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Around the Internet => Antimustachian Wall of Shame and Comedy => Topic started by: anisotropy on August 28, 2014, 12:54:54 PM

Title: living wage is .... (again)
Post by: anisotropy on August 28, 2014, 12:54:54 PM
Here we go again, Living wage for a single person, not a family (all figures in Canadian dollars):

"Calgary’s Living Wage Action Team has determined that an individual working full time (35 hours per week, 52 weeks a year) needs to make a minimum of $17.29/hour without benefits, or $16.14/hour with benefits to earn a Living Wage in Calgary."

http://www.vibrantcalgary.com/vibrant-initiatives/living-wage/living-wage-basics/

It's interesting from personal experience I found that $2000 a month, or about $13/hour pre tax, is more than enough for a single person to live in Calgary. Here is how

1. Live 25 minutes from downtown core and the rent drops by at least 30%, find some roomates to share the rent and utilities

2. Use public transit (admittedly PT sucks in Calgary) or drive cheap cars so you can save on insurance.

3. Cut out cable and excessive cellphone plans.

4. Cook at home most of the time.

5. Each working week has 37.5 hours, not 35. 

6. Other MMM "tips" on reducing expenses

But that would probably not be sanctioned as "a safe, decent, dignified standard of living" by the folks at Vibrant Calgary. Websites like VC make me want to throw these people into bootcamps for a through standard of living re-education.
Title: Re: living wage is .... (again)
Post by: vivophoenix on August 28, 2014, 01:37:17 PM
Here we go again, Living wage for a single person, not a family (all figures in Canadian dollars):

"Calgary’s Living Wage Action Team has determined that an individual working full time (35 hours per week, 52 weeks a year) needs to make a minimum of $17.29/hour without benefits, or $16.14/hour with benefits to earn a Living Wage in Calgary."

http://www.vibrantcalgary.com/vibrant-initiatives/living-wage/living-wage-basics/

It's interesting from personal experience I found that $2000 a month, or about $13/hour pre tax, is more than enough for a single person to live in Calgary. Here is how

1. Live 25 minutes from downtown core and the rent drops by at least 30%, find some roomates to share the rent and utilities

2. Use public transit (admittedly PT sucks in Calgary) or drive cheap cars so you can save on insurance.

3. Cut out cable and excessive cellphone plans.

4. Cook at home most of the time.

5. Each working week has 37.5 hours, not 35. 

6. Other MMM "tips" on reducing expenses

But that would probably not be sanctioned as "a safe, decent, dignified standard of living" by the folks at Vibrant Calgary. Websites like VC make me want to throw these people into bootcamps for a through standard of living re-education.

i think a large part of these studies do not include the idea that you would live with room mates.

if you factor in living with room mates,  to arrive at a living wage calculation for a single person, havent you, by default arrived, at the calculation for living as a family.

next if you say everyone should live down town where its 30% cheaper. it wont be 30% cheaper for much longer.




personally i dont think its negative to assume part of living wage, is the ability to live alone rather than form dependent family like units.


sigh its horrible that they do these calculations based on the average way of living, why dont they do these broad calculations based on this way that only 0.1% of population lives.
Title: Re: living wage is .... (again)
Post by: nordlead on August 28, 2014, 01:41:01 PM
That, and you can't magically add 2.75 hours/week. If full time is 35 hours, then the living wage for a full time worker is calculated on 35 hours.

Or, should I just shift the argument and say that some full time employees work 60-80 hour weeks? Then they only need to make half as much.

What is the actual median and average full time employee hrs/week?
Title: Re: living wage is .... (again)
Post by: vivophoenix on August 28, 2014, 01:46:05 PM
could that missing 2.5 be perhaps unpaid lunch , 30 minutes per day, at five days a week?

Title: Re: living wage is .... (again)
Post by: anisotropy on August 28, 2014, 03:27:34 PM
As far as I know, the "standard" full time in Calgary is 37.5 hours a week, 7.5 hours a day.

Living with roommates doesn't make you and your roommates "families" (although it does make you common-law in some cases lol). Living with room mates usually lower your expenses while being in a census family usually means higher expenses due to kids.

For an unattached individual, living with room mates is an easy way to reduce housing expenses. If the study is suggesting that living with room mates is not considered a "decent, dignified standard of living", well.... perhaps it is advocating people to spend on "luxuries" beyond what they can afford.

Title: Re: living wage is .... (again)
Post by: Zikoris on August 28, 2014, 03:46:51 PM
Yeah, they come out with these in Vancouver every year - it's something like $20/hr BOTH parents to support two kids on a "bare bones budget" (they actually call it  that!!), with absolutely insane spending.
Title: Re: living wage is .... (again)
Post by: Jennifer in Ottawa on August 28, 2014, 05:00:42 PM
I don't think that this belongs in this sub-forum at all, and I am rather put off by the dismissive opinions of a base amount for a living wage.  Most people here earn multiples of this amount, live Mustachian lives and have the luxury of investing all that extra income with the goal of early retirement.  Other people live off the same amounts or less out of necessity, not choice.

If a person wished to save for retirement, that would indeed be a minimum desirable 'living wage'.  You could survive off of a lower salary, but your Mustachianism would need to be in full force just to cover your expenses, leaving nothing (or very little) left for saving and investment.

Mustachianism (with savings and investment) with the end-goal of FIRE is one thing, Mustachianism just to keep body and soul together with no hope of ever retiring is another thing entirely.
Title: Re: living wage is .... (again)
Post by: swiper on August 28, 2014, 05:38:52 PM
I don't think that this belongs in this sub-forum at all, and I am rather put off by the dismissive opinions of a base amount for a living wage.  Most people here earn multiples of this amount, live Mustachian lives and have the luxury of investing all that extra income with the goal of early retirement.  Other people live off the same amounts or less out of necessity, not choice.

If a person wished to save for retirement, that would indeed be a minimum desirable 'living wage'.  You could survive off of a lower salary, but your Mustachianism would need to be in full force just to cover your expenses, leaving nothing (or very little) left for saving and investment.

Mustachianism (with savings and investment) with the end-goal of FIRE is one thing, Mustachianism just to keep body and soul together with no hope of ever retiring is another thing entirely.

+1

~36K/year in a booming city, is perhaps nothing to brag about on this forum, but its hardly antimustachian. Also, they state that this isn't just a survival wage ... "Save for future needs and goals" is part of this amount.



Title: Re: living wage is .... (again)
Post by: anisotropy on August 28, 2014, 06:24:23 PM
lol ok.

survival wage in Calgary is prob 1700

Rent: 900, living 20 to 25mins away from DT core, sharing with roommate(s). A friend pays 550 in a safe neighborhood close to a major shopping center, sharing a 4 bedroom house with 3 people.

Utilities: 100, that's what my friend pays, includes water, electricity, and gas.

Transportation: 100, that's how much a monthly bus pass costs, PT sucks in Calgary, but it gets you to places. If one really needs to drive, maybe 200 for gas and cheap insurance.

Groceries: 300, three hundred a month is quite a large sum for a single person.

Cellphone:50, this is quite generous, seriously, the "barebone" cellphone plan is only 15 dollars a month.

Everything else: 200, includes grooming, entertainment, clothes and shoes. This item shouldn't even be here as we are trying to build a "survival" wage, but I will include it just for the sake of it.

Add all those numbers up and we are at ~1700 with a relatively generous budget for "survival". Sure it's not pretty but we are talking about survivals here.....

Now, savings and emergency funds, who wants to bet that when this study was made they assumed people would not retire until 65? Assume working for 45 years and using MMM's saving rate chart, we get the saving rate of 15%, but we will make it 25% just to be generous.

125% of 1700 is 2125 Canadian dollars a month, or ~$13.5 / hr pre tax. Even 150% of 1700 translates to less than $15.5/ hr pre tax. I guess this lifestyle is just not considered a "decent, dignified standard of living". MUST BUY ALL THE THINGS !

A "living" wage does not automatically equate to a comfortable life, yet people tend to believe that what a living wage should provide.
Title: Re: living wage is .... (again)
Post by: Zikoris on August 28, 2014, 07:23:11 PM
I don't think that this belongs in this sub-forum at all, and I am rather put off by the dismissive opinions of a base amount for a living wage.  Most people here earn multiples of this amount, live Mustachian lives and have the luxury of investing all that extra income with the goal of early retirement.  Other people live off the same amounts or less out of necessity, not choice.

If a person wished to save for retirement, that would indeed be a minimum desirable 'living wage'.  You could survive off of a lower salary, but your Mustachianism would need to be in full force just to cover your expenses, leaving nothing (or very little) left for saving and investment.

Mustachianism (with savings and investment) with the end-goal of FIRE is one thing, Mustachianism just to keep body and soul together with no hope of ever retiring is another thing entirely.

Even Canada's minimum wages are generous enough to cover a comfortable life and retirement. Not retirement at 30, but retirement at a normal retirement age or slightly earlier. In BC, for example, a full time minimum wage job would pay about $19,000/year after tax. Spending a fairly extravagant $10K-$12K would leave you with $7000-$9000/year for retirement savings, easily enough for a good retirement.
Title: Re: living wage is .... (again)
Post by: maizeman on August 28, 2014, 07:33:23 PM
Now, savings and emergency funds, who wants to bet that when this study was made they assumed people would not retire until 65? Assume working for 45 years and using MMM's saving rate chart, we get the saving rate of 15%, but we will make it 25% just to be generous.

