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How Rich Are You?

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Message David Cox


So just how rich are you? Are you doctor or lawyer rich? Are you CEO rich? Or perhaps pro athlete rich? Or maybe you’re just a poor shlub like me just an average Joe with an average income. The average is $46,000 but that’s for all families, if you refine it even more to traditional family average is $57,000. But now if you’re a dink (dual income no kids) it rises to $66,000 per year. I guess being childless you can travel on the job more and need less time off.

For non family households the average drops to $27,000 I guess that by the numbers if they would just get married you would automatically get a $30,000 raise. More to the point the $27,000 numbers leads us to ask, are these poor people living together or are they living together because they’re poor? Statistics are like that they pose as many questions as they answer. For example 4 out of 5 dentists recommend Crest. How could you ever corroborate that? Poll every dentist in the world?

Now if you’re a female householder with no husband the present average drops to $30,650 and for male householder $34,048 and add them together and you’re right back to that $66,000 married couples. The message seems to be, spend time on your marriage as well as your job or it could get expensive for you both. But these are just average Joe six-packs and Mary office workers incomes, maybe you’re rich!

Maybe you’re a doctor in family practice averaging $137,000 your rich! But not really, your classmate from med school who became a surgeon he’s high stepping at $228,839 and you thought you were rich but he’s going to leave you in the dust. Why in family Practice you’ll top out at $159.000 no wonder he won’t return your calls. Why once he gets his practice established he could move towards $325,000 double your paltry income! You don’t even make 5 times the national average for single men and if you were to get married it could be down right embarrassing. You went to school for how long, to make 5 times the national average? Why if you were to get married it would be down to three!

Maybe you should have gone to law school? The hours are better the works cleaner sort of, but maybe you were too interested in really helping people. Funny thing researching incomes for attorneys it’s hard to get straight facts. They like to list them as percentiles and urban verses non-urban but the average runs from $93,000 to $140,000 for the 75th percentile. Take a wild guess which way the other 25th percentile goes, lawyers being disingenuous about numbers who would have thunk it?

But that’s not rich, that’s comfortable, can you hit a fastball? The average major league salary was $2.9 million dollars or what our poor poverty stricken country doctor will earn in 18 years! Now that’s average, if you’re good at it, that’s where the money is! Alex Rodriguez 25.7 million, Derek Jeter 20.6 million, Barry Bonds only earned 20 million but the jobs not without its drawbacks. Your career playing time is limited five or six years making 3 million a year and then your out on your ass. Then what do you do? The job requires you to travel and stay with the team in first class hotels eating all your meals out. Why if it wasn’t for the $75.00 a day the players get in meal money how would they get by?

Our country doctor would have to work 125 years to earn what Barry Bonds earns in 162 games and he thought he was rich. The surgeon with his $325,000 income is working for baseball minimum wage, a rookie salary. The surgeon can earn his pennies year after year unless he makes a mistake. Then he’s subject to be sued and pay higher insurance premiums for the length of his career while the baseball player who drops a fly ball in the 9th inning of the world series will get booed but he gets to keep the cash. Of course the surgeon could always lower himself to family practice but could he stand the loss in income?

I guess if you’re not that smart or athletic the answer might be in business, Bill Gates once tried to sell Windows to IBM for $60,000, IBM threw him out. Now Bill is the second richest man in the country but Bill is just one of many people who found themselves in the right place at the right time. Many of them who now own sports franchises and pay out those $20 million dollar salaries. They have rooms full of attorneys and doctors to call on they make that paltry $46,000 before breakfast in the morning. They make the $328,000 before supper and that doctor thought he was rich.


But maybe you’re not a computer nerd, well don’t lose hope always remember what Willie Sutton the bank robber said when asked why he robbed banks, "because that's where the money is'. Some of the richest people in America followed Willie’s advice and went into financial services. New York mayor Michael Bloomberg is a billionaire because of his work in financial services and bought the job as mayor just to fill his free time like the retired volunteers that do charity work. The beauty of being a business executive is it’s like being a baseball manager.

You sit in the dugout and watch the team, if it goes well you’re considered a genius.

If however the team falters you’re fired, Chuck Tanner’s longtime big league manager once said. "This is the best job in the world, sure as you’re hired you get fired but then somebody else will hire you for more money to do the same job."

In baseball maybe but not in business, that’s why in business you have the golden parachute.

Home Depot’s former chief executive was paid a reported $210 million dollars in severance after Home Depot share values dropped 9% during his reign. Complaints about his severance package made national headlines but Home Depot defended it’s self by saying the actual cash severance was only around $20 million. I bet the critics feel real bad about themselves now after making such a fuss, it was only $20 million in cash. Just what the average workers would make in 434 years, I know that sounds like a lot but it’s barely 80 new Ferraris and won’t cover the cost one estate in the south of France.

Why our poor country doctor would earn that in a mere 125 years and the surgeon in 60 years. Barry Bonds has to work all summer in the hot sun to earn that kind of scratch. Our poor President struggles along on his net worth of between $9 million to $26 million and well no one ever accused him of being that smart did they. While Dick Cheney former business executive and all around nice guy wonders what he will do now that Congress has cut off funding to his office. His own net worth is estimated at between $30 million and $100 million I don’t know about you but from what I’ve seen in Dick I’d lean closer to that hundred million number.

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I was born and raised in Chicago in a liberal Democratic home my Grandfather was a labor union organizer my Father a Democratic district committeeman my Mother was an election judge. My earliest memories were of passing out Kennedy yard signs from (more...)
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