Author Topic: Why Poor Peoples Bad Decisions Make Perfect Sense  (Read 13392 times)


Bruised_Pepper

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Re: Why Poor Peoples Bad Decisions Make Perfect Sense
« Reply #1 on: November 26, 2013, 10:53:55 PM »
I actually read through a fair bit, but once I read this, I just closed the window and backed away:

"I smoke. It's expensive. It's also the best option."

No.  Stop.  You're--I.  Hm. 

davisgang90

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Re: Why Poor Peoples Bad Decisions Make Perfect Sense
« Reply #2 on: November 27, 2013, 04:05:48 AM »
If that article was satire, it was awesome.  Otherwise it was a bunch of whiny complainypants bullshit.

kamikazejello

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Re: Why Poor Peoples Bad Decisions Make Perfect Sense
« Reply #3 on: November 27, 2013, 04:54:53 AM »
That is definitely a victim mentality the way I read it. I feel for her but nowhere in the article did I see her attempting to change things (she is going to school for...something, so that could be a positive improvement).  Out of all of that, the thing that stood out to me as pretty absurd:

Quote
And we are not allowed many conveniences. Especially since the Patriot Act passed, it's hard to get a bank account.
According to http://www.bankrate.com/brm/news/bank/20030930a1.asp, the Patriot act requires the following in order to open a bank account:
1) Verify identity (Name, DOB, Address)
2) Bank must maintain the information used to complete step 1
3) Determine if customer is on a terrorist list
4) Require Drivers License or Passport, address, DOB. 

Short of the identity portion, I fail to see how this is restrictive on the poor?  She must have a Driver's license since she's driving everywhere (per her article) so why is she even mentioning bank accounts?

Quote
I make a lot of poor financial decisions. None of them matter, in the long term. I will never not be poor
My nose started bleeding and I heard a ringing noise in my ears when I stopped to try and comprehend this statement.  I feel as though you could write a dissertation-length paper refuting this statement.

I would say that I hope her apparent new-found internet fame with her blog and guest writing will double her income. However, it sounds as though she'll still blow it all on useless crap and complain about being poor regardless.

nikki

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Re: Why Poor Peoples Bad Decisions Make Perfect Sense
« Reply #4 on: November 27, 2013, 05:16:45 AM »
So many of my Facebook friends have been posting and liking this article.

I held back my snarky retorts, but posted a link to Bogleheads investment philosophy on my own wall (who knows how many people made a connection). I feel so very alone in my life sometimes because of my different approach to money and happiness. Thanks, forum-people, for filling a gap somewhat as I read through these threads each day and feel like I'm not the only one.

And I really don't want to respond to this article because it's too emotional for me knowing this is the mental foundation most of my friends and family are coming from.

ace1224

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Re: Why Poor Peoples Bad Decisions Make Perfect Sense
« Reply #5 on: November 27, 2013, 05:39:24 AM »
That is definitely a victim mentality the way I read it. I feel for her but nowhere in the article did I see her attempting to change things (she is going to school for...something, so that could be a positive improvement).  Out of all of that, the thing that stood out to me as pretty absurd:

Quote
And we are not allowed many conveniences. Especially since the Patriot Act passed, it's hard to get a bank account.
According to http://www.bankrate.com/brm/news/bank/20030930a1.asp, the Patriot act requires the following in order to open a bank account:
1) Verify identity (Name, DOB, Address)
2) Bank must maintain the information used to complete step 1
3) Determine if customer is on a terrorist list
4) Require Drivers License or Passport, address, DOB. 

Short of the identity portion, I fail to see how this is restrictive on the poor?  She must have a Driver's license since she's driving everywhere (per her article) so why is she even mentioning bank accounts?

Quote
I make a lot of poor financial decisions. None of them matter, in the long term. I will never not be poor
My nose started bleeding and I heard a ringing noise in my ears when I stopped to try and comprehend this statement.  I feel as though you could write a dissertation-length paper refuting this statement.

