How to Get out of Poverty
Who’s to Blame for Poverty
Getting out of poverty is not only an individual problem but also a national problem. You can do everything you have been taught to do on how to get out of poverty, and still be poor.
Physical and mental disabilities aren't the only reasons why you can't get out of poverty. It can also be where we live in the world. Some nations or communities have far less poverty than others. If you haven't read the blog on Global poverty lines vs United States poverty lines you should read how other countries have reduced or ended poverty in their nation.
I have lived in poverty, and welfare isn’t an envious lifestyle.
You would be surprised to learn that many people collecting welfare are the elderly living on social security and Medicare or veterans. Most of these people on government assistance have paid into the program.
Food stamps are also called Temporary Assistance for Needy Families or Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).
Where I was living, SNAP had a lifetime limit of 5 years. I was living in Utah and food stamps could only be used for food. You had to pay for non-food items yourself or get them from nonprofit organizations.
There isn't enough funding each month to buy healthy meals. You buy what is cheap and what is cheap is also not healthy. You are buying substandard food. For example, ramen soup, macaroni and cheese, hot dogs, hamburgers, and canned food.
Those that receive welfare are routinely filling out a massive amount of paperwork and eating substandard food.
What makes welfare worse is you don't get weaned off welfare, and there is an income cut off. For some, it creates a fear of being entirely cut off from assistance. Each state is different so it might fluctuate. Not to mention there is a massive amount of paperwork you must fill out periodically.
I was cut off for being over $100 dollars. Imagine losing food, daycare, and medical all at once. If you have experienced welfare, you never want to go back.
Government healthcare was no better. They will only pay for what is “needed” including dental. Have you ever wondered why you see a lot of impoverished people without teeth? It is not always drugs. Dental work is very expensive and some just can't afford it.
I needed dental work and needed a couple of root canals. Welfare doesn’t pay for root canals for those over 18 years old. They pay to have your teeth pulled.
I asked the welfare department how would I get a decent paying job without teeth? Who is going to take me seriously? They told me I didn’t need teeth to work. I was told to find another job.
The only jobs that would be available for someone without teeth were low skilled jobs that paid minimum wage.
Luckily because of my income I was able to use my refunds I got from the IRS each year to fix my own teeth. It is exhausting to live this way. I desperately wanted to know how to get out of poverty.
Times Have Changed
During the turn of the century people were working manual labor jobs that were dangerous and low paying. Parents encouraged their children to go to college. Very few people had college degrees and those that had degrees were earning more.
Today the story is much different. We have more college graduates than ever. Unless you have a master’s degree or a doctorate, the competition is high. Because of this there is a shortage in manual labor.
There was once a time when you were loyal to a company you got rewarded for your loyalty. For the “Silent Generation” (born between 1928 and 1945) this was the norm and today it is nonexistent.
Men could earn minimum wage, buy a house, a car, get married, have a family and the wife could stay home. Those days are long gone.
Today minimum wage is no longer able to pay for what it once did. Both spouses have to work to maintain the same lifestyle.
Companies are no longer loyal to their employees. You should have that mentality.
I was in outside business to business sales most of my working career. There were always quotas to make; if you didn’t make quota you were replaced.
It didn’t matter if there was a recession, or a market correction. It was about you not making a quota.
Prosperity is about investing in yourself; this means your skills and abilities,
In poverty, focus on an income, and getting higher paying job. Maybe changing career paths when there is a labor shortage. Perceive labor shortages as opportunities to get higher pay.
How Can I Get out of Poverty?
opportunities become numerous by continuously adding skills, training, and education. Labor shortages create possible increase pay, paid training, and sometimes sign on bonuses.
In 2018 I got my CDL-B license because of a shortage of CDL B drivers. There was paid training and a higher-than-average wage. I learned how to drive a bus in Boston and became a "transportainer" (tour guide) for Old Town Trolley. My name was Ms. Beantown. It was one of the funnest jobs I have ever had.
Paying attention to our strengths and weaknesses can help us determine which career paths we should be following.
Stop following the crowds and doing what everyone else is doing. You will get advice from others with good intentions. It may have worked for them, but it might not have the same outcome for you.
When I went back to college in 2010, I chose a major that would help with my ability to make wiser investments.
I owned both security and real estate investments, so I chose finance.
Finance is math heavy. Math heavy degrees aren’t popular, eliminating some competition where the industry was growing faster than average.
I wanted to ensure that I got a job that was in high demand when I graduated.
I didn’t know that finance was an ageist industry unless you were a financial advisor.
