I spent five years studying the rich and the poor. In those five years I asked 361 rich and poor people 144 questions each. That’s 51,984 questions. I wanted to find out what each group did from the minute they woke up to the minute they went to bed. From the data I gathered, I was able to identify 344 differences between the way the rich and the poor conducted their lives.
Over one hundred million individuals have read something about my Rich Habits research, which has been cited, quoted, referenced, commended and criticized in 25 countries around the world. As a result, I have a lot of friends and a lot of enemies. And I think I’m about to make some more with this piece.
I was raised in a very liberal household. My father was the Democratic leader on Staten Island. He ran seven political campaigns for Congressman Jack Murphy. He ran Mayor Beame’s Mayoral on Staten Island. I grew up believing that poor people were good and rich people were bad. I was raised to believe that it was government’s job to level the playing field.
But now I don’t believe that anymore. My research opened my eyes. One of the many benefits of having done this research is that I became privy to the inner workings of the lives of the rich and the poor. For five years I was that fly on the wall.
And this fly has identified 10 hard truths about poverty and the wealth gap that no politician or member of the mainstream media would dare reveal.
10 Hard Truths About Poverty and the Wealth Gap
- Bad Parents – The poor have parents who simply do not do their job. Drugs, alcohol, gambling and a host of other parent character flaws pulls the rug out from underneath their kids.
- Broken Families – The poor are raised in broken families. Divorce, incarceration, abandonment are common denominators among the poor that fracture the family unit.
- Bad Mentors – The poor lack good role models to emulate. Again, it all starts with bad parents, but it is compounded by bad actors in the neighborhoods poor people are raised in. Without good parents guiding them, the poor fall into the wrong crowds, who lead them down the wrong path – the path that ends in poverty or incarceration.
- Financial Negligence – The poor spend their money as quickly as it comes. They don’t save. They don’t invest. They are financially illiterate.
- Poverty Ideology – The poor believe they will be poor their entire lives. They see poverty as a fact of life. They are without hope and thus, without motivation to escape their poverty.
- Bad Health – The poor do not exercise regularly. They eat and drink too much junk food. They frequent fast food restaurants. The take drugs and drink too much alcohol in order to numb their pain. They are overweight and out of shape.
- Uneducated – The poor do not embrace education. It’s not part of their culture. They do not self-educate themselves. They do not read. They do not engage in self-improvement.
- Bad Habits – The poor have many bad habits and few good habits.
- Entitlement Ideology – The poor believe they are entitled to things others have to work very hard for.
- Victim Ideology – The poor believe others hold them back in life. They see themselves as victims. They look to government to take the wealth of those who are producing and working hard in society and redistribute it to poor people.
I now know that rich people, particularly the self-made rich, are the good people. They were raised by good parents, parents who cared and who mentored them to succeed.
There are outlier issues that cause poverty: pediatric cancer, chronic health disorders and random bad luck. But those, as I said, are the outliers. The vast majority of poor people are poor because they were raised by bad parents. Some were raised in broken homes, some were raised with little to no work ethic, some were raised to be ignorant of finances, some were raised with a poverty mindset, some were raised to disregard their health, some were raised to shun education, some were raised with bad habits, some were raised to believe they should be given free stuff and some were raised to believe the world was aligned against them.
We don’t have a wealth gap in this country. We have a parent gap. If, as a society we truly want to end poverty, we have to first acknowledge the cause of poverty. Parents. Parents cause poverty. Parents are to blame. As a great man once said, “the truth shall set you free.”