Author Topic: Huffington Post series on the working poor  (Read 15044 times)

iannj

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Huffington Post series on the working poor
« on: January 21, 2014, 06:40:36 PM »
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/01/21/monica-simon_n_4637588.html

Monica Simon, 24, works full time at an online advertising firm in Philadelphia and earns $23,000 a year after taxes. She has a Bachelor of Arts degree from Penn State University.

I work in online advertising, so I basically do only ad campaigns for small businesses. But my loans right now are so high that I'm sinking all the time.

I'm from Scranton, Pa. I had to move away from my family and my friends to get this position. Right now there aren't really any jobs. It took a long time to get this one.

I like it, but it doesn't pay as well as I'd like it to. So I've looked around for other jobs. But really, I can't find any. I'm thinking about going back to school because I'm not even sure at this point if this job is going to hold out in the future. Right now I'm just up in the air on what steps to take next.

I probably take in about $1,800 a month. My anxiety is constantly high about bills I have to pay. My student loans make me so nervous because I have my family co-sign on them. It's not just my credit on the line. It's theirs, too. That's a constant anxiety that I have.

Sometimes I get paid and then I have, maybe, $150 left over for the two weeks. I really don't have enough for food and gas, so I rely a lot on my credit cards. I just feel I'm getting way behind where I want to be for my age. I feel I'm just starting my life and I'm already miles and miles behind.

I always planned on buying a home, and at this point I don't think that's something that will ever happen. I'm not sure my credit will ever stay good because right now I'm keeping my head above water. But I don't know how long I can keep it up.

There will be weekends when I'll just have to sit home because if there's a priority between food and going out, it's going to be food. I don't care about the cool apartment downtown. Honestly, I would be happy if I could just not have to worry about overdrawing my bank account.

But if we're talking about big dreams, I would love to be driving a reliable car. But not to the point where it would give me anxiety every day because I have a car payment that's so high. I try not to think about those big dreams because right now it just kind of feels impossible.

As told to Eugene Mulero.

hoppy08520

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Re: Huffington Post series on the working poor
« Reply #1 on: January 21, 2014, 07:44:40 PM »
So, is this "shame" or "comedy"?

lizzzi

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Re: Huffington Post series on the working poor
« Reply #2 on: January 21, 2014, 08:03:30 PM »
I don't quite get where she's coming from. I wish we had more information about her finances--what is she paying for rent, car expenses, etc., etc.  She is a college grad. on the first rung of the ladder, and perhaps is not too realistic or enthusiastic about having to start at the bottom and work her way up. My first thought is that she should get a part-time job waitressing, or something like that, and someone should tell her to start reading MMM, which will show her how to best manage her money.

amha

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Re: Huffington Post series on the working poor
« Reply #3 on: January 21, 2014, 08:31:39 PM »
Philadelphia isn't that expensive. With roommates, she shouldn't be paying more than $500/month for housing...

greaper007

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Re: Huffington Post series on the working poor
« Reply #4 on: January 21, 2014, 08:54:27 PM »
I don't quite get where she's coming from. I wish we had more information about her finances--what is she paying for rent, car expenses, etc., etc.  She is a college grad. on the first rung of the ladder, and perhaps is not too realistic or enthusiastic about having to start at the bottom and work her way up. My first thought is that she should get a part-time job waitressing, or something like that, and someone should tell her to start reading MMM, which will show her how to best manage her money.

I was in the same boat as her with my first job, except that I made considerably less than she does.   I did just what you said and started working a side job, the problem was that it got in the way of my important job.   I was a flight instructor, and in order to get hours I had to hang around the airport as much as possible to get students, once I got those students I had to give them lots of instruction I wasn't paid for, I was only paid between the time the engine started and stopped.   

Now, working a second job cut into the first job.   I was paying off loans but I wasn't getting flying time.   Without flying time I couldn't get a job at an airline.   So as much fun as it was to drive a fuel truck and clean bathrooms, I decided to suck it up and live on credit cards.   It wasn't what I wanted to do, but it ended up working out when I got an airline job 6 months later.   Of course as a new first officer I was only making $17,000 a year and moving every 4-6 months (only partially paid) but that's another story.

Maybe she's in a situation like I was in.   Lots of first jobs are like internships, and the only people I've known that seem to be financially secure in those jobs got lots of help from their parents in college, and sometimes while they were working.   I'd cut her some slack, Philly isn't a cheap city and she could have massive student loans.

mlipps

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Re: Huffington Post series on the working poor
« Reply #5 on: January 21, 2014, 09:35:27 PM »
Am I the only one who thinks the worst thing you can do if you think your pay is shitty and you want a new job, but can't find one, is to go bitch to a reporter about that? Seems like a great way to be the first person "made redundant".


Jamesqf

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Re: Huffington Post series on the working poor
« Reply #6 on: January 21, 2014, 11:13:31 PM »
Let's see...  If memory serves, at around that age I was doing field & farm work in California's Central Valley, living out of my car.  This might help explain why I find it hard to feel much sympathy.

mpbaker22

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Re: Huffington Post series on the working poor
« Reply #7 on: January 22, 2014, 10:07:05 AM »
I'm the same age.  After my 401K and taxes, our take home pays are the same.  I donate 10% of my gross to charity and I max out my roth and I have leftover cash after the (to the tune of 5-10 grand).  My question is, what the hell is she doing with her money that she can't make payments?  It doesn't give her loan, but how much could those be?

lizzzi

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Re: Huffington Post series on the working poor
« Reply #8 on: January 22, 2014, 10:07:52 AM »
greaper007, I didn't mean to sound critical, and I hope it didn't come across that way. I just meant that we needed more information. I totally "get" your own situation by the way--my first husband was a B-52 pilot and later in civilian life went into corporate jets. Congratulations on getting into the airlines, and on having the common sense and courage to perhaps go against conventional wisdom temporarily until you could reach your goal. I know how hard it is to get an airline pilot (or first officer, or co-pilot position), and that those who make it are the top of the top--and then, as you pointed out, are not compensated for their skills. It's a shame, when you consider the huge responsibility you have for hundreds of people's safety.

greaper007

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Re: Huffington Post series on the working poor
« Reply #9 on: January 22, 2014, 10:21:02 AM »
Let's see...  If memory serves, at around that age I was doing field & farm work in California's Central Valley, living out of my car.  This might help explain why I find it hard to feel much sympathy.

This sort of attitude is what I see as the problem with these sorts of discussions.   We know that systematic changes would be better for society overall, but we resist them because we weren't given systematic changes when they would have helped us.    A great example is internships for Dr's.    Every dr I've talked to agrees that making interns work ridiculously long shifts is bad for patients and bad for young doctors.    Yet, no one wants to change the system because "if I had to do it, you have to do it."   

