Rich House Poor House

You’ve got to love Channel 5 and its ‘do what it says on the tin’ programme titles. ‘I’m fat and it’s your fault’, ‘Rich Kids go Skint’, ‘My 600lb life’, ‘Someone sat at a desk reading about what’s been going on in the world’. I made the last one up. I think.

Rich House Poor House is an interesting watch though. I’m fascinated by the effect money/lack of has on people, and how they think about it. The show generally starts with clips of the poor house’s residents (presumably in response to a prompting question) stating how much easier rich families must have it.

The families are chosen from the lowest and highest 10% of the UK household income levels. 

People have strongly opposing views as to the justification of somebody’s financial position, as I suspect do many of the people who appear on the show. However it is interesting when the two families are, essentially, doing the same thing. Trying to provide a good life for their kids. This may include riding lessons and skiing holidays, or walking to the local park for a kick-around.

Often the poor house family are somewhat excited to arrive at the rich house, with its extra rooms, gadgets, and massive wad of spending money. However they’re often not sorry to arrive back home.

The show frequently seems to spark something in the poor family, including older children, having seen what having more money can buy.

What is apparent (assuming some honesty on the part of the participants!) is a change in their view of how the other half live, and why. The poor family realise what the rich family have done/sacrificed to have what they have, and the rich family realise that the poor family still work hard to provide for their families, often working multiple minimum-wage jobs, and not just expecting hand-outs.

There have been a few episodes where the rich family have done something to help the poor family, including a great episode where the two dads became inseparable, and the rich dad helped the poor dad (it seems highly likely that the series was based on Rich Dad Poor Dad) to utilise the skills he had to build a business. Give a man a fish and he’ll eat for a day. Give him a fishing rod and some youtube videos and he’ll eat for life. Not very useful in the case of this talented joiner, but you get the point. It also applies to women and vegetarians.

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