Affluent people should not give money-management advice without acknowledging class privilege.

In Why You Pay for Shit Twice in the Hood., Renina of New Model Minority writes:

How do people pay for shit twice in the hood. Poverty is lucrative. People who own businesses in the hood make money charging incredible prices for the day to day things needed to survive.

The first example that comes to mind is a New York times article where Barbara Ehrenreich talks about the “ghetto tax” and how being poor is expensive. She writes,

  • “Poor people are less likely to have bank accounts..”
  • .”..low-income car buyers…pay more for car loans than more affluent buyers.”
  • “Low-income drivers pay more for car insurance.”
  • “They are more likely to buy their furniture and appliances through pricey rent-to-own businesses.”
  • “They are less likely to have access to large supermarkets and hence to rely on the far more expensive…convenient stores.”

When you add that all up, you really get a sense of how when you live in the hood you pay more for services and products, just because you live in the hood.

The example of how poverty is expensive is Rafi and Dallas’ video Check Mate. Checkmate analyzes why people in the hood use check cashing places rather than banks, why there are arguably no banks in the hood and how check cashing spots,  pawn shops and gold chain shops operate to seperate the people who don’t have a lot of money from the little bit of bread that they do have.

In Spending, Priorities, and Class Divides, s.e. smith of this ain’t livin’ writes:

Financial planning seems like a quaint luxury to a lot of people because, functionally, it is. It should not be, but it is, and refusing to talk about this fact means that conversations about money, concentration of wealth, fighting your way to get ahead in this culture, end up fundamentally skirting over a pretty critical issue. If you start a financial planning discussion with the ground assumption that everyone has money to spare and can trim the budget to make more, you’re pretty much telling a big chunk of your readership to just not even bother.

In Are You Better Off Buying $200 Shoes?, Gwen Sharp of Sociological Images writes:

Further, advice such as that given here present this as simply a matter of being economically smart, rather than as a class issue: unless you’re looking for the type of trendy shoes that you’ll only want to wear briefly anyway, you shouldn’t waste your time at H&M.  Similarly, in grad school I was once told I was “dumb” to rent rather than buy a house, in a town where they cost $150,000+. In both cases, the opportunities provided by economic advantage are perceived as economic common sense, obvious choices for anyone who is smart and has decent taste. Combined with the invisibility of people who can’t afford to spend that much money, accepting these class assumptions allows us to gaze disdainfully at people in “cheap” shoes, confident that they, too, are simply “cheap.”

From Microaggressions:

  • Upper-class activist:: Why don’t you have a cell phone? That’s ridiculous!
  • Me:: I come from a poor family.
  • Upper-class activist:: I guess some people just choose to spend their resources differently.
  • Me:: No, I can’t afford one.
  • Upper-class activist:: You just don’t spend your money well enough.

17 Responses to “Affluent people should not give money-management advice without acknowledging class privilege.”

  1. Mirrored Says:

    Well, some of this is really fair criticism.

    Particularly: Bank Overdraft fees, loan/cash advance fees, rental rates, insurance rates, and basically anything that involves dealing with any financial institution.

    However, there is no denying that many of the purchases of the poor and especially the middle class, deserve criticism. Gold Chains? Timeshares? Car Hydraulics? Vacations on Credit? Fast food (that costs multiples groceries for a real meal)?

    I have lived off 1600 a month. I do know what it is like. I planned really carefully and spent $650 a month on rent, $300-500 on groceries, and the rest on the other things that you don’t expect. My quality of life was bad, but not horrible. And this was in San Francisco, the Tenderloin. I did that for about a year while applying for jobs and waiting for the economy to pick up. You can’t tell me that there isn’t something to cut, because there almost always is. I had to sacrifice. A lot. My meals were all grocery specials. My social events were either a very rare treat or common and free. My entertainment was the public library. I clipped coupons. And stacked them. Abusively.

    I could have probably gone food stamps and perhaps lived a bit better. I certainly qualified.

