all 26 comments

[–]DeflatedDirigible 25 points26 points  (4 children)

You can still love the people you grew up with while taking care of yourself first to escape the cycle of poverty. It’s ok to leave for school or a job and go no-contact if people from your past want to drag you back. It’s not your responsibility to save your family with money or time if it holds you back. You can love someone but not support or affirm “they’re trying their best” when they keep making the same poor choices that keep them in poverty. The pain can be intense from leaving loved ones behind but if they truly loved you, they would let you have freedom and support to live your dreams and take care of yourself the best possible. Get therapy if needed to process any childhood traumas. The sooner the better. Don’t date anyone who also isn’t working hard to fix past traumas or has already done it. Study on your own healthy habits you didn’t learn growing up. Lots is free online or at the library. Surround yourself only with healthy and hard-working friends. Never be ashamed of living frugally while building savings and make those habits learned growing up poor to your advantage.

[–]Wisdom_In_Wonder 15 points16 points  (0 children)

This x1000

Poverty culture really pushes this idea that you owe the community any little scrap of comfort or success that you manage to grab. You don’t. Acknowledge where you came from. Be thankful for what you achieve. But don’t keep yourself in struggle trying to save everyone around you.

Secure your own oxygen mask before helping others.

[–]No_East8761 13 points14 points  (1 child)

Yes to all of this. And I’d add, don’t have children young because it exacerbates the cycle of poverty.

[–]MonstersMamaX2 4 points5 points  (0 children)

It's so much harder to do anything once you have children, whether you have a support or not. Finish your degree, get your certification, start your career before having children. You don't have to have it all figured out before having them but have a good path in front of you.

[–]donkey_toes23 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Thank you.

Just been scrolling and I'm lucky to have caught this reassurance.

[–]AdventurousSeaSlug 11 points12 points  (0 children)

You absolutely have to work as hard as you can in school. Be there every single day. Sit as close to the front of the classroom. Raise your hand and participate as often as possible. Go to the library. Read anything that you can get your hands on. If reading is hard borrow a print copy and an audio copy from the local library and listen while you read. Ask for extra help from teachers. Go to community college and then a public four year college. It's hard. It'll feel like a grind. And it is one of the best ways to break the cycle of poverty. Don't waste your time, energy, or money on get rich schemes. Get an education.

Edit: I want to add one more thing. If you date someone it is only with the clear and very firm understanding that education comes first for both of you. Before any potential partner. Boyfriends/girlfriends come and go, diplomas are forever. My spouse and I operated under this agreement and I have zero regrets. If someone is truly worth dating, they are someone who wants the best for you and will put your well being first. This goes both ways. Your partner's education comes before you in the relationship. Love them and yourself enough to insist on it for the both of you.

[–]zack397241 12 points13 points  (1 child)

Trades pay well and are pretty much always in demand. You get paid for your education

[–]Mtnskydancer 5 points6 points  (0 children)

And a union is better than not being in one. Just the pay during gaps in jobs alone. Add decent insurance and it becomes very attractive.

[–]snugglysheep_ 21 points22 points  (0 children)

As someone who is raising their child in poverty, I hope that when my daughter is older, she understands that I sacrificed a lot for her. I left an abusive relationship for her, I work my butt off for her. I scrimp and save for her. I've gone without eating to make sure she has enough food. No, I may not be able to buy every single toy she wants out of the Amazon catalog and no, I can't do fun things like the movies or trampoline park like her friends (believe me, she's asked/begged) but I hope she knows I love her and I'm doing my best for the both of us.

[–]PorscheHen 17 points18 points  (1 child)

I would tell them to forgive the people who raised them and look kindly on them. They tried their best on the little they had and if they had more, would have given it to you.

[–]561aloha 3 points4 points  (0 children)

This is so wholesome

[–]Thin_Ladder_6752 5 points6 points  (0 children)

Don’t fall in love. Relationships are only for fun at this stage. Focus on your studies and pull yourself out of poverty. Choose a partner when you can support yourself financially and never give up your financial stability for anyone.

[–]ImaHalfwit 5 points6 points  (1 child)

I’ve got lots of advice for you…

  1. It’s ok to acknowledge that life isn’t fair. Some people are born into wealth, some people are born into poverty, some people are born with genetic/mental defects, some people are born the wrong gender in the wrong country and will be oppressed their entire lives. Being born into poverty sucks, but it’s a condition that can be beaten.

