Why Are Poor People Poor and Rich People Rich?

Why Are Poor People Poor and Rich People Rich?

In a society that’s supposedly equitable, why are some people poor, and other people rich?

Piggy and I discussed a ton of things when we first started our personal finance blog. But one thing we didn’t talk about was our target audience. We didn’t have to! We both knew immediately that we wanted to write for our younger selves.

Years later, we’re older and more financially stable—but inside we still feel like a pair of broke young folks. And maybe we always will? As we’ve discussed, money doesn’t immediately cure the financial anxieties you develop when you’re poor.

Our twenties were a decade-long financial panic. It was so stressful trying to figure everything out on our own. So we spent a lot of time talking about all the bad financial advice we’d received.

Some advice was simply too old. It relied on outdated growth models, or ignored a rapidly changing globalized economy, or discounted the possibilities of living in a world transformed by technology. My grandpa loves telling his grandkids that the best way to get a job is to put on an uncomfortably formal suit and stroll into literally any workplace without an appointment or even a lead on open positions. Which sounds like a great way to get escorted off the property by security guards.

As far as bad advice goes, that stuff is kinda innocent. He’s old, and he grew up in another world. He just doesn’t get it. THIS GRANDPA is making SEVEN FIGURES with this ONE COOL TRICK—recruiters HATE him!

But the worst financial advice we grew up hearing is definitely not innocent.

The worst stuff is based around a horrific lie. It’s a lie about the fundamental reasons why poor people are poor and rich people are rich. A lie that harms and oppresses every rung of our society save the very tippy-top. And unlike my Grandpa’s stale takes, it’s constantly being revitalized and perpetuated by people who should know better.

(A version of this article was originally published on July 15, 2017. We expanded and revised the shit out of it because everything we’re saying has only gotten truer, and we’ve only gotten more pissed off about it.)

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Post a Salary Range in the Job Description, You Fucking Cowards

One of my favorite blogs, the ever brilliant Nonprofit As Fuck, has this great piece titled “When You Don’t Disclose Salary Range on a Job Posting, a Unicorn Loses Its Wings.” It’s a snarky, 100% accurate treatise on the evils of not including a salary range in the job description.

When I read it I felt like Bono listening to Hozier’s Take Me to Church for the first time: furiously jealous that I hadn’t written it myself.

Salary transparency in the hiring process has become my sacred battleground. Few things get this money nerd’s hackles up like the unfair, unethical, and straight up bullshit practice of salary secrecy. This righteous fury is bursting out of me and it can no longer be contained!

Because let’s be honest: no one gets a job because they’re enthusiastic about the contents of the company’s vending machine or the color of its cubicle walls. We work jobs for the compensation. We work to earn an income that will support ourselves and our families. Money, health insurance, retirement funds… all of this is far more important to a job candidate than anything else an employer has to say in the job description.

Job candidates want to know they can afford to work a job before they apply. They don’t want to wait through two interviews and a job offer to find out if the compensation will pay their rent and student loans. To pretend otherwise is ludicrous, irresponsible, naïve, and insulting.

So put a salary range in the job description, you fucking cowards.

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What Does Your Dream Cost?

What Does Your Dream Cost?

Have you ever sat down and truly asked yourself: What does your dream cost?

It’s a new year. Lots of folks use this time to buckle down and set new goals. Personally, I’m eschewing any kind of quest for productivity or self-improvement this year. Both Bitches had an incredibly stressful holiday season, so we’re too busy being in emotional recovery hibernation mode. Declining with regrets!

Still, I’ve been thinking a lot about goals. And I think one of the most powerful ways to transform dreams into plans is to answer the question “what does your dream cost?”

Our dreams feel more fragile and far away than ever

Young people are pretty gun-shy when it comes to discussing their dreams. Which is totally understandable and fair. Life’s reneged on a lot of important promises. When you unwrap gift after gift to find nothing but coal, you stop bounding joyfully down the stairs on Christmas morning.

If you ask them to describe their plans to achieve something they madly, desperately want, a lot of people freeze up. Or deflect with cynical nihilism. “I dream of owning a little cottage in the woods, but I guess I’ll die in a fire instead lmao!”

