Think you’re broke? You probably aren’t.

Recently I linked to Laura Rowley’s excellent column, “Why the rich don’t feel rich,” in which she wrote about University of Chicago law professor Todd Henderson’s struggle to survive on a combined family income of more than $250,000. The column was a stark contrast to something that happened while I was in New Jersey last month.

I frequently stopped by to see my Aunt Dot, who’s 87 and very frail due to several medical issues. She and her son live on Social Security and disability plus her small pension. One evening I discovered that they had exactly one dollar in the house. Her check was due the next day and she planned to walk to the bank to cash it.

The bank is at least a mile from where Dot lives. And did I mention that she’s on oxygen?

If she’d had $2 more she could have taken a cab. But she didn’t have it.

This is the face of ‘broke’

Some days it’s all Dot can do to move from the couch to the kitchen, or from the couch to the toilet chair now permanently ensconced in the living room. (Bathroom’s upstairs.) Yet she was going to walk a mile, with her 69-year-old son carrying the oxygen tank, to cash her check.

Every time I get paid, I send Dot some money. In fact, I’d just given it to her the week before — but it had gone for doctor co-pays. When I heard about the lack of cab fare, I gently insisted on giving her some extra funds.

At first she refused, saying it had already cost me too much to fly to Jersey. I kept insisting, gently. Finally she took the four $1 bills I had in my wallet, still fretting that I would “run short.”

Which brings me to Todd Henderson and all the other complainers out there.

Whiners: Stop whining

If I hear one more person grousing about being “broke” while drinking a latte and sending and receiving texts, I may pour the coffee over that person’s head.

When you’re sick as a dog and have just $1 in the house….well, go ahead and complain. Aunt Dot didn’t, by the way. She just shrugged and said, “I’m usually not that broke.”

So all you folks who are hale and hearty and careless with your funds: Please be quiet.

Please stop bitching about how “poor” you are before payday…while eating nachos and drinking beer at a sports bar.

Please stop whining about how you couldn’t afford a “real” vacation. This presupposes that you have a job to get a vacation from – do you know how many people would kill to have a job, any job at all, let alone be paid to take a week off from it?

Please don’t sign up for satellite television even as you are robbing Peter to pay Paul each month.

Please don’t e-mail me tales of financial woe that end with the postscript, “Sent from my iPhone.”

(These are all real-life examples, by the way.)

None of you people are broke. You are simply not using your money wisely.

And you need to find another way to live before you end up on oxygen with a single greenback to your name. Then you’ll know what “broke” really feels like.

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  1. Lee Ann Dezern

    Wow-I could not have said it better.

    • jane jones

      I really am broke and I’m scared. I get my last spousal support check next week….after that zero income. I can’t find a job I’m able to do because I have some health problems. I own a junk car…that’s it. I’m 57 years old and have no friends and am estranged from my family (some of whom are wealthy, but would never dream of helping me out. Sounds like I’m feeling sorry for myself…I’m not….I’m just scared, I’ve never been in this position before.

      • Donna Freedman

        @Jane Jones: Obviously this piece does not apply to you and your situation. If your area has 211, dial it and tell them what you just told us. You should get a list of agencies that might help; each time you contact one, ask for still more referrals. (Different places know of different options.)
        You need to start right now, not when the last check runs out. I know that fear can be paralyzing, but you need to do something right away no matter how terrified you are. E-mail me at SurvivingAndThriving (at) live (dot) com and I’ll send you some resources from an article I wrote for MSN Money on the topic of where to get help when things are dire.
        Thanks for reading, and for leaving a comment.

