7 Symptoms of a Poverty Mentality

by | Sep 5, 2013 | Positivity | 5 comments

Have you ever wondered why some people make it past the financial constraints of poverty while others don’t? It all boils down to interests, attitude and focus. Read through these 7 Symptoms of a Poverty Mentality, to be sure you don’t need to be diagnosed with this undiscovered mental illness.

You might have the Poverty Mentality if…

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1. The majority of your spare time, money and focus is fixed on entertainment.

Did you see that game? Did you catch Scandal last night? If you find yourself asking these questions often you may be a victim of the Poverty Mentality.  Of course, we all deserve to treat ourselves to nice things because we work for them and life should be pleasurable. However, when you focus solely on the pleasures in life, acquiring things, laughing with friends and reaching your “high” through any means necessary, you take away from the time and money you could use to learn a new skill or upgrade your lifestyle by investing in yourself and taking the risks necessary to leave the world of poverty behind.

2. You receive government assistance and you don’t plan to stop.

Government assistance was created to assist people during hard times. It was not intended as a form of income to base your household needs on. If you and your family are dependent on food stamps or welfare or SSI or SSDI, please figure out a way to get off of them as soon as possible. From my research, those who receive these type of so-called benefits, usually lower their earning potential in favor of receiving what is free and easy.

Government assistance is a trap. It requires that you remain at a low income level to continue receiving it. Sure, it is safe and easy money, but to fully care for your family you will have to create an alternate stream of income which, if reported to the government, would decrease the amount of government assistance that you receive. Because of this glitch in the system, many won’t bother to try to earn more money outside of the government check and others will resort to illegal means to bring in that extra income which will hurt the entire family in the long run when you are caught.

3. You daydream about winning the lottery.

If you took the time to calculate how much money you have spent on lottery tickets you would probably faint. If you spend $10 per week on lottery tickets that is $520 per year that you have wasted, hoping for that one shot at easy money. It’s a lost cause simply because even if you did win you have not developed the skills necessary to grow your money into a nest egg that could change the financial future of your entire family.

When you buy a lottery ticket, what you are essentially doing is standing by the lake hoping for a fish to jump into your hand. Even if it does, once it’s gone you will be hungry again. Are you going to try everyday, hoping you’ll be fed by lady luck or are you going to get your arse out there and learn how to fish? Once you acquire the skills to create wealth in your life, those skills will never leave you no matter how many times you gain or lose. Learning the skills you need to create the income you desire is more important than wishing for money to drop out of the sky. You want to teach your children the skills to create and maintain the wealth you pass on to them instead of opting for some common fantasy shared by people who have no clue what to do with the ‘blessing’ that will probably never be bestowed upon them.

4. You have to have all the latest trends.

Did you buy that $120 Kanye West t-shirt? Don’t lie. Are you carrying a purse that costs more than your car note?


Yes, we like and deserve nice things but if you want to get rid of the symptoms of a poverty mentality you must understand that the things you acquire as a result of your wealth or abundance mean nothing compared to the lessons you learned while you were creating it. Creation is the most powerful force that exists. We create our world through our perception of everything around us. We offer value to our world with our focus and our intention. Whatever you believe is valuable, will be.

If you have decided that your car, purse, wardrobe or jewelry are the most valuable things you own, you can shift that perspective to create a lasting impression that will benefit your children’s children.  Instead of focusing on showcasing your wealth, look within and delight yourself in learning many ways to create wealth in your life. You have nothing to prove to anyone.  You don’t owe anyone an explanation. Be a creator, not a consumer. CREATE WEALTH instead of fueling someone else’s empire. Create your own empire.

5. You won’t invest in yourself.

You’ll spend $2,000 on a cruise to the Bahamas but you won’t take a specialization course in your field that will add an extra $5,000 to your annual earnings. You’ll splurge on drinks for all of your friends but you place that business management book back on the shelf because it costs $25 and you figure you can find the information online for free- but you never do.

