"Reality Check"

            A friend posted an article on Facebook with a title that grabbed my attention: “8 Stats That Will Change the Way You Think About Wealth”. I’ve included the bulk of the article because it’s short. As always, I gain perspective when I have a global perspective on money.

            Most of us make the wrong comparisons. We look at those we know or read about who have “a lot”. We measure the size and number of their homes, the price of their cars and the expense of their vacation. “So-and-so has a lot,” we say. This article that I’m sharing helps me see how I’m doing compared with the rest of the world. By that measure, you and I are doing really well. Here’s the article:

If you are reading this article, that means you have access to . . . a computer, a laptop or a smart phone. You have electricity. You have a connection to the Internet. If you know where your next meal is coming from and you don’t have to worry about getting clean water, having shelter over your head and accessing medical care, you benefit from more wealth than many people throughout human history.

In Western culture, accumulating wealth, finding career success and obtaining financial prosperity have become the focus of much of our lives. But the constant effort to earn more money can make you lose perspective on the reality of poverty and the blessings of actual wealth.

Here's a look at eight stats that will shift the way you think about money and what it means to be rich:

1% of the Population Has Almost the Same Amount of Money as the Rest of the 99% Combined

48.2 percent of all of the world’s wealth is in the hands of just 1 percent of the population.

You Might Be a Part of the 1%

If you make more than $50,000 a year, you are among the top 1 percent of earners on the entire planet.

$10 a Day Is the Norm

Most of the population of the entire world (80 percent) lives on less than $10 a day.

If Your Annual Household Income Is above $9,733, You Are Doing Better Than Most

The median household income for the global population is less than $10,000 a year.

Your Coffee Costs as Much as Many People Spend in a Whole Day

More than a third of people on earth live on less than $2 a day. 1.2 billion live on less than $1.25.

Most Americans Spend Less Than 10% of Their Personal Income on Food

Most of the income (60% - 80%) of individuals in impoverished communities in other parts of the world is spent putting food on the table.

Americans Spend Roughly $465 Billion Every Christmas; America Spends $6.3 Billion to Fight AIDS Overseas

The amount American consumers spend buying stuff at the holidays is greater than the GDP of some of the world’s poorest countries.

Children in Rich Countries Only Face a 1 in 165 Chance of Dying By Age 5. In Extremely Poor Countries, Their Chances Are 1 in 6

Every day, nearly 29,000 children younger than 5 die, mostly from preventable diseases.


            What do we do in light of these numbers? I suggest that we try to carry some perspective around with us in the following ways.

ü  Grow in gratitude for what you have. Be content and enjoy the blessings God has given you.

ü  Stop spending so much on your Christmas presents. As people who already have everything, we don’t need another thing. Buy your presents this year at our Alternative Christmas market.

ü  Give generously.