Author Topic: Any low income mustachians out there?  (Read 24090 times)

WhiteTrashCash

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Re: Any low income mustachians out there?
« Reply #50 on: July 01, 2017, 06:26:48 AM »
I didn't notice it until recently, but I think there is a slight hint of elitism on this site in regards to low income individuals.
Correct. But to be fair, people who are low-income are less willing to put their numbers out there and talk details than people who are high-income. We see this also in people talking about running their small business: some have a very small business (like me), it does make money but they won't talk details...

The elitism can be a little difficult to handle sometimes for people with low incomes, because people with low incomes often are coming from a bad place psychologically when they are trying to turn things around for themselves.

Sometimes, it feels like some people on this forum blame low income people for their circumstances. The "face punches" can be a little cruel sometimes. Yeah, there are things that low income people can do to improve themselves financially, but it can be hard to unlearn negative habits and find the courage to take financial risks. Also, there are many factors beyond the control of low income people that put them in a difficult situation.

I would encourage more low income people on this forum to tell their stories and I would encourage the high income people to be a little kinder and more supportive of people starting out on a difficult journey.

farfromfire

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Re: Any low income mustachians out there?
« Reply #51 on: July 01, 2017, 06:58:04 AM »
I currently make a net income of 21K EUR, of which I save 25%, which is VERY mustachian compared to my peers. It *is* funny sometimes when people here or on various podcasts say things like "how could you NOT be saving 50+ percent of your income"? Or how ANYONE can achieve higher incomes, regardless of life situation - my net income is 10% below the average here, obviously the economy could not sustain everyone doubling their income without massive inflation.

At the end of the day, if one can live on 75% of their net income, they'll save 25x spending in 25 years assuming 8% real growth. If 90%, then 38 years, still much better than other folks in the same position who do not save.

Jaguar Paw

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Re: Any low income mustachians out there?
« Reply #52 on: July 01, 2017, 09:37:49 AM »
Just dropping in to post in regards to "not everyone on here makes 6 figures at 22".

When I graduated school, I moved across country to join Teach For America. Quickly realized that it was not for me, so I quit and actually owed the school district money when I quit. I lived off frozen burritos for a few months while working in sales before I got my current job. Still at 22, I think starting salary was around 35k...Annnnd of course, because I was 22, stupid, and hadn't heard of this site, I bought a brand new 25K car..and wasted a ton of money on electronics and not mustachian crap.

Fast forward 10 years, married with a high household income, and we still have the same fairly cheap lifestyle from before.

Hats off to everyone grinding through the mustachian lifestyle on a low income. Keep up the good work!

WhiteTrashCash

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Re: Any low income mustachians out there?
« Reply #53 on: July 01, 2017, 10:40:44 AM »
I didn't notice it until recently, but I think there is a slight hint of elitism on this site in regards to low income individuals.
Correct. But to be fair, people who are low-income are less willing to put their numbers out there and talk details than people who are high-income. We see this also in people talking about running their small business: some have a very small business (like me), it does make money but they won't talk details...

The elitism can be a little difficult to handle sometimes for people with low incomes, because people with low incomes often are coming from a bad place psychologically when they are trying to turn things around for themselves.

Sometimes, it feels like some people on this forum blame low income people for their circumstances. The "face punches" can be a little cruel sometimes. Yeah, there are things that low income people can do to improve themselves financially, but it can be hard to unlearn negative habits and find the courage to take financial risks. Also, there are many factors beyond the control of low income people that put them in a difficult situation.

I would encourage more low income people on this forum to tell their stories and I would encourage the high income people to be a little kinder and more supportive of people starting out on a difficult journey.
Also many low income earners are purposely choosing professions they find more altruistic then a job that may earn them big bucks. For some people turning their backs on high paying jobs in lieu of one with more meaning and purpose is what's important to them rather than saving a massive $$ amount for a champagne-fuelled FIRE life.

Altruism is all well and good -- I do a lot of charity work myself -- but it's beneficial for people to increase their earnings as much as possible because that will allow them to do more good with their wealth. I have been able to help so many people, especially the poor and hungry, because I was able to improve my financial situation. There are literally a whole lot of people who are fed, clothed, sheltered, and educated only because I increased my income.

WhiteTrashCash

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Re: Any low income mustachians out there?
« Reply #54 on: July 01, 2017, 11:23:55 AM »
I didn't notice it until recently, but I think there is a slight hint of elitism on this site in regards to low income individuals.
Correct. But to be fair, people who are low-income are less willing to put their numbers out there and talk details than people who are high-income. We see this also in people talking about running their small business: some have a very small business (like me), it does make money but they won't talk details...

The elitism can be a little difficult to handle sometimes for people with low incomes, because people with low incomes often are coming from a bad place psychologically when they are trying to turn things around for themselves.

Sometimes, it feels like some people on this forum blame low income people for their circumstances. The "face punches" can be a little cruel sometimes. Yeah, there are things that low income people can do to improve themselves financially, but it can be hard to unlearn negative habits and find the courage to take financial risks. Also, there are many factors beyond the control of low income people that put them in a difficult situation.

I would encourage more low income people on this forum to tell their stories and I would encourage the high income people to be a little kinder and more supportive of people starting out on a difficult journey.
Also many low income earners are purposely choosing professions they find more altruistic then a job that may earn them big bucks. For some people turning their backs on high paying jobs in lieu of one with more meaning and purpose is what's important to them rather than saving a massive $$ amount for a champagne-fuelled FIRE life.

Altruism is all well and good -- I do a lot of charity work myself -- but it's beneficial for people to increase their earnings as much as possible because that will allow them to do more good with their wealth. I have been able to help so many people, especially the poor and hungry, because I was able to improve my financial situation. There are literally a whole lot of people who are fed, clothed, sheltered, and educated only because I increased my income.
and there are an equal amount of people who are doing the actual clothing, sheltering, feeding, educating, supporting, and care giving on low incomes. I agree earning more money and donating it to charitable causes is always a good thing but there needs to be boots-on-the-ground people doing the actual physical work to make things successful. I also wasn't just talking about charitable work but those lower income jobs (like caregiver, daycare worker, EMT, rescue workers, social workers, military, law enforcement, environmental fields,  teachers,  ministers, etc...) who aren't paid much but do important work.

