You Think You Are Poor? Think Again!

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How rich are you? How poor are you? These are questions that go well hand in hand and I am sure that you probably think that you are not as rich as you really are. Because, yes, this is the truth: compared with the rest of the world, you earn more, you spend more, and you live a better life. I hope that this article will be an eye opener for you and prove you that you are not poor. You are actually rich. At least a lot richer than you might think you are!

So how much are you earning per month?

Is it somewhere around $200? I am sure it’s not and still, this is the minimum wage a ton of people here in Romania are earning. The average wage in Romania is around $475. Come here and complain to these people that your $3,000 per month is not enough!

Or even better, go to a poor country in Africa or in Asia. I am sure that even the average wage in Romania seems like a fortune there. Tell those people that you are so poor because you pay 12 mortgages, 15 car loans and 30 student loans. Why did you take those if you didn’t have the money to pay them off?

You can’t afford anything, can you?

Here in Romania, most of the Eastern Europe and I am sure that many other poor countries, people never eat out. Did you see that? NEVER. For most eating out once every a couple of months equals special occasion. Those who eat out 4 times per MONTH are looked at with envy by others. Eat out 4 or 5 times per week? 99% of the people here can’t afford that! Imagine how poor you would feel if you wouldn’t afford to eat out for a whole month! Or maybe two.

And maybe you’re upset with your last vacation that didn’t turn out to be as great as you wanted it to be: you were so poor that you only afforded a cheap hotel and just spent three nights there and the breakfast sucked. My parents have not been in a vacation for over 5 years. That means over 5 years spent in the same house, in the same city, with the same people, working and feeling miserable because they can’t afford a vacation. THIS is poor.

Upset you can’t afford all that expensive organic food?

The price of a loaf of bread in Romania is the equivalent of 50 cents. Still a lot for many people. That nice steak you buy only to throw half of it because nobody wants to eat it? People here buy PORK BONES to make soup out of it and have something to eat. For many people here breakfast equals a slice of bread with margarine (because butter is too expensive), with a pinch of salt for extra taste. And that probably has the nutritional value of eating rubber.

Recently, I was in a supermarket, a bit sad that I can’t buy daily good wine and I had a cheap $3 bottle in my bag. In front of me, an old lady was trying to pay for her bag of rice (we usually pay cash here in Romania) when the cashier told her there’s no need to give him the exact sum. The “discount” for the rice was the equivalent of $0.06. 6 cents. The old lady almost melted and couldn’t stop thanking the guy for his good deed. Because she saved 6 cents. A few more and she could afford to buy half a loaf of bread.

Now please, go and complain to these people that you don’t afford that insanely expensive organic food! Go and tell these people that you are “only” spending $60 per month for your pets’ food. Go tell people who are wearing the pair of pants from their Granndfathers that you’re on a “shopping ban” and you will only purchase 1 item of clothing per month.

Go on and complain that you are poor!

Or maybe go to this website: Global Rich List and see where you stand compared to the rest of the world. My guess? you’re in the top 5% (although most likely you will be in the top 1% in the world). This means that 99% of the world’s population or almost 6 BILLION people are poorer than you. And you still think that you are poor.

I know that there are many factors to consider here, such as cost of living, but overall it’s poor choices and the lack of power to see the big picture that makes you think that you are poor. Loans over loans, the illusion of having no money because you’re sending them to your retirement accounts, spending on stupid stuff like $50 extra per month just to watch your favorite show and so on. All the money that you spend on your well being are money that actually prove you are rich. Even if you manage to put aside $5 per month, you save a lot more than, probably, over 50% of the people in Romania and many, many other countries.

So you really think you’re poor? Think again!

[PS: I might have painted a much darker situation here in Romania than it actually is. Although this is generally a poor country, people are not dieing of hunger or incinerated in the hell flames]

34 COMMENTS

  1. You make good points. Many people here in the US complain about being poor…but they really don’t know what true poverty is. Generally the complainers have the necessities like food and shelter…there is a good safety net here with food stamps, medicaid, welfare, etc. A safety net that many poorer countries do not and cannot provide.

    • I think that in most of the cases, no matter how bad you think you are doing from a financial point of view, there are still tons of people who do a lot worse and would consider it heaven on earth to be in your position. I think that we should all have this in mind and be grateful for what we have (and this, of course, doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t want more and better :D)

    • This article is PURE FANTASY. I bet the author was thinking about Africa, not Romania. In Romania MOST people make about 4-500 dollars a month so a family makes about 1000 dollars, easily. Specialized workers, car mechanics, engineers, doctors etc make A LOT MORE. In Romania 96% of all people own their homes free and clear, that means no mortgages, no payment to the jewish bankers. The MINIMUM LEGAL WAGE is about 400 dollars per month but ALMOST NOBODY would work for that.Besides, about 4 million romanians work in Europe , fact which boosts their incomes greatly. Romanias are NOT poor, and they are not rich either. They are ok.

  2. Great perspective, C! I love it!
    It even goes deeper in many ways. We are wealthy here also because we have reliable water and electricity. Police forces and telecommunications systems that keep criminals from ransacking our homes at night. It goes on and on.
    Sometimes it almost seems like the wealthier people get, the more they whine about how poor they are.

  3. Hey C,
    Nailed it with this one. I’ve worked with the poor on several occasions and I’ve seen the world through their eyes. I don’t consider myself to be poor at all because when you see true poverty it puts into perspective what poor really is. I’ve made poor choices before and I do have debt but to whine about being poor myself would just be nonsense.