    The thing is, the poorer you are, the MORE vital it becomes that every penny is counted, every expense rationalized, and ultimately, yes, you do need to have a plan to raise income. And it’s not impossible, but its hard and it takes an insane amount of discipline and self control.

    Now I’m back in the game and making real money again, but I still live really thrifty. I spend less than 1,800 a month and save the rest. This month I spent 3,000 because of a car disaster and shopping to look good for a some opportunities, but next month will be under 1,600 to compensate.

    And yes, I completely disrespect anyone who would have kids before having financial success and a real path to security. It angers me. Greatly. It’s selfishness, cowardly, and irresponsible. I would never dream of having a family before “making it” and when I see people who make that choice, regardless of the social context it comes from, I cannot accept it. I can feel pity, but its outweighed by the blame that is rightly and justly felt. You can be poor alone and being poor alone is probably the best way to get out of being poor. You cannot be poor with a family and doing so is really immature and in a sense, tasteless, crass, and horrible.

    So yes, after going to the bottom and back, I am confident in my criticisms and their truth. I’ve lived it, and did so in a city with an extremely high cost of living. I don’t think our economic system is just, but I do think that people are responsible for doing what is in their power to fight that injustice. And people can do more than they say they can.

    In the end, you get achievements or excuses. I choose achievements.

  2. Restructure! Says:

    I have lived off 1600 a month. I do know what it is like. I planned really carefully and spent $650 a month on rent, $300-500 on groceries, and the rest on the other things that you don’t expect. My quality of life was bad, but not horrible. And this was in San Francisco, the Tenderloin. I did that for about a year while applying for jobs and waiting for the economy to pick up. You can’t tell me that there isn’t something to cut, because there almost always is. I had to sacrifice. A lot. My meals were all grocery specials. My social events were either a very rare treat or common and free. My entertainment was the public library. I clipped coupons. And stacked them. Abusively.

    You lived on more per month than I live on right now. You also spent way more on rent than I do now, and you spent way more on groceries than I do now. And your money is in US dollars too. And I live in Toronto, which has a higher cost of living than San Francisco.

    Yet many people I know are worse off than I am, and are more frugal. I think you need to widen your social circle so that you know more people of colour, immigrants, people with disabilities, etc. It’s so pointless trying to argue with people in privileged bubbles.

    I consider myself as having class privilege, too, because I am from a middle-class background and I have a safety net.

    You know, sometimes there are single mothers because of divorce, because the husband abandoned the family, or because the husband is abusive? You know, sometimes people have kids first and then become poor later, because people lose their jobs?

    If you really feel that way about having children, you should support free abortions for everyone in the US, no questions asked, supported by federal tax money. You should also support sex education for all pre-pubescent children in the US.

  3. A.Y. Siu Says:

    If you really feel that way about having children, you should support free abortions for everyone in the US, no questions asked, supported by federal tax money. You should also support sex education for all pre-pubescent children in the US.

    I think most of your response is valid, but who says Mirrored does not support those things?

    The fact of the matter is we’re all human. Sometimes humans are not fully responsible with what little they have. And sometimes if you’re poor enough it doesn’t matter how much you cut out–you’re still going to get screwed for being poor. Instead of investing money and living off the interest, you borrow money and pay more in interest.

    I really can’t imagine living in San Francisco on $1600 a month, and I know many people live in SF on even less than that. There are many different levels of poor.

  4. Mirrored Says:

    I think your assumptions about me and my “privileged bubble” reflects a desire to type cast me as some “other” that you can project anger and self-righteousness at. It doesn’t say “I want to have dialog” it says “I want to totalize you and engage in identity politics.”

    You seem to want an enemy and someone to blame for the way things are. The preferred target seems to be “white men”, but do you really think that all the problems of the world are caused by white people or men? That wrong is color and gender coded? I think that approach lacks perspective and maturity.

