This page has been archived and commenting is disabled.

Guest Post: 5 Things Nobody Tells You About Being Poor

Tyler Durden's picture


Submitted by John Cheese via The Burning Platform blog,

Being poor is like a game of poker where if you lose, the other players get to screw you. And if you win, the dealer screws you. A bunch of you reading this are among the 45 million “working poor” in America, and if you’re not, you know somebody who is. Like me.
Or 60 percent of all retired NBA players, according to this site.

I’m not blaming anybody but myself for getting into this situation (I was drunk for two straight decades) and I’m not asking for anybody’s sympathy. What I am saying is that people are quick to tell you to pick yourself up by your bootstraps and just stop being poor. What they don’t understand is the series of intricate financial traps that makes that incredibly difficult.

If you’re not poor, that’s awesome. I’m not mad at you, or jealous. Hopefully you’ll never find out that …


#5. You Get Charged for Using Your Own Money



This is the future, where many businesses no longer accept cash as payment. That means you are required to have a checking account to function in the economy. And if you’re poor, that means at some point you’re going to get bank-fucked.

Because having a checking account while poor doesn’t just mean you have to be responsible and good at math — you have to be perfect. Meticulous, flawless record keeping is the difference between surviving and having the bank seize your next paycheck.



Let’s say you’re running late for work and hurriedly stop to get gas, paying with a bank card. In your haste you forget to write the $55 down (gas being $4 a gallon, you know). So while you spent the last week until payday thinking you had $50 in your account to absorb minor purchases, you actually were $5 in the red.

So payday comes. You go to the bank to deposit your check, at which point the bank takes it, sticks it in their pocket and says, “Thank you very much! I’m buying myself a new pair of shoes with that shit!” They then inform you that your account was at -$200 at the moment you deposited your check.
Oh, it gets a lot worse, stock photo woman.


The bank can hit you with a $35 fine for every charge that comes in while you are in minus territory. The bank will not tell you they charged you this money. You will have no idea anything is wrong.

It’s a silent chain reaction in which every charge that comes through during those few days before payday draws the $35 fee. The $8 you spent at the gas station for cigarettes, the $24.99 that automatically comes out for your Internet access … for each, the bank silently zaps out the charge and $35 on top of it, until your next paycheck is gone. Five seconds of oversight gave the bank the right to take away a week’s worth of your labor.

Some of you are saying, “Fine, just tell the bank to go fuck itself. Walk out the door and just do everything by cash or money order.” Ah, but now when you get paid, you have to go somewhere to cash your paycheck — and businesses charge up to $8 to do it. If you’re working in the service industry, congratulations — an hour of your labor just vanished … just so you could use your own money. Some describe this as a “poverty tax.” Others refer to it as a “Because fuck you, that’s why” fee.


The one piece of advice I can offer here is that you’ll be surprised how many businesses will give you some leeway if you just call them and beg. Banks are run by human beings (as of the writing of this article) and if you get a person on the phone you can get them to waive overdraft fees, particularly if it’s a first offense. Even businesses waiting on a payment will give you an extra week or two if you call and explain it. In this economy, they’re so used to people just taking the money and disappearing that they’re happy to hear you’re operating in some kind of good faith.

Otherwise, you’re going to be in a bind. And this is when you’ll find out …

#4. There is an Industry That Profits by Keeping You Poor



Think you’re too smart to ever use one of those shady “payday loan” places? Well, you should know that nobody thinks they’re a good deal. People go there because they’re choosing between which fucking provides the most lube.
Yeah, when you’re done choosing, just stay in that position, buddy.


Say the gas bill is a month past due, and they’re threatening to turn it off (if so, it’s $150 to get it reconnected). Or you’re about to be late on a credit card payment (which would be a fee and a doubling of your interest rate). Or your favorite S&M whip broke, and Whipfest is coming up (entry fee is nonrefundable). That is when you find yourself swallowing your pride and heading to the payday loan place.



A standard 14-day “payday” loan charges $15.50 per $100 borrowed. So a $500 loan ends up being $577.50 (or 1.5 tanks of gas in interest). But if you don’t have it after 14 days, that’s fine — they offer to extend your loan to 180 days. It makes the payments miniscule. Oh, and you’ll be paying back $1,275 at 403.10 percent APR.

Yes, you got fucked, in the name of your financial asshole avoiding the credit card company’s bigger, barbed dick. And it’s a hell of a lot better than going over on your checking account again and starting up their infinite circular fuckatron.


Using this.


All right, let’s say you wised up. You save and cut back. You resist an offer to, say, buy a computer on Best Buy’s finance plan, because you’re too smart to take on more debt. And no monthly cell phone payments for you, oh no. You’re not going to put yourself in a hole again!

