10 Reasons You're Not Rich

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Yahoo (via TheStreet.com) has an article that lists ten reasons why you’re not rich.

The list is bullshit, plain and simple. The article bothered me so much that I actually had to close my laptop, walk away from the computer, and come back to the computer several hours later.

The author, Jeffrey Strain, blames the reader for being stupid, spending too much money, and driving a fancy car. Here’s an excerpt.

[You’re not rich because…]

You feel entitlement: If you believe you deserve to live a certain lifestyle, have certain things and spend a certain amount before you have earned to live that way, you will have to borrow money. That large chunk of debt will keep you from building wealth.

You don’t understand value: You buy things for any number of reasons besides the value that the purchase brings to you. This is not limited to those who feel the need to buy the most expensive items, but can also apply to those who always purchase the cheapest goods. Rarely are either the best value, and it’s only when you learn to purchase good value that you have money left over to invest for your future.

Mr. Stain clearly states the obvious: you cannot get rich by spending money. Rich people know this, which is why they spend less than they earn. They also have savings accounts & mutual funds & financial schemes & tax shelters & advisers & friends & stock tips & hedge funds & advanced knowledge of stock market crashes.

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The punk rock truth is that we are not rich because a higher percentage of our personal wealth — which comes from our salaries — is being spent on the basic goods & services needed to survive in America. Many of us are losing money because we spend more than we earn on food, medical expenses, daycare, and transportation.

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Money doesn’t trickle down in Amerca — it pools in the personal bank accounts of wealthy people and corporations. When the economy goes sour, basic things happen: rich people stop spending money, corporations tighten their belts and hire fewer people, prices rise, credit dries up, and liquidity in the marketplace disappears.

When the economy goes sour, the dollar in your pocket doesn’t go very far. In fact, you might not have a dollar. You might only have 50 cents in your pocket because your company only gave you a 3% increase, this year, and your daycare provider just raised her rates 10% because her personal expenses just went up.

It’s a vicious cycle. But really, it’s your fault.

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Back to Jeffrey Strain. He’s right: you might not be rich because you drive that super-fancy 2005 Mazda 6 Wagon with 45,000 miles on it and worn tires; however, I suspect that you aren’t rich because you can barely keep your head above water.

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