For some reason, Westerners (and particularly Americans) are regarded as wealthy by the rest of the world. While it is true that disposable incomes are higher in the West than most of the rest of the world, sadly, most of what Westerners put on is a front (in other words, the wealth you see is actually fake). This American TV commercial puts it best, with some good humor:
Sadly, I can verify from personal experience that the above commercial is truer than one might think. I should know; I pretty much grew up in said neighborhoods. These people seemed to be rich, but would then complain about the increase in gas prices. Obviously, that didn't make sense, since gas is a small portion of most Americans' budgets. But the fact that such a small increase could cause such headaches betrayed how sensitive their budgets really were.