Poor Is A Choice – 25 Ways To Choose A Rich Life

Poor Is A Choice – 25 Ways To Choose A Rich Life

I’ve written previously about The Top 10 Symptoms of Poor Man’s Disease and about how I’ve been unemployed, lived check-to-check and once lived in such a rough neighborhood I counted prostitutes on my way home from work each night…but I never chose to be poor and I do believe that poor is a choice.

I never went hungry growing up or did without anything I needed (and by my high school years had just about everything I wanted) but there was a time when I was very young when my folks would search through the couch cushions at the end of the month to scrape together enough money to have a treat at McDonalds.  As an adult I’ve been unemployed, lived check-to-check and I once lived in such a bad neighborhood that I made a game of counting how many prostitutes I passed on my way home from work.

I now live in a small town and one of the benefits of living in a small town is that you get to know many different types of people.  Folks with varied economic and educational backgrounds…folks with  different definitions of success who define ‘the good life’ in ways many of us couldn’t even imagine.  I know lots of folks who don’t have a lot of financial resources but I don’t know a whole lot of ‘poor’ people…and most of the folks I know who are ‘poor’ live a life to be envied by most folks…and I’m not talking about people like Hillary Clinton talking about being broke when she and President Clinton left the White House.

Even those that are members of the lucky sperm club and grow up with all the benefits that family wealth provides have been known to choose poverty… then there are guys like Donald Trump who’s failed and gone bankrupt multiple times, but never let it keep him down.

‘Poor’ is a combination of:

  • Expenses equaling or exceeding income
  • Not making changes to bring income up and/or expenses down
  • Having a poor attitude about it because you ‘deserve more’ or ‘aren’t getting your fair share’

Being poor really is a choice, or more appropriately a series of choices made and choices not made.  If you accept my assertion that poor is a choice, why not choose rich.  Below are a number of choices to make…or avoid to choose rich.  I’ve written this guide as advice for the young…who have opportunities that those of us a little more seasoned might not have…but even if you’ve made some poor choices in the past, it’s never too late to choose rich!

Poor is a choice so:

