Getting Out of Poverty

 

Who’s to Blame for Poverty

Getting Out of Poverty

Can anyone relate to these thoughts: “People need to take care of themselves and not live off the taxpayers. I am tired of working hard and my tax dollars benefiting those that aren't working. Maybe we wouldn’t have to pay so much in tax if we didn’t have people living off society.

I should stay home; I could get more money if I didn’t work. I could get food, medical, and housing.”

Sounds like a great life, doesn’t it?

I have lived that life, and it really isn’t an envious lifestyle.

I felt like a dog begging for the crumbs off someone else’s plate. You would be surprised to learn that many of these recipients are elderly living on social security and Medicare.

Others are physically/intellectually disabled and some of them are veterans. Most of these people on Government assistance have paid into the program.

Food Stamps

Years ago, we had food stamps, today it’s called Temporary Assistance for Needy Families or Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Where I was living SNAP had a lifetime limit of 5 years.

When I was living in Utah food stamps could only be used for food, non-food items you had to pay for yourself or from nonprofits.

The amount of money that is received each month isn’t enough to buy healthy meals. It will buy ramen soup, macaroni and cheese, hot dogs, hamburgers, and canned food.

Those that receive welfare are routinely filling out a massive amount of paperwork, eating substandard food, and getting substandard healthcare.

What makes welfare worse is that nobody gets weaned off welfare, there is an income cut off. For some, it creates a fear of being over asset limits and being entirely cut off from assistance.

I was cut off for being over $100 dollars. Imagine losing food, daycare, and medical all at once. This is a substandard existence. Most people that have experienced welfare never want to go back.

Medicaid

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 or welfare recipients without teeth?

I needed dental work and needed a couple of root canals. They wouldn’t pay for root canals for those over 18 years old. They pay to have your teeth pulled.

How would I get a decent paying job without teeth? I was told I didn’t need teeth to work. I told them, “I am in sales, who will take me seriously without teeth?” 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.

When I found work, I put some money aside so that I could pay for root canals or implants.

Times Have Changed

People that worked during the turn of the century worked manual labor jobs that were dangerous and low paying. Very few people had college degrees, and those that did were earning more. Back then parents encouraged their children to go to college.

Today more people have degrees than in the past, making college graduates a dime a dozen. Because the emphasis has been on college, its’ value is not like it once was; unless you go on to get a master’s degree or a doctorate. This has currently created a shortage in manual labor.

For the “Silent Generation” (born between 1928 and 1945) when you were loyal to a company you got rewarded for that.

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 both spouses have to work and minimum wage is no longer able to pay for what it once did.

Companies are no longer loyal to their employees. They are only concerned about their bottom line, and you should have that mentality.

Being in sales most of my life taught me this lesson quickly, as 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.

Most of the time it wasn’t an issue for me.

Escaping Poverty

Prosperity is about investing in yourself; this means your skills and abilities,

In poverty, the focus needs to be on an income, and positioning yourself to get higher paying jobs. 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. Watch for industries where there are shortages because they usually increase pay, have paid training, and will sometimes sign on bonuses.

I obtained my CDL-B license because of a shortage of CDL B drivers. I got paid training. I learned how to drive a bus in Boston as a tour guide for Old Town Trolley.

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 well for them, but it might not have the same outcome for you.

You need to know your strengths and weaknesses and do what is best for you.

When I went back to college, 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 we find ourselves in these circumstances, we can turn our 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.

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.