Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Experiencing Wealth

How does one define wealth?
December 17th, 2012, the day that I became worth something.
Like I said a few weeks ago, I was expecting in December or January to go from a negative net worth to positive. Well, lunch time last Monday it happened! Instead of a black $6,047 or $16,047, the top of my Mint.com iPhone app Accounts page turned to green. Barely, but it's positive!

Next it get's unfair. I will probably blast through the first comma by January. In a few months I will probably have thousands of dollars saved. People around the world are starving and being persecuted and I'm safe and making money. 

Life is so unfair! I think of our high altitude porter sidar in Pakistan. He had one of, if not the, nicest house in Hushe. He didn't own furniture. Just a collection of rugs and blankets, one lightbulb, a squat toilet in a concrete walled bathroom, and cooking over a fire. Yet he lived across the walkway from the school his daughter attended, and did have electricity, a cell phone, and a window. Watch this video, from 7:11 to 7:20 you can see the house I am talking about.

I would consider him to be wealthy. By any United States standard, that is abject poverty. He doesn't own a bed, a television, a dvd player, a couch, a table, a van, a really nice bicycle, or most of the stuff that I possess. I feel my lifestyle is spartan or austere by US standards, but in the context of my friends in Pakistan or Indonesia, I have more wealth than I can use.

I mentioned recently how wealthy I am, and my income for the month December is off the charts! It’s more than half of what people making 250k per year get every month. I feel that money and income come from wealth not wealth from the other two. I’ll explain. Wealthy is an attitude and abundance. Rich people think differently. Similar to how poor people think differently. Wealth is an attitude of trepidation, patience, surplus, and comfort, not necessarily in that order. In other words, life is pretty good, but not knowing what the future holds let’s just take our time before taking the next step, whatever that step may be. 

Rich on the other hand in my mind refers almost exclusively to money. Having seen poverty in Asia I notice wealth so much more. In other words, wealth in Asia might be going to school, or having electricity. For me having carpeting is a huge sign of wealth. Having a few thousand dollars saved is wealth. Alternatively, the American idea of wealth is driving around a $40,000 vehicle, never mind the $35,000 loan on it.

Poverty will always be with us. I have heard kids are more likely to grow up in poverty in the US now than 20 years ago. This link has graphs of poverty in the US over time. Wealth is having enough to get from one harvest to the next with enough to spare to buy a metal roof. At least in Uganda or Kenya that counts as wealth. 

Christmas is a time of year to be be thankful for the gifts we have been given. I have so much! I am so blessed! Perhaps this is all just an attempt to get over my "wealth guilt". On the other hand, I went through 2010 in debt and unemployed. I suppose I should enjoy experiencing wealth more or celebrate it. I mean I did work awfully hard to get to my $59. However, now that I'm there all I feel is sympathy for people that don't have $59. You know what, I imagine that might feel like this the rest of my life. It's good, hopefully it keeps me humble and aware of the realities of this world.

1 comment:

  1. People with any class at all do not talk about how much money they make. So, I guess you have no class.

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