125% of 1700 is 2125 Canadian dollars a month, or ~$13.5 / hr pre tax. Even 150% of 1700 translates to less than $15.5/ hr pre tax. I guess this lifestyle is just not considered a "decent, dignified standard of living".

I think that although you are saying pre-tax you must mean post-tax. $14*37.5 hours/week * 50 weeks a year is 25,312.5 or ~2110/month before any taxes are considered.

Also if your income is 125% of your spending, you are saving 20% of your take home pay, not 25%. And 150% = a savings rate of 33% not 50%.
Title: Re: living wage is .... (again)
Post by: daverobev on August 28, 2014, 07:41:41 PM
lol ok.

survival wage in Calgary is prob 1700

Rent: 900, living 20 to 25mins away from DT core, sharing with roommate(s). A friend pays 550 in a safe neighborhood close to a major shopping center, sharing a 4 bedroom house with 3 people.

Utilities: 100, that's what my friend pays, includes water, electricity, and gas.

Transportation: 100, that's how much a monthly bus pass costs, PT sucks in Calgary, but it gets you to places. If one really needs to drive, maybe 200 for gas and cheap insurance.

Groceries: 300, three hundred a month is quite a large sum for a single person.

Cellphone:50, this is quite generous, seriously, the "barebone" cellphone plan is only 15 dollars a month.

Everything else: 200, includes grooming, entertainment, clothes and shoes. This item shouldn't even be here as we are trying to build a "survival" wage, but I will include it just for the sake of it.

Add all those numbers up and we are at ~1700 with a relatively generous budget for "survival". Sure it's not pretty but we are talking about survivals here.....

Now, savings and emergency funds, who wants to bet that when this study was made they assumed people would not retire until 65? Assume working for 45 years and using MMM's saving rate chart, we get the saving rate of 15%, but we will make it 25% just to be generous.

125% of 1700 is 2125 Canadian dollars a month, or ~$13.5 / hr pre tax. Even 150% of 1700 translates to less than $15.5/ hr pre tax. I guess this lifestyle is just not considered a "decent, dignified standard of living". MUST BUY ALL THE THINGS !

A "living" wage does not automatically equate to a comfortable life, yet people tend to believe that what a living wage should provide.

Those are crazy high numbers!

Couple of years ago we rented a 1 bed in Ottawa for $800, so $850 or $875 now. Phone $10 or $15. Food you can do $100 a month per person no problem.

I know Calgary isn't Ottawa.
Title: Re: living wage is .... (again)
Post by: swiper on August 28, 2014, 09:01:34 PM
I don't think that this belongs in this sub-forum at all, and I am rather put off by the dismissive opinions of a base amount for a living wage.  Most people here earn multiples of this amount, live Mustachian lives and have the luxury of investing all that extra income with the goal of early retirement.  Other people live off the same amounts or less out of necessity, not choice.

If a person wished to save for retirement, that would indeed be a minimum desirable 'living wage'.  You could survive off of a lower salary, but your Mustachianism would need to be in full force just to cover your expenses, leaving nothing (or very little) left for saving and investment.

Mustachianism (with savings and investment) with the end-goal of FIRE is one thing, Mustachianism just to keep body and soul together with no hope of ever retiring is another thing entirely.

Even Canada's minimum wages are generous enough to cover a comfortable life and retirement. Not retirement at 30, but retirement at a normal retirement age or slightly earlier. In BC, for example, a full time minimum wage job would pay about $19,000/year after tax. Spending a fairly extravagant $10K-$12K would leave you with $7000-$9000/year for retirement savings, easily enough for a good retirement.

?
19K puts you right around the poverty line (low income cutoff) in most Canadian cities. And (even here) most wouldn't consider 10-12K to be extravagant spending.

There are many, many better targets for your Antimustachian ridicule than some group asserting a $17 living wage.
Title: Re: living wage is .... (again)
Post by: RichMoose on August 28, 2014, 09:43:04 PM
I would say that $17/hr should be a fair living wage for Calgary. That wage provides a moderate standard of living. Nothing overly extravagant and nothing too miserly, basically provides some creature comforts without too much stupidity. I would say my wife and I currently live off of about $17 per hour (combined). I'm no crazy leftist, but I will say that if everyone made a minimum net income of $28000/yr this country would probably be a better place to live, especially if those recipients adopted even the most basic mustachian principles: no credit card debt, no form of consumer debt, save a minimum of 10% of income.

I also agree with the above posts. Although its very possible to live on less than $17/hr, I would say in Calgary's rental market it would take some definite sacrificing for anyone other than a single person. Not the best post for the Antimustachian Wall of Shame.
Title: Re: living wage is .... (again)
Post by: Zikoris on August 28, 2014, 09:47:15 PM
I don't think that this belongs in this sub-forum at all, and I am rather put off by the dismissive opinions of a base amount for a living wage.  Most people here earn multiples of this amount, live Mustachian lives and have the luxury of investing all that extra income with the goal of early retirement.  Other people live off the same amounts or less out of necessity, not choice.

If a person wished to save for retirement, that would indeed be a minimum desirable 'living wage'.  You could survive off of a lower salary, but your Mustachianism would need to be in full force just to cover your expenses, leaving nothing (or very little) left for saving and investment.

Mustachianism (with savings and investment) with the end-goal of FIRE is one thing, Mustachianism just to keep body and soul together with no hope of ever retiring is another thing entirely.

Even Canada's minimum wages are generous enough to cover a comfortable life and retirement. Not retirement at 30, but retirement at a normal retirement age or slightly earlier. In BC, for example, a full time minimum wage job would pay about $19,000/year after tax. Spending a fairly extravagant $10K-$12K would leave you with $7000-$9000/year for retirement savings, easily enough for a good retirement.

?
19K puts you right around the poverty line (low income cutoff) in most Canadian cities. And (even here) most wouldn't consider 10-12K to be extravagant spending.

There are many, many better targets for your Antimustachian ridicule than some group asserting a $17 living wage.

The poverty line is BS in Canada. I spend about $13K/year and have a pretty sweet downtown Vancouver lifestyle with multiple international vacations every year, along with a ton of concerts, shows, events, paragliding, and whatever else I feel like doing. It's an insult to actual poor people to call that level of spending "struggling" in any way, shape, or form.
Title: Re: living wage is .... (again)
Post by: Jennifer in Ottawa on August 28, 2014, 10:06:05 PM
I don't think that this belongs in this sub-forum at all, and I am rather put off by the dismissive opinions of a base amount for a living wage.  Most people here earn multiples of this amount, live Mustachian lives and have the luxury of investing all that extra income with the goal of early retirement.  Other people live off the same amounts or less out of necessity, not choice.

If a person wished to save for retirement, that would indeed be a minimum desirable 'living wage'.  You could survive off of a lower salary, but your Mustachianism would need to be in full force just to cover your expenses, leaving nothing (or very little) left for saving and investment.

Mustachianism (with savings and investment) with the end-goal of FIRE is one thing, Mustachianism just to keep body and soul together with no hope of ever retiring is another thing entirely.

Even Canada's minimum wages are generous enough to cover a comfortable life and retirement. Not retirement at 30, but retirement at a normal retirement age or slightly earlier. In BC, for example, a full time minimum wage job would pay about $19,000/year after tax. Spending a fairly extravagant $10K-$12K would leave you with $7000-$9000/year for retirement savings, easily enough for a good retirement.

Fairly extravagant?  What qualifies as extravagant?

20 years ago in my single days, a one bedroom apartment in a rather shabby building downtown Ottawa, within a bikeable distance of everything, cost me $630 a month.  There goes $7560.  Bell was $50 a month, or $600 a year (this was the dark ages before such things as 'competition' and 'internet phone'.  We're at $8160 now.  Groceries, probably around $200 (no big box stores within reasonable reach, and Canadian groceries just cost more and that's the plain jane truth like it or not).

So, I am housed, fed and can call my mother on Sunday, and my bill is $10,560.  Oh yeah baby!  Living the High Life!

And this is 20 years ago.  It's only gotten worse.

Minimum wage in Ontario is currently $10.50 per hour.  If you are earning minimum wage you are likely not a full time employee.  You are likely to be a part time employee, probably working two part time jobs to get enough working hours.  This means you don't have benefits, you don't have paid holidays, and you certainly don't have a pension plan.

Let's say you luck out and get two part time jobs and your wage is minimum, the aforementioned 10.50.  You get even luckier and get the maximum hours from each job (24), so you are working 48 hours a week.  Furthermore, let's say you hit the friggin jackpot and your workplaces are not unionized, so you don't have to pay union dues.  Your pre tax income is $504 a week, or $26,208 annually. 

You have a horseshoe up your butt and never ever get sick, so you don't have to take (unpaid) time off work.  You also hate leisure and never take a week off to vacation.  Also, you don't have children so you don't have to miss any work for their doctor's appointments or sick days or what have you.  Yep.  You are a machine.  48 hours a week, 52 weeks a year.

