These Flight Attendants Show Why Most People Are Poor

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I was waiting in Charlotte airport for my flight back to America early Thursday morning, and I overheard a really interesting conversation between a bunch of flight attendants sitting next to me. There is a “Workerbee” mentality in America that keeps the average family average in terms of their net worth and income. I’ve demonstrated before that anyone who starts investing in their 20s can retire a millionaire, and the chat I heard that day reminded me why more people don’t end up that way. The headlines in each section below are some of the things they said.

“Imagine if They Took Some of that CEO Money and Gave It To Us!”

One of the attendants had just found an article listing the monthly pay for several CEOs of America’s largest corporations. They really were stunned that one guy had pulled down close to $2 million a month and they had never heard of his company before. There was a lot of talk about how the workers should get more and how they don’t understand how a person could use all that cash. Therefore, the CEO’s pay should be cut by 80% and all the workers should get raises.

While the CEO to worker pay ratio has been exploding the past few decades, it pales in comparison to the pay of top financiers like hedge fund founders. I remember seeing an article in the Wall Street Journal one time that said the average top 20 hedge fund manager made more money compared to the average CEO than the average CEO did compared to the average worker, meaning even the extravagantly paid C-suite executives in this country look like paupers compared to people that make the real money. The difference is that CEOs don’t fret about their ratio of pay to the top hedge fund managers, they focus on their work to make their companies profitable so they can become rich. The flight attendants’ focus on the pay of highly visible managers is a big distraction. Rather than knowing the complete picture how to get rich by investing, these workers look at a high income CEO and think of him or her as an example of “the rich,” which you can never achieve because you’ll never have that level of income.

When you are focused on another person’s pay, you aren’t doing everything that you can to expand your own earning power. There’s no use spending energy fretting over how much your top manager makes. You should worry about things that you can change, like getting more certifications, flying on higher profile flights that pay better, and getting high customer service marks to move up to first class cabins on international trips (just guessing how you make more $$ as a flight attendant). Whenever I thought about how much more my bosses were making than me, I just got frustrated and didn’t want to work as hard because I felt like the extent of the gap was unfair. When I starting caring less, that’s when I found opportunities like tutoring on the side to make more income. 

“Holy #@$% What Would I Do With All That Money? I Guess I Can Find Something to Spend It On”

One attendant, upon hearing the CEO salaries, was concerned about not knowing what she would buy right away. When you can’t envision yourself having large amounts of assets, you are never going to be on a path where you can build them up over time. You need a plan if you want to have enough assets one day to achieve financial independence.

At first I was pleasantly surprised. Maybe these workers were just humble people who didn’t have much in the way of spending needs. However, upon thinking of the comment more deeply, she wasn’t saying she wouldn’t spend it, just that she would need time to figure out WHERE to spend it. That is, there’s no thought of investing the money, letting it grow, and living off a portion of the interest and dividends. The immediate response to sudden cash wealth is not behavior that could permanently increase your standard of living, but more like the consumer response where you’re trained to go out and buy lots of nice things. If you don’t have a plan for when you’re rich, you aren’t going to stay that way!

“OMG, Someone Won the Powerball in Tennessee!”

After reading off CEO salaries, advocating for spreading the wealth, and wondering what they would do with that new wealth, one of the flight attendants got really excited because someone in their hometown won the Lottery. One of the women said she hoped it was her sister in law because “she plays all the time.” They went on discussing the Powerball in such great detail I was impressed. The problem is, the Lottery is the heaviest Math Tax of all time. The odds are so badly stacked against you that it never makes sense to play it. It’s an instrument of gambling sanctioned by states that wanted extra money to spend on pet programs without raising taxes. The working class are the primary losers of this rigged game.

When you know as much about the Lotto as these workers did, you don’t know about index funds, buy and hold, dollar cost averaging, long term performance outlooks, and keeping costs low. You don’t know about Roth IRAs, 401k’s, 529s for your kids college savings, and the extreme toxicity of credit card debt. If you know that much about the Lottery, your only way out of your current situation is a pipe dream shot at millions of dollars.  If you focused on what you could control, you could retire a millionaire on your own without needing a gambling outlet to do it.

“Did Anyone See the Kardashians New Hairdo? Kourtney and Kim Looked Sooo Cute”

Because I wait in line at grocery stores to, I know more than I ever care to know about the Kardashians. Luckily, I’ve only watched 10 minutes of their reality show over my life time. These flight attendants though, they knew everything. Who was married to who, what kind of troubles they were having, what was going on with the families, and more. They were talking about their outfits they saw them wearing and how they thought their hair looked so good.

Similar to their knowledge on the lottery, these flight attendants probably have a lot of time on their hands to watch TV and learn about reality television stars. Instead of filling their minds with things that can help them financially, the flight attendants knew a lot about these women who are famous for being famous. Furthermore, this level of knowledge meant they had to have been exposed to hundreds of hours of brain sucking television advertisements. Because they were admirers of the Kardashians’ hair, these flight attendants would be more likely to purchase anything advertised on their show, be it make up, fashion, or whatever. So not only are these workers not educating themselves about their personal finances, they are being indoctrinated with consumerism so that the next time they get to visit an exotic location with their job, they are guaranteed to buy some nice material possessions that will drain their bank accounts.

Ditch the Workerbee Flight Attendants’ Mentality and Adopt the Investor Mentality

These flight attendants will never be wealthy thinking the way that they were. Their mindset is one of fixed incomes that come in and get spent. I would bet their incomes are equal to their expenses, or worse. America doesn’t educate its workforce on managing money, and I’m starting to wonder if that’s on purpose. By allowing pop culture and the glowing tube in our living rooms to educate people, we grow a population accustomed to making others rich with their mindless spending habits. This is the workerbee mentality. You are always living paycheck to paycheck, so there’s no chance you jump off the honey train until you are at mandatory retirement.

Adopt the investor mentality instead. When you spend money, ask yourself, “is this a good value?” If it’s not, then don’t do it! You will drastically cut down on your spending after realizing that most of your personal possessions are not making your life any better. Instead of filling your head with reality TV, you will learn about making good financial decisions like how to save for retirement, how to think long term in investing, and how to keep costs low so you keep more of your returns. Someone with an investor mentality doesn’t think about CEO pay, the Lottery, or the Kardashians. They have a plan for when they are wealthy and it involves gaining a life of financial freedom to live and give charitably on your own time on your own terms. Have a great Friday!

3 thoughts on “These Flight Attendants Show Why Most People Are Poor”

  1. Fuck you mother fucker! A lot of flight attendants get paid hardly anything. Wtf do you know about being a flight attendant!

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