      • Kaye Carroll

        I know exactly how you feel. In 2005 I finally made a 6 figure income, I was 44 yrs old just filed for divorce and pretty good about everything all in all. I had become a faithful follower of Dave Ramsey many years before so I had no credit cards and everything I owned was paid for and taxes paid (I was in sales so I didn’t get a check it was strictly commission) So I decided a nice trip for my 45 birthday would help shake of the stress. Two days before my birthday I was attached and left for dead and I became a Jane Doe in Gulf Shores, AL. After years of surgery and basically just walking through The Valley of the Shadow of Death and coming out the other side I have nothing left and my husband refinanced my house and since the divorce was never finalized was legal what happened to the money I don’t know
        Today Wells Fargo is threatening foreclosure, I can’t get my Disability because the government says my husband can support me so I can’t get out of what I wanted out of in 2005 because I have no money and I was doing everything right I thought

        • Donna Freedman

          That’s awful! I don’t suppose a lawyer would take the case on pro bono?
          Keep trying with the disability — cases are often turned down initially and then granted on appeal.

  2. Yea, Donna! I read that Henderson piece–I’ll bet we could find some places in his (non)budget where he could save a little money. He wouldn’t listen, though, because he is ENTITLED. So glad you are finally in a position where you can afford to give your aunt a few $$. We have many elderly in the rural county where I live who are living the same way. This is a perpetually “depressed” area. Big problems here are substance abuse and the casinos. So amazing that people without enough food to feed their children will take $5 and go to the casino to try their luck. A great big social problem.

  3. I’m humbled. Thanks for the reality check, Donna.

    • So am I. This article made me feel so dumb. I have no reason to complain about anything. I’m just a fool when it comes to money and I need to get my shit together.

  4. So true! This is what I’m always trying to tell people who cry “broke”. But you said it nicer 🙂

  5. I learned about the whole Todd Henderson crazyness from your blog. I bet he would have taken your four ones and said, “Is that it?”

    Aunt Dot sounds like a wonderful, resourceful woman. Thank you for sharing her story.

  6. This is so true! This is why I refuse to label myself as “broke.” How could I possibly know how that feels when I have a savings account? A car? A job?

  7. Most of us are lucky enough to never know what it’s like to truly be poor. It drives me nuts when people complain about not having money but refuse to give up goodies like cable.

  8. This reminds me of “I complained about having no shoes until I met a man with no feet.” However, he is not looking around, noticing anyone who has less. Henderson is just a narcissistic, entitled, whiny-baby.
    It made me sick to hear about his “problems.” He cannot make it on 50 times what I live on? I feel so sorry for him…NOT.

    I would say this is your all-time best post. Your widow’s mite given to someone in need is probably proportionally larger than any contribution he has made to the needy!

    A sign in a food bank–“If you can afford to smoke, you can afford to buy food.” If he cannot afford necessities, maybe he should look at where his money goes and when he can cut out some things.

    I am sure many people can live off what he squanders. Okay, he may not smoke, but I am sure he has his own vices, deadly or not.

    Does you aunt take advantage of free or greatly reduced public transportation? It is free to the disabled of a certain age and income in this county. Maybe she does not know about what there is.

  9. Thank you for the apt reminder. Having been as poor as your Aunt Dot- walking to the store/bank/library/etc so I didn’t use up precious gas in my car that might be needed for taking the baby to the doctor, picking beans for pennies on the pound so I could buy a pound of beans for dinner for the next 2-3 nights – and now making a healthy income, I needed the reality check about where my life actually is on the spectrum.


  10. Wow, Donna. That is an awesome post. You are so right and actually put me gently in my place that I need to quit grousing about my job. You do so much for others. Your aunt is a remarkable lady.

  11. Michelle

    Amen, Donna. Thank you for this post.

  12. Whenever I think to complain, I stop myself immediately and look within my own inner circle (family) because like you I have aunts (My Aunt Dot raised me – God rest her soul) uncles, grandparents, cousins who are much “more” broke than I. You’re right, I’m not “broke” I just made poor decisions with my money and have no right to whine to anyone about it. Great Post!!!!

  13. LOVED this article. I especially loved the i-phone comment. One of the people in my life who has been most loudly complaining about her finances has an I-phone AND a blackberry…but she’s “saving money” by not having a home phone.

