My Fellow Compassionate Capitalists:
You cannot spend enough money to eliminate poverty… however you can spend enough money to eliminate wealth.
This is a subject I happen to know a little bit about. I grew up in a great home and had the latest and greatest of everything. I’m sure I was spoiled, however when I was growing up in the 70’s there was not a lot of judgment on your friends parents bank account. We were kids. I like baseball… you like baseball… let’s go play.
I did not realize how “spoiled“ I was until I went to the Philippines for two years and at one point was actually homeless and did not have a peso to my name. I came back to the States and set the bar really low for my future because the worst day in America was still 1000 times better than the best day in the Philippines.
I started out like many do….. working minimum wage jobs and living in apartments. I then “moved up” to a mobile home and then “made it to the top” when I lived in a 1950’s ranch style house that was the managers headquarters at the mobile home park. I did not have to pay rent as the home was part of management compensation. While a lifesaver at first…… it closed my mind to the idea of ever having a mortgage and playing the real estate game.
The people in the park were poor. They could not afford to spend $100 in one setting at a name brand grocery store. However they had no problem spending $20 every single day at the neighborhood liquor/convenience/grocery store because $20 for food at one time was all that they could come up with.
Their credit would not allow them to be financed when it came to a car and so they would have to wait for some sort of tax refund or accident settlement in order to have enough money to buy a beat up used car. They would come up a couple of hundred dollar short one month due to a flat tire or getting sick for a few days and lose work and take out title loans. If they borrowed $500 on the title loan they would spend years of weekly payments and about $5000 paying it back.
Vacations for those who lived in the park were few and far between. They usually included packing up the car during Thanksgiving or Christmas and visiting out-of-state relatives. If side work could be had and a couple of hundred dollars made, you were expected to show your family a good time at the state fair or some other overpriced venue that catered to the poor.
Nobody could afford a washer or dryer and did not have the credit to go to Sears and buy one. If you had several kids….that meant you spent about $50 a week in quarters at the laundromat. Take in consideration your rent on a mini storage filled with secondhand crap you were given but refused to sell in case you needed it…. as well as the dollar menu at the fast food restaurant (remember the $20 a day) and you were in a perfect storm to be poor the rest of your life.
It is true that you become like those that you surround yourself with the most. If anyone ever broke the cycle of poverty….like crabs in a bucket we would badmouth their successes and celebrate their failures. We did have “little stinkin’ thinkin’“ and that brings us to the state of the world we find ourselves in today.
When you surround yourself with people who are financially uneducated you box yourself in and wait for the next storm. This narrows your vision extremely and you never learn to recognize an opportunity. You never understand the most basic principle that every wealthy person has built their empire off of.
That principle is simply this…… The single greatest source of wealth is found right here on planet Earth. For sake of argument I will not force my belief on you that this is Gods Earth and we are simply the stewards and caretakers of it. What I will say is that those who are wealthy have found a way to organize resources and capital… rather of a human nature or a natural nature and produce a product or service that is desired by many and who are willing to pay for it.
It’s that simple. The problem with poverty is it causes the poor to look for riches in all the wrong places. In their scramble for survival they spend money at such a velocity it makes even the most wealthy jealous. However it is a velocity that cannot be controlled or sustained and it is why at the end of the day there is nothing to show for it.
The problem with not educating the world when it comes to finance is that those who have nothing to lose tend to say “to hell with societal norms” and turn to criminal activity because doing things the legal way has not got them what they wanted. That is why the greatest expenditure… the investment with unparalleled ROI… always has been and always will be financial education. Showing those with limited vision how to recognize opportunity. Utilizing their desire for improvement. Giving them knowledge that will set them free.
Allowing themselves to lay their head upon their pillows at night and “NEVER awake from the American Dream”.