According to the handy calculator Rev Can provides, we can find the payroll deductions to be:
Federal Tax: 67.68
Provincial Tax: 29.65
CPP: 21.62
EI: 9.48

After-tax income is a princely 375.57 a week.  And you're a machine remember, so you bring home $19, 529 a year.  Assuming that you can live the high life outlined above, paying 1993 prices in 2013, you have $8969 a year to invest.

So, you invest.  You get 7% on your money every year.  It never changes.  After 25 short years you've amassed $606,990.26.  Not shabby.  A 4% safe rate of return on that will net you $24,240 a year to live on.  You can retire.

But to do that....

You never had children.
You never took so much as a single day off work........in 25 years.
You never needed eyeglasses or prescriptions or dental work.
You replaced no clothes or shoes or household items.
You gave no gifts.
You took no holidays.
You never ate out, not even so much as a popsicle from the corner store.
No movies.
No internet.
No cellphone.
No insurance.
No bicycle or bike trailer.
You bought absolutely nothing other than grocery store food and paid no bills other than rent and phone.  No consumer goods of any kind, ever.

Oh, and you never bought a house, because that would entail higher monthly expenses due to paying property tax, a water bill, hydro and or gas bill, home owners insurance, etc, etc.
Nope, you stayed in your now extremely crappy one bedroom apartment downtown because heat and hydro were included.

For 25 years.

Of course, you could allow yourself the occasional luxury of a sick day or a book from the bookstore, or new underwear, but do it often enough and you get to continue this soul crushing way of life all the way to 65 when you qualify for OAS and CPP.

There is a world, nay, a universe of fucking difference between living on minimum wage and being mustachian.
Title: Re: living wage is .... (again)
Post by: Jennifer in Ottawa on August 28, 2014, 10:14:29 PM
I don't think that this belongs in this sub-forum at all, and I am rather put off by the dismissive opinions of a base amount for a living wage.  Most people here earn multiples of this amount, live Mustachian lives and have the luxury of investing all that extra income with the goal of early retirement.  Other people live off the same amounts or less out of necessity, not choice.

If a person wished to save for retirement, that would indeed be a minimum desirable 'living wage'.  You could survive off of a lower salary, but your Mustachianism would need to be in full force just to cover your expenses, leaving nothing (or very little) left for saving and investment.

Mustachianism (with savings and investment) with the end-goal of FIRE is one thing, Mustachianism just to keep body and soul together with no hope of ever retiring is another thing entirely.

Even Canada's minimum wages are generous enough to cover a comfortable life and retirement. Not retirement at 30, but retirement at a normal retirement age or slightly earlier. In BC, for example, a full time minimum wage job would pay about $19,000/year after tax. Spending a fairly extravagant $10K-$12K would leave you with $7000-$9000/year for retirement savings, easily enough for a good retirement.

?
19K puts you right around the poverty line (low income cutoff) in most Canadian cities. And (even here) most wouldn't consider 10-12K to be extravagant spending.

There are many, many better targets for your Antimustachian ridicule than some group asserting a $17 living wage.

The poverty line is BS in Canada. I spend about $13K/year and have a pretty sweet downtown Vancouver lifestyle with multiple international vacations every year, along with a ton of concerts, shows, events, paragliding, and whatever else I feel like doing. It's an insult to actual poor people to call that level of spending "struggling" in any way, shape, or form.

You are either subsidized by someone or you are massively full of shit.  The crappiest of the crappy bachelor's apartments in Van start at 525/month.  There's 6300 gone, just on four walls and roof.
Title: Re: living wage is .... (again)
Post by: Zikoris on August 28, 2014, 10:22:11 PM
I don't think that this belongs in this sub-forum at all, and I am rather put off by the dismissive opinions of a base amount for a living wage.  Most people here earn multiples of this amount, live Mustachian lives and have the luxury of investing all that extra income with the goal of early retirement.  Other people live off the same amounts or less out of necessity, not choice.

If a person wished to save for retirement, that would indeed be a minimum desirable 'living wage'.  You could survive off of a lower salary, but your Mustachianism would need to be in full force just to cover your expenses, leaving nothing (or very little) left for saving and investment.

Mustachianism (with savings and investment) with the end-goal of FIRE is one thing, Mustachianism just to keep body and soul together with no hope of ever retiring is another thing entirely.

Even Canada's minimum wages are generous enough to cover a comfortable life and retirement. Not retirement at 30, but retirement at a normal retirement age or slightly earlier. In BC, for example, a full time minimum wage job would pay about $19,000/year after tax. Spending a fairly extravagant $10K-$12K would leave you with $7000-$9000/year for retirement savings, easily enough for a good retirement.

?
19K puts you right around the poverty line (low income cutoff) in most Canadian cities. And (even here) most wouldn't consider 10-12K to be extravagant spending.

There are many, many better targets for your Antimustachian ridicule than some group asserting a $17 living wage.

The poverty line is BS in Canada. I spend about $13K/year and have a pretty sweet downtown Vancouver lifestyle with multiple international vacations every year, along with a ton of concerts, shows, events, paragliding, and whatever else I feel like doing. It's an insult to actual poor people to call that level of spending "struggling" in any way, shape, or form.

You are either subsidized by someone or you are massively full of shit.  The crappiest of the crappy bachelor's apartments in Van start at 525/month.  There's 6300 gone, just on four walls and roof.

$13K is my half of a couple, but easily replicatable with a roommate. My base expenses would all be the same: food cell phone, travel, concert tickets. But even if you had a $525 bachelor suite, everything else here is so cheap you could still be well under $12K/year.
Title: Re: living wage is .... (again)
Post by: Zikoris on August 28, 2014, 10:30:51 PM
Quote
20 years ago in my single days, a one bedroom apartment in a rather shabby building downtown Ottawa, within a bikeable distance of everything, cost me $630 a month.  There goes $7560.  Bell was $50 a month, or $600 a year (this was the dark ages before such things as 'competition' and 'internet phone'.  We're at $8160 now.  Groceries, probably around $200 (no big box stores within reasonable reach, and Canadian groceries just cost more and that's the plain jane truth like it or not).

Here are some more reasonable numbers for Vancouver comparison:

Rent: $500-$600 for a small private place, or split a 1 bedroom with partner or roommate for $350-$400 each.
Phone: $20-$25/month for a basic plan
Food: $100-$120/month

Add in a couple hundred a month for incidentals (clothes, entertainment, bike, bus tickets whatever) and you've got a pretty comfortable living situation for between $8000 and $11,000/year spending.
Title: Re: living wage is .... (again)
Post by: Jennifer in Ottawa on August 28, 2014, 10:57:43 PM
I've typed and deleted four responses.

I've visited your webpage.  Your quarterly budget was 8845, so you budget 35,380 for the year, or 17,690 each.  You espouse saving 60% or more of income, so you're saving around 50K a year give or take.  Wonderful.

Now take your budgeted money and try to save for retirement out of that.  That's what life on minimum wage is like.  All that stuff you happily do in order to pay for trips to Budapest and bulking up your net worth?  Yeah, that's no longer optional.  Now there is no choice.

Oh, and with a minimum wage job instead of the jobs with multinationals like you and your SO have, you don't get sick days.  Or vacation days.  Or health/dental plans.  Every day off work is a day you earn nothing.  Every trip to the pharmacy comes out of your own pocket.
Title: Re: living wage is .... (again)
Post by: Zikoris on August 28, 2014, 11:37:24 PM
I don't know where you're getting $35,380 from - we spent $26,377 total last year, including all travel. The year before that was about $28K - we've never even come close to $35K. My quarterly budget update was year to date spending for the first six months of the year. We're at $17,439 so far this year, including most of the travel we'll be doing.
Title: Re: living wage is .... (again)
Post by: vivophoenix on August 29, 2014, 07:27:46 AM
I don't think that this belongs in this sub-forum at all, and I am rather put off by the dismissive opinions of a base amount for a living wage.  Most people here earn multiples of this amount, live Mustachian lives and have the luxury of investing all that extra income with the goal of early retirement.  Other people live off the same amounts or less out of necessity, not choice.

If a person wished to save for retirement, that would indeed be a minimum desirable 'living wage'.  You could survive off of a lower salary, but your Mustachianism would need to be in full force just to cover your expenses, leaving nothing (or very little) left for saving and investment.

Mustachianism (with savings and investment) with the end-goal of FIRE is one thing, Mustachianism just to keep body and soul together with no hope of ever retiring is another thing entirely.

i could kiss Jennifer full on the mouth for her posts. she took the time to verbalize exactly what i was hinting at


this !
Title: Re: living wage is .... (again)
Post by: vivophoenix on August 29, 2014, 07:33:07 AM
my biggest beef with  this argument is the idea that you assume that for the rest of your life ( aka cause those making minimum wage arent exactly getting those 5% or more annual raises, youre usually in a job with a low skill set, and are easily replaced) is that you live with aroom mtes, and if im reading properly, three room mates is what you assume
Title: Re: living wage is .... (again)
Post by: nordlead on August 29, 2014, 07:42:15 AM
I spend about $13K/year and have a pretty sweet downtown Vancouver lifestyle with multiple international vacations every year, along with a ton of concerts, shows, events, paragliding, and whatever else I feel like doing.
we spent $26,377 total last year, including all travel. The year before that was about $28K

So, Basically, you want a single person to live on half of a "family" (or intimate couple if you don't want to call it a family) unit. Sorry, it doesn't work out that way. When you are single your expenses aren't half of a couple, but closer to 3/4.

