Author Topic: living wage is .... (again)  (Read 16182 times)

RichMoose

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Re: living wage is .... (again)
« Reply #50 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.

Albert

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Re: living wage is .... (again)
« Reply #51 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.

Cassie

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Re: living wage is .... (again)
« Reply #52 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. 

daverobev

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Re: living wage is .... (again)
« Reply #53 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.

Zikoris

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Re: living wage is .... (again)
« Reply #54 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.

Goldielocks

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Re: living wage is .... (again)
« Reply #55 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.

Jennifer in Ottawa

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Re: living wage is .... (again)
« Reply #56 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.

Cassie

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Re: living wage is .... (again)
« Reply #57 on: September 02, 2014, 04:01:09 PM »
I agree with you 100% Jennifer!

Zikoris

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Re: living wage is .... (again)
« Reply #58 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.

daverobev

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Re: living wage is .... (again)
« Reply #59 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.

anisotropy

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Re: living wage is .... (again)
« Reply #60 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

Goldielocks

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Re: living wage is .... (again)
« Reply #61 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...