I would say that I hope her apparent new-found internet fame with her blog and guest writing will double her income. However, it sounds as though she'll still blow it all on useless crap and complain about being poor regardless.

i have no idea about the patriot act but i know that if you overdraft enough a bank can blacklist you.  a girl i went to highschool with cannot get an account at any of the local branches here in town anymore.  its ridiculous how complainy pants she is about it too.

kamikazejello

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Re: Why Poor Peoples Bad Decisions Make Perfect Sense
« Reply #6 on: November 27, 2013, 05:59:57 AM »
Hey Ace, that's a good point and I could understand that being difficult for people. If she's blaming that on the Patrior Act I think she's misinformed or just looking for a way to make her plight political.

schimt

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Re: Why Poor Peoples Bad Decisions Make Perfect Sense
« Reply #7 on: November 27, 2013, 06:11:57 AM »
Quote
It never works out well and always makes you feel worse for having tried and failed yet again. Better not to try.

How can you write that it is impossible to get out of poor situation and then say its tough so its better to just not try at all.

Also you are living out of a hotel room eating microwave dinners, but you have a cell phone that you can leave as ? And drive an hour each way for a 2nd part time job?!

She needs a healthy dose of MMM

Le0

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Re: Why Poor Peoples Bad Decisions Make Perfect Sense
« Reply #8 on: November 27, 2013, 06:17:24 AM »
Hey Ace, that's a good point and I could understand that being difficult for people. If she's blaming that on the Patrior Act I think she's misinformed or just looking for a way to make her plight political.

I get the sense that she isn't intending to blame anything or anyone. However it does remind me of Highschool in a very complainy pants sort of way. But thats was back when we were uneducated so we had an excuse.

She's just ranting. The article has given people a way of saying "See!!!! that's exactly like me!!!" and therefore they have an excuse. 

ace1224

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Re: Why Poor Peoples Bad Decisions Make Perfect Sense
« Reply #9 on: November 27, 2013, 06:24:59 AM »
Quote
It never works out well and always makes you feel worse for having tried and failed yet again. Better not to try.

How can you write that it is impossible to get out of poor situation and then say its tough so its better to just not try at all.

Also you are living out of a hotel room eating microwave dinners, but you have a cell phone that you can leave as ? And drive an hour each way for a 2nd part time job?!

She needs a healthy dose of MMM

i read a bunch of the comments and in them she says her work pays for her cell and the article is a mash up of her stories and other people's stories.  "just because she didn't present it in a reporter's style doesn't mean it isn't true" and she mentions she's probably chronically depressed, which honestly i think is most of her problem. 
although supposedly she's set something up with her bank, a sort of allowance type thing, so that she doesn't blow all the money she's gotten through crowdfunding, because she's knows it won't last

Khao

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Re: Why Poor Peoples Bad Decisions Make Perfect Sense
« Reply #10 on: November 27, 2013, 06:43:01 AM »
I feel like the whole paragraph about smoking, you could have replaced "smoking" with "sniffing cocaine" and it would have been the same idiotic message. But since cigarettes are still somewhat regarded as "acceptable" in our society, you can make excuses for it that seem legit at first.

odput

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Re: Why Poor Peoples Bad Decisions Make Perfect Sense
« Reply #11 on: November 27, 2013, 07:44:50 AM »
I feel like the whole paragraph about smoking, you could have replaced "smoking" with "sniffing cocaine" and it would have been the same idiotic message.

+1000

Brilliant.

MoneyCat

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Re: Why Poor Peoples Bad Decisions Make Perfect Sense
« Reply #12 on: November 27, 2013, 08:35:38 AM »
     The real power of that article is in its explanation of the mindset of the poor.  They feel hopeless and helpless (maybe it's a learned helplessness) and this is just how poor people think.  As a formerly poor person, I can vouch for the authenticity of these thoughts and feelings.  A lot of times when you are poor, it feels like you are trying to get back on your feet after a bully knocked you down, only to repeatedly get kicked in the face again and knocked back down.  After a while, you just learn not to get up.

hybrid

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Re: Why Poor Peoples Bad Decisions Make Perfect Sense
« Reply #13 on: November 27, 2013, 10:59:21 AM »
     The real power of that article is in its explanation of the mindset of the poor.  They feel hopeless and helpless (maybe it's a learned helplessness) and this is just how poor people think.  As a formerly poor person, I can vouch for the authenticity of these thoughts and feelings.  A lot of times when you are poor, it feels like you are trying to get back on your feet after a bully knocked you down, only to repeatedly get kicked in the face again and knocked back down.  After a while, you just learn not to get up.

