Watching this video by Casey Neistat the other day brought a couple of thoughts to mind that I wanted to share. However, before I jump into my own thoughts I really think you should watch the video as he brings up some really good points on being Rich vs being Poor.


For a little recap, in case you didn’t watch the video but I really think you should, Casey boils it down to everyone has Life Problems which consist of Happiness, Love, Fulfillment, and Purpose (at a minimum). However, if you are poor on top of those problems you have the big gorilla which is Money Problems because you don’t know where you are going to live, how to put food on the table, take care of yourself when you are sick, or maybe even not sure how to get to your job without proper transportation.

If you are like me, you are going to look at that list and agree with him that it is kind of straightforward. Poorer people are worried so much about money problems that when rich people say they can’t find their purpose in life and that money can’t solve their problems, we all jump off the rails because money would solve our problems.

So let's take this one step further now….

There are some people that are in-between this simple concept of Money and Life problems. In fact, most people probably fall in the middle of this easy example. I would take a guess that most of us think we have some sort of Money problems.

If we take a closer look at what we think are our money problems (or think we are poor), are we really just spending above our means. We feel we need a bigger house or extra vacations. Where in reality if we cut those out we could begin to look closer at those Life problems.

In the video, the article that Casey references is from the NY Times and titled America’s Professional Elite: Wealthy, Successful, and Miserable by Charles Duhig (@cduhigg). One part of the article that jumped out at me was a quote from the guy who made $1.2M a year and felt defeated in life said he was locked into a lifestyle that made cutting his pay impossible.

He had received an offer at a start-up, and he would have loved to take it, but it paid half as much, and he felt locked into a lifestyle that made this pay cut impossible. “My wife laughed when I told her about it,” he said.

That right there is the true problem of what we all feel when we have moved out of the Poor category (i.e., basic needs being taken care of), we get locked into a new version of ourselves that moving backward would feel like we failed. So our new version of poor keeps increasing with us. I am guessing most people could probably take a different job and still not be poor assuming they could get their spending and priorities in order of what is important. That is work that not everyone is willing to take and it is also something that does not change overnight. Not many people want to downsize their house or give up that yearly trip to Disney with the kids.

Over the past years, I have read a lot of articles from Personal Finance and Minimalist bloggers and the thing that always sticks out to me is the underlying topic of living true to your priorities. Some of that is figuring out what your “basic needs” or “minimum needs” are so then you can really figure out if changes can be made in your job/career to help you really tackle Life Problems that we all face.

My thoughts / Take Aways

I am not immune to this thing and it is something I always struggle with as I am sure most people do. My basic needs have been met so at the simplest form I really shouldn’t have any Money Problems. Moving past that, I boil it down to the two resources I have at my disposal in order to make my Life Problems either manageable or fixed. Time and Money

Time and money are both resources at our disposal which is really all that is needed for most problems in our lives and possibly the world. The hard part is to figure out how to balance both of them in order to get an optimal outcome for yourself.

Note I said optimal outcome, as there is not always a perfect balance of having tons of money and tons of free time.

Each of these resources is needed for prioritizing things that are important to us. For example, if you continue to upgrade your lifestyle by buying the newest gadgets, bigger houses, and fancier cars because you feel it is the most important thing to do you might find yourself in a situation of having no way out. Similar to the guy in the story from the NY Times. All of your resources are being used to tackle a lifestyle you want to achieve and I am guessing that lifestyle gives you less time and money to find love, meaning, and happiness.