Conventional wisdom around teaching poor people how to manage a thing they don’t have — money— has taken a turn. To paraphrase the mood … ain’t nobody got time (or money) for that.

Doubling down on the money management approach is especially peculiar in Memphis, where half of black children live in poverty, according to research by Elena Delavega, the University of Memphis poverty guru.

In a contrarian view grounded in the economic struggle of many Memphis families, MLK50: Justice Through Journalism Founder and Editor Wendi C. Thomas had nothing but time when she opened the doors of the church, chastising the hypocrisy and ineffective affect of hosting financial literacy workshops in poor communities.

“IDK who needs to hear this, but poverty-wage workers cannot budget their way to economic stability. Offering financial literacy workshops when what they need is a living wage is insulting and immoral,” Thomas posted.

Soon after, a Level 5 tweetstorm ensued with 5 mph winds of people substantiating her tweet, from giving their personal experiences with financial literacy workshops and being berated with “do better” resources disguised as community impact.

Another Tweeter posted: “Can’t create a budge with no money. The longer I run job and education programs for low income individuals the more I come to see most of their financial decision making as essential to surviving the best they can.”

The daily decisions of people living in poverty looks differently than choosing between a hotdog and lobster, but rather to buy toothpaste or toilet paper.

“When I was so broke I brushed my teeth with salt because I couldn’t afford toothpaste, I really didn’t need to hear people preach about the miracle of compound interest so why didn’t I invest 10 percent of my pay?”

One mom summed up like this:

“This used to piss me off SO BADLY when I was a single parent making $8.90/hr. I’m like, budget WHAT? SAVE WHAT? I could barely afford toilet paper.”

And another one: “Just had a flashback of me taking a roll of toilet paper from the doctor’s office because I spent my last dollars on the co-pay for my girls.”

There is a twist on this a lot of financial literacy messaging misses: More reports attest that people living in poverty are better money managers than many middle-class earners who are more likely to spend their money on overpriced coffee and popular brands.

“I was hired to teach financial literacy to a low income folks thru social service agency. Their budgeting skills are stronger than any other population. Spending is not the problem — income is,” Kelly Deering posted in response to Thomas’ tweet.

“Poor people already know how to stretch a dollar, because we have to in order to survive. These types of workshops, typically led by people who aren’t broke, are condescending af and usually unhelpful”

And this:

“I once sat in a first time homebuyers “class” with my now ex and watched the room fill with disbelieving expressions when the teacher told us that “skipping that morning coffee at Starbucks will get you to that down payment faster.” No one there could afford morning Starbucks.”

One might argue the system is working for the people it was designed to support: the wealthy and those who benefit from keeping the poor in poverty. Case in point:

“This is one of my favourite clips — leaves him with absolutely nowhere to go and would resonate with so many.”

Despite his insistence on hiring a financial advisor and tending to our nest eggs, Dave Ramsey, the financial guru, won’t save us, and pacifying the wealthy and corporations who don’t pay their employees a living wage won’t protect us.

Justin Reid tweeted this: “At one of my previous jobs, for one year we were offered a Dave Ramsey financial literacy course and a bonus scheme in lieu of a cost of living raise. Needless to say that wasn’t a good year for me.”

And then there’s this:

“It’s more important for the ruling class to maintain the myth of pErSoNaL aCcOuNtAbIliTy than to actually wrestle with reality”

This story is brought to you by MLK50: Justice Through Journalism, a nonprofit reporting project on economic justice in Memphis. Support independent journalism by making a tax-deductible donation today. MLK50 is also supported by the Surdna Foundation and Community Change.