Thursday, September 1, 2011

Are you rich?


What is rich?

For most people, it is about 40-50% more than whatever you make.

So, if you work full time in fast food at $8.00 an hour, you make about $16,000.00 a year. Therefore, if your friend lands a job making $25,000.00 a year, he might seem rich by comparison. Oddly though, this trend continues even among very high earners. So some someone make $150,000.00 a year is still likely to look with envy upon his neighbor who earns $215,000.00.

Oddly, the lesser earner often tends to believe that the higher earner should be able to live on the lesser salary and give the rest away. This creates class warfare and fights about tax fairness.

However, United States residents, even relatively poor ones, are wealthy beyond what most others dream of.

Until you spend time in India or Africa, I would argue you may not have seen real poverty. There, millions each day only seek two items: potable water and food. In some areas, they also seek firewood. Not much else, and certainly not cable and a cell phone.

Three billion (3,000,000,000.) people live on less than $2 per day.

About 1.3 billion (1,300,000,000.) get by on less than $1 per day (mostly women).

Microsoft CEO Bill Gates has more wealth than the bottom 45 percent of American households combined.

Wealth vs. poverty is relative. In the United States, the poverty level is $22,050 for a family of four and the average is just over $40,000.

In Haiti, Honduras or Uganda, you could move there and live like a king with either salary.

You may not have a nice car, but even having a car is not actually required. I know, I like them too, but it is true. In many cities, adults never learn to drive and ride a bus or a bicycle. Most countries know nothing of our car culture. I think it should become a normal, mandatory requirement for students to go to a place like Haiti to graduate high school.

In the United States almost everyone has: Food, clean water and shelter and enough clothing to wear for weeks.

We should help others and be grateful for our ability to do so. You will find it is impossible to be both grateful and greedy at the same moment.

Then He said to them, "Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions." Luke 12:15 NIV


David B. Peel, an injury attorney, earns his living locally, where he often speaks to churches, clubs and groups without costs. He may be reached at