It is highly important to invest in the tools you need to position yourself to prosper. If you need to buy paintbrushes to create your art, do not deny yourself the tools. If you have $400 and the top of the line cake mixer you need to start your cupcake business is on sale, buy it. Invest in your dream. Your vision is just as important as your day to day activities. Invest in yourself FIRST, reap the benefits of this investment and then you’ll be able to treat yourself more often. You are your own biggest investment. Take care of yourself and understand that the tools you need to prosper are vital to your well being. You have permission to get what you need to succeed. It is not a risk, it is an investment. Do something.

6.  You view sex as a leisure activity. 

Sex is fun. It’s amazing. It’s awesome. BUT- you can’t go around having sex with people just because you’re bored or can’t afford anything else to do. The number one reason why low income families are so large is- drum roll please- they can not afford any other leisure activities so they use sex as a substitute for traveling, going to the movies, going to plays, etc.

Are you sleeping with someone who adds absolutely nothing to your desire of changing the financial future of your family? Are you with him because he has 8 inches? Are you with her because she lets you get that from the back? We all need a release from the pressures of life, but I’ll share one piece of advice a VERY wise woman shared with me.

Never sleep with anyone who can’t teach you how to grow your business. If you’re going to be intimate with someone, make sure they can add value to your life goals or you may end up stuck with a Baby Daddy with 8 inches who is living off of you or a Baby Mama with a fatty who takes all of your money in child support.  Time to grow up and make your sexual encounters become an investment for your future.

7. You rallied alongside the 99 percent.

When the 99 percent movement geared up, did you sympathize with their plight? Did you become angry at corporations and the wealthy elite because they own everything and you don’t? Well, that was a definite indication that you are mentally aligned with the lower class instead of being mentally aligned with the elite.

Regardless of your current income, if you are truly grinding, you KNOW you are going to break through to the wealth you desire in order to change the financial future of your entire lineage. Since you KNOW this you would NEVER side with those in poverty because you do not believe you are one of them.

Your perception of yourself right now means much more than the evidence of your dream coming true.

You demonstrate the poverty mentality when you view the world through the lens of someone in poverty instead of the super wealthy, tycoon, game changer you really are. Those who SEE themselves as wealthy and prosperous without a shadow of a doubt BEFORE it happens, are almost guaranteed to experience it in reality. We are who we think we are. Sometimes it just takes a minute for our physical lives to buffer and catch up.

To be inspired and empowered visit my women’s empowerment blog at MySavvySisters.Com.

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  1. Montee Adams

    So many of my people need to read this and stop wondering why I’m so distant.

  2. Ladee Neenah

    There is good info in this article. If ppl would stop hating long enough to be honest with and about themselves they may learn something.

    Better yourself and don’t wait for someone to do it for you.

  3. Rich Hill

    This is an interesting article, and I can appreciate the point you’re trying to make here. I’ve certainly been guilty of #1 myself. However, I’ve never been on government assistance and hope I never have to be. Furthermore, I think we all daydream about winning the lottery, though some people may be far more invested in the prospect than others. I myself rarely purchase lottery tickets of any kind. Once in a blue moon, maybe, but I’ve never been one much for gambling anyway.

    I’ve always had affection for nice things; clothes, watches, jewelry… stuff! But you would never catch me paying $120 for a plain T-shirt, no matter whose name was endorsing it. I do wear name brands though; mostly Ecko and DC. But I refuse to pay more than $30 for a pair of jeans, $50 for a pair of shoes, or $20 on a shirt for that matter. It’s very seldom that I spend more than that. Just because something costs more, doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s better. Sometimes, all you’re paying for, really, is the label.

    I’m a technical/college educated guy, although, I haven’t necessarily made school my highest priority. But I’ve definitely invested in myself over the years. It may not be not full time gig, but as a man who once aspired to be a major label recording artist and producer, I’ve invested thousands in gear and equipment related to that craft. And I will likely spend even more in the future, even if never does become a solely lucrative venture for me. But it’s still something that I really enjoy doing. And because of that fact, it will always have value.

    Now I’m not rich but I’m far from being poor or struggling. Both my wife and I have full-time careers and make a pretty comfortable living. We own a home; have nice things, and substantial savings. With all that being said though, I do feel that your perspectives regarding #6 and #7 are somewhat misguided.