Congratulations. You just did. It turns out …

#3. No Credit Can be Just as Damaging as Bad Credit



On the spectrum of financial responsibility, from “that billionaire who drives an old Dodge Dakota” down to “MC Hammer,” you’d think that the next step up from being overdue on a bunch of bills would be to have no bills at all. Don’t buy it if you can’t afford it, right?

You’ll find out the problem the next time somebody does a credit check — having no credit will stop you from getting a loan or an apartment just as fast as having bad credit. And more importantly, if you have old bad credit due to a bunch of previous fuckups, simply vanishing off the credit map doesn’t do anything to fix it.
It sounds good in theory, though.


It took me six months to find a place to rent after applying for every property that appeared in the paper across five towns. I was denied each time. It was my lack of credit due to years of me and lenders deciding to just stay out of each other’s hair, like those old sitcoms where roommates would draw a line down the middle of the house. I even used a prepaid cell phone where I’d just be buying minutes off the shelf rather than get locked into a contract with all those termination fees and shit. When I needed something big, like a computer upgrade or furniture, I’d wait for a windfall, like a tax return, and pay cash. It’s called financial responsibility, motherfucker!
Now hand over the heroin, bitch!


Nope. It turns out that to a business, a customer with no credit is like a girl giving you the silent treatment — they assume something is wrong.

And everybody checks your credit — if I want to get Direct TV, I have to pay $310 worth of startup fees (the size of your up-front payments/deposits depends on your credit history). Utilities are even more — which means trying to move to a new place costs hundreds of dollars in deposits (remember the $150 to get my gas turned on). If I need a new car, well, let’s just say I need to show up at the dealership with a shoebox full of cash.
The last two kids I bought on the black market virtually wiped out my life savings.


So repairing credit means opening accounts (having a cell phone plan is a good one, having your utilities in your own name — as opposed to the landlord’s — is another) and, you know, making sure to pay your fucking bills on time. And don’t bother trying to shortcut the system by saving the shoebox full of cash, getting a loan, then paying it all off the next month. Length of credit is part of your credit score. They want to know your ability to make steady, long term payments without missing a month or being late

#2. Your Next Expensive Disaster is Always Around the Corner



Shit happens, always at the exact worst time. A tire blows on my car and, without a spare, it instantly becomes a paperweight. There’s $80 for a new tire, $50 for a tow. Now, it’s a good idea to have a separate bank account set up specifically for these situations because they are unavoidable. It’s also a good idea to have a sex slave or two just sitting around in case your balls need shaved. It’s not that fucking simple.
Just a little further, sir. We need to be able to stab your heart with our dicks.


You get the same domino effect with sudden financial disasters as you do with the bank fees. For instance, I worked a shitty service industry job, which meant I got paid by the hour, and didn’t get paid unless I showed up — no paid time off. But I couldn’t physically get to work because of the goddamned flat tire. It’s a rural area, no subway or buses. So it’s double penetration — not just lost work time, but lost time that is spent paying for a tow and a tire. And if I didn’t happen to have that money sitting around, it meant waiting until payday, and missing work until then.

Which meant my next paycheck would be short. By the time I get it fixed and add in the missed work time, that $80 tire just turned into a $250 enema. That’s life in a world with no financial margin for error. It’s like trying to climb out of a dick pit but the ladder is also made of dicks.



Years ago, we bought a house with the help of our in-laws. You know, because owning property is the responsible adult thing to do. The very first fucking night of moving in, we got a massive water leak. I couldn’t just call the landlord — I was the landlord. I couldn’t call a plumber because we didn’t have the $150 to pay the guy, not until payday. So the leak was allowed to run until we could put the money together to pay one. So two weeks later, we hand the guy $150. And then, a week later, the water bill arrives.


You find yourself thinking, “Man, we could get caught up if this bad shit wouldn’t keep happening!” Then it finally hits you that bad shit happens like clockwork. Not because God hates you, but because you’re poor and you’re using cheap shit that breaks. Maybe you don’t pay the $150 for a plumber, but have a handy friend fix it for you for $50. Awesome, you saved $100! Then six months later you have a leak again, because it turns out he fixed it with rubber bands and Fruit Roll-ups.



Everything in a poor person’s life is a cash vampire. My truck has 170,000 miles on it and the MPG is so bad that every time I start it, the ghost of an Indian appears in the passenger seat and cries. About twice a year, something under the hood grinds to a halt or melts — always another $500 on a tow and repairs. And that was the money I was saving to get a more reliable car.