I saw the same thing in my field.   As an airline pilot the company was able to work me for a 16 hour duty day, and then give me reduced rest (which was further reduced by the fact that the hotel was 45 mins away and the van driver was never on time) and then I often had to  work another very long day.   Add to that things like very low wages and bases in the new york area that required people to commute long distances to work where they would often sleep in the crew room.   All of this added up and IMHO caused the Buffalo crash in 2009 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Colgan_Air_Flight_3407, I knew crew members on that airplane.   Luckily, this event changed crew rest requirements.

Instead of laughing at situations like this, I think we should be questioning the system.   My father attended an expensive private college in the early 70s, and I think that adjusted for inflation, his tuition was less than $10,000 a year.    My mom went to public California school at the time and she paid less than half that.  When people like this girl have to pay massive student loans, it's bad for society at large.   They put off life events like getting married, having children and buying a home.   Without constant spending, the facade that is capitalism quickly crumbles.   And as we saw with the last recession, a society that is weighted towards the financial extremes doesn't recover well from fluctuations.

greaper007

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Re: Huffington Post series on the working poor
« Reply #10 on: January 22, 2014, 10:28:08 AM »
greaper007, I didn't mean to sound critical, and I hope it didn't come across that way. I just meant that we needed more information. I totally "get" your own situation by the way--my first husband was a B-52 pilot and later in civilian life went into corporate jets. Congratulations on getting into the airlines, and on having the common sense and courage to perhaps go against conventional wisdom temporarily until you could reach your goal. I know how hard it is to get an airline pilot (or first officer, or co-pilot position), and that those who make it are the top of the top--and then, as you pointed out, are not compensated for their skills. It's a shame, when you consider the huge responsibility you have for hundreds of people's safety.

Thanks lizzzi, you didn't sound that critical, I hope my post didn't sound that critical either.   Sometimes I have an aggressive writing style without realizing it.

My real problem with the compensation was that I always thought it was  a safety issue.   I used to do things like sleep in my car, or under a table in the crew room (there were so many people sleeping in there that under the table was the only space left) when I'd commute in for work.   As you can imagine, that leaves you less than rested for flying people's children around in crappy weather all day.

I've since hung up my captains hat for diapers.   Kids grow up too fast and the pay and the grind were less exciting than staying at home with my kids.   Tell your husband blue skies.

MsSindy

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Re: Huffington Post series on the working poor
« Reply #11 on: January 22, 2014, 12:36:35 PM »
So, I was speculating a bit on this one, what could a potential budget be for her:

Net 1800/month

Rent (share)  $500
Eating            $300
SLoans           $300
Util                 $100
Transport        $-0-   (she rides SEPTA inner-city for free or lives close enough to walk....if not, why bother to work/live in the city)
Phone             $ 50
Internet          free  (she can use the library, her work, or a hundred other places in the city)
    Total         $1,250

This leaves ~$600 -- what other expenses am I missing?   Ah, credit cards.  If she's using credit cards to finance her lifestyle, then she's going to have those to pay on.  What about health insurance?  Now, if she's paying more on her Student Loans, then that would also eat into the $600, but still.......She certainly isn't living the life of luxury, but she should be able to "get by" on $1800/month.  The problem is, while I'm sure Penn State is a great school (I work with a lot of alumni), they prob don't teach basics like living on a budget.  Also, she needs to change her attitude into one of less a defeatist and more of "I need to figure this out".  Unfortunately, her solution is to go back to school???  Yeah, just ask those that have racked up MBA debt who can't find better jobs - MBAs are good if you already have experience (most of the time anyway).

Sigh, I just wish she had a mentor to help her along...she's got a job and that is more than most.

olivia

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Re: Huffington Post series on the working poor
« Reply #12 on: January 22, 2014, 01:02:32 PM »
So, I was speculating a bit on this one, what could a potential budget be for her:

Net 1800/month

Rent (share)  $500
Eating            $300
SLoans           $300
Util                 $100
Transport        $-0-   (she rides SEPTA inner-city for free or lives close enough to walk....if not, why bother to work/live in the city)
Phone             $ 50
Internet          free  (she can use the library, her work, or a hundred other places in the city)
    Total         $1,250

This leaves ~$600 -- what other expenses am I missing?   Ah, credit cards.  If she's using credit cards to finance her lifestyle, then she's going to have those to pay on.  What about health insurance?  Now, if she's paying more on her Student Loans, then that would also eat into the $600, but still.......She certainly isn't living the life of luxury, but she should be able to "get by" on $1800/month.  The problem is, while I'm sure Penn State is a great school (I work with a lot of alumni), they prob don't teach basics like living on a budget.  Also, she needs to change her attitude into one of less a defeatist and more of "I need to figure this out".  Unfortunately, her solution is to go back to school???  Yeah, just ask those that have racked up MBA debt who can't find better jobs - MBAs are good if you already have experience (most of the time anyway).

Sigh, I just wish she had a mentor to help her along...she's got a job and that is more than most.

SEPTA inner city isn't free.  It's $1.80-2.25/ride (depending on if you buy tokens ahead of time or pay cash at the window), more if you have to make a transfer.  Passes for inner city travel are $91/month.  (But if you know a way it's free, please tell!  I would love to have $0 transportation costs!)

Jamesqf

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Re: Huffington Post series on the working poor
« Reply #13 on: January 22, 2014, 01:18:09 PM »
This sort of attitude is what I see as the problem with these sorts of discussions.   We know that systematic changes would be better for society overall, but we resist them because we weren't given systematic changes when they would have helped us.

Sorry, but I think it's really the other way around.  There were systematic changes that made things better overall.  As for example, I did field labor because back then there were no student loans &c that would have made it possible for someone like me to go to college.  This woman has enjoyed the benefits of those changes, has what seems to be a good starting job at a decent salary, and is whining because she can't have it all right away.




   A great example is internships for Dr's.    Every dr I've talked to agrees that making interns work ridiculously long shifts is bad for patients and bad for young doctors.    Yet, no one wants to change the system because "if I had to do it, you have to do it."   

Quote
As an airline pilot the company was able to work me for a 16 hour duty day...

Yet there seems to be a more than adequate supply of people wanting to become airline pilots, despite the working conditions.  (And FWIW, I do have a pilot's license, and paid for all my own training.)

Quote
And as we saw with the last recession, a society that is weighted towards the financial extremes doesn't recover well from fluctuations.

Seems to have done fairly well at recovering.

