Thursday, May 24, 2007

Scraping by on $250k

Oh, how I love the financial press. On the MSN homepage this morning in the money section, one of the headlines read “$250,000 a year and still strapped”. Click in the link, and it brings to this article: “The rich don’t save either”. Another article on how Americans to don’t save as much as they used to or as much as they should, focus being on how this extends to the rich. The biggest complaint? They need to pay everyday bills too. Give me a break.

I wish the article went into some detail on what some of those everyday bills were. But let me guess. They drive more expensive cars than they probably should. They subscribe to all the premium cable services. They pay a crap-load of banking service charges. They carry balances on their credit cards. They use their home equity loans to finance things other than their homes. They take premium vacations. They shop at upscale grocery and clothing stores. They outsource more than they should. They want to give their kids more than they had. Anyway, I can go on and on about this. I know people like this. In fact, I’m related to a few of them.

It is amazing what people consider to be “everyday bills” and don’t take accountability for making poor financial choices that is affecting their current and future standard of living. One relative of mine, who shall remain nameless, is constantly telling two types of stories: one on how they shop and the things they buy (which really isn’t all the extravagant, but just constant), and the other about being constant refinancing, being audited, owing back taxes, paying high interest rates, not being able to get ahead. I used to participate in the conversation, but now I just ignore it. These people are immature, don’t see the bigger picture, and have a sense of entitlement which is more like an anchor than anything else. It used to make me mad, but realizing that I can’t do anything about, I just focus on my own and try to make the best choices possible. People like this think that more money will solve their problems, but if they can’t make it work on $250k a year, they won’t be able to do it at $300k or $400k. More money isn’t the issue.

Anyway, back to the article. I’m not sure what the intent is from the writer’s perspective. To make lower class people feel better about their problems? To inspire wealthy people to save more? To grab more clicks and drive advertising revenue because the headline is somewhat preposterous? Given the lack of detail, I’m going to go for the latter.

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