Author Topic: 'Stached nearly 50% of $20,000 income  (Read 9364 times)

etselec

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'Stached nearly 50% of $20,000 income
« on: December 29, 2012, 11:59:22 PM »
I just ran my numbers for 2012, and was pleasantly surprised at my badassity. I earned just over $20,000 post-tax, with a low-paying job for the first few months, then a somewhat higher-paying one after that. I only paid rent for the second half of the year, and had virtually no grocery costs the whole year, as I qualified for food stamps until mid-year and have been spending them down ever since (a $200/month allotment goes a long way for a single person...).

On the other hand, I did have unexpected expenses this year, including $1000 in medical bills over the course of the year, moving into my own place for the first time (done frugally: furniture purchases, security deposit & last month's rent totaled around $1500), and having my bike stolen (replacement bike/helmet/lights/lock: $200).

I also paid for some fancypants luxuries, like three plane trips related to a hobby. Nonetheless, my net worth increased about $10,000, and most of that happened the badass way (savings) - less than $1000 from interest on my prior 'stache.

I know this is merely an average savings rate for many Mustachians - but I accomplished most of this before even finding this website. This makes me doubly excited for the badassity that's in store this coming year.

Self-employed-swami

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Re: 'Stached nearly 50% of $20,000 income
« Reply #1 on: December 30, 2012, 01:12:01 AM »
Woohoo!

happy

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Re: 'Stached nearly 50% of $20,000 income
« Reply #2 on: December 30, 2012, 01:23:22 AM »
Badass, definitely badass! Way to go.

arebelspy

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Re: 'Stached nearly 50% of $20,000 income
« Reply #3 on: December 30, 2012, 01:36:55 AM »
It's especially badass because the lower the income, the harder it is to have a high savings ate (50% on 200k is simple, 50% on 20k is very tough).

Way to go.
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directionseeker

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Re: 'Stached nearly 50% of $20,000 income
« Reply #4 on: December 30, 2012, 02:08:09 AM »
It's especially badass because the lower the income, the harder it is to have a high savings ate (50% on 200k is simple, 50% on 20k is very tough).

Way to go.

Totally agree.

Job well done!

BPA

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Re: 'Stached nearly 50% of $20,000 income
« Reply #5 on: December 30, 2012, 08:08:04 AM »
It's especially badass because the lower the income, the harder it is to have a high savings ate (50% on 200k is simple, 50% on 20k is very tough).

Way to go.

Totally agree.

Job well done!


Ditto!

plantingourpennies

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Re: 'Stached nearly 50% of $20,000 income
« Reply #6 on: December 30, 2012, 08:19:45 AM »
...virtually no grocery costs the whole year, as I qualified for food stamps...

I also paid for some fancypants luxuries, like three plane trips related to a hobby.

ಠ_ಠ

strider3700

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Re: 'Stached nearly 50% of $20,000 income
« Reply #7 on: December 30, 2012, 09:10:29 AM »
 Even here I'd have to say 50% savings is bad assed

Kamikaze Emu

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Re: 'Stached nearly 50% of $20,000 income
« Reply #8 on: December 30, 2012, 09:11:37 AM »
Agreed.

Maybe this could branch off into a discussion around how social programs play into mustachian living.  My thoughts are they should not, especially when luxuries are involved elsewhere in the budget, but I would be interested in hearing the thoughts of others.

etselec

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Re: 'Stached nearly 50% of $20,000 income
« Reply #9 on: December 30, 2012, 09:47:10 AM »
This could branch off into a discussion of social programs - but everyone will probably be happier if it doesn't go too far down that rabbit hole.

I am a strong supporter of social programs. They probably do not and should not factor into most people's Mustachian living, but they were the right choice for me at the time. The fact is that I accepted that help at a time when I was working a hard job in a federal service program for less than minimum wage and was motivated to save aggressively in case I became unemployed after my service term. I don't feel bad about that, nor do I feel bad about choosing to spend some of that aggressively saved money ($800 over the course of the year) to pursue an activity that is very important to me.

Let's try to keep the discussion focused on the accomplishments and choices of Mustachians, and away from negative talk about people who enroll in social programs.

