A man and his wife were awarded a $20 million settlement from a company in 2004. The company’s environment gave the husband a lung disease.
The law firm got 35%. Presumably, they got the rest.
They built a $3.9 million home in Carthage, Missouri. Carthage is a small town of 14,000. Average household income is $33,000 a year. The average home price is under $85,000.
They have declared bankruptcy. They owe the contractor over $100,000. The home is now listed as worth $700,000.
Easy come, easy go.
They still owe almost $500,00 on the mortgage. They did not pay cash.
The owe a total of over $600,000.
This is a classic story of the inability of people with no money to handle big money. They were poor, then they got rich, now they are poor. It is rags-to-riches-to-rags in eight years.
When they started out poor, they had never known wealth. To stay poor all your life is better than having gotten rich, blown it, and been hurled into poverty again. The agony of “what might have been” remains. “If only, if only.”
And then there is the humiliation.
This is a reminder: poverty is a way of life. Money cannot always get you out of poverty if your way of life does not change. If money just makes it easier for you to waste your life, it does you no good.