MrsPete

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Re: Huffington Post series on the working poor
« Reply #14 on: January 22, 2014, 08:07:29 PM »
She's only 24.
She's working one job at an entry-level salary.
She's paying for yesterday's expenses (student loans).
She's paying for today's expenses. 
She has $75/week for gas and food but thinks that isn't enough. 

I'm thinking she's one of these kids who thought she'd come out of college and immediately the world would recognize her greatness, and life would be very easy.  She didn't count on paying her dues. 



AccidentalMiser

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Re: Huffington Post series on the working poor
« Reply #15 on: January 22, 2014, 08:55:42 PM »
She's only 24.
She's working one job at an entry-level salary.
She's paying for yesterday's expenses (student loans).
She's paying for today's expenses. 
She has $75/week for gas and food but thinks that isn't enough. 

I'm thinking she's one of these kids who thought she'd come out of college and immediately the world would recognize her greatness, and life would be very easy.  She didn't count on paying her dues.

This.  In Spades.  When I was 24, I was in the Navy, made 25k per year and had a stay at home wife and three kids.  I could live quite comfortably forever on 23k per year.

thepokercab

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Re: Huffington Post series on the working poor
« Reply #16 on: January 22, 2014, 10:04:41 PM »
Quote
Seems to have done fairly well at recovering.

Totally true-  i just wish the millions of people who are still looking for work since 2008, not to mention 15% of 18-24 year-olds would realize this.  Don't they know that the stock market is gang busters!  Everything is a-ok now!!  What a bunch of complainy-pants. 

Quote
We know that systematic changes would be better for society overall, but we resist them because we weren't given systematic changes when they would have helped us.

Think about systematic stuff??  Sounds like something you'd get from one of those fancy-pants Bachelor of Arts degrees these kids are getting nowadays. Fuck that. I'd rather channel my "grumpy Uncle at Thanksgiving" energy and just focus on how I had to trudge 20 miles in the snow, barefoot, uphill BOTH WAYS to get to my minimum wage job and I was damn grateful for it!

Quote
I'm thinking she's one of these kids who thought she'd come out of college and immediately the world would recognize her greatness, and life would be very easy...

Hit the nail on the head here!  The problem is us millennials.  We were stupid enough to go to college to begin with, you know, the place where EVERYONE tells you, you have to go from age 5 to 18 or else your life will be a massive failure. But not only did some of us fall for it, we also took a bunch of student loans for it.  I know, I know- everyone here was wayyy to smart to fall for that.  But I maintain that it was still worth it, if for no other reason that I loved the weekly "will the world recognize my greatness"? seminars every Thursday night.

Quote
...She didn't count on paying her dues

In spades!!!!!  (patting myself on the back for all the "dues" I've paid)   

olivia

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Re: Huffington Post series on the working poor
« Reply #17 on: January 22, 2014, 10:13:29 PM »
Quote
Seems to have done fairly well at recovering.

Totally true-  i just wish the millions of people who are still looking for work since 2008, not to mention 15% of 18-24 year-olds would realize this.  Don't they know that the stock market is gang busters!  Everything is a-ok now!!  What a bunch of complainy-pants. 

Quote
We know that systematic changes would be better for society overall, but we resist them because we weren't given systematic changes when they would have helped us.

Think about systematic stuff??  Sounds like something you'd get from one of those fancy-pants Bachelor of Arts degrees these kids are getting nowadays. Fuck that. I'd rather channel my "grumpy Uncle at Thanksgiving" energy and just focus on how I had to trudge 20 miles in the snow, barefoot, uphill BOTH WAYS to get to my minimum wage job and I was damn grateful for it!

Quote
I'm thinking she's one of these kids who thought she'd come out of college and immediately the world would recognize her greatness, and life would be very easy...

Hit the nail on the head here!  The problem is us millennials.  We were stupid enough to go to college to begin with, you know, the place where EVERYONE tells you, you have to go from age 5 to 18 or else your life will be a massive failure. But not only did some of us fall for it, we also took a bunch of student loans for it.  I know, I know- everyone here was wayyy to smart to fall for that.  But I maintain that it was still worth it, if for no other reason that I loved the weekly "will the world recognize my greatness"? seminars every Thursday night.

Quote
...She didn't count on paying her dues

In spades!!!!!  (patting myself on the back for all the "dues" I've paid)

LOLOL.  Bootstraps, people!  USE THEM.

Jamesqf

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Re: Huffington Post series on the working poor
« Reply #18 on: January 22, 2014, 10:19:06 PM »
Sounds like something you'd get from one of those fancy-pants Bachelor of Arts degrees these kids are getting nowadays.

Yeah, didn't anyone manage to figure out that you get lots better jobs with a Bachelor of Science degree?

Quote
Fuck that. I'd rather channel my "grumpy Uncle at Thanksgiving" energy and just focus on how I had to trudge 20 miles in the snow, barefoot, uphill BOTH WAYS to get to my minimum wage job and I was damn grateful for it!

Sorry, no.  It was (among other things) driving a Cat around and around a mile-square field, with temps well over 100, and heat & dust from the engine blowing back at you.


Quote
Hit the nail on the head here!  The problem is us millennials.  We were stupid enough to go to college to begin with, you know, the place where EVERYONE tells you, you have to go from age 5 to 18 or else your life will be a massive failure. But not only did some of us fall for it, we also took a bunch of student loans for it.  I know, I know- everyone here was wayyy to smart to fall for that.

Nope.  As I think I said, I took out loans to go to college, once they were made available to people like me.  Though I had the foresight to get a degree in a field that was likely to pay well.  And I was out there, starting a career in my mid-30s, thought I was lucky to have a decent starting salary, paid off the loans well before they were due, and didn't whine about how poor & mistreated I was.

Bottom line: someone making $23K in an entry-level position isn't poor.  Leave out a couple of my expensive hobbies, like the horse, and I manage to live comfortably by spending less.
« Last Edit: January 22, 2014, 10:23:10 PM by Jamesqf »

Albert

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Re: Huffington Post series on the working poor
« Reply #19 on: January 22, 2014, 10:55:15 PM »
I've lived in Philadelphia in my late twenties for two years on a similar income (33k before taxes).  My studio apartment (ca 800 $/month) was close enough to walk to university. Anyway quality of life was adequate, but by no means luxurious. If she has a lot of debt to pay off (I had none) then I can understand life being quite stressful.

greaper007

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Re: Huffington Post series on the working poor
« Reply #20 on: January 22, 2014, 11:06:05 PM »
This sort of attitude is what I see as the problem with these sorts of discussions.   We know that systematic changes would be better for society overall, but we resist them because we weren't given systematic changes when they would have helped us.

