The Rich Get Richer & the Poor Get Poorer

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Aug 8, 2020
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A friend of mine shared a quote by Dave Ramsey on Facebook this morning. I think someone commented on the post to bring it back up to the surface. The quote was actually from a post written in 2010, but since the comment was written recently, others began commenting again today. And boy did a fight ensue. Here's the comment:

The saying 'the rich get richer and the poor get poorer' is true! Because the rich keep doing what rich people do and the poor people keep doing what what poor people do. - Dave Ramsey

One woman in particular took rabid offense to this quote. She claimed, basically, that people have absolutely no control over their lives and whatever happens to them, the rest of us should be sympathetic to their plight and support them. A man took offense to her argument and presented an argument of his own. He said that poor people consistently make bad decisions and it's their fault they're poor. That the United States of America offers the most opportunity when compared to anyplace on the globe. And that with hard work and frugal spending, anyone can make a better life for themself.

I'll leave it up to you to decide who's right and who's wrong. I'm sure there's a lot of grey area in between these two arguments. The conversation did get me thinking about human nature though and I thought up a short quote of my own. Here goes:

There are two types of people in this world; those who plan and those who react. Those who react do most of the complaining about not having any money. You don't really hear from those who plan. They're doing well and don't need to complain.

I think that about sums it up. Really though, if someone is an avid planner, it's rare they get caught off guard. Especially if they're also a bit paranoid. It's those who like to have a good time who are constantly surprised by events in their lives. What's the story? The Ant and the Grasshopper?

Anyway, I thought I'd share that. Now, onto the next section in Dave Ramsey's book called The Total Money Makeover.

Mmm...Frog Legs​

The first part of this section talks about how mediocrity is the greatest enemy of worth in one's life. It's not a tragic event that brings people down in regards to their health, relationships, and finances, most of the time, but a slow degradation of quality and standards. It's sort of like when someone dates someone for a long time or gets married to them and lives with them for years. Once they start wearing sweatpants too often and not showing everyday, things change. And not for the better. The same is true when it comes to skipping visits to the gym and buying things that aren't necessary. It's a "just good enough" attitude that catches people off guard in the end. The author of this section compared this type of thing to a frog slowly being boiled in a pot.

I find it incredible how many people out there are in denial about their finances. We've created a society that thinks debt is normal. Can you imagine if our great grandparents came back to life to see what we've done with ourselves? They'd see the houses we live in and the cars we drive and they'd be so proud! Until, of course, we told them that none of it was actually ours and that we'd be working the rest of our lives to pay for it. And that we'd likely die, not with money in the bank, but money that's owed to the bank. They'd probably die all over again after hearing this. Not to say that they were any better of people. I'm sure they'd take the same exact type of debt if they were living today. We're all the same, pretty much.

Debt and spending can be an addiction that needs to be dealt with. I think I read somewhere that when a spending addict spends, they get a shot of some sort of chemical in their brain. Here, I just did a Google search for "spending addiction serotonin" and this article came up:

Mind you, not all shoppers do their shopping at the mall. It often takes place online, at Home Depot, auto parts stores, Ebay, wherever. It's the urge to buy a product to deal with something in a person's brain that's the problem. Oftentimes, a person needs to seek therapy to get over this type of addiction. They can't do it themselves. Without help, they'll spend and spend and spend. And then, when they hit bottom, they'll complain that it was society's fault. I've seen it a number of times. It's always someone else's fault. They either don't make enough money to live or someone has taken the money they have made. Personally, I think our entire nation has a bit of a spending addiction. Just look around at some of the newer neighborhoods we've got across the country. Since when has it honestly taken someone 30 years to pay back the loan on their house? Think about that. For 30 years, people pay off their house. If it actually does take this long and if people actually have trouble making the payments, perhaps they borrowed too much. It shouldn't take 30 years to pay off anything. Cities have been born and have fallen in less time. Boy, people do like to live close to the edge, don't they?

This section was written by Tony E. Newman, a 26 year old financial analyst. He told the story of how he was in debt $23,000 by the time he was in his mid-twenties and about how he had little motivation to change that. Part of the reason he didn't see the problem was that he had a spending addiction, like the ones I described above. In his case though, his spending addiction revolved around gambling, so it was especially lethal. Every time he tried to pay down his debt, he fell back into his addiction and made it worse. It wasn't until he joined a church group called Celebrate Recovery that he began to heal. He eventually began working through the Baby Steps and developed a budget, which helped a lot. He even moved back in with his parents to save money to pay down his debt. It's such a shame that someone had to go through all of this, simply because they either haven't been taught how to deal with their finances, were allowed to take out loans, and/or had to deal with some sort of mental disorder like the one described in Tony's story. A shame indeed.

Well, that's about it for today. If you've ever dealt with a spending addiction, I'd appreciate you sharing your story down below. I'd also like to learn about where you are today. Have you gotten over it? Are you on the straight and narrow? What's going on in your life?

This post is part of a series: The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey
The Rich Get Richer & the Poor Get Poorer was posted on 06-04-2021 by Phoenix1 in the Finance Forum forum.

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