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Poverty finance.

Every night before bed, Kim and I browse Reddit. I’ve managed to purge most negative subreddits from my feed, so I only see positive stuff (animal videos, /r/humansbeingbros, /r/toptalent) and interesting stuff (/r/bestoflegaladvice, /r/stopdrinking, /r/mapporn). Plus, of course, I subscribe to several subreddits about money. (Big fan of FIREyFemmes, for example.)

Consistently, one of the best subreddits I read is /r/povertyfinance, which is exactly what it sounds like: “Financial advice, frugality tips, stories, opportunities, and general guidance for people who are struggling financially. No Judgement, just advice!”

Bad money tips

By design, /r/povertyfinance is a place for people who are “financially challenged”. From the subreddit sidebar:

Much of the financial advice online and on reddit is aimed at people who have varying degrees of disposable income, ability to invest, lots of free time, available transportation, no kids, a partner, access to credit, and beyond. This is a place for people who do not have a lot, nor ideal circumstances, to help each other get by and hopefully move up in the world.

You do not have to be absolutely destitute to be here. Whether you are a single parent only pulling 10k a year, or a single person trying to get past student loans at 28K, you are welcome here. The goal here is to help anyone who doesn’t have a lot of breathing room get to a place where they have stability, comfort, contingency, and maybe even a little luxury.

The moderators keep /r/povertyfinance a positive, productive forum that’s mostly free of the sniping and political crap that other similar sites fall into. It’s a terrific resource. And it’s filled with interesting stories. For me, it’s been a great place to learn about what others are going through.

So, today at Apex, I’m going to share some recent excellent posts from /r/povertyfinance. I urge you to read these, even if you aren’t struggling with money.

Does anyone else find being poor absolutely exhausting? — “I feel like I can’t go one day without thinking about being poor. I am constantly planning and budgeting and thinking of ways to make money. When I’m not working I’m calling places to attempt to get extensions on my bills. I’m doing surveys and scanning receipts several times a week for pocket change. I’m just tired. Physically and mentally, I’m tired.”

“The only thing that has seriously helped me reduce my debt has been increasing my income.” — “By a stroke of incredible fortune, I was able to start a job towards the end of last year, and overnight, I doubled my income. The difference has been immense. There is NO WAY I’d be able to have the same sense of peace, lack of stress, and above all optimism without the income I now have.”

30 things that helped us. — In this post, one user lists thirty things that has helped their family improve their financial situation. Good stuff.

White people don’t understand how hard it is for black men from “the hood” to be financially mobile. — “Bettering myself is so hard. So fucking hard man. I’m drowning. White keys to success aren’t working for me. I’m scattered and lost. And alone. Contemplated suicide last week for the first time. It is what it is. I’m about to be homeless very soon. I have enough money for a greyhound ticket. I just want to be seen as human.”

The discussion on this post is terrific and well-worth a half hour of your time. The stories and anecdotes are enlightening.

I’m not shy about sharing that I grew up poor. But I grew up poor as a white boy in rural Oregon. I had a loving (but imperfect) family. I was a smart (if strange) kid. I managed to better myself, as did my brothers. We worked hard and were lucky. Not everyone is as fortunate.

Okay, Jim will back on Monday to start another week of money news. See you then!

Boots Theory