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Poverty isn't a lack of character it's a lack of cash.

(45 Posts)
GagaJo Mon 24-Feb-20 09:30:50

Fascinating article.

When I was dirt poor, a friend (much better off financially) said to me, 'The problem is, you don't know how to manage your money.' Arrogance.

Now I have more money, I manage it brilliantly. I'm an outstanding saver and investor. She's no longer a friend.

Anyway, read the article. It's QED really but...

lemongrove Mon 24-Feb-20 09:42:42

I rarely read links on GN, but think there are two answers to the OP.
Poverty is literally a lack of cash ( not character) but also however little money you have coming in , if managed properly, it helps.
If you buy at charity shops and not new, do your own hair/nails, take the bus instead of having a car loan hanging like a millstone round your neck etc etc.
It’s all about priorities, rent paid first, utilities, food and good management of what is left will certainly help a person.
Not all can manage this way of thinking though.

GagaJo Mon 24-Feb-20 09:50:11

I agree with all of what you've said. The irony of MY situation was that my friend was actually a bit of a spendthrift but had a ready supply of cash. Whereas my income was less than my VERY basic expenditure.

Rent first was the first money management lesson I ever learned.

But the article is mostly about the increase in attainment of children and the improvement on the parental / child relationship IF they are helped, financially. As a teacher, I see education as a route out of poverty, so anything that increases a childs ability to do better at school is OK by me.

Poppyred Mon 24-Feb-20 09:53:33

Agree totally Lemongrove! There is a woman at work always complaining that she will never be able to save for a deposit to buy a house and yet nails and eyelashes are renewed every 3 weeks, hair is dyed at a salon regularly and her car is always the latest model. It all comes down to priorities as you say.

GagaJo Mon 24-Feb-20 09:58:09

If this is going to become a general discussion with no mention of the article, I'm not going to bother commenting.

I thought it was a great article, which was why I posted it, but I see it about to turn into another poor-bashing exercise.

lemongrove Mon 24-Feb-20 09:59:36

Yes, education is a route out of poverty and always has been.
Do schools have lessons in basic money management for older children?

GagaJo Mon 24-Feb-20 10:01:18

Schools in the UK these days struggle to buy books LG. AND the National Curriculum currently in place leaves NO room for anything much other than academics.

lemongrove Mon 24-Feb-20 10:09:55

Then it seems to me that the NC needs tweaking.
I would have thought that some sort of citizenship class which includes money management, high interest loans (and resulting debt) the importance of voting etc. Would really help teenagers think about life after school.

GagaJo Mon 24-Feb-20 10:13:21

COULD be included in Maths IF the NC wasn't so prescriptive. BUT what poor children really need is GREAT qualifications and training in something that will make them really employable.

AFTER they've been fed, clothed, and given a safe and secure home environment. Until their basic necessities are met, they can't learn effectively (Maslow's hierarchy of needs).

Barmeyoldbat Mon 24-Feb-20 10:16:17

It would be good for all children 14 years onward, to have lessons in money management and financial awareness. My own GC said she wished this had been taught at school when we were giving her a few lessons.

Yes managing your money when poor is essential but rather difficult and almost impossible at times. What happens when your child needs new shoes, a coat or new school uniform. You don't receive enough to save much if any, so what do you do.

annep1 Mon 24-Feb-20 10:20:27

I've just come on and will read the article. Just wanted to say my mum had to choose between paying rent and feeding her children. Which took priority?

Marydoll Mon 24-Feb-20 10:38:11

I totally agree with you Gagajo. I was brought up in dreadful poverty, my father was a chronic invalid and my mother was his carer. She had a career as a senior sister in a maternity hospital, but had to give it up to care for him. No carer's allowances in those days. sad

I strongly believe in education as the way out of poverty. My mother wanted me out working, but I got a job in factories in the summer and a bar at the weekend to pay my way through university. My mother insisted in taking most of my grant from me, as she said it was needed it to run the household! However, I was determined to succeed, as I knew I could have a better life.

Her mantra was: People like us don't go to university.

