Poll

How do you view these stats?

Ridiculous
4 (26.7%)
I live below
3 (20%)
Who made this shit up?
5 (33.3%)
Comments please.
3 (20%)

Total Members Voted: 15

Author Topic: US Poverty Level  (Read 6838 times)

Miamoo

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US Poverty Level
« on: February 14, 2014, 11:44:05 AM »
http://aspe.hhs.gov/poverty/13poverty.cfm

I query this as I am so frustrated by one of my close family members who believes that clearing $52K after taxes is poverty level for a family of 4.  I hear this over and over and over weekly.  We do not live in a high COLA area.  (Mid range)  Granted they have a very high Mortgage ($1,500.00 PI and taxes and a PMI to boot) but please.  Just venting and looking for opinions.

Thegoblinchief

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Re: US Poverty Level
« Reply #1 on: February 14, 2014, 11:49:54 AM »
According to that link, it's double the poverty level. Not sure what the question is?

Miamoo

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Re: US Poverty Level
« Reply #2 on: February 14, 2014, 12:09:53 PM »
Hey Goblin.  For some reason - I probably pushed a wrong button - my query was turned into a poll.  I know it's 2x if this standard is accurate.  Just venting and looking for other's comments and how they live.

arebelspy

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Re: US Poverty Level
« Reply #3 on: February 14, 2014, 02:52:54 PM »
I don't really understand the poll options.

But yes, the poverty levels in the link provided seem decently accurate to me.

/shrug
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netskyblue

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Re: US Poverty Level
« Reply #4 on: February 14, 2014, 04:55:10 PM »
I grew up in a family of 5 and my parents made less than that (though it's about what they're making *now* ~20 years later).

We sure weren't "poor".  I'd say we were a very average "budget" middle class family.  But all the crap people "MUST HAVE" these days didn't exist then.  Internet?  Cell phones?  Ipad?  No way.  We had one TV and an antenna on the roof, no game systems, one family computer for typing schoolwork, and a printer that had the paper with the tear-off perforated edges.  We were expected to play outside.  Or if it was bad outside, play a board game or watch a video cassette.  Ah, the 90s.


Gin1984

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Re: US Poverty Level
« Reply #5 on: February 15, 2014, 04:21:27 PM »
I don't really understand the poll options.

But yes, the poverty levels in the link provided seem decently accurate to me.

/shrug
I'm with you.

Letj

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Re: US Poverty Level
« Reply #6 on: February 15, 2014, 04:47:47 PM »
That is indeed a tight budget for a family of 4 even in a low cost of living area of the country.  I think it's hard to afford extracurricular activities, modest vacations, healthy foods, out of pockets deductible, a modest four bedroom/2 bath home, savings, the occasional splurge, etc on this income.  I know many people do it but I don't think you can put children through college or afford early retirement on this income.  We are a family of four but by the time our children came along we had already exceeded that income so I've never had to live on so little and I can't imagine that it would be easy.

stevesteve

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Re: US Poverty Level
« Reply #7 on: February 15, 2014, 05:15:16 PM »
Yep, $23,550 would be really tight for a family of four with no existing assets.  If you have a paid for home then it's better but it'd be hard to accumulate much at that level.

I had a family member who thought making a million a year didn't make you rich.  It can be a bit annoying when middle class people think they're victims.

SwordGuy

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Re: US Poverty Level
« Reply #8 on: February 15, 2014, 05:17:04 PM »
52K AFTER TAXES is tight?

Only if you buy too expensive a house and too many cars, each of which are too expensive!

That's $4,333 a month! 

$1,200/month house mortgage
$   500/month TWO cars
$   500/month utilities/internet
$   500/month groceries
$   250/month health insurance
$   250/month gasoline
=============
$3,200/month at WAY MORE than a MMM spending level.

That's still $1,133 a month to invest or deal with less frequent expenses.

