Have you grown up in poverty and feel like you’ll never get out? Are you no longer in poverty, but still have a generational poverty mindset?
You might have this mindset when you are surrounded by many who also have a poverty mindset.
This is the mindset I’m trying to overcome at the time of this post. I grew up in deep poverty and I’ve been trying to switch from nonprofit to corporate for marketing jobs to get out of it.
All I experienced were rejections. I went to a top college and worked my butt off, but here I am not making much more than my family. How could you work so hard and not get anywhere?
It really knocked down my confidence and the same message was shared over and over again:
“You don’t have the skills we’re looking for.”
It’s something that I began to internalize and I didn’t work as hard on this blog. I saw the same thing happen to people online. They worked in retail or another low-paying job and found it so difficult to switch industries.
They would constantly post that “I am stuck in this job. There is no way out. I mentally cannot deal with this anymore. I’m going to be in poverty forever.” If you have this mindset, you can become depressed and hopeless.
When you work so hard for something and nothing happens can be so tough. But the most important thing is your mindset because when you give up, you lose the chance to get to your destination.
What is a generational poverty mindset?
It is when someone has a negative belief system surrounding how they view money that is heavily based on their parent’s or family’s views about money.
It’s the mindset of feeling like you’re never going to get out of poverty. Your grandparents were poor, your parents were poor, and now you’re poor.
And that the barrier feels too high to overcome, so you give up.
What are signs that you have a poverty mindset? It happens when you:
- Look at others that have more than you with envy
- Feel like you’re never going to get out of poverty
- Don’t take the time to educate yourself on personal finance
- Feel stuck in your low-paying job
Disclaimer: I am not a financial advisor or professional. This is just my personal opinion. Please seek advice from your financial advisor.
How can you recover from a generational poverty mindset?
Reflect on the root cause of why you have a negative belief
Did you grow up in poverty and watched your parents mismanage their money? Does building wealth feel like something you don’t know how to do?
Write down the root cause so that you can work on overcoming it.
Take baby steps to build your financial wealth
You don’t have to make big financial goals immediately. Taking small steps and completing them will make you much more confident in your abilities to become wealthy.
It’s very rare to become an overnight success. You have to build your foundation carefully and over time.
Pick one goal to prioritize for each season to not overwhelm yourself with doing it all and burning yourself out. One thing I focused on was paying off my credit card debt when I got a pay increase.
Make a list of things you want to achieve and check them off one by one. No matter how small it is, make sure to celebrate.
Also, always review your spending budget and transactions. Is there anything that can be cut or reduced? You may also be able to negotiate paying lower bills. I was able to reduce my debt this way.
Diversify your streams of income
One thing I learned from growing up in deep poverty is that it’s so risky to just rely on a 9 to 5 income. Especially since there are massive layoffs when a recession comes around. Take the steps to protect your finances.
You can prevent yourself from going into a downward stress spiral by saving 6 – 12 months of your monthly expenses in emergency savings. I know it’s hard if you are in the lowest income bracket.
Now, 44% of Americans have a side hustle. If your job is limiting your ability to meet your needs, it is important to diversify your income so that you’re not stressed about how you’re going to pay your next bill when food or housing is so expensive.
Set financial boundaries with family
Another common theme among people that grew up in generational poverty is that they lack financial boundaries with family and friends. A parent might keep asking you to pay for something, but you don’t have the funds to do so.
If it’s hurting your financial situation, you need to establish boundaries.
Realize that your mindset has a major impact on others
Don’t you want to be the one that breaks the cycle of generational poverty in your family? By you believing that you can will motivate you to and inspire others that they can also achieve their dreams.
Think about your children, future children, or nieces and nephews. Who do you want to be viewed as when they see you? You’re the role model for the next generation.
If anything needs to change, it’s up to you to start making a difference.
Take time away from work to focus on investing in yourself
If you’re so heavily focused on your low salary or lack of opportunities, you can become narrowly focused on what you don’t have.
But have you thought of doing an audit to see what strengths, talents, and opportunities are in your life? Everyone has something good in their life and can use that to invest in improving their life.
For example, I didn’t have much growing up, but I had good mentors in my life to help guide my path. I should’ve focused more on the areas that would help me get further in life.
What are some things in your life that if you put more effort into, it will get you further along in your path?
Whether that is practicing a skill that would help you make more money in the future or networking to find better opportunities.
You have to be more strategic in your thought process and do a SWOT Analysis of your mindset and finances. List your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.
Once you can visibly see what is holding you back and what resources you have in your toolbox to overcome it, you can push yourself forward with a game plan.
What are you going to do today to start overcoming a generational poverty mindset?