Sorry, but I think it's really the other way around.  There were systematic changes that made things better overall.  As for example, I did field labor because back then there were no student loans &c that would have made it possible for someone like me to go to college.  This woman has enjoyed the benefits of those changes, has what seems to be a good starting job at a decent salary, and is whining because she can't have it all right away.




   A great example is internships for Dr's.    Every dr I've talked to agrees that making interns work ridiculously long shifts is bad for patients and bad for young doctors.    Yet, no one wants to change the system because "if I had to do it, you have to do it."   

Quote
As an airline pilot the company was able to work me for a 16 hour duty day...

Yet there seems to be a more than adequate supply of people wanting to become airline pilots, despite the working conditions.  (And FWIW, I do have a pilot's license, and paid for all my own training.)

Quote
And as we saw with the last recession, a society that is weighted towards the financial extremes doesn't recover well from fluctuations.

Seems to have done fairly well at recovering.

College costs have increased dramatically faster than inflation http://trends.collegeboard.org/college-pricing/figures-tables/tuition-and-fee-and-room-and-board-charges-over-time-1973-74-through-2013-14-selected-year
The expensive private college my dad attended in the early 70s would have been a bargain at $10,783 if it were a state institute now.    I can see how you could do farm work and pay for school when tuition was only $2,710 a year.   That's not really possible when tuition alone is $8993 a year and total with room and board is $18391 a year.   Farm work definitely wouldn't cover those costs.  Hell I worked on commercial construction sites during college and I couldn't pay my way through 14 years ago.

It's true that there's always been a huge supply of people that want to become pilots, or musicians or any other job that sounds cool.   The difference of course is that when pilots screw up because they're not being paid an adequate wage or not receiving adequate rest, someone in your family might die.   Also, the new 1500 hour rule means that regionals are starting to have a very difficult time filling fo slots, throw in PPLs that cost more than $15,000 and you'll see a dramatic reduction in available candidates for these jobs.   

We're barely seeing pre-recession job numbers more than 5 years after the fall of Lehman brothers, I'm not sure how you call that a normal recovery.

Here's my thoughts on the situation.   The reason these stories are in the news all the time isn't because every college grad is a lazy enormous spender, it's because there's systematic problems with our educational system and entry level jobs.    As I pointed out above, educational costs have greatly outpaced inflation.    Added to that is the fact that many people have to work at unpaid internships after college to get a job.   30 years ago these were paying jobs, low paying but paying nonetheless.    When you have $40,000-$60,000 in student loans to pay back and you have to work at an unpaid job for a few months things start to get really rough.  The real problem here is our lack of value for education, the breakdown of the labor movement and an out of control corporate structure.

Albert

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Re: Huffington Post series on the working poor
« Reply #21 on: January 22, 2014, 11:29:20 PM »
There are many more people with college education (as a percentage) now than thirty years ago. It would be unreasonable to expect the financial benefit of a university level education being as large as in those days.

greaper007

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Re: Huffington Post series on the working poor
« Reply #22 on: January 22, 2014, 11:53:49 PM »
True, but college at that time wasn't as necessary as there were stronger labor unions that provided decent blue collar jobs.   There's still good blue collar jobs, but not in the numbers there were before, so college ends up being a necessity for many people.

galliver

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Re: Huffington Post series on the working poor
« Reply #23 on: January 23, 2014, 12:55:13 AM »
I've lived in Philadelphia in my late twenties for two years on a similar income (33k before taxes).  My studio apartment (ca 800 $/month) was close enough to walk to university. Anyway quality of life was adequate, but by no means luxurious. If she has a lot of debt to pay off (I had none) then I can understand life being quite stressful.

33k is 143% of 23k. Just putting that out there. Even considering taxes, etc. you were probably a couple thousand ahead.

tooqk4u22

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Re: Huffington Post series on the working poor
« Reply #24 on: January 23, 2014, 08:47:19 PM »
Here's my thoughts on the situation.   The reason these stories are in the news all the time isn't because every college grad is a lazy enormous spender, it's because there's systematic problems with our educational system and entry level jobs.    As I pointed out above, educational costs have greatly outpaced inflation.    Added to that is the fact that many people have to work at unpaid internships after college to get a job.   30 years ago these were paying jobs, low paying but paying nonetheless.    When you have $40,000-$60,000 in student loans to pay back and you have to work at an unpaid job for a few months things start to get really rough.  The real problem here is our lack of value for education, the breakdown of the labor movement and an out of control corporate structure.

True, but college at that time wasn't as necessary as there were stronger labor unions that provided decent blue collar jobs.   There's still good blue collar jobs, but not in the numbers there were before, so college ends up being a necessity for many people.

WOW.   The reality is that college costs increase so dramatically because the governement began and continuously increased funding (via loans, grants, etc) without requiring any accountability or evidence of success - that is the ONLY reason why educational costs have outpaced inflation. 

The labor movement died because technological advancements in manufacturing resulted in massive productivity gains yet "labor" failed to recognize or accept this change and continued to demand outsized pay and benefits for their now outdated skills and that forced those jobs to other areas - some overseas and some to the southern states.

There are more people with college degrees now because of the reasons above but that doesn't mean all these people should have college degrees and even if they should doesn't mean they have degrees in employable fields - liberal arts are you kidding me. Its not surprising that degrees in mathmatics and sciences have the highest employment and wage rates. If you are getting a degree, then get one that matters.

For the record I did several unpaid internships a long time ago, so that is nothing new.

Not sure what out of control corporate structure means, but I think you probably tie it back to unions. 

fodder69

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Re: Huffington Post series on the working poor
« Reply #25 on: January 23, 2014, 09:00:50 PM »
Quote
WOW.   The reality is that college costs increase so dramatically because the governement began and continuously increased funding (via loans, grants, etc) without requiring any accountability or evidence of success - that is the ONLY reason why educational costs have outpaced inflation. 

Really? That is the ONLY reason?

galliver

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Re: Huffington Post series on the working poor
« Reply #26 on: January 23, 2014, 09:33:01 PM »
...liberal arts are you kidding me.

From what I've seen: LA can be great for...some people. I've a friend who went LA (at an old, small, east coast LA school), loved it, says she learned a lot, and now codes for a living. LA vs engineering school can teach people to think in different ways; consider other perspectives even in business, technology, etc. As a tech school grad myself I never really appreciated it, but I'm seeing it now... while there is a need for purely analytical/technical skills, being able to combine them with people skills, psychology, perspective in history, ethics, WRITING SKILLS, etc. is rare to see, and that is something LA can (if done right) teach. From what I undestand, theoretically LA is all about *thinking* in different, more flexible ways. And that's valuable. That's where creativity and innovation come from.