I get that, and what people like her need most of all is a light at the end of the tunnel, some hope and direction.  But then I remember the old line about leading a horse to water.  A person has to truly want something bad enough to change who they are.  Nowhere in that article did I get the sense that if she could make the changes (difficult changes I'll grant) for the better she would get to the end of that tunnel.  It takes a very strong, mentally healthy person to get out of her situation.  Too many people just aren't there, too many are just plain broken.  It's very sad.

Jamesqf

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Re: Why Poor Peoples Bad Decisions Make Perfect Sense
« Reply #14 on: November 27, 2013, 11:47:25 AM »
     The real power of that article is in its explanation of the mindset of the poor.

Might be better to say that it explains the mindset of people who stay poor.

I grew up poor, but instead of this mindset, managed to acquire many of the attitudes of rich people that are displayed here: http://www.sfgate.com/news/slideshow/17-things-rich-people-do-74597/photo-4563965.php  Is that why I'm not poor any longer?  Don't know if it's the only reason, but I sure think it helped.
« Last Edit: November 27, 2013, 11:51:06 AM by Jamesqf »

CanuckExpat

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Re: Why Poor Peoples Bad Decisions Make Perfect Sense
« Reply #15 on: November 27, 2013, 03:00:50 PM »
There seems to be a lot of beating up on this article here. I'll skip that, but point out this has been studied in depth before: http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2013/11/your-brain-on-poverty-why-poor-people-seem-to-make-bad-decisions/281780/

I've heard it argued from an evolutionary perspective as well, if there is a good chance you will live a short life, you will make decisions that favour shorter term outcomes. None of this is an "excuse", but more of an explanation.
As they say, it can be very expensive to be poor: http://articles.washingtonpost.com/2009-05-18/news/36823675_1_poverty-line-middle-class-milk

hybrid

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Re: Why Poor Peoples Bad Decisions Make Perfect Sense
« Reply #16 on: November 27, 2013, 07:31:24 PM »
     The real power of that article is in its explanation of the mindset of the poor.

Might be better to say that it explains the mindset of people who stay poor.

I grew up poor, but instead of this mindset, managed to acquire many of the attitudes of rich people that are displayed here: http://www.sfgate.com/news/slideshow/17-things-rich-people-do-74597/photo-4563965.php  Is that why I'm not poor any longer?  Don't know if it's the only reason, but I sure think it helped.

Hmmmm, good clarification there I think.  So how did you acquire those better habits when most around you did not? 

NWstubble

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Re: Why Poor Peoples Bad Decisions Make Perfect Sense
« Reply #17 on: November 27, 2013, 08:58:49 PM »
Already a lengthy discussion here: http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/forum/welcome-to-the-forum/articleblog-post-why-i-make-terrible-decisions-or-poverty-thoughts/

Dang, I searched to make sure I wasn't double posting. Guess I didn't look hard enough.

I feel like the whole paragraph about smoking, you could have replaced "smoking" with "sniffing cocaine" and it would have been the same idiotic message. But since cigarettes are still somewhat regarded as "acceptable" in our society, you can make excuses for it that seem legit at first.

Well played.

Overall, I found the article frustrating. But as others have pointed out it is a glimpse into the mindset of many that are perpetually poor. The depression and helplessness make me feel sad and stir within me the want to help them see that there is another path and a way out.

fodder69

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Re: Why Poor Peoples Bad Decisions Make Perfect Sense
« Reply #18 on: November 29, 2013, 07:40:33 PM »
I will say the article made a lot of good points. And I'd rather see people showing a little empathy rather than anger over the thoughts expressed. As MMM says, you suck. We all do, and a lot of times it's hard to confront the thoughts holding you back and reading it can make it more real. Just like I bet most of you appreciated reading the positive thoughts expressed here! Negativity has it's place when its used to motivate and make you face your own faults.