Hell, even my own body does it to me. I lost my last job because of chronic back pain, losing my health insurance in the process. Which means I can’t treat my chronic back pain. Can’t afford to get dentist check-ups, so more expensive problems are allowed to grow and fester. And so on.

#1. You’re Always in Survival Mode



There’s a phrase in the working world that drives me crazy. One guy says, “The money’s not great, but I love my job.” And somebody responds, “Hey, happiness is all that really matters.”

To be clear, that’s probably true for people at a certain level of income. If you aren’t struggling to pay the bills, then happiness is indeed a pretty damn awesome extra. But you know those movies like American Beauty, about the guy with the unfulfilling career who abandons it to live life to its fullest? Yeah, don’t forget that after quitting their jobs they still come home to houses that look like this:



But down here, at this level, you take what you can fucking get. Fantasies about holding out for that dream job will ruin you.

For instance, long before reading to this part, some helpful commenter has surely skipped down and chimed in with, “Why don’t you just get a job, you lazy fuck!” Wait, did you think I was unemployed? Hell no, it’s been years since I was out of work for any long period of time. I’ve always had jobs. Shitty, shitty jobs.

A huge chunk of this economy runs on shitty jobs now. Recently, McDonald’s held a job fair with 50,000 openings. They got more than 1,000,000 applications. Tens of millions of you will wind up in one of these jobs, it’s sheer math.



These service jobs pay hourly, they give you little or nothing in terms of benefits and there is nothing in the way of security even from week to week — your hours could get cut at any time, for any reason. Sure, you can take a second part-time job. Though, that’s assuming you can find one that works around your primary job’s schedule — just mentioning that you have another job in an interview is often enough to stop that interview mid-sentence. Why hire you when there are 30 guys in line behind you with completely free schedules?

So in answer to the inevitable, “You need to dream bigger, and strive forth to get a new career for yourself!” Hey, I totally agree. But now we’re back in the Catch-22 poverty fuck gauntlet. Once you’re in this tier of jobs, getting out isn’t just hard, it’s expensive.

Sure, you can take classes at night at a community college or something. Maybe you’ll even get financial aid or loans to pay for your books or tuition. What they will not pay for is the time you missed at work while you were in classes or for a babysitter or for transportation. And you sure as fuck better be certain that you have some kind of aptitude for whatever you’re studying (which, by the way, you won’t know until you’ve spent a year or two studying it) because that’s the only chance you’re going to get.



You can do it the old-fashioned way, by working your way up the corporate ladder from within whatever shitty job you have. But that is also expensive because promotions often require you to move. I got offered a promotion at my shitty service job (washing semi trucks with high-pressure hoses, the job that eventually destroyed my back) that would have required me to move several hours away. And moving costs money — remember what I said about the cost of getting utilities turned on? And how landlords check your credit?

And then there are the intangible costs. I would be abandoning my children, for instance — I share custody with my ex-wife, who obviously was not going to be moving with me. How many visits would I get in before my car broke down? And moving away from friends and family also comes with a cost — think of the favors you do for each other (i.e. the friend/brother/uncle willing to fix the truck for free, because you helped paint his porch, etc).
Rounding each other’s fros.


It’s not impossible, but it’s taking a huge risk. And if the new job doesn’t work out after you bet all of your chips, you’re triple fucked. And at that point the world will wag its finger at you and tell you how irresponsible it was to move when you were so poor. “Ha, you poor people are always doing stupid shit like that!”

And on and on. People do get out of this situation — I got paid to write this, for instance. All I’m saying is that the journey is something like trying to go from the Earth to the Moon. By letting them launch a Saturn V rocket directly into your butthole.


- advertisements -

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.
Thu, 06/13/2013 - 16:08 | 3655374 Smiley
Smiley's picture

Pretty scary how much of the article I can directly relate to through experience.  Article misses another important point of being poor.

When you are poor, chances are your friends will be too and they will be asking you for help the instant they suspect you of being capable.

When they do it is very hard to say no for you know you may...WILL, need their help again in the future and you dare not burn that bridge.

Thu, 06/13/2013 - 16:13 | 3655402 22winmag
22winmag's picture

My mother always said it's hard to fly like an eagle when you're hanging with the turkeys.

Thu, 06/13/2013 - 20:28 | 3656564 nickt1y
nickt1y's picture

Like crabs in a bucket.

Thu, 06/13/2013 - 16:12 | 3655396 The Swedish Chef
The Swedish Chef's picture

Sir, you made my day. 


Why I don´t read The Burning Platform every day is beyond me. Maybe I´m just too fucking lazy for the lengthy and insightful texts.