FactorsOf2

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Re: 'Stached nearly 50% of $20,000 income
« Reply #10 on: December 30, 2012, 10:30:53 AM »
I don't see any reason that discussing the role of social programs in the context of a mustachian lifestyle should be off limits...

My opinion is that taking 3 hobby-related plane trips while using food stamps is not justifiable. It's not clear to me why I should subsidize you to take 3 luxury plane trips, while I took none for myself this year in an effort to be frugal. Please consider that the target demographic for the food stamps program is households whose income is not sufficient to cover their basic living expenses. It doesn't sound like you are in this category, but then I don't know the whole story.

sheepstache

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Re: 'Stached nearly 50% of $20,000 income
« Reply #11 on: December 30, 2012, 10:51:50 AM »
This could branch off into a discussion of social programs - but everyone will probably be happier if it doesn't go too far down that rabbit hole.

Let's try to keep the discussion focused on the accomplishments and choices of Mustachians, and away from negative talk about people who enroll in social programs.

Um, this is a bit of a leap, no?  There's no reason a discussion of social programs has to devolve into negative talk about people who use them, so it's disingenuous to suggest negative talk or no talk at all are the only options.

I found it interesting when a friend of mine, who has a trust fund, signed up for WIC assistance.  It was a tricky situation.  She rallied for unionization at her job and then got fired the moment it was legal to do so after her maternity leave was up (ironically she worked at a non-profit geared towards progressive social change).  Her partner was in grad school so between that and the baby their options were limited.  But I found it interesting that the system only takes into account current income, not assets.  I remember being quite annoyed when she posted on facebook saying she was "so angry red tape and bureaucracy is endangering my child's health."  I gathered approval for his vaccinations was delayed.  I nearly shot back, exasperated, that neverminding  the trust fund, between them she and her partner had four well-off parents and a slew of middle-class friends and offered to send her a check.  But to be charitable I think she was trying to bring attention to the problems with the system that the larger portion of people without her advantages would have difficulty dealing with or getting attention for.

But the point is you could have been a hedge fund manager until the day before you qualified and it didn't matter.  Yet many of us would make a judgement call and say that a person with a hedge-find-manager-sized income should have saved away for a rainy day.

It's also considered a problem by many New Yorkers that low-income co-ops are scooped up by parents buying them for their children just out of college or by people who have been retired for a couple years.  They may be following the letter of the law, but the spirit of the law is that the apartments are for people who are low-income generally, not just low-income on paper for the past couple year's tax forms which is what they submit in their application.  I think it's reasonable to discuss who we intend the program to be for and how we can more accurately quantify that group for the application process. 

I can say all of that without saying a negative thing about the people who use these programs.  I was quite annoyed about the Romney-47% thing because he conflated people who don't pay federal income taxes with people who believe they are "victims" and "dependent on the government".  Whether or not someone is required to pay taxes is merely based on the tax code--you're not supposed to say, 'oh, well, I _feel_ like I have enough money so I should send something to the IRS anyway.'  It is the government, being responsible for the tax code, that needs to take responsibility if we feel not enough people are paying taxes.

So in the case of social programs I think if you qualify, you're all good.  The onus is not on the individual but on the organization.  And in more emotional terms, I can't help having the reaction that you shouldn't be punished by being able to live on less than other people :)


etselec

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Re: 'Stached nearly 50% of $20,000 income
« Reply #12 on: December 30, 2012, 11:18:49 AM »
sheepstache, see FactorsOf2's comment as an example of what I would rather not get into on this board. I agree with you that the onus is on the organization to set eligibility criteria. For what it's worth, food stamps are different from many other programs in that they are an uncapped benefit, meaning that everyone who applies and qualifies will get them - so by enrolling in the program you are never freezing out someone who's "more deserving". Food stamps are also a great form of economic stimulus - every $5 in benefits generates roughly $9 in economic activity.

Also, Factors, you're right, you don't know the whole story. So I'm confused why you think you can still tell me my choices are not justifiable. Did you miss the part where my financial situation improved drastically over the course of the year? I did not book any of these plane trips until I had a job lined up and knew that I would be in fine financial shape and no longer qualify for food stamps.

