Poor vs. Broke

I recently heard a pastor share a thought about what it means to be “poor” and what it means to be “broke.”   He said the following:

Poor means I have no money.

Broke means I have money, but I do not pay my bills.

What are your thoughts?

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  1. Terri on November 18, 2010 at 4:58 am

    Maybe it should be “chooses not to pay my bills.” And then taken further, why would one choose not to pay his bills? Because he is “broken” and because he is “broken” his choice is justified to himself. And so the cycle continues until he becomes accountable first which leads to responsible.

  2. Michelle on November 18, 2010 at 12:30 pm

    Hello Joe, I fully enjoyed you on last night at RDCC.
    My pastor’s actual quote was:
    Poor means I have nothing.
    Broke means I have nothing left.
    The point made while making this statement was based on what Jesus said: “The poor you have with you always.” as well as, the story about the prodigal son, where the younger son “spent all or wasted all on riotous living. There are people in the world who do not have; but then there are those who have but live beyond their means. They spend all they get and so they have nothing left. I have been on both sides of this spectrum. As a child my family had little to nothing. As an adult I learned, that based on where the poverty level was at that time, that as a child we lived beneath the poverty level. As an adult I began working and was very blessed and fortunate financially. However, I then moved over to the “broke” end of the spectrum. I had enough money to pay my bills but it seemed that the more money that was available to me the more money I spent. I did not save and I had credit card debt out of the ying yang. Most of the time I didn’t even need to use credit to get some of the things that was purchased. In my mind I would tell myself that I would just pay it off when the bill came but that never happened. Now thanks to my pastor’s biblical teaching and your financial learning experience and my decision to let enough be enough; I realize that with determination, diligence and the Lord’s help I too do not have to be broke any longer. Thank you for allowing the Lord to use you.

  3. Cindy Gowan on November 18, 2010 at 12:35 pm

    In my experience, if you are broke you probably can’t pay your bills. I have been there and couldn’t. But I didn’t consider myself poor. To me it was a temporary thing – being broke.
    We grew up poorer than most but my parents paid their bills, we just did without what alot of people felt they had to have. We just had less bills and a lower income.
    Anyone can be broke at some point, especially these days with the job market the way it is, but not necessarily poor.
    I always felt you could fix being broke easier than you can fix being poor.

  4. Regina on November 18, 2010 at 12:46 pm

    Joe, I enjoyed your teaching last night at RDCC. I was on your website this morning and reviewed some of your financial tools. I loved them. The budget spread sheet is awesome. My prayer for the outcome of that presentation is that …each person at church last night take hold of your message about having “deligence over our finances” and aoolied them while praying about God’s purpose for their lives. I’m a account rep for a non profit organization and I see daily how people mismanage their bills and struggle to maintain basic needs. As I continue with saving and our FISMO campaign I’m more conscientious about making sure every penny of my money have a “spiritual assignment”. Again, I can’t tell you how blessed I was with you both yesterday and on Sunday. Pastor Bailey has taught us so much about both spiritual and naturally aspects of our finances, but to know that he loves so much that he will request someone with your experince to come teach us also, is amazing. Please continue to allow God to use you in this area because with continuous training, I believed that God will one day, place me in the position to help others conquer their personal debt problems, too.

  5. Susan on November 18, 2010 at 2:46 pm

    Wow….your quote, “Poor means I have no money” and “Broke means I have money, but I don’t pay my bills” and Michelle’s quote, “Poor means I have nothing” and “Broke means I have nothing left” are really quite different in my perception of things.

    Broke could mean many things….that I DO pay all of my bills, but I have no money left afterward. This could be because of being layed off from a job and having to take less pay, etc. Broke could also mean that I just don’t pay my bills (use the money for other things or just plain overspend).

    People can be broke for many reasons, so that particular quote brings many scenarios to mind, but I do not feel that all of them can be contributed to wasteful spending or even bad financial planning. Sometimes devastating things happen that can cause someone to be broke, no matter how well they have managed their money in the past.

    Being POOR, however, is not at all the same. I have a sister whose husband died in 2007. They had a son together who was 16 years old at the time of his father’s death, and he has Autism. He could not understand why his father would not come home and he became more and more violent. He had to be taken from the home due to his size & his violent nature, leaving my sister alone. Because of my nephew’s condition, my sister had not worked outside of the home in many years. She was a homemaker and caregiver for her husband and son. Her husband died suddenly of a heart attack, leaving my sister alone and with no job. My sister was 25 years old when all of this took place in 2007. My sister got the only job she could find, which was a door greater at Wal Mart. She has become more and more frail and has just recently been accepted into St. Lukes Free Medical Clinic, and has been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, rheumatoid arthritis (in the crippling stages), and is in need of two knee replacements. My sister is POOR! She has no income because she is not physically able to work anymore(ZERO income), no health insurance, and none of it is because she is unwilling to work. She is currently applying for disability and we are trying to keep her afloat during the application and acceptance/denial process. I pray that God will have her approved for benefits quickly, so that she will be able to pay her bills and get the help that she so desperately needs.

    My sister and her husband did not make good financial decisions while he was living, and the result is, that now she is widowed and POOR! We are not promised tomorrow, so think about what would happen to your family if something were to happen to you today. Would your family be “broke” or would they be “poor”…..or would they be financially stable? Tomorrow is too late! Do it today, so that tomorrow your family will not have to face being POOR if something unexpected happened to you! We never know.

    Please pray for my sister, Judy, that God will move mountains and use His awesome power to get her paperwork through the system quickly and that she would be approved for benefits. POOR and BROKE are two entirely different things, but the reasons for them can sometimes be similar.

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