According to Dave Ramsey, whoever the hell he is, and his list of undoubtedly made-up “statistics” with no citations or specified sources for their origins, all you have to do if you want to get rich is conflate correlation and causation and already have the time and luxury to focus on self-improvement.
Here are at least 20 reasons why you’re wrong, Dave:
So what do the rich do every day that the poor don’t do?
Tom Corley, on his website RichHabits.net, outlines a few of the differences between the habits of the rich and the poor:
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.
Okay, ignoring for a second the fact that you loaded up #1 with two disparate items that actually should be separated into their own enumerations on this list (eating poorly and gambling), I’d wager that the reason poor people eat more junk food is that when you don’t have a lot of money, all you can really afford is the McDonald’s dollar menu. Especially when you’re working two jobs just to make ends meet and probably don’t have a lot of extra time, or don’t have your own personal chef in your all-stainless-steel, marble-countertop kitchen that looks like something out of a cooking show.
But let’s address the logic problem inherent within the entire premise you’ve outlined here: wealthy people didn’t GET wealthy by blowing all their money on organic health food. Rather, they can afford to eat higher-quality food BECAUSE THEY FUCKING ALREADY HAVE MONEY, YOU IDIOT. The horse goes IN FRONT OF the cart.
2. 80% of wealthy are focused on accomplishing some single goal. Only 12% of the poor do this.
a) What is this even supposed to mean? How do you even measure that?
b) “Sorry, son, I know I promised to feed you in between my day job and my night job, but daddy needs to focus on accomplishing a single goal or he’ll never become successful.”
c) I don’t know about you, but I have a ton of projects and goals, and just because I’m spreading out the progress I make between, say, my job as a programmer and my novel and the (mostly) daily short fiction blog I co-author with a friend and all the other things I have going on, that doesn’t mean I’m unproductive, and doesn’t mean that my efforts in any of these ventures are unsuccessful. “Focus” isn’t really a great metric, and if you can’t handle more than one activity or have multiple goals, then maybe you’re just lucky more than you’re actually good at anything.
3. 76% of wealthy exercise aerobically 4 days a week. 23% of poor do this.
Dave, I’m beginning to think that you’ve just done a find/replace on “have time to ” => “”, and that it should’ve come after every instance of “wealthy” and “poor”, because that’s the only way any of this makes any sense.
I mean, yeah, no shit, maybe poor people could hit the gym a little more often if they didn’t have to work two jobs and squeeze in the tiny slivers of available time they can manage to wring out of the day to spend with their families.
Also, I’m pretty sure most low-paying jobs involve far more physical activity and being on your feet than anything the wealthy do. “Oh man, my biceps are killing me from sitting behind a computer tracking hedge funds all day.”
4. 63% of wealthy listen to audio books during commute to work vs. 5% for poor people.
Have fun paying attention to an audio book when you’re fucking exhausted from working 80 hours in a week and the ongoing drone of a soothing human voice will probably just put you to sleep while you wait in the drive-thru to order dinner.
Oh, and by the way, not everyone has access to the kinds of devices required to play audiobooks, these days. Just because you have an iPhone, Dave, and the money to spend freely on media for it, that doesn’t mean that everyone does.
5. 81% of wealthy maintain a to-do list vs. 19% for poor.
There’s not much of a point in a to-do list when you work more than one job just to make ends meet. I mean:
1) Get kids ready for school.
2) Go to day job.
3) Pick up kids from school.
4) Feed kids.
5) Go to night job.
…is pretty easy to remember, if you ask me.
See, a lot of poor people don’t have “to-dos”, they just have routines, because being able to decide what you do — having that autonomy — is a fucking privilege.
6. 63% of wealthy parents make their children read 2 or more non-fiction books a month vs. 3% for poor.
If only they weren’t distracted and exhausted by working multiple jobs to feed their children, maybe they could spend more time with them and take a more active role in their education and lives in general.
Also, I mean, sure, you can maybe get those books from the library, but who’s going to take the kids? The teen babysitter you pay less than minimum wage?
Also also, is this on top of their existing school work? I’d say 2 non-fiction books a month is kind of a lot for kids who are already doing a ton of homework. And if they’re older kids, maybe they’re also working to help support the household, and are already ensnared in that “grind until you die” lifestyle.
7. 70% of wealthy parents make their children volunteer 10 hours or more a month vs. 3% for poor.
a) Who’s going to bring them to the place where they have to volunteer?
b) Uh, I thought you said they should be spending their free time reading non-fiction books.
c) So let’s see, unless you’re talking about a six-year-old kid working in a soup kitchen or something without his parents’ supervision (since a lot of poor people work multiple jobs just to get by), we’re talking teenagers. Yeah, okay, cool, let’s have them try to squeeze that in between school and the after-school job they have to work because their parents aren’t paid enough.
d) Are soup kitchens really supposed to be run by the people who, uh, need them?
8. 80% of wealthy make hbd calls vs. 11% of poor
“HBD”? …happy birthday? If that’s what you mean here, I’m pretty sure poor people tell each other “happy birthday”.