Thu, 06/13/2013 - 16:16 | 3655418 Tombstone
Tombstone's picture

At least if you are poor, America's still the best country to be poor in. 

Fri, 06/14/2013 - 01:18 | 3657305 bunnyswanson
bunnyswanson's picture

Unfortunately, the white poor do not have the sophisticated networking in place that other minorities do.  Fast tracking paperwork and bypassing obstacles is what this can do.  Team effort takes place through referrals.  Educated, white and poor?  They seem to think you deserve to suffer, have given no information, "forgot" to hit enter the last time "you were here" and now, you must start over.  It's a whole new world.

Thu, 06/13/2013 - 16:19 | 3655438 kw2012
kw2012's picture

Old people are being ruined. ALL of their savings will be sucked down so that the bankers can stay afloat. (By the way banks had RECORD earnings last quarter) . 75% of old people say they won't have any inheritance to pass on to their children. (This is a first for our country). 80% of 20 somethings think they are going to inherit big fat checks.


Back on topic. I got caught in that vicious cycle once. One of the mega banks charged me $350 in overdraft fees. Which made me short the next pay check and another $300 in overdraft fees etc... 

Thu, 06/13/2013 - 16:25 | 3655447 22winmag
22winmag's picture

The solution is simple. Start acting like cops, politicians, and bankers. Rob someone. Steal something. However, don't prey on the weak and the poor like they do.... rob and steal from those who are in a better financial position than you.


Why not rob and steal? The rule of law is an utter joke. I have more respect for a masked bandit than I do for these suit-wearing mega-criminals who are above the law. Just don't act like them and prey on the poor and the vulnerable. You have my blessing.

Thu, 06/13/2013 - 20:27 | 3656559 Loose Caboose
Loose Caboose's picture

I like it.  I'm surprised, really, that we haven't seen a modern day Robin Hood emerge in these times - taking from the 1% and giving to the working poor.  Maybe as the sheeple awaken, Robin Hood will appear with his merry men and women - only to be tasered, tear-gassed and thrown into Gitmo. 

Never mind.

Thu, 06/13/2013 - 22:18 | 3656919 samsara
samsara's picture

Pretty Boy Floyd
Words and Music by Woody Guthrie

If you'll gather 'round me, children,
A story I will tell
'Bout Pretty Boy Floyd, an outlaw,
Oklahoma knew him well.

It was in the town of Shawnee,
A Saturday afternoon,
His wife beside him in his wagon
As into town they rode.

There a deputy sheriff approached him
In a manner rather rude,
Vulgar words of anger,
An' his wife she overheard.

Pretty Boy grabbed a log chain,
And the deputy grabbed his gun;
In the fight that followed
He laid that deputy down.

Then he took to the trees and timber
Along the river shore,
Hiding on the river bottom
And he never come back no more.

Yes, he took to the trees and timber
To live a life of shame;
Every crime in Oklahoma
Was added to his name.

But a many a starvin' farmer
The same old story told
How the outlaw paid their mortgage
And saved their little homes.

Others tell you 'bout a stranger
That come to beg a meal,
Underneath his napkin
Left a thousand-dollar bill.

It was in Oklahoma City,
It was on a Christmas Day,
There was a whole car load of groceries
Come with a note to say:

"Well, you say that I'm an outlaw,
You say that I'm a thief.
Here's a Christmas dinner
For the families on relief."

Yes, as through this world I've wandered
I've seen lots of funny men;
Some will rob you with a six-gun,
And some with a fountain pen.

And as through your life you travel,
Yes, as through your life you roam,
You won't never see an outlaw
Drive a family from their home.

Thu, 06/13/2013 - 16:22 | 3655463 Downtoolong
Downtoolong's picture

I can relate to a lot of the experiences in this post and the frustrating ugly feelings that sometimes go along with them. I was poor in the beginning too. I’ve struggled to entirely support myself financially since I was a Junior in college. I know how it feels to see one of your peers with wealthy parents, (who you kicked ass on in advanced calculus by the way), dropping the money for a few drinks at a bar that would have paid for your meals for a week.  

Stories like this anchor me. I like how it demonstrates just how far afield real life is for most people from the bullshit fantasies we’re constantly fed and bombarded with in advertisements, prime time T.V. shows, politically correct corporate and government propaganda, and the mainstream news.  I admit it, I loathe watching those phony journalists on the Today Show all casually acting like they’re just one of us who isn’t sure how much to tip in a restaurant. Never mind, I guess, that they make seven figures a year and probably own the fucking restaurant too. I know, some of them were probably poor in the beginning. Still, it frustrates me every time I see a line of schmucks standing in the freezing cold to play along in another street level event these supposedly everyday people have assembled to show us all how wonderful life is (well their life maybe). I just want to smack them all in the face and say wake up you idiots, this isn’t helping you.  

