Really now, Why do the rich become richer?

Have you ever wondered if the so called great leaders that led many a poor people to their untimely death, the others in further misery, in some revolution cooked up in the name of poverty, injustice and inequality, were truly great leaders? Not just some persuasive, myopic individuals who wrongly believed that other people’s great fortunes are always a direct result of some oppressive schemes to exploit the ignorant and economically downtrodden?

This early, let me concede a point, there are sharks and crocodiles out there. There are even lions and hyenas and vultures. Dangerous creatures clothed as respectable humans whose main reason for being is to feed on the weak and the uninformed.

But have you ever heard of as many great leaders who, instead of throwing their wanting, maybe even starving, followers into a fight, first thought of finding ways to better their economic plight?

Would it, perhaps, not have been better if, during their countless meetings which were centered on their sour-grapes (of being forever shackled to poverty) and malicious, if not mythical beliefs, that there are some forces at play somewhere that makes the rich, richer and the poor, poorer – the leader instead taught his followers how to become financially independent?

Maybe that would be too much to ask from a leader who has not learned how to get out of privation even himself?

Anyway, why are the rich becoming richer and the poor becoming poorer?

I hate this part because I am bad with math. Still, I think even my Stone Age number chomping skills can explain the reason why, though maybe, just barely (You will have to forgive my mathematical genius as I can hardly count beyond 10).

Let me try this: If I need $1 to survive in a month and I earn $1 a month, what would I be left with at the end of the month? ($1-$1= 0) Nothing, right? But, if I need $1 a month to survive and I earn $5 in a month? My counting sticks tell me I’ll have $4 left. Now, if I want to prepare for an uncertain future, I will invest my $4 which will hopefully give me a profit of $1 in a year.

If I invest the $4 that I am left with every month, and every one of those $4 give me a return of $1 annually, in one year, I will have a total investment of $48 and a return that would continuously increase. If I maintained my expenses at the minimum level ($1) and I kept on plowing back my earnings and interests into that investment, one day, I am almost certain, I will become rich.

Now, by building my investments that way, did I oppress anyone? Should I be faulted for eventually having a lot of money? Did I become evil?

To the eyes of those who didn’t know what I did, I think the answer may actually be yes.

They didn’t know how I made my money, I didn’t inherit any yet I have a whole lot of them, so I must have done something really, really bad right?

If I somehow succeeded in teaching my children how to spend wisely and they invested the money they inherited from me the way that I did, will they become poorer or even richer?

So, why do the poor become poorer? Did I take his money away from him? Isn’t there anything I can do to add to my wealth without robbing him of his money?

Maybe the reason he becomes poorer is because he didn’t bother to prepare for his own ambiguous future. Maybe he did not make his own investments! Somebody might ask: what is there for him to invest when he consumes everything he earns? You know, I think the answer to that question is embedded in that question – “HE CONSUMES EVERYTHING HE EARNS”

But is that a fate? Or, is that a choice?

When somebody is so poor he can hardly make both ends meet, should he just accept it? Do nothing about it? Splurge on some big ticket items if at times he got lucky?

I think there is a very good reason why the OFWs (Overseas Filipino Workers) are being considered modern day heroes in their own country. OFWs began their early journey out of their own country, leaving behind their loved ones and their families, sometime in the ‘70s and ‘80s. The men (who came from the lush and verdant surroundings of their own birthplaces) are braving the unfamiliar desert countries in the Middle East. The women, many of them given derogatory names like “japayuki” or “brunieyuki,” (both terms roughly translating to the word prostitute, whether they engage in sex trade or not) also left, undeterred by all the name callings. Their reasons for leaving are the same – they want economic prosperity.

Some wise guys tried to discourage the flight of Filipinos to greener pastures abroad warning of a “Brain Drain”.

Last year, the OFWs’ remittances constituted a large chunk of their country’s GNP. Something like: Ten percent (10%).

Now, that’s a lot of wealth. If that wealth is managed properly, there will be a lot of people who used to be dirt poor who will not become poorer.

The problem here is that nobody is going to manage that wealth for them. I mean, generally speaking, those who are barely rising up the ladder of economic opulence will not have access to the services of big wealth managers. They will have to manage their fledgling finances by themselves. A stockbroker can give them a few advises, that is, if they ever get to invest in the securities market. IF, THEY DON’T CONSUME EVERYTHING THEY EARN.

The first decision they will have to make is whether to continue to spend everything they earn, (as they normally do) or to defy their “fate” of having to spend every single penny that enters their wallet.

Quite frankly, I don’t believe that fate is always the determinant of a man’s destination in life. Sometimes our direction is forced by the things that we fail to recognize. Take the case for example of a “penny pincher” who is very much well off in life, and the “big spender” who has no money in the bank.

No one can really convince me that pure fate made them like that.


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