    I once went to a homeless shelter for lunch. Not to volunteer, but so that I could spend time with a friend I cared about.

    I was hit by my step father and called the police to get my mother out of a bad marriage. He wasn’t a horrible guy. His son died of brain cancer.

    One time I went with my friends to a restaurant and they asked if we were a diversity club.

    Your assumptions about me and who I am are cruel and really off the mark.

    Looking over your statistics, it seems the minimum wage of Toronto is 10.15. Assuming a 40 hour work week, that does equate to $1600. Also your list seems to be income adjusted, as some of the higher ranked cities have a lower absolute cost of living.

    There’s two reasons I’m out of here:

    1) You don’t want a dialog. You do want an enemy and most of your posts are just to quote a few sources and express identity outrage rather than explain why things are the way they are or to try to understand the perspectives of others. There is no attempt to understand, just a straight jump into anger and indignation. You want white man to be some sort of villain and I am offended at your attempt to cast me as one.

    2) You have no action plan for making the world a better place. Ultimately, if you have the kind of education and resources that you do, it appears that you have willfully tried to avoid impacting the world or having a successful career. The kind that could perhaps fund real and revolutionary change, or at least put you in touch with people capable of making the kind of change you want. All talk, no action. I don’t claim to care as much as you do, but I’ve organized 3 annual 48 hour fundraisers for rape prevention, volunteered at planned parenthood, served on the board of directors at my library and helped them avoid closing down a reading program for kids. None of your posts talk about what you are doing to fix any wrongs in this world, they are just complaints. Which is probably for the best because you are very obsessed with fortifying race and using it as a rallying flag, so that this whole thing is basically keeping you locked down and outside of the world where you could make actual change, is ultimately, a good thing.

  5. Dylan H. Says:

    Might want to check out this site, Mirrored:
    http://www.derailingfordummies.com/

    The term privileged bubble doesn’t somehow become less worthy of taking into consideration when you enclose it with apostrophes. Don’t patronise, and assume the authority to dictate the essential meaning of what somebody says – if you expect the author of this blog to respond. By all means, feel free to do these things, but it’ll likely be a conversation stopper.

    You probably also shouldn’t project simplistic assumptions about the other person’s opinion as if they are fact and expect them to respond to them, it’s very demeaning, and it assumes you have the right to assert authority over what people’s opinions are and demand a response to whatever claims you make. You haven’t exactly proven that you deserve this authority, to do that you would need to respect the author of the blog, and the easiest way to do that would be by listening to what they have to say and responding to the points made by the people they have quoted.

    For the record, I’m a student in Perth, Western Australia and I survive on around a grand a month. I

  6. Restructure! Says:

    Ultimately, if you have the kind of education and resources that you do, it appears that you have willfully tried to avoid impacting the world or having a successful career.

    Wow. Besides defining a “successful career” as one that makes the most money, you also assume that anyone who is formally educated can easily get a high-paying job. That really isn’t true, and I live in a city filled with highly-educated people who cannot get a high-paying job. (You are also forgetting that another reason people might be educated but with low or no income is because they are students.)

    The kind that could perhaps fund real and revolutionary change, or at least put you in touch with people capable of making the kind of change you want.

    I am in touch with people capable of making the kind of change I want, but these people include some people who are severely economically disadvantaged. Although we cannot personally fund the projects that you have funded, our impacts are not insignificant.

    Looking over your statistics, it seems the minimum wage of Toronto is 10.15. Assuming a 40 hour work week, that does equate to $1600.

    That’s before deductions. For example, in 2009, someone who made 2,400/month before deductions would actually earn 1,942.14/month after (if this person’s calculations are correct).

    Also your list seems to be income adjusted, as some of the higher ranked cities have a lower absolute cost of living.

    You are correct. Rent is 79.61% higher in SF than Toronto.

    One time I went with my friends to a restaurant and they asked if we were a diversity club.

    That suggests that the restaurant you went to is in a very white area.

    Your assumptions about me and who I am are cruel and really off the mark.

