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Thread: Is it easy to get out of poverty?

  1. #31
    Unlucky's Avatar
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    I don't think it is easy.
    My mom married "up". She never finished middle school, nor did her siblings. She worked low paying jobs (such as in shoe shops, clothing shops, etc.) until she met my dad.

    My mom's two brothers immigrated abroad illegally in their late teens; that was in the 1990s. One of them unfortunately became addicted to drugs and has since returned to our country and has done a lot of wrong things over the years...
    The other one managed to save up some money over the years, even though he's always had low paying jobs too (truck driver, carpenter, uber driver, etc.) and eventually managed to get dual citizenship; he now goes back and forth between the two countries, and he's currently investing in our native country so that he's able to come back and live here permanently with a stable income; it took him 20+ years to be able to do that, he's definitely still not rich but doing better.

    There has been so much all of them have gone through. I remember my mom telling me she once had to give away her dog when she was a child because they couldn't even eat themselves, so how would they feed the dog?

    Generational poverty is complicated. Most of my mom's side of the family is still more on the poor side, but nowadays everyone has enough to have comfortable lives I'd say.
    Last edited by Unlucky; 05-31-2021 at 08:33 AM. Reason: Spelling/grammar

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  3. #32
    Cookie Tray's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cookie Tray View Post
    No. I've been working straight out of high school and am still living paycheck to paycheck. I just lost my last job thanks to the company downsizing. I've been a manager, a consultant, and a contractor and none of these things has improved my finances. The one thing that keeps me afloat is my partner coming from an upper middle class family. They have a good college education and secure job. Their parents have given them thousands for a car, and have offered the same for our future house. I would be homeless, despite the long hours I've worked over the last ten years, if I did not marry somebody who did not grow up in poverty like I did. Generational wealth sure makes a huge freaking difference, and the only "easy" way out of poverty is to luck out and marry "up."
    I wanted to post an update to this with a little bit of backstory. My immigrant mom raised 6 kids as a single mother, cleaning houses for money. We grew up in somewhat extreme poverty. We were able to afford a cheap rent due to the landlord being a friend of my mom. The only reason we were able to eat was because of donations from friends, family, and the church my mom attended. We were raised community-style with about 5 other families, visiting each other often and being toted from home to home. Despite the poverty we enjoyed our childhoods, and were happy and relatively healthy besides being underweight/malnutrition. We always lived paycheck to paycheck, and relied heavily on our awesome community.

    As an adult, I no longer had access to that community. I worked making above minimum wage for years 10 years, and still lived paycheck to paycheck. I couldn't afford to go to school, and I can't drive, so the jobs I had access to were limited and low-paying. I had been applying for YEARS for a credit card and had no luck. The only option for Americans without existing credit (and don't have parents with wealth to co-sign anything) is to do a sort of deposit-based credit card, where you pay $400-$600 for a card with that same limit. You don't get that deposit back until a year or two into owning the card, or sometimes until you close the account. I could never afford that. When I moved in with my partner, they added me to their credit card so I could build credit. After 2 years, I had amazing credit and it was 100% thanks to my partner's credit. I haven't been living in poverty since 2018 as a result. My mental health vastly improved, and I gained enough weight to make me look healthy.

    This month, I got very lucky with networking - I got a job that pays twice what I used to make. We've been looking to buy a house this summer, which we can afford thanks to my partner's job and their parents' wealth (as they offered to pay part of a down payment for us). It is through extreme luck and my partner's generational wealth that I've been living a lot more comfortably in the past few years than I ever have, and am actually becoming middle class. I've been able to send monthly donations to friends & family as well as strangers online with what we make, because it is very important to me to help community members in need.

    As for the rest of my family: one of my sisters got a decent paying job and was able to afford school and graduated last year. She got married, and was living humbly until she got in a car accident. She got a payout from that due to the health issues it created, and was able to further her education as a result. It was mostly a LOT of hard work + circumstance that led her to being able to live comfortably.

    Some of my brothers work together and are still living paycheck to paycheck. Any money that was saved over the past 3 years of working, was spent instantly when one of my brothers had a much-needed surgery. It cost him $3000 out of pocket because his insurance didn't cover any of it. He's still paying that off.

