuse to spend i think it works sometimes for me. For instance, instead of wearing an old suit and saving my money, I might go out and buy a new suite and exploit every opportunity to wear it. Success follows success.

    This also reminds me of how the value of money itself changes depending on if you’re employed or not. I cut hair on the side, but when I’m making good money from a “9-5”, that little ten dollars from cutting hair seems to not even be worth my time. But when I had no “9-5” that crispy $10 bill was a life saver!

    But anyway great post!

  2. Andy permalink
    May 9, 2011 7:09 pm

    Awesome, now that you have clearly defined poor. Can you define wealth?

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