Here are some questions though: what do you think I should have been allowed to spend money on while receiving public assistance? Should I have been allowed to have a cellphone? What about texting? Should I have been allowed to buy clothes, and if so, from which types of stores? What if I needed the clothes for work? Plane trips for hobbies clearly not okay, how about plane trips to visit my family? What if I took the bus instead and it only cost half as much, but I had to miss work to do it? How about buying a bike - was it OK for me to spend $125 on a used bike, or should I have looked for one that was only $50? At Christmastime - should I have been allowed to spend any money on presents for my family? How about the groceries themselves: I sometimes bought fresh vegetables when frozen would have been cheaper. Once a month or so I splurged and bought meat. Is that not OK? Should I have only bought rice and beans?

The fact is, it is very easy for people who have a stable financial situation and pay taxes to feel that they are entitled to comment on and control every aspect of a public assistance recipient's life. I think that's a very slippery slope.

prosaic

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Re: 'Stached nearly 50% of $20,000 income
« Reply #13 on: December 30, 2012, 12:44:45 PM »
It is a slippery slope. You either view taxes as a social and civic good, or you don't. I don't view my taxes as "subsidizing" other people's specific, individual choices -- if I did, I'd certainly not be happy to subsidize someone's jumbo mortgage interest deduction, someone's schedule C fancypants car/SUV, etc. Instead, I view them as the price to pay for living in a society that values health, education, and safety. Once you start nitpicking you can find financial decisions that are objectionable (and subsidized by taxpayers) at every income level -- yet for some reason people fixate on the poor.

We can't know the sequence here, either -- someone can be on food stamps for the first half of the year while un/underemployed and then be gainfully employed later in the year, enough to manage those plane trips.


sol

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Re: 'Stached nearly 50% of $20,000 income
« Reply #14 on: December 30, 2012, 02:05:54 PM »
I think this is a topic ripe for discussion in this community.

The basic tenet of mustachianism is that you can live remarkably well on very little income.  Public assistance is designed for people who have very little income.  Should we stop offering public assistance to consumerist suckas who struggle to get by on $15k/yr when right next door is a dyed in the wool mustachian who thrives having voluntarily reduced his income and expenses to $15k/yr?

If benefits should be based on assets and not income, should we also toss out the system of graduated income tax brackets that so many retired mustachians use so advantageously? Should a $100k/yr manager be ineligible for unemployment when he gets laid off, on the assumption that he should have saved more money?  If not, is that fair to his colleague who DID save a bunch before getting laid off?

Personally, I see no problem with extending benefits based on current income only, including the aforementioned trust fund kids buying coops in New York, or food stamps for the retired mustachian with a million in the bank.  To do otherwise penalizes those who save.

« Last Edit: December 30, 2012, 04:57:51 PM by sol »

Paul der Krake

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Re: 'Stached nearly 50% of $20,000 income
« Reply #15 on: December 30, 2012, 03:13:32 PM »
How about the groceries themselves: I sometimes bought fresh vegetables when frozen would have been cheaper. Once a month or so I splurged and bought meat. Is that not OK? Should I have only bought rice and beans?
Sorry if this sounds snarky, it's not my intention and I am legitimately trying to understand.

It looks like, at least in NC, that the food stamps allowance for an individual is up to $200 worth of food a month, which sounds a moderately high to me. So for the sake of the argument, let's say you only get $150 and assume that this should cover the entire food budget. I understand that it's the humane thing to do to give enough so that the recipients can eat something else than rice and beans, but really, I find it weird that meat can only be afforded once a month. What I am missing?

AlexK

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Re: 'Stached nearly 50% of $20,000 income
« Reply #16 on: December 30, 2012, 03:17:33 PM »
If we don't like who is getting food stamps we should change the rules, not blame the recipients.

sheepstache

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Re: 'Stached nearly 50% of $20,000 income
« Reply #17 on: December 30, 2012, 03:34:43 PM »
But I don't see Factors saying anything derogatory about you or other people on the program.  S/he states their belief about what type of situation the program is intended for and that, based on what you wrote, yours isn't it.  My response would then be to ask, well, how do we refine the program so that it targets the actual people we want on it?

