At The Center for Progressive Renewal, we have been pondering how we might create a resource for churches to teach members how to better handle personal finances. In the church world, the guru for that is a man named Dave Ramsey, whom you may have heard of. He apparently has helped many people get out of debt and, along the way, accumulated quite a fortune for himself. As I was doing research for our material, I came across a blog by him (www.daveramsey.com/blog/20-things-the-rich-do-every-day) that nearly caused my head to explode. He offers a list of the “20 Things the Rich Do Every Day.” Here are the first five:
1. 70% of wealthy eat less than 300 junk food calories per day. 97% of poor people eat more than 300 junk food calories per day. 23% of wealthy gamble. 52% of poor people gamble.
2. 80% of wealthy are focused on accomplishing some single goal. Only 12% of the poor do this.
3. 76% of wealthy exercise aerobically four days a week. 23% of poor do this.
4. 63% of wealthy listen to audio books during commute to work vs. 5% of poor people.
5. 81% of wealthy maintain a to-do list vs. 19% of poor.
I’m not even going to bother to comment on his list; surely you also see why people working two or three minimum wage jobs or standing for hours in unemployment lines don’t have the same habits as the rich. What terrifies me is that a white wealthy man actually could publish such things with so little awareness of the impact race and gender and class issues have on opportunities.
My parents both grew up in farmhouses without indoor plumbing. When I was a child my father got out of the Air Force and had a tough time finding a job for a little while. We were poor by almost any standard. He eventually went to work driving a bread truck and worked two jobs to provide for our family. We were poor for a time, but it was more than 30 years after he was hired that the same bread company finally hired an African-American or a woman. All the to-do lists in the world didn’t help.
by Michael Piazza
Center for Progressive Renewal