  4. That’s so true. Most people in the US never know what the world is like. A lot of people never even had a passport. It’s a bit sad. We all need to go out in the world and see how everyone else live. I feel extremely fortunate to live in the US. I’d love to visit Eastern Europe. I’ll drop you a note when we’re in Romania. πŸ˜‰

  5. Wonderful post. Many of us here in America especially, don’t have a clue what “poor” is. I remember being a young adult, 20 or so, and one of my co-workers was freaking out, saying how broke she was, because she only had $3,000 in the bank. I just laughed. “Oh, how nice it would be to have money in the bank.” I said. We are all so disillusioned here in regards to money, aren’t we?

    • In a way it’s a good thing: if one considers themselves poor when they have money in the bank and can afford some luxury, it means that they’re actually doing pretty well even though they don’t really realize it πŸ™‚ Which is certainly better than really being poor πŸ™‚

  6. Another fellow Romanian here πŸ˜‰

    Bread is actually around 2 dollar, the gas is DOUBLE the price in the US, the wages, as you said are small. Many families don’t go in vacations for DECADES, not even years. We don’t eat out because it’s too expensive (well, few of us who actually make good money could eat our even daily, but it would be stupid) and, in my opinion, the meals you cook at home are WAY better than the crap most restaurants sell.

    Old people here can’t afford medication, we have people DYING in the hospitals, because they cannot pay hundreds/thousands of dollars in bribes (even if they actually contributed to all kinds of taxes/insurances for a lifetime). Many people can’t afford decent dental health or have to do with so little money any American would be shocked about. And again, most prices are BIGGER here than in the US, except for renting/mortgages.

    • Thanks for the comment, Dojo! Indeed many of the things you talk about are true. However, prices in general are not bigger than in the US and even though you can indeed find bread for $2 or higher, the general price is around 80 cents for good bread and there are still many options to but bread for even lower than 50 cents.

  7. It is so sad to see that you think in Romania nobody eats out…the minimum salary is indeed 200$ but you can’t compare the cost of living here with yours there…and let me tell you what….even the poorest country in the EU is way reacher than the averege across the glob….and smth very important to know…..we here in Romania don’t put aside for 20 years to get our children to college….a twisted message….you clearly chose the wrong country for your article. πŸ™

    • Ionut, I am living here in Romania, born and raised, not “there” – wherever that is. Anyway, you certainly did not manage to catch the point of this article, which was not made to bash Romania.

  8. Dude we are not a poor nation i see more fancy cars in Bucharest or in Romania rather than in richer countries like UK or Netherlands.

    • Being rich does not being up to your years in debt to sport a fancy car. And if there are a few millionaires, but half of the population is dying of hunger, again it doesn’t mean that the country is rich.

  9. Romania is poor because it is a nation of criminals, liars and users. They deserve the negative image they have. As an america who resided in Romania for two months I can tell you that they are total scum. I got used and lied to by one of those so called “beautiful” Romanian women. The whole time this low life tried to sell me on her racist beliefs about the Roma people. Trust me, the travelers are not the scum, its the Romanians themselves. They will try to scapegoat you into believing that the roma’s are the bad guys, that is just to take your attention away from the Romanians. My loss can be your gain, never trust romanian women! Romania has nice food and an interesting culture. But beware of the people, especially the women. They are liars and golddiggers. Beware.

    • Has to be one in every crowd. Life is short and rather than waste it writing and dwelling on the negative. Ahh.. why try to reason. One man’s garbage is another mans treasure. Lucky for us we see the beauty in Romania and will not have to put up with people like this as they do not and hopefully have moved on. Best not to respond further to this thread as it would be a waste of time.

    • Really, I never knew about that, I have a Romanian and he is not like that, he is a great man but he only wants to protect his people and culture. Yes your right the culture is fabulous

    • Whaaaaa? I’m an American who has been married to a Romanian girl for 28 years. I wouldn’t trade. I’m sorry that happened to you but there are good and bad in every country and culture. I find the Romanians in Romania opposite of what you are portraying and Romanian-Americans wonderful as well.

  10. Oh, dudes… How can you write an article like this… maybe you ve had an ugly experience in this country , but you can t hit them with mess words… The culture is fabulous, the country is wonderful… I really know lots of things about this country, because i.m living there. Yeah, the salarys are … , but the people are great… You can.t generalize, the people aren.t the same. I.m sure that all the countries in the world had bad people, it.s normal, damn… The Romanian people are a collective…You ll never know, if you are an american person… What about government? I can.t say anything good about it, cause, yes,… coruption is somewhere. But government is a thing, the people that are living there is another thing… You can.t generalize… Yes, in Romania is living poor people, but they are fewer that you think… stop talking… you really don.t know nothing about this country…

    • I (the author of this article) am living in Romania as well, so I know quite a bit about this country. Also, I am not sure that you really understood the article, because I was not criticizing Romania or Romanians at all.

  11. Slice of bread with margarine and salt- touched my heart there. And yeah butter is indeed expensive. Your parents haven’t been in a vacation for 5 years. Mine haven’t been in 1 since i was born like 15 years ago…
    As long as you have enough money for rent, food, heat and clothes you can’t consider yourself that poor.

      • My entire working career was spent with the U.S. Army. During my 22 years I have been deployed to Honduras, Afghanistan, and Djibouti.
        I get easily irritated when people (especially in the U.S.) complain about being “poor” I’ve actually began the process of preparing to retire to Brasov.

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