How not to be poor


#1

Just follow some common sense family values, and don’t be afraid to work for the mininum wage.

townhall.com/columnists/walterwilliams/printww20050511.shtml


#2

Well, that’s a nice bit of encouragement, actually. I’m pregnant and working for minimum wage in my state (which is quite a bit higher than the federal minimum wage, thankfully). My husband and I are very responsible with our money and it amazes me when I see people who make more than we do who are heavily in debt.


#3

I have to admit, I feel cheated by the so called "American Dream"
I was taught, growing up, that if I worked hard, lived simply and didn’t indulge in “sinful” living, that I could have a comfortable life. That has not been the case.

I still think that advice is good, I just wish it worked for more people more of the time.

I guess this is my cross to bear.

cheddar


#4

Employees rarely if ever get wealthy if they remain employees. There is security but little if any wealth. That is just the way economics work.

Most people haven’t the inclination to be anything but an employee. Thank God that is so. But wealth is almost never part of that life. If one desires wealth one must risk losing everything and must do so, in most cases, early in life. There are very few Col. Sanders in the world.

Dan L


#5

[quote=Sirach14]Just follow some common sense family values, and don’t be afraid to work for the mininum wage.

townhall.com/columnists/walterwilliams/printww20050511.shtml
[/quote]

I notice the author doesn’t mention anything about health insurance, which certainly doesn’t come with any minimum wage job. I make about $20K/year and my wife get about $3K/year in SSI. Really the main benefit of her getting SSI is that it makes her eligible for Medicaid. My son is covered by a NY State program called Child Health Plus.
Family health coverage at my job would be **$400 a month!!

**I’m certainly not a fan of nat’l health insurance but something has to be done so that people can get affordable care.

All that said, I consider us well-off. We have everything we need and quite a bit we don’t. I’m grateful for what we do have.


#6

:hmmm: good advice, but rather simplistic too.

Not everyone is looking to be “wealthy”. They do want to be able to buy groceries without worrying about forgetting a coupon. To be able to take their children to the doctor without having to debate “if their really sick enough” because the cost of the visit is going to relly take a slice out of the grocery budget. To be able to leave the house without worrying about the cost of the gas to go somewhere.

Personally, I think debt is one of the greatest works of the devil and would rather eat beans for the rest of my life than have debt again. We’ve always been willing to take whatever job we had to to get us through rough times. It’s also important to note that many of america’s working poor are educated, many beyond high school. (Let’s not forget the wonderfull debt offered during college that slowly bleeds many for the first 10 - 15 years of their profession!)

It’s also worth noting that many of the men in the article espousing this high ground have no worry about ever living off minimum wage.


#7

I agree with this statement. I tell my young adult children all the time to avoid credit card debt at all costs because it is the devil. I say those very words.


#8

This article offered good sound advice. Here is something extra.

HINT:
Even if your monthly income is small and your bills are plentiful, PAY YOURSELF FIRST. The amount maybe small - $5.00 or $10.00. Over the years this amount adds up. Never spend this money. Increase the amount as you are able to.

HINT:
Always live at or below your means. Live well below your means even if you think you are rich.


#9

Just follow some common sense family values, and don’t be afraid to work for the mininum wage.

Yeah, I guess those people who get in catstrophic accidents/illnesses are afraid to work for minimum wage and forget their family values.


#10

[quote=didymus]I notice the author doesn’t mention anything about health insurance, which certainly doesn’t come with any minimum wage job. I make about $20K/year and my wife get about $3K/year in SSI. Really the main benefit of her getting SSI is that it makes her eligible for Medicaid. My son is covered by a NY State program called Child Health Plus.
Family health coverage at my job would be $400 a month!!

I’m certainly not a fan of nat’l health insurance but something has to be done so that people can get affordable care.

All that said, I consider us well-off. We have everything we need and quite a bit we don’t. I’m grateful for what we do have.

[/quote]

Yup, and it is really sad that some people struggle to have even the basics, while the wealthier get wealthier, and yet basic programs such as the one you mention get eliminated or reduced, so as to give tax breaks to those who make over 75,000$ a year.


#11

[quote=Lilyofthevalley]Just follow some common sense family values, and don’t be afraid to work for the mininum wage.

Yeah, I guess those people who get in catstrophic accidents/illnesses are afraid to work for minimum wage and forget their family values.
[/quote]

Exactly. The article kinda acts like everything is happy in “special town” and that people who are poor are lazy buggers who aren’t trying. While it may sound nice and dreamy it conveniantly ignores various issues. It seems more like it was about race issues anyways, so I guess it’s not about the general public with real health issues or such things.


#12

[quote=misericordie]Yup, and it is really sad that some people struggle to have even the basics, while the wealthier get wealthier, and yet basic programs such as the one you mention get eliminated or reduced, so as to give tax breaks to those who make over 75,000$ a year.
[/quote]

The thing that gets me is that folks who make $75K/yr or even more consider themselves “middle class” and feel put upon that they can’t afford everything that they think they should have, or both spouses “have” to work, or they only have two or three kids because they “can’t afford” any more.

