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Depending on the socio-economic class of a person, their top priorities will change. For instance, in the middle class, education and financial security are very important. In the upper class, who a person “knows” is important. For the lower class relationships are extremely valuable.
The lower class values entertainment, cash and relationships. They live in the moment because the future is always a shaky thing. This a primary part of the educator, Ruby Payne’s, teachings. Dr. Payne suggests that our priorities are defined by our station in life. In the lower class, the people in one’s life are extremely important because they are a resource.
When defining poverty, Payne says that it is measured by the extent that people do without resources. Resources are more than money. They include transportation, education, health care, and many of the very basic things needed to succeed in life. If a person has lived in poverty for generations, then that person has learned that he needs people he can rely on, and he also knows his people must rely on him, too.
In the lower class, anyone with a car is a valuable resource. So is anyone with cash in his pocket. Poor people don’t have good credit because they have nothing to back it with. They live paycheck to paycheck, and sometimes that means living on a relative’s paycheck. There isn’t much room to be materialistic, although it isn’t unusual to see a person in the lower class wearing expensive shoes or clothes. More than anything, it just means that person had the cash for something nice. Those clothes may also attract the right relationships.