    Your comment really annoyed me, because it seems like you were suggesting that it is abnormal for people to live on less than 1600/month, abnormal for poor people to buy grocery specials, abnormal to for poor people to stack coupons. I don’t want to reinforce racial stereotypes, but I am Asian, and I know many poor Asians and Asian immigrants who are overly focused on buying grocery specials, stacking grocery coupons, etc. Over-optimizing purchasing decisions down to the penny is relatively normal among many people I know, but you’re bragging about it as if your social circle consists of people who don’t need to do it to survive, as if they are not cultural inheritors of economic strategies originally derived from surviving while poor in a developing country.

  7. CJ-Canadian Says:

    you can’t save money you don’t have especially when you are an unemployed student. and can’t find a job because they are asking for experience

  8. Anti-Status Quo Voice Says:

    Restructure says: It’s so pointless trying to argue with people in privileged bubbles.
    …………………..

    @ A juicy article, again showing how privilege can create blindspots in perspective and relativity to social issues like poverty!

    AGREED! So, I won’t attempt to detail to my own personal experiences with poverty, being out-of-the-loop for many years while having to care for terminally ill parent because of the breakdown of our senior health care systems, not to mention a Human Rights violation in the workplace that resulted in job loss / professional damages in the first place.

    ……………….

    @ Mirrored Says:
    January 29, 2011 at 4:25

    “I completely disrespect anyone who would have kids before having financial success and a real path to security. It angers me. Greatly. It’s selfishness, cowardly, and irresponsible. I would never dream of having a family before “making it” and when I see people who make that choice, regardless of the social context it comes from, I cannot accept it. I can feel pity, but its outweighed by the blame that is rightly and justly felt….

    ……………..

    While I’m not trying to discount or “trash” your own personal experiences with poverty or marginalization, having to budget and clip coupons, etc—I’ve been there too, but I found your comments problematic. It appears you might have not learned much from those unemployment / financial struggles. I feel privilege as a White male has blinded you to certain issues.

    The big problem is that you get sanctimonious with the ultra-conservative rhetoric that the poor should not have children before they are financially secure…. Why?

    Childbirth happens! It cannot always be “planned” in the way we desire…just suppose a couple became unemployed or circumstances changed for the worse at the same time one was expecting. Then you go on to vilify it as selfish, cowardly, and irresponsible that you “disrespect” and “can’t accept”, et al. So are we saying, just abort the fetus? Maybe your parents should have aborted you because they felt they couldn’t afford you at the time of conception?

    I also question your “pity”.

    Frankly, childbirth / reproduction shouldn’t even be a part of the equation in this discussion—-it just dovetails Conservative ideology about the poor—that it’s their fault for having children and they are “irresponsible” because of unregulated family planning. If you want to debate “birth control”, then always be sure to insist that the male partner to “slip the glove on” —–but don’t make this an issue of controlling women’s reproductive rights, scape-goating women for “opening up their legs” before it’s the right time / we can have enough money. This is so sexist!

    Your discourse, takes on a curiously negating tone. On one hand you admit to poverty and struggle and then digress and negate it all with underlying implications that “I made it out through my individualist efforts, so anyone else can”, because I “worked harder” and “persevered” at it in clawing my way out, and those who don’t well or can’t lift themselves out of the more—-well that’s just to bad…

    Believe me, these are the unfortunate and unconscious sentiments of White and male privilege structuring and underlying your discourse!

    @ Mirrored Says:
    “one of your posts talk about what you are doing to fix any wrongs in this world, they are just complaints. Which is probably for the best because you are very obsessed with fortifying race and using it as a rallying flag, so that this whole thing is basically keeping you locked down..

    ………..

    Your comments appear uninformed by critical analysis, that poverty is structural and systemic. Nevertheless, Class – Economic status historically and continues to be informed and mediated by Race and Gender.

