Are You a High-Earning Poor Person?
I recently read an article with a title that caught my eye, America is Full of High-Earning Poor People by Allison Strager. It’s a great title, and the article isn’t too long. In fact I really wish she would have gone more in depth and gotten into the lives of people who they describe as high-earning poor people.
So are you a high-earning poor person? The question begs for a thoughtful answer. And exactly what is a high-earning poor person? Then do you even fit into this category? It’s time to be honest with yourself. According to the article, a high-earning poor person makes a good wage (the U.S. median household income is $55,000) but lives paycheck to paycheck, and they have very little saved in retirement.
So why are there so many high-earning poor people? Some people honestly have legitimate reasons. They have medical issues. Or maybe a spouse has left them. Or maybe both. But I cringe to think that more often than not, high-earning poor people have actually made themselves poor. Many could have made a different life for themselves, but have chosen not to. They may not put it in those terms, but if they are truly honest with themselves, they’ll admit that that is exactly what has happened. They wanted things and stuff, and they wanted it NOW. Inconsequential things. Stuff that doesn’t matter. They plain spend more than they make. As an aside, it hurts my heart to think about all of the different people who have been caught up in the payday loan wheel who can’t (or think they can’t) go one month without cashing their soon-to-be their check, early.
How can we rid ourselves of this desire for inconsequential things and stuff? Well in my latest literary endeavor, Calm My Anxious Heart by Linda Dillow, it addresses this very issue. Based on the title alone, you might think the book is all about anxiety, but it’s more than that. The book is about being content in every circumstance. I am going somewhere with this. As humans we tend to be jealous and envious creatures. We want what we don’t have, and we will go in massive amounts of debt to get it. In chapter 6, Never Enough, Linda states that, “Greed builds a barrier that keeps us from becoming content with what God has given.”
Envy is a barrier to happiness. Greed encroaches our heart stirring up desires for more. If we have a cell phone, we want the most current cell phone. If we have a house, we want a bigger house. If we have a car, we want a nicer car.
To get out of this mess we need contentment. Contentment for the gifts that God has given us. And if we don’t look at our life as a series of gifts, we might need a perspective change. If we become content with what we have, we won’t want to get caught in a vortex of debt. Once the demon of discontentment clutches our heart, it is difficult to deflect, so terminate it before it takes over you. Linda also says that “When we’re in debt, we become money’s servant.” Ugh. I don’t want to serve money. I want to serve God with money.
So a few questions for you:
- Are you living paycheck to paycheck?
- Do you make a decent wage?
- Do you always have to have the latest gadget, toy, etc…?
- Do you have debt?
- Do you serve money?
- Are you ready to stop the vicious vortex of debt and live in freedom?
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