That said, I'm at a big state flagship school right now and it seems like LAS (liberal arts and sciences) is a default, a copout, for many students. That's not what it should be. That is a department that needs to be extremely selective in order to work.

Jamesqf

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Re: Huffington Post series on the working poor
« Reply #27 on: January 23, 2014, 10:28:22 PM »
College costs have increased dramatically faster than inflation http://trends.collegeboard.org/college-pricing/figures-tables/tuition-and-fee-and-room-and-board-charges-over-time-1973-74-through-2013-14-selected-year

The link give me a 'page not found' error.

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The expensive private college my dad attended in the early 70s would have been a bargain at $10,783 if it were a state institute now.

Key words there: expensive private college.  Look, unless you're a damned fool, you don't go to an expensive private college unless you either have family money, or get a full-ride scholarship.  In either case, cost is irrelevant.

So have real costs (figuring in grants, work-study, &c) increased all that much for the rest of us who start out poor to middle class, and attend our state university?  Are the loans that might be needed out of line with what a graduate might expect to earn?

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I can see how you could do farm work and pay for school when tuition was only $2,710 a year.   That's not really possible when tuition alone is $8993 a year and total with room and board is $18391 a year.   Farm work definitely wouldn't cover those costs.

You've misunderstood.  I was doing farm work in my early 20s because I could not get financial aid to go to college.  It wasn't until a decade later, during which period I'd worked up to a fairly successful construction business (and lost it) that I was able to go to school full-time.  (And part of the money for that came from scrubbing hotel toilets.)

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We're barely seeing pre-recession job numbers more than 5 years after the fall of Lehman brothers, I'm not sure how you call that a normal recovery.

Did I say it was a normal recovery?  Why should it be, when it wasn't a normal recession?
 
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Added to that is the fact that many people have to work at unpaid internships after college to get a job.

I'm sorry, but it seems to me that if an unpaid internship is necessary to get a job, that's a really strong signal that you've chosen the wrong career path.  For contrast, I know people who've recently done internships with Google and IBM Research, and were paid in the $70K/yr range.

LibraTraci

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Re: Huffington Post series on the working poor
« Reply #28 on: January 23, 2014, 11:35:03 PM »
In this poor girl's defense, it is quite possible that this is the first time in her life that she has ever had to ration her spending to this extent and use some of the black-belt techniques to keep herself in a good place financially and emotionally.  For example:

 - It's pretty obvious to me (someone *with* life experience) that living on a small paycheck, you gotta look for shared housing near public transportation.  Quite possible she doesn't realize this.  I didn't get this when I was her age either.

 - It would also make sense to: get a second job, something fun like working in a clothing store or at a coffee shop.  Better than living in a state of anxiety about your finances.  Helps if you know you will not need to work two jobs forever.  But she is still young-stupid and doesn't see that.

 - "Extreme" measures like shopping at thrift stores, cutting your own hair, keeping the thermostat really low, using a bargain minutes-only dumbphone -- I'll bet she has never had to do them before, and probably doesn't have role models to go to. 

There was a series of blog posts (can't remember where) on Amy Dacyczyn's kids (spawn of the Frugal Zealot herself) who, after growing up in a very frugal family and being schooled in frugal ways, know *exactly* how to go black-belt when they have to.  This poor girl in the article doesn't know *how* to live well on $23K a year -- if she did, she'd probably be doing it.   
 

galliver

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Re: Huffington Post series on the working poor
« Reply #29 on: January 23, 2014, 11:47:47 PM »
Quote
The expensive private college my dad attended in the early 70s would have been a bargain at $10,783 if it were a state institute now.

Key words there: expensive private college.  Look, unless you're a damned fool, you don't go to an expensive private college unless you either have family money, or get a full-ride scholarship.  In either case, cost is irrelevant.

So have real costs (figuring in grants, work-study, &c) increased all that much for the rest of us who start out poor to middle class, and attend our state university?  Are the loans that might be needed out of line with what a graduate might expect to earn?

While the data for "grants, work study, &c" doesn't seem readily available, we *can* look at posted tuition/cost of attendance at a state university. I picked my state's university out of curiosity (granted it is expensive for a state school, but also a reputable engineering school).

COA in 1972: $1,736 = $496 Tuition, $1,100 (R&B), $140 (books) today that's $9,675 = $2764 (Tuition), $6,130 (R&B), $780 (books) [Note: this is after a significant tuition hike: $321 in 1970! Bet there were riots]. http://publicaffairs.illinois.edu/surveys/tuition_fee_tracking.xls + http://www.bls.gov/data/inflation_calculator.htm

COA in 2013: $27,094 = $15258 (Tuition), $10,636 (R&B), $1200 (books/supplies/course fees) [I took the cheapest tuition rate; each college is different, engineering is maybe $1k more than that.] http://admissions.illinois.edu/cost/tuition.html

Relative to median income: 1972 COA was 15% of median income (11k) (i.e. <2 mos wages). 2013 COA is >50% of median income (51k). That's 6 mos wages. It is no longer possible to pay your own way through college by working part-time/summers as I hear it once was.

The collegeboard link greaper007 posted: http://trends.collegeboard.org/college-pricing/figures-tables/tuition-and-fee-and-room-and-board-charges-over-time-1973-74-through-2013-14-selected-years
And the related one dealing with aid: http://trends.collegeboard.org/student-aid/figures-tables/undergraduate-total-student-aid-nonfederal-loans-2012-dollars-over-time

Also this paper looked interesting. http://www.ed.psu.edu/educ/cshe/working-papers/WP%236

bUU

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Re: Huffington Post series on the working poor
« Reply #30 on: January 24, 2014, 04:58:48 AM »
Global Post did a better profile, afaic.

http://www.globalpost.com/series/america-the-gutted

Check out the video profiling Glenda Bell.

greaper007

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Re: Huffington Post series on the working poor
« Reply #31 on: January 24, 2014, 11:23:01 AM »
Thanks for the post galliver, you did a much better job of breaking down the numbers than I did.   I really think college education costs are our most pressing issue as a society.   If we want people to regain any sort of power over the corporate power structure that's stronger than anytime before Teddy Rosevelt's trust busting efforts we really need to reign them in.   Corporate person hood, capitol gains taxes that are half of middle income taxes and growing polarization of wealth will probably be the biggest issues of the next generation.    These are the sorts of issues that cause revolutions, no mode of transportation, or system can exist where the center of gravity is outside easily correctable limits.   END RANT

James, it sucks that you weren't given the ladder that current generations have to attend universities.   It's surprising to me though, because I know that places like California had free tuition prior to Reagan's governorship, and that private loans existed, perhaps my understanding is off?   My grandfather came from a poor immigrant family and was able to become a lawyer in the mid 30s, but I believe he had a scholarship.    I had a difficult time obtaining federal loans or really any job on campus (federal work study) in college because my father made too much money, and my parents decided to get divorced. My dad said college isn't really that expensive, you can make up the rest.   (relying on his early 70s experience with tuition)    Thus I used private loans and credit cards (still my lowest interest loans, gotta love 0% transfers) to make up the rest.