Even with a room mate, you don't always share everything. Both need laptops, both need cars(bikes, whatever), both need their own toothpaste, and neither of you have the room to buy large bulk items because you aren't sharing everything. They probably don't really share their food much either causing smaller (more expensive) purchases, or more food to go to waste.

A family can split a single bedroom apartment with 1 bed, and 1 set of sheets. A single person needs a 2-bedroom apartment, 2 beds, and 2 sets of sheets, or they have to sleep on the couch (more expensive for the space, and for maintenance). Sure, they can get by in a 1-bedroom, but most people want their privacy, and definitely don't want to sleep in the same bed as their roommate (if they did want to sleep in the same bed, then they would probably be a family unit).

So no, you are not a good example of what a single person should be spending in Vancouver. You may be a decent example of what a couple should be spending in Vancouver. By your logic, my family of 5 would cost $65k/year, but we'd probably be closer to $40-50k if we lived your lifestyle due to increased per person efficiency.
Title: Re: living wage is .... (again)
Post by: Zikoris on August 29, 2014, 08:10:26 AM
The only difference in expenses as a single person would be about $200 more in rent per month for a private place, which could easily be covered by dropping to one international vacation a year instead of two. Everything else would be the same - we each have our own bikes, computers, toothpaste, cell phones, bus tickets, etc. Heck, it would probably be cheaper for food since on my own I'm happy with a lot less variety, and definitely wouldn't be baking so much, which accounts for a huge chunk of my grocery cost. Sheets and towels and things like that are a pretty negligible cost over the long run - I use the same towels now that I did 10 years ago when I first moved out on my own.

It's really common for two people in Vancouver to share a one bedroom apartment and separate off the living room or den to make an extra bedroom. I wouldn't think twice about it.

I've been single in Vancouver. It's really not more expensive.
Title: Re: living wage is .... (again)
Post by: sheepstache on August 29, 2014, 08:21:41 AM

You are either subsidized by someone or you are massively full of shit.  The crappiest of the crappy bachelor's apartments in Van start at 525/month.  There's 6300 gone, just on four walls and roof.

$13K is my half of a couple, but easily replicatable with a roommate. My base expenses would all be the same: food cell phone, travel, concert tickets. But even if you had a $525 bachelor suite, everything else here is so cheap you could still be well under $12K/year.

But I thought your living situation was subsidized or some other low-income deal.  Maybe I'm thinking of someone else.
Title: Re: living wage is .... (again)
Post by: Zikoris on August 29, 2014, 08:50:51 AM

You are either subsidized by someone or you are massively full of shit.  The crappiest of the crappy bachelor's apartments in Van start at 525/month.  There's 6300 gone, just on four walls and roof.

$13K is my half of a couple, but easily replicatable with a roommate. My base expenses would all be the same: food cell phone, travel, concert tickets. But even if you had a $525 bachelor suite, everything else here is so cheap you could still be well under $12K/year.

But I thought your living situation was subsidized or some other low-income deal.  Maybe I'm thinking of someone else.

I live in a non-profit housing co-operative run by the members, which keeps the costs reasonable - however, it is significantly more expensive than our previous "normal" apartments - over $100/month more.
Title: Re: living wage is .... (again)
Post by: daverobev on August 29, 2014, 08:53:26 AM

Fairly extravagant?  What qualifies as extravagant?

20 years ago in my single days, a one bedroom apartment in a rather shabby building downtown Ottawa, within a bikeable distance of everything, cost me $630 a month.  There goes $7560.  Bell was $50 a month, or $600 a year (this was the dark ages before such things as 'competition' and 'internet phone'.  We're at $8160 now.  Groceries, probably around $200 (no big box stores within reasonable reach, and Canadian groceries just cost more and that's the plain jane truth like it or not).

So, I am housed, fed and can call my mother on Sunday, and my bill is $10,560.  Oh yeah baby!  Living the High Life!

And this is 20 years ago.  It's only gotten worse.

Minimum wage in Ontario is currently $10.50 per hour.  If you are earning minimum wage you are likely not a full time employee.  You are likely to be a part time employee, probably working two part time jobs to get enough working hours.  This means you don't have benefits, you don't have paid holidays, and you certainly don't have a pension plan.

Let's say you luck out and get two part time jobs and your wage is minimum, the aforementioned 10.50.  You get even luckier and get the maximum hours from each job (24), so you are working 48 hours a week.  Furthermore, let's say you hit the friggin jackpot and your workplaces are not unionized, so you don't have to pay union dues.  Your pre tax income is $504 a week, or $26,208 annually. 

You have a horseshoe up your butt and never ever get sick, so you don't have to take (unpaid) time off work.  You also hate leisure and never take a week off to vacation.  Also, you don't have children so you don't have to miss any work for their doctor's appointments or sick days or what have you.  Yep.  You are a machine.  48 hours a week, 52 weeks a year.

According to the handy calculator Rev Can provides, we can find the payroll deductions to be:
Federal Tax: 67.68
Provincial Tax: 29.65
CPP: 21.62
EI: 9.48

After-tax income is a princely 375.57 a week.  And you're a machine remember, so you bring home $19, 529 a year.  Assuming that you can live the high life outlined above, paying 1993 prices in 2013, you have $8969 a year to invest.

So, you invest.  You get 7% on your money every year.  It never changes.  After 25 short years you've amassed $606,990.26.  Not shabby.  A 4% safe rate of return on that will net you $24,240 a year to live on.  You can retire.

But to do that....

You never had children.
You never took so much as a single day off work........in 25 years.
You never needed eyeglasses or prescriptions or dental work.
You replaced no clothes or shoes or household items.
You gave no gifts.
You took no holidays.
You never ate out, not even so much as a popsicle from the corner store.
No movies.
No internet.
No cellphone.
No insurance.
No bicycle or bike trailer.
You bought absolutely nothing other than grocery store food and paid no bills other than rent and phone.  No consumer goods of any kind, ever.

Oh, and you never bought a house, because that would entail higher monthly expenses due to paying property tax, a water bill, hydro and or gas bill, home owners insurance, etc, etc.
Nope, you stayed in your now extremely crappy one bedroom apartment downtown because heat and hydro were included.

For 25 years.

Of course, you could allow yourself the occasional luxury of a sick day or a book from the bookstore, or new underwear, but do it often enough and you get to continue this soul crushing way of life all the way to 65 when you qualify for OAS and CPP.

There is a world, nay, a universe of fucking difference between living on minimum wage and being mustachian.

Things are not worse.

Cell is now $10 or less. Internet $30.

1 bed was $800 4 years ago, within biking distance (Little Italy). You can get a 2 bed for $1200 and split it.

You can eat for $100 a month. So, basics $740, leaving lots of spare money.

I think people generally take your point, but it's just not as bad as you make it to be. Plus... pay rises!
Title: Re: living wage is .... (again)
Post by: aclarridge on August 29, 2014, 08:56:35 AM
While I agree somewhat with some of the posters that are saying the "living wage" is too high, it's a sign of how  good we have it in Canada that we are redefining "survival" to mean an amount that a frugal person can live somewhat luxuriously on.

As a Canadian this makes me feel so lucky and grateful.
Title: Re: living wage is .... (again)
Post by: anisotropy on August 29, 2014, 10:36:14 AM
maizeman,
you are absolutely right, thanks for pointing out my errors. They should be 20% and 33% respectively.

Now, some posters are mixing up living wage with a comfortable life. 200 on groceries 20 years ago would equate to over 400 today, for a single person.
lol what?

Just by browsing kijiji there are plenty of 2 bedroom apartments in Calgary for rent for less than 1800, that's 900 per person. Hey but you want to further reduce your rent and get more roommates in a house go for it. 1800 would even be considered high-end...
Please don't stay in the "crappy one bedroom apartment downtown because heat and hydro were included" where you'd pay 1500 (adjusted for 20 years of inflation) just for the luxury of living alone and close to downtown if you can't afford it.

Retirement and emergency (or sick day), as my previous post showed, even if one saves 20% to 33% (thanks again maizeman), it can still be done with less than the "living wage" Vibrant Calgary seems to suggest. MMM's retirement clearly shows, retirement is about how much you have saved relative to your expenses.

Health & dental: https://www.ab.bluecross.ca/government/government-programs.php
If you truly make minimum wage then you will qualify for this, if you make more you can afford your own bluecross, we live in Canada, not 'Murica.

Unless, you want to replace clothes or shoes or household items, give gifts, watch movies, eat out, and buy consumer goods. In my original budget I even allocated 200 a month for this. Just so we are clear about what you mean, can you give us a rough number of how much you think one should spend on these luxuries for a "decent and dignified lifestyle" ?

Earning a living wage does not automatically mean having a comfortable life with access to luxuries.
Title: Re: living wage is .... (again)
Post by: swiper on August 29, 2014, 01:18:41 PM
Now, some posters are mixing up living wage with a comfortable life. 200 on groceries 20 years ago would equate to over 400 today, for a single person.
lol what?
...
Earning a living wage does not automatically mean having a comfortable life with access to luxuries.