I spent all of my teaching career in one of the most deprived areas in Scotland. I was passionate about encouraging children to work hard at school and make a better life for themselves. However, it didn't always happen, as there was no encouragement or support from some parents. Parents had such low expectations of themselves and their children picked up on that.

Most of my colleagues came from very affluent backgrounds and couldn't understand why "those parents justcouldn't get their act together!"
I remember an occasion when a family lost all their possessions in a house fire. A colleague commented that it was ridiculous not to have purchased house insurance. I had to explain that the family had a choice, choose between house insurance or food on the table, they couldn't afford both. She just didn't get it.

Of course there are people who don't/ can't manage their money well, but there are also those who do not have enough to live on after rent etc is paid, no matter how well they try. Some don't have the skills to manage their budget.
We taught financial education to pupils in the hope that we could break the cycle of borrowing from loan sharks or high interest credit companies.
To encourage children and parents to save and borrow wisely, acredit union was opened in the school

Some children would come into school, soaked to the skin, wearing ankle socks and summer shoes, having walked to school (no money for bus fares) in the rain and snow, having had no breakfast.
It has been suggested that people should take the bus instead of taking out a car loan. Some people didn't even have the price of a bus fare. Many a time, in really bad weather, I gave a child money for their bus fare home. I knew they would be going home, soaking wet, to a house with no heating, as mum didn't have tokens for the electricity meter.

This is not meant to be a sob story, I'm proud of what I have achieved, but sad that even today, children are trapped in poverty and through no fault of their own, are not encouraged to seize the opportunity of getting a good education.

It is so easy to tell people to manage their money better, but unless you have experienced it, you have absolutely no idea what it is like to live hand to mouth (and the shame that goes with it).

Sermon over! I just feel so passionate about education as a means of achieving a better life.

trisher Mon 24-Feb-20 10:50:50

Gagajo I read the article and found it absolutely amazing. The concept that actually poverty is the thing which could be eradicated and in so doing we would get rid of many of the problems which exist in our society is revolutionary. If only we could try it out and really fund a proper welfare state.

May7 Mon 24-Feb-20 11:19:29

I read the article thanks for posting link. As I was reading I was thinking really this is Maslow's hierarchy and then you posted
Until their basic necessities are met, they can't learn effectively (Maslow's hierarchy of needs) It was an interesting read this morning and yes I agree trisher . If only we could try it out and really fund a proper welfare state although I suspect you were being ironicwink

notanan2 Mon 24-Feb-20 11:30:26

You are so right.

We got a "rep" as bad money managers from someone we know because in the early days of our careers we had very little coming in.

If your monthly bills are (random numbers for demo)
£50, £50, £100, £200
And £300 comes in that month
No matter HOW you juggle it AT LEAST ONE of those bills cant be paid!

Fast forward and the poverty/ground work paid off. We're not rich but bills can always be paid with some left over for nice things. Same person is still on a misson to teach us a lesson: will flash the cash and pick up the tab for others but not for us because apparently, we have to learn! hmm
(We dont want freebies from them but if we treated everyone last time, then this time theyre treating everyone but us... y'know..)

notanan2 Mon 24-Feb-20 11:32:17

We were ALWAYS "good with money" we just didnt HAVE enough of it to be good with!

Its wasnt about learning. It was about just not having enough to giggle around

oodles Mon 24-Feb-20 11:53:32

some people just don't have a clue do they. they think the poor are feckless spendthrifts, and obviouslt some may be. But it's been known for a long time that buying cheap or just in time is dearer, if someone can afforda pair of good boots for £50 someone said, they will last with a bit of care and cobblers fees for 10 years, if you can only afford £10 pair they will wear out, leak and by the end of £10 years youo will have paid out well over £50 plus cobblers fees. Likewise buying coal in the summer in bulk is much cheaper per scuttleful, but if you can't afford more than a bag at a time that's what you'll do, you may not have space to keep it and even if you have will you have been thrown out for non payment of rent.
2 hardworking people on minimum wage even with overtime may not earn as much as someone on a good wage, and they will have less time to do moneysaving things

Doodledog Mon 24-Feb-20 11:55:02

Poverty is all-consuming, so it is no surprise that lifting popped out of it will free up time for parents to socialise children.

