10 Ways Poverty Will Ruin Your Life

Living in poverty will take its toll on you. There’s no way around it, but if you can avoid some of the common pitfalls that lead to living in poverty, your life will improve drastically. Here are 10 ways poverty will ruin your life so you can make sure to avoid these pitfalls and live the best life possible.

1) Financial hardship makes it difficult to find love

Many people in financial hardship have trouble attracting relationships. Part of a healthy relationship is helping each other out financially, and that can be hard if one person doesn’t have any money to give. While it’s ideal to find love with someone who makes enough money for both of you, there are steps you can take if you’re struggling financially and looking for love. For example, you could meet up with friends or family members instead of going on dates or meeting strangers online. You might also want to consider volunteering or taking up a part-time job to bring in some extra cash while you look for a partner.

2) The stress of being poor could make you sick

Feelings of stress have been shown to activate some of our flight or fight responses. And, while being poor doesn’t make you a literal predator, it may feel that way on an emotional level. When we feel like prey, our immune systems are negatively affected. Our blood pressure spikes, and our bodies release more cortisol—the same hormone that kick-starts our fight or flight response—than if we were experiencing chronic stress due to trauma.

3) Money is power

If you don’t have money, you can’t get access to resources that allow you to pursue opportunity and make progress in other areas of your life. This makes it extremely difficult—if not impossible—to move up in any area of life, be it education, health or relationships. Poverty creates a vicious cycle: You can’t get a better job without more education, but you need a better job to pay for that education. You can’t get healthier without better food and exercise, but you need those things to work well enough to hold down a job. And so on.

4) Poor people don’t have access to good jobs

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People with less money have a harder time getting good jobs. Not having enough money to afford some things is fine, but if it means that you can’t get a good job, then you will never be able to rise out of poverty. You need money in order to move up in society and do well for yourself. If you don’t have any, then there is no way for you to advance in your career or education. No one will give someone a chance without first assessing their economic status.

5) The quality of your education may be affected by your family’s income

The quality of a child’s education can vary significantly from school to school, even within one city. And poorer students often attend schools with fewer resources than their wealthier peers. If you’re poor, it can feel like no matter how hard you work in school, those without money have less access to educational opportunities—which means they also have less access to jobs that pay well.

6) Poverty is isolating

Living in poverty can mean you don’t have access to many of modern society’s basic necessities, including technology and clean water. That isolation can make it difficult to build relationships and maintain a healthy lifestyle. Not only is that damaging to your physical health, but social isolation has been linked to depression. If you aren’t able to connect with other people or feel like part of a community, you’re less likely to be happy—and more likely to suffer from anxiety or depression.

7) If you don’t fit in, it’s harder to reach out for help when it matters most

A study of high school students revealed that poor kids are more likely to get involved in risky behaviors—and have less opportunity to develop social skills. What’s more, studies show that individuals with lower incomes and less education have a harder time coping with stress. And psychological problems like depression have a much stronger negative impact on people who are living in extreme poverty than those who aren’t.

8) Low incomes perpetuate low incomes and poverty becomes a cycle

Low incomes means less money for savings, which leads to borrowing and debt, which in turn cripples a person’s ability to get out of low income. If you find yourself or someone you know here, there are many options available to help. Seek them out now while you still have time. The poor are more likely to be victims of crime: In neighborhoods with high rates of poverty, residents can feel like they have no control over their lives and thus become easy targets for violence. The good news is that some cities offer self-defense classes specifically tailored toward women who live in high-crime areas.

9) You won’t be able to afford the things that make life worth living

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The good news is that, if you’re below a certain income threshold, you’ll be eligible for government programs like SNAP and Medicaid. The bad news is that, even with these entitlements in place, living on a tight budget will severely limit what you can do to have fun. 

By all means, treat yourself every once in a while. But try not to think of it as something extraordinary or outside of normal human experience. You are allowed to have fun. It’s just harder when you don’t have much money. Be prepared to give up: In addition to being unable to afford many of life’s luxuries, when you live in poverty there is often little room left over for spontaneity.

10) Children from poor families are more likely to live in poor families

There’s an obvious correlation between being born into a poor family and ending up in one, too. In fact, children raised in low-income families are more likely to be impoverished as adults than those who aren’t. While some of these correlations stem from factors outside of familial income — like higher dropout rates or lower levels of health literacy — researchers have determined that parental income is still linked to child earnings even after controlling for other factors.

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