The Wealth of Wisdom: 10 Insights From the Less Affluent That Elude the Rich

By living in different financial realities, the rich and the poor seem to exist in different worlds. This is even more poignant in times like these when the divide between the wealthy and the poor widens every day. The two people seem sufficiently removed from the life experiences of one another, affecting their approach to life issues. If people from the two classes sit down together and have a conversation, it’d seem like they’re speaking different languages. That would be the wealth of wisdom shared.

But the less affluent person might have some interesting perspectives on life that the rich might lack, gained through toil and lots of failures. In an online discussion, members talk about some of these insights.

1. Poverty Cycle

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Not having money means that a person is essentially locked out of many ways through which they can make money. According to one user, having low income means buying old, second-hand cars, which means poor reliability, high maintenance costs, and unreliable work attendance. Car difficulty discourages longer commutes, further restricting employment opportunities. Limited or unstable employment worsens income and prevents investment in more reliable cars. “The difficulty,” they say, “is finding an exit opportunity to end the positive feedback loop.”

2. Unreliable Transport

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Responding to the post above about cyclical poverty, a member says that unreliable transportation and the cost of gas/maintenance were the single worst part of being poor for him. It’s incredibly demoralizing to have to beg for rides or walk long distances because your car isn’t operable. “I survived years of that alone and have built a comfortable life for myself,” he says. “I now have a safe and reliable car that I can afford to maintain, and I do not take that for granted.”

3. “Disposable Items”

Disposable razors
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One thing a rich person might not understand is how much poor people reuse stuff. A commenter said, “Growing up, my mom would buy one value pack of the cheapest ‘disposable’ razors and make that pack last for years. Also, every Christmas, my mom would buy a value pack of toothbrushes, and each of us would get one. We won’t get another toothbrush till next Christmas.”

4. Paycheck to Paycheck

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Super-rich people might not understand what it means to depend on each paycheck for survival. You can’t do anything for yourself before the paycheck comes in. It can be a scary and risky endeavor. The pressure of waiting for the next paycheck, with no safety net in case anything unexpected happens, can be really sad.

5. Homelessness

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Being homeless may be one of the saddest things about being poor, and the people who haven’t experienced it may never understand. Lack of shelter means no peace of mind and being vulnerable to thieves and rogues. A user said something insightful: “To me, it means that every single person you know has failed you. Parents, siblings, friends. Homelessness taught me I have no one. Maybe, more importantly, it taught me to have others’ backs.

6. Buying Happiness

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“If money doesn’t buy happiness,” a user opined, “then it is surely the most common happiness bottleneck out there. More money gives happiness a lot more traction.” Another user responded to the comment, saying, “The money to be comfortable and secure provides much more satisfaction than the money to buy a second house or jet ski, or whatever else the upper middle class likes.”

7. Cardboard

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On the platform, a user talked about how cardboard can keep a person warm. It’s one of those street knowledge a person can pick up if they don’t have a home. Situations like these force you to innovate and come up with creative ways to improve life a little bit. The commenter said, “Cardboard is an excellent insulator and will keep you warm in the street if you’ve got nothing else. Pad the ground with it before you cover yourself; you’ll lose most of your heat to the concrete otherwise.

8. Fear of Poverty

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When a person gets a little breathing space from extreme poverty, one thing that stays with them for a long is the fear of returning to it. The comments on the platform about this are touching. One person said, “I lived in the streets for five years. Now, I have a decent job and a place to live. I still live way below my means and save any money possible because I don’t ever want to be put in a condition where I go so low again.” Someone else added, “I was nearly homeless and lived off of peanut butter from food banks. I still have emergency food stashed everywhere.”

9. Loss of Confidence

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Something else people who were never poor might not understand is the loss of confidence and self-doubt that always weighs you down. You feel like everyone is looking down on you. Someone echoed this thought in their comment: “Even when I’m a bit better off, people can still see it in me. My teeth are bad; my clothes are replaced far less than necessary. I don’t enjoy expensive pastimes. I can make more money, but deep down, I’ll always be poor.”

10. Unequal Rights

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“We don’t have the same rights as rich people,” someone said. “I mean, yeah, the same laws apply to everyone, but if you’re poor, you can’t afford lawyers, and you wouldn’t be able to skip work to go to court.” Another commenter concurred, adding, “As a wiser person once said, ‘If the penalty for breaking the law is a fine, then it is only a law for the poor.'”

Source: Reddit.

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