Both "living wage" and "comfortable life" are by themselves qualitative terms open to interpretation. However, the article you posted is quite clear: It defines "living wage" as per the Canadian policy alternative definition. (example here https://www.policyalternatives.ca/sites/default/files/uploads/publications/BC%20Office/2014/04/CCPA-BC_Living_Wage_Guide_2014.pdf (https://www.policyalternatives.ca/sites/default/files/uploads/publications/BC%20Office/2014/04/CCPA-BC_Living_Wage_Guide_2014.pdf) family version).

You likely don't agree with all aspects of this definition (i don't either), but come on, this is not a "I can't get by on $250K in Mississauga" article. Even if we go with your own definition of ~13/hour, that's what? a ~25% difference. Not so bad for main stream media and certainly not worthy of scorn.

Title: Re: living wage is .... (again)
Post by: Cassie on August 29, 2014, 01:31:31 PM
Jennifer you are so right about things!  It is fine to live with a room mate when you are young but as you age people like to have privacy.  It is one thing to choose to live on very little $ when it is a choice but an entirely different one to earn very little & then have people say ridiculous things like " I live a luxurious lifestyle on $10,000/year & so can other people."  Also of course things go wrong & sh*t happens-major illness, etc which all cost lots of $.
Title: Re: living wage is .... (again)
Post by: swiper on August 29, 2014, 01:33:37 PM
The poverty line is BS in Canada. I spend about $13K/year and have a pretty sweet downtown Vancouver lifestyle with multiple international vacations every year, along with a ton of concerts, shows, events, paragliding, and whatever else I feel like doing. It's an insult to actual poor people to call that level of spending "struggling" in any way, shape, or form.

Sorry, but I prefer researched/statistical data to anecdotal experience when generalizing complicated issues. That said, I checked out your blog to see how you do on a low(imho) budget and have to congratulate you on your badassity. I especially like the travel section with tips. It was interesting comparing my vacation(s) activities/spending to yours.
Title: Re: living wage is .... (again)
Post by: Zikoris on August 29, 2014, 02:22:01 PM
The poverty line is BS in Canada. I spend about $13K/year and have a pretty sweet downtown Vancouver lifestyle with multiple international vacations every year, along with a ton of concerts, shows, events, paragliding, and whatever else I feel like doing. It's an insult to actual poor people to call that level of spending "struggling" in any way, shape, or form.

Sorry, but I prefer researched/statistical data to anecdotal experience when generalizing complicated issues. That said, I checked out your blog to see how you do on a low(imho) budget and have to congratulate you on your badassity. I especially like the travel section with tips. It was interesting comparing my vacation(s) activities/spending to yours.

Thank you. I think I look at issues like this in a yes or no sort of way - Yes, this is a reasonable amount to live on comfortably in city X (and here's a sample budget with real numbers from the city in question to back it up), or No, a person could not survive on this amount (the lowest priced apartment in the city would be 80% of the amount, etc). I'm not sure how much research would be required to make this judgement other than reading apartment listings and being familiar with the city regarding transit, grocery stores, neighbourhoods, etc. I can say for certain that minimum wage is enough in Vancouver for people without kids.
Title: Re: living wage is .... (again)
Post by: anisotropy on August 29, 2014, 02:34:28 PM
Now, some posters are mixing up living wage with a comfortable life. 200 on groceries 20 years ago would equate to over 400 today, for a single person.
lol what?
...
Earning a living wage does not automatically mean having a comfortable life with access to luxuries.

Both "living wage" and "comfortable life" are by themselves qualitative terms open to interpretation. However, the article you posted is quite clear: It defines "living wage" as per the Canadian policy alternative definition. (example here https://www.policyalternatives.ca/sites/default/files/uploads/publications/BC%20Office/2014/04/CCPA-BC_Living_Wage_Guide_2014.pdf (https://www.policyalternatives.ca/sites/default/files/uploads/publications/BC%20Office/2014/04/CCPA-BC_Living_Wage_Guide_2014.pdf) family version).

You likely don't agree with all aspects of this definition (i don't either), but come on, this is not a "I can't get by on $250K in Mississauga" article. Even if we go with your own definition of ~13/hour, that's what? a ~25% difference. Not so bad for main stream media and certainly not worthy of scorn.

And what makes CCPA's number so special and infalliable? I don't want to talk politics but I must clarify, CCPA is a predominately left (i am just saying, not good or bad here) leaning "independent, non-partisan research institute" (ya we all know what that means), even more so than what NDP believes in. So it's much better to disgard their numbers and just look around ourselves and come up with a realistic living wage number. Having said that, swiper, were you able to find a guideline for a single person?

This 25% difference examplifies (ya i am going to pull a Bush here) how many people, including some posters here, confuse "wants" and "needs". There's survival wage, living wage, and comfortable life wage. When even seasoned posters over here can not distinguish these, one can argue it's a glimpse of the current state of our society as a whole.

I have no problem with people spending loads of money on wants (I spend tons myself), but please dont turn around and call them needs, oh sorry, I think it's called a "a safe, decent, dignified standard of living" these days.

When one buys into this notion of lifestyle entitlement, it's a long and bottomless descent.
Title: Re: living wage is .... (again)
Post by: Cassie on August 29, 2014, 03:12:37 PM
I don't think it is "entitlement" to want to have your own tiny living space & not have roommates especially if you are not young. 
Title: Re: living wage is .... (again)
Post by: NoraLenderbee on August 29, 2014, 03:23:31 PM
I don't think that this belongs in this sub-forum at all, and I am rather put off by the dismissive opinions of a base amount for a living wage.  Most people here earn multiples of this amount, live Mustachian lives and have the luxury of investing all that extra income with the goal of early retirement.  Other people live off the same amounts or less out of necessity, not choice.

If a person wished to save for retirement, that would indeed be a minimum desirable 'living wage'.  You could survive off of a lower salary, but your Mustachianism would need to be in full force just to cover your expenses, leaving nothing (or very little) left for saving and investment.

Mustachianism (with savings and investment) with the end-goal of FIRE is one thing, Mustachianism just to keep body and soul together with no hope of ever retiring is another thing entirely.

+2
Title: Re: living wage is .... (again)
Post by: swiper on August 29, 2014, 04:52:26 PM
Now, some posters are mixing up living wage with a comfortable life. 200 on groceries 20 years ago would equate to over 400 today, for a single person.
lol what?
...
Earning a living wage does not automatically mean having a comfortable life with access to luxuries.

Both "living wage" and "comfortable life" are by themselves qualitative terms open to interpretation. However, the article you posted is quite clear: It defines "living wage" as per the Canadian policy alternative definition. (example here https://www.policyalternatives.ca/sites/default/files/uploads/publications/BC%20Office/2014/04/CCPA-BC_Living_Wage_Guide_2014.pdf (https://www.policyalternatives.ca/sites/default/files/uploads/publications/BC%20Office/2014/04/CCPA-BC_Living_Wage_Guide_2014.pdf) family version).

You likely don't agree with all aspects of this definition (i don't either), but come on, this is not a "I can't get by on $250K in Mississauga" article. Even if we go with your own definition of ~13/hour, that's what? a ~25% difference. Not so bad for main stream media and certainly not worthy of scorn.

And what makes CCPA's number so special and infalliable? I don't want to talk politics but I must clarify, CCPA is a predominately left (i am just saying, not good or bad here) leaning "independent, non-partisan research institute" (ya we all know what that means), even more so than what NDP believes in. So it's much better to disgard their numbers and just look around ourselves and come up with a realistic living wage number. Having said that, swiper, were you able to find a guideline for a single person?

There is nothing special and infallible about it, it is simply the definition from the article you posted. I think it can be useful in that it clearly defines all assumptions and also factors in gov benefits and taxes. From my cursory look at it, mustician principles could decrease some of the categories and that kind of analysis can be constructive.

Unfortunately, I was not able to find an individual version of the ccpa report. I think they (the  Calgary group) extrapolated from the 2008 family version here: http://www.policyalternatives.ca/sites/default/files/uploads/publications/BC_Office_Pubs/bc_2008/ccpa_bc_living_wage_2008.pdf (http://www.policyalternatives.ca/sites/default/files/uploads/publications/BC_Office_Pubs/bc_2008/ccpa_bc_living_wage_2008.pdf) The link I posted is the updated 2014 version.

The trouble with "looking around ourselves and come up with a realistic living wage number" is precisely that it's biased by our own experience. In my opinion, generalizing from your own experience onto others often leads to poor outcomes.

More generally, I find this logic on here quite often: "Since I was able to do "X" so can/should everyone else". When it comes to complicated issues like poverty, we rarely have the whole story ourselves. Also, perhaps its just me, but I find judging/mocking people who have much less than me distasteful. (not saying thats your intent)

This 25% difference examplifies (ya i am going to pull a Bush here) how many people, including some posters here, confuse "wants" and "needs". There's survival wage, living wage, and comfortable life wage. When even seasoned posters over here can not distinguish these, one can argue it's a glimpse of the current state of our society as a whole.

I have no problem with people spending loads of money on wants (I spend tons myself), but please dont turn around and call them needs, oh sorry, I think it's called a "a safe, decent, dignified standard of living" these days.

