the new poverty: $68K a year or less - Page 3 - U2 Feedback

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Old 04-02-2011, 11:13 PM   #31
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it doesn't totally make up for it, but in america they have laws in place where you can't add surcharges if you use a credit card. when i bought my phone, i was shocked that i had to pay another 5% if i wanted to use a credit card. fuck that! in america, even the most expensive items are the same price no matter how you pay.
Though some places have a minimum amount you can charge or debit. The cafes/grills at the college where I work only accepted cash, check, or student/staff accounts (where you pre-pay into an account based on your ID number). Then they started accepting plastic but there was a $5 minimum for a while. Then they realized they were making heaps more money by accepting plastic so they scratched the minimum because even though they have to pay to run the charges they are still making way more (and I'm getting fat!).
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Old 04-03-2011, 03:28 AM   #32
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i love the usa, i've never felt more at home....but shit guys, stop bending over.
The only thing that can save the US is an idealist winning the lottery and using the money to run for office. Someone who can pay for a campaign with no corporate interests.

Seriously. That's how much we're fucked. We need a miracle.
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Old 04-03-2011, 07:24 AM   #33
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There is the general idea that is the type of politician and hence politics you get is what you deserve. It is as a collective that we can be so reactionary and juvenile, that until a lot more of us become more idealistic or just grow up that we'll get a better kind of politics.

Something I think is the same in the US as in the UK. People moan about the cuts and all that, but a large number of them must have at least voted Conservative or not at all to make it possible for them to be in power.
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Old 04-03-2011, 10:17 AM   #34
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The only thing that can save the US is an idealist winning the lottery and using the money to run for office. Someone who can pay for a campaign with no corporate interests.

Seriously. That's how much we're fucked. We need a miracle.
This.

Problem is that if I win the lottery, I'm fucking out of here. You still can find affordable islands to buy.
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Old 04-03-2011, 10:21 AM   #35
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There is the general idea that is the type of politician and hence politics you get is what you deserve. It is as a collective that we can be so reactionary and juvenile, that until a lot more of us become more idealistic or just grow up that we'll get a better kind of politics.

Something I think is the same in the US as in the UK. People moan about the cuts and all that, but a large number of them must have at least voted Conservative or not at all to make it possible for them to be in power.
I completely agree with this. The only additional factor is the media control in the U.S. We have let our media be consolidated into the hands of a few corporations, and therefore people don't get all of the information they should.

Would it change how they vote? Probably not enough to make much of a difference.
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Old 04-03-2011, 03:24 PM   #36
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$2.13?! Woah, that's obscene. I suppose it's offset a bit by the culture of tipping there that is simply non-existent in Australia

i adored my time in Australia.

but i really, really missed American waiters.

/random
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Old 04-03-2011, 03:42 PM   #37
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Too many other factors at play, namely, cost of living depending on locale. Phil and I live perfectly comfortably on around $68K. Own a nice (in my opinion) home, two vehicles (2004 and 1995).

this is quite interesting to me. not to get too specific, Memphis and i make considerably more than you do, but we live in a (nice) one-bedroom apartment and share one 10-year old car (though we can both either walk or metro to work). owning a home in and around DC is going to be a big challenge. the average one-bedroom condo in DC itself starts around $450K, and if you want a "real" home (townhouse) you're easily starting around $500K. the nicest houses (3 bedrooms, 2 baths or more) probably start around $900K. and this is just DC -- NYC, SanFran, Boston and parts of LA are even more expensive. and, now, everyone demands 20% down, so we have to save $100K to even begin to look at a house. we make plenty so actually affording a mortgage isn't a problem, but saving up for the down payment is daunting. granted, we do have "nice" things and a "nice" lifestyle and we go on "nice" vacations -- and, for now, since there's no real *need* for a home, that's fine. i'd rather build up savings, enjoy my life, and rent a low-maintenance, comfortable apartment than invest my life savings into a property that will require a large amount of upkeep. it seems a little bit strange and almost anti-American, but we've even discussed never owning a home and living in (nice) apartments our whole life, or maybe we buy something small when we retire to the desert or southern california. and all this is fine -- we're city folk, and we like to travel and eat well and walk to things. but it does kind of shock me that you can afford a lifestyle on $68K that would require at least $300K+ a year in a big city.

