The Poverty Catch-22

The High Costs of Destitution Cause a Vicious Cycle


Nothing is more infuriating than the ill-informed critique that “the haves” like to lob at “the have-nots.”

Here’s a classic: If you’re so poor and can’t afford to eat, then why are you overweight?”

If you have ever been poor, you know the answer to that question is, of course, that you cannot afford to eat healthy food. You are stuck living on beans, rice and ramen (and you are lucky if you get that). And that leaves a lot to be desired in terms of nutrition – and packs on a lot of extra carbs.

So much of the financial advice which is applicable at a higher income just does not work for those who are living month-to-month. There is still a benefit in keeping a monthly budget (in fact, it can be critical), but the suggestion of investing or saving for retirement may seem like a cruel joke when paying the bills is already difficult.

Wasting My $$, Really?!?

Why do so many people who subsist outside of poverty labor under the delusion that poor people are somehow wasting what little money they have? There are so many possible explanations:

  • It could be a lack of empathy born from never having experienced true hardship.
  • It could be an excuse not to lend a hand.
  • In other cases, it may be simple ignorance. After all, the idea that it costs more to be poor does seem contradictory.

But being poor is ridiculously expensive, and quite time-consuming as well. Survival becomes its own full-time job. It isn’t just healthy eating that is unaffordable when you are poor – there are other obstacles as well toward saving money.

A Self-perpetuating Cycle

You cannot afford to purchase bulk items, so you pay more for each item that you buy. You pay more for car insurance. You are stuck with higher interest rates, assuming you even qualify for loans or credit. You lose money through unavoidable overdraft fees. Car repairs you that you put off only end up costing you more over time as problems pile up.

This is how poverty becomes a self-perpetuating cycle. Once you fall into that black hole, its gravity keeps dragging you down. You are prevented from saving the money which might help you actually climb back out again.

Find out more of the ways in which poverty ends up creating unnecessary, crippling expenses for the poor.

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