When one buys into this notion of lifestyle entitlement, it's a long and bottomless descent.

Again, most/all of those terms are qualitative. People always disagree on the differences between wants and needs. Just look at our neighbors to the south.

Oh and didn't MMM pay his contractors double min wage? eg. $15/hour. A happy medium! :)
Title: Re: living wage is .... (again)
Post by: Zikoris on August 29, 2014, 05:25:43 PM
Quote
The trouble with "looking around ourselves and come up with a realistic living wage number" is precisely that it's biased by our own experience. In my opinion, generalizing from your own experience onto others often leads to poor outcomes.

Some expenses are subjective, sure, but I think you can get a pretty objective number on all of the big costs of a particular city - rent, transit, phone, utilities - just by looking around you. Those things cost what they cost, and don't change based on "experience".
Title: Re: living wage is .... (again)
Post by: Matte on September 01, 2014, 11:19:48 AM
I can't stand anyone complaining about wages or expectations of wages being too high.  13k in Vancouver is not luxurious unless your living in your parents basement playing Xbox and you never intend on having a gf, getting married or having a family. 
Title: Re: living wage is .... (again)
Post by: Cassie on September 01, 2014, 04:36:35 PM
It is probably only luxurious in a 3rd world country!
Title: Re: living wage is .... (again)
Post by: Goldielocks on September 01, 2014, 04:36:50 PM
I have a few problems with the living wage advocacy...

1. The calculation takes what the average income earner spends on food, clothing, and states that is the fair spend amount. Really?  When I made minimum wage I spent less on groceries...and clothes...and...

2 as others have posted, it assumes you live alone if you are childless.  Even in 1970, entry level wage earners did not live alone.  Room mates, rent a room, share with your sister, all of these are the standard arrangements.

This means that the living wage calc is really a calculation for...  What  the average person income earners spend, adjusting downward for housing, savings rate, and keeping entertainments to a modest level.  Their  Transportation calculations are questionable too.

It assumes that everyone should spend the same basic amt, regardless of salary.

3. The primary problem is when people use living wage to try to reset minimum wage.  Hello?  Living at home, 17 yrs old_ part time work really does not need a living wage.   Their disposable income is way higher than mine...

I do appreciate knowing what the average person should earn.  I think we need more solid jobs like bus driver, parks worker, fire dept call center, primary building maintenance worker, , that should pay better than living wage.  The problem is that it is brought forward as a poverty line or entitlement for all.

I much prefer the market basket method (MBM) for poverty line calculation, which bases the cut off on a purchase cost of a very reasonable quantity or basket of goods, and does not assume all second hand, includes modest entertainments,, etc.

For Vancouver, family of four in 2010, the MBM rate 1 yr spend was $ 31,789 (after tax, this is the built up cost to purchase a well rounded specific basket of goods and includes housing, childcare) versus the 2010 declared living wage of $18.17/ hr x 2 full time, or $72k pre tax per year, or approx $64k per year after tax and govt supplements. To put it in perspective, the average two income, two child income in Vancouver in 2010 was approximately $90k, which means that the living wage is 82% the AVERAGE family wage.





Title: Re: living wage is .... (again)
Post by: Gin1984 on September 01, 2014, 04:55:08 PM
I don't think that this belongs in this sub-forum at all, and I am rather put off by the dismissive opinions of a base amount for a living wage.  Most people here earn multiples of this amount, live Mustachian lives and have the luxury of investing all that extra income with the goal of early retirement.  Other people live off the same amounts or less out of necessity, not choice.

If a person wished to save for retirement, that would indeed be a minimum desirable 'living wage'.  You could survive off of a lower salary, but your Mustachianism would need to be in full force just to cover your expenses, leaving nothing (or very little) left for saving and investment.

Mustachianism (with savings and investment) with the end-goal of FIRE is one thing, Mustachianism just to keep body and soul together with no hope of ever retiring is another thing entirely.

Even Canada's minimum wages are generous enough to cover a comfortable life and retirement. Not retirement at 30, but retirement at a normal retirement age or slightly earlier. In BC, for example, a full time minimum wage job would pay about $19,000/year after tax. Spending a fairly extravagant $10K-$12K would leave you with $7000-$9000/year for retirement savings, easily enough for a good retirement.

?
19K puts you right around the poverty line (low income cutoff) in most Canadian cities. And (even here) most wouldn't consider 10-12K to be extravagant spending.

There are many, many better targets for your Antimustachian ridicule than some group asserting a $17 living wage.

The poverty line is BS in Canada. I spend about $13K/year and have a pretty sweet downtown Vancouver lifestyle with multiple international vacations every year, along with a ton of concerts, shows, events, paragliding, and whatever else I feel like doing. It's an insult to actual poor people to call that level of spending "struggling" in any way, shape, or form.
Don't you have a spouse or SO that splits the costs with you.  Also, those of us with money have an advantage over those without in that we can buy in bulk, have the time to find the deal etc.
Title: Re: living wage is .... (again)
Post by: Middlesbrough on September 01, 2014, 05:31:07 PM
I don't think it is "entitlement" to want to have your own tiny living space & not have roommates especially if you are not young.
As someone who has had to deal with roommates who don't understand others situations, living alone in a small apartment is a huge luxury.
Title: Re: living wage is .... (again)
Post by: Goldielocks on September 01, 2014, 07:39:08 PM
I don't think it is "entitlement" to want to have your own tiny living space & not have roommates especially if you are not young.
As someone who has had to deal with roommates who don't understand others situations, living alone in a small apartment is a huge luxury.
OK, not luxury, but for 37 hr per week job, with 1 yr experience and no high school. Eg cleaner at city hall, should be no room mate wage level?  This is a city where engineers with 8 years experience cant afford to live without room mates, and are making only 20% more than living wage.
Title: Re: living wage is .... (again)
Post by: Middlesbrough on September 01, 2014, 08:29:37 PM
I don't think it is "entitlement" to want to have your own tiny living space & not have roommates especially if you are not young.
As someone who has had to deal with roommates who don't understand others situations, living alone in a small apartment is a huge luxury.
OK, not luxury, but for 37 hr per week job, with 1 yr experience and no high school. Eg cleaner at city hall, should be no room mate wage level?  This is a city where engineers with 8 years experience cant afford to live without room mates, and are making only 20% more than living wage.
I don't know much about Canadian living, so I will differ to the others who are actually living in their cities with expenditures well below mine, but in my town I decided after living with one of my roommates for two years in college I would find a way to make a single dwelling apartment work. It is a convenience I wanted. That being said, I am engineer as well and many of my coworkers are 3-8 years into the field living with roommates because they aren't married. Now that I think about it, I am the only one who lives alone in my department. All are married or have roommates. Just my two cents.
Title: Re: living wage is .... (again)
Post by: Zikoris on September 01, 2014, 09:03:50 PM
I can't stand anyone complaining about wages or expectations of wages being too high.  13k in Vancouver is not luxurious unless your living in your parents basement playing Xbox and you never intend on having a gf, getting married or having a family. 

Are you aware that this is a Mustachian forum here? We good lives without spending tons of money in these parts.

In my case, $13K/year translates into a downtown Vancouver lifestyle, tons of concerts, shows, and activities, and two big international vacations a year (in addition to weekend trips, etc). We have an amazing quality of life on that amount.
Title: Re: living wage is .... (again)
Post by: Jennifer in Ottawa on September 02, 2014, 06:18:54 AM
But, doing what you do on 13k is ONLY possible because you are half of a couple. 

It is not twice as expensive to live as a couple or half as expensive to live singly.  Couplehood brings many economies which are unavailable to a single person.  Rent is not halved for a single, nor is it doubled for a couple.

Living as you do in a micro apartment, you present an extreme example, just as the chap who lives in his car presents an extreme example.

Just because that guy gets by with living expenses of near zero doesn't mean that 'Hey look, a person can live off 2k a year so the minimum wage gives you a life of obscene Saudi Arabian level luxury".

Furthermore, you continually ignore the fact that while you and your boyfriend can take vacays and sick leave with no repercussions, a min wage earner loses a day's wages every time they do that.

Salary only one aspect of living off a minimum wage job.
Title: Re: living wage is .... (again)
Post by: Goldielocks on September 02, 2014, 08:04:20 AM
But, doing what you do on 13k is ONLY possible because you are half of a couple. 
It is not twice as expensive to live as a couple or half as expensive to live single.

Salary only one aspect of living off a minimum wage job.

Hey, that is my point.  Living wage is no where near minimum wage.  It is now around $40k per year, and very close to what the average wage is around here because it is calculated/ tied to the average spend of the average person..  It is no better than saying ' a decent wage for your full time employees is at least 75% of the average wage.'. That would be much easier to calculate too,  But have less pushy showman, distract you with my website, politics. 

The problem is when it is used to push for minimum wage increases. When it implies that this is a poverty line, which minum wage should get a person over. 

I think the two are very different, if both valid, messages.

It is no where close to poverty line.
Title: Re: living wage is .... (again)
Post by: Zikoris on September 02, 2014, 08:53:53 AM
But, doing what you do on 13k is ONLY possible because you are half of a couple. 

It is not twice as expensive to live as a couple or half as expensive to live singly.  Couplehood brings many economies which are unavailable to a single person.  Rent is not halved for a single, nor is it doubled for a couple.

