There are so many gems in this thread! Unfortunately people mostly don't talk about money at my work, and since we are all engineers, I suspect people handle their money pretty well anyway, generally speaking.
I work in software for a staff augmentation company. They sign contracts with the gov't to provide X bodies for Y time period at $$$$$$$$$ per hour, for which they pay us $$ per hour. But I digress on that last part...
The date the contracts expire is well known. It's quite common for the new contract holder to hire most of the people who actually did the work on the old contract. And this is the important part - it's not uncommon for them to do so at a reduction in salary.
So, with several years warning in my pre-MMM days, I decided it would be prudent to pay off as much as I could so that wouldn't be a problem. Just to make it a real challenge, I made it my goal to be debt free, including the house, by the time the contract was up for renewal.
I mentioned this to some co-workers. One of them was very concerned about the possibility of a salary reduction because, in his own words, he and his wife lived pay check to pay check.
We had the usual Murphy issues that get in the way when one gets serious about getting rid of debt (you've all had it happen, too!), so it took us a year longer to put all our debts to rest. Luckily, there was a contract award dispute that delayed the award of a new contract for a year, so we made our goal anyway. Since we had such a low minimum expense level, I didn't have to worry overmuch about the wage outcome.
My co-worker was still living paycheck to paycheck. Hadn't done a thing but coast along. And yes, the wages were a few percent lower.
Now it's three years later and I overheard him and another coworker lamenting the fact that they'll never be able to retire. Obviously, he still hasn't changed a damn thing.
On a funny digression, even though my salary was a few percent lower, I actually made more take home pay than I had under the old company. That's because the old company gave us an option to buy an extra weeks' vacation and I took them up on it. The new company included that extra week in its base vacation package and paid a higher % of the medical insurance. I came out a few hundred $ ahead. If I hadn't been buying the extra vacation hours, I would have had a lower net pay. Weird how the math works out sometimes, eh?