Some might find it surprising that most investment banks do not like hiring anyone older than the age of 25 because of the grueling hours. Sometimes as much as 120 hours a week, but on average around 80
Aging Out of a Career
Poverty is a real issue for people as they age and get replaced by younger workers; forced to take on jobs with lower wages. This happens most often during an economic downturn such as the 2008 recession and 2020 pandemic.
If you find yourselves in these circumstances, you can turn your experiences to help others by offering training or coaching.
Blaming People for their life Circumstances
Don’t blame others for their financial misfortunes. Don’t assume that all those that are in poverty are to blame for their situation, are lazy, or have “poor people habits”.
Be careful about giving advice to others. It may have worked for you, but it may not work for them. You do not know their story. They may not have the same skills that you have or have physical or intellectual disabilities that you are unaware of.
Not everyone can do what someone else has done to be successful. How to get out of poverty is not a cookie cutter approach and needs to be individualized. This is why Prosperity Club makes no guarantees. We do not know everyone's circumstances.
Making Rent/Lease or Mortgage Affordable
Rising rent and the cost of home ownership has made it very difficult to afford shelter, a necessity of life.
More young adults have moved back into their parents’ homes. Some reasons have been the high cost of living coupled with school loans and the pandemic of 2020 didn’t help their situation.
Unfortunately, in American culture if you haven’t moved out of your parent’s home by the time you finished your education usually by the age of 24 you are considered lazy or irresponsible.
Many countries outside of the United States expect you to stay home until you get married. In some countries parents would feel disrespected or hurt if you told them you wanted to move out.
Having my children live with me has not only helped them, but has made my life financially more stable. More people sharing living expenses helps the earned income go further.
For parents that don’t need the money, it has helped their children save enough money to put down on a house by not charging rent.
If living expenses are more than what is earned, consider other boarders to share in those expenses.
Prosperity doesn’t necessarily mean becoming rich.
Prosperity means you can have a comfortable way of life by having all your needs met and money left over by incorporating strategies to reduce the cost of living.
Don’t let anyone shame you or those that live with you to help achieve that.
Lowering Food Costs
Years ago, my husband and I had around 200 chickens we were raising for meat and eggs. To cut down on feeding costs, we asked stores if they would donate food they were discarding for our chickens.
They told us that they had to throw it out and we weren’t allowed to dumpster dive (go into their garbage to get food that they have thrown away), so we negotiated with the stores to throw the food items into the garbage cans we provided, and they agreed.
They were still throwing it away and we were taking their garbage.
We were shocked to see what the stores would throw away. You would think we were getting partially moldy or rotten food. That wasn’t the case. Some of it was still packaged in great condition.
It had to be thrown out because of the expiration date. Grocery stores discard items past the expiration date to prevent lawsuits for selling food that has expired.
Manufacturers intentionally put dates way before the item goes bad, to get you to throw it away and buy more. This keeps the consumers buying food more often.
We ended up keeping the good stuff for ourselves and gave the questionable food to the chickens.
Dumpster diving is much harder to accomplish these days. I have noticed that a lot more stores today have their garbage fenced and locked.
Finding stores that would be willing to donate food isn’t very likely today. However, there is an app called www.togoodtogo.com. Stores advertise the food they are about to throw away at below cost on that app. The app was created to eliminate waste and help low-income families.
When Government Assistance Ends
For most, government assistance is not permanent. What are you doing to prepare for that day? I used my food stamps to buy in bulk things that can be stored. Living in Utah was advantageous as the stores would have case lot sales where people could be cases of food on sale. The Mormon church believed in having a food storage and being prepared. It’s part of the Mormon lifestyle.
The shelf life of canned items is between 4 -5 years. Frozen food anywhere between 3 months and a year for meats, up to a year on other items, double the life for shrink wrapped frozen food. This only works if you have a freezer or can afford to buy one. Freeze dried food can last as long as 30 years.
I also used several food banks to acquire additional food for immediate consumption.
Nothing worse than having to depend on the government and have to answer to everything you do.
As for cell phones, I have talked with some people that have said why can the poor afford smart phones.
Cell phones are donated by nonprofits and government assistance. It is seen as a necessity. You need to be reachable to interview and acquire a job, for medical and dentists’ appointments.
Luckily, with free smart phones donated to those who can’t afford them, we have cell phone apps that offer free banking without the minimum.
Banking has nearly been impossible if you're poor. You can’t afford a bank account because you can’t meet the minimum, then get charged for being under the minimum. If you're rich you get paid to have a bank account, if you're poor you get charged for not having enough money.