Living as you do in a micro apartment, you present an extreme example, just as the chap who lives in his car presents an extreme example.

Just because that guy gets by with living expenses of near zero doesn't mean that 'Hey look, a person can live off 2k a year so the minimum wage gives you a life of obscene Saudi Arabian level luxury".

Furthermore, you continually ignore the fact that while you and your boyfriend can take vacays and sick leave with no repercussions, a min wage earner loses a day's wages every time they do that.

Salary only one aspect of living off a minimum wage job.

My first year of working (9 years ago) I earned $14,000 and supported two people off that in Vancouver, and the standard of living was fine - no international travel, but a nice place to live, food, clothes, bus passes, lots of movies, and ample local travel (weekend trips, etc).

But the "couple's advantage" seems to keep coming up, so lets kill and bury this one once and for all.

If I was living alone some of my expenses would be slightly higher, but a lot would be lower. Right now I pay $378 for my share of rent + $14 for my share of internet. If I was single I'd move into a micro suite downtown for around $550, internet included. My phone and food would be the same, though my grocery cost might actually drop since I don't need as much variety as my boyfriend. So my basic budget would be:

Rent: $550
Food: $115
Phone: $22
Bus tickets: $21
Personal care: $40

=$743, or $8916. That leaves $4000/year for entertainment, travel, bike parts, etc, while still being under $13,000 spending, and I'd be about a three block walk to work instead of six.
Title: Re: living wage is .... (again)
Post by: RichMoose on September 02, 2014, 11:12:29 AM
Zikoris, I believe your lifestyle is very commendable and I enjoyed browsing your blog. You clearly do a lot of creative things and love living a minimalist lifestyle. Honestly, you hands-down trump me in every spending category and I thought I was frugal.

This whole debate could go back and forth forever, but to me it looks like the real issue here is that Jennifer doesn't think that everyone should / could live like you do over a long period of time with no end in sight (ie. minimum wage income for life with no early retirement). I don't agree with this because for many people that retire early, their goal is not to live a very frugal lifestyle during their working years so they can save a wack of money and live like kings when they retire. My own goal is to continue my lifestyle or even downgrade it a notch or two in retirement (even MMM who makes a good chunk of money still chooses to live off $25000 / yr although I would guess he could safely spend 3 times that amount). That is the true point of mustachianism.
 
Now a couple more points: first, a person on minimum wage can enjoy retirement. Fact is, if you earn minimum wage for your whole life you will actually have a great retirement, even if you don't save a penny. CPP income: 3800 + OAS income: 6700 + GIS: 7000 = $17500. These are just rough estimates for a single person, but the point is you're still making the same income in retirement as you were working. So your lifestyle will not really change. Second point, I think it's very unlikely that a moderately ambitious able-bodied person would be "stuck" at minimum wage their whole life. Even in retail / service positions there are opportunities for promotions that result in higher wages, a bump from $9 / hr to $12 / hr is much more than a bump from $29 / hr to $32 / hr. Third point, the reality in Canada / U.S. is that people don't want to live a minimalist lifestyle. It's tough to do when your neighbours, advertisers, advocacy groups, and many more portray it "normal" that everyone should be able to drive a new vehicle, live in a fancy condo or moderate single family home, wear jewelry, have the latest phone, put their kids in dance / hockey / horse riding / other expensive activities, etc.
Title: Re: living wage is .... (again)
Post by: Albert on September 02, 2014, 12:40:06 PM
I don't know much about Canadian living, so I will differ to the others who are actually living in their cities with expenditures well below mine, but in my town I decided after living with one of my roommates for two years in college I would find a way to make a single dwelling apartment work. It is a convenience I wanted. That being said, I am engineer as well and many of my coworkers are 3-8 years into the field living with roommates because they aren't married. Now that I think about it, I am the only one who lives alone in my department. All are married or have roommates. Just my two cents.

I lived with roommates for several years while a grad student in US. Never again!!! Even as a postdoc earning just 33k a year there was no problem affording my own apartment. Sure, I only saved 10-20% during those two years but that didn't matter either as I knew that my income will triple soon enough.
Title: Re: living wage is .... (again)
Post by: Cassie on September 02, 2014, 01:25:16 PM
Also these extreme examples of living on very little don't account for the fact that many people live in communities without public transportation or it is limited & does not go the hours that they need. It can be too far to bike thus a car is needed. Yes kids don't have to be really expensive but you need to provide some activities & experiences in life that will cost $.  Also some people very much want to own a house with a yard, etc.  Life will deliver unpleasant surprises such as large medical bills, etc.   If you look at it Mr MM does not really live on $25,000 since his travel comes out of his business expenses.   Also everyone living on next to nothing has probably not experienced any major hardships in life. Have a few bouts of cancer even with insurance & see what that does to your budget. 
Title: Re: living wage is .... (again)
Post by: daverobev on September 02, 2014, 02:31:22 PM
Also these extreme examples of living on very little don't account for the fact that many people live in communities without public transportation or it is limited & does not go the hours that they need. It can be too far to bike thus a car is needed. Yes kids don't have to be really expensive but you need to provide some activities & experiences in life that will cost $.  Also some people very much want to own a house with a yard, etc.  Life will deliver unpleasant surprises such as large medical bills, etc.   If you look at it Mr MM does not really live on $25,000 since his travel comes out of his business expenses.   Also everyone living on next to nothing has probably not experienced any major hardships in life. Have a few bouts of cancer even with insurance & see what that does to your budget.

Wrong country.
Title: Re: living wage is .... (again)
Post by: Zikoris on September 02, 2014, 02:42:19 PM
Also these extreme examples of living on very little don't account for the fact that many people live in communities without public transportation or it is limited & does not go the hours that they need. It can be too far to bike thus a car is needed. Yes kids don't have to be really expensive but you need to provide some activities & experiences in life that will cost $.  Also some people very much want to own a house with a yard, etc.  Life will deliver unpleasant surprises such as large medical bills, etc.   If you look at it Mr MM does not really live on $25,000 since his travel comes out of his business expenses.   Also everyone living on next to nothing has probably not experienced any major hardships in life. Have a few bouts of cancer even with insurance & see what that does to your budget.

Given that we're talking about Canada, medical conditions aren't really an issue except that they can delay early retirement due to being out of the workforce. We certainly don't end up with big medical bills or anything like that here.
Title: Re: living wage is .... (again)
Post by: Goldielocks on September 02, 2014, 02:44:19 PM
But, doing what you do on 13k is ONLY possible because you are half of a couple. 

It is not twice as expensive to live as a couple or half as expensive to live singly.  Couplehood brings many economies which are unavailable to a single person.  Rent is not halved for a single, nor is it doubled for a couple.


But the "couple's advantage" seems to keep coming up, so lets kill and bury this one once and for all.

If I was living alone some of my expenses would be slightly higher, but a lot would be lower.

Government of Canada Calculations (very large team of staticians calculated this) that a couple needs 1.6x the income of a single person, for most locations in canada, for nearly identical expenditures, etc.  You can find this in the references for Market Basket Method calculations, which do not assume a mustachian lifestyle, but is filled with what they deemed "normal" expenditures.

Zikoris's message is right on track, from a MMM perspective in a high cost (housing) area.
Title: Re: living wage is .... (again)
Post by: Jennifer in Ottawa on September 02, 2014, 03:38:21 PM
This is my very last (you may thank me now) effort to get this point through a number of seemingly very thick skulls, and those who refuse to address this point.

You are all assuming that a min wage earner works a 40 hour work week, for 50 or 52 weeks a year.  That is absolutely fucking laughable, both the idea and the fact that it seems to be believed.

When you live on minimum wage you do not get a 40 hour work week.  You get 24.

When you live on minimum wage if you miss a day due to illness or (gasp) vacation, you DO NOT GET PAID.  Unless of course you are lucky enough to be injured at work and then Workers Comp pays you a portion of your salary while you are away.

This is a very different experience than the one enjoyed by the crew of MMM who enjoy such luxuries as paid vacations, salary instead of wages and sick days.

And to those advocating that the min wage earners can just go share a bachelor apartment with a string of roomates for the rest of their lives ... get real.

Thus trying to live off of minimum wage is much much different than what you or I are doing to trying to do, and there should indeed be a higher minimum wage or a basic living wage.

In short, if you think a min wage earner can enjoy a good normal life and a reasonable retirement you are delusional, and your bulging retirement account is making you sound like dear old Marie Antoinette, telling the peasants to just eat cake.
Title: Re: living wage is .... (again)
Post by: Cassie on September 02, 2014, 04:01:09 PM
I agree with you 100% Jennifer!
Title: Re: living wage is .... (again)
Post by: Zikoris on September 02, 2014, 04:07:57 PM
This is my very last (you may thank me now) effort to get this point through a number of seemingly very thick skulls, and those who refuse to address this point.

You are all assuming that a min wage earner works a 40 hour work week, for 50 or 52 weeks a year.  That is absolutely fucking laughable, both the idea and the fact that it seems to be believed.

When you live on minimum wage you do not get a 40 hour work week.  You get 24.

