Tag Archives: money

i’m more evil than john chow!

i’m more evil than john chow!

people say john chow is evil (if you don’t know him: he’s one of the first bloggers who wasn’t ashamed to make lots of money online). now we know the truth: i’m way more evil than john chow!

you see, there is a test now – very scientific and mathematically precise, i’m sure, and desperately needed, that i know – that measures the worth of your soul. according to that test, my soul is worth $66,055 soul dollars. john chow’s soul, on the other hand – a holy man, apparently, not an evil one – is worth $666,666!

$66,055 Soul Dollars

Quiz brought to you by money.co.uk

the questions and answers are evil in and of themselves, for example:

you have a fistfull of useless change, what are you going to do with it?
. throw it into a fountain. making sure people are playing there, first.
. climb to the top of a very tall building and drop the coins, just to see if the rumour about them hitting someone is true.
. shake it in the face of a homeless person.
. spend it. that’s my cigarette money.
. glue it to the ground and laugh as people hopelessly try to pick it up. like

do you help old ladies across the street, or kick them when they fall over?
. i help them across the street all the time. i also make sure to steal their welfare checks from their purse.
. neither. they should be able to help themselves.
. i suppose i kick them. more than once.
. i’m usually the reason they fell down in the first place.

what i found amusing about this exercise is that, as you can see, many of the questions have answers that i wouldn’t normally choose. so what’s the second best answer? and why? and why didn’t i turn away from it in disgust?

now we know: because i’m evil. to the tune of a measly $66,055 bucks.

frozen pea friday post: health and poverty

moneyin last week’s frozen pea friday post – the weekly post about people dealing with cancer, inspired by susan reynolds and my friends who are dealing with cancer – we alluded to the difficulty of paying for the necessary care needed for people living with cancer. this immediately led me to thinking about the connection between health and socio-economic status (SES), or income level. having spent the majority of my career as a counsellor with people living in poverty, particularly people in vancouver’s downtown eastside, canada’s poorest urban area, i am very familiar with the connection between health and income.

says one canadian government web site:

only 47% of canadians in the lowest income level rate their health as excellent or very good, compared to 73% of canadians in the highest income group.

canadians who live in the poorest neighbourhoods are more likely than residents of the richest neighbourhoods to die at an early age.

at each rung up the income ladder, canadians have less sickness, longer life expectancies and improved health.

in the UK, “life expectancy in the wealthiest areas is ten years longer than the poorest areas. the gap appears to be increasing as life expectancy for the prosperous continues to increase while in more deprived communities there is little increase.”

the impact of poverty on health by shelley phipps for the canadian population health initiative and the canadian institute for health information gives further information:

research has found a very robust relationship between an adult individual’s income and that individual’s health. regardless of how health and socio-economic status (ses) are measured and how these measures are combined, there is little doubt that poverty leads to ill health.

  • the relationship between individual income and health is non-linear (i.e. low-income individuals suffer larger negative health consequences than high-income individuals reap health benefits, though high-income individuals do reap benefits).
  • long-duration poverty has larger (negative) health consequences than occasional episodes of poverty.
  • both income level and income changes are significant predictors of health status, but income level is the more important of the two.

further along in the study, there is mention that chronic diseases such as arthritis, rheumatism, diabetes, heart problems, cancer, and hypertension are much more common–often twice as common–for aboriginal persons, who also have generally much lower SES than non-aboriginals.theories on how SES and health are connected include these:

absolute income hypothesis
this hypothesis suggests that health status improves with the level of personal income, but at a decreasing rate. one implication is that:”…if income is redistributed from the rich, whose health is not much affected, to the poor, whose health is more responsive to income, average health will improve. other things being equal, including average income, nations (or other groups) with a more equal distribution of income will have better average group health.”

absolute deprivation hypothesis
this can be regarded as an extreme version of the absolute income hypothesis. it suggests that very low standards of living are bad for health, but that once past some deprivation threshold, additional income is not particularly important for health. the emphasis here is that individuals living with very low incomes will encounter physical conditions that may undermine their health, such as poor nutrition, more limited access to health care, hazards from poor environmental quality, health-limiting behaviours such as smoking and sedentary habits and stress resulting from coping with very low income.

neo-materialist hypothesis
this hypothesis argues that high levels of income inequality are simply one manifestation of underlying historical, cultural, political and economic processes that simultaneously generate inequalities in social infrastructure (such as medical, transportation, educational, housing, parks and recreational systems). from this perspective, inequalities in health derive from inequalities in all of the above aspects of the material environment.

lynch and co-authors employ the metaphor of a long trip on an airplane to explain the difference in interpretation between the psycho-social and the neo-materialist interpretations. on a long trip on an airplane, passengers seated in first class are treated better: they have, for example, more room and receive better food. passengers travelling in economy class are cramped and, these days, receive little–if any–food! lynch et al argue that by the end of many hours of travel, the differences in physical conditions and treatment will reduce the well-being of the passengers in economy class (beyond feeling negative emotions because they know they are being unequally treated).

(image by old shoe woman)

family and money

the other day, nancy asked an interesting question in her saturday case study:

jeff and his two siblings, a brother and sister, each inherited a sizeable legacy when their parents died. jeff was conservative, and grew his legacy into an even more significant nest egg and is now independently wealthy.

he came to me because there was an unintended consequence to his wisdom: his siblings have very little left to show for their inheritance. he is too uncomfortable to let them know of his secret small fortune in comparison. as you can imagine he then has to hide his lifestyle which has resulted in increasing distance between him and his brother and sister.

what approaches might you suggest to jeff for bridging the gap, while protecting his own inner boundaries about his wealth?

this is an age-old question and i can think of a number of fairy tales with similar dynamics!

if i were to see jeff as a therapist, i might use “miracle questions”:

  • imagine you wake up one morning next year and a miracle has happened: you know that you now have a comfortable relationship with your siblings around money.
  • what would you tell others about your siblings?
  • what kinds of things would you be looking forward to do with your siblings? conversations? family gatherings? little joint projects?
  • how would you be displaying your lifestyle?
  • and what did you do to be so much more comfortable with your siblings?

it’s possible that just having a conversation with these questions as guidelines might bring about a change. for example, maybe talking about family gatherings might help jeff become aware how important they are for him – even more important than the money.

it’s also possible that this whole scenario is only the tip of the iceberg. maybe his relationship with his siblings would be difficult even without the money problem.

another possibility is that the discomfort around the difference in wealth is mostly on jeff’s side. as we all know, a great many problems in relationships stem from lack of communication. unfortunately, we often tend to make up for this insufficient and incomplete communication with imagined scenarios – but most of us are pretty bad mind readers and what we imagine is not quite the case.

but all of these (and more) are just possibilities.

if jeff came to see me, though, i’d do my best to keep these ideas far in the corner of my mind; i want to be as open, curious and receptive as possible when i see a new client. after all, my clients live with themselves 24/7 and are, therefore, much better experts at themselves than i can ever be.

my job is simply to be a midwife – to ask questions they may not have thought of before, to point out a perspective they might have forgotten, to support them in becoming even better experts of their lives.

to paraphrase henley: you are the master of your fate, you are the captain of your soul.

and that includes steering the ship of your financial life. you don’t want that to be captained by fear and discomfort; you want it to be captained by purpose.

now it’s your turn: how would you help jeff?

(if you look closely, you’ll see that this post is included in tony’s crazy surfer’s hullaballo carnival