Shh… don't tell anyone I'm poor. They all think I'm living frugal and green just like everyone these days. This is a blog about a senior citizen living a frugal life, on a fixed income, in a low income food desert, and passing along knowledge from lessons learned. Some she learned from her Grandma Mama many years ago and some learned only a few days ago.
Where are the financial advisers for the poor or low incomed or those living on social security? I don’t mean someone who is salesman slick, works on commission, and is always ready to sell you something. I don’t mean a person who charges $250 an hour to tell you to put at least five dollars into a savings account every payday or to invest something every month. Its hard to put five dollars away when that five dollars might keep the lights on or food on the table. I don’t mean a credit counselor who actually creates a bankruptcy in disguise. They claim to be able to stop creditors from calling you by working out a budget with your creditors which is really a bankruptcy. And I really don’t mean someone who would look at you and say “Have you tried making more money?”
What I’m talking about is an in person human who would, for a very small fee, take a look at your situation and tell you your best options. So where are the financial advisers for the poor who are willing to give practical advice that goes beyond what can be found in books or on the internet? Are there no retired financial advisers willing to volunteer at senior nutrition centers or food banks? What about the so called “elder” attorneys. Are there none willing to volunteer either?
Sometimes I feel I need the advice of a professional adviser. I compare it to the way people look up medical information in books or ask questions of web MD before seeking an in person physician. When I’ve gotten as much financial information as I can from books and the internet I feel its time for me to see a professional in person. But where are they?
There should be someone, somewhere who works closely with low incomed people who have done all they know but are still struggling. Where are the charitable organizations that do more than hand out checks to pay immediate bills while doing nothing about curing the underlying problems? Doesn’t the working poor deserve money management seminars the same as wealthy people? Don’t the low incomed deserve answers to our money questions?
In my entire life I’ve never ever seen a social service agency hold a seminar, or money fair, or whatever it could be called, to teach about budgeting or living frugally or anything like that. Ok, I admit that probably 98 percent of the low incomed have become dependent on social services.
But, I believe the remaining 2 percent, if successful, could influence other low incomed to follow the example. The poor are always looking for the way out of poverty. If one poor person finds that magic door out then everyone else wants to find it too.
I used to ask every time I had to apply for help paying a bill “When will you have a class about handling money or budgeting?” but not once did anyone take my question seriously. I used to ask “Why not have a class to teach basic sewing skills, like sewing on a button or fixing a rip?” each time I visited a clothes closet, but no one took me seriously. I still ask “When are you going to have a class to teach sensible shopping or menu planning or food preserving?” every time I visit the food bank, but no one takes me seriously.
So is it any wonder why low incomed people become dependent on social services? If no one is willing to have classes to teach a better way then how is anyone supposed to learn? Wouldn’t it be better if a social service agency held classes pertaining to their type of service? If a poor person is seeking help paying a utility bill, for example, then why not have classes about conserving energy or budgeting? If poor people are there week after week picking up a food box why not offer free classes about food preserving and menu planning ?
I shouldn’t have to pay someone a couple hundred dollars an hour for them to tell me to spend less, save more, make more, pay down debt, be properly insured, and take advantage of senior discounts. What I really need is a good financial adviser who can actually take a look at my circumstances, ask the questions that I hadn’t thought about, and give me factual up to date advice that fits my situation.
So, where are the financial advisers for the poor? Does anybody know?