    Thankfully I have never been that poor, but my mom has. When someone does not have food or heat during a portion of their lives, those two things come first always forever after. There is definitely no confusing wants vs needs to a person that has really gone through tough times.

  14. lostAnnfound

    This is a great article! Thanks, Donna

  15. Great post !!! Thank You

  16. I so appreciate this! I routinely work 3 jobs to support myself in grad school and live very frugally, so it sometimes irritates me to hear complaints about poverty from fellow students who receive help from their parents, can afford daycare for their dogs, go abroad regularly, and take weeks off for vacation. The Chicago blog puts this in perspective: these students will grow up to become that prof!

  17. Amen, Donna! I read Todd Henderson’s article about having two cars, even though he walks to work, and having “only” a few hundred in discretionary income left each month and thought, “Oh, you poor dears! You have no idea what the rest of us are going through.”

  18. harriet

    I’ve been in both situations–having a single dollar in the house and not knowing when or where the next is coming from and also living precariously on $250,000 a year. The latter is my current status, and I can tell you right now, it’s way more stressful and precarious. I’m not entirely sure why. The enomity of the sums involved? The possible loss of face? (Surely that’s not so bad now, though, is it? So many people are being downsized….) The worries about children? Some of us have to send our children to private school because of special needs, not because we don’t like the public schools. It’s very stressful to have a house you physically cannot take care of yourself. (I’m disabled on top of everything else.) I simply cannot mow an acre lawn myself, no matter how much exercise I could use. OK, so downsize, you say. But that wouldn’t be good for my children–remember the special needs? Sure, I could get rid of our cell phones, but my husband would likely lose his high-paying job if so. He needs to be available 24/7.

    Furthermore, it’s pretty damn irritating when everyone treats your wallet as an ATM for society’s ills when we’ve done everything right our whole lives. We spent time studying and working hard and taking out loans when other people were partying and not seeking higher education. We work damn hard and long hours to get where we are, and when America decides that yet another segment of society needs more handouts they haven’t earned, like free healthcare, guess who’s expected to pay for it? Not the people who want the free goodies, oh no. It’s easy to demand something if you’re not the one paying for it.

    It’s just not as easy as “quit whining!” People with money may be under a lot of stress, too. I’m telling you right now that when I had nothing (including no health care), I had more peace and joy in my life.

    • Just be thankful that you can buy food and other things, and that you
      have the worry about money. Some work hard all their lives and save and still can hardly get by.

      • Perhaps this is the type of comment she means. Where in her post does she say she is not grateful for what she does have? She probably is very grateful that she has the monetary means to provide good care for her child with special needs; she didn’t say everyone who has little is a lazy bum. What she said was some people love to make others feel guilty for having financial stability; and there are people who do, usually just to make themselves feel better about playing the role of Captain Obvious, such as your post.

  19. Cynthia

    I hope the poor broke law professor reads this, but no doubt it couldn’t possibly apply to him! I am aware many elderly people like to hold their checks in their hands, but it sounds as if your aunt would benefit from direct deposit. It would certainly save her from a long and miserable walk, and might save her a few dollars in cab fare.
    As for those of us who don’t have a lot of money, but aren’t broke because we have food in our pantry, gas in our cars, our cell phones, and internet, thanks for making us take a moment to be grateful for what we have.

  20. harriet

    And yes–I have an 80 year old aunt who lives in New Jersey. She has serious heart trouble, and gets by on Social Security and a reverse mortgage. Still, I send her groceries (she’s too proud to accept money). And I’m pleased I can help her.

    I guess what I’m trying to say is that the implication that anyone who makes 250K a year must be rich beyond the dreams of avarice and without any worries is crazy. More money means more responsibility and more stress, much of the time.

  21. Amen to that. I’ve never had a fat wallet, but I’ve always been well aware I’m far from the worst off on this planet.