As far as knocking liberal arts degrees.  It's true that you'll make more money with a math or science related degree, I don't think anyone would deny that.    But I also think we need to recognize that everyone has to follow their passions and talents.    Doing otherwise is a sure way of setting yourself up for failure.    We've all met angry alcoholics that make gobs of money in finance, but really just wanted to paint, or teach or anything else.   

Here's the other thing, the degree just gets you the first job, after that it's up to you.    My wife has an undergrad in psychology and she went on to finish her PhD in the field.   She currently runs her own consulting business and could probably pull a $150,000 salary, but we like to reinvest profits for larger long term gains.   My dad simply has an undergrad in English.   He's an airline pilot that makes about $350,000 a year and has somewhere in the neighborhood of $5,000,000 in assets other than property.    I have a history undergrad and was well on my way to decent pay when I decided to be a stay at home dad (some things are worth more than money, like your kid's childhood).   If math and science blow your hair back, great, I wish they did that for me and I could have made more than $17000 at my first job, but that wasn't in the cards and I'm fine with that.   

The last thing we want is a communist style country that produces lots of engineers but very few critical thinkers with a background in liberal arts.    Our soft skills are what have always given us the power to beat automatons like the USSR or China.   

oldtoyota

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Re: Huffington Post series on the working poor
« Reply #32 on: January 24, 2014, 11:36:42 AM »
So, I was speculating a bit on this one, what could a potential budget be for her:

Net 1800/month

Rent (share)  $500
Eating            $300
SLoans           $300
Util                 $100
Transport        $-0-   (she rides SEPTA inner-city for free or lives close enough to walk....if not, why bother to work/live in the city)
Phone             $ 50
Internet          free  (she can use the library, her work, or a hundred other places in the city)
    Total         $1,250

This leaves ~$600 -- what other expenses am I missing?   Ah, credit cards.  If she's using credit cards to finance her lifestyle, then she's going to have those to pay on.  What about health insurance?  Now, if she's paying more on her Student Loans, then that would also eat into the $600, but still.......She certainly isn't living the life of luxury, but she should be able to "get by" on $1800/month.  The problem is, while I'm sure Penn State is a great school (I work with a lot of alumni), they prob don't teach basics like living on a budget.  Also, she needs to change her attitude into one of less a defeatist and more of "I need to figure this out".  Unfortunately, her solution is to go back to school???  Yeah, just ask those that have racked up MBA debt who can't find better jobs - MBAs are good if you already have experience (most of the time anyway).

Sigh, I just wish she had a mentor to help her along...she's got a job and that is more than most.

I am thinking along the same lines. The only thing I would add is some $$ for clothing for her job.


greaper007

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Re: Huffington Post series on the working poor
« Reply #33 on: January 24, 2014, 11:54:51 AM »
For the record, I did a year at community college ($1200) and then went to a really cheap state school in the middle of nowhere.   I'd never touch a private university unless it was ivy league.

Jamesqf

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Re: Huffington Post series on the working poor
« Reply #34 on: January 24, 2014, 11:55:14 AM »
James, it sucks that you weren't given the ladder that current generations have to attend universities.   It's surprising to me though, because I know that places like California had free tuition prior to Reagan's governorship, and that private loans existed, perhaps my understanding is off?

Well, it's ancient history now, so I can't supply reasons & causes.  Part was not having the traditional parent support, perhaps another was that such things did exist, but nobody bothered to tell me how to access them.  Who knows?

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But I also think we need to recognize that everyone has to follow their passions and talents.    Doing otherwise is a sure way of setting yourself up for failure.

Talents, yes, but passions?  I don't think so - and it would leave me with a major problem, since I've never been passionate about anything.  But there are a lot of things I am interested in, so I picked one that looked as though it would pay well and give me job opportunities outside government.

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We've all met angry alcoholics that make gobs of money in finance, but really just wanted to paint, or teach or anything else.

Actually no, I've never met one of those.  I have met several who've made gobs of money in software, and then have used it to do other things.  Indeed, I suppose to some extent I am one.   

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The last thing we want is a communist style country that produces lots of engineers but very few critical thinkers with a background in liberal arts.    Our soft skills are what have always given us the power to beat automatons like the USSR or China.

I have to emphatically disagree with that.  I think that an exclusively* liberal arts background tends to produce people incapable of critical thinking.  Witness the oft-repeated truism that the last bastions of Marxism are Cuba, North Korea, and liberal arts faculties.  You need science & engineering to teach true critical thought.

*I say exclusively, because I think exposure to liberal arts is important.  It's just that for most people it should be an interest, not a career.

Kaspian

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Re: Huffington Post series on the working poor
« Reply #35 on: January 24, 2014, 11:57:21 AM »
...my loans right now are so high that I'm sinking all the time ...I'm thinking about going back to school because... My student loans make me so nervous because...

What in the NAME of fuck sort of logic is that?!!  Your student loans make you nervous,  they make you feel like you're drowning, so you decide THE BEST POSSIBLE COURSE OF ACTION:  Go back to school and take on more debt.  Yes, because when you hit your hand with a hammer it hurts so badly you should do it again.  Idiot. 

Albert

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Re: Huffington Post series on the working poor
« Reply #36 on: January 24, 2014, 12:03:30 PM »
It could be a stupid decision, but not necessarily. If your new degree allows you to get a job in a 80-100k range straight out of school...

galliver

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Re: Huffington Post series on the working poor
« Reply #37 on: January 24, 2014, 12:50:22 PM »
The last thing we want is a communist style country that produces lots of engineers but very few critical thinkers with a background in liberal arts.    Our soft skills are what have always given us the power to beat automatons like the USSR or China.

Ahem. As someone who was raised by and grew up around Russian immigrant scientists and engineers, I can tell you they are anything but automatons. In fact, the sciences were a bastion of critical thinking under communist rule, because science is predicated on questioning the status quo, whereas areas like the arts, journalism, law/politics were basically all propaganda.

The US did not "beat" the Soviet Union*. The USSR ripped itself apart on its very own, due to a deeply flawed political system wherein government was dominated by a small, select group of self-interested, corrupt oligarchs, and not responsive to the wants and needs of the people or accessible to the average citizen...wait! This is starting to sound familiar...

