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It all started with a joke about Andy’s TDY (“business trip”) in January. As we were planning his trip, we estimated how much money he would spend on the hotel and food and attempted to calculate how much reimbursement we will receive from the military. Andy cracked a joke, which I posted as a Facebook status because we both thought it was hilarious: “One day when we’re rich, when I go on TDY I want to use the full per diem pay for my meals. I’ll eat steak or lobster for dinner every night.”
A neighbor commented on my status saying,'Sorry to break the news to you, honey, but you'll never be rich in the military.'Click To Tweet
Knowing her reply was coming from a place of bitterness (as she frequently complains about the military, mentions being poor often and once made a comment to me about “how nice it must be to afford to travel all the time, which (she) can’t afford to do with 3 kids”, to which I almost replied “This is why we don’t want kids immediately”), I wrote back that in my opinion, it’s completely possible. Between increased pay if/when he goes officer and as his rank increases, and my pay increasing as my career improves (we live solely off his paycheck with mine going straight towards debt payoff/investing), we’ll be “rich.”
Now, I should mention that if you recall this book review from November, you may think I’m being hypocritical. But I’m not. Because, to me, there is a difference between rich and millionaires. I never stated Andy and I would be millionaires, just that we would be rich. Part of our thinking comes from an optimistic spirit. We both believe in “you reap what you sow,” meaning if you have a negative outlook on life, negative things will come your way. If we let ourselves think we’ll be “poor” forever, then we will be poor forever. It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy.
So what exactly is rich? To us, there’s a certain dollar amount that both Andy and I associate with rich. I don’t want to state that number here, because I know there are readers out there who make this amount (and more) and I don’t want to make them feel awkward or anything. But that number amount– that is completely specific to us– is completely attainable for us in the next 5 years.
As I was talking about this with Andy, we both agreed that even the “rich” people don’t think they’re rich. Truthfully, most people think of rich as the people who make more than them. And honestly, I guess Andy and I do too. We’re not rich. We’re “poor.” However, since we both grew up actually poor, the amount of income a “rich” person brings in would probably be about solidly middle-class.
Then we talked about the poverty we saw in Jamaica (as well as the poverty Andy saw in Afghanistan.) I don’t think I ever blogged about it, but on the way to our resort we passed by many slum neighborhoods. Children walking around barefoot, wearing tattered clothes. Locals who said they bathed in Dunn’s River Falls at night because they didn’t have running water at their house. It was honestly really sad thinking about how much money we spent on our honeymoon, knowing that amount of money is probably more than they will see in their lifetime.
-living in an actual house (not just a shanty)
-having running water, heat, air conditioning and electricity
-having two vehicles in the driveway… or even just one
-having groceries in the cabinet and refrigerator
-having a smartphone and multiple laptops
-having a stable income
-having access to healthcare
This post took a turn from how I originally intended. I was going to say, “Well, rich is subjective” but in reality, that’s just American standards of wealth. So Andy and I may not be our (American) definition of rich yet, but…Compared to the rest of the world, we're wealthy. And so are you.Click To Tweet
…Compared to the rest of the world, we’re wealthy. And so are you.
Do you consider yourself “rich” or “poor”?
Why or why not?