    You also appear to forget / disavow that as a White Male, you have advantage in “making it” in the labour market, that you probably have access to good social networks, that the labour market addresses your White needs and perspectives, etc. The labour market systems speak to/favour your racial group! You mustn’t ignore or discount that!

    I suggest you read some books about US poverty and the Welfare State and that old bugaboo “Affirmative Action”, why as a well-meaning policy, it has FAILED in the US.

    For Canadian bloggers, I suggest reading Criminalizing Race, Criminalizing Poverty: Welfare Fraud Enforcement in Canada by Kiran Mirchandani and Wendy Chan.
    It’s an excellent study of poverty in Canada, but more than just about “social assistance” but the built structures of social inequity and underlying White privilege that create and reproduce economic disparity in Canada.

    @ Mirrored Says:

    I don’t claim to care as much as you do, but I’ve organized 3 annual 48 hour fundraisers for rape prevention, volunteered at planned parenthood, served on the board of directors at my library and helped them avoid closing down a reading program for kids.
    …………

    Ostensibly, your social activism appears commendable…but I question all your MOTIVES now because the tone of other comments appears to contradict all your “good intentions”. There appears to be a bit of paternalism in your good works, as you now appear to condescend and gaze downward on the very people you claim you wish to help.

    I sincerely hope that your empathy for these “have nots” for whom you’re volunteering is not a FALSE ONE, that your anti-poverty solutions aren’t motivated by conservative Republic social policies. Then you become an agent of oppression, doing the dirty work in upholding conservative social policy and the status quo.

    May I ask why are you doing this, and do you truly care, if you hold these paternalistic and conservative views to social change / dismantling poverty?

  9. Jayn Says:

    “Fast food (that costs multiples groceries for a real meal)? ”

    While you’re right that fast food often costs more than doing you own cooking per meal, it suffers from some of the same issues that other money-saving strategies have, largely up-front costs. If you don’t have a functional kitchen with things like pots and pans (my parents provided me with some when I moved out), then you’re stuck with fast food because it’s cheaper short-term than buying the things you need to be able to cook for yourself–and that’s assuming you have the will, energy, time and knowledge to do so. Just for an example, I recently spent $50 to cook a single entree. Part of that was somewhat expensive ingredients ($4 spices add up quick, for example), but a significant part was also that I didn’t have the all cookware yet to make that type of dish. That will pay off over time, as now I am prepared to make more types of meals at home, but it was only possible because we’re financially in a position that allows us that kind of spare income. Otherwise, we probably would have wound up buying something pre-cooked at the store.

  10. Anti-Status Quo Voice Says:

    “why there are arguably no banks in the hood and how check cashing spots, pawn shops and gold chain shops operate to seperate the people who don’t have a lot of money from the little bit of bread that they do have.
    ……………

    I agree with this statement, in witnessing the number of check cashing establishments that have sprung up in my predominately new-comer – working class neighbourhood within the 5 years. Having used them myself for items like money orders or US cash, I have found them both convenient and exploitative. They cater to the people without bank accounts that require minimum balance and maintenance fees, people without extensive ID; there are less hassles than dealing with the banks who can hold cheques for 3 days clearance, when one may require money right away. But of course, these places are making money off the poor, otherwise they wouldn’t flourish.

    ……….

    “Financial planning seems like a quaint luxury to a lot of people because, functionally, it is. It should not be, but it is, and refusing to talk about this fact means that conversations about money, concentration of wealth…,

    I believe this notion/assumption about long term financial planning to be true, especially around RRRSP time…I witness this discourse on TV and the print media often. The privileged financial (usually White male) expert always comes from many false assumptions that one is gainfully employed FULL TIME, making over $45 000 a year, has a surplus of money to spare, does not factor in / discuss housing / rent that can take up the lion’s share of a pay cheque. The advisers always entreat nervous people to cut everything out all “creature comforts” from their lives—items like books, entertainment, etc. Assuming that one indulges these things in the first place. There is a false assumption that poor waste their money.
    ………………….

