All of our lives our resources bases increase and decrease—depending upon external and internal realities. So we may move from emotional wealth to emotional poverty (as I did during my divorce a decade ago), or we may move from financial poverty to wealth … and back and forth.

Daniel Mitchell wrote an online article titled “Economic Mobility, Class Warfare, and Poverty.” It appeared February 12, 2016.

He states the following:

  • Seventy percent of wealthy families lose their wealth by the second generation and 90% by the third generation. And it takes “the average recipients of an inheritance 19 days until they buy a new car.”
  • Individuals actually fall in and out of the top 1% quite often. Ten percent of Americans make it into the top 1% of incomes at least one year of their life. Only 5.8% of Americans will be in the top 1% two or more years. On the flip side, 54% of Americans will be in or near poverty for at least one year of their life before they are 60.

In the current political polling, Mitchell finds that the bottom 10% are much more concerned about deprivation and opportunity than they are with “wealth envy.” He says, “They want higher floors for living standards and do not much care about lower ceilings.”

As you think about your own movement along the continuum of scarcity and abundance, as you have experienced the spectrum of life, how have your resources—mental, emotional, physical, financial, support systems, relationships/role models, and spiritual—ebbed and flowed?

To think of resources as fixed is to misunderstand the rhythms of life and experience.

Ruby K. Payne, Ph.D. is the founder of aha! Process and an author, speaker, publisher, and career educator. Recognized internationally for A Framework for Understanding Poverty, her foundational book and workshop, Dr. Ruby Payne has helped students and adults of all economic backgrounds achieve academic, professional, and personal success.