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Poor versus Broke.

Hurricane Katrina in the Gulf of Mexico near i...

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Poor versus Broke.

After a hurricane Katrina, my daughter and I traveled to the area affected by it to assist in the rebuilding. My job was to install plumbing in the new homes that were being built in one of the poorer areas.


While there, I had the pleasure of meeting a retired gentlemen who lived across the street from where I was working. He was in his late 80’s, and he brought over some sodas for us to drink as we worked. He told us he appreciated the work we were doing in his neighborhood. He informed us that the water had been about 4 feet deep in his home and truck. He had cleaned up his place himself and was currently working on his truck so he could get it running again (his truck was worth about $200).

He said that he was living on a $600 per month income and that the storm had set him back a little financially, but he felt he had bounced back fairly quickly. He was broke, but not poor.


Beside him sat a house that still had all of the flood residue in the yard. On the porch sat three teenage boys who lived there, each listening to his MP3 player. They motioned for me to come over to where they were sitting, so I did.

When I got there, they asked if I knew when the work crew was coming to their house to clean their yard. I stood there in disbelief. Here were three able-bodied young men who had the physical ability to take care of their own situation but were waiting on volunteers- volunteers their own age who were paying to come from other states to help. It then occurred to me that these young men had been raised to believe that they were poor and that they could not do anything about it.

Which are You?

So as you look at your own finances, are you broke or poor? Broke is temporary . . . just a bump in the road. Or are you poor, thinking that you have no control over and no input into your situation? The two definitions I’m using have nothing to do with money; they have to do with people’s attitudes and perceptions of their situations.

You have a choice, and the choice is yours.
Bryan Cooper
Financial Life Coach

My Financial Life Coach, LLC

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10 Tips for Caring for Aging Parents – The Best Life (

10 Tips for Caring for Aging Parents – The Best Life (

This topic came up in a discussion last night. When I saw the article today I wanted to pass it along. There are links in this article to some additional resources.

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