  22. rebecca

    My boyfriend and I live fairly comfortable on less than $35,000 a year. I have a lot of debt from student loans and credit cards. I worked through college but haven’t been lucky enough to get a job that pays even close to what my degree is supposed to pay. We aren’t lazy, we work, we went to school, we just haven’t gotten that one great job we expected to get. But we are content with what we do have. We can pay our bills, live in a nice apartment, have pets, have food. More money would be nice, but if you make bad decisions with the money you have it’s worthless.

    • Amen, I gross 30k a year, supply my child with the “splenders” like food, shelter, clothes and a small amount of extras. I grew up from motel, friends to park benches and group homes… im quite frugal and consider myself blessed to afford to help my family when I can, I may live check to check most months but we are rich with love and understanding.
      _26 yo college educated female, divorced, 1 dependant.

  23. Carol at In the Trenches asked me to write a guest blog about a comment I made. http://inthetrenches2009.blogspot.com/2010/09/in-trenches-readers-story.html
    It is the story of my mother’s family in the Great Depression.

    What does that have to do with Henderson’s plight? Just this–the more you have, the more you can lose. My aunt said they were all poor when the Depression started and stayed poor. If Henderson had been poor or less affluent when the recent downturn in our fortunes occurred, he would not have felt it so acutely. Actually, it is not his affluence that is hurting him, it is the lifestyle he is supporting.

  24. Catseye

    Well said, Donna! I’ve got friends and relatives who make anywhere from two to five times more than I do who complain about being “broke”. Some of the reasons they’re “broke” are listed in your article.
    Many of us need to stop the whining, or at least, cut back on it. I’ve been trying do less of it lately. The next time I’m tempted to do it, hopefully I’ll remember your Aunt Dot.

  25. Kimberly


  26. Coupon Ninja

    Thanks for the awesomely blunt reminder.
    Cause really, that’s the core of what’s wrong with our society.

    If some of these people broke down and really walked a mile in the shoes of a “poor” person they might not complain so much.

    I am blessed to have enough sense to know I am not truly poor. I am lucky enough to have a little extra all around to share when I can. I have family and friends that love me and faith in God that sustains me. My husband is an amazing man who puts up with my flaws and vice versa.
    We had a nice wake up call when he lost his job in July due to stupid choices, we are closer now then ever, both as a married couple and in our financial life. We have had to make hard choices about what we want.

    And we are better for it.
    I won’t complain. Nope, not one bit. And if I do, I’ll just read this article.

  27. Always remember that there IS always someone worse off than you!

  28. Great post. I work as a rural home care nurse and see truly poor people all the time. It is amazing to me that in a country as wealthy as the U.S. that so many people are so poor that they have to choose between food/housing or medicine. And the really sad thing is that these people complaining with $100,000 + incomes have no concept (or if they do, no empathy) of the reality of a large segment of the population. Sign of the times.

  29. Amen and Hallelujah. We all need to remind ourselves because it’s not about if you make $40k, $75K, or $250K– you can always be worse off & you can always downsize. The people who resist downsizing like Henderson ALWAYS have an excuse, or twenty. Always. My biggest gripe with Henderson and the rest of the whiners is you have made these choices yourself. No one on this planet has held a gun to your head and had you choose anything differently. So get over it. You’ve made this your life. Now change it. And stop blaming everyone else, the government included, for your problems. That’s the scariest shift in our country to me– the entitlement to blame everyone else. Oh it’s the government’s fault I’m so poor, they tax me too much. Oh it’s McDonald’s fault my kids and I are fat, they’re food is bad for you but they’re marketing is so good. Immigrants. Corporations. The Republicans. The Democrats. My job. My husband’s job. Joe the Camel. Credit Card companies. Banks. Mortgage brokers. Blah, blah, blah and on and on it goes. Just Say No. It goes for more than drugs people.

  30. This is by far the best article you have written. There’s a righteous anger to it. Good for you!

  31. Donna, this brought tears to my eyes thinking about your Aunt Dot and her situation. Thanks for putting it in perspective AND putting it out there.

    People need to know the situations of people impacted by our policies regarding poverty, social security and health care.