In discussions of social programs I'm concerned about just the sort of questions you bring up.  It seems inappropriate for strangers to make minute judgements about how people on the programs spend every penny because the point is these people are on the programs because of their economic situation, not because they're stupid.  However, the food stamp program is actually one that is very specific.  You can only use them for food, for example.  You can't use them for prepared food or soda, etc.  You don't mention having a problem with this.

In case I didn't come across as judgemental in my first post, I should add that I feel about public assistance the way MMM feels about debt, that you should RUN AROUND LIKE YOUR HAIR IS ON FIRE BECAUSE IT IS AN EMERGENCY THAT YOU ARE ON PUBLIC ASSISTANCE!!!

I mean, if a friend asked for money because she needed food, I would give it to her.  If she asked for money just so she could put it in her savings account, I would look at her funny.  Same thing if she asked for money for food but I later found out she put money in her savings account that month.

I don't get too worked up about it because our system subsidizes personal savings in other ways too.  The FDIC insurance bureaucracy costs something to maintain.  Pre-tax retirement account contributions.  Mortgage interest deduction.  All sorts of policies try to influence behavior but nobody gets touchy if I suggest renters should get a tax break just like homeowners.  Maybe it's because where you live or how you save for retirement is a big picture thing and so a discussion of it feels less like preaching or meddling than a discussion of your monthly household budget.  Or maybe it's because public assistance subsidizes behavior we actually _don't_ want.  Basically we are just paying people not to die in the streets.  Because then they would get in the way of traffic.

Self-employed-swami

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Re: 'Stached nearly 50% of $20,000 income
« Reply #18 on: December 30, 2012, 03:53:18 PM »
I don't think the OP was on food stamps the whole year, but that he rationed and was frugal with them, and enough left over, to continue to purchase food with them, even after he stopped receiving assistance.

I make what most would consider to be an excellent income, and I am going to be on medical leave, paid by our Canadian Employment Insurance program for 14 of the 24 weeks I need off next year.  I pay a boatload of taxes (just under $22,000 this month, between my regular and business taxes), not to mention that I've paid into our EI program for more than 10 years now.  I have been saving like a fiend since September, just incase I need to be off longer, and the benefits won't extend past 14 weeks, unless I am permanently disabled.

I am leery of mentioning my use of the special medical leave program to others though, because I am seen as earning a good income. However, this special benefits program that I am a part of (where I pay twice the rate that anyone regularly employed does, because I am self-employed) is designed EXACTLY for my situation.  I can never collect true unemployment benefits, just medical and parental/maternity, and compassionate leave (this is used if a close family member is about to die, and it only covers 2 weeks), and I am obligated to continue to pay into them for the rest of my employed life, since I am going to collect.

There are a lot of people in Canada who abuse the EI system, and we are in the middle of reforming it, which makes my situation even more contentious with some.  However, most people that are seen as abusers of the system, are the ones that, year after year, work 2-3 months, make $100,000, and then collect unemployment for the rest of the year.  I am not that person, and I sort of resent being lumped in with them.  Oh well... :)


plantingourpennies

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Re: 'Stached nearly 50% of $20,000 income
« Reply #19 on: December 30, 2012, 04:15:54 PM »
We have no actual knowledge of etselec's situation, so I'll steer clear.

@Sol- Your point is well taken, not offering public assistance to the saver does penalize him/her!

 But I do think there is an ethical component that you are missing out on...I do believe that the assistance program has its roots in charity, and being subsidized by a program that was originally conceived as a last resort for people in need just seems odd.

I don't want something like this be a part of my ERE/FI; it doesn't pass the smell test.

