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In a world where wealth often defines success, it may come as a surprise that poor people have certain intangible riches that money cannot buy. These include deep connections and strong relationships, a sense of gratitude and resilience, and the ability to find joy in simple pleasures. While financial stability is important, it’s worth recognizing that true happiness can be found in the richness of human connection and contentment with what we have.
To start, a reader simply said, “Overdraft fees.”
Another reader added, “Unpaid bills and not because they’re too cheap to pay.”
One user simply put, “Some poor people don’t have any debt at all. They just also can’t afford a new car or many nice things as they spend most of their income on housing and food.”
A commenter replied, “Untreated medical conditions.”
A second commented, “The worry that one major medical issue will bankrupt our family.”
One comment simply said, “Food insecurity.”
Another said, “Food stamps.”
Higher Stress Levels
A reader replied, “A whole bunch of stress. What if X, Y, or Z happens, and they end up on the street? People tend to look down their noses at homeless people, but the reality is that 99% of us are a string of maybe 3 bad things happening in a row between them and homelessness, and at that stage, it really comes down to having people to fall back on. If you can go live with a family member or a friend, you’ll be fine, but if you don’t have anyone? You’re completely fu**ed.”
The Joy of Little Things
A user added, “Joy over simple things. Poor people would be happy over a pizza delivery or have time to sleep in one extra hour on a weekend.”
Insufficient Safety Nets
One reader commented, “No real safety net. Wealthy people tend to fall upwards. The rest of us fall through the cracks.”
Basic Necessities Challenge
A user commented, “How long “disposable” products can be recycled or used again.”
Another user added, “Accurate sense of what everyday items cost.”
Quality of Goods
A user replied, “Low-quality stuff. If I had spare money, I would really try to buy things of the best quality rather than cheap ones because of being afraid that what I bought might be fake or have durability/comfortability not worth the overpay.”
Exposure to Crime
One commenter answered, “More laws to obey. If a law results in a fine, then it’s a law for only those who would be negatively impacted by having to pay it.”
One positive comment was, “Friends who aren’t just around for the free lunch.”
A user commented, “Generosity towards gig workers and delivery drivers. I sometimes deliver for Uber Eats, and I’ve noticed that the people in big fancy houses with fancy expensive cars never tip more than $2-3, if at all. The people who live in mobile home parks and poorer neighborhoods with beater cars in the driveway are more likely to tip $5-10.”
One popular comment was, “A poor person knows their friends and spouse love them for who they are and not just what they provide. A rich person can never really be certain of that.”
One reader wrote, “Generosity. People who don’t have much are much more likely to be generous and share what they do have because they know what it’s like to be struggling. I notice it time and time again.”
Generational Poverty Risk
A user wrote, “Limitations. Financially, professionally, and educational. Some of these limitations are often inevitable as we were born into them. It’s up to us to either continue enabling it or breaking it.”
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