I‘ve been thinking about financial survival a great deal lately. I’ve been asking questions such as how one party gains a financial advantage over another. How is it that the middle class has grown to be so large? It’s like a bell curve, with the middle class at the center with the most population while the poor and wealthy make up the minorities at either end of the spectrum.
I think this is a testament to how most people pursue mediocrity. They want to get by, but have a few luxuries as well. It would take way too much work or critical thinking to excel in personal finance. On the other hand, they hate the idea of being poor, and want to have the essentials covered.
The Balance Of Economics
Every time a transaction is pursued, a negotiation is happening. Even if one side demands a certain amount of money for an item, and the other side refuses to purchase the item, a long term negotiation has just been made. Chances are, the seller will lower the price of the item in order to make it more appealing to the next consumer.
Supply and demand comes into play as well. The rarer an item is, the more valuable it becomes in the eyes of the consumer. The consumer will be willing to pay top dollar for such rare items. Of course, if an item is abundant, competition between sellers ensues and the price of the item goes down. You know all this!
Really, when it all comes down to the end, this is a war of minds. It’s much like a game. You win at the game when you either (a) save more money than your fellow man or/and (b) make more money than your fellow man. The wise ones push themselves to sacrifice heavier than others, and work harder to earn more than others.
Success and Failure Compounds
Somehow, many rest in the middle class strata that they are accustomed to. But if you look at the lives of both the poor and the rich, you might find that usually their positive or negative experiences compound accordingly. The rich get richer, the poor get poorer. This might be attributed to how money compounds with time in certain situations.
Let’s take the wealthy as an example. Many times they are debt free, have numerous investments, and assets that are increasing in value. All of these things allow them to not only maintain their wealth, but to increase it exponentially.
Now consider the poor. Many times they have overwhelming debt (the opposite of investments) and a lack of resources or life stability to recover. The interest compounds with time, and they are stuck in a rut.
I think it’s fair to say that most people wish they were in a better situation than they currently are. But how do you get there?
To get to the point where you are financially secure, you must first start by working extremely hard. Not only in physical labor, but in mental labor. You must adhere to a financial plan without failure.
Remember those round, spinning playground platforms you used to play on as a child? You’d start out by working really hard, pushing against static inertia, almost going nowhere for a few seconds. Then you start spinning the platform faster, running beside it until it seems to go so fast that you have no choice but to jump on. That’s exactly how it is with escaping the middle class and climbing higher. It takes hard work at first, but simple maintenance will keep you moving in the right direction.
So, if you’re ambitious, daring, and want more from life, pledge to get out of debt and think differently about money. That’s what we do over at The Christian Dollar, and Peter was kind enough to allow me to share these thoughts with you today at Bible Money Matters. Have a great day and get that momentum started!
Peter Anderson says
I like the point you make about success breeding success, and how hard work is necessary to change the momentum.
In writing a post for another site (Do The Rich Work Harder?) I found an interesting study by Daniel Kahneman, a Nobel Prize-winning psychologist, that showed those who earn less than $20,000 a year spent more than a third of their time in passive leisure, while those earning more than $100,000 spent less than a fifth of their time doing the same. So low income folks tend to spend a proportionally larger amount of their time doing things like watching TV, or engaging in other pleasurable pursuits.
In other words, if you’re making a good income, chances are that you’re pretty disciplined, you’re working hard and sacrificing some of your free time in order to improve your situation. You do have to be careful, however, not to burn yourself out, or allow your work to become your idol, because that can be just as damaging.
Why would you want to “escape” middle class? I guess there is lower class, which I view a somewhat poverty stricken and struggling. Or upper class, which seems to be another challenging place to be, keeping up with the Joneses, etc.
A couple of quality traits I’ve noticed in a rich uncle.
As you mentioned, he worked very hard.
Another was he saw opportunity where some of us might not. He grew up in a small mining community. His brother and he were butchers. They started buying up mining sites by leveraging their income and getting loans. Of course there were risks and deal making involved. Strikes, etc. They were unafraid to plunge in and deal with politicians, bankers, the educated elite. They learned to pilot a plane, play golf, and make a dignified impression. They were willing to act quickly and gamble it all.
Another trait was to see money and time as commodities to be used to increase value, not to spend solely on pleasures. So in his 90’s Uncle was still painting his own garage, and Aunt still cleaned her own home, finally hiring a cleaning lady to help her only with the stuff she could no longer physically do. They were willing to go through the discount racks at the better stores to purchase clothes, or travel that extra 15 miles to a hairdresser that charged $20 for a dye job and trim.
