Are you Broke or Poor?


Many people will be starting this New Year flat broke.

Some will consider themselves poor. As someone who has been unemployed and broke numerous times, I have come to learn that there is a big difference between having no money and being poor.

There are people with money who are poor. And there are people with little to no money who are rich.

I learned that being broke is a temporary state of one’s financial status. It can change overnight. But being poor is a mindset, a belief that one has nothing and deserves nothing.

We are poor if our personal relationships are in ruins.

We are poor if we choose not to give of ourselves.

We are poor if we believe that we are unworthy in life.

Money has little to do with it.

Rich people who live in fear that others will steal their cash or profess friendship and love strictly in the hope of extracting some of the wealth – are not truly “rich.” Many are paranoid, fearful and reclusive.

Bill, the janitor at my office building, makes $12 an hour but is among the happiest and richest people I know – loved by family and friends, giving of his time, and always saying hello to everyone he meets, even if others do not reciprocate.

Bill the janitor does not see himself as poor.

You may say that all of this is nonsense, and that people who are starving overseas, or even in our own country, are indeed poor. They are lost souls to be pitied.

Our view of them is wrong. While they may live in war, suppressed by evil regimes, born in a land without natural resources or denied access to education – many are strong-willed, defiant, resourceful and kind-hearted – rich in character and fortitude.

They deserve respect every bit as much as they deserve a helping hand.

I have known such “poor” people who have applied for jobs with me over the years. They chose not to beg, preserving their dignity. Upon getting to know them, I realized they were anything but “poor.”

Similarly, I have known people with large bank accounts whose moral character was bankrupt. Such people were void of compassion, empathy and a desire to help others. They were the living embodiment of poverty.

We become how we see ourselves.

If we adopt the poverty mindset, we are giving up on ourselves. We are choosing not to believe in hope. We are making sure that we stay broke.

But if we are rich in our thinking and outlook – our inner strength, humanity, and knowledge that we can, and will, make a difference in this world – will destroy the temporary condition of being broke.

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