    Your description of sex sounds more like you’ve gone from giving it away for free (leisure) to putting it on the market (investment?). I’m hoping that maybe your message just didn’t come across quite the way you might have intended. But how it’s worded, it almost sounds as if the only reason you should ever sleep with someone is because they can, in some form or another, benefit you on a financial or professional level. Now I agree, you shouldn’t waste your affections on a person who has nothing to bring to the table; someone with zero goals, ambition, or potential. But I do think love should factor in to the overall equation. That is of course if you have aspirations for a long-term relationship with that individual. If it’s just a hook-up situation, well then screw it, just let it be that! But sex should never be considered, or used as, a form of currency, for any reason. And advocating its use just for the purpose of advancing yourself further up the proverbial ladder is not something I think anyone would consider a respectable career move.

    See, I have two young daughters. And once they are old enough to understand such things, I will tell them that sex is something that should be reserved for someone they truly care about; not just because that person is abundantly successful, brilliantly intelligent, or widely influential. Though all of those traits are certainly admirable and even desirable in a partner, I would advise my daughters to first make sure that person also cares genuinely about them, shows them respect, and treats them honorably. All other factors should be secondary considerations. Money, power, and/or possessions will never buy life-long happiness. But the people you form relationships with along the way can be a source of enrichment; as long as you don’t dismiss them all as mere stepping stones to your final destination.

    Lastly, you speak of the 99 percent as if they are somewhere at the bottom of the totem pole. You almost make it sound as if everyone within that category is part of some low-class, menial-income population of do-nothings. The fact is however, that the 1% are the millionaires, billionaires and the like; those whose incomes far exceed that of the average person or household. The 99% is EVERYONE ELSE! That doesn’t mean that none of those people are successful or ambitious. Contrarily, many of those “99 per centers” are entrepreneurs and business owners themselves. Their “plight”, as you call it, isn’t some conspiratorial figment of their imaginations directed toward some imaginary specter of injustice. A lot of their concerns and arguments are very real, legitimate, and evident. No one is saying that it’s wrong or immoral to be successful and to pursue the acquisition of wealth; to be “elite” as you put it. What is being protested is the use of lobbying and financial influence as a general practice by these same tycoons and corporations in order to secure market shares and create monopolies. When rich, corporate businessmen rub shoulders and grease palms of government policy and lawmakers in order to create favor, thereby effecting or ensuring legislation beneficial to their own self-interests; essentially making it exponentially more difficult, and in some cases impossible, for new businesses and start-ups to compete in relative markets. And THAT is a very serious problem that needs to be addressed, and should not be tolerated. When multi-billion dollar conglomerates, posting comparably significant profits, can write off 100’s of millions of dollars in taxes; issue CEO’s millions of dollars in bonuses, perks, and allowances, and yet are still somehow able to justify laying off thousands of their employees and/or denying or revoking their pensions and benefits…BIG PROBLEM. When pharmaceutical companies rake in billions pushing new drugs and medications, having less than sufficient testing, which ultimately ends up causing more harm than good, but are somehow absolved of any/all liability – that is simply unacceptable! When banks are allowed to foreclose on valuable homes over late or non-payments of miniscule outstanding balances, only to then re-sell or re-finance that same home for a double dip in profit; that should make you upset. When insurance companies exploit loopholes in their own fine print to deny the valid claims of members who’ve otherwise paid faithfully every month for years, that business model can only be described as PREDATORY! And finally, when top-tier taxpayers (1%) pay only a fraction in taxes, percentage-wise, of their lower income counterparts (99%) …that’s a VALID issue! The truth of the matter is that those folks at the top are only able to do this because their lower taxes are essentially subsidized by the increased tax rates on the tiers below. So I’d say there is some truth to that old adage of “the rich get richer”.

    • Rose

      Thank you. I am not of the poverty mind set according to this article. Except I do want to topple the 1 percent. I was quite annoyed to see them encuraging people to accept the status quo. I don’t want to become on of the 1 percent not because of my poverty mind set but because it is morally right.

  4. Christopher

    I agree with some of the points made but my main issue with this article is the tone. While a reality check is necessary this comes across as a scolding. Being in the 99% is where we are and want to be. Now just where in the 99% is the question. I would prefer and am working to be higher than I am but not in the 1%. And I am fine with that. That does not make me lazy and non-ambitious as this article implies.



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