Capsu78

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Re: Why Poor Peoples Bad Decisions Make Perfect Sense
« Reply #19 on: December 01, 2013, 03:20:02 PM »
Some are saying her backgound does not reflect the grinding poverty she is writing about and now "fundraising" to escape.  How many of the truly poor have you come across that attended boarding school?

http://blogs.houstonpress.com/artattack/2013/11/that_viral_poverty_thoughts_es.php

Le0

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Re: Why Poor Peoples Bad Decisions Make Perfect Sense
« Reply #20 on: December 02, 2013, 06:44:09 AM »
Some are saying her backgound does not reflect the grinding poverty she is writing about and now "fundraising" to escape.  How many of the truly poor have you come across that attended boarding school?

http://blogs.houstonpress.com/artattack/2013/11/that_viral_poverty_thoughts_es.php

I was wondering how she got her article online etc etc.

MoneyCat

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Re: Why Poor Peoples Bad Decisions Make Perfect Sense
« Reply #21 on: December 02, 2013, 07:46:17 AM »
Some are saying her backgound does not reflect the grinding poverty she is writing about and now "fundraising" to escape.  How many of the truly poor have you come across that attended boarding school?

http://blogs.houstonpress.com/artattack/2013/11/that_viral_poverty_thoughts_es.php

Well, I went to a private school and I was poor.  I had a scholarship that covered tuition, books, uniforms, and lunches.  Judging from the quality of the author's writing, she may have done the same.  And just going to a private school does not mean you are going to escape poverty.  That usually comes from having connections for employment that exist when you come from a middle class background.

Albert

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Re: Why Poor Peoples Bad Decisions Make Perfect Sense
« Reply #22 on: December 02, 2013, 11:57:09 AM »
Let's just admit that she is a cheater and move on. Seems pretty clear to me even if some of what she said is still true. It was kind of weird from beginning that a poorly educated person would write so well...

plantingourpennies

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Re: Why Poor Peoples Bad Decisions Make Perfect Sense
« Reply #23 on: December 04, 2013, 10:12:14 AM »
Honestly, she strikes me as a pathological liar with a political bent. Check out what she claims about her schooling..

"By the time I graduated high school, I was fluent in German, French, Spanish, and Italian. I got awards for that too. I had private music lessons from the age of four. I was an award-winning singer, piano, and flute player by seven. I owned twenty-three instruments when I was twelve. I toured Europe as a featured soprano the summer after I graduated high school." (taken from http://blogs.houstonpress.com/artattack/2013/11/that_viral_poverty_thoughts_es.php)

And I'm the queen of France =)

Best,
Mr. PoP

dragoncar

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Re: Why Poor Peoples Bad Decisions Make Perfect Sense
« Reply #24 on: December 04, 2013, 06:49:43 PM »
I stopped as soon as I realized she claims to sleep only 3 hours per night.  6 on the weekends.

davisgang90

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Re: Why Poor Peoples Bad Decisions Make Perfect Sense
« Reply #25 on: December 05, 2013, 03:46:20 AM »
Honestly, she strikes me as a pathological liar with a political bent. Check out what she claims about her schooling..

"By the time I graduated high school, I was fluent in German, French, Spanish, and Italian. I got awards for that too. I had private music lessons from the age of four. I was an award-winning singer, piano, and flute player by seven. I owned twenty-three instruments when I was twelve. I toured Europe as a featured soprano the summer after I graduated high school." (taken from http://blogs.houstonpress.com/artattack/2013/11/that_viral_poverty_thoughts_es.php)

And I'm the queen of France =)

Best,
Mr. PoP
Not only is she a member of the Pathological Liars Club, she is President of that organization...yeah, that's the ticket!

KittyFooFoo

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Re: Why Poor Peoples Bad Decisions Make Perfect Sense
« Reply #26 on: December 05, 2013, 10:01:58 AM »
Has anyone noticed that in a bizarre Muschtachian twist, this lady just raised $60 large as a result of this article?

http://www.gofundme.com/59yrak

ace1224

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Re: Why Poor Peoples Bad Decisions Make Perfect Sense
« Reply #27 on: December 05, 2013, 10:36:21 AM »
weird now she has some you tube video of her taking out her teeth.  i'm over it

dragoncar

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Re: Why Poor Peoples Bad Decisions Make Perfect Sense
« Reply #28 on: December 05, 2013, 12:09:08 PM »
Has anyone noticed that in a bizarre Muschtachian twist, this lady just raised $60 large as a result of this article?

http://www.gofundme.com/59yrak

I don't think fraud is very mustachian.

acroy

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Re: Why Poor Peoples Bad Decisions Make Perfect Sense
« Reply #29 on: December 05, 2013, 12:33:29 PM »
"We know that the very act of being poor guarantees that we will never not be poor."

