Today's blog is about poverty, how it is perpetuated, who is profiting and how not making a decision to focus and better your financial future IS a decision to remain in the perpetual cycle of poverty.
*Note: As always, this blog represents an opinion and does not constitute legal advice, only legal information. No attorney-client relationship is formed in the reading of this blog. Please seek counsel when exercising any legal action. Stay informed!
So lets start with what poverty is and isn't. The oxford dictionary defines poverty as "the state of being extremely poor." It is also defined it as "the state of being inferior in quality or insufficient in amount" as in mentally. The feds define poverty as a person who makes less than $12,760 a year as an individual, or less than $44,120 for a family of 8.
Let's be clear, no where in the dictionary, or in the federal guidelines does it say that a person is poor just because they are unable to pay all of their bills, or are in otherwise deep debt! You aren't by definition poor just because you are living paycheck to paycheck. You also aren't considered a person who is living in poverty just because you feel poor.
For purposes of this post, we will be focusing on the second definition of poverty. We will also be discussing the way on how corporations and our federal government continues to profit by ensuring that society as a whole feel poor.
There are several tools being used by predatory businesses and agencies that ensure that society remains in a certain level of "feeling poor", while not qualifying for programs that are available to those that fall into what the government deems as poor; those instruments include:
1) Inflated Interest rates on consumer debt (ie. credit cards, payday loans, title loans, utility bills, installment loans)
2) Interest rates on student loans
3) The Federal Government's consistent failure to provide business loans to start up, and minority owned businesses.
4) The Federal, State and Local Government's consistent failure to provide readily accessible, speedy and automated access to funds already owed to citizens (ie. tax refunds & any other type of refunds due to the average american.
5) Failure of corporations to secure confidential client information (ie. social security numbers, addresses, birthdays, ect.) that often leads to fraud which goes on to impact an individual's financial profile.
9) Corporate and Government reliance on the fact people will remain ignorant, and not conduct research into the illegal activities that often take place in every single aspect of our society.
10) Corporate and Government reliance on the desperation of humans when placed in a fight or flight situation as it applies to suvival (ie. ability to keep a roof over your head, and feed your children)
11) Low Self-Esteem, and the desperate need to look and feel superior to someone else or to another group.
...and the list goes on.
At the end of the day, simply put, everything above is just a ploy to extract money from the pockets of hard working American by instilling fear, anger, and frustration. The ability of LOBBYIST to pay politicians to support their own financial interest against the will of the american people, while at the same time preying on the emotions of everyday citizens allows for corporate big wigs, and rich politicians to get richer.
...The tactic used by corporations and government entities is basically the "Look that way", and while our head is turned, they swoop in and grab whatever they can off the backs of the citizens they are suppose to be serving.
We don't all realize this though, and understandably why would we. Life is hard, its easy to get distracted when you are worried about feeding your children, or keeping the lights on in your home.
Our heads are on a constant swivel...and as Americans a majority of us are in constant fight or flight mode. Its nothing to be ashamed of, but it is something we need to stop in order to evolve and thrust ourselves out of the second definition of poverty.
In one way or another, the most "successful" of us (excluding the 1%) are getting a wake up call. During the Covid-19 crisis, so many people who had "great incomes" and "good jobs" are suddenly for the first time in our lives experiencing a bit of "the state of being inferior in quality or insufficient in amount" definition of poverty. Suddenly, people who gave 18-30+ years of their lives to a corporation, is now having to experience what it is like to "virtually stand in the unemployment line". A lot of people will be withdrawing from their pensions, 401k's, savings and any other accounts they have, because they got so comfortable in their success, they figured it would last forever. Suddenly, that mercedes, that million dollar house, and your child's tuition will suddenly become an excess burden, and a lot of people will have to make some very tough choices.
With all that being said, a lot of people will turn and try to blame someone else for their plight. Otherwise, will made rash decisions in the attempt to try to remain their version of solvent. Other people will work very hard to blind themselves to the new reality, that life and the economy as of 2 months ago is gone. Some people, who i genuinely feel for may not have applied for a job outside of the company they were in since the 90's, and they will be getting hit with the the stick of ageism, and the constant stream of automated rejection emails that are sent out by taleo, and the other HR IT systems. A lot of people will realize that even when they do find a job, they may NEVER make as much as they did prior to Covid-19, and that they simply may never be able to afford the lifestyles that they became accustomed to. Its terrible, but it is reality.
Subsequently, in the coming months and years, there will be an excess of divorces, bankruptcies, bad credit ratings, and desperate actions, such as buying cars with exorbitant interest rates, going to pay day loan sharks, putting one's house up as collateral, foreclosures, and getting title loan. In short, a lot of places will be getting rich of the misery of everyday citizens, and I am sad to see that happen. In short, if people don't begin to take an active role in their financial futures, putting aside their emotions, and deciding not to play the blame game....for once the interest of the common american can finally outsmart the interest of the 1%.
So what can a person who has been displaced of their job, and who is emotionally fragile right now do to prevent themselves of being victimized by all the financial predators around us? How can the everyday person not just survive, but can also thrive in such terrible time?
My answer: Get yourself a business lawyer who is well versed on credit, bankruptcy, interest rates, and settlement negotiations!
Why you ask?
Because, these types of professionals understand the pitfalls you will be facing, and can help you find ways to not just avoid everyday financial predators, but can also work out a strategy with you in order to help you make financial decisions that could help improve your situation in the long run. This type of professional can help you evaluate your circumstances, and come up with creative suggestions to help you thrive in a situation that initially looked bleak.
So I urge those who find themselves in a crossroads in their lives right now, to not make any rash decisions. Do not react off your emotion, and do not make any decisions out of desperation. CALL A PROFESSIONAL, GET SOME ADVICE, PROCEED WITH CAUTION, AND SACRIFICE SHORT TERM SATISFACTION FOR LONG TERM SUCCESS.