  32. Great read. I just shared this on Twitter and Facebook!

  33. Well said.

    Although I am not certain that people shouldn’t complain upwards as well.

    After all, scenes like this one (http://theweek.com/article/index/203337/rush-limbaughs-estate-an-insiders-guide) make your poor aunt’s predicament all the more ridiculous.

  34. Rochelle

    This was an excellent article. I grew up very poor (before food stamps there were commodity lines that we’d stand in for our free cheese, peanut butter and canned chicken).

    I spend carefully every day ensuring I won’t have be back in those circumstances.

  35. One day many years ago I came out of a grocery store grousing to myself about not having enough money. I had run a bit short at the cash register and had to leave behind a single item from my list (a can of beans or a bottle of ketchup, that sort of thing). As I grumbled past the dumpster on the way to my car, I noticed a man rumaging through its contents looking for…food?…returnable bottles?…something warm to wear?…a sense of shame washed over me, at my own ridiculous behavior. I still think back to that moment of clarity from time to time and realize how incredibly lucky I am. Broke? I’ve never been broke and neither have most of us.

  36. I’ve been disabled for 3 years now; after an accident and a Failed Back Surgery; with many complications That still Haunt me with enough Extreme pain(Enough to make me want to put a bullet in,end it now.!!) to this very second.
    I get a *Disability Check*,But the whole check goes to Utilities and Rent,Can’t do any side work; Hell, most days the pain is so bad ;I cant even wipe my own ass,or get dressed on my own ;or even get comfortable enough @ the ‘puter to type..
    I’m BROKE……

    • Donna Freedman

      @Broken: I’m so sorry to hear about your situation. This is definitely not the situation I was writing about, of course. I was addressing the folks who are complaining without cause or context.
      A relative of mine was on disability until recently, so I know the checks don’t go very far. May I suggest you check out the following articles? They might help:
      When you’re too broke for the basics” (sources for things like free eyeglasses, phone service, etc.)
      Swallow your pride — and seek aid” (about help with basics like utilities, rent, food, prescriptions, etc.)
      Free stuff: Get it, give it, swap it” (you’d be amazed at what people simply don’t want anymore — or what they might want of yours that you can’t afford to pay to have hauled off)
      I would also suggest that you check out the MSN Money message boards, especially Smart Spending and Women in Red boards. The readers offer numerous money-saving tactics and also provide emotional support for one another.
      Thank you for reading.

      • Hi Donna,
        Please check out freecycle.org. You have to give 1st before you receive, & have to sign-up in your town/area. You also have to be approved to join for FREE. This of course is to help to keep people safe.
        Hope they have a group in every city where people need help. I found homes for cats I found, & cookbooks that I no longer needed in OR before we moved.
        Good Luck!

        • Donna Freedman

          @Pamela: I’m a big fan of Freecycle. It doesn’t operate everywhere, and not all groups are created equal, but it’s a fabulous resource that I’ve used mostly to give but a couple of times to receive.

  37. I remember a time when my family ate because one of our neighbors volunteered with Senior Gleaners and brought leftover staples to us. But now, I’m careful to note that I’m a member of the working poor or underemployed. My circumstances are not desperate, although they’re a couple months of unemployment away from that.

    I don’t think the issue is ever how much you make, it’s how much you can make do with. I can’t tell you how many times my mother looked at me when I was younger and said, “Well you’ll just have to suffer,” when she knew I was being melodramatic. When times were tough for us, though, my parents encouraged me to do what I could for others. I remember when I was eight we heard that a flood had happened in an area and people lost everything. My mother explained to me that there were little girls just like me who had nothing to wear, not even to church. When I asked how God provided, she told me he moved hearts of people to give, so I marched into my room and got one of my favorite dresses to donate. I was raised that there is always someone in a worse spot than you.

    My sympathy is pretty limitless but I do separate out who I feel is deserving. I would even be willing to help out someone who makes a million dollars a year who gets into a tight spot if they have a humble, accountable attitude and none of this “poor me, I had no choice” crap.