(*like all historical events, this is a complex network of causes and effects. Certainly the Cold War did contribute to stresses on the country and economy. But there was a lot more to it than that, much of it internal. To say the US "won" would be like saying you won an argument because your opponent had a heart attack.)

greaper007

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Re: Huffington Post series on the working poor
« Reply #38 on: January 24, 2014, 01:07:14 PM »
James, I grew up in an upper middle class neighborhood and caddied for lots of financial types in high school and college.    I met lots of nice people but I also met tons of coke addled, angry, depressed, fantastically wealthy people.    Bastions of my neighbors were engaging in coke fueled wife swapping once their kids hit high school or college, divorces ensued and it was a pretty depressing scene.

I'm sorry you don't have passions.   I always loved history because it showed the entire human experience that could be used as a guide for future decision making.    It also required the reader to make decisions about the accuracy of arguements and at the college level, to make a reasoned, supported arguement.    Without passion I never would have attended or finished college.    Work and money for their own sake just don't interest me, like I said, I saw too many angry rich people in my life.

A liberal arts education doesn't just contain courses dissecting Das Kapital, in addition to my core history requirements I took courses in physics, science, foreign language, literature, and psychology.     Social psychology was a favorite of mine, I think it would be wise for all of us to revisit the fundamental attribution error, which if I could briefly summarize, says that an individual's actions can be more attributed to environmental circumstances than conscience choices.     It's fun for bootstrap types to pick that one apart, but it holds true over countless peer reviewed studies.     

Math and science are fantastic for creating bridges, software, planes and SAT questions concerning the moment trains pass each other in the night.    But, they fall short when trying to understand the motivations of people and how to fix systemic problems like poverty, and inequality.    That requires non-linear thought and it's where liberal arts degrees excel.     After all, where would Apple be if it didn't incorporate asthetics?

greaper007

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Re: Huffington Post series on the working poor
« Reply #39 on: January 24, 2014, 01:10:30 PM »
...my loans right now are so high that I'm sinking all the time ...I'm thinking about going back to school because... My student loans make me so nervous because...

What in the NAME of fuck sort of logic is that?!!  Your student loans make you nervous,  they make you feel like you're drowning, so you decide THE BEST POSSIBLE COURSE OF ACTION:  Go back to school and take on more debt.  Yes, because when you hit your hand with a hammer it hurts so badly you should do it again.  Idiot.

My wife recieved a stipend and free tuition for her PhD program.

greaper007

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Re: Huffington Post series on the working poor
« Reply #40 on: January 24, 2014, 01:18:05 PM »
The last thing we want is a communist style country that produces lots of engineers but very few critical thinkers with a background in liberal arts.    Our soft skills are what have always given us the power to beat automatons like the USSR or China.

Ahem. As someone who was raised by and grew up around Russian immigrant scientists and engineers, I can tell you they are anything but automatons. In fact, the sciences were a bastion of critical thinking under communist rule, because science is predicated on questioning the status quo, whereas areas like the arts, journalism, law/politics were basically all propaganda.

The US did not "beat" the Soviet Union*. The USSR ripped itself apart on its very own, due to a deeply flawed political system wherein government was dominated by a small, select group of self-interested, corrupt oligarchs, and not responsive to the wants and needs of the people or accessible to the average citizen...wait! This is starting to sound familiar...

(*like all historical events, this is a complex network of causes and effects. Certainly the Cold War did contribute to stresses on the country and economy. But there was a lot more to it than that, much of it internal. To say the US "won" would be like saying you won an argument because your opponent had a heart attack.)

Yes, the sciences were the only area where creativity was allowed.    When things should have examined and inspected by every field.    I don't think it's an either or, it's about a conglomeration of thought and questioning of the staus quo.     China is currently suffering under this system, they can build iPhones, but they can't design them.

Of course none of the communist countries were truly communist, they're totalitarian.    But that's a different thread.   

Thanks for the comment, I enjoy the discussion.

galliver

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Re: Huffington Post series on the working poor
« Reply #41 on: January 24, 2014, 01:23:14 PM »
Of course none of the communist countries were truly communist, they're totalitarian.    But that's a different thread.   

Thanks for the comment, I enjoy the discussion.

Yea, calling the USSR/China/NK/etc communist is hugely misleading, heh. It is a good discussion.

BTW I think it's cool you decided to be a dad. :)

Jamesqf

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Re: Huffington Post series on the working poor
« Reply #42 on: January 24, 2014, 01:28:28 PM »
I'm sorry you don't have passions.   I always loved history because it showed the entire human experience that could be used as a guide for future decision making.

Perhaps it's just a matter of degree?  I certainly have an interest in history - more so than most people, I think - and I get a thrill from reading e.g. Xenophon's "On Horsemanship" or the Alexiad.  I could even see making a career in it, if there weren't so many other equally or more interesting things that pay better.  But I don't get passionate about it.

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It also required the reader to make decisions about the accuracy of arguements and at the college level, to make a reasoned, supported arguement.

Which is what I most dislike about most of the liberal arts.  What seems to matter is how persuasively one argues a point, not the actual truth or falsity of it.  (Thus e.g. revisionist historians.)  In science, there is always, at least potentially, a ground truth which can be discovered.

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Math and science are fantastic for creating bridges, software, planes and SAT questions concerning the moment trains pass each other in the night.    But, they fall short when trying to understand the motivations of people and how to fix systemic problems like poverty, and inequality.    That requires non-linear thought and it's where liberal arts degrees excel.
 

Part of the problem here, though, is in the mindset which regards those things as systemic problems in need of externally-applied fixes.

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After all, where would Apple be if it didn't incorporate asthetics?

Linux!

Elaine

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Re: Huffington Post series on the working poor
« Reply #43 on: January 24, 2014, 01:32:19 PM »
I don't think she's a total idiot, it just sounds like she never learned certain budgeting/being poor skills, and maybe had the expectation of an upper middle class lifestyle.

I lived in NYC (when i first moved here) on an $8/hour job. Since I didn't make much money and I wanted to have some kind of savings buffer I knew that meant no weekends, so I just busted it out and worked 7 days a week with ten hour shifts a day. I moved to a shitty neighborhood in a teeny tiny room where I had $500 rent, because it was what I could afford. I didn't have any furniture, just an air mattress and some milk crates. Because you do what you have to do. Lots of people who are raised with money aren't like this, they think- well if I can't afford to buy a bed and curtains, etc. Then I guess I have to put it on my credit card! I just did without stuff for a long ass time.

