Am I poor?

Discussion in 'Tightwad Tips and Frugal Living Archive' started by amarillo, Jan 10, 2007.

  1. amarillo

    amarillo Well-Known Member

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  2. mpillow

    mpillow Well-Known Member Supporter

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  3. Haggis

    Haggis MacCurmudgeon

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    If America's richest person has $30 billion and America's poorest person has nothing, then middle class would be someone with $15 billion tucked away.

    Perhaps a person who never ever has to work for anything may be considered rich, while a person who could make it a few years without working might be called middle class, but if a person lives pretty much payday to payday, and they owe for their car, their home, and maybe even its furnishing I'd say they are poor; working poor, but poor. If could be that the working poor have medical coverage, and are better off than some other poor folk, but they are poor none the less.

    This humble opinion is based on the capitalist idea of money equalling wealth, if one were to try to judge wealth against individual happiness, there is no measure for rich or poor.
     
  4. AngieM2

    AngieM2 Big Front Porch advocate

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    That's interesting Haggis...

    I am currently working for about 40% of the last job I had, and it's 50% of the last continuious job I worked at for 19 years.

    BUT, it's a choice at this time - less stress, etc. And it is pay check to pay check....but poor? Nope, financially challenged some right now - yeah maybe, but I don't consider that poor -

    I'm rich in all the things that really really matter.

    It's all in your mind when it comes to termnology.

    Angie
     
  5. trixiwick

    trixiwick bunny slave

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    Can't say I agree with Haggis' definition - it almost seems as though he thinks there's something intrinsically unfair and/or demeaning about having to work for your shelter and your bread. To me, if you're working and still not able to afford the basics of life, that constitutes poverty. But as Angie points out, it's all subjective.

    The article was generally non-whiny and constructive, and the point was well-made that anyone can wind up in her situation. There were a few elements that I wasn't all that sympathetic with. I have no doubt that shelf-stocking and salad-making are mind-deadening jobs, but the work has to get done somehow, by someone, right? If companies automated it, people would cry about that. :shrug:

    Barbara Ehrenreich was absolutely right - it IS hellishly expensive to be poor. No question about that.
     
  6. DenverGirlie

    DenverGirlie Well-Known Member

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    I just read that book a few days ago, interesting read.
     
  7. COSunflower

    COSunflower Country Girl Supporter

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    I would be considered poor financially but I don't FEEL poor and to me, that is what counts most. :)
     
  8. Beaners

    Beaners Incubator Addict

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    I love that book. I up and moved across the country with a $1000 to live on and when it's the slow season and there aren't jobs that money disappears fast. Too many people say that minimum wage jobs don't matter because high school kids hold those jobs. The people that think minimum wage is already a livable wage either have never been in a position where you are struggling to survive, or have gotten far enough removed from it that they don't remember the desperate day to day struggle.

    Kayleigh
     
  9. Meg Z

    Meg Z winding down

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    Emphasis mine.

    I think some people might have missed this part. There are two ways to measure rich/poor. One (the most common and best understood one) is by monetary quantification...and the other is impossible! (Which is why the first one is most common!)

    It's why some people can have millions of dollars...and be poor.
     
  10. Haggis

    Haggis MacCurmudgeon

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    I've worked my whole life and enjoyed my work, even looked forward to the next day, hated seeing the last day coming, and now regret that the last day finally arrived, but I was never money wealthy.

    Years ago, when I was yet at University, a Prof asked who amongst the class were middleclass. The entire class, save myself, raised their hands. The Prof asked why I had not, and I responded that I had had to use the social welfare system (grants and student loans) in order to attend, otherwise I would have been yet an eighth grade dropout. He asked who amongst the class had had the out of pocket money to attend; no hands were raised. I seems that all of the students had had to depend on government loans and grants to attend, many of the students admitted to receiving food-stamps in order to even eat, but all of them readily reaffirmed their socio-economic standing as "middle class".

