I came across a great concept (one that I have long talked about). It is certainly not a new one: Enduring wealth is between your ears (Peter Robinson). THAT is why we see so many rags-to-riches stories.
In grad school it is true that my wife and I had no money. But we weren’t poor. No, true poverty is a reflection of one’s state of mind rather than a reflection of one’s bank account. Little is more common than someone coming into great wealth and spending it all. One can recognize them by their “posse.”
It is hard work and endurance that counts. And you can’t redistribute that. The wealth is endemic to the person, not to fleeting advantages. A rich person may have no money, but they are, in fact, still a rich person. They just need more time. “Rich” is a way of being, not merely having money.
So the guy I know in my church who got millions because he inherited land that eventually became very valuable was called “The Beverly Hillbilly” behind his back—and this was by people of very pedestrian means. He bought a big house on a large, fancy property and then had to have church volunteers (mostly women) come over and remove the brush after a few years! He was rich in terms of his bank account only.
The classic example is the refined thief as played by Michael Cain and the vulgar thief as played by Steve Martin in the movie Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (a movie TOTALLY worth seeing, repeatedly).
I do indeed think this can be taken too far (and indeed it has been), but there is a real truth here, just the same.