100% complainypants BS all the way. I feel dirty and disgusted by this, not sorry for her. She's not quite human.

Capsu78

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Re: Why Poor Peoples Bad Decisions Make Perfect Sense
« Reply #30 on: December 07, 2013, 09:57:37 AM »
This blogger says what I am thinking better than I can:

"It's not a bad deal to be poor in America. Government benefits are almost endless, not to mention private charity. Everybody will try to give you money and stuff. American "poor" don't have to work, have big TVs, cars, and air-conditioning, EBT cards, food stamps, and subsidized housing. Good for them.
If feeling poor is appealing, there is a sure-fire way to accomplish that. Be single, have kids, and don't work. Don't get any religious sustenance, and don't learn how to do anything useful. Add a little substance abuse or jail tattoos to that or some body piercings, for maximum effect, and make sure you have no positive social network. In other words, don't build your life in a rational, civilized manner."




MoneyCat

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Re: Why Poor Peoples Bad Decisions Make Perfect Sense
« Reply #31 on: December 07, 2013, 10:04:55 AM »
This blogger says what I am thinking better than I can:

"It's not a bad deal to be poor in America. Government benefits are almost endless, not to mention private charity. Everybody will try to give you money and stuff. American "poor" don't have to work, have big TVs, cars, and air-conditioning, EBT cards, food stamps, and subsidized housing. Good for them.
If feeling poor is appealing, there is a sure-fire way to accomplish that. Be single, have kids, and don't work. Don't get any religious sustenance, and don't learn how to do anything useful. Add a little substance abuse or jail tattoos to that or some body piercings, for maximum effect, and make sure you have no positive social network. In other words, don't build your life in a rational, civilized manner."

     I see these kinds of sentiments all the time and clearly they come from people who have probably always lived easy lives so they have no idea how terrible it is to be poor.  I grew up poor and I was extremely lucky to escape from it.  I have also worked in the stereotypical poor urban schools that everybody is always talking about.  I had to attend a lot of funerals for my students because the "free housing" was in the middle of gangland.  It really was very common for them to get murdered.  I probably went to at least 4 or 5 funerals a year while I worked there. 
     They also had nowhere to buy nutritious food because supermarkets wouldn't move into their neighborhoods because they were dangerous.  They usually ate high-priced, low nutrition garbage that they bought at local bodegas.  Meanwhile, they sold drugs because the choice of employment was either that or work at McDonald's for $7.25/hr.
     But please don't let reality get in the way of your blind hatred of the vulnerable and needy.

C. K.

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Re: Why Poor Peoples Bad Decisions Make Perfect Sense
« Reply #32 on: December 07, 2013, 11:13:45 AM »
Since poverty and prison and poor choices are often discussed together, this thread reminded me of something I heard recently.

A man - Mr. C- who runs a charitable organization which helps reduce the rate of prison recidivism-  told the story of a repeat offender -Mr. W- who committed a crime to be arrested and have a warm residence this winter.

It backfired on him, since his crime wasn't categorized as he wanted and he was sent to the prison he hates and not his "hotel" of choice.

This is Mr. W's yearly routine. He has burned all bridges; even his considerably large family will no longer help him since he'll only be enabled.

Before this, Mr. C was instrumental in helping Mr. W retain employment, which he maintained for a year or so, even donated to Mr. C's organization. Then his old habits kicked in.

Hearing stories like this while attending a fundraising banquet, I suddenly realized that going to prison is not like several hiccups for some people; it can be a comfortable and "safe" routine.

The idea that some people prefer prison to freedom is horrifying. I couldn't wrap my brain around it for a second.

I guess it's like this: In prison, you get three squares and a bunk bed. No rent to pay. In the free world, you've built up nothing and your family doesn't speak to you any more, so prison looks ok (at least for a few months).

As it is with prison or finance or anything else, it's easier for people -anyone- not to change. That's frightening.