    “They are less likely to have access to large supermarkets and hence to rely on the far more expensive…convenient stores.”

    I believe this to be true. There are many small and expensive green grocers in my neighbourhood plus a lot of coffee/donut and fast-food places. I have noticed the appearance of some high-end grocery stores like Sobey’s in immigrant neighbourhoods. I get annoyed with television nutritionists who always assume one has CONSISTENT access to nutritious food, expensive cuts of meat and fish, making sure one get their Omega 3s!

    The discourse of “junk food” vs nutrition is played on the film Precious but not in a critical way that really interrogates poverty.

    ………………..

    Upper-class activist: Why don’t you have a cell phone? That’s ridiculous!

    I’m probably one of the few people in my social set that doesn’t have a cell-phone or Blackberry in the 21st century…Because I cannot afford one. It isn’t just the issue of buying the phone itself but the maintenance/hidden fees—How can find the best deal and to be assured that won’t increase on you every month? Although I find combined Bell phone and Internet package expensive, I feel secure in knowing what the bill is roughly going to be same at the month. I can’t risk that security by switching over and then discover I’ve made a terrible mistake by getting locked into a duplicitous / oppressive contract.

    I’m sure that many of those Teens with cell-phones are footing the bills on their own.

  11. Anti-Status Quo Voice Says:

    CORRECTION:

    I’m sure that many of those Teens with cell-phones are footing the bills on their own.

    ………

    I’m sure that many of those Teens with cell-phones aren’t footing the bills on their own…

    usually it’s the parent that maintains / monitors their children’s phone bills, no?

  12. CJ-Canadian Says:

    how many of these teens have pre-paid plans?

  13. Anti-Status Quo Voice Says:

    CJ-Canadian Says:
    January 30, 2011 at 5:57 pm

    how many of these teens have pre-paid plans?

    ……….

    Is this question directed at me? I’m not sure I understand your question or what kind of response it supposed to solicit.

    Also, I’m aware I might have made an incorrect and/or broad assumption of my own. For that I apologize.

    But based on observation—-on TTC, schoolyards, media news items of cellphone use among Teens, I still question whether a high-school student is making that much money to pay for cell-phone plans on their own. If they do pay, that perhaps means other needs such as food, clothing, shelter, internet use still have to be taken care of by their parents.

    How financially independent of your parent(s) were you as a teenager? I had a meager allowance of $20 per week for doing household chores—-however, this was before mobile phones were innovated. My single parent insisted that I focused on school grades and leave employment to summer vacation. Of course, on 20/week this meant I couldn’t always compete with my peers in the privileges and social mobility they had.

    But let’s not quibble about this small issue in the bigger picture of class privilege, poverty and access to material resources. Phones / access to technology are just a small part of it when essentials like food and shelter can be a precarious balancing act.

  14. GDSinPA Says:

    At first it seemed odd to me that people would share very specific examples of living in poverty to show that one can survive in such a circumstance. But then I realized that these examples actually disprove the argument that financial planning can benefit the poor. Every single person expressed personal experience at how managing their money made a difference. I’m lost as to why this would not be a plausible form of service to offer those at or near poverty. Everyone can benefit from learning ways to make the most out of their income.
    That said – it certainly should not be approached in the privileged context mentioned in the original post, so perhaps that’s the real issue here. It’s wrong to presume any single particular cause of poverty in any one individual. I can’t tell you how many white dudes in leather coats I’ve seen at the food bank worn by individuals who held good jobs. Yet people always want to point out expensive sneakers.

  15. Anti-Status Quo Voice Says:

    GDSinPA Says:
    February 4, 2011 at 10:26 am
    That said – it certainly should not be approached in the privileged context mentioned in the original post, so perhaps that’s the real issue here. It’s wrong to presume any single particular cause of poverty in any one individual.
    ………………….

    I agree with your comments. But feel we could still go deeper.