and on another note, and, sure, this is going to seem like upper class whining, but a very good friend of mine is a lawyer at a fairly high powered law firm. he works, very hard, and sort of immediately wound up with three kids very soon after getting married. he makes a substantial income but he and his wife moved out to a tony suburb with an excellent school system. why? private school is unaffordable to them. we're talking a big city lawyer who was himself easily put through private school by his lawyer parents -- he makes comparatively the same salary his father made at the same age in the 1980s, but the cost of living has skyrocketed, so the trappings of the upper classes doesn't buy what it used to. so what has this to do with the poverty level? what it's going to take are the upper classes (but not megarich) who make between, say, $150-$300K a year who start coming to the conclusion that what was promised to them if they played the game right -- get good grades, go to the best schools, go to the best grad schools, get the best jobs -- are no longer attainable because even these upper pieces of the pie have been put out of reach to even them by the superrich. not asking for sympathy, i doubt any of them would ever trade places with anyone, but it's harder to get by on $200K in a big city when you have kids than you might think, but politicians listen more when the rich start whining.
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Old 04-03-2011, 04:00 PM   #38
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but it does kind of shock me that you can afford a lifestyle on $68K that would require at least $300K+ a year in a big city.
Right, but we're also comparing one of the absolute cheapest places (we have the some of the highest unemployment and worst housing market in the country) to one of the most expensive cities where it is almost impossible to find available real estate. Would I love living in downtown DC or Manhattan? Hecks yeah, but to me that is a lifestyle choice having more to do with privilege than survival. I can't say I'm poor and we're not making it because we can't live in a posh loft in Manhattan. I want to own a comfortably sized home with a postage stamp yard for my dogs on a relatively quiet street so I can't live in the biggest, most expensive cities in the world. I've always had to choose between where I want to live and work and where I can realistically afford to live and work. I don't consider myself poor and underprivileged because I can't live in the most expensive areas. It's just one factor and one choice in weighing the larger picture of what I want vs. what I need. I could also make twice as much money as I do now doing the same work in another state, or in the for-profit sector. There are dozens of things that weigh in, not just the bottom line or salary vs. cost of living.
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Old 04-03-2011, 04:04 PM   #39
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I am in a similar position to Irvine and find it equally as shocking that people in some places can live on $68K joint income rather comfortably. My b/f and I both make very good money, he has no student debt left and I have some minor $10K which I have basically chosen not to pay off because I was playing around with $ in other ways, and we rent. Granted, it is a very nice place (I just took some pics of it to send to my Mom) in a very nice part of town. I drive a 10-year-old car, he drives an 11-year-old car. We could afford new ones but frankly have no interest in them as we probably use our cars a couple of times a week to go do a larger grocery run or to visit parents in the suburbs or whatever. Neither of us is interested in a condo and the houses that we've looked at, which are very nice, in the same part of Toronto where we live now but by no means the most expensive part are around $1.3-1.6 million. Both of us want to wait for the bubble to burst - figure the interest rates are going up in about 6-12 months and house prices should drop at least a bit. We also don't need a huge place at this point and would rather spend our time traveling, of which we plan to do as much as we can with our jobs.

I wouldn't even be able to afford to rent this place if we made $68K together. Or live downtown or pretty much do any of the extra things we like doing on that kind of a salary. Like Irvine, I don't complain because frankly I like my lifestyle, I like that we can walk everywhere and go out to good restaurants and that I never really think about money as a consideration for daily living needs. Plus our friends are in the area, we both work in the financial core which is maybe 20 mins away by subway, and I am just incredibly happy in this urban setting which very much feels like a quirky neighbourhood full of coffee shops, independent bookstores, gelato places and bars with patios. So it's a trade off which I see as worth it.
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Old 04-03-2011, 04:07 PM   #40
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I should also add that in Canada, the recession just didn't hit us the same way and we didn't have all the foreclosures and our housing market is still incredibly elevated. So there is nothing comparable in this country to large chunks of the US where you can buy nice houses for $100-$200K and live quite well on way less money.

Even out in the 'burbs where my parents live, in a nice but average middle class house, the prices are completely insane and I have no idea how they expect young people to buy a house for $650K which 10 years ago you bought for $300K.
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Old 04-03-2011, 04:14 PM   #41
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So it's a trade off which I see as worth it.
Exactly, I see most of these things as "trade off" type choices, not really being "poor".

The financial ruin of my peers is probably due more to poor choices like over borrowing for a home, credit card debt, etc than actually not being able to survive anywhere on 68K.

I like living in a city but not downtown, mainly b/c of the dogs and needed at least some amount of space for them, indoors and out. Honestly if we didn't have dogs and that was not a factor we'd probably live in Chicago, Boystown/Lakeview or Wrigleyville area. Where we are now I would not need a vehicle (besides transporting dogs) because I could bike or ride a bus to work and can easily walk just a few blocks to groceries, the library, banks, hardware shop, etc and we are not even in a large city or downtown. I'm not a huge fan of suburbia, if it came to that I'd rather get some actual land in the "country" than a cookie-cutter neighborhood. I need there to be people and activity, like the sounds of traffic, people on their patios, kids in the street. I like my trees and homes to be at least 75 years old The dogs and the "bang for your buck" cost of living here are the main factors in our trade off. You couldn't PAY me to live somewhere if it didn't have the resources I need for properly training and working dogs. That's more important to me than where I work/who I work for.
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Old 04-03-2011, 04:49 PM   #42
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Yeah, I now live in a perfect neighbourhood for a dog which is another thing that's important to me at some point. I work too many hours right now to get one but within the next couple of years I would definitely consider it.
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Old 04-03-2011, 04:53 PM   #43
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I couldn't believe that Wisconsin senator/representative/congressman/whateverheis Duffy (the one who was on a season of The Real World, and funnily enough, is related by marriage to a relative of mine) was bitching how hard it was for him to get by on $175,000.

He lives in fucking Wisconsin. That state does not have a high cost of living. So suck it up, you asshole.
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Old 04-03-2011, 05:57 PM   #44
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Even out in the 'burbs where my parents live, in a nice but average middle class house, the prices are completely insane and I have no idea how they expect young people to buy a house for $650K which 10 years ago you bought for $300K.
Property prices increase only at the rate of wage inflation - no more, no less, over the long term. Long term meaning not 5 or ten years, but 30 years plus. I have no idea whether the Canadian market is overvalued or not - but that's the long term metric. So if average incomes have not doubled in 10 years - my guess is, and granted I'm being simplistic, that's a market in a bubble right there.

The Irish property bubble is only 50%/60% through deflating - and prices have been dropping for four years solidly now. There has not been a single month since early 2007 that has recorded an increase. Property bubbles take a long time to deflate!
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Old 04-03-2011, 06:08 PM   #45
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The real median earnings of men who worked full time, year-round climbed between 2006 and 2007, from $43,460 to $45,113 (about 3.6 time minimum wage in 2006 to 3.7 time minimum wage in 2007). For women, the corresponding increase was from $33,437 to $35,102 (2.8 and 2.9 times minimum wage respectively). The median income per household member (including all working and non-working members above the age of 14) was $26,036 in 2006.
Household income in the United States - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

And those are pre-recession stats.
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