Cut back on cars, to a <$10,000 low mileage used car for 3-4 year payments, and drive them long enough to only have to pay for one of them at a time, and you've got another $250 to $300 a month.

Tight?

Of course, if you raise the mortgage payment by 50-100% because you've overbought what you could afford, and toss in two $600 clown car payments at a time, and eat out several times a week, yep, it will get tight.

nyxst

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Re: US Poverty Level
« Reply #9 on: February 15, 2014, 05:45:27 PM »
I have a family of four with one income of $45000-50000... Before taxes.... And we have always been pretty comfortable. Three kids each get their extracariculars (karate, baseball, skating, gymnastics... Whatever is in season :). And we go on vacations that are so memorable that the teachers at school know almost every detail! I qualify for some federal student aid because of my income and I take full advantage of it. Until I found MMM, I didn't realize I had fat to cut and redirect towards retirement and now I'm saving a lot towards that without changing any of our levels of happiness. Its very eye opening

Chuck

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Re: US Poverty Level
« Reply #10 on: February 15, 2014, 06:05:06 PM »
My GF is from Brazil, and I have travelled extensively in SE Asia. We both agree that the USA has no idea what poverty even looks like.

When the greatest health concern faced by your nation's "poor" is that they are too damned fat... Your nation doesn't have poor people.

arebelspy

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Re: US Poverty Level
« Reply #11 on: February 15, 2014, 06:30:15 PM »
That is indeed a tight budget for a family of 4 even in a low cost of living area of the country.  I think it's hard to afford extracurricular activities, modest vacations, healthy foods, out of pockets deductible, a modest four bedroom/2 bath home, savings, the occasional splurge, etc on this income.  I know many people do it but I don't think you can put children through college or afford early retirement on this income.  We are a family of four but by the time our children came along we had already exceeded that income so I've never had to live on so little and I can't imagine that it would be easy.

(Emphasis mine.)

It's poverty level.  Why would poverty level include all of the crap I highlighted above?

You're describing a middle class lifestyle, which, yes, is obviously hard to do at the poverty level income.

As for the poll, OP posted about 52k, but the poverty levels linked are quite different, which has caused some confusion (besides the poll options being unclear).  So I don't think everyone is talking about the same things.
We are two former teachers who accumulated a bunch of real estate, retired at 29, and now travel the world full time with two kids.
If you want to know more about me, or how we did that, or see lots of pictures, this Business Insider profile tells our story pretty well.
We (rarely) blog at AdventuringAlong.com. Check out our Now page to see what we're up to currently.

nyxst

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Re: US Poverty Level
« Reply #12 on: February 15, 2014, 07:08:21 PM »
Sorry to add to the confusion. My point was just that I'm making less than OP's family member with no problem at all and some wiggle room. I never said I was poverty level or even that I felt poor. Alternatively, I usually feel pretty rich.

SwordGuy

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Re: US Poverty Level
« Reply #13 on: February 15, 2014, 07:34:08 PM »
My GF is from Brazil, and I have travelled extensively in SE Asia. We both agree that the USA has no idea what poverty even looks like.

When the greatest health concern faced by your nation's "poor" is that they are too damned fat... Your nation doesn't have poor people.

You are quite right, most people in the USA have zero idea of what real poverty looks like.


Tacosrocket

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Re: US Poverty Level
« Reply #14 on: February 15, 2014, 10:49:35 PM »
I don't know anything about poverty levels, but I picked Ridiculous because if our modern world embraced frugality and not consumerism, it would be much lower!

chasesfish

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Re: US Poverty Level
« Reply #15 on: February 16, 2014, 06:33:28 AM »
My GF is from Brazil, and I have travelled extensively in SE Asia. We both agree that the USA has no idea what poverty even looks like.

When the greatest health concern faced by your nation's "poor" is that they are too damned fat... Your nation doesn't have poor people.

This is pretty damn accurate.  Remember, those stats don't include the non-cash benefits given to our poor such as food stamps.