Thu, 06/13/2013 - 16:36 | 3655534 ImNotARobot
ImNotARobot's picture

Wait, you can get paid for writing things like "infinite circular fuckatron" and “Because fuck you, that’s why”?  Sign me the fuck up.  

Thu, 06/13/2013 - 16:40 | 3655549 LongPAU
LongPAU's picture

Public schools: they teach neither problem-solving skills, nor simple survival skills.


Here is how you deal with "poor" in America:

Assume a 40hr no-bennies week at a rate of $3.25 (we'll assume you're one of the democrats' and neocons' NAFTA-brand legal-slave latinos) and a take-home of $130 tax-free/wk.


Congrats, you're poor.


Water, shelter, food. In that order. Those are your priorities. Everything else is bling.


You can get water free anywhere in this country. You already have an advantage over 20% of humans. Go you.

Shelter is easy: a cardboard box and a garbage bag over a sewer grate will keep you dry/warm for free. Take careful sponge baths in public restrooms. Now you have an advantage over 80% of humans. Wow!

Food: wear decent, clean clothes, be polite, and ask people for food. Offer to do some work in exchange. Even I will buy or give you some food for free.

Don't touch your earnings, except to pay for laundering the clothes you only buy at GoodWill when your other clothes have worn out. ALWAYS WEAR CLEAN CLOTHES. It does not matter if your clothes are worn out, but they must always be clean. It's a social rule.

Live like this for one full year.

That money adds up. You're now ready to upgrade ONE THING about your life, but you must NEVER SPEND ANY OF YOUR SAVINGS TO DO IT.

Yeah, I'd go for the shelter thing too. Let's price out apartments/rooms.

Sharing is likely to be the cheapest route, but not necessarily. Spend a month researching papers, asking around (especially to friends and work associates).

How much can you afford? $520/mo? NO. ONLY A MORON WOULD THINK THAT WAY.

You can afford to spend $130/mo, or 25% of net. NO MORE THAN THAT, and preferably less. Yeah, you'll have roach roommates, but it's a big upgrade from The Box.


Do you see how this works? Do you see the chronic mistake that the author documents? Yes! He lives beyond his means. WAY beyond.


It took me just two nights to figure out that box/bag/sewer-grate trick, so you can imagine why I'm not showing a lot of sympathy for this whiny tripe.

Thu, 06/13/2013 - 21:54 | 3656856 Harry Dong
Harry Dong's picture

Congrats on your trust


Thu, 06/13/2013 - 22:46 | 3657001 Atticus Finch
Atticus Finch's picture

And where does your family live especially your small children when you are off working in your fool's paradise?

Thu, 06/13/2013 - 17:09 | 3655692 americanspirit
americanspirit's picture

I knew a guy years ago in Cincinnati whose little old mid-80's grandmother supplemented her extremely meager SS income by taking falls in banks, department stores, etc and then sueing the place. She had a good lawyer who won every time and happily took 40% of what he got for her. But she also had a secret. "You got to break something, honey. Otherwise you won't get a nickle."

Thu, 06/13/2013 - 17:10 | 3655698 shovelhead
shovelhead's picture

I pretend the end of my cardboard box is a picture window and I feel better.


Thu, 06/13/2013 - 17:15 | 3655721 bill1102inf
bill1102inf's picture

"Years ago, we bought a house with the help of our in-laws. You know, because owning property is the responsible adult thing to do. The very first fucking night of moving in, we got a massive water leak. I couldn’t just call the landlord — I was the landlord. I couldn’t call a plumber because we didn’t have the $150 to pay the guy, not until payday. So the leak was allowed to run until we could put the money together to pay one. So two weeks later, we hand the guy $150. And then, a week later, the water bill arrives."


Only a real asshole buys a house (im sure with NOTHING DOWN) and can not afford to either A: Hire a plumber nor B: turn the fucking water off yourself.  And where do you get this $150 from?? Any respectful plumber I know would have charged a minimum of $300 to come to your house on an emergency call.

Thu, 06/13/2013 - 17:38 | 3655849 waterhorse
waterhorse's picture

If the in-laws helped, then they must have put something down.  On questioning the $150.00, the article did say "YEARS AGO."  I guess not everyone can be perfect like you.

Thu, 06/13/2013 - 19:46 | 3656432 object_orient
object_orient's picture

Although I generally liked the article, this part bothered me too. If it really was a "massive" water leak, then the whole house water pressure would be near zero and he might as well shut off the supply. If the leak was inside the house, the ultimate plumbing bill would be dwarfed by water damage repairs (which would be covered by insurance). Meh. Maybe this was another Simon Black (or is it Simón Negro?) fantasizing about being poor for once.