  38. Donna,

    I’ve been a big fan of your writing for a long time!

    I’ve just discovered your blog. 🙂

    I couldn’t agree more!


    Holly C.

    • Donna Freedman

      @Thanks, Holly. I hope you’ll become a regular reader and commenter.

  39. Natalie J. Vandenberghe

    I agree with you completely. It took me awhile to catch-on, but now when my loved ones talk about being short on funds, I no longer immediately offer assistance. I see how they spend their money and I realize that their priorities are not quite right.

  40. Jennifer

    We all have our days when things feel overwhelming. I lost my job after the birth of our second child. We had been in a position to start paying back student loans but when I lost my job we were only able to make the minimum payments (if that at times). Somehow things worked out. I’m now a stay at home mom with our kids. It started off a stressfull situation but now it’s the biggest blessing I could have. We are making it because we choose to. We dropped a few items that we didn’t need and focused on trying to be frugal. Our lives have actually been better when we cut out some of those things that we didn’t really need. We currently don’t have the money to help others as much as we would like, but I coupon shop so when I find anything *FREE* that we don’t use, I buy it and donate it to a local shelter. It’s one way of us helping others that doesn’t cost us anything out of pocket. We are working towards giving more but until that day comes I’ll just be grateful for what I have.

    • Donna Freedman

      @Jennifer: Living close to the bone is stressful. It makes some people angry and bitter. But it sounds as though it’s made you realize what you really value.
      How wonderful that you’re able to give to others even though you don’t have much yourself. When I was at my lowest point financially I also made it a point to do the “free after coupon/rebate” thing. It made me feel grateful to give.
      Thank you for your moving comment.
      P.S. Don’t forget to enter the giveaways every Friday!

  41. This is very true, I think people say “i am broke” because they feel sorry for themselves due to financial set-backs due to the recession, no raise, cut in salary, loss in 401K, loss in value of home (if you own), all these things makes people feel worse off, even if they still have a job. There is always someone worse off than you, and then we need to be thankful for what we do have vs moaning and groaning for what we don’t have. I think people who really are poor are the most happiest b/c they have learned to survive – and feel empowered. God Bless them!

  42. This is so well said. Thank you!

    Whining, is a waste of breathe and emotion, not to mention it’s annoying.

    Melissa Tosetti

  43. Fabulous. Like a slap in the face to MYSELF. Beautymus.

  44. I have to post again as this really resonated with me. It is a perfect thing to read before going into a New Year.

  45. Thank you for a great post – I know it was written a few months ago but I only just happened upon it. This is so true for so many people. My family and I have experienced a dramatic reduction in our income over the last 3 years or so and I am so grateful for the opportunity it has given us to rethink our lives and the place we hold in this world. Our life feels so much richer for the experience and I am grateful everyday for what we have and know that we were never ‘broke’ even though we felt a little sorry for ourselves sometimes.
    I have posted this on my FB account along with details of how people can donate to The Japan Red Cross – now there are some people who need a hand at the moment.
    Thank you and I hope you enjoy my home country (I’m currently living in Australia) Cornwall will be fabulous at this time of year.

  46. Dang. Talk about a perspective clean up….

    I’ll pour the coffee over my own head for complaining today.

  47. That sound you hear is a STANDING OVATION!!!! Great post!

  48. On my block is a self-proclaimed ‘broke person’ (a couple). They’re both in their 30’s. He’s a bum & sits home & gets packages in the mail from inter net shopping all the time. She -works but doesn’t drive. In the past 8 yrs they’ve owned 4 brand new cars ! They keep them for a yr or 2 then sell them. They have the best cable TV package, etc.

  49. thank you!!! Eye opener for me!!

