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Old 04-15-2014, 12:07 PM
 
Location: Murrieta, CA
1,274 posts, read 1,511,519 times
Reputation: 2242

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aqua Blue View Post
I am another one of the by the original posters standards I have been low income all my life. Contrary to how someone above described us, I do not shuffle down to the post office or bank, I don't watch TV all day etc. Actually I didn't have a TV until the last 5-6 years and only get broadcast channels.

The most I ever made was $20/hr. I had opportunities to move up the wage ladder, but I have an autoimmune disease and found I just didn't have the energy to give to it. I found a job which while it didn't pay very well, my employer was sympathetic to my limitations and worked with me. I was married for about 20yr(that probably helped somewhat) and divorced for almost 20(which helped my sanity). Another thing that probably helped me is being child free.

I always always saved 10% at least. If I hadn't saved 10% by the end of the year, I made that last couple of months meager(use up food in the freezer, not go to movies etc) so I could. I pretty much always had some discretionary income.

I would agree that my wants have been less than a lot of people, but I don't consider that a negative. Family and friends have been important. But, I also have read a lot, been involved locally in causes I believe in etc. While I haven't taken big fancy trips very often that is probably more due to back and pain issues, I doubt I would enjoy being on a plane for that long. I did go to NZ in my 30's and it was hard then.

That doesn't mean I haven't gone anywhere. I have hiked and camped all over, I have probably seen more of the USA back country than many people. Been to most states at one time or another.

I own by own home. It is 5 yrs old and about 1300sf. I have lived in about that size house my whole adult life.

Sure I would have liked to have more, who doesn't? But really it is and has been "enough". I do think if you are going to live lower wage successfully you have to really pay attention to all the small details. You need to be waste adverse. There is really no room for carelessness. Eat all the food you buy. Take back the pair of shoes you bought that didn't feel right after you got them home. Wait until there is a good price on a new what ever instead of running out and buying it the minute you think you need it and so on

We in America are sold a bunch of stuff we don't need. We are advertised to believe that we couldn't possibly be happy without it, which is a lie.
Awesome post! It often is not what you earn but what you do with it. Getting into a good savings habit is key for everyone at every level. Avoiding debt is number two. I used to work for Orthopedic and Plastic Surgeons who were "living the life" and earning $250,000 a year but spending way over that amount, drowning in huge mortgages, luxury cars etc. I am planning on retiring at age 54 and all my prior employers are still working, not because they want to because they are still drowning in debt in their 60's and 70's. Taking out a 1 million dollar mortgage in your 60's for a house you have owned for 20+ years was common, I saw it happen several times. Crazy to me!
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Old 04-15-2014, 12:12 PM
 
354 posts, read 422,924 times
Reputation: 444
They don't :lol:
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Old 04-15-2014, 12:25 PM
 
Location: Whereever we have our RV parked
8,833 posts, read 7,732,605 times
Reputation: 15152
OP: What color is the sky where you live? $20 an hour is not even the average wage in America. All kinds of folks with this kind of income can and do retire, and do fine. Remember that cost of living varies greatly in the USA, so someone who makes that kind of money can often live in very nice cities that have low taxes and low housing cost. Not only that but many folks have had stable marriages where both worked for many years. They paid off the house, kept their household expenses down, drove old cars, didn't spend everything they made, didn't get over their heads in debt, and now some some savings from their 401K plan and can get along OK when they retire. After all, if you have 2 people that average $20 an hour, you're looking at about 80,000 dollars a year. That's good money in middle america. In fact, the median household wage in 2007 was about $50,000 a year.
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Old 04-15-2014, 12:42 PM
 
12,825 posts, read 20,170,095 times
Reputation: 10910
The answer is, work until you can no longer handle working (generally the end comes via health issues or death). Then hope that SS can provide enough to avoid serious issues. Alas, we bear witness to the fate of the late, great American Middle Class.
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Old 04-15-2014, 12:53 PM
 
Location: SoCal desert
8,093 posts, read 13,249,708 times
Reputation: 14870
Quote:
Originally Posted by s1alker View Post
I'm talking about someone who has made less than 20 bucks an hour their entire life for whatever reason. Places that pay that low generally do not have a 401k or pension plan. A low wage worker will have very little (if any) money to save after living expenses are paid.
Then the living expenses are too high. Expenses can always be lowered.