    The other brother only recently got a state-issued ID and opened his first bank account in his 20s. We were all born here and are citizens but getting legal identification is still difficult in the US if you don't have parents who know how to understand the paperwork, etc.

    Another brother of mine got a job years ago thanks to our birth father, and that job paid for 2 years of college for him. He never graduated, but the education on his resume allowed him to move up in his workplace and he's now making $70k a year. He's still living nearly paycheck to paycheck, because the area he lives in for his job is expensive ($23k a year for rent alone), but he's told me he has at least $1000 in savings. He is living very comfortably besides not having savings.

    My mom works 70+ hours a week as a health aide for millionaires. Her health is declining but she refuses to work less because she gets paid well for working longer hours. Her bosses still take advantage of her and will not report her on their taxes, despite being literal millionaires. She moved in with a family member, so she doesn't have to pay rent. My sister helped her buy the first car she ever owned in her name. She's been able to travel (before COVID and a little bit after vaccination) thanks to the better pay. Her credit is still trashed due to her ex, but she no longer worries about not being able to eat or feed her kids.
    Last edited by Cookie Tray; 06-01-2021 at 12:25 PM.

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  5. #33
    Mudboots's Avatar
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    NO its not easy at all. That is my short answer.

    I live in South Africa. Ok just the first thing is in essence I dont regard myself as poor. My parents are well off so I live with them. I am not in complete poverty but I also cant get out and live on my own. I have multiple cronic conditions and they also pay for my medical aid.

    Here is some reason I feel its hard to get out of poverty.

    Housing - If you are poor you tend to Rent which means some rich person owns the house so because you don't earn enough you cant get a loan from the bank so essentially now your paying someone else's house. And yes this one can be solved by having a great job that pays enough so you can get a loan.

    Medical - As soon as your sick it's pretty impossible to get out of poverty. If you use state facilities you never really get good care because in South Africa state medical care is horrible. So you will always feel sick and probably not be able to work as hard as you would need to to get out of poverty. If you do work hard and manage to pay medical aid... that make it also hard to get out of poverty to just put some light on this my mom pays 1/3 of her salary to medical aid. Its ridiculous expensive.

    Education - This is one of the biggest problems and not at the university level at a basic level. Schools here are not on the same level. Schools in lower-income areas has like low matric pass rates I mean 2% while rich areas has 98-100% pass rates. All writing the same final exam. Yes there are people that get out of this situation and preform amazing in even a bad school but its hard. Living in a low income area being in a bad school is not the only reason you wont get high enough marks. Even if you were in a better school the home enviroment would be so hard. Some people in poverty litterly have 1 room houses and then like 5 people live and sleep in there. I just dont know how you get out of that.

    Family obligations - ook so lets say you are lucky you get out of poverty. Will you be able to leave your family behind? I wont. SO now you are the only sucessful person in your family earning a sallary, now your looking after all of your family mom dad, sisterm, uncle.. trying to uplift everyone. Money can only go so far so now someone that would have been upper class has to stay lower middle class. They have children that go to mediocre schools again and the cycle keeps going.

    So to get out of poverty is VERY VERY HARD!

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  7. #34
    morecoffeepls's Avatar
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    Another perspective....

    Getting out of poverty is very-very-very hard.

    In general, being situated in the lower income brackets means you are subjected more unique financial decisions. For instance having a savings or investment account - usually not possible. Purchasing items that are overall lower cost/per - usually not possible. Simply put, being in poverty is VERY expensive and takes a long time to change.

    A lot of other posters highlighted great points and I wouldn't want to rehash the same point over and over.

    From my personal perspective, my family was quite lower income for a long time. Moving out of the situation took a few generations to move clusters into middle/upper class. My brain gets depressed(is that the word?) when I think of how much of my parents/grandparents/great-etc LIFE was sacrificed to better future generations. I'm eternally grateful for it.

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  9. #35
    Lunah's Avatar
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    It's not easy at all, imo.
    I actually think luck (or perhaps determination?) plays a big factor.