Best,
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BPA

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Re: 'Stached nearly 50% of $20,000 income
« Reply #20 on: December 30, 2012, 04:52:19 PM »
There are a lot of people in Canada who abuse the EI system, and we are in the middle of reforming it, which makes my situation even more contentious with some.  However, most people that are seen as abusers of the system, are the ones that, year after year, work 2-3 months, make $100,000, and then collect unemployment for the rest of the year.  I am not that person, and I sort of resent being lumped in with them.  Oh well... :)

I think it's unfair to say they "abuse" the system.  They aren't perpetrating fraud. Many of them live down east and I'm friends with some of them.  The employment situation there is dismal.  Many of them do relocate to Alberta where there are jobs, but maritime Canada is a different world than a lot of the rest of Canada and I get why they hate relocating.  I swear we get our friendly reputation more because of them than people like us from further west. ;)  And we both know how awful it can be to be forced to relocate for a job. 

Those EI reforms are one more indication that the Harper government cares little for Atlantic Canada.  And I don't know one of them who makes $100K.  Their wages are lower than the rest of the country to begin with.

Self-employed-swami

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Re: 'Stached nearly 50% of $20,000 income
« Reply #21 on: December 30, 2012, 05:31:22 PM »
I didn't mean to imply that everyone from out east is abusing the system, so I'm sorry if it came off like that.

chris009

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Re: 'Stached nearly 50% of $20,000 income
« Reply #22 on: December 30, 2012, 09:04:01 PM »
Quote
I didn't mean to imply that everyone from out east is abusing the system, so I'm sorry if it came off like that.
You were right the first time. As someone that has grown up there, people don't view EI as a safety net. People work to collect EI. I know people that I went to high school with that haven't worked more than three months a year.

Self-employed-swami

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Re: 'Stached nearly 50% of $20,000 income
« Reply #23 on: December 30, 2012, 09:43:43 PM »
BPA and I are friends, so I'm glad that she pointed out that I'd made it sound like everyone was abusing the system.

etselec

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Re: 'Stached nearly 50% of $20,000 income
« Reply #24 on: December 30, 2012, 10:12:19 PM »
How about the groceries themselves: I sometimes bought fresh vegetables when frozen would have been cheaper. Once a month or so I splurged and bought meat. Is that not OK? Should I have only bought rice and beans?
Sorry if this sounds snarky, it's not my intention and I am legitimately trying to understand.

It looks like, at least in NC, that the food stamps allowance for an individual is up to $200 worth of food a month, which sounds a moderately high to me. So for the sake of the argument, let's say you only get $150 and assume that this should cover the entire food budget. I understand that it's the humane thing to do to give enough so that the recipients can eat something else than rice and beans, but really, I find it weird that meat can only be afforded once a month. What I am missing?

No problem, that's a fine question. I was spending less than $100/month on food for myself - that's how I was able to fund all 12 months of my groceries with food stamps when I was only qualified for 5 months of the year. I could have eaten much more expensive food, but I chose to flex my frugal muscles instead.

We have no actual knowledge of etselec's situation, so I'll steer clear.

But I do think there is an ethical component that you are missing out on...I do believe that the assistance program has its roots in charity, and being subsidized by a program that was originally conceived as a last resort for people in need just seems odd.

I don't want something like this be a part of my ERE/FI; it doesn't pass the smell test.

Mr. Pop, I definitely understand and respect your view that social programs should not play a role in FI. I think I agree. However, terms of trying to judge who's truly "in need" and who's just "being subsidized" - that gets pretty ugly, as I've elaborated on above. "In need" is a spectrum.

But I don't see Factors saying anything derogatory about you or other people on the program.  S/he states their belief about what type of situation the program is intended for and that, based on what you wrote, yours isn't it.  My response would then be to ask, well, how do we refine the program so that it targets the actual people we want on it?

Factors specifically claimed that s/he was subsidizing my plane trips and found that "not justifiable". I think I can safely call that "negative talk".

In case I didn't come across as judgemental in my first post, I should add that I feel about public assistance the way MMM feels about debt, that you should RUN AROUND LIKE YOUR HAIR IS ON FIRE BECAUSE IT IS AN EMERGENCY THAT YOU ARE ON PUBLIC ASSISTANCE!!!

I mean, if a friend asked for money because she needed food, I would give it to her.  If she asked for money just so she could put it in her savings account, I would look at her funny.  Same thing if she asked for money for food but I later found out she put money in her savings account that month.

