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Why it’s Expensive to be Poor

“You have to be rich to be poor”, this is a saying that rings true as it is expensive to be poor. A poor person is part of the endless cycle of forking out money for essentials and bills while having no improvement to their lifestyle as it is just too expensive to save, invest or make any sort of financial improvement towards their quality of life. A poor person will find things that cost “normal” for a middle income person to be too expensive for them as they are fighting tooth and nail just to survive to pay for their daily expenses.

Poor health is a common issue among people who earn little as healthy food, supplements and medical help are just too expensive for them to afford. By eating cheap food that is unhealthy they further compromise their health in the long-term, poor people find themselves stuck in an endless cycle of being unwell and playing catch-up to try to get out of further financial difficulty caused by their lifestyle. In this current age of technology where trends are being followed, healthy lifestyles like being vegan or being on a keto diet is popular, a poor person has no choice to make life-changing decisions about their food intake as healthy food is expensive and overpriced for them. A poor person would instead opt to spend what little they have into means that can elevate their daily stress like smoking or drinking alcohol, making their lifestyle choices even unhealthier and further compromising their health.

Medical bills are a prime example of how being poor is expensive, a poor person cannot afford to have or pay for insurance premiums, and it would be almost impossible to seek medical help due to their lack of affordability. The lack of medical help would then result in the person falling ill further, making it difficult for them to work or earn the income they desperately need to pay for other essential expenses thus putting them further into debt. A rich person would not think twice about checking into a private hospital or even seeking simple medical help at a clinic because they are in a financial position where they can choose to prioritize their health first. 

A pattern of downward spirals can be found in a poor person’s financial life, especially when an emergency occurs. In order to just keep afloat and survive, there are times when a poor person needs to resort to taking out illegal loans with very high interest, and this puts them further in debt. For example, a poor person might not be financially prepared to handle emergencies like a funeral in the family. In this case, they would have no choice but to resort to unsavoury and illegal means to get the money they need to settle their responsibility towards their family first. Stuck between a rock and a hard place, the lack of financial means to deal with an emergency is a poor person’s worst nightmare.

In our current financial climate, being poor means that there’s more than just medical bills to be worried about. Expenses for travelling like petrol, toll charges and public transport fees can also be too expensive to handle. These expenses are necessary costs as one needs to travel out to the office to earn a living, but it is not cheap or affordable for a poor person. An average earning person would not think twice about booking a taxi or other means of transport for the sake of convenience, and this will not be the same for a poor person. What an average earning person would consider normal spending; a poor person would find exorbitant. Means of travel is very important for a poor person to have, as this is the way to earn what little income they can get. If a poor person’s transport like their car or motorcycle were to require servicing or repairs, the lack of affordability to rectify the issue will possibly cause the loss of income for a poor person since their means of travel would be cut off.

Being poor damages more than just a person’s lifestyle, it can destroy your heart and soul. The endless cycle of living to cover day-to-day expenses and the constant fear needing cash for emergencies or unexpected expenses can damage a person’s mental and physical well-being. Frequent stress caused by financial troubles will lead to an early grave, coupled with an unhealthy lifestyle that a poor person is forced to live through. The mental state of a poor person would be fragile, constant worrying about money can either make or break you. A poor person can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel because they are unable to save money or have any surplus to make their financial situation better for their future, much less their children’s future.

But that said, is all hope lost? Is the poor doomed to be poor while the rich gets richer? Can the poor do anything – anything at all to alleviate their current circumstances? Or are they stuck in this cycle of defeat; both in their thoughts and ability to improve their lives? Would financial literacy be the holy grail to their pain and the answer to their crumbling self esteem out of this crippling situation?

The next question would be – if privilege is a constant and not a variable, would these people have led very different lives? If financial literacy is readily available to them, would it have impacted the state of their finances significantly? It may surprise you, but studies have shown that the lack of financial literacy is not only prevalent in the less educated and low income earners, but also among the middle to high income earners who are educated.

If you’re not where you want to be financially right now, it’s imperative to close that gap. Start taking action by accumulating your arsenal of tools to improve your financial knowledge. Go for courses, workshops and seminars related to your field of interest – be it in investments or to grow a business. Read books that enrich you and watch videos of speakers that inspire you. While you are doing all of that, leverage financial management and planning tools such as SyncWealth to help you in your journey to financial freedom.

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