12 People Who Broke the Cycle of Generational Poverty: Their Secrets Revealed

A Reddit user shared a story about how hard it can be to escape poverty if born into it. She talked about how it can be mentally draining and how one must fight hard to escape. She shared some tips on what she thought frugal people could use to escape poverty.

Get Out of Poverty

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Here is what she shared:

  1. Cut out toxic families who constantly ask for money.
  2. Don’t have kids when you can’t afford them. Use two forms of birth control.
  3. Educating yourself on healthy relationships & financial literacy.
  4. Apply for all the scholarships and or military
  5. Choosing a partner with similar financial goals and beliefs
  6. Leave your small town if it does not have any opportunities
  7. Move to lower cost of living areas.
  8. Avoid alcohol, drugs, etc.

Other Reddit community members chipped into this conversation, with many giving their own experiences and others offering frugal tips on how to escape poverty, even if one was born into it. Here are some of the best takes from this thread.

Education, Hard Work, and Luck

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One user said she escaped this cycle because she worked hard and got a good education, “The only way I got out of it was by a combination of dedication, hard work, and incredible luck. First stroke of luck was having teachers in high school who really went above and beyond for me in an inner-city school. Second stroke of luck was thanks to those teachers, I got into a great university with a full ride. Third and all subsequent luck was thanks to the people I met there who became my friends and mentors.”

Leave Toxic Environments

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Another user made it when she decided to leave her family’s toxic environment, “I am stable, not rich but stable, with no emotional or financial support ever given from my family. I made it where I am alone by leaving; if I stayed there I would have remained in the same systemic cycle I was raised in.”

Hard Work

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Others made it through sheer hard work day in and day out, “Not a day has gone by in over 15 years that I haven’t had a job. My work ethic is definitely on the unhealthy side. Sometimes it’s only people that used to be like me that get why succeeding and accomplishments make my life fulfilling.”

Avoiding Drugs and Being Consistent

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Another young user says she made it by staying off drugs and avoiding peer pressure, “My dad was a garbage truck driver and mom waitress and retail. I now live a very middle-class lifestyle. Mostly by getting a 2-year degree, staying away from drugs and alcohol, and being consistent.”

Keep Changing Jobs

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One user found out that she could get higher perks if she changed jobs every now and then, “I fully understand the easiest way to make more is to switch jobs every 3 years and work on certifications and personality traits. My work persona isn’t my home persona, and I worked very heavily on my client-facing personality and appearance. I worked on confidence, posture, and communication, so I was valuable and a good asset. I apply for new jobs every 3 years to get my market value, and I either leave or get a counteroffer. My last counter got me a $40k raise.”

Learning a New Trade Always Works

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One member was born in poverty but managed to escape it, “I was born into money and privilege, but dad was a drunk who lost it all…Still had no college degree, but I learned a trade, worked jobs that were not traditionally female jobs because they paid more, and I didn’t have to spend money on clothes to get promoted. It’s taken a huge amount of work and a ton of therapy, but I’m planning on retiring next year. I’ve been married for 40 years; we have a couple of kids that are both doing well, own homes, and are in stable relationships. Life is good!”

Never Stop Hustling

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Another user says that consistency is key. She says, “My partner started working aged 14 at an IHOP. 25 years later, she’s the chief people officer of a medium-sized company. She never stopped hustling.”

Live Like a Broke College Student To Pay Off Debts

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One user went to an extreme level to become debt-free, “I lived like a broke college student for 3 years. Didn’t go out, didn’t eat out, and lived on clearance granola bars mainly (10¢ each) and pasta. I paid off $100k of the debt in that time until the student loan pause,” said one user

You Can Join the Army

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The army is always a good place to get a foundation that may help one escape poverty. According to another user, “My dad escaped his country by signing up for military duty during war times, I escaped with my independence to the military and met many kids in the military escaping “trailer park” parents and poverty. 2-5 years in the military is a good start on a career.”

Scholarships Work

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Several users managed to escape this cycle by acquiring scholarships. One person said, “Single non-English speaking parent on every government assistance imaginable, got a Pell scholarship, did engineering, we got married and bought a home, and now we are upper middle class.”

Took Financial Classes

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Others had to learn how to be frugal by taking classes. One user said, “Picked up saving money from one of a financially knowledgeable aunt. She was a snob and enjoyed “the finer things”. My mom hated her, but even though her sneering personality she’d often drop some pretty important knowledge. Took finance classes throughout high school/military/college for further exposure.”

Do Not Have Children

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Others escaped by refusing to have kids and took time to build their careers, “I escaped by not having several children. After I had my first and it was so difficult to pay for food and childcare, etc. I got an IUD and it was the smartest thing I ever did.”

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