Thu, 06/13/2013 - 17:28 | 3655797 StarTedStackin'
StarTedStackin''s picture




Batten down the hatches if you are  along the I-95 corridor.....WTF>>>>>

Thu, 06/13/2013 - 22:06 | 3656888 dark pools of soros
dark pools of soros's picture

did the storm knock out the EBT systems or something?

Thu, 06/13/2013 - 18:02 | 3655957 Stuck on Zero
Stuck on Zero's picture

And then when you think your finances are under control you get a $451 ticket from having your bumper over the line at a red light camera.


Thu, 06/13/2013 - 19:07 | 3656289 silverserfer
silverserfer's picture

moneychangers are not nesecary to operate commerce. find ways to avoid them.

Thu, 06/13/2013 - 19:19 | 3656334 Shevva
Shevva's picture

I've seen true poverty in Australia, it requires dressing up as a school boy in grey shorts, white shirt, tie and a satchel while waiting on a street corner for a banker or politician.

Thu, 06/13/2013 - 19:24 | 3656348 tony bonn
tony bonn's picture

and good luck trying to get a job with fucked up credit and passing the nazi act pre-employment screening....people who are not in the matrix are fucked, but in the long run they will be saved because the matrix is damnation.....

the way politicians, banksters, and most americans treat the poor is shameful and i will want a seat in the gallery on judgment day to watch all of those sorry wicked affluent fuckholes get theirs....

and if the treatment of the poor is shameful, you should see how they treat the homeless.....god damn the affluent aloof assholes all to hell....

Thu, 06/13/2013 - 21:33 | 3656788 Pike Bishop
Pike Bishop's picture

#2. Your Next Expensive Disaster is Always Around the Corner

#1. You’re Always in Survival Mode

These go hand-in-hand. Being poor adds 2 to 4 hours to every day. And there is slight fear-factor as a continual undercurrent.

12yrs ago my wife got cervical cancer and I had to have some neuro-vascular work done. At the same time. Short story, your Fortune 5 company can lay you off if you dare get disabled for 13 weeks.. and sometimes your premium-private health insurance won't pay for the almost-approved treatments your Oncologist swears will get the job done.

With the fan still barely running and shit all over the place, you have to learn to be more self-reliant real fast. ie The $50/wk you used to pay somebody to cut your grass, so your time would be freed up to work to pay for it, is no longer an option.

This has a trickle-down effect because you better learn how to maintain and repair your lawnmower and tractor. These types of things and other appliances you will have to keep way past any reasonably anticipated life-cycle.

"Used", "refurbished", and "from a smoke-free home" become familiar terms for everything you do buy.

First noticeable black-hole for capital waste is the cars. Keep-up-with-the-Jones dies an immediate ugly death. Ya sell that 2 year-old jap/German beauty and pick up the best 10 year old pos which has a reputation for mechanically long outlasting its paint-job.

You better learn how to maintain and repair it. And count on making new friends at the nearest junkyard when your $1200 ABS controller fails and you can u-pull-it a serviceable one for $75.

And if have to call a mechanic/plumbing/electrical/carpenter tradesman because something is way out of your league.. even if prior work you did is at the cutting-edge of standards and best-practices.. don't tell them you did it because they will hate you. they like to laugh about DIYers, but still resent any evidence of business being taken away from them.

Becoming poor is a brutal wake-up call and general ice-water enema. I don't know how these kids are going to make decent lives with service jobs and slave wages.

Thu, 06/13/2013 - 22:34 | 3656971 Atticus Finch
Atticus Finch's picture

"I don't know how these kids are going to make decent lives with service jobs and slave wages." That's easy, they won't.

Thu, 06/13/2013 - 22:36 | 3656977 Atticus Finch
Atticus Finch's picture

Actually, it's hard to imagine the coming impoverishment for teens and 20s, not to mention those who are 4 and 6.

Thu, 06/13/2013 - 22:37 | 3656979 Atticus Finch
Atticus Finch's picture

Actually, it's hard to imagine the coming impoverishment for teens and 20s, not to mention those who are 4 and 6.

Thu, 06/13/2013 - 21:46 | 3656827 rsnoble
rsnoble's picture

I like it when  the "pick urself up by the bootstraps" types get fucked over royal.  Everything is 'ok' till it happens to you.

Thu, 06/13/2013 - 21:53 | 3656851 FleaMarketPete
FleaMarketPete's picture

We make our own success (or failures).