    Overall, I think that the mainstream definition(s) of poverty needs to be re-examined especially in North America. First, it’s always important to make false analogies by comparing Canadian poverty with poverty in a Developing World country. Poverty / income level needs to be contextualized within your social environment, taking into account wherever we can, variables and inconsistencies. Also, repudiating “common sense” solutions to poverty.

    I consider myself “poor” as well but by Canadian income-level standards. However, I’ve recognized that poverty isn’t always about owing “Stuff”—consumer goods like cell phones, new computers, the newest clothes, etc. I have plenty of stuff, just not brand new spanking stuff. I have a computer, a TV, a landline phone, and a short leather jacket that has seen better days!

    For me, the definition of Poverty has become one of not having viable Options and Choices—especially around consistent nutrition and healthcare, and for others it may be around housing. Some might falsely consider me “rich” because I live in a small house…but that house is still mortgaged, and has fallen into some disrepair because the household income is not enough to make necessary repairs or renovation, while taking care of a terminally ill parent. One cannot do both well. And the my parent’s well-being took priority over the home maintenance. I’ve often heard discourses of deep resentment because I claim poverty and live in a house.

    Few people wish to take into account how my circumstances and income changed, that I was once fully employed or that moving or for institutionalizing my parent to Long Term Care are not Options for me. Uncritical people fail to recognize that you cannot easily rent without a Good Credit history, consistent employment, or that Government subsidized housing is not easily acquired either, considering its long waiting lists of priority people like single Mothers with children, or single / terminally ill seniors who live on fixed incomes.

    I’ll give another example how poverty really hit home, once when Mother required a medication that cost $70—and I couldn’t afford to purchase it immediately. I had to Wait for two weeks before she received her Old Age pension at the end of the Month before I could buy it. Credit cards were eventually cut-up a long time ago, as a proactive measure to stay out of debt. I didn’t want to borrow the money. There was another issue when my parent’s Senior Drug Benefit Plan that was accidentally terminated by the Ministry without warning. Being a terminally ill patient, my parent also requires Ensure, the nutritional subsidy as prescribed by her Palliative Care physician. Well the whole thing sent me in a tizzy of stress because without the subsidy, I would have had to pay the full $80 amount for the required amount of cases.

    Needless to say, I couldn’t afford it and other meds at full price. I had to work earnestly in appealing to her physician and the Health Care System to write letters of support to get the Senior Discount Drug Plan re-instated on the humiliating grounds of Poverty!

    These experiences have taught me to re-define poverty. I do “manage” but involves a whole lot of creative shuffling of the resources, strategic payment of the bills, and a whole lot of denial of creature comforts, pleasure, leisure activities and mobility. There is nothing to Save; there is no personal long term financial planning. But there is a will to survive!

    I have to worry about making funeral arrangement / burying a loved one when she passes. That has become the priority around which I have work.

    But I am not ashamed to share any of this. It is sometimes through sharing the personal experience that we can make broader links and learn. There should be no shame in poverty—ever! It’s only the elites and privileged voices that render it so—by patronizing and displacing blame and all accountability onto low-income persons, without recognizing individual and collective circumstances or taking into account the ways in which poverty remains inextricably tied to issues of Capitalism, a changing labour market, Racism – Exclusion, poor Public Policy in Long Term Care and Social Welfare, that all contrive to keep social / economic disparity in place.

  16. Anti-Status Quo Voice Says:

    CORRECTION:

    First, it’s always important NOT to make false analogies by comparing Canadian poverty with poverty in a Developing World country.

  17. Sara Says:

    Just wanted to add: I buy everything I can secondhand for ethical reasons, and the best thrift stores are always, always in affluent areas. So wealthy people can easily find good quality clothing (sometimes with store tags still attached) for a few bucks if they choose, and poorer people often only have the option of buying cheap new crap that wears out quickly. That never seemed quite right to me… not that it stopped me busing over to the nearest wealthy suburb and snapping up whatever I needed. ;)


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