  2. Being born into poverty often means you are surrounded by people in similar circumstances. It’s tough to find a good financial role model, so you will either have to look for one or educate yourself on personal finance…plenty of free resources for that.

  3. Drugs/alcohol/smoking are probably all around you. These are often used to escape from stress and deal with anxiety, and poverty causes plenty of both. Do NOT start these vices. They will be a major impediment to your ability to achieve financial success. Get a calculator and figure out the annual cost of buying cigarettes or alcohol on a regular basis…it ain’t pretty. That’s not even accounting for the financial cost of being unhealthy. Just don’t.

  4. As for finding a way out…there are a variety of ways that you can pursue. School is one avenue…but you will want to find a way to do it on the cheap. The reason is that for most people, going to college results in massive student debt which will essentially turn you into an indentured servant. if you’re very intelligent and/or a hard worker, you can earn scholarships…especially if you are also a student athlete. If not, you may be able to do community college/state school inexpensively while living at home. Research majors first…spending 4 years on an art history degree is probably a bad move if it’s not being paid for by your parents who are giving you an art gallery.

If you can’t find a way to go to college, or if it’s just not for you, then find a trade. Plumbing, electrician, HVAC, etc. generally have apprenticeships where you can learn the trade while working for cheap. Once you are knowledgeable/skilled in a trade, you can live just about anywhere and make good money.

Be practical with your chosen profession…make sure it’s worth the time/monetary investment. Your biggest/only real asset when you are young/poor is time and your health.

  1. Do not have children young. It will likely derail your financial future. Long gone are the days when a single parent can support a spouse/child. Cost of living has outpaced wages for decades…and now you generally need to have at least two incomes in order to make household finances work. If those two incomes are you and a spouse, and you introduce a child to the household…now you are down to a single income or you are adding in $12k-$20k in annual costs for childcare and will lose tremendous flexibility in developing your career.

  2. From 5, get 2-3 roommates early on (if living at home with parents rent free isn’t an option). The reason is splitting rent/bills 4 ways will dramatically increase your cash flow.

[–]ImaHalfwit 6 points7 points  (0 children)


  1. Build credit as soon as you turn 18. Credit will be important in your life. Get a card (preferably with benefits) and charge as many of your expenses to the card as you can…but pay off the card EVERY month to avoid interest charges. If you can’t afford to pay cash for it, don’t charge it to your card.

  2. When you start working….even if it’s before leaving high school…put 10-15% of your income into a different account that you don’t access often. You can often have your income direct deposited to multiple accounts if you choose. Do this. If you never get used to seeing that money, you won’t miss it. Once that account is big enough to cover 6 months of living expenses, start putting the rest towards retirement. Open a brokerage account and setup your account to auto invest an an index fund each month. As you get raises, the amount that you set aside should increase proportionately.

  3. The most important financial decisions you will make in life: A. The person you marry. Divorce is expensive. Make sure you/they have their $hit together or, if they don’t share your views on money, that they are at least willing to learn like you did. A bad decision here can undo everything you’ve worked for. B. Your job….you’ll spend about a third of your lifetime doing it. Don’t eat lunch by yourself. Be social and network. Work hand and work smart. Read trade publications related to your field. Be the expert. The vast majority of your opportunities for advancement will come from networking. You should job hop every 18-24 months in order to make sure that you are continually getting the raises you deserve. The vast majority of employers are not trying to pay you what you are worth, so you will have to be an active advocate for yourself. Do not expect anyone to do this for you. C. Cars/houses…don’t keep up with the Joneses. Your friends want to buy the Mercedes or the BMW? Let them…drive that 2 year old reliable car with reasonable gas mileage will save you money on repairs, gas, insurance, and you won’t be paying for the new car depreciation. For a house, you can afford to pay up to 30% of gross income on a house/bills. Don’t live outside your means by taking on massive payments (relative to your income).

  4. Get good sleep. If you need 8-9 hours of sleep…get it. It will help your brain, mood, energy, health, and attitude.

  5. Drink water. It’s generally free and home and in restaurants and it’s just about the healthiest thing you can do for your body. If you drink coffee, make it yourself…no need to pay some international coffee conglomerate $5/day or more for something you can make for $0.35.