    I was a teenage accident between my **infertile** Mum and Dad; they decided to keep me as I was a 'miracle' baby - they were both pretty average in school, Mum had dreams of being a chef and Dad was in his first year of University studying to be an accountant. They eventually split up when I was 2 years old and I was raised by my single mum on a chefs salary of about 35k NZD (24k USD ish) - we lived next door to what I now as an adult realise was a mob on the left side and a brothel on the right*. I spent school holidays at my Mums work (she achieved her dream of being a chef, even whilst raising a little one on her own!) to a younger me, this was awesome! I got to eat restaurant food for every lunch and watch tv, colour in and have fun. As an adult I realise me and Mum never went on any holidays, and Mum had to work most Christmases but would ALWAYS take my Birthday off. I wore a lot of hand-me-downs. I was excited when we went to the second hand shop and I found a top under $5 dollars because that meant I found a good deal. Mum tried her best to buy me toys and I loved these little magazines with the quizzes in them so she'd save so I could have them at the shops. Because she was a chef we could often steal butter/cheese/milk from work.

    When I was 11, Dad decided to try come back into my life. He told my Mum he was going to take her to court for custody. I remember being 11 years old on a Saturday and playing soccer - looking over and seeing my Mum trying not to cry on the sidelines over the phone. She was terrified that because he earnt so much that she was going to lose custody. I was NOT neglected at all. I absolutely loved my childhood. But there's no doubt we were poor.

    My parents worked it out thankfully, but I feel like an outsider view might not know about these fears (having your child taken away)

    I went to a decent FREE public high school, the one my Mum and Dad went to - Mum got to pay less because she went there. I never got to do any of the trips or anything but I passed everything with flying stars and was one of those kids who didn't have to try because the testing system worked well for me (luck). Got a scholarship to study Law (luck & determination), went one year and decided it wasn't for me (stupidity). So I looked for work whilst I was figuring out who I want to be. Landed my first job in sales working for 19 an hour (determination). 2 years later, I quit. It was a horrible work environment - I was living paycheck to paycheck, (hell, I often spent more on my cat than myself because I *chose* to own a cat and she deserved a good life) but 2 years in sales looks great on a resume. I uplifted my life and moved to Australia where I work in sales again, but for 29 an hour - which works out to be double what my Mum earnt. Mum looks after my cat and I send her like... cat child support lol.

    I'm still floating now with no real clue what I want to do but I'm very comfortable. I bought the new apple watch last week just because I wanted to and I could comfortably.
    I can afford to go away on weekends, I can afford to have the nice dinners if I feel like it.

    I'm not rich by any means, but I'm comfortable enough to say I escaped poverty through a chain of luck and determination.


    Sorry for rambling


    * I'm actually really thankful for this experience though, they were absolutely lovely people and I enjoyed my childhood and growing up there - it has taught me a lot of respect.
    Last edited by Lunah; 06-20-2021 at 12:03 AM.

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  11. #36
    NeopetLandy's Avatar
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    I’m just thankful to read so many inspiring stories here. It is pretty difficult to move out of poverty once you’re in it. While people like to believe a large part of their success is due to their own hard work, it’s actually much more related to the circumstances you’re born into.

    I’m not sure if we can share an external link here but this cartoon simplified the points very well.

    https://digitalsynopsis.com/inspirat...d-toby-morris/

    Please remove my post if this isn’t allowed. Thanks.

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  13. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by NeopetLandy View Post
    I’m just thankful to read so many inspiring stories here. It is pretty difficult to move out of poverty once you’re in it. While people like to believe a large part of their success is due to their own hard work, it’s actually much more related to the circumstances you’re born into.

    I’m not sure if we can share an external link here but this cartoon simplified the points very well.

    https://digitalsynopsis.com/inspirat...d-toby-morris/

    Please remove my post if this isn’t allowed. Thanks.
    I remember seeing this years ago and I connected with it so well! I still see it every so often and it's definitely still relevant. I remember in high school, all my friends had tutors for the SAT/ACTs or whatever and I was like, "Whaaa, people get tutors for those?!" Even today, the friend's brother who made the comment that got me to start this thread, the one who said anyone could get out of poverty if they worked hard, as he's staying for free at his parents house after taking an extra year of college that his parents paid for, and then "soul searching" to figure out what he wants to do career-wise, all still on his parents dime. He has a job now but goddamn, he would not have been able to have so much free time looking for options if his parents didn't pay for his living expenses!