When I'm faced with horrible tales like this, I ask myself, what in my life should change. Just because I'm comfortable doesn't mean this is where I should be or what I should be doing.

Jamesqf

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Re: Why Poor Peoples Bad Decisions Make Perfect Sense
« Reply #33 on: December 07, 2013, 11:38:31 AM »
I see these kinds of sentiments all the time and clearly they come from people who have probably always lived easy lives so they have no idea how terrible it is to be poor. 

Sorry, but I think your own prejudices are blinding you to the plain fact that you will see exactly the same sentiments expressed by people who did grow up in poverty, and who eventually escaped it.  We're trying to give people a map of an escape route, dammit!

Except fo the religious & social network parts, I could have written that comment myself, from first-hand experience.

Capsu78

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Re: Why Poor Peoples Bad Decisions Make Perfect Sense
« Reply #34 on: December 07, 2013, 11:51:49 AM »
MoneyCat said:     But please don't let reality get in the way of your blind hatred of the vulnerable and needy.

I am all for helping the helpless.  I am much less supportive of helping the clueless.   If your diagnosis of my "blind hatred" is correct, I would prefer it then that my "hatin'"  be applied only toward the grifters who scam the system and drain resources dedicated to helping the helpless, directly from the truly needy.

PS.  I have been in  townships in South Africa and slums in Beijing so perhaps I have a larger world view of what constitutes poverty than you.


odput

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Re: Why Poor Peoples Bad Decisions Make Perfect Sense
« Reply #35 on: December 08, 2013, 09:06:42 AM »
I am all for helping the helpless.  I am much less supportive of helping the clueless.

I would say the negligent more than the clueless

Capsu78

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Re: Why Poor Peoples Bad Decisions Make Perfect Sense
« Reply #36 on: December 08, 2013, 02:33:45 PM »
Jamesqf said:
"Sorry, but I think your own prejudices are blinding you to the plain fact that you will see exactly the same sentiments expressed by people who did grow up in poverty, and who eventually escaped it.  We're trying to give people a map of an escape route, dammit!"

And on this we can agree!  When you take out the emotional heart tugging that the concept of "poor people" carries, the real issue becomes what are the "motivators" of  upward mobility and what are the "barriers" that prevent upward mobility.  Here are some very recent data points and graphs that discuss it is great detail:

http://nextbigfuture.com/2013/12/selling-out-over-long-term-to-achieve.html

The comments below the article are pretty rough and tumble too.

« Last Edit: December 08, 2013, 02:49:08 PM by Capsu78 »

Jamesqf

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Re: Why Poor Peoples Bad Decisions Make Perfect Sense
« Reply #37 on: December 08, 2013, 02:47:51 PM »
Here are some very recent data points and graphs that discuss it is great detail:

http://nextbigfuture.com/2013/12/selling-out-over-long-term-to-achieve.html

Not a lot of there there.  Graphs, but no visible accompanying text.  Still, I think perhaps the title is telling.  When your world view is so twisted that doing the things necessary to escape poverty is seen as 'selling out', the rot has gone too deep.

I think this is down to the leftist credo, an inverse snobbery that regards poverty as inherently ennobling.

fodder69

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Re: Why Poor Peoples Bad Decisions Make Perfect Sense
« Reply #38 on: December 08, 2013, 08:54:27 PM »
See, I read that article and related to a lot of what she said. There is a difference between being poor and not having money. One of the big differences is having a plan. It's one thing to be eating ramen to save money and another to look in fridge and not see anything to eat. Then looking through the couch for enough money to but ramen and knowing even that is not going to get you through until your next payday.

Then payday arrives and all want to do is eat and then three days later you are wondering again where you are going to get enough money to buy groceries. There is a reason why the phrase 'Vicious Cycle' exists.

Now most of the people here have changed their thinking and realize that it is not that hard to break that cycle. All it really requires is a plan and literally just start thinking ahead past the next paycheck. But a drowning man isn't thinking about the swim to shore or the walk home; the only thought is to get that next breath, nothing else matters.

Whenever I see these stories, I think of the old saying, 'There but for the grace of God go I'. No matter how well you have planned we could all end up in a bad position and the thought process that go along with that deserve empathy and not the derision I am seeing here. It's just another version of negativity that is not productive for you or anyone else.