If there's one big overarching important lesson that I've learned about life, it's "Don't Be A Martyr". Honestly, do charity work because you are a good person, but don't make it your occupation. It hurts you. It hurts your cause. It hurts everybody. Get money because it makes everything better.

Sounds cold, I know, but it's helpful advice.

joonifloofeefloo

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Re: Any low income mustachians out there?
« Reply #55 on: July 01, 2017, 11:29:41 AM »
Quote
I also wasn't just talking about charitable work but those lower income jobs (like caregiver, daycare worker, EMT, rescue workers, social workers, military, law enforcement, environmental fields,  teachers,  ministers, etc...) who aren't paid much but do important work.

That's how I had read you.

Totally agreed. People in these fields are doing charitable work, by offering essential services at low rates or free, often at the cost of personal real estate, etc. I do feel like this key matter is often missed in Mustache land, i.e., that a focus on high-income (only) seems to forget that most of us on the planet are relying on the people who help their neighbours, strangers, clients, patients, etc -or the next generations of health care workers, etc- for free or very low wages.

It concerns me when I see a version of Mustachianism that relies on other people working for low wages, without recognizing that or aiming to redistribute some of the gains from that.

Giving money is also critically important, though, yes.

Both essential.

Having gone the path of the accidental martyr, I do urge my kid to aim for high income for 6-10 years, then spend the rest of his life self-funding such good work. The ideal thing about this is that it frees one to work in a principled way vs compromised way, which I think is also a wonderful difference.

Anydaynow

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Re: Any low income mustachians out there?
« Reply #56 on: July 01, 2017, 04:00:18 PM »
This thread is great.  I also find that the low income folks are more tight-lipped around here (myself included). I read some threads and think .... well, I *feel* a sense of self-inflicted "othering."  Last year was my highest earning, ever, at 39 000 pre-tax.  Other years have been 30 000 or less, usually much less.  I felt downright rich when I finally earned 25 000 - I had enough money for my needs, most of my (humble) wants, and there was still some left over for savings?! Sweet!  I definitely do not fit the target demographic here, and likely I never will as my chosen field is in social work.  Currently, I am juggling 4 jobs just to crack that 30 000 mark, and I am paying out of pocket for school, up front (at 34 years old) in an effort to eventually boost my earning potential.  On paper, I have never been so successful in my entire life. This forum results in me feeling the bad kind of face punch (as in, ugh, my best is considered failure for a lot of people), but I stay because the principles are sound and I have seen a lot of financial growth as a result (knowledge and dollars).  I just no longer click on "help, I can't find savings on 100 000/yr" threads because... what planet are they on to be so incredibly wealthy and have nothing? There's nothing for me to learn there.  A thread like this one, however, has sparked my interest big time.  I'm really appreciating all of the posters.

Jaguar Paw

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Re: Any low income mustachians out there?
« Reply #57 on: July 01, 2017, 05:00:34 PM »

[/quote] and there are an equal amount of people who are doing the actual clothing, sheltering, feeding, educating, supporting, and care giving on low incomes. I agree earning more money and donating it to charitable causes is always a good thing but there needs to be boots-on-the-ground people doing the actual physical work to make things successful. I also wasn't just talking about charitable work but those lower income jobs (like caregiver, daycare worker, EMT, rescue workers, social workers, military, law enforcement, environmental fields,  teachers,  ministers, etc...) who aren't paid much but do important work.
[/quote]

Hooray!! I have done two of these jobs (teacher and law enforcement). The only slight correction is that from my experience, the jobs are not lower income. Teachers in the area start around 50K and after 9 years in Law Enforcement, with a bit under ten hours per week of overtime, an Officer can make 90K.. Thanks for thinking those jobs are important, but for anyone out their contemplating the field, you can still make some good money doing it.

Also, in reference to another comment, the Randian in me hates the word and idea of altruism, but now I'm just nitpicking.

Paul der Krake

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Re: Any low income mustachians out there?
« Reply #58 on: July 01, 2017, 05:47:17 PM »
I currently make a net income of 21K EUR, of which I save 25%, which is VERY mustachian compared to my peers. It *is* funny sometimes when people here or on various podcasts say things like "how could you NOT be saving 50+ percent of your income"? Or how ANYONE can achieve higher incomes, regardless of life situation - my net income is 10% below the average here, obviously the economy could not sustain everyone doubling their income without massive inflation.

At the end of the day, if one can live on 75% of their net income, they'll save 25x spending in 25 years assuming 8% real growth. If 90%, then 38 years, still much better than other folks in the same position who do not save.
With a few exceptions, professionals in the US are paid vastly more than their European counterparts. The safety net is lower, granted, but it's usually a much better deal for a motivated young professional with a clean slate.

The target audience of the FIRE podcasts is the healthy US college grad with minimal debt, no kids, who makes 40k/year or more in an average area. It's not hard to save 50% of your income under those circumstances.

Fire2025

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Re: Any low income mustachians out there?
« Reply #59 on: July 01, 2017, 06:07:28 PM »
This thread is great.  I also find that the low income folks are more tight-lipped around here (myself included). I read some threads and think .... well, I *feel* a sense of self-inflicted "othering."  Last year was my highest earning, ever, at 39 000 pre-tax.  Other years have been 30 000 or less, usually much less.  I felt downright rich when I finally earned 25 000 - I had enough money for my needs, most of my (humble) wants, and there was still some left over for savings?! Sweet!  ... I stay because the principles are sound and I have seen a lot of financial growth as a result (knowledge and dollars).  I just no longer click on "help, I can't find savings on 100 000/yr" threads because... what planet are they on to be so incredibly wealthy and have nothing? There's nothing for me to learn there.  A thread like this one, however, has sparked my interest big time.  I'm really appreciating all of the posters.
Anydaynow, I loved your post.  I felt the same way when my wage actually got over $30,000 per year, I was like wow I'm so rich, what does one do with all this money!!???  And the site has really really helped me to save every penny of the extra and for that I'm super grateful, but the "if you can't make more you're a failure" attitude that flies around some of the threads, can really get to me sometimes. 

farfromfire

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Re: Any low income mustachians out there?
« Reply #60 on: July 02, 2017, 02:01:06 AM »
I currently make a net income of 21K EUR, of which I save 25%, which is VERY mustachian compared to my peers. It *is* funny sometimes when people here or on various podcasts say things like "how could you NOT be saving 50+ percent of your income"? Or how ANYONE can achieve higher incomes, regardless of life situation - my net income is 10% below the average here, obviously the economy could not sustain everyone doubling their income without massive inflation.

At the end of the day, if one can live on 75% of their net income, they'll save 25x spending in 25 years assuming 8% real growth. If 90%, then 38 years, still much better than other folks in the same position who do not save.
With a few exceptions, professionals in the US are paid vastly more than their European counterparts. The safety net is lower, granted, but it's usually a much better deal for a motivated young professional with a clean slate.

The target audience of the FIRE podcasts is the healthy US college grad with minimal debt, no kids, who makes 40k/year or more in an average area. It's not hard to save 50% of your income under those circumstances.

First point is 100% correct, and my income is expected to be much higher when I move back to the US in a few years - and the positive habits I have learned from the FIRE community over the past year will help me save most of that income.

To the second - depends on the podcast (I believe the relatively new ChooseFI guys said they target anyone making above 30k at one point). Limiting your audience to a US college grad with minimal debt does not leave many people though, given the average student loan debt accumulated during college.

BobTheBuilder

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Re: Any low income mustachians out there?
« Reply #61 on: July 02, 2017, 03:36:38 AM »
I currently make a net income of 21K EUR, of which I save 25%, which is VERY mustachian compared to my peers. It *is* funny sometimes when people here or on various podcasts say things like "how could you NOT be saving 50+ percent of your income"? Or how ANYONE can achieve higher incomes, regardless of life situation - my net income is 10% below the average here, obviously the economy could not sustain everyone doubling their income without massive inflation.

At the end of the day, if one can live on 75% of their net income, they'll save 25x spending in 25 years assuming 8% real growth. If 90%, then 38 years, still much better than other folks in the same position who do not save.

That is almost exactly what I make... 23K EUR net income. Keeping my student spending levels until I finish this Ph.D. which is quite the unmotivational hell-hole right now (machines not working, software not working, politics...). But from here on, it only goes up! 1 more year at this income. After this, to inifinity and beyond :-D

farfromfire

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Re: Any low income mustachians out there?
« Reply #62 on: July 02, 2017, 03:49:56 AM »
I currently make a net income of 21K EUR, of which I save 25%, which is VERY mustachian compared to my peers. It *is* funny sometimes when people here or on various podcasts say things like "how could you NOT be saving 50+ percent of your income"? Or how ANYONE can achieve higher incomes, regardless of life situation - my net income is 10% below the average here, obviously the economy could not sustain everyone doubling their income without massive inflation.

At the end of the day, if one can live on 75% of their net income, they'll save 25x spending in 25 years assuming 8% real growth. If 90%, then 38 years, still much better than other folks in the same position who do not save.

That is almost exactly what I make... 23K EUR net income. Keeping my student spending levels until I finish this Ph.D. which is quite the unmotivational hell-hole right now (machines not working, software not working, politics...). But from here on, it only goes up! 1 more year at this income. After this, to inifinity and beyond :-D
May I ask where you live? Mine is an Austrian PhD income.

GrumpyPenguin

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Re: Any low income mustachians out there?
« Reply #63 on: July 02, 2017, 06:18:52 AM »
This thread is great.  I also find that the low income folks are more tight-lipped around here (myself included). I read some threads and think .... well, I *feel* a sense of self-inflicted "othering."  Last year was my highest earning, ever, at 39 000 pre-tax.  Other years have been 30 000 or less, usually much less.  I felt downright rich when I finally earned 25 000 - I had enough money for my needs, most of my (humble) wants, and there was still some left over for savings?! Sweet!  I definitely do not fit the target demographic here, and likely I never will as my chosen field is in social work.  Currently, I am juggling 4 jobs just to crack that 30 000 mark, and I am paying out of pocket for school, up front (at 34 years old) in an effort to eventually boost my earning potential.  On paper, I have never been so successful in my entire life. This forum results in me feeling the bad kind of face punch (as in, ugh, my best is considered failure for a lot of people), but I stay because the principles are sound and I have seen a lot of financial growth as a result (knowledge and dollars).  I just no longer click on "help, I can't find savings on 100 000/yr" threads because... what planet are they on to be so incredibly wealthy and have nothing? There's nothing for me to learn there.  A thread like this one, however, has sparked my interest big time.  I'm really appreciating all of the posters.

Makes me a little sad to hear low income folks might be excluding themselves from some conversations here.  I think it's important for Mustachians with low incomes to talk about their experiences here -- their experiences may uniquely help new readers/visitors in a way that folks in other income brackets might not be able to.

I'm one of the folks who went to grad school and lived off of $15-20k a year for a good long while. When I started working after school, my income increased substantially while my spending has barely inflated (wellllll, about 50% more, but still low all things considered).  The school/work transition like this makes saving 50%+ relatively easy, but for new readers and visitors, talking about my experiences probably won't help many of them.

memorytoast

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Re: Any low income mustachians out there?
« Reply #64 on: July 02, 2017, 07:45:53 AM »
I didn't notice it until recently, but I think there is a slight hint of elitism on this site in regards to low income individuals.
Correct. But to be fair, people who are low-income are less willing to put their numbers out there and talk details than people who are high-income. We see this also in people talking about running their small business: some have a very small business (like me), it does make money but they won't talk details...

The elitism can be a little difficult to handle sometimes for people with low incomes, because people with low incomes often are coming from a bad place psychologically when they are trying to turn things around for themselves.

Sometimes, it feels like some people on this forum blame low income people for their circumstances. The "face punches" can be a little cruel sometimes. Yeah, there are things that low income people can do to improve themselves financially, but it can be hard to unlearn negative habits and find the courage to take financial risks. Also, there are many factors beyond the control of low income people that put them in a difficult situation.

I would encourage more low income people on this forum to tell their stories and I would encourage the high income people to be a little kinder and more supportive of people starting out on a difficult journey.
Also many low income earners are purposely choosing professions they find more altruistic then a job that may earn them big bucks. For some people turning their backs on high paying jobs in lieu of one with more meaning and purpose is what's important to them rather than saving a massive $$ amount for a champagne-fuelled FIRE life.

Altruism is all well and good -- I do a lot of charity work myself -- but it's beneficial for people to increase their earnings as much as possible because that will allow them to do more good with their wealth. I have been able to help so many people, especially the poor and hungry, because I was able to improve my financial situation. There are literally a whole lot of people who are fed, clothed, sheltered, and educated only because I increased my income.
and there are an equal amount of people who are doing the actual clothing, sheltering, feeding, educating, supporting, and care giving on low incomes. I agree earning more money and donating it to charitable causes is always a good thing but there needs to be boots-on-the-ground people doing the actual physical work to make things successful. I also wasn't just talking about charitable work but those lower income jobs (like caregiver, daycare worker, EMT, rescue workers, social workers, military, law enforcement, environmental fields,  teachers,  ministers, etc...) who aren't paid much but do important work.

If there's one big overarching important lesson that I've learned about life, it's "Don't Be A Martyr". Honestly, do charity work because you are a good person, but don't make it your occupation. It hurts you. It hurts your cause. It hurts everybody. Get money because it makes everything better.

Sounds cold, I know, but it's helpful advice.

Wow, that's quote the discussion that I missed! WhiteTrashCan, which of these defintions of "matyr" did you mean:
1.a person who willingly suffers death rather than renounce his or her religion.
2.a person who is put to death or endures great suffering on behalf of any belief, principle, or cause:
a martyr to the cause of social justice.
3.a person who undergoes severe or constant suffering:
a martyr to severe headaches.
4.a person who seeks sympathy or attention by feigning or exaggerating pain, deprivation, etc.?

Fire2025

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Re: Any low income mustachians out there?
« Reply #65 on: July 02, 2017, 08:11:08 AM »
I really love this thread and I want to tip my hat to the $30k - 40k crowd around here.  I have never spent more than 30k a year because until 5 years ago, I had never made more than that, 47 and spent my life as a failing artist, not one regret. 

But I can say spending 30k now that I make 60k is a totally different world.  The constant fear of the unknown when you are only saving maybe 25 or 50 bucks a month is so hard, so exhausting.  Congratulations, you are killing it!!!!!!!!!!

memorytoast

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Re: Any low income mustachians out there?
« Reply #66 on: July 02, 2017, 08:18:31 AM »
I wanted to say thanks Cali Nonya for those nice graphs. They highlighted the importance of increasing savings as you get older and sticking it out when psychologically it feels like you're getting nowhere, but the math says you're getting somewhere.

I also wanted to thank you for your long post. It certainly did make me feel better, because my short-term dreams are even more modest than that!

Well you sort of restated my point.  Really strong desires are basically "needs".   We're human, we are affected by social pressure.  I sort of mentally picture the people who are immune to social pressure (or claim to be) as weird androids (and I just assume they are lying).
But before I show you how, totally with you on the android point - do you like the topic of behavioral economics?

So for you it's two cars, travel for family, church, and a 2 bedroom living space (I'll just assume a  3bd/2bath house).  When you think of it, that's not really that much.  Yes yes, one car is cheaper (but a hassle), travel is an indulgence (but I get that one, I love my family and I don't care how long I have to work, I am not going to not go home and help out my mom), and more than one bed-room!  On no!  Spendy!  (Sarcasim)

Well, actually we're just thinking of going from 0 cars to 1, yes, travel to my family,( but at that's a little better than a before, because we were traveling from NY to visit my parents in MD and his parents in FL, and now we'll only have to travel to see mine), our other religious expenses (not having to do with chruch though, because we're not Christian), a 2 bedroom apartment (up from our sort of 1 bedroom, sort of studio), and up to 1 car from 0.

But joking aside, I can relate but mine were a little different... I have that happiness level with my goals that I don't feel pressure when parking it between the Mercedes and the Lexus at work (seriously I would do this intentionally).
You made areally good point here about knowing which of your wants are really needs. Meeting those wants can contribute to a feeling of happiness that makes spending pressure easier to deflect.

I really love this thread and I want to tip my hat to the $30k - 40k crowd around here.  I have never spent more than 30k a year because until 5 years ago, I had never made more than that, 47 and spent my life as a failing artist, not one regret. 

But I can say spending 30k now that I make 60k is a totally different world.  The constant fear of the unknown when you are only saving maybe 25 or 50 bucks a month is so hard, so exhausting.  Congratulations, you are killing it!!!!!!!!!!
Thanks!

joonifloofeefloo

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Re: Any low income mustachians out there?
« Reply #67 on: July 02, 2017, 08:42:07 AM »
Quote
Makes me a little sad to hear low income folks might be excluding themselves from some conversations here.  I think it's important for Mustachians with low incomes to talk about their experiences here -- their experiences may uniquely help new readers/visitors in a way that folks in other income brackets might not be able to.

+1.

Blurting my circumstances and resulting income on this forum has had a wonderful affect on my life (and savings!). Highly recommend. Yes, there are a few silly people who think "anyone can do x" or "everyone can bring in $100k/yr", but there is also a super strong contingent (of all income levels) bolstering, encouraging, and celebrating folks navigating life with low income and/or tricky circumstances.

I had one long journal whose title noted my "$15k, 2 ppl" spend per year. Some of us have discussed the idea of us a bunch of us lower-income people including our spending or income level in a journal title, just so people know there are a bunch of us.

Definitely include yourself :)

pachnik

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Re: Any low income mustachians out there?
« Reply #68 on: July 02, 2017, 10:24:11 AM »
I don't think I am a low income MMM; I made $55,000.00 last year which AFAIK is middle income.  My husband makes about the same as I do.  I am enjoying this thread too. 

I can relate more to low or middle-income people here.  For me this is because, I never bought into an expensive lifestyle.  I mean I could have if I had decided to use my credit cards.  Instead, I always owned modest vehicles, lived in cheaper rentals - wasn't trying to "make a splash".   But unfortunately, until I found this website, I frittered my money away on stuff like take-out coffee, buying lunch out rather than brown bagging etc.

Also, I don't think anyone can bring in $100,000.00 a year. 

Dicey

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Re: Any low income mustachians out there?
« Reply #69 on: July 02, 2017, 10:25:43 AM »
I'd also say don't forget the age part of the equation.  Some of the elitists got there from small beginnings, the older crowd does tend towards higher net value, but that's what you are also hoping for, right?
^^^This^^^

I have an AA, DH has an AAA, which stands for Almost an AA. His work is considered blue collar. I was single and made less than 45k for the majority of my career, in a HCOLA to boot. I am FIRE now, but DH still works. He's at the peak of his company's wage scale, with three years to go to reach his full Defined Benefit Pension age. He earns well under 100k. We live and still save on his salary. Yet to outward appearances, we are the elitists you scorn (Sorry OP, see JJ quote and apology below). Our 1+M house is paid for, as are the nice-looking cars in the driveway. We have a few rental properties (with cheap mortgages). We have more money in investments than we ever imagined possible.

I too, have sensed the elitism on this forum, but the pillar values sit so well with my own ethics that I still find this forum and site very useful....

Yes, we are the "elitists" you scorn, JanetJackson, but only because we started early-ish, used mortgages as leverage to create wealth, lived below our means, saved and invested. Then we waited. TIME is the most important factor once you start investing. Set your goals, keep to them, then let compound interest do its magic and you will get there, too.

I love this line: The best time to plant a tree is twenty years ago. The second best time is today.

As Cali Nonya said, we're older and planted our trees twenty years ago. Today is your chance to plant yours. Don't miss it because you scorn the "elitists".

ETA: I wrote this a couple of days ago. Today, I see it didn't post and that there are 25 new replies. I'm going to post it anyway. I suspect others have already said this, but IMO, it bears repeating.

ETA2: Whoops! Full apologies to the OP, who did NOT use the word "elitism". I have added the comment to this post, for clarification.

SORRY to have put words in the wrong person's mouth. Note to self: if you finally find your not-an-iPad thingy after searching for days for it and you see there's a post that you didn't publish, perhaps there was a good reason for that. Gah!

Despite this brain lapse, I love the tree story, and the fact that my story is one of encouragement, so I'm going to simply add this apology rather than delete the whole post.

Perhaps it also proves that one doesn't even have to be all that smart to get to FIRE, i.e. me. Gah!
« Last Edit: July 02, 2017, 03:05:54 PM by Dicey »

Anydaynow

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Re: Any low income mustachians out there?
« Reply #70 on: July 02, 2017, 10:53:51 AM »
I'm so much more inspired by you lower income folks.  My "reach" income goal for my lifetime is 60 000/yr.  Id be jazzed about 50 000. Money would be piling up to my ears with zero effort.  I don't even know what people spend it on past about 40 000, because I always had basically everything I wanted with 30 000+. 

My current life circumstances are somewhat (although not totally, I've found!) unique around here so I feel out of place posting. This is actually my first contribution outside of the "off topic" section.  I sponge up what is applicable to me, try to adjust the rest to fit into my own context, and leave whatever else behind.  I have learned a lot here - about investing,  about saving, about attitude, and about how to get ahead (even if I'm coming from somewhere way behind most).  I wish there was an entire subforum for those making less than 50 000/yr (total! It totally turns me off when I read about a 30 000 income but then find out a partner is making 80 000, for a combined "I'm riiiiiiich" amount).

Anydaynow

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Re: Any low income mustachians out there?
« Reply #71 on: July 02, 2017, 11:21:14 AM »
My comment above was in no way targeting anyone, especially the post that snuck in right before mine! It just doesn't apply to me and I am unable to relate to financial plans that have that kind of money involved.  I appreciated the above post, particularly the quote about planting a tree. That's been my attitude since finding this place :)

Fire2025

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Re: Any low income mustachians out there?
« Reply #72 on: July 02, 2017, 11:34:42 AM »
Yes, we are the "elitists" you scorn,

I don't think anyone on this thread has scorned anyone for having more, and that is not elitist.  Elitists are the people who have more and assume there is something wrong with those of us who have less.  If you judge others because they have less; less education, less money, less talent you are an elitist.

If you just have more then you are definitely elite, but being elite is good, it means you have achieved something special and no one on this thread, of any income bracket, has poopooed anyone for being elite.

Some of us have poopooed people on the forum who assume they are a little better than those of use working in the under 100,000 camp.  And I'm guilty of poopooing people who swear you "just can't" live on 45,000/year in blahblahblah city.  When people of all incomes live in those cities.

joonifloofeefloo

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Re: Any low income mustachians out there?
« Reply #73 on: July 02, 2017, 02:09:10 PM »
Quote
I wish there was an entire subforum for those making less than 50 000/yr (total! It totally turns me off when I read about a 30 000 income but then find out a partner is making 80 000, for a combined "I'm riiiiiiich" amount).

You could request exactly this! :)
Just ask a mod. Maybe the team says yes, maybe the team says no, but you can propose/request it.
And I think it's a great idea.

Channel-Z

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Re: Any low income mustachians out there?
« Reply #74 on: July 02, 2017, 02:42:13 PM »
At $52k/year, I would consider myself low-income. It feels that way, especially when a lot of people I know are taking fabulous vacations and moving to bigger houses (I know, I know, Facebook). When I graduated college, my first job paid $19,000. I'm 40 now, so my income hasn't increased dramatically, but it has increased nonetheless. The biggest reason I've been able to crack the $200,000 net worth mark this year is the lack of family, children in particular. I'm just an ordinary, average single guy with an old car. I can save about $1,400 maximum per month, not counting the 401(k) contribution. That varies depending on what bills come due. By comparison, some of my co-workers at similar salaries often speak of money problems. Some work second jobs. At least one asked me if she could contest an overdraft charge.

My biggest mistake was probably not buying a house. Had I known I would be in one city for so long after two layoffs in two other cities, I would have taken the plunge on some small 2BR place.

Regardless of income, we are here because of our creativity, and goal-oriented mindsets. I don't anticipate ever being married or having a family, so I want my next job to be my last, and I would like it to be in an area where I can retire in place. I hope MMM can assist me in new ideas so that I may find that peaceful existence, even if it's not really "early" retirement.

Dicey

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Re: Any low income mustachians out there?
« Reply #75 on: July 02, 2017, 03:11:51 PM »
Note to FIRE2025 and freshstache: You're right. It was Janet Jackson who used the term, not the OP. I have amended my original post. Thanks for calling out my error so politely.

P.S. I didn't delete it, because then the comments don't make sense. Meanwhile cuppa (which is autocorrect for Mea culpa).

life_travel

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Re: Any low income mustachians out there?
« Reply #76 on: July 02, 2017, 03:46:24 PM »
Personally I loved the tree analogy Dicey, I've been in low income camp so I understand those folks ... Then by chance I was in a high income camp ( but couldn't save that much because of circumstances ) then back into average income camp .
I want to leave my work " yesterday " but alas I'm still planting trees :)

When I look at your age and your accomplishements it feels somewhat " fair" but when I look at so many threads with " I'm 23 with 95k salary " or I'm 27 and FI " sometimes it feels unfair . I know I know that's irrational but we are all humans and have our emotions after all ... IRL I'm a positive person and always believe there is no point comparing to others to be envious , we all have our own unique lives to live .
Having been in both of income camps it would be great to see subforum for lower income people , to balance all other engineers with 100k plus salaries :)

JanetJackson

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Re: Any low income mustachians out there?
« Reply #77 on: July 02, 2017, 06:23:58 PM »
I don't know if I was the first person on the thread to use the term "elitist," but I certainly did not mean it in a scornful way, simply noticing a feeling of an invisible separating line of income that caters a large part of the forum conversations overall to high earners. 
It was a poor choice of words on my part, and I apologize if I offended anyone- I'm here to learn and share ideas, just like everyone else. 

Fire2025

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Re: Any low income mustachians out there?
« Reply #78 on: July 02, 2017, 06:30:37 PM »
Note to FIRE2025 and freshstache: You're right. It was Janet Jackson who used the term, not the OP. I have amended my original post. Thanks for calling out my error so politely.

P.S. I didn't delete it, because then the comments don't make sense. Meanwhile cuppa (which is autocorrect for Mea culpa).

I'm glad you didn't delete your story it's totally inspirational and I really liked reading it.

Got to love autocorrect!!!!  I cuppa all the time.

sultee

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Re: Any low income mustachians out there?
« Reply #79 on: July 02, 2017, 06:46:28 PM »
...

Any mustachians for whom just saving 150 a month is something to be proud of?
You HAVE to remember than any savings is good saving mustachianism is a way of life, it isn't about income. My DW and I are teachers, but we don't waste money and we don't buy unnecessary things. THAT is what saves us money. Read the productive comments on here and don't give into the people talking about upper vs lower class. That conversation is only fixed mindset individuals who need to place blame and can't take a step back to evaluate their situation and make the best of it. Anything you do to make next month better than this month is progress. That progress will grow and grow until you look back and think, "I can't believe that is where we started." You've got this!

memorytoast

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Re: Any low income mustachians out there?
« Reply #80 on: July 03, 2017, 08:39:26 AM »
Note to FIRE2025 and freshstache: You're right. It was Janet Jackson who used the term, not the OP. I have amended my original post. Thanks for calling out my error so politely.

P.S. I didn't delete it, because then the comments don't make sense. Meanwhile cuppa (which is autocorrect for Mea culpa).
I don't know if I was the first person on the thread to use the term "elitist," but I certainly did not mean it in a scornful way, simply noticing a feeling of an invisible separating line of income that caters a large part of the forum conversations overall to high earners. 
It was a poor choice of words on my part, and I apologize if I offended anyone- I'm here to learn and share ideas, just like everyone else. 

I just wanted to jump in here and say I appreciate Dicey noticing that I did not use the term elitist and I appreciate that JanetJackson apologized for her use (though she definitely was not the first nor only poster to use the term). I did not make this thread to bash anyone. I recognize using words like “low” and “high” automatically makes a division and could cause someone to feel excluded, but my intention in making this thread was not to say “All you people making lots of money are so snobby and mean – poor me” (because that is so not true – this forum is full of many nice people of all income brackets!), rather it was to say “It seems like a lot of people here are making way more money than I am and it sometimes feels hard to relate to your stories. Other times it feels hard to celebrate my own successes, because I don’t see anyone else calling the same thing a success. Is there anyone out there to whom I maybe could relate to on this level?” (Parenthetically: yes, intellectually I know comparing is not getting me anywhere positive, but I have to acknowledge my current view of reality in order to be able to grow from where I am.)
Yes, we are the "elitists" you scorn,

I don't think anyone on this thread has scorned anyone for having more, and that is not elitist.  Elitists are the people who have more and assume there is something wrong with those of us who have less.  If you judge others because they have less; less education, less money, less talent you are an elitist.

If you just have more then you are definitely elite, but being elite is good, it means you have achieved something special and no one on this thread, of any income bracket, has poopooed anyone for being elite.

Some of us have poopooed people on the forum who assume they are a little better than those of use working in the under 100,000 camp.  And I'm guilty of poopooing people who swear you "just can't" live on 45,000/year in blahblahblah city.  When people of all incomes live in those cities.

Also thanks, Fire2025. My sentiements - well, not exactly, but pretty much!

We all have a lot to learn from each other and it’s so wonderful and refreshing to see people willing to reconsider what they said. Let’s celebrate this dialogue!

Cali Nonya

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Re: Any low income mustachians out there?
« Reply #81 on: July 03, 2017, 09:27:15 AM »
Actually some of the people on this tread might be able to understand this concept (and might come up with a better way to phrase it).

I have noticed there are people who take a very almost militaristic approach to MMM, and other people who take a more laid-back approach.  What I think is one of the big divides is not social-economic background but the difference between people who are self or individual focused verses people who have a community focus.  If you are only worried about yourself and your immediate family, some of the "badassity" tenants are pretty straight forward, but if you have a mind-set where you have obligations/cares/ties into a larger community that concept of I have enough at X, doesn't really hold up that well.

Of course this is one of those cases where it is hard to break apart causation vrs correlation.  But I just wanted to tip my toe in that there could be other roots to some what is being commented on.  (And there are relational biases, with both youth and male tending towards more individualistic, and female and older tending towards more community focused).

joonifloofeefloo

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Re: Any low income mustachians out there?
« Reply #82 on: July 03, 2017, 09:56:53 AM »
Not sure...

I feel responsible for 4 individuals, and then also to my larger community (local and global). I also felt I had "enough" at a certain (lowish) point, because I'm simply not buying a house. That one move leaves me able to achieve my caring goals. So "enough", while having my immediate and global family at the forefront of my mind, heart, and lifestyle daily.

Some of the care for others I seek to achieve via cash, other care via writing grant proposals, locating housing for, other volunteering on behalf of.

Fire2025

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Re: Any low income mustachians out there?
« Reply #83 on: July 03, 2017, 10:06:07 AM »
I have noticed there are people who take a very almost militaristic approach to MMM, and other people who take a more laid-back approach.  ...If you are only worried about yourself and your immediate family, some of the "badassity" tenants are pretty straight forward, but if you have a mind-set where you have obligations/cares/ties into a larger community that concept of I have enough at X, doesn't really hold up that well.

I think one of the great things about the MMM approach, as I read it, is that X is always enough, for anyone.  But my X and your X are very different and that will lead us to use the principles differently.  Also there is a strong element of respecting your priories and aligning spending, intensionally, to fit those priorities.  A great community could easily be a part of someones priorities and that will effect their spending and their X, but their X will always be enough "for them".

i.e. I think most people on this forum do not bike commute, even if it's an MMM badassity staple.  I bike to work, not just for the cost savings, that's definitely a part of it, but mostly because I'm older (47) and I think "I'm buying my freedom, I also what to be healthy enough, at 55, to enjoy that freedom".  So I align those two priorities into a win win, for me, but it's not for everyone and that's cool.

Moonwaves

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Re: Any low income mustachians out there?
« Reply #84 on: July 03, 2017, 10:09:18 AM »
Actually some of the people on this tread might be able to understand this concept (and might come up with a better way to phrase it).

I have noticed there are people who take a very almost militaristic approach to MMM, and other people who take a more laid-back approach.  What I think is one of the big divides is not social-economic background but the difference between people who are self or individual focused verses people who have a community focus.  If you are only worried about yourself and your immediate family, some of the "badassity" tenants are pretty straight forward, but if you have a mind-set where you have obligations/cares/ties into a larger community that concept of I have enough at X, doesn't really hold up that well.

Of course this is one of those cases where it is hard to break apart causation vrs correlation.  But I just wanted to tip my toe in that there could be other roots to some what is being commented on.  (And there are relational biases, with both youth and male tending towards more individualistic, and female and older tending towards more community focused).
I think this would partly tie in to a certain type of person being attracted to MMM (think of the large proportion of engineers, especially software engineers). There have been a couple of threads over the year about personality types, although I can't remember off the top of my head which it is that's most common here. INTJ maybe? I know it's not my type anyway.


FWIW I don't think there should be a separate sub-forum for low-income mustachians. I just can't see there being many topics just for low-income people that wouldn't fit perfectly into already existing sub-forums. It just doesn't seem like creating a division would achieve anything helpful.

joonifloofeefloo

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Re: Any low income mustachians out there?
« Reply #85 on: July 03, 2017, 10:20:52 AM »
Quote
FWIW I don't think there should be a separate sub-forum for low-income mustachians. I just can't see there being many topics just for low-income people that wouldn't fit perfectly into already existing sub-forums. It just doesn't seem like creating a division would achieve anything helpful.

I agree that most topics for LIP fit in the existing subforums. Spending lower is spending lower; increasing one's savings is increasing one's savings.

At the same time, I see the following as potential advantages to a LIP category:

1. Newbies would locate it immediately, know right off the bat that there are in fact plenty of us. Right now, this awareness is relying on a new thread like this one being started every few months, leading each time to a collective sigh of relief. What happens to the folks who don't ask that question or locate the latest LIP thread? Do they slither away in discouragement and shame?

I'd love all the LIPs to find us as early in their journey as possible.

2. People with knowledge of how to navigate a LIP life can congregate there (as well as hang everywhere else too). Fewer LIP threads will be missed; more LIP threads will receive responses; responses will be more relevant (e.g., student loan forgiveness per low-paying teaching job; subsidized housing; how to access free counselling).

3. People with high-income can observe (or participate!), increasing understanding of the obstacles experienced by LIP.

4. Every $10 saving will be celebrated, proportionate to how a HIP's $3k tax saving is celebrated.

Fire2025

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Re: Any low income mustachians out there?
« Reply #86 on: July 03, 2017, 10:57:43 AM »
1. Newbies would locate it immediately, know right off the bat that there are in fact plenty of us. Right now, this awareness is relying on a new thread like this one being started every few months, leading each time to a collective sigh of relief. What happens to the folks who don't ask that question or locate the latest LIP thread? Do they slither away in discouragement and shame?

I'd love all the LIPs to find us as early in their journey as possible.

2. People with knowledge of how to navigate a LIP life can congregate there (as well as hang everywhere else too). Fewer LIP threads will be missed; more LIP threads will receive responses; responses will be more relevant (e.g., student loan forgiveness per low-paying teaching job; subsidized housing; how to access free counseling).

3. People with high-income can observe (or participate!), increasing understanding of the obstacles experienced by LIP.

4. Every $10 saving will be celebrated, proportionate to how a HIP's $3k tax saving is celebrated.

I love all of these and also think there should be a LIP.  Also I have lived on and earned 15,000 - 25,000 and I have lived on 20,000 - 30,000 while earning 45,000 to 60,000 and I can say these two things are super different.  Emergency funds are different for LIP and how to invest outside a 401k, with small amounts, is different.  I think there are enough differences that it makes great sense.

TheInsuranceMan

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Re: Any low income mustachians out there?
« Reply #87 on: July 03, 2017, 02:53:06 PM »
I didn't read through all of the responses, but I just wanted to chime in that my wife and I are low income (+2 kids and a mutt), grossed $67,899.43 last year, according to our w2's.  So, I'm sure after health insurance and taxes were taken out of that, I'd be we were close to netting $45k.  I'd consider that low income, as we weren't pulling in $4k a month, daycare was just shy of $1k a month, paying down student loans, and paying a mortgage (plus your other regular bills) and we still contributed to our retirement accounts (10% for me, she has the state retirement program, so they set hers).  We are typically cash poor, but at 29 and 28 years old, we have just over $60k in our retirement accounts, which I'm pretty satisfied with.  Plus, we have two cds open for the kids that gets funded every month.

Yes, we could be adding that extra to our savings account, but I ended up paying for my own schooling, and I know what kind of burden that can put on a young family.  Luckily, both my parents and my inlaws have accounts open for our children as well, and if all goes well, they'll have at least 50% of their schooling paid for.

Holyoak

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Re: Any low income mustachians out there?
« Reply #88 on: July 03, 2017, 04:20:06 PM »
So although I'm no longer low income, I really feel out of touch with the majority of posters, these days.  When people talk about how you "can't" live on the money I gross, I just think "what, where am I?"  I don't remember it being that way when I joined, a couple of years ago, but there is definitely some MMM forum lifestyle creep going on around here.  HAHAHA!!

I've been FIRE'd going on four years with a very low income, but a nice stache (for me at least), and my lifestyle is on counter-creep...  I shun buying stuff more than ever, and not because of financial constraints.  I see so many articles about ER folks who seem to thrive on lokee-me syndrome.  You know, every day is filled with tales of unquenchable, never ending excitement, no moss growing on our busy behinds doing the Appalachian trail in the morning, then Mt. Everest in the evening, filling our Facebook pages and blogs with zillions of selfies, with a heads-up to our next Kodachrome perfect adventure. 

It's almost as if, if you don't want to travel the world, sleep in hostels, go on a yoga retreat, live on the road, or stay constantly busy (god I hate the busy), or have every second of your day engineered toward maximum efficiency, you are wasting ER.  I'm lucky; a bit of exercise, time in nature wherever I happen to be, good coffee and tea, decent food and a quiet place is pretty much all I need or want to be very, very content...  I couldn't care less if I seem "boring", "lazy", or squandering my time.  I know there are others like this here, which brings a smile to my face.

"A Samurai could contemplate the beauty of a single cherry blossom for an entire lifetime, and it would not have been a life misspent"

Double Yu

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Re: Any low income mustachians out there?
« Reply #89 on: July 03, 2017, 04:54:17 PM »
+1 for Holyoak!

Dicey

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Re: Any low income mustachians out there?
« Reply #90 on: July 03, 2017, 05:09:05 PM »
Plus, we have two cds open for the kids that gets funded every month.
Can you clarify this sentence, please? Do you really mean "cds" as in "Certificates of Deposit"?

monstermonster

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Re: Any low income mustachians out there?
« Reply #91 on: July 03, 2017, 05:11:10 PM »
Yup. Making around $25,000 annually right now. Highest of my life was $39,000 and was saving 52% of that. My last MMM journal was called "Less than $40K is perfectly okay."

Holyoak

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Re: Any low income mustachians out there?
« Reply #92 on: July 04, 2017, 06:47:54 AM »
Yup. Making around $25,000 annually right now. Highest of my life was $39,000 and was saving 52% of that. My last MMM journal was called "Less than $40K is perfectly okay."

How do you go about living in Portland OR, on your current $25k income?  That would seem to be quite an admirable feat, if  the COL stats I see for the area are true.  Truly fascinated to learn how it is done.

Thanks Double yu.

joonifloofeefloo

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Re: Any low income mustachians out there?
« Reply #93 on: July 04, 2017, 07:56:30 AM »
Holyoak, there are a number of us pulling this off in the highest COL areas :)  At least two of us do it in Vancouver, BC, for example. I was spending $15k for two people there. My biggest variable is housing. Instead of spending market rate on standard housing, I did different housing hacks to keep costs way down. When we do that, then just buy groceries (also higher in Vancouver than in most of the US), etc, we're good to go.

monstermonster

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Re: Any low income mustachians out there?
« Reply #94 on: July 04, 2017, 08:10:54 AM »
Yup. Making around $25,000 annually right now. Highest of my life was $39,000 and was saving 52% of that. My last MMM journal was called "Less than $40K is perfectly okay."

How do you go about living in Portland OR, on your current $25k income?  That would seem to be quite an admirable feat, if  the COL stats I see for the area are true.  Truly fascinated to learn how it is done.

Thanks Double yu.

You can see all my monthly income and expense reports in my journal (link below) they have pretty graphs. This is actually a pretty big income earning year for me, I average around $15K. Portland is much more expensive than it was 10 years ago (I paid less than $300 in rent for many years for my own room, now I pay $615 to share a room), but I: don't have a car, share a (way too expensive) apartment, don't eat out much (though here and there I get a burrito), don't drinks alcohol or smoke, and mostly, don't buy shit I don't need. But I also travel internationally each year and I maintain a gym membership. So like anyone, I choose to splurge where it matters to me and don't spend where it doesn't.

About 1/5 my monthly income goes towards health insurance ($231 per month) and I spend about $150 per month on groceries, which could be lower but the nearest grocery store is Whole Foods. I don't eat meat and mostly cook at home, but I do subscribe to a farm share, which averages out to $20 a month and gives me farm-fresh vegetables each week 8 months a year.

My savings rate is around 15% right now, but by this time next year I hope to be back to my former income of $39K and saving over half again. Learning how to run a business right now.

2017 expenses reports/graphs: January, February, MarchApril, May.
« Last Edit: July 04, 2017, 08:56:21 AM by monstermonster »

briesas

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Re: Any low income mustachians out there?
« Reply #95 on: July 04, 2017, 08:26:35 AM »
an additional resource:
Mini Mustachians (Lower Income/Newbies/ Newer Practicing)
https://www.facebook.com/groups/1192606450817773/

Kyle Schuant

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Re: Any low income mustachians out there?
« Reply #96 on: July 04, 2017, 05:37:54 PM »
It's funny, because I've been low-income for most of my life, now I'm not (or rather, I am, but rental of our old house plus wife's income makes us as a household well-off), I still think of myself as low-income. I guess that's why we're able to save money!

There was an article recently talking about young footballers, who earn well but not as much as most imagine, so they get a lot of hangers-on (especially women) who expect them to spend big. So they do, and they're broke a few years after their football career ends. This is a pretty common thing in our society, pretending to be richer than you are.

I guess I'm the reverse.

Consumerism is acting richer than you are. Frugality is acting poorer than you are.

Moonwaves

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Re: Any low income mustachians out there?
« Reply #97 on: July 05, 2017, 02:38:48 AM »
Not sure if everyone here is already aware of it - I saw this thread yesterday. It might appeal to some here. Saving to $10K. The person who started it started last November with $8.70 the first month, so definitely the kind of amounts some of us are dealing with.

Holyoak

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Re: Any low income mustachians out there?
« Reply #98 on: July 05, 2017, 07:25:42 AM »
Tip my hat to you folks who have low incomes, thriving in HCOL areas.  Gives hope to many by the example you guys set, and the how to's you share.  Bravo. 

TheInsuranceMan

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Re: Any low income mustachians out there?
« Reply #99 on: July 05, 2017, 01:18:32 PM »
Plus, we have two cds open for the kids that gets funded every month.
Can you clarify this sentence, please? Do you really mean "cds" as in "Certificates of Deposit"?

Yep, waiting until there is enough money in them to open accounts with Vanguard.  I think it had a $1k minimum when I looked last, so we'll ride the CD's out until they come due and then transfer the money.  They each have a 529 and an investment account as well.