(Side note: guys, we GOTTA stop using “lmao” as a synonym for “I am having a mental health crisis.” Can’t we assign some kind of non-standard punctuation mark to this purpose‽)

Anyway, the road to the things you want most may be unfairly long and winding. But that is all the more reason to drive it in daylight, with GPS. Today, I’m going to walk you through some strategies to price out the kind of ambitious, lifelong dreams that feel so hard to quantify. Hopefully it’ll inspire you to do the same with your own bucket list! I promise this exercise will help you pluck your unreachable dreams out of the nebulous realm of “stuff I wanna do” and fix them amongst the stars of “stuff I’m doing.”

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Season 3, Episode 12: "I’m Done With Evil Bosses and Toxic Workplaces. Can I Stand Up Without Being Hammered Down?"

Season 3, Episode 12: “I’m Done With Evil Bosses and Toxic Workplaces. Can I Stand Up Without Being Hammered Down?”

Bitch Nation, as the year comes to a close, so does season three of the Bitches Get Riches podcast. As they say, all good things must come to an end! In this case… mediocre things too, lezbee honest.

And we’re going out with a bang! Today’s question covers one of our favorite topics to vent about, and our least favorite to personally experience: toxic workplaces. Specifically: what do you do about them when you fear retaliation in your future job prospects?

The “Great Resignation” is a bellwether for wonderful advancements in labor rights and fair and equitable workplaces. But the very fact that we’re going through what amounts to an unprecedented general strike means… shit’s bad out there! Toxic workplaces are 2021’s other pandemic. And if today’s question is any indication, y’all are tired of dealing with it.

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Season 3, Episode 11: "People Treat Me Like a Child Because I’m Femme. How Do I Command Respect I Deserve?"

Season 3, Episode 11: “People Treat Me Like a Child Because I’m Femme. How Do I Command the Respect I Deserve?”

Take a break from seasonally enforced socializing with distant relatives and gather round, ye lads and lasses! For it’s time for another episode of the award-winning* Bitches Get Riches podcast.

Today we’re speaking directly to our spiritual Rodney Dangerfields out there: those who can’t get no respect in their personal and professional lives. Whether it’s because they look young, or femme, or differently abled in some way, a lot of people are either disrespected or infantilized because of their appearance or mannerisms. Regardless of their skills, educational attainment, or personality. And that sucks.

Today’s question-asker is dealing with this infantilization and lack of respect, and we suspect it’s due to the unconscious bias of those around them. Can we solve as big an issue as unconscious bias in a single 20-minute podcast episode? We’re sure as hell gonna try!

*As unbelievable as it sounds, we have it on good authority that the judges were neither bribed nor drunk.

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Season 3, Episode 10: "I Want to Break Into a New Field. How Do I Make Employers See Past My Lack of Direct Experience?"

Season 3, Episode 10: “I Want to Break Into a New Field. How Do I Make Employers See Past My Lack of Direct Experience?”

We, your humble Bitches, are experts in many topics. How to horrifically fuck up one’s finances, for example! We’ve got hands-on experience with that one, and we aren’t afraid to announce it to an auditorium full of people.

Today we’d like to direct your attention to another area of our hands-on expertise: career transitions. Citizens of Bitch Nation will recall that I transitioned from a career in publishing to one in finance early this year. Certainly not as dramatic as some people’s transitions, but it was still a big deal. I had to figure out how to reframe my existing skill set and experience so it would apply outside of my original industry. And I had to let go of the idea that my career defined me. Scary stuff.

Fortunately, I had prepared for my career transition by setting up a second income stream through my side hustle—this very Chris Dane Owens fan site personal finance blog! And that gave me a huge advantage before I attempted to reforge myself in the fires of a career transition.

For my next career transition, I'm going to be Chris Dane Owens.

Listen to this week’s brand new podcast episode to find out how to identify transferrable skills, translate your experience into the language of a new career, and reinvent your professional worksona! We even kinda know what we’re talking about with this one!

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Season 3, Episode 9: "My Partner and I Want Kids in a Few Years. How Do We Financially Prepare for a Baby?"

Season 3, Episode 9: “My Partner and I Want Kids in a Few Years. How Do We Financially Prepare for a Baby?”

