Everyone's Broke - just at different levels!

I have this saying: "everyone's broke - just at different levels" it is meant to be provocative as much is it is also meant to suggest that, in most cases, expenses tend to rise in proportion with income and people remain on the edge of broke.


This is confirmed in many news outlets, like @freakonomics and the @seattletimes which shows that even upper middle class "professionals with good salaries are short on retirement savings." [1]


Fact is and as mentioned in Chapter 6 of "Rent Your Way to Freedom"...your house is one of the main causes!

Many people, at all levels of income, live pay check-to-pay check – often because they spend their earnings on experiences and expensive liabilities, first, rather than applying it to building investment portfolios.

“About half of Americans are not able to come up with $2,000 in 30 days, which means that they stand only one emergency or crisis away from really quite dire circumstances.”[2]


People are strapped. Believe me, I know … I’ve had to sell a car, two times in my life, to pay bills.


Even if people are broke, it’s amazing how when they want to buy a house, they somehow pull together (or borrow) the minimum necessary for a down payment, closing costs, and real estate brokerage fees – fast! Moved in, they then realize how expensive the place really is. Strapped to the house poor train, there’s nothing left for a savings/investment plans.


I’d venture to say the guy making $250,000/year is feeling just as broke as the guy making $25,000/year – relatively speaking. In fact, the data shows: “only 25 percent of the people who earn between $100,000 and $150,000 a year could come up with that $2,000 in 30 days.”[3]


Even if you have more options with higher income, the truth is people typically increase expenses as earnings grow – to the point that money is always tight. It’s incredible: people can’t get ahead … but somehow they get strapped to bricks and mortar via a mortgage.


Consumption is killing us financially (and metabolically).


To that end, where the portion of a mortgage going to principal acts as some kind of forced savings, the house (as a commitment device) might be a prudent financial tool.


However, the house must be considered for what it is: an expensive luxury – and a large one at that.

[1] https://www.seattletimes.com/business/professionals-with-good-salaries-are-short-on-retirement-savings/ Originally published September 8, 2018 at 6:00 am Updated September 8, 2018 at 12:04 am


[2] and [3] Dubner, S. J. (November 22, 2017 @ 11:00pm, November 22, 2017 @ 11:00pm November 22, 2017 @ 11:00pm). Is America Ready for a “No-Lose Lottery”? (Update). Retrieved from http://freakonomics.com: http://freakonomics.com/podcast/say-no-no-lose-lottery-rebroadcast/

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