When you live on minimum wage if you miss a day due to illness or (gasp) vacation, you DO NOT GET PAID.  Unless of course you are lucky enough to be injured at work and then Workers Comp pays you a portion of your salary while you are away.

This is a very different experience than the one enjoyed by the crew of MMM who enjoy such luxuries as paid vacations, salary instead of wages and sick days.

And to those advocating that the min wage earners can just go share a bachelor apartment with a string of roomates for the rest of their lives ... get real.

Thus trying to live off of minimum wage is much much different than what you or I are doing to trying to do, and there should indeed be a higher minimum wage or a basic living wage.

In short, if you think a min wage earner can enjoy a good normal life and a reasonable retirement you are delusional, and your bulging retirement account is making you sound like dear old Marie Antoinette, telling the peasants to just eat cake.

If you're only working 24 hours a week, you have ample work a second job, start a side gig, do odd jobs, or at least optimize the hell out of your life - cook everything from scratch, learn DIY skills from free workshops, the library, or the internet, and hunt down deals on everything from rent to flour.

Multiple people have demonstrated how a person can live a quality life and retire on minimum wage in Canada, complete with numbers.

You can talk yourself into "needing" pretty much any amount of money "just to get by". I don't operate like that, and a lot of mustachians don't.
Title: Re: living wage is .... (again)
Post by: daverobev on September 02, 2014, 05:56:59 PM
This is my very last (you may thank me now) effort to get this point through a number of seemingly very thick skulls, and those who refuse to address this point.

You are all assuming that a min wage earner works a 40 hour work week, for 50 or 52 weeks a year.  That is absolutely fucking laughable, both the idea and the fact that it seems to be believed.

When you live on minimum wage you do not get a 40 hour work week.  You get 24.

When you live on minimum wage if you miss a day due to illness or (gasp) vacation, you DO NOT GET PAID.  Unless of course you are lucky enough to be injured at work and then Workers Comp pays you a portion of your salary while you are away.

This is a very different experience than the one enjoyed by the crew of MMM who enjoy such luxuries as paid vacations, salary instead of wages and sick days.

And to those advocating that the min wage earners can just go share a bachelor apartment with a string of roomates for the rest of their lives ... get real.

Thus trying to live off of minimum wage is much much different than what you or I are doing to trying to do, and there should indeed be a higher minimum wage or a basic living wage.

In short, if you think a min wage earner can enjoy a good normal life and a reasonable retirement you are delusional, and your bulging retirement account is making you sound like dear old Marie Antoinette, telling the peasants to just eat cake.

Right, but the solution isn't changing min wage - it's a guaranteed minimum income. Plus rent restrictions or so much public housing that the private providers have to keep their rates low.

You can say you only get 24 hours, but what if you don't have a job at all? How do you live then?

If min wage went up to $20 tomorrow, rents would go up by 30-50% over 5 years.

I don't think people are advocating living in a batchelor or having a house full of roomies for life. Just for a few years until you go from 24 hours at min. wage to 40 hours at $14, or whatever.
Title: Re: living wage is .... (again)
Post by: anisotropy on September 02, 2014, 06:46:58 PM
Dear Jennifer,

Since you've announced that it was your last post I will take the liberty to ridicule you as you can no longer counter my accusations.   :D

I noticed that even though lots of posters have shown you many different workable budgets (including savings for retirement, illness, and vacations) with income below the fabled "living wage" of ~17 dollars / hr for a single person (or 2762/month) , you continue to appeal to us about your "needs" so that you may "enjoy a good life and a reasonble retirement."

Not sure if this expectation or entitlement has anything to do with that you are from Ontario/Ottawa*, or maybe it's just how you've always lived, and I quote you from reply #15, "I am housed, fed and can call my mother on Sunday, and my bill is $10,560".   That $10,560 twenty years ago would be at least $21,000 in today's money. Curiously many of the budgets for essentials presented here by other posters are way lower than that amount, makes me wonder who's actually acting like Marie Antoinette here.

Here's another intersting observation I made, if we consider that a minimum wage worker gets 24hr/week as you had pointed out, and that it takes at least $21,000 to cover the essentials based on your budget in today's money, what's the wage required to sustain your basic/must have/survival/needs lifestyle? It's 16.82/hr post tax, pretty close to the fabled $17/hr that started this whole discussion.

Is this the driving force behind the insistence of the living wage or rather, the minimum wage  should be $17, as a natural and logical conclusion from this thought exercise? (needs $21,000 but can only work 24hr a week because and I quote, "When you live on minimum wage you do not get a 40 hour work week.  You get 24.")

And daverobev is right about roommates, it's typically a temporary solution for single adults. When a person  is stuck with roommates or stuck making min. wage for life, well... I hate to spell it out for you, the fault, if any, lies with the person and the person alone.

Seeing how your budget for essentials (housed, fed, call your mom) tops $21,000 a year in today's dollar, I am going to hazard a guess that it might take more than $35,000 a year to accomodate your full suite of "needs".

I admit that I am by no means a hardcore mustachian like Zikoris and many other posters, in fact, I indulge in luxuries and a "good life" as much as you do. Before you or anyone else call me a hypocrite on this matter, however, I would like to remind you that I am very clear about my needs and wants. Ultimately, it's a lifestyle choice, and we all must be responsible for our own wants.

Ok, I gotta go home, it's getting dark and office is empty.

*lol sorry I couldn't resist :P I apologize to my fellow Canadians living in the glorious province of Ontario
Title: Re: living wage is .... (again)
Post by: Goldielocks on September 02, 2014, 08:16:51 PM
This is my very last (you may thank me now) effort to get this point through a number of seemingly very thick skulls, and those who refuse to address this point.

You are all assuming that a min wage earner works a 40 hour work week, for 50 or 52 weeks a year.  That is absolutely fucking laughable, both the idea and the fact that it seems to be believed.

When you live on minimum wage you do not get a 40 hour work week.  You get 24.

When you live on minimum wage if you miss a day due to illness or (gasp) vacation, you DO NOT GET PAID.  Unless of course you are lucky enough to be injured at work and then Workers Comp pays you a portion of your salary while you are away.

This is a very different experience than the one enjoyed by the crew of MMM who enjoy such luxuries as paid vacations, salary instead of wages and sick days.

And to those advocating that the min wage earners can just go share a bachelor apartment with a string of roomates for the rest of their lives ... get real.

Thus trying to live off of minimum wage is much much different than what you or I are doing to trying to do, and there should indeed be a higher minimum wage or a basic living wage.

In short, if you think a min wage earner can enjoy a good normal life and a reasonable retirement you are delusional, and your bulging retirement account is making you sound like dear old Marie Antoinette, telling the peasants to just eat cake.

I  had to think this over a few times, as there are some questions raised.

1.  I am having trouble picturing the person working on minimum wage for more than 2 years, without another disability or societal constraining factor other than pay rate.  Could you paint a (stereotype) picture of what that person is doing?  Maybe my thick skull is in the way.

Previously, I was responsible for over hiring for 150 entry level manufacturing positions (cutting vegetables all day on assembly line), the criteria were: no english is ok, no work experience ok, must be literate in your native language, must be able to stand all day, must show up for work.  In return, starting pay was $1/hr over minimum to start, full time, fixed schedule (no erratic shifts) and medical benefits.     This was a very low overhead margin employer, the typical employee was non-english, 50 yr old woman in her first paid or non-agriculture picking job.    Employers wanting english for the same skills had to pay $4 to $6 over minimum wage to start, if they wanted to keep people for more than 18 months.     Heck, most warehouse workers here start at $17 / hr, but don't get full time right away.

2. I utterly agree with your 24 hr / wk comment.  But, you then seem to be saying that minimum wage should be high enough that someone working only 24 hr /wk on minimum wage should be able to live without a room mate and still have a "typical", not "Zikoris MMM" lifestyle.!?      say what?

3.  If minimum wage is actually a temporary condition for able bodied, available persons, of 2 years or less in duration, (my proposition) then sharing accommodation in order to live a "normal" lifestyle, or living alone with a "frugal" lifestyle should be valid for those first couple of years.   

4. Minimum wage is really intended for people getting started in the workforce, part time, limited abilities, wanting to add to a household income, students, etc.  None of these persons are trying to retire or live independently on minimum wage.

5.  Your bare bones $21k per year is not too far off (a bit lower) than the Market Basket Method that calculates in this range, depending on local rent costs.  $21k/yr is minimum wage, at full time hours, last time I looked.   You seem to therefore be agreeing that the Full time minimum wage rate is acceptable, and the only problem is getting 24 hr/wk (while wanting to carry full rent).   You should argue for more hours for minimum wage workers, rather than more $'s.

I did not see anyone saying that minimum wage earners can retire easily after a lifetime of only 24 hr/wk pay and minimum wage only.   (okay, barring government programs).  I did read Zikoris stating that it is possible to live very well on less than minimum wage, which is kind of inspiring.

That said,

The original topic is about Living Wage arguments, which I find to be based on weak, recursive logic.   Not minimum wage per se...  although I am enjoying this thread!

I would much prefer if we agreed that someone working full time, at employment and pay they would reasonably pursue for several years, should earn at least 75% (or another number) of the average salary in the region.  ie, specifically, that our municipal governments should pay their childcare, facilities and admin staff decently, raising taxes if needed to do so...