  1. Choose an education:  I don’t care whether it’s an advanced degree, a bachelor’s degree, a certificate from a trade school, or a journeyman trade…just make sure that you get an education or skills that are marketable.  The most prestigious degree in the world isn’t worth getting if you can’t earn a living.
  2. Choose to start in the Military:  What’s better than getting job training, work experience and college money…how about earning an income and serving your country while you do so.  Oh, and it’s the best resume material in the world… what other career entrusts those under 25 with millions of dollars worth of equipment and human lives…  There are even part time options called the Reserves and the National Guard.  Did you know that less than a quarter of the young people today qualify for military service because of medical conditions or the choices they’ve made (convictions, drug use, obesity, mental health medications, etc.).
  3. Choose to take an entry level job:  The current movement to raise the minimum wage is endangering entry level jobs.  No job is beneath you that’s legal and moral.  Take that first job that’s unsavory to prove yourself so that you can eventually have the job you want.
  4. Choose to volunteer:  Volunteer for more responsibility, accept the unpleasant tasks and prove yourself so that you can move up in the organization or on to the better job or into a career.  Volunteer in your community to help others, build your reputation and expand your personal network.
  5. Choose to work:  Work even if you don’t have to because that’s how you’ll create more opportunities.  I’ve known folks who work until they have enough money to last themselves a few days, weeks or months and then fail to show up or quit to knock around for a while.  Don’t lose the gig you have until you already have the one you want and never burn bridges that you might need again.
  6. Choose to treat your employer’s business as if it’s yours:  The best employees approach every job as if they’re the business owner.  They give 100%, don’t cut corners and look for ways to improve profitability.  If you take ownership of your job you will either be rewarded with more opportunities, benefits and pay or will learn that you want to work for another employer.
  7. Choose to be patient:  Employers look for and reward loyal employees that perform well over time.  Doing a good job is a marathon, not a sprint so don’t expect rewards for working hard for hours or days…think in terms of weeks, months or years depending on your chosen career.
  8. Choose to improve your skills:  The smartest guy I ever worked with didn’t rely on his intelligence to get ahead…he spent every spare moment developing skills to become more attractive to potential employers.  While the rest of our deployed group went out to dinner or a night on the town he’d stay in and study and practice for IT certifications and work hard learning new software development skills.
  9. Choose to network:  You may be the best widget servicer in the world but if you don’t develop a reputation within a group of people who are involved with widgets then you’ll be hard pressed to get that first job.
  10. Choose multigenerational wealth creation:  Traditionally, new immigrants to the U.S. expected to work hard for low wages their entire lives in order to improve the opportunities for their children.  With all the opportunities available these days, I don’t think that this is necessary any more, but you have to admire the stamina and determination of these immigrants to refuse to think ‘poor.’
  11. Choose a second job:  Maybe you need extra experience to achieve your dream job…maybe you just need extra money to make up for some temporary setback or poor financial decisions.  Don’t be too proud to take a second job.  I’ve had second and often third jobs most of my adult life…often that third job is something that’s mostly fun or gives me a discount for things I enjoy doing.  Consider taking a second job that gives back to your community as well as developing your skills…military Reservist, National Guardsman, or reserve law enforcement are such options.
  12. Choose frugality:  Spend less money than you make and you’ll be less likely to choose to be ‘poor.’  Especially beware those monthly recurring charges that add up quickly.
  13. Choose to stay out of debt:  There are good reasons to take on debt but the only two I can think of are to purchase a business (or equipment) that will bring in much more income each month that you pay our in payments and to buy a house…but a modest house for your income in a good neighborhood.
  14. Choose to stay away from drugs:  Drug use doesn’t just slow down your reflexes, it slows down your opportunities.  There are a number of jobs, opportunities and promotions that will be denied to you if you choose drugs.
  15. Choose to stay away from crime:  I don’t just mean ‘don’t do crime’ I also mean that you should stay away from those who do.  Ask any law enforcement officer and they’ll tell you that there is such a thing as guilt by association.  Background checks don’t care if you were ever convicted.
  16. Choose to look employable:  If you’re going to be a tattoo artist than it’s OK to have tattoos all over your neck and forearms but if you want to go into the Army or become a nurse than such tattoos will make it more difficult to find employment.  The same goes with tattoos, purple hair, mohawks and all similar types of expression.  Look like what you want to be…dress for the job you want as well.
  17. Choose to act the part:  Don’t just look like what you want to be…act like it as well.  Those who get the opportunity most likely looked and acted like they already had it.
  18. Choose to take care of yourself:  You have to be and look physically fit enough to do the job and healthy enough that they expect you to be able to work.
  19. Choose good hygiene:  I know a woman who is competent, experienced, dependable, loyal and attractive…but she’s been unexpectedly fired twice recently…she lives in a house with several dogs and she’s let them make her house smell like a urinal which means that any clothes that she puts on that aren’t straight out of the dryer…smell like a urinal.  Keep yourself and your environment clean so that nothing distracts from you competence.
  20. Choose how you define ‘rich:’  I know a guy who lives check-to-check but he wants to fix cars and work from his farm so he does.  He’s had good paying jobs but he always comes back to the farm because that’s what he wants and I’ve never once heard him complain about being ‘poor.’
  21. Choose continuous self development:  From time to time I’ve found myself resting on my laurels…I’m never happy again until I start working on myself again…mentally, physically, career skills, personal networks…whatever…and once I start growing again…I’m always happier and seem to make more money.
  22. Choose to start a business:  You must take risks to seek rewards.
  23. Choose to pick yourself up after your failures and begin again:  Failure is the opportunity to begin again more intelligently.  Learn from your mistakes, don’t let them cripple you emotionally, and have the strength try again
  24. Choose not to quit:  Don’t like what you’re doing, keep doing it anyway until you find the next thing.  Finish the semester, stay at the job until you find the next one and for heavens sake don’t give up on your marriage or kids.
  25. Choose to ignore the poverty industry:  There are a whole lot of people out there making a living off of keeping other people poor.  Don’t buy into their philosophies of division, grow a chip on your shoulder or fall into the trap of ‘managing’ your income so you don’t loose your disability payments, EBT card, or now healthcare.  By all means use the social safety net if you don’t have any other alternatives until you can transition to self sufficiency but beware because they are designed to trap you into dependence by penalizing you as you begin earning your own way.  In other words, choose to earn your way, not fight for your fair share.  Fighting for your fair share is just another way of choosing poverty.

What’s this have to do with preparedness?  A lot actually, by choosing to live rich you’ll be happier, deal with setbacks more effectively, be more self sufficient and perhaps have more money for preps.  Survival is an attitude…so is choosing to live richly.

Bonus Choice:  Choose to vote for politicians that will leave you and your pocketbook alone:  Compliance takes up so much of any business owner’s time and the penalties for non-compliance can be crippling…don’t let these obstacles keep you from trying but do your best to vote out the bastards that punish entrepreneurs and those who create our GNP.

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2 Responses to “Poor Is A Choice – 25 Ways To Choose A Rich Life”

  1. Bev says:

    Wow! I truly loved this for putting it out there so simply. It may not be easy, but simple to follow! There really aren’t any excuses. I have a friend who became a quadraplegic at the age of 16 and became an attorney! I think of him when I get “down”!

    • admin says:


      Thanks for your comment. Of all the topics I’ve written about over the years this is probably the one article I hope my kids have internalized.

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