Over the years as I’ve been surrounded by individuals that seek to help others, and I’m often amazed at how many of them graciously give when a need arises. Whether it’s building a fence, helping fix a car, or providing monetary assistance when a family comes across hard times, I see generous people everywhere I look.
For me personally, I’ve always had a hard time accepting favors. I’m not sure if it’s pride or ego-driven, but the truth is that I’m comfortable paying somebody in exchange for their services. Saying that, I’m not ignorant enough to believe that I wouldn’t be more open to these blessings in the event that a NEED arises.
What really drove me to write this post though was thinking more about our world, the increase in government assistance programs, and the subsequent abuse of those programs. I’ve had the privilege to meet A LOT of people over the years, from all different walks of life; what I can’t seem to figure out is how some people will ask for the occasional favor whereas some never have a problem holding out their hand.
A few weeks back I met with a lower-middle class family and the impression those guys left with me will last for years to come. The husband talked about how hard times were for his family when they grew up back in the 50s, and he’d go on to tell me that he loved to work and would do whatever was necessary to make sure his family’s bills were paid.
This gentleman had owned a business for the past 15 years and was a self-proclaimed “jack of all trades.” His business didn’t have a sole function, he was the only employee, and he definitely didn’t make a lot of money. He’d do house repairs, concrete work, and when the economy started to go south in 2008 he started to resell items. From flashlights to antique items, he’s made a living reselling stuff that other people would gladly throw away. The thing I kept thinking was the adage: “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure”, and in this instance, it certainly proved to be true.
In my meeting with the family we went on to talk about the entitlement that’s so commonly discussed when referring to the younger generation of Americans, and he told me stories about his daughter and how she really had no grasp on how difficult it truly is to make a decent living in this country. After a bit of ranting about unemployment and the lazy people that lived next to him in his apartment complex, he talked about how he’s done everything necessary to avoid taking handouts from the government and how he has worked hard to provide for his family on his own.
At the end of the meeting he summed it up well: he said, “Jason, I’d walk through a pile of shit every day as long as it meant I could take care of my family.”
While I couldn’t get over that man’s good-ole’-boy Kentucky upbringing, it did make me wonder why some people are willing to do what’s necessary to support themselves whereas others are fine taking whatever form of assistance they can get their hands on.
I personally know people or have met people that:
While I’m sure many people know individuals or families that look for as many handouts as possible, I’m always SHOCKED when I read other RIDICULOUS stories like the panhandlers that make $60,000/year sitting on a street corner collecting donations. Or the lady that won $1,000,000 in the lottery but continued to collect unemployment benefits.
Or maybe you’ve even read about the Seattle lady that lives in a $1,000,000 home but is on Welfare?
Understanding that I don’t know the people from the stories, it’s wrong for me to sit here and judge them. However, it doesn’t stop me from wondering ‘how in the world can people justify doing these things?’ How can they justify taking hard-earned money from the tax payers (people like you and me), receive as many handouts as possible, while there are others out there like my good ole’ Kentucky boy that’s willing to walk through a pile of dung to make sure his family’s bills are covered?
There will be moments in our lives where we need friends, family, and possibly the government to help us. Whether it’s a job loss, a disability, being underemployed, or losing the family’s income earner, there are people out there that definitely need help and lending them a hand shouldn’t be something you have to think twice about.
But, how far is going too far?
Is it possible to give somebody too much? Is it possible to show them that they don’t really have to work hard and can rely on assistance instead of busting their tails to make ends-meet like so many of us have to?
Ultimately it comes down to your character: how you were raised, where your morals lie, and what you feel you’re “owed.” There is nothing wrong with asking for help when you need it, but there is a fine line between asking for a favor and consistently looking for a handout.
Do you know people that abuse government programs or the generosity of others? Why do you think those people are so willing to hold out their hand and are there solutions to prevent people from taking advantage of the systems intended to help people that are truly in need?
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