The film 'Sorry We Missed You' shows this in action - a caring family is living hand to mouth, with no wriggle room if the unexpected happens. The children have to spend time on their own, the boy gets into trouble and if the father can get to the police station to witness a caution he (the boy) can have a second chance, but if dad takes time off work he risks losing not only his job as a delivery driver, but the money he has borrowed in order to do it (drivers provide their own vans and hand-held scanners). They live in a grotty flat with no 'extras', and there are no issues with booze or drugs.

A lot of people would think that not turning up to an appointment at a police station, (or both parents working and not being there for their children in the first place) was a sign of poor parenting, but the consequences of going are likely to be that the family is plunged further into poverty. Many of the people who would judge them are the same ones who would complain if a parcel arrived late, or who would make it clear that the cheapest delivery option would get their custom. Maybe their margins are such that they have no choice but to buy cheapest - it's not always straightforward.

People who contribute to foodbanks are often the ones who are struggling themselves, and are only one step away from needing them. Their donations represent a high percentage of their income, and go to help the profits of people offering the zero-hours contracts that drive others there, and the cycle continues. It would be so much better if the money could somehow go direct to the poor, however well-meaning (and necessary) foodbanks are; but every penny that someone on benefits gets is clawed back, and (as we have seen on here), is seen as theft if they accept it anyway.

It's a bit like 'An Inspector Calls'. All of us can make choices, knowingly or unknowingly, that contribute to the misery of others.

Doodledog Mon 24-Feb-20 11:56:40

'Lifting people out of poverty', not 'popped out' grin. i do wish we were trusted with an edit function, even for a couple of minutes after posting.

grannysyb Mon 24-Feb-20 13:28:39

Some time ago there was a tv programme about politicians living on benefits for a week, I think Michael Portillo was one. At the time I thought it was stupid as if they had done it for at least three months it would have made more sense, as it would have shown how unexpected bills can impact on people's lives. If you're stuck on a low income and suddenly something breaks down it can cause awful stress.

notanan2 Mon 24-Feb-20 13:32:01

Exactly its not all about how to make a cheap meal. Its what the hell do you do if another bill drops when you already have NO margin etc

Barmeyoldbat Mon 24-Feb-20 15:03:47

This is such a good post and I agree with it all, You do need education as a way out but often education in deprived areas is extremely poor and it ends up with children with poor motivation and ambitions. When I was living on the breadline I just use to manage day by day and the one thing I hated most was seeing adverts for holidays, knowing that even a day out was a struggle and I was working. I t comes to something when the House of Lords receive more for a days attendance that people receive in a week in benefits.

Doodledog Mon 24-Feb-20 15:19:33

. . .the House of Lords receive more for a days attendance that people receive in a week in benefits.

That really is disgraceful, and whoever it was who made the correlation deserves recognition. It may be responsible for some sort of redistribution, as it must be indefensible to even the hardest of hearts.

MaizieD Mon 24-Feb-20 15:20:36

I think the House of Lords thing is a bit of an irrelevance. Cutting their allowances wouldn't make the 'poor' any richer. Shouldn't we be looking at how to eliminate poverty?

As far as I can see you can't do that by taking from the rich and redistributing it to the poor a la the Russian Revolution, but you could by making it less easy for the rich to become even richer at the expense of the poor.

Nor can you do it by exhorting the poor to 'work harder' without giving them any incentive, such as a living wage. Many poor people work very hard without any noticeable difference to their state of poverty.

I, too, think your post at 11.55 was excellent, Doodledog

Daisymae Mon 24-Feb-20 15:21:57

What an interesting article. Had a similar discussion over the weekend when someone asked something like 'why do working class boys do so badly' I thought it was about education and expectations. But the extract seems to say that its about being poor and the stresses that puts on people. The other thing is that it seems to me that the rich like being rich because of the advantages that gives them. Its not in their interests to 'level up'. Which is of course precisely why we wont. Think, if we all had equality of opportunity then only the really talented would get to Oxbridge, rather than the really well off. Yes I know that not everyone who goes to Oxbridge is rich but on balance they have a better chance.