3 Tools for Helping You Overcome Generational Poverty

By Miranda Marquit

One of the growing concerns in the United States today is the paycheck-to-paycheck cycle and generational poverty. Systemic issues continue to throw up barriers, but it’s still possible to get ahead in your own finances and overcome generational poverty.

While it’s not easy to fight through some of the issues that confront you, it is possible. Here are three tools that can help you move forward:

1. Education

One of the greatest tools for improving your finances is education. While a four-year degree can be helpful, it’s not the only educational path to a better income. There are two-year and professional programs that also result in well-paying jobs.

The key is to research your options and then get an education that will help you develop a marketable skill. Getting a good education and developing marketable skill can put you ahead of the curve.

A caveat, though: it’s important to watch out for the level of student loan debt you end up with. Student loan debt can be a millstone around your neck, siphoning your income away. While there’s a good chance you need loans to get an education, be judicious about how much you borrow and the kind of education you get. Starting at a community college can save you money, as can attending a public school instead of a private school.

You can still accomplish many of your financial goals even with student loan debt, but it’s almost always better to reduce the amount of debt you take in the first place.

2. Investing

One of the reasons some populations are more likely than others to struggle to overcome generational poverty is due to a lack of financial knowledge about topics such as investing. While investing is a topic that many people struggle with, the reality is that some populations struggle more than others.

For example, according to Prudential’s African American Financial Experience study, most African Americans are likely to focus on household management and debt reduction — and less likely to feel comfortable with topics like investing and wealth transfer planning.

Unfortunately, much of the financial literacy training out there focuses on items like budgeting and getting rid of debt. These are important topics and essential to financial literacy and success. However, in order to build wealth — and keep it from generation to generation — investing needs to be a piece of the puzzle.

When you make investing a priority, even if you start with “just” a retirement account, you are taking a solid step toward building wealth. Make investing an automatic part of your financial planning and you can begin to break out of the cycle.

3. Mentorship

Consider looking for someone who can help you overcome generational poverty. You don’t have to fix your finances on your own. In fact, a mentor can help you find a better-paying job and set you on a more lucrative course of study.

One of the hardest things about moving forward with your career and your finances is knowing how to take the next step — and seeing yourself in successful people.

A mentor can help you move forward. A mentor can connect you to educational and informational resources that can help you transform your own life.

Management Leadership for Tomorrow is one example of an organization looking to help break down some of the barriers faced by those who need career training and mentorship. With the help of mentorship, you can get advice and a leg up from folks who have come before you. It can shorten the learning curve significantly as you improve your finances and take the next steps to grow your wealth.

Wealth Building is Key to Overcome Generational Poverty

Building long-term wealth is the key if you want to overcome generational poverty. And building wealth starts with understanding your options. It can be difficult to find the resources you need, but they are out there. In fact, we have an investing course that can help you get started building wealth.

Don’t forget to reach out to financial counselors and educational counselors as well. You might be able to connect with mentors and others who can help you find out what you can do next, and the steps you can take to start building wealth that you can pass down to your own children and grandchildren.