Gransnet forums


You’re not poor, you’re broke!

(149 Posts)
Anja Tue 12-Mar-19 14:19:01

Reading an article in today’s paper resonated after listening to a family member yesterday rambling on about being ‘poor’. I thought at the time ‘but if you didn’t each have an expensive iPhone on contract, the latest in TV and broadband packages, two cars, meals out, your children signed up for football, tennis, cricket, dance, piano lessons, etc. etc. then you’d have a surplus’.

Not saying people shouldn’t have all these but please don’t plead poverty. Being poor means you can’t afford these ‘luxuries’ (?) but instead struggle to put healthy meals on the tables, pay heating bills and so on.

Then this couple had the temerity to suggest that our ‘generation’ had it easy!

maryeliza54 Tue 12-Mar-19 14:23:56

I think bring poorisa bit more than not being able to afford absolutely basic necessities. In a rich country like ours, there should be a bit higher standard than that. Not some of the examples you give if course but better than absolute basics.

Anja Tue 12-Mar-19 14:29:32

So struggling to feed your family and keep the house warm is not an indication of poverty?

How odd.

Anja Tue 12-Mar-19 14:30:16

I think you’ve completely missed my point.

maryeliza54 Tue 12-Mar-19 14:36:52

Apologies - I’ll go away

BlueBelle Tue 12-Mar-19 14:48:36

Anja I agree if the money is being spent inappropriately they should not be pleading poverty
My children were fed and clean but we had no extras, we didn’t even have a landline because I couldn’t afford it and feed the children
Many ‘poor’ families today have totally wrong priorities if they drink, or smoke, take drugs, have more than a working car, iPhones, or even big dogs etc then they are NOT living in poverty they are living beyond their means

The needs in this country should be a home, heat, clean clothes and food (perhaps a car) after those are achieved then other extras can be purchased

notanan2 Tue 12-Mar-19 14:48:39

Yawn @ the same old "but they have an iphone and tv.."

You cant even APPLY for a job where I work without a smart device so you can see and respond to short list/interview notifications.

Our rotas are online. Our overtime alerts are online and you book it online.

As for TVs... well since out of home entertainment has become so expensive (cinema was a cheap night out in my parents day LOL) a smart TV IS the budget option. And its not exactly an asset. Just because someone PREVIOUSLY had enough to buy a tv doesnt mean they cant ever become "poor".

B9exchange Tue 12-Mar-19 14:48:42

I tend to agree that no-one is prepared to admit to being 'broke' any more. We used to plead that when invites came to go out for a drink (let alone a meal)!

There is a concept in some people (not all of course) that you are living in poverty if you can't afford a modern phone or a large TV, or perhaps a car, and to an extent these are accepted as a normal part of everyday life.

But what worries me is the idea tha you have a right to these things even if your income doesn't support it.

Being 'broke' means that you have spent all your available income, not necessarily wisely. Being poor to me means not being able to afford to feed your children, to heat your house, pay your rent or mortgage, due to not having enough income, not that you have spent it on other things you deemed a right. It would be an interesting discussion to see how people do define living in poverty in the UK these days?

notanan2 Tue 12-Mar-19 14:51:51

Being online is not a "luxury" any more.

In the past it was DIFFERENT. The world and the workplace wasnt set up in such a way that required connectivity. People who "did without" it then wouldnt necessarily be able to manage in the same way in today's world.

MissAdventure Tue 12-Mar-19 14:53:08

All online for me.
I'm contacted via email for shifts, training is online, and incidentally, claiming job seekers allowance means looking online for work, and allowing your job coach access to your email address so they can check how you're doing.

School newsletters are online, and school trips are paid online via an app, and parents evening was arranged online.

notanan2 Tue 12-Mar-19 14:56:24

Childrens school lunch money has to be paid online. Childrens homework is online. Payments for school trips etc.... online!

No, my mother wasnt online, but back then you were allowed to just bring an envelope of cash to school for those things. You cant now.

She didnt need to be online in order to work or manage household admin.

My nearest bank branch (local one has just shut) is now an hour and 25 mins away! My mother could do ALL her banking in our local town!

Its not comparable. At all.

notanan2 Tue 12-Mar-19 14:58:12

P.s. thats an hour and 25 mins EACH WAY.

notanan2 Tue 12-Mar-19 15:00:35

Im doing a course for work. Hopefully it will boost my earning potential. It is a requirement that you log into the VLE (virtual learning environment) PRIOR to commencing the course so that you can do the pre course reading and tasks.

I got notified of this by email.

notanan2 Tue 12-Mar-19 15:02:23

Primary & secondary school applications: all online.

M0nica Tue 12-Mar-19 15:03:08

Frequently the gadgets etc were acquired when living conditions were better.

A friend of mine, a senior manager, was made redundant and was redundant for some time. He and his family had a nice house, and a reasonable car etc and throughout his redundant period people would make snide remarks of him living high on the hog while drawing benefits. In fact he was doing nothing of the sort, the family were living on benefits, plus running down savings, the good things they possessed were obtained when he was in work.

