Why Do The Rich Get Richer? Here’s One Answer…

Many poor and middle income people complain about the rich getting richer, but never stop to ask themselves why this is so. Granted, many wealthy individuals have access to resources–capital, expertise, social networks, and education–that some people don’t.

But a huge contributing factor that enables the rich–more specifically business owners and their shareholders–to become wealthy is the fact that millions of the poor and middle class buy things they don’t need.

These things are manufactured and marketed by business owners and sold in retail stores. The buyers give up their hard-earned cash for a moment’s pleasure, and the business owners reap the rewards.

I’m not advocating the life of a joyless miser, but if you’re trying to become financially independent, a key part of the Old Money life, there are many things you can live without that won’t impact your quality of life in the least.

You’ve seen them advertised, and may have already bought them. You may even at this moment remember some of the useless things you’ve purchased and a day, week or month later wondered, “What was I thinking?”

I don’t know what you were thinking, but, as a public service, I’ve included a few below in hopes that it doesn’t happen again.

Things We Can All Live Without:

The Iced Tea Maker.

The Bread Maker.

The kitchen apron with something clever written on it.

The Food processor (In Old Money kitchens, this is called a knife.)

“Collectibles” of any kind, or anything with the word “commemorative” in its description.

“Must-have” fashion accessories.

The “new look” in fashion that is “trending” this winter/spring/summer/fall.

Any product that promises to make you look younger.

Any product that promises to organize your life.

Any product that promises to be “the last __________ you’ll ever need!”

99% of exercise equipment.

99% of home electronics. (I can’t tell you how many wall-sized flat screen televisions I’ve seen in the living rooms of people living paycheck to paycheck.)

Video games.

Customized automobile tire rims. Customized automobile anything.

“Collector’s Edition” DVDs, CDs, and anything you pay to keep in “the cloud”, wherever that is.

Glasses, dishes, cookware and silverware that are not used on a regular basis.

Novelty items such as: the Pet Rock, the Singing Big-Mouth Bass, the Chattering Teeth, the Monkey That Plays the Cymbals, the Hula Girl Who Dances on Your Car’s Dashboard, etc.

(The only novelty item that I can endorse is the Edgar Allen Poe Action Figure, which makes me laugh just thinking about it. But that’s just me.)

Any product advertised on television after midnight.

Any product that promises to keep your drinks cold or your love life hot.

And finally, anything you see in an airline magazine.

We buy things we don’t need because we have an emotional void in our lives. That void can be filled by purposeful work, healthy family relationships and friendships and charity.

But don’t worry, if you don’t buy things you don’t need, there will still be rich people out there. The only difference? You just might become one of them.


One thought on “Why Do The Rich Get Richer? Here’s One Answer…

  1. The television is a huge sticking point for me. When we first got married, we did not have a tv. We couldn’t afford one. I would walk daily from our home to the library to read and use the internet for one hour. When people found out we didn’t own a tv, EVERYONE WAS HORRIFIED. We were told we “needed” a tv. Not so; nonetheless, a tv was gifted to us. So on my daily walks to the library I began checking out dvds, because we didn’t have cable or an antenna for the tv.

    Fast forward about 3 years and we make a momentous move across the country away from all family and friends, and yet another, newer, flat screen tv someone else had given us. That tv broke a year later. It just stopped working.

    We did not buy another tv for ten years. Sure, we DID have a laptop that we would watch stuff on, but it was mostly for our two children for that level of entertainment and work for us. We bought a projector and would set the thing up by plugging it in to the laptop, which took time and effort, and significantly limited our use of it. When we were done we would put the items away so they were out of sight.

    I’ll never forget the day another mom came to visit and remarked on how quiet our house was – and then it hit her. “Oh wow. You don’t have a tv!” I waited for the next “YOU NEED A TV” but instead she continued:

    “We should get rid of our tv.”

    I replied that we did love not having one, but it was actually not something we really thought about. That every family does what works best for them.

    We just bought a new tv six months ago after being without one for ten years. While I admit it’s nice to watch a baseball game, or CBS Sunday Morning, or allow my kids an hour or two on the gaming console without a whole mess of projector cords, I still prefer a good book. The days of being able to walk to the library are long gone as there isn’t one in walking distance, but there is a beautiful meandering wood with a stream nearby and I do that instead after my morning coffee and reading selection. In fact, it’s nearly 6am here so it’s about that time. Thanks, Byron. Enjoying your archives.

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