    Increasingly in America, speaking of money, folks see themselves as "middle class" if they are not receiving government aid to survive, and yet others see themselves as "middle class" even with government aid, but there was a time not so long ago, that "middle class" meant one having one's entire summers free for traveling abroad, or spending at some wilderness lodge/health retreat; and to have servants about the house, but now it seems more to mean, not leaning to heavily on social services. My own sainted Mother had a personal nanny until she was 16, and there were always servants in her home to do the housework, and Grandmother was a highschool teacher, while Grandfather played piano at juke-joints; that lifestyle came to an end, for them, with the end of WWII. Poor people, back then, did not have servants, they did not have their entire summers free from toil, and they very much resembled today's "middle class."

    The French would say "un homme pauvre" or "un pauvre homme"; one is a man who has little money, the other man may be rich, but in need of pity. What constitutes money poor, spiritually poor, or any other station of poor is in the eye of the beholder. I always considered myself rich indeed if I had a job, and the bairns were healthy, well fed, and properly clothed.
     
  11. FiddleKat

    FiddleKat Mother,Artist, Author Supporter

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    A little off-topic, but not by much. I heard on the radio this morning they were looking to raise the federal minumim wage considering it hasn't been raised since 97.
    They said the average medium house price is $249,000 and that in order to buy that house one would have to make about $84,000 a year. How many people you know make that much?
    They said more and more people cannot afford to buy thier own homes nor be able to rent anymore. Which is really sad.

    Haggis I really do believe one should be happy with thier work. If someone hates the job thier doing I think they are less inclined to do thier best at it.
    My DH drives school bus, and although it isn't great pay he does enjoy it and looks forward to going to work. Also having a good boss also helps.
     
  12. Country Doc

    Country Doc Well-Known Member

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    This humble opinion is based on the capitalist idea of money equalling wealth, if one were to try to judge wealth against individual happiness, there is no measure for rich or poor.[/QUOTE]


    There are some studies that suggest happiness falls statistically for incomes less than about $30,000 a year. There is no increase higher than that from $30,000 on up.
     
  13. SignMaker

    SignMaker Well-Known Member

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    Interesting. I read about a study that concluded that the breaking point was $50K. Dueling studies?? :)
     
  14. Wendy

    Wendy Well-Known Member

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    Ditto! I was watching Broken Trail ( a good western if you havent' seen it) & the one guy said you should never use money to measure your wealth. He was right on!
     
  15. MarleneS

    MarleneS Well-Known Member

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    It's all relative. If you wish to use your time comparing what you have to what others have, I think you are poor indeed.

    Hugs
    Marlene
     
  16. dnw826

    dnw826 Well-Known Member

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    I agree. It is really sad. I gave up an $11 an hour job to go back to school and await my dh to finish his MS in Chemistry. I went from having my own private insurance and feeling respected to being looked down on for having medicaid when going to the doctor.

    Now I can not find a job with high unemployment-not even minimum wage because of the system set up in this area. My husband is depressed because he makes a lot less than his sister's 20yo boyfriend who works in the factory and it seems education really got him nowhere.

    I do consider us poor in that we are paycheck to paycheck and then a very indebted credit card. But we are rich in that we love each other and we still enjoy our freedom and privacy (never guaranteed when "rich") and a healthy family.
     
  17. manygoatsnmore

    manygoatsnmore Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I guess I am probably considered lower-middle class on basis of wages made vs dependents, but I live better than many folks I know that work a lot more hours and make a whole lot more money than do I. Being happy with simple things goes a long way toward whether you feel like you are poor. Being happy in your work goes even further. I don't have the security yet of being able to live without a job, but I do have the security of knowing my career is in an area that will most likely always have a demand for workers. I have lived on very little at times in my life, and was truly "poor" for an American, but if I stop to compare what I have had even at the lowest point, to what someone living in a 3rd world nation has, I have always been very wealthy. I guess what I'm saying is that wealth vs poverty is pretty subjective. Better knowledge than money - as without money, you'd better have knowledge to make more or make do.
     
