Level Up: Three simple rules to avoid poverty

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Recent data show Memphis has five of the top ten poorest zip codes in the state. But coming from a poor zip code doesn't mean you will become poor.

The Brookings Institution found three simple rules to avoid poverty that worked for at least 90 percent of people who followed them.

  • Finish high school
  • Get a full-time job
  • Wait until age 21 to get married and have children

That Brookings research showed that of American adults who followed these three simple rules, only about 2 percent are in poverty and nearly 75 percent have joined the middle class, earning around $55,000 or more per year.

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It's not guaranteed you're going to end up living in poverty if you don't finish high school; you can get your GED at any age.

And you can get a fulltime job without a high school diploma, but if you end up breaking all three rules there is a very good chance you will end up living in poverty unless you were born wealthy.

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