Thu, 06/13/2013 - 21:59 | 3656870 rsnoble
rsnoble's picture

Oh bullfucking shit.  Hard work is def a plus.......but the gov't is one big goon waiting to stick it in your ass and some get lucky enough to slip by.  Luck is a big factor.

Just for the record i'm not a non-success. I'm a realist.  You're spouting insanity.

Thu, 06/13/2013 - 22:05 | 3656886 FleaMarketPete
FleaMarketPete's picture

What?  The goverment is butt fucking people that try to succeed?  You either do what you need to do or you don't.

Thu, 06/13/2013 - 21:50 | 3656843 FleaMarketPete
FleaMarketPete's picture

All achievements in life require hard work and sacrifice.  You either want it or you don't.  Dedicate yourself or accept your life choices.  It's fine if that's not what, but at least take accountability for your decisions.

Thu, 06/13/2013 - 21:56 | 3656863 Tim Knight from...
Tim Knight from Slope of Hope's picture

Tip of the hat for taking a page out of the MarketWatch playbook for the post title.

Thu, 06/13/2013 - 22:01 | 3656869 Bear
Bear's picture

I never believed in redistribution of wealth and welfare but now I understand that there is a royal (as in DC Royals) distribution going on that needs to be stopped.


1. Obama plans to spend $ 100 million (of our money) on an African getaway (there is nothing in Africa that he needs to see) and another trillion that needs not to be pissed down a rat hole. Harry Truman drove home to Missouri in his Studebaker after  'serving' for four years.

2. The average CEO made 120 time the lowest paid worker in the plant ... now thousands time

3. Wall Street used to make money by nickel and dimeing clients by churning ... now HFT front run every trade, and never lose while trading with our money.

4. People use to care that others were dishonest and cheating ... now dishonesty and cheating is an art form that is looked up to.

5. Truth used to matter and now, well it doesn't

Our nation now looks more like a Banana Republic on steroids than the powerhouse force that beat back fascism on two fronts, defeated Communism, and created a multicultural paradise.  


I'm pissed at almost everything I see .... including the 47% of us who are poor slobs that expect everyone else to work their butts off so they don't have to.

Thu, 06/13/2013 - 22:00 | 3656873 Zgangsta
Zgangsta's picture

Is this ZeroHedge or

Thu, 06/13/2013 - 22:07 | 3656892 FleaMarketPete
FleaMarketPete's picture

Rich liberal guilt.

Thu, 06/13/2013 - 22:11 | 3656902 cpt crash
cpt crash's picture

I've been in this cycle all my life. Everything culminated in a mass of debt due to a series of layoffs, unexpected expenses, and the attempt to get a better job via the student loan process. I finally got a stable job but whole income is taken with living expenses and paying the debt.

No matter what you do, like this guy says in the article, you're fucked.

Thu, 06/13/2013 - 22:12 | 3656904 kayl
kayl's picture

Oak Park, Represent.

Thu, 06/13/2013 - 22:20 | 3656926 22winmag
22winmag's picture

From chattel slavery to wage slavery in the blink of an eye.


As bad as things are here in the good old USA, I'm glad I'm here to watch the shit parade up close. Glad to be in a country where there is still talk of real freedom and real revolution in the air. Every day I'm thankful I don't live in one of those sad, defeated old world countries.

Thu, 06/13/2013 - 22:22 | 3656930 Moomah
Moomah's picture

I ilve in the biggest metropolitan area in the US ... I do not know of one store, merchant or business that will not accept cash. 

What kills me ... I stand behind people in the grocery store all the time who are loading up on food the likes of which I cannot believe, nor could I afford. Then they pay with the EBT (welfare foodtamps) plastic card that looks like a debit card so they won't be embarrassed, as I count up their TATTOOS, GOLD jewelry, cornrowed hair (that aint cheap) and the latest in name brand clothes for ALL their children. It makes me want to puke and that is the NORMAL life of poverty striken here where I live. I don't know where this writer lives but it sure isn't Calif. 

Thu, 06/13/2013 - 22:23 | 3656937 Cabreado
Cabreado's picture

Late to the game here, but I'd like to interject the simple thought that when the pathologically self-absorbed finally gain hold of an otherwise reasonably well-functioning society, all bets are off.

Our biggest problem is that in order to get back to some semblance of humility and truth, it will all have to fall down.

My sincere best wishes to the author.



Thu, 06/13/2013 - 22:23 | 3656938 potlatch
potlatch's picture

bitch about the macro all you want, but down in the trenches, this article is reality for alot of us.  ANd if you think "different choices" could have "avoided" our economic hardships and poverty level or near povery level, no benefits, no health care, no insurance,paychech to paycheck life.




