Your Take on When you Feel Rich or Poor:

Thursday, September 16, 2010 - 03:33 PM

Being poor means constantly having to make choices about what is most essential to you because you can't have everything you want. Being rich means not having to make those choices.

—Emily Williams on Facebook.

The best definition I read of what it means to be rich was on classmatters.org. It said that when you're rich, everything works. Meaning you don't have to worry about whether your car runs, if the lights are going to be on or what will happen if you break a tooth or if the computer crashes. When you've rich you don't have to worry about the details of existing. Being poor means that even in the best of times, you're constantly struggling to keep those very things together.

—Stacey Hill from Natick Mass (via Web)

What makes me feel almost poor is the price of quality food. The health and environmental benefits of organic food and locally produced food are so well-documented that my family won't consider switching to cheaper, more mass produced food. But it is our biggest expense, making our budget feel stretched for the first time in years. It's also depressing to realize that people with less income than us are even more compelled to rely on unsustainably manufactured food.

—David from Manhattan (via Web)

Student loans totaling more than twice my annual income make me feel poor.

—Brooklyn, NY (via text)

Money is a human-created ILLUSION that the "2%'ers" use to gate keep and control the planetary resources that all of us technically should have free access to: Food, shelter, etc. I am abundantly wealthy with LOVE, represented by the "currency" of friends, family, health, knowledge and Mother nature. All very, very REAL and priceless.

—Vince Wright from Virginia (via Web)

I think that if you have to ask - or rather have the liberty to ask - you really don't have a problem. This is really a first world problem.

—Pontiac, MI (via text)

I feel rich by knowing that rich or poor is a state of mind.

—Allan, Woonsocket, RI (via text)

Being poor means constantly having to make choices about what is most essential to you because you can't have everything you want (or, in many cases, even everything you need). Being rich means not having to make those choices, on one hand, which can lead people to get tied up in knots over inessential details, but on the other hand the safety net of money (and things money buys like health insurance and lack of debt) lends a sense of freedom and opportunity to explore and take risks.

—Emily Williams (via Facebook)

Everyone says that being rich does not mean one cannot get a fatal disease or be in an accident, etc. True. But having wealth makes even those events far easier to bear. My mother is stuck in a 4-person room in a less than wonderful nursing home due to physical infirmities. She was always poor though she always worked since she was 16 years old. I have a little more but cannot afford to support her as well as myself. So, she's stuck in a tiny corner and has been there for 8 years. If she (or I) was wealthy, her physical ailments still might be as bad, but her living circumstances would be vastly improved.

—Lee Majercik (via Facebook)

What the neighbors have, what friends have, especially those in same age group.

—Miguel, Hialeah, FL (via text)

It's definitely more than income. It depends on expenses and saved wealth.

—Jersey City, NJ (via text)

Poverty and richness are relative standards of well being so long as basic needs are already met. Additionally, richness can extend beyond just income towards what you create and give back and/or what influence you may have over others or they have over you. In a strict technical sense being rich would be an economic condition in which your assets generate an excess of income over your liabilities.

—MA (via text)

I think there is an assumptive subtext of hope and achievement that someone who sees themselves as rich has, while someone who is poor, does not. What I mean is that what makes someone feel rich, is their sense of hope and optimism for how ...well the future will be, while what makes someone feel poor is someone who has no sense of control or optimism for the future. That feeling of control that rich people have though is often vanquished when they realize that control is a myth and our fortunes can change in a blink of an eye (car crash, rare disease, etc). This is what I think Christ meant when he called us to be poor in spirit; He called us all to be humble. This is why it's easier for poor people to enter Heaven and inherit the Kingdom.

—Kevin Krease (via Facebook)

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Comments [6]

Gabriel L. from Hackensack, NJ

Dear John Hockenberry,

I would like to ask you to post on today's program site the names of the specialists you invited to comment on middle class, please....
Thanks,
Gabriel

Sep. 27 2010 08:22 AM
JGK from Upstate NY

When the economy was right in the 1980s and 90s, I felt poor, as a civil servant, compared to friends and classmates who were in the private sector earning 5x my salary. Now I am still employed (securely) and my friends are hurting. BTW, I do work--regardless of what many think of govt. employees.

Sep. 16 2010 10:10 PM
Eugenia Renskoff from Brooklyn

Hello, It's funny, but when I started getting phone calls from creditors for the first time in my life after I got mortgage fraud, one thing that would make me feel rich was eating a tablespoor (or two) of sour cream. Now I feel poor because I am still homeless after my foreclosure in GA almost 5 years ago. Having my own home again, my very own home and good health insurance would make me feel rich. I have 2 infected teeth that i can't do anything about because I don't have money for the root canals. I want to save my teeth and i can't. Eugenia Renskoff

Sep. 16 2010 05:29 PM
David from Manhattan

What makes me feel almost poor is the price of quality food. The health and environmental benefits of organic food and locally produced food are so well-documented that my family won't consider switching to cheaper, more mass produced food. But it is our biggest expense, making our budget feel stretched for the first time in years. It's also depressing to realize that people with less income than us are even more compelled to rely on unsustainably manufactured food.

Sep. 16 2010 11:29 AM
Vince Wright from Virginia

Money is a human-created ILLUSION that the "2%'ers" use to gate keep and control the planetary resources that all of us technically should have free access to: Food, shelter, etc. I am abundantly wealthy with LOVE, represented by the "currency" of friends, family, health, knowledge and Mother nature. All very, very REAL and priceless.

Sep. 16 2010 11:26 AM
Stacey Hill from Natick Mass

The best definition I read of what it means to be rich was on classmatters.org. It said that when you're rich, everything works. Meaning you don't have to worry about whether your car runs, if the lights are going to be on or what will happen if you break a tooth or if the computer crashes. When you've rich you don't have to worry about the details of existing. Being poor means that even in the best of times, you're constantly struggling to keep those very things together.

Sep. 16 2010 10:46 AM

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