  50. cheers to good life and to the people like you, thanks for the post, it’s an eye opener

  51. Agreed! Another example – I haven’t been “broke” for a long time, but I was there at one time. When I didn’t have groceries and lived for a week on gleaned fruit from the pear and apple trees on campus (we were allowed), plus some homemade flour-and-water-and-salt tortillas, that was broke. When I needed an onion, & didn’t have the 16 cents it would have cost to buy one at the time, that was broke. There are other examples, but you get the idea. At that time, there were no food banks I knew of … I hope I never end up back there, and I’m trying to make sure I don’t. On the other hand, in a way, it’s empowering – I made it through those times, and survived. I know now what I can do if I must.

  52. Can’t Dot get direct deposit so she doesn’t have to walk? Great article! I have friends “worth” over a million who are always complaining about money because it’s not “cash-in-hand”.

  53. When I was broke and my son was very young we lived on spaghetti with a sauce made from cans of tomatoes with maybe a bit of garlic and onion. We both loved it and it was incredibly cheap!! I’m not so broke these days but remain very grateful for little luxuries which many people would take for granted.

  54. Frankie

    I got directed to this post from FrugalDad. I’m glad I did! You are right on with your observations. We often get so self-absorbed with ourselves we forget to stop and be grateful for how blessed we really are. Thanks for the reminder!

  55. I enjoyed this one, really you just hit the nail on the head regarding how people use money in our culture.

  56. well said! I have had that mentality since I was in my early twenties
    (saying to myself Im not broke)and somehow it has always worked,I think depends in how you see life around you.

  57. Thank you. I just got laid off my job and really needed this proverbial kick in the booty. I have been complaining ad nauseum. Yes, I probably will be broke soon but I do have food in the fridge and can make do. I know I can do better monitoring my expenses (the little things) as I know I am generally frugal and do not go out much anyway so thank you. We cannot expect others to help us, if we do not help ourselves. I never thought I would be in this predicament but life is tough. Your aunt’s story is heartbreaking but it sure sounds like she is a strong person who makes life work for her.

    • Donna Freedman

      @Hope: I’m sorry to hear of your job loss. It sounds as though your head is in the right place, i.e., the “make do” attitude. Wishing you a fast rehire at the old job or an even better new job in the very near future.
      Thanks for reading, and for leaving a comment.

  58. Paul Littlebury

    Very eloquently put – people in western world have very skewed idea of what counts as poverty.

  59. Pit bull girl

    You nailed it baby!!!!!

  60. I totally agree. My coworkers complain all the time about how broke they are and within five minutes talk about the trip to Disneyland they are taking right after they get their hair done next week. Then they get mad at me because I was able to save $10k this year. Then of course they say I should just give them my extra money instead of saving it. Idiots.

  61. very well said

  62. I could definitely see how somebody making a hundred thousand plus and feeling broke might benefit from some life changes. In my own case, I find that the perception of broke has to do with what you expect versus what you actually have available to you. I have been working tirelessly for the past 14 years to try to have something extra, and I still don’t have it. I drink lattes, have a cell phone, and driving a nice car. But these things come by the grace of God. I very much wish that I could find peace and joy with these simple material pleasures, but that is beyond me at this point my life. Security, home ownership, philanthropy, travel to be with family, hobbies, dreams… All this is sacrificed while pursuing something more, and that something involves tremendous financial sacrifices. In fact, I drink lattes and use a cell phone cause these are cheap pleasures. Simple and empty pleasures at that. The things I desire, the things I’ve worked towards for the last 14 years cost way, way more than $150 or so a month in data charges and coffee beans. Are there people with less, absolutely. But we work towards our own dreams, not others. If all I dreamt of was the food in my pantry and gas in my car, where would my drive be, my will… I hesitate to say it, but my identity? If I didn’t dream of, and feel unfulfilled for not having, a house, giving large sums of money to others, seeing the world, pursuing my hobbies, supporting my child’s development to the fullest….well, I might be happier but I wouldn’t be me. Desiring, working towards, feeling unfulfilled because of, and persevering for these things are what make me who I am. Wanting bread, not having it, and striving towards it is what makes others who they are. My goals are more complex and costly, others are more simple and cheap. Do I really have less of a right to feel downtrodden when my aspirations go unfulfilled? If so, why?


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