Umm, yes. That being why I got a job as soon as my volunteer service term was over. And then wasn't on public assistance anymore. And then spent some money on plane trips because my hair was no longer on fire.

The thing that's different about your friend scenario is that you'd probably just give her the money or food up front. To enroll in food stamps takes 30-60 days and a whole lot of bureaucratic hassle. It's not a program that you can just jump in and out of easily, and financial situations can change from month to month, so one month I could have easily met expenses plus groceries, and another month I had medical bills that totaled more than my monthly income - and was damn glad that the food stamps had allowed me to save some money. If your friend had to ask you for food money a few months in advance, would you blame her for erring on the side of making sure she didn't starve/go into debt?

PaulM12345

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Re: 'Stached nearly 50% of $20,000 income
« Reply #25 on: December 31, 2012, 01:26:18 AM »
I'm just going to add one additional perspective on the issue of "welfare" and "social services". We all receive "social services" that are funded by others. Some of them, like public assistance, food stamps, and WIC, medicaid, carry a stigma because they are associated with poor people and minorities.

Others, like social security and medicare, are not stigmatized because rich people use them too. But social security is a transfer of wealth from the young to the old. I wonder if any critics of the OP would also suggest that a rich 70 year old is mooching off others if they cash their social security check that comes out of my paycheck. (yes, I know they "paid in" to the system by working, but really they paid for the older folks during their own working years, with the hope that they would be supported in the future). Do your FI plans include subsidy by future workers during your old age? I propose that that is no different from accepting government subsidies that you legally qualify for in the present.


DocCyane

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Re: 'Stached nearly 50% of $20,000 income
« Reply #26 on: December 31, 2012, 01:32:58 PM »
My perspective is that we are all part of a system. Most of the time we will be paying into it. Now and then we will have to ask for help and take out of it. In the end, we will most likely pay far more into it than we could hope to get out.

I was unemployed for a month this year and immediately signed up for unemployment benefits. I wasn't down to my last nickel and wouldn't have missed a meal had those checks not come in, but I couldn't predict the future. I didn't know I would get a job quickly. So I had to assess the situation at the time and make a decision.

I don't begrudge the OP the food stamps. S/he had no crystal ball and didn't know how quickly a job would be offered. I don't begrudge him/her a few trips later in the year. I prefer to assume it will all come out in the wash.

aces2

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Re: 'Stached nearly 50% of $20,000 income
« Reply #27 on: January 01, 2013, 07:02:32 AM »
Agreed.

Maybe this could branch off into a discussion around how social programs play into mustachian living.  My thoughts are they should not, especially when luxuries are involved elsewhere in the budget, but I would be interested in hearing the thoughts of others.

I make (after factoring free housing and utilities) roughly $70K/year, but my family still qualifies for WIC, and we use those checks the very day they are valid for use.  Free formula, baby food, and fresh produce every month! 

There's no way we'd be saving almost 60% of my actual take home pay every month if we didn't have WIC.

BPA

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Re: 'Stached nearly 50% of $20,000 income
« Reply #28 on: January 01, 2013, 11:56:53 AM »
BPA and I are friends, so I'm glad that she pointed out that I'd made it sound like everyone was abusing the system.

:)  My friends are hard working people.  Many of them work in Alberta for 20 days and then fly back home to be with their families for 10. Then fly out again.  Comparing some of those underserviced oil refinery towns to the closeknit communities down east: I can understand why they don't want to move their entire families out there. 

And I will admit that part of the problem is the well-intentioned, if misguided actions of some of the residents.  One Parks Canada worker I know worked full time for 16 years and was recently reduced to "casual."  Who is picking up the slack?  Volunteers who are asked to clean the parks and beaches for free.  This guy's income is slashed and people are doing what he used to do for free.  And then Harper suggested EI reforms that further disadvantage him.  He wants to work.  He isn't lazy. 

Certainly we have friends who disagree with my stance although the ones who act like they are single handedly supporting entire families make me grin.  I don't care if you make $200K+, you still only pay as much EI as I do.  I don't mind paying EI premiums.  I'm the lucky one that I will likely never need EI.

