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July 17, 2021

What's it like to be the poorest kid in an affluent setting?

Here's the dilemma: A couple are worried about moving to a place where they will have less money than nearly everyone else in the community.

They're concerned that the kids won't grasp the tradeoffs the parents have made (reaching for a better school district in the US) and will only see the things they lack.

New York Times columnist Ron Lieber thinks it could be the other way around. He wonders whether kids turn out better somehow if they have a bit less (but maybe not a lot less) than everyone else.

I'm not sure, but I guess it's all about the size of the gap. Poor kids can't keep up with rich kids given the differential resources each have access to, and the most significant difference is often centred around school.

Some of Lieber's readers felt that “being the poorest teenager in the school is probably a recipe for unhappiness,” while others thought the adults were projecting their own worries on the children.

What do you think?

By Gordon Powers, MSN Money



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Gordon PowersGordon Powers

A long-time fund company executive, Gordon Powers now heads up the Affinity Group, a financial services consulting firm. Gordon was a personal finance columnist for the Globe & Mail for many years, has taught retirement planning...