When I got my first professional job I made about what she makes (again in NYC)- so I kept up with part time waiting jobs on some (but not all) weekends. I also know how to make all the food I need from scratch. I can sew enough to repair clothes. I don't think I bought any clothes for the first 3 or 4 years that I was out of college. My winter coat wasn't warm- I wore it anyway. She would probably just charge for a warmer coat, thinking it's a necessity. 

I think the real issue is that people graduate college thinking they'll waltz into a 60k a year job that's super fulfilling and where everyone respects them. I know it knocked me on my ass a bit when I graduated a year early, thinking I was being clever (in Summer of 2008) to find that the only places hiring were places I could have worked in high school. I worked service industry for three years after graduating college before finally finding a professional job.

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Re: Huffington Post series on the working poor
« Reply #44 on: January 24, 2014, 02:34:44 PM »
- It's pretty obvious to me (someone *with* life experience) that living on a small paycheck, you gotta look for shared housing near public transportation.  Quite possible she doesn't realize this.  I didn't get this when I was her age either.

+1 for this.  When I graduated college I was also earning 23K.  My rent was $800.  This was with a roommate and subway accessible.  It was a pretty standard level of expense, but I didn't have a frame of reference that I might be able to do better.  In my 10 years in New York City since then, I have paid progressively less and less for housing as I snagged better and better arrangements.


What gets me about these types of stories is, like others have mentioned, the defeatist attitude or the expectation that you ought to be more well off right out of school.  In My Day, it was understood among my peers that the early years of your career are hard.  The fact that you're eating ramen does not mean that you are a failure. 
Related, there seems to be misunderstanding about the extent to which college education is useful.  Outside of highly technical fields, you are supposed to get a strong basis but then build real-life experience on top of that.  You are not a "made man" just because you got a college degree, you are still working your ass off to complete your education and compete with other grads.
I don't know if these young folks are really complainy-pants or if there is more shaming behavior directed those who are economically struggling now or, most likely, everything is very similar to My Day but the news stories just cherry pick the whiners oblivious now.
« Last Edit: January 24, 2014, 03:39:13 PM by sheepstache »

MrsPete

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Re: Huffington Post series on the working poor
« Reply #45 on: January 25, 2014, 06:33:09 PM »
In this poor girl's defense, it is quite possible that this is the first time in her life that she has ever had to ration her spending to this extent and use some of the black-belt techniques to keep herself in a good place financially and emotionally.  For example:

 - It's pretty obvious to me (someone *with* life experience) that living on a small paycheck, you gotta look for shared housing near public transportation.  Quite possible she doesn't realize this.  I didn't get this when I was her age either.

 - It would also make sense to: get a second job, something fun like working in a clothing store or at a coffee shop.  Better than living in a state of anxiety about your finances.  Helps if you know you will not need to work two jobs forever.  But she is still young-stupid and doesn't see that.

 - "Extreme" measures like shopping at thrift stores, cutting your own hair, keeping the thermostat really low, using a bargain minutes-only dumbphone -- I'll bet she has never had to do them before, and probably doesn't have role models to go to. 

There was a series of blog posts (can't remember where) on Amy Dacyczyn's kids (spawn of the Frugal Zealot herself) who, after growing up in a very frugal family and being schooled in frugal ways, know *exactly* how to go black-belt when they have to.  This poor girl in the article doesn't know *how* to live well on $23K a year -- if she did, she'd probably be doing it.   
Yep, and this, Folks, is why my husband and I have purposefully chosen to give our children LESS than we can afford to give them.  Significantly less.  We've taught them to live frugally.  They're only 17 and 20, but it seems to have been a good choice. 

153

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Re: Huffington Post series on the working poor
« Reply #46 on: January 28, 2014, 07:13:58 AM »
I feel like this story is ... Missing something. She grew up in Scranton, which has been economically depressed for some time. It's not like she grew up in the notorious affluent burbs and is now experiencing culture shock, like some are saying.

In-state tuition, even if graduating took 5 years, she should have less than 6 figures in debt. It sound like there are some private loans in the mix, since they mention co-signers, although there could be plus loans or something. Even so, with that income/debt mix, she should be able to ibr/defer/forebear anything federal.

Anyway- it seems like there's a gap to the story.

Also, the section about staying in vs buying food rubbed me the wrong way. 1) you don't get a cookie for making a big kid choice. I remember having moments in my early 20s where I was like who the eff am I, paying bills and calling utilities to set up service to my new apartment and when did I become a grown up? It felt weird, but I didn't expect accolades for it. 2) it sets up a false dichotomy- your choices are to spend money at a bar on the weekend, or buy food and be a hermit. I totally get that when the density of options to spend money for entertainment is high, it's easy to feel deprived; especially in the age of Facebook and FOMO. However: there is plenty of free shit to do in the city, and definitely people in need of help. She could volunteer somewhere, anywhere!


Shor

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Re: Huffington Post series on the working poor
« Reply #47 on: January 28, 2014, 09:35:36 AM »
When I got my first professional job I made about what she makes (again in NYC)- so I kept up with part time waiting jobs on some (but not all) weekends. I also know how to make all the food I need from scratch. I can sew enough to repair clothes. I don't think I bought any clothes for the first 3 or 4 years that I was out of college. My winter coat wasn't warm- I wore it anyway. She would probably just charge for a warmer coat, thinking it's a necessity. 

I think the real issue is that people graduate college thinking they'll waltz into a 60k a year job that's super fulfilling and where everyone respects them. I know it knocked me on my ass a bit when I graduated a year early, thinking I was being clever (in Summer of 2008) to find that the only places hiring were places I could have worked in high school. I worked service industry for three years after graduating college before finally finding a professional job.
It sounds like you grew up quickly in to the reality of the current job market and adapted as needed.
I also entered the workforce in 08 and rented with 5+ roommates to keep costs low to deal with the low income.

I don't know why so many people fool themselves in to thinking that they "deserve" things. it's mind boggling, especially when they can't even afford it.

Melody

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Re: Huffington Post series on the working poor
« Reply #48 on: January 28, 2014, 04:22:30 PM »
1800 a month - my friends in San Diego were only making $1100 a month and managed to make ends meet without credit cards and still go out one or two times a week (basic beers and taking the train to and from the bar). I don't think any of my US friends made as much as this when I was living there.

I expected a story on the working poor the actually be about the working poor (i.e. minimum wage or immigrants paid less than minimum wage with childcare expenses and families back home that they need to send money to etc.) Close to double minimum wage for a single probably doesn't qualify for working poor. (Not that I think the minimum wage is adequate - merely that there are probably over a million people doing it harder than this girl... why couldn't Huff Post have found one of them.)