Most of us like our measure of comfort and so remain where we are. It takes a huge amount of effort to break free from what is around you. You have to fight the naysayers, those that ridicule your big dreams and accuse you of being snooty, and perfect the social skills needed to navigate unfamiliar territory. Plus you will have to move away from the hood.
I was amazed as we drove through a rough area of Philly recently to see, between boarded up and abandoned houses, everyone had disc TV on their rooftops. They exchanged the present for their future. If you eat all your seeds you have nothing left to plant.
I do agree that the few people I do know that are what I would consider substantially well off do not sit around idly. Sure, they may take 3 or more vacations a year but their spare time is spent pursuing wealth building. Whether in the areas of investments, business contacts or additional money making ideas there is a distinct difference between the wealthy and those that are not.
I hear whats being said. To much focus on this site putting all the responsibility on people. When does god just help or provide. I’m 38, disabled & not a book smart person, although I’m trying to get a degree, since my neck is fried form car accidents. Struggling daily on disability pay, scraping up cans to sell & selling anything somene gives me on ebay. LOVE helping others, Want to glorify god in every way, but going on 10 yrs now in fight or flight mode trying to survive to eat, take care of my medical condition, watching life go by. Does god ever just help with money? And before you say I just want god to do everything, I’ve worked my life too, always having problems taking my the money I make. So always missing out on vacations & other good things like that. Money always goint to survival. My 2nd last job of driving a truck for 10 yrs was taken from me due to 3 severe car accidents (after already recovering/suffering for 21 yrs from a BROKEN Neck when I was 8), I was then left injured again but found a $200 a week paper route to do, & delivered 782 nights in row (4hrs a night, 7 days a week) before getting burned out going insane & having to quit. My dad brought me up as a hard working bust ass do everything yourself person. Now I find myself injured & my plan automatically becomes struggling with money. I’m in a church with ALOT of Rich, Financially BLESSED christians, I’ve stood at church telling my story, & in a small group of 21 people, who are blessed financially. NOT 1 of these blessed people offer to help! God blesses some & they cannot even help someone struggling in thier own church. Not everyone who works hard and busts there butt and sacrifices in all right areas still makes it. You know how many people try to start a buisness everday that fails? Even Christians who handle money correctly & are willing giving stewards! The labor trades & Small Buisiness’s have gone to complete crap. Not everyone can be a college graduate. I may sound bitter, but I’ve struggled with insomnia/fatigue & pain my whole life, struggling as kid in school then at work as an adult. I dont care to be rich unless its to help others, I just want to get by above my circumstances, to eat decent, be able to pay my bills, and not scramble & struggle to survive. I want Live, NOT Survive. Money issues affect my injury & make the pain worse & unable to sleep. Stomache is fried from pain meds, so cant take anything else. According to alot of this site, if the moneys not there, live on budget, & scarifice wants! Thats great, but for how long, your whole life? How far do you take it, like me, live in the dark, turn the heat low, live in the cold, making my pain worse, NEVER do anything fun or enjoyable that costs money. This is the life Jesus was beatin & killed for? I have lots of little blessings & People in my life to enjoy, buy finances keep me struggling in pain, even interfering with my schooling, as I cannot remember/learn a zillion things in school books, while I wonder how I’m going to get by each day. Can god ever just help, when your doing everything you can? People arent supposed to splurge, but if most dont, they always just pay bills. There not always a happy ending where peoiple advance in life from doing it right, and you find yourself always giving your money away to surviving. Old cars break down, costing money for repairs & Tows, usually when the money’s not there. New cars run better & get you there safer & more reliably. God would rather your more unsafe & have an older, less reliable vehicle? Is god poor? Does he not own EVERYTHING on this planet. To many sites/christians telling people to live under thier means to get out of debt. Save $90 a month living in the dark/Cold eating Mac & Cheese to stay on that budget, while the devil laughs & causes you a new $300 problem each month. Now your Struggling, & Still cant get by. When is it ok to ask God for assistance? I dont want Fancy cars, big houses, gold, fame or any of that, I just want to be able to enjoy What I Got, but lack affects my medical condition, leaving me in pain & Tired, not even able to muster up a fake smile. The Church tells you to have faith in the lord, trust in him to provide your needs, know he is all powerful & all knowing, then turn around & tell me to kill (put to sleep) my 2 cats or leave them out in the cold (thier 13 & 18 yrs old) , if I cannot find someone to take them or afford the $20 a month for cat food & Litter. Is God poor? Can he not do anything about this? He creates an animal (& a companion to me), but would let them die over $20 a month? I”m all for working hard, budget your money, investing, saving, not spending frivilously, & helping others. But when all thats not working & your suffering (&praying daily), can god help? BTW, I have a dad who loves me dearly, & is somewhat rich, but Refuses to help, as he is very selfish. Tells me he loves me everytime we talk, but wont help in life. Tells me to tough it out, persevere, push your chest out & deal with it. Which I’ve been doing for 30 yrs now! Please someone tell me God cares about whats happening to me! Iknow many orthers have it worse, but That doesnt make me feel better, I get more angry god is letting someone suffer worse than me. And as Long as I’m poor, I’ll never get to help those others either.
