Blog Action Day 2008 – Poverty

Some wordI participated in the Blog Action Day 2007 with a post about driving big cars.  It was nice to see the difference a site can make on trying to get the entire blogosphere involved, but clearly they’ve made some big strides in it.  Granted it is once a year, so they have a lot of time to market it, but they’ve gotten nearly 10 MILLION people interested and read about posts from around the world based on this years topic: Poverty.

I happy to say that I’ve never (knowingly) been in poverty; again my parents keep the shutters closed to us on how much they made, and I’m sure we were close, but never had food stamps or the likes.  We ate, dressed, and lived very frugally, but I don’t think we dipped to poverty.

It is pretty amazing the number of people around the world that do suffer from it though.  In the US alone, based on the latest available U.S. census data from 2005, the McClatchy Newspapers analysis found that almost 16 million Americans live in “deep or severe poverty” defined as a family of four with two children earning less than 9,903 dollars — one half the federal poverty line figure.

For individuals the “deep poverty” threshold was an income under 5,080 dollars a year.

“The McClatchy analysis found that the number of severely poor Americans grew by 26% from 2000 to 2005,” the U.S. newspaper chain reported.

“That’s 56% faster than the overall poverty population grew in the same period,” it noted.

Under $5,080 Per Year

That means that we’re talking $423.34 per month and less than $14 per day for a family to live off.

Think of the meals you buy each day for yourself to go to work? I am not a breakfast guy, but if you’re spending $5 per meal per day, you’re busting that daily limit YOURSELF. Divide that by 4 and try to feed 4 people on $1.20 per day and THEN pay the electricity and rent. I can’t imagine that is easy by any stretch of the imagination.

Can It Change

I believe it can, but it is never easy even for 1 person to climb out. There are millions of people that live in poverty, but it can be done. FreeMoneyFinance says, “I’ll agree that the cases of people starting poor and ending rich are not that numerous, but it’s not because some are lucky and most are not. No, it’s because some are disciplined and most are not.

For all but the most poor in the most desperate conditions, financial well being can be had in a lifetime as long as the person learns and applies solid financial principles. Unfortunately, these principles require perseverance, commitment, and the willingness to spend less than a person earns. For most people, this is simply asking too much.”

It can change I think, but it is quite a road to climb from living in the streets to getting out, and it is most probably easier said than done. Depending on where people consider their personal “poverty level” it can change as well.

Some Who Have Done It

Chris Gardner went from having absolutely nothing and living on the streets with a child to being an absolutely successful Wall Street investor.  I haven’t gotten around to reading the book, but the film was very good and really drove home the point that if you have something worth fighting for (his son), it can be an extremely motivating tool to getting you where you want in life.  cg.jpg

His story began by dumping his life savings into buying a portable bone density scanner franchise that wasn’t as lucrative as he’d hoped.  He persevered through the rejection phone calls and kept making sales appointments that didn’t turn out as he had hoped.  With a failing business and the machines as his last way to keep himself above water, the devices were stolen, leaving him broke, without money, and on the cusp of being homeless.

He had read about Wall Street and took a free internship at Dean Witter Reynolds that nearly did him in, but put forth such drive that he learned what he needed in the business to survive and thrive –

Andrew Carnegie was born November 25, 1835 and died August 11, 1919. His life was a true “rags to riches” story.

Born to a poor Scottish family that immigrated to the United States, Carnegie became a powerful businessman and a leading force in the American steel industry.

Today, he is remembered as an industrialist, millionaire, and philanthropist.

Carnegie believed that the wealthy had an obligation toaa_carnegie_subj_m.jpg give back to society, so he donated much of his fortune to causes like education and peace.

Carnegie paid his employees the low wages typical of the time, he later gave away most of his money to fund the establishment of many libraries, schools, and universities in America, the United Kingdom and other countries, as well as a pension fund for former employees.

He is often regarded as the second richest man in history.

Carnegie started as a telegrapher and by the 1860s had investments in railroads, railroad sleeping cars, bridges and oil derricks.

He built further wealth as a bond salesman raising money for American enterprise in Europe.”


I think Pete from BibleMoneyMatters sums it up pretty well when he quotes Proverbs 21:5-6

The plans of the diligent lead to profit as surely as haste leads to poverty. A fortune made by a lying tongue is a fleeting vapor and a deadly snare.

Another verse today about being diligent and hard working. When you work hard at something, and make plans for the future, it will often lead to prosperity and happiness. Fail to plan, and make hasty decisions and you will end up with poverty. Worse yet, a fortune made through a “lying tongue” is never as good as you thought it would be.

Work hard, be diligent and ethical in all your financial dealings.

Filed Under: Debtfinancial education

  • Laura

    Great to see Carnegie get a mention here. Universities around the world are giving free access to their course materials, carrying on his mission to open up access to education. I wrote my BAD post on free courses related to poverty but these universities are covering a range of subjects on their Open Education websites:
    Thanks for your post

    Laura’s last blog post..Blog Action Day: Learn about poverty

  • kouji haiku

    interesting stories. i saw the movie based on the first one. :)

    saw this post via the front page of blog action day. it’s great that you’re participating. :)

    kouji haiku’s last blog post..philippine poverty haiku poems

  • Sherry

    nice stories.

    Sherry’s last blog post..Name Sherry is ready

  • Ron Robins

    Clearly from what you are inferring from above is that ethical financial and investing behaviour is important for all of us. I’ve been following ethical investing for some forty years and have a popular site on the subject that might interest you and some readers. It also uniquely covers the latest related global news and research as well. It’s at

    Best wishes, Ron Robins

  • Curious Cat Investing Blog

    Definitely this can change. poverty will not be eliminated in a day or a year or a decade but progress can and has been made. One of my favorite tools for helping that progress along is Kiva, Trickle Up and other microfinancing organizations.

    Curious Cat Investing Blog’s last blog post..FDIC Doubling Bank Fees to Pay for Increased Takeovers

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  • Joe Cheray

    Hank I live below the poverty line and often find myself running short at the middle of the month more times than not. It is extremely difficult to say the least but it can be done. You have to really be creative and learn how to make even $2.00 stretch. It is amazing what you can make with a can of tuna, shredded cheddar cheese, cream of mushroom soup and egg noodles. This is a meal that costs less than $5.00 to make and can feed a family of four very easily. I really find great four ingredient recipes that cost one Abe Lincoln. Yes one day will come where I will no longer be in the position I am in today, but I have learned that these things are making me stronger as an individual.

    I was thankful to have come across an awesome opportunity with Blog Action Day to take part in and have my say in what is a subject very close to home.

    Joe Cheray’s last blog post..What Poverty Looks Like Through My Eyes

  • cheritycall

    hy, Do something to help the hungry people from Africa and India,
    I created this blog about that subject:

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  • Pete

    Carnegie has always been a great inspiration around the world.

  • Suzanne

    Poverty needs to be overcome before anything else and it needs dedicated to overcome it from all quarters.

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