No matter what your hourly wage is, you should be saving 10%.
Whether it's $1.25 an hour or $50 an hour.
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Old 04-15-2014, 01:51 PM
 
Location: oHIo
624 posts, read 604,665 times
Reputation: 1325
Quote:
Originally Posted by Curmudgeon View Post
BRAVO! You also have to possess the drive, discipline and courage to do it. Good for you.
Quote:
Originally Posted by tramp View Post
I was a low wage worker for half my working years until I landed a good paying job with the experience I had. I got and kept 1 - 2 part time jobs, aside from my full time job, for most of my life. The money from those part time jobs went straight to my savings and I made do with the earnings from the full time job. It can be done, you have to want to do it.
I admire your dedication and physical ability to maintain several jobs at once.

That said, most low wage employers these days (i.e. Walmart) make it impossible to work a second job. You must be available to work first and/or second shift, 7 days a week.
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Old 04-15-2014, 02:11 PM
 
491 posts, read 599,089 times
Reputation: 2095
Quote:
Originally Posted by happyinca View Post
Awesome post! It often is not what you earn but what you do with it. Getting into a good savings habit is key for everyone at every level. Avoiding debt is number two. I used to work for Orthopedic and Plastic Surgeons who were "living the life" and earning $250,000 a year but spending way over that amount, drowning in huge mortgages, luxury cars etc. I am planning on retiring at age 54 and all my prior employers are still working, not because they want to because they are still drowning in debt in their 60's and 70's. Taking out a 1 million dollar mortgage in your 60's for a house you have owned for 20+ years was common, I saw it happen several times. Crazy to me!
Appreciated your post. I quit working at 55, 6 years ago. Interestingly I am an RN who worked in a physicians office and found the same thing. They are all still working, except for one that died at 59. Many Many times when people earn a lot they spend even more. Actually I have a sibling who did that. He just had a high school education, but is very smart and worked in IT in it's hayday. Those days for him anyway in very specialized area are gone, but they continued spending just like they did before. Now they have no savings and I see him working till he drops.
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Old 04-15-2014, 02:32 PM
 
2,043 posts, read 1,954,332 times
Reputation: 3459
Quote:
Originally Posted by StabbyAbby View Post
I've heard about some people who move overseas to maximise their spending power. You can live very well on USD or AUD or EUR$1000/month in Mexico, Thailand, Bulgaria, Costa Rica, Vietnam, etc.
I think anywhere in those countries that are westernized areas will be as expensive as a major city in the U.S. Only local areas of those countries are likely to be inexpensive but then as a non-native speaker you have no one to talk to. I think moving to a low COL part of the U.S. is far better and as cheap as other countries.
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Old 04-15-2014, 02:36 PM
 
20,839 posts, read 13,820,980 times
Reputation: 14518
Quote:
Originally Posted by s1alker View Post
I'm talking about someone who has made less than 20 bucks an hour their entire life for whatever reason. Places that pay that low generally do not have a 401k or pension plan. A low wage worker will have very little (if any) money to save after living expenses are paid.
Long story short is they don't.

You can walk around Manhattan and find any number of persons >60 still working as doormen, cashiers, waitresses, shop clerks, and so forth.

One elderly lady one has known since we moved into our street over 15 years ago works days as a supermarket checkout person, then does a night shift as a waitress in a diner. Poor luv can barely walk so you can see what time and a hard life have done, but she has no other choice.

One reason you see so many elderly homeless in NYC and other places is that they worked low wage jobs all their lives. Thus their SS benefits aren't that large and they often have little or nil savings. As rents skyrocket long with costs for basics like food often they cannot hold things together. So they are evicted onto the streets.

Older women who never married in particular make up a large part of this group. Most likely the jobs they held back in the day paid very little and without careful financial planning.... Lack of children/family means essentially they are on their own. The City doe try to help all elderly homeless seniors but the demand simply outstrips supply.
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Old 04-15-2014, 04:19 PM
 
8,215 posts, read 11,935,652 times
Reputation: 18064
Quote:
Originally Posted by andyo4you View Post
USA = best country for people who don't work. hmm the USA even send billions to countries who don't even like us... weird but thats why we pay so much in taxes to help the needed.
No, it's not. That's a typically ill-informed opinion. A University of Maryland survey conducted a few years ago found that Americans on average believe that 25% of all federal spending went to foreign aid. In reality, less than 1% did. That's right; if you add up all the money given to all the countries around the world by the U.S., it amounts to less than one penny of your tax dollar.
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