I feel your pain both emotionally and physically. Years of struggling and medical issues do take a toll on us. None of us are invincible and not all have walked the paths that others have. I do encourage you to continue to trust and faith in God. None of what has happened to you or me or others is a suprise to him. Personally, my husband and I have walked through deep, black valleys of despair and it wasn’t pretty.
I would like to personally like to offer to pay for your kitteh’s cat food each month for a while (6 months or longer). We have 3 cats, all strays that we took in over the years and we love them to pieces. So leave a message and let me know if that would be ok with you. Consider it as one cat lover and people lover to another. Blessings to you dear Clint.
It’s always right to ask God for help. Jesus said to pray “give us this day our daily bread”.
The fact that your cats are as old as they are shows you are taking good care of them. It would be very sad to turn them out.
I don’t think any of us can answer why some people have more money than others. Why some people are sick and others are well. I don’t know why people aren’t helping you with money at church. I don’t know why your father isn’t helping you more.
The only things I can think of are things you may have already done. Have you talked to your church deacons? Even if they can’t help by giving you money they may have other ideas.
Is there a food pantry near you that can help you get different food so that you can feel better?
If you are on disability do you have a social worker? Can you talk to them?
If you get food stamps there are ways to eat healthier than macaroni and cheese, but it does take more time to cook.
My sister has cats and she mixes the kitty litter with shreded newspaper. That may help with your costs a little. I’ve heard of people who use less and less kitty litter slowly over time so their cats get used to it, and eventually use only shredded newspaper. Do you know of anyone who can give you their old newspapers for free?
Maybe some of the other people who read your letter have some other better ideas. Would you mind if we prayed for you?
jmd & anonymouse,
WOW, thank you soo much for your kind words! & jmd for your offering of help. I was kinda expecting to get on here today & read stuff like, quit wining everyones got problems, some worse than you & just deal with it. Which I’ve read alot of these hurtful resonses on Christian forums. Making me fearful to even post. Yes, I’ve met with MANY pastors, elders, Deacons, & Preists & Counslers & Hands on Healers over the last 20 yrs. I’ve attended a few churches (usually a couple years each) I switch eventually as I’ve found alot of Legalism teaching in the churches today. Tithing, Lists, & Volunteering (to get help, or you get none)& What We have to do as Christians. Not alot of Grace messages out here & What Jesus Did. The churches usually help a little, some gas cards and what not. the last church cut me off from help because I coulndt serve as much as they wanted (I have neck injuries, can only do so much). I go to the food pantry, but cannot stand in line for hours like those who get there early and get all the good stuff. I get $16 a month food stamps. Low because I get $700 a month disability they said. I do try to eat good, ecspecially since I have an ulcer, usually causing me a bill not paid (stress?) to eat ok.
Tried many litters over yrs due to allergies (sneezing = Neck pain) Petco brand unscented litter is what I use (bring in 30 lbs jug for refill is $10.99, lasts 2 weeks) older kitties pee alot. Box is my room in closet. Tried paper thing, they peed outside the box, plus it dosent cover oder at all, & box is in my room. 18 yr old cannot get to the basement due to steep stairs.
I’ve tried everything to ease things up or do things more efficently & get help & every possilbe avenue. My Dad is very anal about dumb things in life, I use that in me to figure ways to battle/solve/deal with life problems. After all this, Sometimes I just wonder, can god ever just step up & help? I’ve tried SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO Many things, I’m tired, burnt out, just want god to provide on a less suffering level, or heal me, or direct me to that job/career I can do in this condition. I have no problem doing it all myself. My dad brought me up as there is no god, and you do have to do it all yourself. But, dont want to believe that, & am YEARNING for god to want better for me in life & yes, & help me! My dad likes watching me struggle, says it makes you man. Anyway, thank you both, cant type anymore, neck hurts from typing, yesterdays message aggravated it. my email is email@example.com if you’d like to email me jmd. Thank you both again. & God Bless