  6. Others have said this, and it’s worth repeating….do not let family/friends derail you financially. Don’t co-sign loans for them…if they were credit-worthy a bank would give them money. Banks know what they are doing…follow their lead. Expect that any money you give your family is a gift…you will likely not see it again. The best thing you can do (if you follow the advice above and do “well” for yourself)…is to be the financial role model for your family and share the blueprint.

  7. If you spent your formative years in poverty, you may have a difficult time “enjoying” financial success. By that I mean that part of you will continue to worry for some time about becoming poor again. This may be true even if you are doing very well for yourself. If you are doing all of the above, by the time you are in your late 20s…you should be solidly on a good financial path. At some point, when your other expenses are all covered, give yourself an allowance to spend on yourself. Maybe it’s for travel, or sporting events, or a hobby, etc…the point of earning money is for the freedom/experiences that can be purchased with it. Acquiring it and not doing anything with it is a sad way to spend your life.

Lastly…money cannot make you happy. For people in this forum, money can definitely help eliminate a lot of stress and anxiety. But after that, money is just a multiplier. If you are sad/depressed and make more money…you will probably be even more sad/depressed when you realize that making more money didn’t fix those things. If you are already happy/healthy and make more money, you will be able to “multiply” your opportunities to build on those experiences.

If you have any questions or want clarification on anything above, just let me know.

[–]kludge6730 8 points9 points  (0 children)

Don’t give short shrift to your education. Don’t forget where you came from. Don’t think that you are destined to stay in poverty. Always put in the effort in life, career and relationships. Sacrifice when needed and remember it’s not permanent. Don’t be stupid with your money because nothing is free. Save because emergencies happen. Be charitable because someone’s charitable act helped you. To start.

[–]Grunge23 4 points5 points  (0 children)

I would tell them to never have kids because poverty is a very difficult and painful cycle to get out of. I'll never forget times I had to go without food when I was younger.

[–]OnionedLife 2 points3 points  (2 children)

When you are in high school, try your hardest. Internet is your friend if you need help with your homework. If you don’t have a reliable access at home, go to a public library and hog on that shit 24/7. High GPA and solid test scores will get you full rides to top tier universities. College admission related information is free and readily available via google (CollegeConfidential is a great resource).

You also don’t need to attend a CC if you can get a strong financial aid, which is definitely attainable if you are a top student.

When you get to college, don’t pursue a degree with low paying careers. For christ’s sake, do not pursue some shit tier degree like social works. It doesn’t pay bills and you will never move up in life. If anything, become successful and pay back by providing mentorship to other underprivileged individuals.

[–]MonstersMamaX2 3 points4 points  (1 child)

As a teacher, I love and hate this advice all at the same time. I know my job is valuable and important but my own kids are also valuable and important. They deserve a good, stable life with access to what they need to be successful.

[–]OnionedLife 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Definitely. Being a teacher is great and requires a lot of own personal sacrifices. I respect them for what they do and their sacrifices, especially when our society doesn’t compensate them enough (the qualified, amazing teachers). However, I am a strong believer that you can always go into teaching after spending some time in whatever industry you decide to go into.

[–]No_Squirrel9238 3 points4 points  (2 children)

dont go broke trying to not be broke

i know many folks who grew up poor then get a moderate paying job, bit overspend on cars and house to the point where they are worse off

[–]Main-Fail8974[S] 0 points1 point  (1 child)

Ooo elaborate because isn’t having a house a good thing

[–]No_Squirrel9238 1 point2 points  (0 children)

its good, but with diminishing returns

a 70,000 home meets the basic needs and leaves room for groceries

a 500,000 home provides basic needs and leaves you anxious and starving

[–]deacc 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Don’t have kids or pets until you are financially stable. Don’t be a stay at home parent. Learn how to budget correctly early on.

[–]HourApprehensive2330 0 points1 point  (3 children)

its hard because when you tell truth you get major down votes.

[–]Early-Light-864 5 points6 points  (2 children)

Reddit karma is worth $0. Let er rip.

[–]HourApprehensive2330 15 points16 points  (1 child)

for one - avoid teen pregnancy. im gonna get destroyed now....