It’s sad but I can’t even condemn them – they have been brainwashed that this is The American Way of Life and they are somehow failures if they don’t achieve it.
Of course, if people began rejecting materialism and consumerism in any large numbers the economy would probably grind to a halt and there would be a Depression.


#13

What I don’t understand is, how come that regardless of the sluggish economy, the lack of jobs, and the huge trade deficits we have with other countries, money is being spent like crazy. I see it by the many most recent models of cars on the road. Very, very seldom do I see what can be considered an “old jalopy.”

Then, the prices of homes are out-of-this world. 1/2 million dollars and higher are the current asking prices for homes At least in the State of California. But, yet, these homes are snapped up by buyers left and right. It has become common practice for home buyer to submit offers many thousands of dollars above the asking price, so as to be sure they get the house they’re bidding on. I have had first-hand experience with this, not ever anticipating this practice.

My question is, where is all the money coming from, considering the lack of jobs and the high cost of living, mainly caused, I thinkl, by the high cost of oil.

My uneducated speculation is that people from all over the wold who have lots and lots of money come to the US. There are so many of them, but they are the ones who have the money and who can afford to buy homes, creating a very high demand for them, and consequently the dream of each US citizen to own their own home has become for many unattainable, especially for the younger population. The situation to attain that dream is like reaching for the stars. The sad part is that now the many US citizens are left in the dust. Soon most real estate of this country will be owned by the many wealthy of other countries.

Is this my skewed view of things happening now in the US? I would love to hear from others what they think or know what causes us here in the US to seem to lose our bearings.

Have I hijacked this threat? If so, I am sorry. Ignore me, then.


#14

Twice this year I have hear this same “lecture”, Once by a woman who came to our church to give a talk on The Spiritual use of Money. She is a financial advisor. She has a good bit of money. She talked for two hours about how to get rid of stuff and invest to increase happiness. Several rich people in the room nodded their heads about how money doesn’t buy happiness. She tried to talk a woman into believing that a second car was a luxury, even though both partners worked. She had no real useful advice for people without money, no way to tell us how spiritual we were because we were poor. Evidently, you have to have lots of extra stuff first to gain the spiritual benefits of giving it away. (her example was that she had five purple sweaters, 4 cars and a boat)…

The next person to tell me how much they hated “stuff:” was ;my millionaire brother. He went on and on about how stuff is such a drag, and he wished he didn;t even have a house, but just lived in an apt, so he wouldn’t have to worry about repairs and the yard. (he has a home and a condo in a resort). He has a collection of sports memoralbilia (M Jordans jerseys, Byrd’s shoes and lots of stuff like that) Yeah, he hates stuff…

It is always the rich who are ready to tell the poor how lucky they are to be poor, and how easy it is for us to live. Well, I don’t have much to complain about. We have no savings, but we have not starved and have been able to pay the rent every month. I have three kids, one 19 inch TV, two used cars. My hubby has a Phd, that he is still paying loans on. I work two part time jobs. My eyeglasses are 4 yrs old and falling apart, cause I cant afford new one’s. My family has never gone on a vacation. NEVER. My hubby’s glasses are 7 yrs old.

I don’t want to accumulate a lot of stuff. I dont’ need michael jordan’s jersey. I do need new glasses. I don’t need another lecture from a rich dude about how wonderful my life is. Lots’ of things in my life are wonderful, but not having money to meet some basic needs isn’t one of them.

cheddar


#15

Oh yes, my big pet peeve, is all the “invest to get rich” hype. What c***. Yes, investing can be a good thing. For example, investing money in your own business or maybe even buying property. (In essence investing in yourself.) But stocks are nothing more than an educated guess/gamble and very few people making less than 50K can afford the risk. I’ve always felt this way and all the events of Enron, Worldcom, ect… just confirmed my opinion. All the rich people who had money out the wazoo lost some pocket change (for them), but all those middle class and lower class workers became financially ruined and jobless.


#16

Rob’s wife,

It is always wise to invest some money in Mutual Funds. Maybe put $100-200 per month away in funds that grow an average of 10% per year and have done so over the long haul. If you can, buy an inexpensive house. Fix it up a bit and sell it at a profit. Then buy another. Fix it up, etc. After 2 or 3 of these you should have a nice house for yourself. Social Security never has and never will be enough no matter how high our taxes get. “Pay yourself first” simply means that you always put some money away for retirement no matter what. Always live beneath your means no matter how strongly you are tempted to do otherwise. We aren’t rich but we are almost there in terms of being able to retire. If we had followed the principles I’ve suggested we would have been able to retire 3-4 years ago.

Say you make $40,000 per year after taxes. After you give your tithe you have $36,000. Set aside another $4,000 for yourselves in investments such as mutual funds and buying real estate. That leaves you $32,000 for more immediate expenses. The principle holds true whether you make more or less than this. Don’t let others dictate your life. Always give God first place. Always give yourself second place. Always give the demands of others third place.

