Financial Samurai wrote a post called There Is No Monopoly On Being Rich.

I wrote a long comment, he responded, and then I responded to that. By now, there’s probably a response to my response. But I’ve said what I need to say and will just get extra pissy if I go back for thirds.

That said, there are plenty of you who aren’t his key demographic. So I’d be interested to get your impressions of all this.

Maybe I am too negative. Maybe I’m reading too much into his overall message. Or maybe I’m your awesome champion of truth and pissiness. Or not.

Anyway, I’d encourage some of you in non-traditional situations to chime in with your two cents over at his blog.

Please note I DO NOT WANT A FLAME WAR. If you do meander over that way, please be polite.

That said, diverse points of view are always good — even if you’re stubborn like me and don’t like to hear them. (Because I don’t need other perspectives, since I’m always right. Duh!)

I’ve copied my comments and his response. In the interests of length, I’ve deleted some unnecessary parts of my comments, like our background.


My comment:

I think you need to be very, very careful about such generalizations.


The only reason we got any further than just “out of debt” is that I somehow stumbled on a one-of-a-kind job that combines a boss who understands health problems and the ability to telecommute. I’m telling you, these jobs just don’t exist. There is statistically no way I should be able to work to earn a livable wage right now. I’m the absolute exception to the rule.


And, yes, the vast majority of people can work full-time. So they probably have fewer excuses. But when I started my blog (because I got tired of everyone preaching about how you “should” be able to do things and their writing about struggling on two incomes) I found a lot of readers who were stuck in untenable situations — often thanks to health problems.

So there are more of us than you might think. And it’s pretty insulting and aggravating when people blithely state, essentially, that if we’re not financially comfortable it’s our own fault or our own lack of commitment. The readers with the special conditions are some of the MOST committed to finding ways to become financially stable. That doesn’t mean it happens. And they’re sure as hell not going to get rich.

In summation — and I know this is long so I apologize — there IS a kind of monopoly on being rich. Things have to go right. You have to not have health conditions that impair your ability to work. […] You have had the means and good education to get a good higher education — usually at a prestigious school. You have the temperament for work in a field with high income.

I’m not saying everything was handed to you. You had to know where to put that money, have the discipline not to spend it. But a lot of things that you take for granted… Well, you just don’t realize how much they contribute to your current situation.


His response:

What I’ve learned is that you can’t please everybody all the time, so I don’t bother. I have set backs and disabilities too,
but I’ve decided to always look on the bright side.

Why does something optimistic on my blog insult and aggravate you? If this short and sweet post makes you angry, then I fear your life is going to be even more difficult than normal.

We are always the exception. Nobody is special, or we are all special. What would you like me to do about your situation? I understand not everybody can start off on equal footing. There are always others who have it even worse, and I’m sure much worse than you. What do you say to them?


My response:

I think you misunderstood me. First of all, I was trying to be clear that I’m absolutely *not* the worst case. My point was that I am unimaginably lucky.

My point was also that most people with debilitating disabilities won’t be that lucky. They might find some part-time work. Few people drawing disability benefits can work full-time. Many can’t even work at all.

So it can be hard to read posts that seem to say that attitude is everything. The deeper implication there is that, if you’re not rich, it’s because you’re not trying. That’s the part of the message that I was trying to address.

I doubt any of that occurred to you as you wrote the piece. I didn’t think you actively had such a mentality. I certainly hope you don’t. That said, the implication is still present.
For the record, I’m not disputing that optimism is important. It does make a difference. It just isn’t always enough to get you over obstacles. Not all circumstances can be overcome with hard work and optimism. I wish they could.

As for your setbacks and disabilities… I truly hope you are using those words carefully. I know you have been flamed in the past for what people felt was a liberal use of the phrase “bleakest situation.” So when you say that you have disabilities, I really hope you are using that in its actual, literal meaning. Anything else is truly insensitive.

If you see me as an angry ranter, well I can’t change that. But I give a lot of thought to my words, and I’m mine was not meant to be an angry rant. It was not meant to tear down your argument. It was meant to point out that, whether you meant to or not, you were presenting an oversimplified view – and that it led a message you probably (hopefully) didn’t intend.


So, there it is. Thoughts? Snark? A desire, after wading through my comments,  to never, ever read another typed word?

{ 1 trackback }

If you’re so smart, why aren’t you rich? | Surviving and Thriving
October 25, 2012 at 2:22 pm

{ 51 comments… read them below or add one }

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: