Author Topic: Paycheck to Paycheck Nation - NPR - Dec. 16th  (Read 5191 times)


Master of None

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Re: Paycheck to Paycheck Nation - NPR - Dec. 16th
« Reply #1 on: December 16, 2020, 09:30:21 AM »
Can't believe that 2nd couple doubled their earnings by losing their jobs...good thing they got a dog to help spend all that money. Crazy.

KathrinS

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Re: Paycheck to Paycheck Nation - NPR - Dec. 16th
« Reply #2 on: December 16, 2020, 09:37:13 AM »
Not sure why they call his amplifier a ‚bill‘ or compare it to unexpected emergencies. The whole thing was quite astounding, I am also amazed that one of the couples decided to get a new dog when they are clearly struggling to pay for the two of them without added responsibility.

jps

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Re: Paycheck to Paycheck Nation - NPR - Dec. 16th
« Reply #3 on: December 16, 2020, 09:43:30 AM »
Reading through this, I found it really hard to be sympathetic with these folks. So much of it came down to their individual choices, and not external circumstances.

maizefolk

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Re: Paycheck to Paycheck Nation - NPR - Dec. 16th
« Reply #4 on: December 16, 2020, 09:46:50 AM »
Moderators, perhaps it makes sense to merge this thread with https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/welcome-to-the-forum/paycheck-to-paycheck-nation/

PDXTabs

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Re: Paycheck to Paycheck Nation - NPR - Dec. 16th
« Reply #5 on: December 16, 2020, 09:47:16 AM »
The graph clearly shows that the people struggling the most are the ones grossing less than $25K/yr, which makes perfect sense, but they don't show single one.

But I do have plenty of sympathy for a single mom with two kids grossing $45k/yr.

Kris

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Re: Paycheck to Paycheck Nation - NPR - Dec. 16th
« Reply #6 on: December 16, 2020, 10:56:39 AM »
God, reading articles like this, I always vacillate between extreme anxiety, sympathy, and anger. My stomach churns at the very thought of living like that, and I feel so sorry for them... and then I look at their budgets and their FLOCK of dogs and I'm like...

Yeah, okay, what the fuck???

UpNAtom

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Re: Paycheck to Paycheck Nation - NPR - Dec. 16th
« Reply #7 on: December 16, 2020, 12:13:31 PM »
For me the line was: "While people with the lowest incomes face the biggest challenges, even some households making above $200,000 are straining to pay basic expenses."

Basic, struggling, and 200k do not generally go together.  The definition of basic included a generally statement about "mortgage" which means that any house is included in basic...

And then there was the budget that lumped food and eating out as one item (total deficit was ~400$) pre-pandemic which dropped ~500$ mid-pandemic.  Keeping everything else the same except food, would have put the person in the black.
« Last Edit: December 17, 2020, 01:02:17 PM by UpNAtom »

fat-johnny

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Re: Paycheck to Paycheck Nation - NPR - Dec. 16th
« Reply #8 on: December 17, 2020, 01:32:35 PM »
Can't believe that 2nd couple doubled their earnings by losing their jobs...good thing they got a dog to help spend all that money. Crazy.
Correction:  they got a dog AND he financed a bicycle  <facepalm>

fat-johnny

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Re: Paycheck to Paycheck Nation - NPR - Dec. 16th
« Reply #9 on: December 17, 2020, 01:35:37 PM »
My favorite paragraph of the whole thing:

"I didn't know what to do with myself," she says. "When you start making more money, you can upgrade your bills just a little bit. I got a new phone. I was like, 'This is a whole new world for me.' Still living — more comfortably — paycheck to paycheck."


"upgrade your bills"......did she just say that?!??  Is that even a thing?!??

It's not a whole new world for you.  You're still living paycheck to paycheck.....because you upgraded your bills!

Warlord1986

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Re: Paycheck to Paycheck Nation - NPR - Dec. 16th
« Reply #10 on: December 19, 2020, 07:45:18 PM »
Oh, thank God. I just read through the other post on this article in the 'Welcome to the Forum' section and was flabbergasted. People over there are talking about minimum wage and poor people neither one of which has nothing to do with the article.

The only person I have any twinge of sympathy for is the single mom earning $45,000. Raising two teens alone can't be easy, and I bet there are days she's just too tired to cook. I'll try to reign in my judgey-mcjudgerson self for her.

The rest of those people? With their purebred dogs, splurges on video games, and $600 amplifiers? Pfft. Zero sympathy. None. None whatsoever. They can sell some of the trash they've accumulated, stop going out to eat, rent out a room, and maybe think before getting a purebred dog next time.

Also, Latin might be a dead language, but Greek isn't. I'm willing to bet the one lady could scrounge up some paid translation work if she tried. She could probably teach and tutor to adults over the internet too, a lot of people are bored right now and would probably like to learn a new language.

That whole article left a bad taste in my mouth.

Abe

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Re: Paycheck to Paycheck Nation - NPR - Dec. 16th
« Reply #11 on: December 19, 2020, 08:22:13 PM »
Was going to post that mostly to point out it is not possible to live paycheck to paycheck on $200k without making the active choice to spend excessively, unless you live in Manhattan, have the worst health insurance ever, and just got out of a 3-week ICU stay after being mauled by your newly-bought flock of purebred dogs. I am embarrassed for my society that 8% of >200k households live paycheck to paycheck.
« Last Edit: December 19, 2020, 08:24:52 PM by Abe »

MudPuppy

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Re: Paycheck to Paycheck Nation - NPR - Dec. 16th
« Reply #12 on: December 19, 2020, 08:35:12 PM »
Honestly by the time I read through the other thread to where it had gotten when I commented, I was too shocked to remember the article itself, so I’m glad this one was bumped.


There’s bad circumstances and there’s bad choices. This article is almost exclusively about bad choices. And I say that as someone who dedicates about $500 a month (just shy of 15% of our total spending) on a completely luxury life choice (pets).

Kazyan

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Re: Paycheck to Paycheck Nation - NPR - Dec. 16th
« Reply #13 on: December 19, 2020, 08:54:48 PM »
There are certainly some issues in American economic policy, and you can have a discussion about what to do about specific observations, but the response to "people are making $200k and still living paycheck-to-paycheck" begins and ends with a laughing-crying emoji.

20957

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Re: Paycheck to Paycheck Nation - NPR - Dec. 16th
« Reply #14 on: December 20, 2020, 08:30:10 AM »
There was an article on vox a few days ago that actually talked about bad decisions being a part of the reason for paycheck-to-paycheck living. But it also talked about the reasons people make bad decisions, calling out the middle class culture that prioritizes certain types of consumer spending. I thought it was a nice change of pace for that type of article.

Spiffy

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Re: Paycheck to Paycheck Nation - NPR - Dec. 16th
« Reply #15 on: December 20, 2020, 11:23:34 AM »

Also, Latin might be a dead language, but Greek isn't. I'm willing to bet the one lady could scrounge up some paid translation work if she tried. She could probably teach and tutor to adults over the internet too, a lot of people are bored right now and would probably like to learn a new language.

That whole article left a bad taste in my mouth.
I'm sure this is ancient Greek, not modern. The two are very different. I am surprised that with only a masters she has a job at all. My husband is a classicist with an Ivy league PhD and feels lucky to have a permanent lectureship at a University.

Nicholas Carter

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Re: Paycheck to Paycheck Nation - NPR - Dec. 16th
« Reply #16 on: February 10, 2021, 07:39:59 PM »
There was an article on vox a few days ago that actually talked about bad decisions being a part of the reason for paycheck-to-paycheck living. But it also talked about the reasons people make bad decisions, calling out the middle class culture that prioritizes certain types of consumer spending. I thought it was a nice change of pace for that type of article.
I have a friend, a very money conscious independent contractor, who has explained to me that because their contract renewals are so reliant on the customer's office politics, failing to impress with fancy lifestyle markers at supposedly casual meetings like work luncheons can result in them losing their job.

Not sure why they call his amplifier a ‚bill‘ or compare it to unexpected emergencies. The whole thing was quite astounding, I am also amazed that one of the couples decided to get a new dog when they are clearly struggling to pay for the two of them without added responsibility.
The articles' point is that based on the bills most people report not being able to manage, he probably spent more money than was in his wife's entire emergency fund.

Hula Hoop

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Re: Paycheck to Paycheck Nation - NPR - Dec. 16th
« Reply #17 on: February 11, 2021, 02:42:16 AM »
I do feel bad for the first couple as their daughter died of brain cancer and they were left with medical debt.  That's horrible.  But I still had so many questions.

Like, why does a massage therapist have big student loans?  How expensive is it to get certified as a massage therapist? How is she earning more now that she's unemployed and how can she "upgrade her bills"?  is her boyfriend using the new bike instead of owning a car? That might make sense in a city like Austin. Why does a person earning $30k as an adjunct professor spend spend so much on random crap in order to live a "middle class lifestyle." Do they really need a big house and 2 cars if they're both retired and their kids are grown? And why is a single mother earning $45k buying her teenage daughter a car?   And how was she spending $800 a month on food?
« Last Edit: February 11, 2021, 02:50:50 AM by Hula Hoop »

ducky19

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Re: Paycheck to Paycheck Nation - NPR - Dec. 16th
« Reply #18 on: February 11, 2021, 11:17:01 AM »
There was an article on vox a few days ago that actually talked about bad decisions being a part of the reason for paycheck-to-paycheck living. But it also talked about the reasons people make bad decisions, calling out the middle class culture that prioritizes certain types of consumer spending. I thought it was a nice change of pace for that type of article.
I have a friend, a very money conscious independent contractor, who has explained to me that because their contract renewals are so reliant on the customer's office politics, failing to impress with fancy lifestyle markers at supposedly casual meetings like work luncheons can result in them losing their job.

This. This is one of the reasons I never followed through with a career change into financial advising. I have no desire to drive a fancy car, but you don't exactly ooze "success" by rolling into someone's driveway in an '07 Vibe... :)

charis

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Re: Paycheck to Paycheck Nation - NPR - Dec. 16th
« Reply #19 on: February 11, 2021, 11:49:35 AM »
I do feel bad for the first couple as their daughter died of brain cancer and they were left with medical debt.  That's horrible.  But I still had so many questions.

Like, why does a massage therapist have big student loans?  How expensive is it to get certified as a massage therapist? How is she earning more now that she's unemployed and how can she "upgrade her bills"?  is her boyfriend using the new bike instead of owning a car? That might make sense in a city like Austin. Why does a person earning $30k as an adjunct professor spend spend so much on random crap in order to live a "middle class lifestyle." Do they really need a big house and 2 cars if they're both retired and their kids are grown? And why is a single mother earning $45k buying her teenage daughter a car?   And how was she spending $800 a month on food?

Many former students with loans were unable to complete their degree and had to move onto a different, usually low paying field.  No idea what happened here, but I've known a few folks who dropped out of college and got into massage therapy.

PDXTabs

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Re: Paycheck to Paycheck Nation - NPR - Dec. 16th
« Reply #20 on: February 12, 2021, 10:31:54 AM »
I do feel bad for the first couple as their daughter died of brain cancer and they were left with medical debt.  That's horrible.  But I still had so many questions.

Like, why does a massage therapist have big student loans?  How expensive is it to get certified as a massage therapist? How is she earning more now that she's unemployed and how can she "upgrade her bills"?  is her boyfriend using the new bike instead of owning a car? That might make sense in a city like Austin. Why does a person earning $30k as an adjunct professor spend spend so much on random crap in order to live a "middle class lifestyle." Do they really need a big house and 2 cars if they're both retired and their kids are grown? And why is a single mother earning $45k buying her teenage daughter a car?   And how was she spending $800 a month on food?

Many former students with loans were unable to complete their degree and had to move onto a different, usually low paying field.  No idea what happened here, but I've known a few folks who dropped out of college and got into massage therapy.

Yup, most people with student loan debt did not graduate. This is in part because they have more trouble paying it off, for obvious reasons.
https://oneclass.com/blog/featured/182226-what-percent-of-student-loan-borrowers-never-graduate3F.en.html

Hula Hoop

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Re: Paycheck to Paycheck Nation - NPR - Dec. 16th
« Reply #21 on: February 12, 2021, 02:17:47 PM »
I do feel bad for the first couple as their daughter died of brain cancer and they were left with medical debt.  That's horrible.  But I still had so many questions.

Like, why does a massage therapist have big student loans?  How expensive is it to get certified as a massage therapist? How is she earning more now that she's unemployed and how can she "upgrade her bills"?  is her boyfriend using the new bike instead of owning a car? That might make sense in a city like Austin. Why does a person earning $30k as an adjunct professor spend spend so much on random crap in order to live a "middle class lifestyle." Do they really need a big house and 2 cars if they're both retired and their kids are grown? And why is a single mother earning $45k buying her teenage daughter a car?   And how was she spending $800 a month on food?

Many former students with loans were unable to complete their degree and had to move onto a different, usually low paying field.  No idea what happened here, but I've known a few folks who dropped out of college and got into massage therapy.

Yup, most people with student loan debt did not graduate. This is in part because they have more trouble paying it off, for obvious reasons.
https://oneclass.com/blog/featured/182226-what-percent-of-student-loan-borrowers-never-graduate3F.en.html

That sucks.  I noticed that the single mother in the article had gone to culinary school but had then changed careers into something in the medical field.  I guess she's probably still paying off the culinary school debt.

The_Big_H

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Re: Paycheck to Paycheck Nation - NPR - Dec. 16th
« Reply #22 on: February 13, 2021, 11:20:33 AM »
There was an article on vox a few days ago that actually talked about bad decisions being a part of the reason for paycheck-to-paycheck living. But it also talked about the reasons people make bad decisions, calling out the middle class culture that prioritizes certain types of consumer spending. I thought it was a nice change of pace for that type of article.
I have a friend, a very money conscious independent contractor, who has explained to me that because their contract renewals are so reliant on the customer's office politics, failing to impress with fancy lifestyle markers at supposedly casual meetings like work luncheons can result in them losing their job.

This. This is one of the reasons I never followed through with a career change into financial advising. I have no desire to drive a fancy car, but you don't exactly ooze "success" by rolling into someone's driveway in an '07 Vibe... :)

One of the great perks of an engineering job, there is very little lifestyle expectation.  Though it is pretty funny to roll up on the job site and have a much shittier car than the construction workers (and their brodozers)

Just Joe

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Re: Paycheck to Paycheck Nation - NPR - Dec. 16th
« Reply #23 on: February 13, 2021, 01:20:24 PM »
Extra points if the car has mismatched paint on various parts of the car... ;)

TheFrenchCat

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Re: Paycheck to Paycheck Nation - NPR - Dec. 16th
« Reply #24 on: February 13, 2021, 02:19:20 PM »
My husband's an engineer, and he's said it's a point of pride among his colleagues to show off how long you can keep the car running.  Plus we once let our 5-year-old pick the paint for the door once.

ixtap

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Re: Paycheck to Paycheck Nation - NPR - Dec. 16th
« Reply #25 on: February 13, 2021, 02:28:55 PM »
Dad once patched up some rust with duct tape. Mom covered the duct tape with 70's flowered contact paper. My brother had to learn to drive in this flower power car.

SavinMaven

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Re: Paycheck to Paycheck Nation - NPR - Dec. 16th
« Reply #26 on: February 14, 2021, 01:51:45 PM »
Is there an actual definition for "living paycheck-to-paycheck"? How much do you have to have in your 'stache to NOT be doing that anymore?

charis

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Re: Paycheck to Paycheck Nation - NPR - Dec. 16th
« Reply #27 on: February 14, 2021, 02:37:28 PM »
Is there an actual definition for "living paycheck-to-paycheck"? How much do you have to have in your 'stache to NOT be doing that anymore?

It varies. The commonly understood definition is folks who spend everything they make so that if they missed the next paycheck, they'd be in trouble.  Once you have a decent EF and the ability to save part of each paycheck, you technically aren't living paycheck-to-paycheck

maizefolk

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Re: Paycheck to Paycheck Nation - NPR - Dec. 16th
« Reply #28 on: February 14, 2021, 02:42:22 PM »
I'd agree with that definition: "Could miss a paycheck and it wouldn't be an immediate crisis."

MudPuppy

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Re: Paycheck to Paycheck Nation - NPR - Dec. 16th
« Reply #29 on: February 15, 2021, 01:04:42 AM »
I think once you reliably find yourself with extra money at the end of the month instead of extra month at the end of the money, you’re no longer paycheck to paycheck.

HotTubes

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Re: Paycheck to Paycheck Nation - NPR - Dec. 16th
« Reply #30 on: February 18, 2021, 07:55:03 PM »
I think once you reliably find yourself with extra money at the end of the month instead of extra month at the end of the money, you’re no longer paycheck to paycheck.

I like this as a practical definition, and have certainly lived both of those types of months