You can see it everywhere, but it’s more prominent in low income areas: People who have to do without just to make ends meet. I feel bad for a lot of them, being that I grew up, for the most part, poor. I wouldn’t necessarily say we starved but we didn’t have as lavish a lifestyle as some. I used to look on with envy at kids who had grown up in neighborhoods, friends right down the street, multi-storied houses, parents with set jobs and stable finances, or better yet, parents that were at the very least still together. I wanted that life so very bad.
At some point this all changed for reasons I believe to be confirmation bias. I began to take pride in my low class-ness. Maybe it was “accepting where you’re from”, or it was just a comfort thing. Either way, I would later look down on people I deemed “rich” because they “take from the poor”. I even hated people who were making $60k / year out of college. Not to get too political, but in high school I was that kid that preached the holy bible of economies called socialism. “TAKE BACK FROM THE RICH” “THEIR GREED IS CAUSING INFLATION” “PAY TUITION WITH TAXATION”.
Now I’m not saying that I disagree with these premises now, I am just saying back then they ruled my entire world. I wanted to be an anarchist because I believed I had no control in my life and like Rage Against the Machine said: “We have to take the power back”. That was one of my favorite bands, by the way.
I have since grown up and done a complete 180 on this ideology though, simply because it is hurtful.
Below, when I am speaking about “richer people”, I am not speaking of the Bezoses or the Gates of the world, just you average local business owner. When you have enough money to influence elections or laws, then things get shady.
Low Income Ideology
1. “They have more money than me, they must’ve done something wrong to somebody”
This is not true, but a lot of lower income individuals believe this. I think this is simply a complete cop-out and a way to justify why you’re “happy to be poor”. There are a million different ways to get paid at the end of the day, and not all of the are evil. Are you going to tell me that a person who sells groceries is inherently evil? Why, because you exchanged money for something that would take you too much time to make on your own?
2. “They are really flashy with their cash, buying nice things.”
So what. If they earned their money legitimately who cares? “They’ve scammed-” no they haven’t. Stop assuming that. A lot people really make it big by either A) Getting a high paying job with a good degree B) Running a successful business. You mean to tell me that people shouldn’t be rewarded for their efforts? If not, the entire economy would collapse and everyone would be poor. I guess misery loves company. In reality, this is just envy in disguise.
3. “Poor people are nicer than rich people.”
To be honest with you, everybody has the capability to be an a**hole. They also have the capability to be very empathetic. When I drive through my hometown, I see people walking down the street in ill fitting clothes, and donning an angry expression that says “I’m trying to look badass”. The other day I was driving through a more affluent neighborhood with my girlfriend and every person waved at me, no matter the obvious difference in income. Who was nicer.
4. “They take away from people like us!”
Who normally has to ask for money to buy a soda? If this is in reference to owning a business, people willingly pay them for goods or services. Businesses stimulate economies, thus bringing them out of poverty by providing jobs which provide wages.
It’s just unhealthy
When you give someone else the responsibility for your problems, you also give them the responsibility for the solutions. It doesn’t matter if you are actually disadvantaged because of a richer person, doing nothing about it, is doing nothing about it. So nothing will ever change. Even if there is a 100% chance of failure, try anyway.
There are people out there who are told they will never walk again, yet they do. If they actually believed their diagnoses they would’ve never tried, just like, if you believe you’re always going to be poor, you’re not going to try to do anything about.
It all starts with making better decisions. A rule of thumb I use now is the harder the option, the better the choice.
Where I stand now
I am envious, jealous, but all around more honest with myself. I want the freedom, relief and health that comes with having more money and I don’t mind working for it. I don’t want a Lamborghini or a mansion, just stable enough finances so I can help people who are genuinely deserving, and do the things I want with my life. I used to accept that I was always going to be poor. Now, I have hope for my future, and I hope that you will too.
I don’t expect minds to be changed by a blog post, but I hope it’s the beginning for many of you. Take responsibility for your life, even if it’s not your fault, and do better in the future.
Recommended Reading Material
If I could recommend a single book for you, it would FU Money from Dan Lok. A lot of these ideas came from him, but there are other books responsible as well:
Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell
Four Hour Workweek by Tim Ferris