There will always be those who need our aid.  However recent analyses of the circumstances of poverty can lead to some clear suggestions as to how poverty can be avoided.

The first rule is to avoid addictions.  Addictions to alcohol, opioids or other drugs are a recipe for disaster.  Studies of the causes of homelessness indicate that addictions and mental health issues often coupled with some disastrous financial event are major causes of homelessness and the poverty that goes with it.  Conditions are further complicated by two trends that started in the 1980's; a decrease in the institutionalizing of the mentally ill and cuts in the number and budgets of mental health facilities.

The second rule would be to graduate from high school.  There are numerous studies that show the lifetime economic benefits of education.  High school is the most important educational step for most people.  A high school diploma is a necessity for many technical training programs and is also necessary for admission into higher education programs.  The lack of a high school diploma means that the person will not get through the first screening of job applicants.  Lack of a diploma is a convenient reason for a prospective employer to say "no."

The third rule is, "Do not become a parent while in high school."  Young mothers have a high dropout rate and the problems of adolescence both educational and economic are immensely complicated by parenthood.  High school students are babies having babies.

The fourth piece of advice is to have a two-person team in place when the decision to have a child is made.  Single parenthood is a heroic endeavor.  Studies show that ironically perhaps traditional marriage with a mom and a dad in place for the child is the best support for the child in terms of fostering values and providing economic stability.  Ironically too, a study by no less of an authority than PLAYBOY MAGAZINE concluded that conventional monogamous heterosexual marriage provided most people with their most satisfying sex lives.

There will be factors such as catastrophic illness or large economic reverses that will plunge people into poverty, but these four rules might be helpful particularly in helping young people avoid poverty.