And why their “bad” decisions might be more rational than you’d think.Â From a comment on the research from Gawker that kind of sums it all up.
I make a lot of poor financial decisions. None of them matter, in the long term. I will never not be poor, so what does it matter if I donâ€™t pay a thing and a half this week instead of just one thing? Itâ€™s not like the sacrifice will result in improved circumstances; the thing holding me back isnâ€™t that I blow five bucks at Wendyâ€™s. Itâ€™s that now that I have proven that I am a Poor Person that is all that I am or ever will be. It is not worth it to me to live a bleak life devoid of small pleasures so that one day I can make a single large purchase. I will never have large pleasures to hold on to. Thereâ€™s a certain pull to live what bits of life you can while thereâ€™s money in your pocket, because no matter how responsible you are you will be broke in three days anyway. When you never have enough money it ceases to have meaning. I imagine having a lot of it is the same thing.
Poverty is bleak and cuts off your long-term brain. Itâ€™s why you see people with four different babydaddies instead of one. You grab a bit of connection wherever you can to survive. You have no idea how strong the pull to feel worthwhile is. Itâ€™s more basic than food. You go to these people who make you feel lovely for an hour that one time, and thatâ€™s all you get. Youâ€™re probably not compatible with them for anything long-term, but right this minute they can make you feel powerful and valuable. It does not matter what will happen in a month. Whatever happens in a month is probably going to be just about as indifferent as whatever happened today or last week. None of it matters. We donâ€™t plan long-term because if we do weâ€™ll just get our hearts broken. Itâ€™s best not to hope. You just take what you can get as you spot it.
I have written about this before and at the end of the day, this seems to sum it all up better than I ever have. Â Make sure you read the entire post at The Atlantic.