Dear readers, as you know, your humble Bitches are what’s known as “parenting experts.” We’ve spent literally decades observing and critically judging the childrearing of others. And we’ve done it all without sullying our hands by actually becoming parents ourselves! So when it comes to the topic of how to financially prepare for a baby… you know you can trust us.

Believe it or not, we childfree hags received more than one question about financially preparing for parenthood. And while we’ve answered questions about how to get ready to buy a house or go to college before… we’ve never touched this one’s diaper-rashy bottom.

But how hard can it be?

Having kids is one of the most financially significant decisions in a person’s life! Not only are kids expensive, but the decision affects people differently depending on their gender, sexuality, and access to medical care, childcare, and educational resources.

At the very least, you or your co-parent (if you have one) will need to maneuver into a job with solid health insurance benefits and parental leave. But the preparatory headache doesn’t stop there! So let’s dive into it, shall we?

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How to Start Small by Saving Small

How To Start Small by Saving Small

“If you don’t start saving your money when you’re young, you’re going to die impoverished, overworked, and alone!” says every personal finance guru ever to young people just starting out in the world.

And while it’s only a slight exaggeration, this kind of enormous pressure can be overwhelming and demoralizing when you’re just starting to get your financial life under control and barely bringing in enough money to make ends meet.

So what’s a young, financially inexperienced person to do? What’s anyone with bills and debt to do with the specter of an empty savings account looming and no solution in sight?

The answer, as with most personal finance, is to start small. Because when saving, your little savings really do add up.

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Season 3, Episode 8: "Should I Get Married for Tax Purposes? My Boyfriend Swears We’d Save Money, but I’m Not So Sure..."

Season 3, Episode 8: “Should I Get Married for Tax Purposes? My Boyfriend Swears We’d Save Money, but I’m Not So Sure…”

Ah, taxes! Second only to gas prices in the list of things we Americans like to blame for our money woes. Also: hella romantic!

That’s right, Bitch Nation, for today on the podcast we’re discussing the intersection of love and taxes. Specifically, the question of whether you should get married for tax purposes.

Popular wisdom dictates that getting married and filing taxes jointly will give you a huge discount on your tax bill. We’ve heard worse reasons to get married. But is this one really true?

As usual, the answer is… it depends! On your circumstances, your income, your property ownership, and a whole host of other matters. We are by no means tax experts (though our marriage expertise is beyond reproach), but we’re going to do our best to shine a light on the question of getting married for tax purposes.

Here comes the bride!

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Your Girl is Officially Retiring at 35 Years Old

Your Girl Is Officially Retiring at 35 Years Old

Earlier this month at the EconoMe Conference, I gave a speech where I revealed I was planning on retiring at 35 years old.

I practiced the speech many times, mostly in the sacred privacy of my shower. To be honest, I wasn’t happy with it! When I tried to talk about how and why I was going for such an early retirement age, I faltered, rambled, and went on weird tangents that had too many 1990s anime references (or not enough, depending on your perspective).

My youthful days as a theatre kid had imbued me with an unshakable certainty that there was no point in worrying about it. The show would go on. I would get up on the stage and say something, and people would clap politely when I was done. Because they always do that, even when you suck! Ah, the beauty of social contracts!

Surprisingly, the words flowed easiest when I was standing on a stage in front of a few hundred people. I could kinda see the faces of my audience through the haze of the UFO tractor beam lighting. I had the world’s best business partner on stage next to me; the front row was packed with wise and supportive personal finance industry mentors; and past them, a sea of faces belonging to people who intimately understood what I was there to say about financial freedom. Before the most welcoming and encouraging audience imaginable, my words came out effortlessly.

“Work sucks, and I hate it, so I’m not gonna do it anymore.”

I should’ve just said that and trusted this audience to fill my remaining 28 minutes with a standing ovation. Maybe wrap with some local jokes? “Thanks for attending my TedTalk. Go Cincinnati, um, Owlbears? No, no, that’s definitely a D&D monster, hold on… [checks notes] Bearcats! Go Bearcats!”

It’s true. If all goes as planned, I’m retiring at 35 years old this coming spring.

Here’s my story.

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