Once he got back to work, he was able to resume a way of life that matched the house and car. But he knew who his friends were.

Cherrytree59 Tue 12-Mar-19 15:04:50

Yes agree the OP's example is they are broke.
My definition of poor is struggling to provide the basics, food, warmth and safe roof with water and sanitation.

If those three things can't be met before other out goings then that person or family is poor.

However for various reasons (a death, redundancy, divorce etc) a family can fall from a life of comfort to to the depth of despair and they may have at that point the latest TV, games consuls, Phones etc.

When I was young I remember a family who were very poor.
But I also remember people shaking their heads, because whilst the children were being fed by kind neighbours and children's clothes were passed on by other mothers,
the father was down the pub.

The father had spent the money on beer that could have fed and put clothes on his children back,
but either way the were still poor.

Urmstongran Tue 12-Mar-19 15:11:28

You’re right about escalating cost of the cinema these days notanan2 Our daughter took 6y old grandson to see a cartoon in the February half term and it cost her £14 for herself and £10 for the grandson at the Trafford Centre. I was astonished it cost so much.

Charleygirl5 Tue 12-Mar-19 15:34:12

I agree, one needs a computer for everything. Where I live we have to pay extra to have our cut grass collected and it can only be done online.

M0nica Tue 12-Mar-19 15:43:54

As time goes on, last year's luxury is this year's necessity.

There was a time when having a telephone was defined as a luxury, and central heating, hot and cold running water and and indoor loo. Now these are considered basics for adequate housing. So it goes, once internet access and a smart phone were luxuries. Now, being online is essential, as is having a smart phone, however that phone having to be an iphone, is a luxury

Anja Tue 12-Mar-19 15:50:01

Stop harking on about going ‘online’ ...we know that. But it’s about those who can afford and don’t stint and still cry poverty,

Seems half have missed the point.

notanan2 Tue 12-Mar-19 15:56:54

I for one do not know how new or old (or bought new Vs reconditioned) ANY of my extended family members/neighbours/colleagues phones are and bet the "tutters" on here dont either...

...reminds me of a time when I was sat on the bus on front of two older ladies who spend the whole journey muttering about a young mum near the front with her "iphone".

I was one row closer to said young mum and there was no way to tell from where I was whether or not her phone was an iphone, let alone whether or not it was a new or old release!

52bright Tue 12-Mar-19 16:06:58

I take Anya's point about it being irritating when those who are broke rather than poor are so sure that a previous generation had it easy. They weren't around at the time when mortgage interest soared and some young families at the time were in danger of loosing the roofs over their heads and really struggled to pay the basics. The 'broke' rather than 'poor' who Anya is talking about are struggling because they are allowing their 'wants' rather than needs to cause financial problems.

However I'm aware that many families today genuinely struggle to provide the necessities, just as we did back in the day. I think their problems are compounded by the easy credit now available. It's tempting to get a few extras on the credit card rather than struggling on with not much. As I remember, being poor rather than broke made for anxious dull days and who knows, if credit cards had been so easy then I might have been tempted. The trouble is this makes for another bill which can easily get out of hand.

I may be wrong, but I also think that people weren't quite so materialistic then and people didn't seem quite so set on having the latest thing. Not just gadgets, which I recognise as necessities today, but furniture, clothes ext. I am often amazed by the immaculate newness of everything in some younger people's homes. If a lot of this is on credit, then they are bound to find themselves struggling and perhaps 'broke' rather than 'poor'.

As ever you can't generalize and pigeon hole an entire generation.

Sorry for long post.

notanan2 Tue 12-Mar-19 16:08:36

Its also worth bearing in mind that often the people in the worst financial situations are the very ones who put the most pressure on themselves to keep up appearances.

And just because someone went on holiday/bought a telly last year doesnt mean their financial situation hasnt changed this year.

Maybe see the good in people and assume theyre telling the truth?

M0nica Tue 12-Mar-19 16:09:47

Surely you are talking about the line between essentials and luxuries, as I said, you need a smart phone, but not an iphone.

There have always been people like this. I can remember having neighbours like this 40 years ago, doing 200 mile round car journeys to the coast at weekends to take their huge dog for a good long walk, and then complaining that they were really struggling to eat on the amount of housekeeping they could afford on her DH's salary. Everyone's response, although not to their faces was: if you had a smaller dog (or no dog) and didn't do long journeys to the coast every weekend.........

I always knew such people as spendthrifts. They have always existed: an overweaning sense of entitlement, poor money management and always seeing their problems as lack of money, not their spending decisions.

notanan2 Tue 12-Mar-19 16:10:39

I may be wrong, but I also think that people weren't quite so materialistic then and people didn't seem quite so set on having the latest thing.

Ha ha ha ha
Yes "keeping up with the Joneses is a totally new phenominon. Werent numerous comedy sketches about it in the 60s/70s/80s/90s??