9. 67% of wealthy write down their goals vs. 17% for poor
Again, hearkening back to the “to-do list” entry above, poor people are too fucking busy just trying to survive to have lofty goals that would need to be written down.
10. 88% of wealthy read 30 minutes or more each day for education or career reasons vs 2% for poor.
a) Wealthy people are better able to afford higher education.
b) Low-wage jobs don’t require a lot of training manuals.
11. 6% of wealthy say what’s on their mind vs. 69% for poor.
Not sure what this is supposed to mean, or what it’s intended to try to measure. But either way, when money talks — and talks way louder than words — everyone else has to shout constantly just to try to make up the difference.
12. 79% of wealthy network 5 hours or more each month vs. 16% for poor.
What’s the point in networking when you work menial or low-paying jobs that nobody really gives a shit about? “Yeah, I should totally pay $200 to go to this marketing conference so I can wow everyone with my intimate knowledge of floor-level inventory management at Walmart. All the executives and higher-ups there will totally allow me into their world and not just laugh at me for trying for a better life.”
This reads like, “As part of my finance job, I’m expected to spend a few hours a week shmoozing clients. Why don’t construction workers do that?”
13. 67% of wealthy watch 1 hour or less of TV. every day vs. 23% for poor
Yeah, wouldn’t it be great if poor people could also afford, in both time and money, to enjoy all the other types of entertainment that wealthy people do? If you only have, say, an hour of free time a day, you can either watch some dumb TV show with your exhausted brain or you can fall asleep reading a book. Especially when you’re trying for some group activity that you and your kids can all partake in simultaneously.
Reading is a luxury, Dave. Understand this. It requires free time, and wealthy people have a lot more of that than poor people do.
14. 6% of wealthy watch reality TV vs. 78% for poor.
a) See above.
b) Wealthy people probably also have far less inclination to try to make themselves feel better by watching some asshole try to eat a bug faster than some other asshole, too. And they’re probably also less likely to be drawn to the escapism of shit like “rebuild my house! Move that bus!” than poor people as well.
15. 44% of wealthy wake up 3 hours before work starts vs.3% for poor.
Are you fucking kidding me, Dave? If some poor people woke up 3 hours before work started, they’d be waking up at the end of their night job’s shift.
Also, 3 hours before which of their 2+ jobs? There’s a bit of a difference between waking up at 6:30AM before the 9:30AM office job and waking up at 2:00AM for the 5:00AM security job.
Jesus Christ, Dave.
16. 74% of wealthy teach good daily success habits to their children vs. 1% for poor.
Well, according to this list, poor people don’t have a lot of daily success habits, so how would they know how to teach them to their kids? The logic just crumbles as soon as you look at it.
Also, it really depends on how you define “success”: For the poor, “succeeding” means “getting to the next paycheck without a day having to skip a meal.” And I’m pretty sure they teach their kids how to do that.
17. 84% of wealthy believe good habits create opportunity luck vs. 4% for poor.
I think this speaks more toward how desperate and hopeless things are for the poor than toward the accuracy of their views on opportunity and luck. Either way, the idea that you can influence luck is magical thinking madness.
18. 76% of wealthy believe bad habits create detrimental luck vs. 9% for poor.
Because, of course, there are no wealthy people who have terrible habits and suffer little or no consequences from their actions because they already have so much money that they’re effectively insulated from society.
And it’s not like our society rewards sociopathy and psychopathy or anything.
19. 86% of wealthy believe in life-long educational self-improvement vs. 5% for poor.
Yeah, no shit. How amazing, considering how little a college degree is worth these days and how much you have to pay for one.
And what motivation would a poor person have to spend what little free time they have studying things that aren’t necessarily relevant to their lives? It’s not like they’re going to get promoted to management because they’ve read a math textbook.
20. 86% of wealthy love to read vs. 26% for poor.
Bullshit. This is so silly and subjective that it’s fucking meaningless. It’s trying to demonize the poor as “anti-intellectual” but that seems really ironic when this entire list is so unscientific and rife with logical fallacy that it’s clear the author is himself pretty goddamn dumb.
Dave, you don’t even bother to even try to define “wealthy” and “poor”. Or “good”. Or “bad”. Or even, oh, I don’t know, link to the supposed study you’re citing, or — hell, sorry, I know this is asking way too much — actually conduct a scientific study on socioeconomics.
This whole thing is like opening up Dave’s skull and digging through his brain down to the logical fallacies and watching the Just-World Fallacy gears spin. Watching Dave confuse causation and correlation — or even cause and effect, really — is like watching a drunk man fumble and roll around on the floor of a subway platform trying to make his way onto a train while he pukes and shits all over himself.
The wealthy have the luxury to do all of these things, because they’re already successful. Nobody got rich by eating fancy steak dinners every night. Nobody got rich by going to the gym frequently. Nobody got rich by listening to a bunch of ebooks. And all of these things cost money which, I’m not sure if you’ve heard, poor people tend to not have a lot of. It’s like saying that Barack Obama was elected President of the United States because he had the authority to nominate federal judges and veto laws. No. That came later.
Meanwhile, I have a statistic of my own to share:
100% of the people who think this article has any meaning or relevance at all are wrong, and probably also stupid.