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How to Get Out of Poverty


Have you ever thought about what it would take to get out of poverty? Or, perhaps you are in living in poverty yourself and are trying desperately to escape its grasp. It most certainly isn’t an easy feat.

My Past Perceptions

povertyWhen I was in college, I didn’t realize how blessed I was. Because of an excellent high school education, I was able to receive many scholarships at the local university. And, on top of that, my parents were also willing to chip in by paying some important expenses.

One day, while driving through town with my friends, I observed a man that was clearly homeless. He was looking for pop cans in the trash. I looked at him in disgust and blurted out something like, “Why doesn’t that guy just find a job and get off the streets?” It seemed so simple to me (I didn’t realize how arrogant I was at the time).

A few years later, after graduating from college, I realized that not every person can find a job in this world. But, when I was presented with a question from my friend, “If you were in poverty, what steps would you take to escape that life?”, I had quite a simple answer. “I would head to the local library and start a website,” I said. Again, this was quite a naive answer. This response assumed that every homeless person is educated and well-versed with computers and the Internet. This is simply not the case.

A few years later yet, and I have developed a new solution for one to get out of poverty. It is not a “one size fits all” answer, simply because every scenario is different.

The Two Most Important Assets

There are two very important assets that many of us take for granted. No, I’m not talking about housing or vehicles. The two important assets are time and money.

At this point in my life, I have more money than I have ever had before. With it, it is quite easy to invest it and develop more money. But, what if you had absolutely no dollars? Well, you simply couldn’t gain dollars with money that you don’t have could you? Those that are in poverty have very little cash to invest, so their future is simple: poverty.

And how about time? I also have a little bit more of that lately as well. With it, I can choose to work on my website or write articles. This yields me more wealth. Those that are in poverty are typically single parents with two or three jobs. They are already lacking sleep. How could they possibly put in more time to improve their situation?

Time + Money = Opportunity

Time + Money = Poverty

How to Get Out of Poverty

If they poor do not have money AND they do not have time, how can they possibly get out of poverty? The first step is quite simple really. They need help, otherwise they are destined to remain in poverty. This help can come in the form of money or food, but the best kind of help is through friendship.

Time + Money + Help = A Chance

Those in poverty need to do what they can get help, but they can’t just expect handouts. The local church may be able to find available jobs, or someone to room with to decrease expenses. There may also be non-profit food distributors that can help. Do whatever is possible to increase your cash at the end of the month.

Secondly, one must  deny themselves of any luxury for a very long time. At the poverty level, I am talking about items like alcohol, cigarettes, or even lottery tickets (no matter what you may think, the lottery is not your answer). By only purchasing the true necessities like food, shelter, and clothing, you should soon be able to save up some cash.

Time + Money + Help + Frugality = A Small Cash Balance

Third, education is key. Without having the knowledge that is necessary for a high-paying job or a business of you own, you will continue to live in poverty. Visit your local library and read the books, surf the web even. There are more and more courses that are being offered for free each day. Discover your interest and follow your passion in your future work. With your disciplined efforts and unbelievable experiences, you may soon escape from the bondage of poverty.

Time +Money + Help + Frugality + Education = Opportunity

It is certainly more difficult to live a middle-class or wealthy lifestyle when you are pulling yourself out of poverty, but it can be done.

How would you get out of poverty?


Weekly Round-Up

Hopefully I didn’t depress you too much with this topic. If you would like some lighter reading, here are a few other posts that I enjoyed this past week.

Should I Ask Someone For Their Credit Card Score Before Getting Into a Serious Relationship? by Financial Samurai

3 Common Car Buying Mistakes That Could Cost You Thousands by Faithful With a Few

Top Student Loan Scams by The College Investor

Should You Accept a Promotion If It’s Not Your Dream? by Beat the 9 to 5

Reasons Why I’ll Not Leave My Fortune to My Kids by One Cent at a Time

Eating Healthy on a Budget by Budget For Health


AUTHOR Derek Sall

Derek has a Bachelor's degree in Finance and a Master's in Business. As a finance manager in the corporate world, he regularly identified and solved problems at the C-suite level. Today, Derek isn't interested in helping big companies. Instead, he's helping individuals win financially--one email, one article, one person at a time.


    • You’re welcome Jessica. Always fun to read your stuff.

  1. Ah, I could write a whole book on this topic. I live in a pretty poor socio-economic area and this is something I see every day. I have never lived in poverty, so it’s easy to give advice, but the way I see it, you have to be super smart and motivated while doing the things you mentioned. If I had an unplanned pregnancy, it would take some rearranging, but we’d be alright financially. If someone in poverty has an unplanned pregnancy, that could mean staying in the poverty cycle. You can’t make mistakes.

    I see people who try and sometimes the system holds them back. There is one lady I interact with pretty often that is a great example of this. She has made some terrible choices and doesn’t have a good deck of cards to play, but she was working two jobs to try and pay off some debts and help her family get a leg up. When she reached a certain level of income, her housing subsidy got cut, which negated her second job, so she quit that one. It’s kind of like the system says that you have to work, but if you work too hard we are going to penalize you by taking away benefits. There is no way this lady can make enough out of the gate to cover the lost subsidy and make more income. It seems the system should be rewarding those who are trying, and I don’t think people making lots of money need subsidies, but it’s hard to get over that threshold. Anyway, her oldest daughter graduated from high school this past spring and went to college, so lets hope at least she has given her kids the drive and skills to break the cycle.

    • Sounds like you could write a whole book on this topic! Yes, it is definitely challenging to get out of poverty, but the good news is, it can be done. Thanks for the comment Kim.

  2. I can certainly agree with you. More often than not breaking out of the poverty mold requires a bit of outside help and initiative on our part to actually get out of poverty. And to the rest of us “the priviledged” or “lucky ones”, certainly pays to lend a hand 🙂

    • Yes, those of us that are privileged definitely need to lend a hand to those that are in poverty. However, it would be nice to be able to help only those that truly want to get out of their situation, rather than just aiding someone that is not really working for it. This is a tough distinction to make though…

  3. unfortunately many people who are battling this are also battling mental health issues, and I always think, that if you aren’t healthy mentally, you have nothing. I’ve battled with depression and anxiety for many years, so now, when I see someone in this circumstance, it breaks my heart, money can’t cure everything.

    • Good point Diana. If your mental state isn’t healthy, then it will be nearly impossible to get yourself out of poverty! Perhaps that could be some of the help that I offered within my solution.

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