Self-employed-swami

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Re: 'Stached nearly 50% of $20,000 income
« Reply #29 on: January 01, 2013, 12:48:52 PM »
Certainly we have friends who disagree with my stance although the ones who act like they are single handedly supporting entire families make me grin.  I don't care if you make $200K+, you still only pay as much EI as I do.  I don't mind paying EI premiums.  I'm the lucky one that I will likely never need EI.

You should mention that, the next time it comes up ;D

I can only imagine the interesting comments that would fly!

Christine

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Re: 'Stached nearly 50% of $20,000 income
« Reply #30 on: January 11, 2013, 09:50:26 AM »
That is excellent! Keep it up.

FitStash

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Re: 'Stached nearly 50% of $20,000 income
« Reply #31 on: January 11, 2013, 01:39:37 PM »
Good job getting closer to your financial goals!  Now that you can live on such a small amount, you will probably never need that kind of help again.

This year I realized that my graduate stipend (<$20k) would have qualified me for food stamps for the past couple years, yet I was still able to increase my net work by over $5k.  It really comes down how people view the world.  Most people on the receiving end of social problems grew up with consumerism (like most of us) but they haven't been lucky enough to stumble into a paradigm shift like we have.  It sounds like you are in a much better place now, and I'm happy for you :-)


The MMM blog should be required reading for people on social programs everyone.  Think how great it would be, taking people who are barely getting by, and turning them into millionaires in droves.  :-)


kolorado

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Re: 'Stached nearly 50% of $20,000 income
« Reply #32 on: January 12, 2013, 10:23:06 AM »
The OP used public assistance responsibly, IMO, because he/she stopped receiving it when pay went up and was not using the assistance for food in the same time period as spending on luxuries.
We've always qualified for WIC and a couple times for food stamps but I would never take it because we have the knowledge and discipline to control our spending in other areas to feed our own family without anyone's help. While technically not many people would argue that we should have collected it anyway as not to punish ourselves for being savers, I feel that we, through knowledge, are actually the advantaged regardless of our actual financial qualifications. I feal that if we and people like us take what we don't truly need, it gives those without the inclination to obtain knowledge and discipline a justification for their position in life. It reduces or eliminates the stigma attached to aid and I think that is a bad thing. With stigma, people are highly motivated to get off assistance as soon as possible. Stigma isn't segregation and prejudice. Stigma is like your playmate as a child not being able to play with you because he's doing extra chores as a disciplinary measure for some error on his part. You don't change your opinion of him or stop associating with him, in fact, you probably respect him more as he takes his lumps and rights his error. Aid isn't exactly discipline but with the right conditions can inspire adults to discipline themselves. The more people who are are self-reliant, disciplined and completely honest in the world, the better off we'd all be.

NestEggChick (formerly PFgal)

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Re: 'Stached nearly 50% of $20,000 income
« Reply #33 on: January 24, 2013, 03:50:34 PM »
First, great job on your incredible savings!  Very impressive!

Personally, I see no problem with extending benefits based on current income only, including the aforementioned trust fund kids buying coops in New York, or food stamps for the retired mustachian with a million in the bank.  To do otherwise penalizes those who save.

Unfortunately, those who save are penalized: http://www.ssa.gov/pubs/10101.html#a0=1
I am unable to work due to a health condition right now.  I spent many years working and saving as much as I could.  Now, I'm not eligible for food stamps or many other government "safety nets."  Instead, I am watching my savings disappear as I struggle to pay for rent, food, and medical expenses.  Frustratingly, a house does not count towards the limit, so if I could afford to buy a house, I would be eligible for these benefits.  However, I do not want to own a home, nor am I healthy enough to care for a house.  I find it frustrating that the government says that owning a home is "ok" for receiving benefits, but having money for rent is not.  All those years of saving are now working against me - I feel as though I'm being punished for being frugal!

To add insult to injury (literally), I could go back to work sooner if I could do all of the medical treatments on the standard timetable, but I have had to spread them out more because of the cost.  I would much rather be healthy and return to work, but my financial situation is slowing me down.  Go figure.