Growing up poor is an experience shared by many people around the world. It can be a challenge to get ahead and overcome poverty, yet many individuals manage to do just that and make something of their lives. Here, we will explore some of the common signs that someone grew up poor – from their view of money to their financial habits to their approach to life.
These signs can help us better understand how poverty can shape an individual’s perspective and build empathy for those in similar shoes.
More conservative with spending
Someone who grew up poor may become more careful and conservative with their spending because they are likely to have been exposed to major financial repercussions, such as a lack of economic stability and/or living paycheck-to-paycheck.
They may have seen their parents or community struggle to make ends meet, and this could have caused a psychological effect that shaped their spending habits. Having experienced financial instability first-hand, they may more strongly value security for their financial future.
Reluctant to make large purchases
People who grew up poor may be reluctant to make large purchases because it may bring back memories of the situations they experienced during childhood. It can be hard to let go of those experiences and make a large purchase when it may represent a reminder of how little they had.
Additionally, those who grew up without money often don’t feel comfortable taking on large expenses, as they aren’t used to having that kind of financial stability.
They don't think they can rely on others
Growing up in poverty can provide an understanding that you can't always rely on others or the government for financial support so it instills the mentality that it's important to save for the future.
People who grew up poor may also be more aware of economic downturns and the potential of job loss, leading to an increased urge to save money for a rainy day.
Less likely to take risks with money
They are less likely to take risks with their money, such as taking on high-interest debt, and prefer to save where possible.
For them, it's important to be sure that they will always have a safety net in place.
They show restraint when it comes to spending
They may also have developed a sense of restraint, enabling them to recognize where they can and cannot afford to spend their money.
Their self-discipline skills when it comes to spending ensure that their bank accounts are never completely empty.
They appreciate the basic needs they have
Someone who grew up poor may be appreciative of the things they have now because they understand what it feels like not to have the things they need. Growing up in poverty can be a challenging experience as it often means limiting access to basic necessities, such as food, shelter, and clothing.
They are likely to cherish the items they have and the opportunities they can make available. They may be especially grateful for things they now have but had no access to previously, such as a home, medical care, education, and other amenities.
They might splurge on their grocery bill
Someone who grew up poor (but no longer is) may think more about quality when buying food compared to when they were poor. They may also be more conscious of making sure they purchase fresh and healthy items rather than just focusing on price when budgeting for groceries.
They may also prioritize buying organic and more expensive items that they may not have been able to afford before.
More likely to be empathetic and give back
Growing up in poverty can lead to increased levels of empathy and understanding of the plight of those who are less fortunate.
As a result, people who grew up in poverty may be more likely to try to extend a helping hand to those in need.
Less likely to invest
People who have grown up poor might be less likely to invest in stocks, bonds, or mutual funds because of a variety of reasons. For many people who have experienced financial insecurity and poverty, the fundamental attitude towards money can be one of scarcity and survival.
This can lead to difficulty in understanding the investment culture or viewing investments as being potentially advantageous or profitable since it often involves taking a risk with one’s funds.
They may settle for lower-paying jobs with little growth
Growing up poor can significantly affect someone's career choices. Generally, with fewer resources available, people have fewer options and fewer opportunities to gain the experience and education they need to be successful in their career paths.
They may have to settle for lower-paying jobs, less prestigious jobs, or jobs that may not offer upward mobility.
They may have bad credit
Someone who grew up poor may have bad credit because they may not have had any access to credit when they were younger. This can lead to them not having any good credit established, and if they have had to use credit, it may have been for emergency reasons and not properly managed.
Those who didn't grow up well off typically don't have the same resources as those with more money to help repair credit, so this can lead to bad credit getting worse over time.
They want a partner who values hard work and financial repsonsibility
Someone who grew up poor might look for a partner who is understanding and compassionate, who values hard work, and who sees financial responsibility as essential.
They may also prioritize finding a partner who shares the same values and outlook on life.
They purchase expensive clothes to remind themselves of progress
Someone who grew up poor may want to buy expensive clothes to symbolize their success and financial stability. Expensive clothes often represent luxury and status, and for someone who may have had to struggle to make ends meet, buying expensive clothing can act as a reward and a reminder of the progress made.
Affording expensive clothing can give them a sense of accomplishment and identity and a feeling of showing who they are to the world.
They value a simple life
They may also look for someone who appreciates the beauty and importance of simple things, someone who they can rely on and who understands where they come from.
They may look for someone who is open to working together to make their life better and who appreciates the journey that comes with starting fresh.
Lack of guidance decreases chances of attending college
Growing up poor can significantly affect someone's decision to attend college due to financial constraints and lack of guidance. Without access to sufficient resources, they may lack the information required to understand the complexities of the college application process or the amount of money needed for tuition.
Furthermore, they may lack the social connections or support networks necessary to access scholarships and grants. Additionally, poverty can be a major psychological barrier to higher education, as those from lower socioeconomic backgrounds may feel that they do not have the academic capabilities or resources to succeed in college.
They are reluctant to have kids and fear passing along debt
Growing up poor can significantly impact a person’s decision to have kids. Those from a lower income may worry that they do not have the financial security to support a family environmentally and financially.
The fear of passing on poverty to their children through their lack of resources may cause them to be reluctant to have kids.
They purchase a car based on affordability and practicality
Someone who grew up poor may not be able to afford a brand-new vehicle and, therefore, may opt for a previously-owned vehicle, a basic model, or even a cheaper foreign brand.
Additionally, they may hesitate to finance a vehicle and instead pay in cash or choose a loan option with a shorter duration. They may also be less likely to incorporate luxuries such as extra features or extended warranties, as these can be costly.
More open to sharing a living space with roommates
Roommates offer cost savings on rent and utilities, which can be especially attractive to someone who grew up in poverty. In addition, living with roommates can also provide companionship to someone who may not have had much of it in their childhood.
Having roommates provides an opportunity to learn valuable skills like conflict resolution and communication which can be important for someone who may not have received much of this growing up.
They find it more difficult to make friends
Growing up in poverty can adversely affect someone's friendships. People from lower socio-economic backgrounds may have difficulty fitting in with peers from higher economic backgrounds, as they may not be able to travel in the same social circles or have access to the same activities and experiences.
They may also have a hard time maintaining friendships outside of their immediate family and community. Living in impoverished neighborhoods growing up can lead to feelings of distrust, insecurity, and social alienation that can make it difficult to form close friendships.
They may find it difficult to trust others
Those who were raised in a low-income home may find it more challenging to successfully navigate relationships with other people, as trust can be a difficult concept to grasp.
People who were exposed to poverty in their homes as children may also face difficulty communicating effectively.