When it comes to isolated circumstances, many people lose their wealth for a number of reasons. Some of the reasons at the top of the list include being underinsured (so not just uninsured, but not having enough insurance), marrying the wrong person (someone who cannot control their spending or does not support your endeavors), loss of a job, increase in expenditures that buries a household, and more. In today's economy, things that could wipe out someone's savings could be poor investments, a currency crisis, government seizure of assets, etc. All of these are possibilities, and if you don't think so, just look at other countries that are currently dealing with these very things. Do you really think the U.S. doesn't have the same potential risks?
Providing Zero Value
Having said all of that, today, I wanted to address something that might be a little more conceptual. When it comes to someone being poor and living a life that is impoverished, generally, this has to do with them not understanding how to make money in the real world and not caring enough to figure a way out for themselves. The biggest issue that people have is that they don't truly grasp the concept of adding value to others. When you boil everything down to its simplest form of why people get paid, it is because they are adding value to other people's lives.
If you are a business person providing a service, you are adding value to people who are demanding your service. If you are an investor, you are adding value to a person(s) or entity that will use your money to make more money for themselves, or simply use the money for themselves. Employees provide services to their employers, and depending on how much of a service the employee provides for his or her employer, this will determine which direction in the company he or she will go or if they will stick around at all. All of these situations, when done correctly, are win-win scenarios for both parties.
**Create a series of win-win scenarios**
The risk of poverty comes into play when you forget the reason why people pay you for a service. On the business side of things, when someone pays you, they are expecting to receive a financial benefit from utilizing your services. Many times, people get a very entitled mentality that causes them to slack off on their performance and then wonder why they aren't advancing or making more money.
For many dreamers, being an entrepreneur and a business owner is their ultimate goal. Sometimes, getting to that point requires working under someone else and gaining the experience and saving the money you need to go on their own. This might be the slower, more mundane part of the process, but none-the-less, you are educating yourself, learning how others run their business, and meeting people who you will likely network with as the years go on. The risk that many employees fall prey to is being disgruntled and not giving their job -- which is their current business -- their full effort, because their future goals are larger than where they are currently at. I see this a lot with many high school graduates, who seem to have an entitlement mentality and don't really understand that you get paid because you need to provide a value to someone else and not because your parents give you a weekly allowance just for being alive. The lack of motivation to get out in the real world and provide real value blows me away, and it's these individuals that are going to struggle and live poor because they don't have it in them to grow in all areas of their life to achieve long-term success.
Learn to Provide Value
We are all at risk of falling into this poverty trap if we lose our focus and stop providing value for the people around us. The reality is even when situations that happen that are beyond our control, such as company layoffs, economic downturns, unforeseeable expenses, or even a dollar crisis, being able to understand the power of being able to provide significant value to those around us-- and, specifically, those who can pay us -- will minimize the effects of anyone of these situations negatively affecting our own lives.
In the end, it is up to all of us to evaluate our own strengths and focus on them and how we can be of value to our bosses, clients, partners, investors, and those we have yet to do business with!