Where do I fall on the Social/Financial scale? Based on everything that I have seen in regards to income levels and read about the guidelines in deciding economic status, I would have to rate myself at Lower Middle Class, if not Poor.
How has my family and community affected my position in society? My family has affected my position, believe it or not, positively because without the assistance of them, I would be in poverty. However, I was slowly able to come out of that level and gradually begin to get out of debt, establish credit all over again and save money, literally opening a savings account that contains a good amount of cash.
Many beginning families start out in poverty. They are poor about 12% of their life and then move out of poverty. Certainly young families in college may be considered poor, but after training and placement in employment, they move up in their financial status.
How do you see your status related to being poor? As I stated, I am sure that by most standards and means of deciding status, I would be classified as poor. I work as a waiter, where I get paid minimum wage. However, a large portion of my income goes unreported, as if I never even made it. Honestly, if I was not so anal and had to keep track of my daily earnings, I would not be able to tell you what I make. However, when I was just approaching twenty, I started to keep a log of my daily tips. I would buy a “Month at a Glance” Calendar and each day I worked, I would write down the hours I worked and how much I made in tips. Then I would add my total income ( pay from employer + tips ), divide it by how many hours I worked that month and be able to get an average hourly rate. I have found it to be a great way to see exactly why I do or do not have money at times. In addition, it is a great way to compare from year to year how my “salary” has increased, decreased or remained the same. That being said, over the course of the 16 years I have been working with my company, we have always looked at getting 20% of the guest check as a good tip. Our prices have relevantly remained the same, with the occasionally rise of a dime here and there on certain menu items. That means that what I was making in 1998 remains to be the same rate at which I am “paid” in 2013. However, with the economy being that it is, we were much busier in the late 90s meaning I made more money doing the same job 16 years ago than I do today.
Does poverty automatically dictate unhappiness? Can a person be poor and still be happy? I wish I could be the optimist and say that money has no effect on overall happiness or state of mind. However, I am much more a realist and know that being poor, or having any kind of financial worry does carry a large burden in one’s overall mood. Although it is possible to be happy (depending on one’s definition) not being rich, I believe your mood and thoughts are constantly plagued with worry causing stress when you are without money, or a dependable income that allows for a lifestyle one is content with.
What are my goals for