So You’re Poor. 10 Reasons To Be Grateful For Poverty

Our family grew up relatively poor. We shared a home with our aunt’s family. Five of us kids would sleep in one bedroom. Some of my fondest childhood memories were in that house. Today, I live in a house with 6 other people. I even get my own room! Though you could say I’m one of the global elites now as anyone making over $34,000 USD puts them in the richest 1% of the world. It’s a shame really, there’s positives in poverty. If you’re poor, then this message is for you. Quit being selfish and be grateful for it! And here’s why…

You have less financial stress. Having wealth doesn’t bring you financial peace. It means stressing about taxes, and economic downturns, and prenuptials, and keeping up with the Jones. The high earners stress about having to make another million in case they lose their first million. On top of the financial stuff, they have to deal with body weight issues, jury service, speeding fines, and children’s college fees. Existential or mid-life crises is a disease that only inflicts the well-off. Have a little compassion for them.

You’re born lucky. In comparison to all the other things you can be inflicted with, poverty seems like the better choice. It’s not a birth defect, or permanent disability or an incurable disease. You haven’t lost a limb. And you don’t have Alzheimer’s or motor neuron disease. Health, my friend, is real wealth. In fact, being labelled poor implies a certain level of rights and privileges. Less than 200 years ago, poor meant a white person that didn’t own land. Anything less probably meant you were a slave or serf, or an infirm.

You’re actually rich, relatively speaking. Yes, all things are relative. A poor person in American can be deemed wealthy elsewhere. The poverty line in the US is just under $12,000. The average annual income in India is $1500. And there are much worse countries than India. In contrast, internet access (or right to boardband) is now a fundamental human right in the EU no matter how poor you are. The moment you whine about what you don’t have, you stop seeing what you do have. Will you help those starving people in Liberia, Afghanistan, or Congo. No? …then quit complaining, and stop thinking about yourself too much, you self-absorbed bastard!

You live comfortably. Being poor is within your comfort zone. It’s bloody demanding trying to be wealthy. You have to overcome self-doubt, fear of rejection, pick yourself up after failures, and take big risks. Donald Trump went from millionaire to 9 billion dollars in debt. The average millionaire goes bankrupt 3.5 times. Almost 9 out of 10 new businesses or startups will fail.  The cost of luxury comforts and security IS discomfort and uncertainty. Money doesn’t buy you freedom from work. It is work! On average, millionaires work 55 hours per week – many work 70 or 80 hours. They work 6 days per week instead of 5. Too much for you? Just keep clipping those coupons.

You have real friends. Many people have friends that can’t be relied on in times of difficulties. Chances are, you don’t have to deal with fair-weather friends. You’re in perpetual difficult times. Anyone still hanging around is a genuine friend. They’re not out to get something from you, mostly because you don’t really have much to get off in the first place. Unless of course, that friend is poorer than you. In which case, you should be grateful you’re doing better. But be wary of that friend!

You can get a job. All those poor immigrants who are willing to work for peanuts are selfishly stealing our jobs. The take home lesson is that if those coming from third world countries with little to no money, no welfare, uneducated, and barely able to speak English can do it, then you’ve got a pretty darn good chance too. Heck, those poor immigrants are not only surviving, they’re thriving here. They’re getting rich off our backs somehow. Immigrants, especially Indians are proportionately over-represented in the ranks of millionaires in the US and the UK.

You’re not poor. You’re just a failed artist. Those immigrants we just discussed don’t think about life satisfaction and happiness. They come to our country to make money. With that money they can provide a better future for their families and give their kids the things that they never had. We, on the other hand, are too self-absorbed trying to do the things we’re passionate about, trying to find a job that doesn’t feel like a job. You were taught to do what you love. Your parents and teachers encouraged you to follow your dreams. Immigrants, however, are taught to do whatever makes money.

Poverty helps the economy. Many countries benefit from being a poor one. All our jobs are being outsourced overseas to Sub-Saharan Africa, China, India, and South East Asia. Growth rates of GDP in those countries exceeds that of the West. They only have an advantage over us just because they’re poorer. Lucky bastards! Germany has cotton on somewhat and has had persistent policies to push down wages. Yes, its good honest affluent countries like ours that are made to pay. Shame on them for being so poor!

You can look down on the wealthy. There’s a smugness that goes with being poor. You’ve distanced yourself from the devil, safe in the belief that money is the root of all evil. The bible itself states, “it is easier for a camel to pass through an eye of a needle than a rich person to enter the Kingdom of God.” Sure, you don’t have a business to create goods or services or jobs for poorer people. You’re barely able to take care of yourself let alone help anyone else. You can’t give what you don’t have after all. But still, heaven awaits you, my friend. Whereas the wealthy will face the ultimate discrimination. “Life’s not fair,” you can tell them.

You have a greater chance of being super rich. About 86% of millionaires are self-made. A lot of them started from scratch. Poverty instills in a person virtues that just can’t be inherited like wealth can. Those coming from rags to riches are characterised by their thrift, low status, discipline, low consumption, risk, and very hard work. It gives them a greater hunger and resourcefulness. Typically, the fortunes built by these people will be completely dissipated by the second or third generation. Their kids don’t get the advantages of poverty they did.

Money actually buys you happiness. Money can only buy happiness up to a point. And that point is around $75,000 a year. Fortunately for you, you’re poor enough that every dollar you earn has a measurable effect on day-to-day contentment. The rich getting richer are not getting any happier… but you certainly can!

I’ve been talking about poverty mostly in monetary terms. For a long time, I thought money was the only measure of success and wealth. I tied my self-worth to my net worth. That led to living a frugal life, comparing myself to other, attachment to job security, and taking more than I gave. It only increased the feeling of being poor. More money doesn’t get rid of scarcity. Being grateful does. Gratitude equals abundance. Today, it’s raining. The air is cleaner for it. I have an abundance of clean air that I’m breathing. An abundance of love for my other half and my family. An abundance of words. I feel rich. TC mark

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