The Rich Get Richer and the Poor Get Poorer
I know you have heard the saying, “the rich keep getting richer while the poor get poorer.”   And, for the most part, it is true.  But, why?  Have you ever wondered why the rich prosper and the poor don’t?  I’ve heard several reasons for this.  You hear things like “the playing field is not even;” “the deck is stacked against me;” “the rich are robbing the poor,” and so on.  While I’ve never seen a rich man or woman chasing down a poor person and taking their money. I would agree that all things are not always even.  So, with that said, should you take advantage of every opportunity to be on the other side of things?
Let’s be frank.  Jesus said there will always be poor people (Matt 26:11); but, He didn’t say it had to be us!  So if I don’t have to be poor, I need to figure out what I can do to change. What can I do to be on the winning side of the money equation?  I read an article published by an Ivy League business school that provided some research that brought to light some interesting facts.  First, the article pointed out that similar value systems transcend racial differences.  In other words, poor people, regardless of their race, share like values, and as you might expect, the economically prudent, despite racial differences, have comparable money practices.  But because a large majority of races share similar values, this nuance and under-appreciated distinction gets lost in racial generalizations.  I’ll come back to this point later.  Secondly, when you look at the difference between the rich and poor, one of the most notable differences is their value system.  For instance, wealthy people see money as a tool to advance themselves; or, a means to an end.  And the “end” their pursuit is meant to add real long term value.
Now converging the two points above, consider the following 3 assertions as facts:
1.       Blacks and Hispanics are, on average, poorer than whites.
2.       Blacks and Hispanics spend 16% and 30% less, respectively, on education than whites of similar incomes.
3.     Blacks and Hispanics spend up to 30% more than whites of comparable incomes on visible goods like clothing, cars, and jewelry.
        This means that, compared to white households of similar income, the typical black and Hispanic household spends $2,300 more per year on visible items.           To do that, they spend less on almost all other categories except housing, and they save less.
What is all this saying? Well, there is a lot that can be inferred here, but there are two main intrinsic themes I think we all need to internalize.  First, our destiny is not determined by the color of our skin, but by the choices we make.  Is life fair?  No.  It has never been.  Was it fair for Jesus?  Did the early church deserve to be hunted, persecuted, and even executed for preaching salvation through Jesus only?  No.  But they still overcame.  And so shall we if we are willing to pray like it all depends on God and work like it all depends on us. Secondly, we have to realize that our income is too valuable to waste on temporal novelties.  I know we need clothes, but does it have to be Gucci?  I know we need cars to get to work, but do the cars need to be Mercedes?  By making poor money choices, we are not being good stewards and we are choosing to be poor.
I believe in generational curses.  And by maintaining the same errant habits and misguided perspectives, we not only are doomed to repeat the past, but we teach the next generation our folly and limit their potential too.  If that is not a curse, I don’t know what is!  But it doesn’t have to be that way.  Change is possible, but we have to have the courage to be different.  We must look at items like cars, clothes, and jewelry as short term appeasements that don’t have much long-term value.  We need to place more value on education, insurances, and long term investment plans like mutual funds.  Where ever you are financially, you are not bound to stay there.  You can change your situation, but it will require you to change.

By Alfred King, Financial Consultant

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