Thu, 06/13/2013 - 22:25 | 3656945 Crash Overide
Crash Overide's picture

This article made me laugh a bunch, I rather enjoyed it though it is a reality for a bunch of folk myself included throughout the years.   I get it, the bottom half sucks for a reason, :(



"Yes, you got fucked, in the name of your financial asshole avoiding the credit card company’s bigger, barbed dick. And it’s a hell of a lot better than going over on your checking account again and starting up their infinite circular fuckatron."

Thu, 06/13/2013 - 22:41 | 3656995 Downtoolong
Downtoolong's picture

#1. You’re Always in Survival Mode

And that means you’ve got to take risks most people wouldn’t too. I’m not talking about financial risk. I’m talking about real risk to life and limb.

When I was in college and broke, I had to get my wisdom teeth removed. After checking the cost with a local dentist I went to the dental school and let them practice on me for $60 bucks. No biggie. But, the real risky part was riding my bike to my job afterwards in heavy Los Angeles traffic while I was still in pain from the surgery and still loopy from the drugs and gas they used to anesthetize me. There was no way I could afford public transportation, having just spent three days take home pay on my teeth, and no way I was going to miss out on a half day of minimum wages either.That was a trip I wanted to forget, but, obviously I remembered it anyway.

Thu, 06/13/2013 - 23:12 | 3657065 Renfield
Renfield's picture

Would have given you a green but you started with italics. Best thing about this thread is the personal stories.

Thu, 06/13/2013 - 23:24 | 3657098 cpt crash
cpt crash's picture

I was gonna give you a hit up but I notice when you put a quote or italics at the beginning of a comment....the thumbs up (or down) does not work. Wonder if anyone else notices that on this blog?

Anyhow....Here is a thumbs up:  +++

Thu, 06/13/2013 - 23:07 | 3657056 Atomizer
Atomizer's picture

Dave Chappelle|Black Money


Comedy at its finest, when the US Government plantation has got ya down.

Thu, 06/13/2013 - 23:42 | 3657135 Cheeseus Sonofdog
Cheeseus Sonofdog's picture

I always pay cash and fall into the "no revolving credit" dilema. I have to pay much more for auto insurance because I have no credit. Never mind that I pay in cash upfront for the whole period of coverage. Allstate even turned me down though my record is clean. They sent me an arrogant letter explaining why they denied me(lack of credit). I sent them the letter back with marker in bold saying "fuck you!". I also sent part of my bank statement and it's fat amount. Then told them I won't be needing any of their other services. 

This is what pisses me off about Warren Buffet. His Geico and other companies charge the poor a penalty, even if they pay in cash. And he has the gull to talk about the rich raping the poor?

Fri, 06/14/2013 - 00:14 | 3657186 cherry picker
cherry picker's picture

Guys like Buffet look after #1.  That is why he has billions.  But he can't take it with him in the end, can he?


Thu, 06/13/2013 - 23:46 | 3657141 Cheeseus Sonofdog
Cheeseus Sonofdog's picture

You should be able to be poor and not be enslaved in a true free society. Think back to the depression before this one(1930's). People were poor but able to survive. They didn't need a license to hunt or fish for food. Didn't have code enforcement telling them they can't have a garden or water it. Weren't forced to have auto insurance or health insurance. Didn't have absurd property taxes they had to pay or see their home get stolen by the taxman. I would take that depression any day compared to todays. Poor but free. Today your dollar gets devalued and you are forced to hand the left over for numerous government mandates/taxes/fees/fines/regulations/licenses....

Thu, 06/13/2013 - 23:55 | 3657157 lakecity55
lakecity55's picture

I am just glad I grew up on a farm.

Fri, 06/14/2013 - 00:03 | 3657170 cherry picker
cherry picker's picture

"They keep on looking down their noses at me cause I didn't come from a wealthy family"....from an old Merle Haggard tune I think.

Fri, 06/14/2013 - 00:07 | 3657174 IamtheREALmario
IamtheREALmario's picture

Somwbody has to be from Pittsburg. Might as well be John Cheese ...

Fri, 06/14/2013 - 00:31 | 3657208 bill1102inf
bill1102inf's picture

Maybe you people will finally understand what I mean when I say that the poor pay ALL the taxes in the USA and much, much more (as a % of income) than anyone else.

Fri, 06/14/2013 - 03:33 | 3657413 Blue Horshoe Lo...
Blue Horshoe Loves Annacott Steel's picture

Next time someone tells you "money doesn't buy happiness", scream "Neither does poverty either asshole" as you are pummeling them.

Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!