Dan L


#17

[quote=GregoryPalamas]Rob’s wife,

It is always wise to invest some money in Mutual Funds. Maybe put $100-200 per month away in funds that grow an average of 10% per year and have done so over the long haul.
I disagree, if for no other reason than the above scenario is no where near physically possible for us.
If you can, buy an inexpensive house. Fix it up a bit and sell it at a profit. Then buy another. Fix it up, etc. After 2 or 3 of these you should have a nice house for yourself.
This would indeed fall under my own description of investing in yourself. Not possible for us, but would be considered if it were.
Social Security never has and never will be enough no matter how high our taxes get.
I’m not sure where this came from. I made no mention to SS. Personally, I think it’s bankrupt and a waste of my money - I certainly don’t expect to ever see anything from it.
“Pay yourself first” simply means that you always put some money away for retirement no matter what.
Personally, I don’t believe in retirement. It’s a fairly new concept and most people will never be able to acheive it. In the past, most people worked until they died - although the work they did may have been more enjoyable due to less worry about feeding children. :slight_smile: To us, saving is for those catastrophic times or for major health needs. Which means there are times when we have nothing in it because we’ve had to use it for those reasons, then we start saving again as soon as possible. There will never be more than a few grand in it. It takes us a couple years to get that much.
Always live beneath your means no matter how strongly you are tempted to do otherwise.
I agree wholeheartedly on that and do so. We learned from past experience and are not even tempted to be under that kind of stress again. We’ve actually reached the point where we get a thrill out of saving or waiting on an expense.
We aren’t rich but we are almost there in terms of being able to retire. If we had followed the principles I’ve suggested we would have been able to retire 3-4 years ago.
Good for you!
Say you make $40,000 per year after taxes.
Subtract 10K.
After you give your tithe you have $36,000.
Leaving 26K
Set aside another $4,000 for yourselves in investments such as mutual funds and buying real estate.
Another 3K here?
That leaves you $32,000 for more immediate expenses.
Leaving 24K to live on.
The principle holds true whether you make more or less than this.
Maybe for some people that’s true.
Don’t let others dictate your life.
I don’t.
Always give God first place.
I do.
Always give yourself second place.
hmmm, that’d sure be a move up for me because
Always give the demands of others third place.
I have a husband and 7 children and have had in the past 1 great grandparent and 1 parent to see to on a daily basis.

THAT is where I develope problems with these type of systems. We have this little family motto here: “Family takes care of family.” A rather old world thing I know, but I refuse to budge on it and will continue to instill this value in my children. My dh and I were not raised this way, but feel strongly about it. My mother was both baffled and gratefull by my attitude. My dh’s great-grandmother said we were her greatest joy in her last days. It put us on the wrong side of bankruptcy to care for them at the time, but I wouldn’t ever even remotely think of doing it any other way. It is not a burden to care for family - it’s a blessing. It would be nice if those blessings would time themselves around concurrent incomming monies, but life doesn’t seem to work that way.:wink:


Dan L
[/quote]


#18

Simplicity and common sense in lifestyle and avoiding debt may work sufficiently when families are young–though personally I can’t imagine how you can support a small family–much less a large one–on minimum wage earnings.

However, things get significantly more complicated as you look at higher education. Case-in-point–my neice was accepted at a Catholic University in the midwest. She was an excellent student in H.S. and was offered $5000 in scholarship money. Even after deducting that, her parents must swallow an annual tuition/housing bill of $25,000 (that’s after tax dollars) which, by the way, hardly represents the high end of private college tuition. These are BIG dollars when compared to minimum wage earnings–and that’s just for one kid–do the math for multiples. If your goal is to be able to provide a higher education for your kids and not have them graduate burdened with almost insurmountable debt–it’s going to take a **** of a lot more than minimum wage!

p.s. one of the factors most commonly associated with NOT being poor is a 4-year college education.


#19

…remember, it’s not what you know, it’s…

http://www.issues2000.org/America_We_Deserve.gif

…sometimes it’s the path you choose…
http://www.abconinvesting.com/images/investment%20decision.jpg


#20

Greg- Your scenerio does seem to work. But what if you make 40k before takes (both working), before health insurance, before bills.

We can’t afford to give 10% to church, so I guess we don’t tithe. but we make darn sure that our envelopes each week have something in it. Be that $10 for the regular envelope, and $5 for the extra envelopes. But you know we give no matter what.

My health insurance is 265 a paycheck, not a month a PAYCHECK!! But I absolutely have to have it.

We just recently realized we are living beyond our means. We live in a too big house that costs too much. Our solution, try to sell it. Rent for awhile. So when my dh finishes his degree I can stay home with the kids.

I don’t care about getting rich, I just want to be able to feed my kids without my grandma having to force money into my hand.


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