Understanding the term ‘poverty threshold’

ALLOW me to introduce an interesting but quite unknown topic today. Please do not brush aside the newspaper just by reading the topic of my today’s article.

I presume those who can read and write English language comfortably in the country can be termed as not so poor people comparative to those who live in deject poverty.

Therefore, do not draw a conclusion that the term ‘Poverty Threshold’ has something to do with only those people who are living below the poverty line and not to you - the so called rich.

Though it may be bit difficult for you to accept that how a term which has a direct reference to the poverty can be applicable to all human being irrespective of one’s income level. But this is what the truth is.

However, before we proceed further, let us first attempt to understand the integral meaning of this term called ‘Poverty Threshold’.

In simple terms, ‘Poverty Threshold’ refers to the minimum level of income deemed necessary to achieve an adequate standard of living in a given society or country.

Moreover it is important to understand that the ‘minimum level of income’ as referred herein may differ from one person to another depending on one’s standard of living as practised.

For one person the day’s newspaper may form an essential part of his daily requirements to maintain an adequate standard of living, while for some other person it may just be a luxury to buy the newspaper.

This proves a point that the ‘poverty threshold’ limit may differ from one person to another depending on one’s level of income.

Therefore, I have used the term ‘poverty threshold’ in my today’s article to describe the minimum amount of money one would need to enjoy a comfortable life.

Some people may require TZS 50 million per year for living a comfortable life, while some other person may need even less than TZS 10 million in a year.

Fixing a low poverty threshold does not mean to be poor but merely refers to an income level with which you could be perfectly content with a bare minimum of material conveniences.

Suppose, if all your savings were stripped from you, and your income gets reduced by 70per cent, could you still enjoy yourself? Or would you be miserable having to adjust to a lower level of income.

Remember, your poverty threshold is just psychological. It’s not about actually having to survive or experience poverty. Having a low threshold simply means you’d be willing to sacrifice more to make bigger changes.

For example, imagine your poverty threshold was roughly TZS 20 million per year. If you had the opportunity to switch to a more exciting career, but here the starting pay was only TZS 15 million per annum, you wouldn’t be able to make the switch.

Fixing a lower poverty threshold is nothing but a freedom from unwanted luxuries of life. Building a low poverty threshold is about occasionally conditioning yourself to go without.

Go an entire week without spending any money. Travel for a month and stay in hostels instead of nice hotels. Go without your car for a month.

Experiencing mild poverty in small doses allows you to lower your threshold. It’s just like dipping your feet in a lake to get used to the cold water. Occasional splashes keep you from being afraid to dive in when you need to.

Practicing ‘poverty threshold’ occasionally will prepare you and your family members to face any eventuality, which God forbade can strike us any moment.

Often there are instances when due to some natural calamity [like earthquake, flood etc.] thousands of people become homeless in one stroke.

They lose all their precious possessions and in such a situation the only priority for them is to survive. Therefore, do not get entangled to the luxuries of life but attempt to live a simple life whenever possible.

We know our living environment is very unpredictable, thus the need of hour is to prepare ourselves to face any eventualities and one of the best ways to achieve this is first by keeping our ‘poverty threshold’ low and second by practicing it occasionally.

But more importantly - before you attempt to practice it, do you know your poverty threshold limit? If not, find it out fast. Cheers!!!

Continued from last week

THE other ...

Author: Jagjit Singh

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