  18. Terri

    Terri Singletree & Weight Loss & Permaculture Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    There is a difference between being broke and being poor.

    I have had some ups and downs in my life, and this is what I have learned.

    1. If you live in Howie's motel but have a little money for sodas and whatever, you do not feel poor. You are comfortable.

    2. If you live in a house, but have no money to use for ordinary comforts like sodas or whatever, you DO feel poor!

    3. I cannot work right now, but I have almost everything that I ever wanted, we just have much less money. I am not poor, I am BROKE! There is a DIFFERENCE!

    Being BROKE means buying 15 cent seeds for the garden when they go on sale: being poor means having no garden. Being broke means buying the less-expensive cat food: being poor means not having pets.

    Being broke means saving money when you have the energy for it, by planning out your trips to town to reduce the gas bill and by hanging the laundry when and if you get caught up with your work. Being poor means staying up until 1 AM hanging the laundry, because there was no time to do it earlier and you have no choice: the laundry MUST be hung and not put in a dryer.

    Being poor means eating mac n cheese on your birthday.....mine is this Sunday....And being broke like us means buying a big honkin' roast on sale for $1.85 a pound and some cake mixes and candles and a couple of bags of candy and such. Which I did.

    I am not poor, I am BROKE! At least until we get the Honda paid off in April! Then things will ease up a bit, and we can replace the dinged up kitchen sink. It will be nice to have a fully functional sink again.

    I wonder what seasoning I should put on the roast? I have Montreal steak seasoning that might combine well with soy sauce. Hmmmmm.....

    We have it ALL, home and family and an education and decent cars and pets and life is GOOD! We are RICH!

    We just have no money! :p
     
  19. Beaners

    Beaners Incubator Addict

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    Lots of people really are happy and not "poor" in that sense on a low wage. That is an absolutely wonderful and admirable thing. Everyone that talks about how money can't buy happiness...you are right. You are correct in saying that.

    But when you don't know if you're going to make enough money working two jobs to have a place to live tomorrow or next week OR when you have been staying in a hotel with a weekly rate that adds up to 1 and a half the cost of a cheap apartment because you don't have as much money as the apartment needs for a security deposit so you slip lower and lower OR if you're afraid to spend any money on food because you might not be able to pay for next week if you do....

    My point is it is very difficult to be happy when you are constantly wondering how you are going to survive. You don't have your basic needs for food and shelter fulfilled, you don't have time to think about frivolous things like relationships and politics. Why do so few people prepare by stocking up? There are a lot of people that work very hard but don't have the money to buy food for today.

    I don't need money to be happy, it isn't money that makes me happy. Now that I am not living day to day, I have a wonderful husband. We have a dry, warm place to live and cupboards overflowing with food. Those are the material things that make me happy because they provide a security that in my lifetime I have been without. I don't desire money to go out and buy new clothes, or to redecorate the house or anything like that. But I have been money poor and it makes you poor overall. I never would have survived and become stable financially and emotionally if it wasn't for a lot of good friends. Having money now isn't what has made me "feel rich" because of the people like my husband in my life. I was that rich all along but I didn't realize it because when you are desperately money poor survival is the only thing you can think about or see.

    Kayleigh
     
  20. landmoswalt

    landmoswalt Well-Known Member

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    I would agree with the "broke" vs "poor". Poor is where you can get help with things like food, medical insurance etc. Broke is working your butt off at a job and waiting on the paycheck just to buy the food etc. I am in that stage. My husband was disabled after 35 years as a bricklayer and the gov. will not give him disability. So I am working a full time job trying to keep the livestock alive with the cheapest feed I can get and feeding my children on what we grew last year and our pig we just had butchered. We are not poor in the gov.s eyes because I work a full time job. So we are just broke. Barely getting by and I also had a cheap roast and cake for my birthday and mac and cheese the next day. Lori