This is only the second ‘Not About A Book’ post I’ve done, so obviously, I think this is an important topic. Honestly this could be offensive to some, but I think it’s a gut punch that needs to be said to a lot of people, including myself. (INCLUDING MYSELF!!!) Here it goes.
A lot has been discussed recently about income/wealth inequality and a lot of blame tends to befall the so-called “one percent” (1%). It’s worth asking, who is the 1%?
I am, and you probably are, too.*
Before I start getting hounded for loans you should know I am not a millionaire, and probably make what you would consider an average income. For continuity’s sake I’ll tell you I make about $40K a year. Because my wife is still in college, I’m currently the sole bread-winner, which puts our household income ~$17,500 below the median household income in the United States (Census, 2017). If you’re scratching your head at this point I understand, I’ll fill you in on a little secret most people have forgotten….
THE UNITED STATES IS NOT THE ONLY COUNTRY IN THE WORLD, AND AMERICANS ARE NOT THE ONLY HUMAN BEINGS ON THE PLANET.
That means my income puts me in the top 0.57% richest people in the world. Just check out www.globalrichlist.com and find out where you stack.
So why do you only compare yourself to the richest people on the planet anyway? Why do you constantly look up, and never down the economic ladder? It’s a fool’s game if you ask me, driven only by greed. It drives me mad whenever I hear someone complain about the problems of the world, but when asked to contribute, dodge with the classic “I don’t have money for that”. To pin the responsibility to resolve world issues solely on those with more cash than you is a cheap dodge, pun intended. You’ve already won the lottery, you were born in the good ol U S of A, baby.
So now what do you do with your new-found riches? My suggestion, do exactly what you’ve suggested the 1% does with theirs, and give it to those less fortunate.
How much should I give? Personally, my goal is to achieve 10% of my income. I’m only about 1/3 the way there so far. I don’t know what you feel comfortable with, but I challenge anyone reading this to this small first step. Pick a charity with a mission close to you, and begin a $10 monthly donation.
It’s usually after a call to action when the excuses start rolling in. Before you start with your excuses, just know, I don’t buy it. Stop drinking Starbucks, stop going out to eat, stop wasting money on frivolous items, eliminate your cable bill, tolerate a few degrees cooler or warmer to lower your electric bill, drive less, ride your bike more, etc. The list goes on.
One quick caveat: Your first obligation to society is to make sure you yourself are not a burden. Pay yourself first via a retirement account, that way you are financially secure in your old age. Then start giving.
I could drone on but I think I’ve made my point. Before I leave I’ll get off my high horse for just a second. Note that I am guilty of a lot of wasteful habits. I’m going to work on them so I can make a better impact on the planet, my community, and my family. I encourage you to do the same.
*This is aimed at the majority of my readers, most if not all, reside in the United States