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  15. #38
    NeopetLandy's Avatar
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    I feel that sometimes it’s not even physical, it’s mental. Even if rich kids and poor kids have had the same amount of time in college, poor kids who bear the burden of student loans will still feel a lot more stressed out. We all need mental capacity to deal with uncertainty in the future; having a loan to repay once they graduate will just consume that much more energy.

    I was lucky enough that my parents could afford my tuition fees but my college life was largely simple, I didn’t have extra money for extras. I felt ostracised sometimes because I couldn’t afford to join certain activities. This might seem normal but money buys exposure and spending opens up doors in social circles.

    I’m not saying all these with angst but to remind people that the odds are truly against the poorer people and luck plays a big part in this. I don’t think wealth can ever be even out, it’s probably going to deliver more disaster than good to forcefully redistribute wealth. What people could at least do is acknowledge that it’s more difficult than the society on average would like to think.

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  17. #39
    Honorary Grandma Freeloaders_Soceity's Avatar
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    Many Thanks to all who shared their stories. Many of you have had some really bad experiences. Life leads us down many pathways and unfortunately poverty is the roughest. Let me share my story with you. I was born six months after WWII ended. My Mama (no father) and I lived in a small Southern Colorado town until my Mama was able to move to Denver as a housekeeper for a single parent who offered Mama a job with room and board for both of us. Poverty? Yes, but with lots of love and a gentle hand Mama taught me that what became of me was my responsibility. So I took the easy way out. I married at 17 to a Military member and together we did the best we could on what little Uncle Sam gave us. When he retired from the Military, he took a civilian job that paid him three fold what his Mil Pay had been. We were still poor yes. But it wasn't until I lost my Husband of 55 years that I realized how rich I was. He left me with three beautiful kids, five grandkids and three great grandkids. Upon his Death I learned just how financially well off he left me. And I laugh a lot when I think back about how much we wanted that we could never afford because Papa was too "busy saving for a rainy day"!

    Now you question was "is it easy to get out of poverty?" No Sweetie it isn't. But the experiences you have and the lessons you learn from them can make up for so much loss. I hope you found happiness, contentment and yes, even wealth. My life's time frame covers years that most of you were not around for. I'm 75 years old.

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  19. #40
    Artenio's Avatar
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    Simple? Yes. Easy? Definitely not.

    While it's true that, unfortunately, this isn't the 1950's anymore where a minimum wage job could support a family of 4, there are WAY more opportunities now than there ever have been to make money. This is mostly due to the fact that we are all connected now (thanks to the internet).

    Luck aside, which could change anybody's life situation, getting out of poverty really does come down to hard work. You have to educate yourself since you most likely won't be able to afford to attend school, which means you have to have the willpower to remain consistent even though life sucks right now and studying is hard. You have to learn to see opportunities when they arise and not hesitate too long or you might miss them. You have to work your ass off every day because no one is coming to save you, it's all up to you.

    Assuming you've got yourself cleaned up and can land yourself a minimum wage job, it really isn't that difficult to get out of poverty. All it takes is time and consistency.

    Manage your lifestyle to where whatever bills you have and all your necessities don't exceed your monthly income. Entertainment and luxuries will have to be put aside for quite some time, but if you're impoverished those things shouldn't be your priorities right now anyway. Whatever money you have left over should go into investments. All of it. Spread it out amongst stocks and APY-yielding cryptocurrencies. Once your stock portfolio builds up enough over time, you'll have enough shares to where you can sell covered calls each week/month to make additional income (this is basically a method to make your own dividends on non-dividend yielding securities).

    During this time, you could also be doing odd jobs here and there, either in person or on the computer. There are lots of people out there who need lots of help with an endless myriad of things. You could also be teaching yourself a skill or trade, which in the future could land you an even better paying job.

    After however many years it takes, your investment portfolio will become your main source of passive income through dividends, APY on holdings, and selling covered calls. You could also make it your main source of active income in a shorter time period via day trading or swing trading, but that will require lots of studying and practice. Either way, in a few years you will have successfully escaped poverty.

    Assuming of course you don't gamble all your hard-earned money away trying to get rich quick in the stock market

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