Author Topic: Low income earner wondering about others *notsoexistentialcrisis*  (Read 3404 times)

Michael792

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I'm obviously young, so I know my wages will probably continue to rise throughout life. That being said, I cannot even relate in terms of pay to what many of you make. I never made over 11k (US) in a year before last year, due mostly to low paying, sporadic jobs. Was never full time until the end of 2013 and most of 2014. Last year I made 22.000 and I was absolutely amazed. I have literally no idea how to spend it all. I save over half (as of the middle of 2014) except for a couple of months partying it up down in Seoul. Still, my net worth rose over a thousand dollars per month since I've been in Korea. That kind of money is absolutely insane to me. All this being sparked by a passing mention of the low salary of 36.000 a year, I was kind of wondering how many other low-income people out there are doing the Mustachian path. I mean, if someone offered me 36.000 p.a., I would accept on the spot and never think twice. (I never really felt low paid, by the way. I know how to survive on wild foods, so I could theoretically live without money. I was always just grateful to be paid for work, even as day labor. One thing I cannot fathom is how people put such massive prices on their work and how angry they can get if not receiving that much money. I always thanked my employer for whatever wage they gave me, be it five dollars an hour or ten. I even had a boss on one project pay me over a $100 dollars one day. I nearly fell on the floor.)
« Last Edit: February 26, 2015, 04:54:54 PM by Michael792 »

HenryDavid

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Re: Low income earner wondering about others *notsoexistentialcrisis*
« Reply #1 on: February 25, 2015, 09:40:47 AM »
You've already arrived.
For me "FI" means I don't have to let money push me into decisions I wouldn't otherwise make.
Working or not working at a job is only secondary, once that's settled.
Life as a student was already a good life, for me, with enough material stuff and a purpose in life and no debt.
Sounds like you're self sufficient enough already. Just keep going.
It's true that the staggering affluence North Americans can take for granted is . .  . staggering.
That's the real point of this blog, as I read it.  To say: "people! You're already rich. Just calm down and appreciate it."

retired?

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Re: Low income earner wondering about others *notsoexistentialcrisis*
« Reply #2 on: February 25, 2015, 09:45:35 AM »
I followed the link in your post.  Are you in the military with housing and food covered?  If so, 22k is a princely sum for an individual.

I don't know the situation for the person commenting on 36k, but if it were a family of four, then it is low by many standards. 

Keep your goal of low spending and you'll never have to worry about 36k seeming small.  Most people (even many here I expect) didn't adopt the low cost lifestyle at an early age and are now trying to catch up.  And, making those changes can be hard once a person/family becomes used to a certain lifestyle.....even if not extravagant.

RE value of my work - I let the market decide that.  Thankfully, it was a good amount.  Why accept less than the market bears?  Would you be happy about accepting $50 for that labor when the guy next to you who did the exact same thing was paid $100?  You're happier than having $0, but I bet you'd see some unfairness.

I am not supporting those people who 'get angry', but the viewpoint of "I'm just happy to have work regardless of pay" is a little too naive/rosy.

I think the key is your assessment of "low paying sporadic jobs".  You simply haven't seen yet what a lot of jobs are worth.

Bracken_Joy

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Re: Low income earner wondering about others *notsoexistentialcrisis*
« Reply #3 on: February 25, 2015, 09:52:47 AM »
I think where you live has a huge bearing on this. Income really only matters in relation to cost of living.

Lian

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Re: Low income earner wondering about others *notsoexistentialcrisis*
« Reply #4 on: February 25, 2015, 11:58:09 AM »
I was a very low-income worker in my 20ís and early 30ís. I am a high school drop-out & got a degree and career at a later age than most people. Even now, my income is very modest, but I will still reach FI at an earlier age than the standard. So Iím proof that, once the choice is made, anyone can do it regardless of income and a history of bad choices.  Youíve made that choice at a young ageĖ thatís huge, and you will certainly make it as long as it continues to be what you want.

When I started in my career, I was very grateful that I had the opportunities to change my life, and was absolutely thrilled to get a decent paycheck.  I know I have lost most of that gratefulness Ė I donít particularly like or fit with the middle class, corporate life. But Iím regaining enthusiasm - keep those paychecks coming, Ďcause Iím almost there!

It is too easy to forget how well off and rich in possibilities we are relative to much of the world Ė even relative to many Americans. Youíll be happier in the long run if you can keep some of that gratefulness, although donít sell yourself short either.

Michael792

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Re: Low income earner wondering about others *notsoexistentialcrisis*
« Reply #5 on: February 26, 2015, 05:12:24 PM »
HenryDavid, I agree with what you're saying. Thanks for the perspective.

retired?, I am military. That means they give me housing, yes, but also they pay me for food. Then, they take away all that money before I see it and say I'm getting served through the DFAC, which is the sorriest excuse for food I've ever seen and about a mile away. So, I buy very cheap, healthy food at the commissary and eat that. I wouldn't say I have food covered because of that, even though they say they provide me with it. Most people here refuse to eat their and they keep taking our money for it. That being said, I realize someone renting would require more of the income I use for housing, so I am grateful for my ability to have a mostly discretionary income. I spend more than I need to, but the convenience helps my stress levels stay low most of the time. When I'm out of the military, I hope to have around a 36.000 p.a. salary, as it will be more than sufficient for my lifestyle.

For a family of four...My parents raised five kids (family of seven, then) on 40.000 p.a. and we did just fine. I've never considered myself poor.

As for the value of work, I'm not talking about situations where people are being blatantly shorted money. I've actually been shorted pay for half a year, and I'm pretty angry about that. I'm talking about the people who refuse to work for less than a certain amount, even if others in that same skill level are being paid less. I can't understand how they think they're that important, especially when they have all the money they could ever need or have a salary that's ridiculously high any way you look at it.

Lian, I'm glad you'll still get that early FI. As your life is proof, people can pull themselves out of some pretty bad situations and do pretty well with life. As for gratefulness, I don't think I could ever lose it. I've been to so many places where people are far more poor than anyone in America, and they are happier than most Americans I know. So I've always been grateful for what I have, because even when I made 8.00 p.a., I had more than entire families could make in a year with everyone working.

MoneyCat

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Re: Low income earner wondering about others *notsoexistentialcrisis*
« Reply #6 on: February 26, 2015, 06:17:07 PM »
Some people lose perspective on here, because it's obviously really easy to FIRE when you make six figures.  Since my wife and I are DINKs, we're going to easily FIRE.  We need to hear more from lower-income people on this board to hear about how Mustachianism is making the average person's life easier.  I really like to hear about people who are doing a lot better these days after going through some troubles, because it really shows that the principles of Mustachianism are applicable to more than just DINKs with Ivy League degrees in chemical engineering.

Carless

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Re: Low income earner wondering about others *notsoexistentialcrisis*
« Reply #7 on: February 26, 2015, 07:03:57 PM »
Well, it's not 'troubles' but I'm living on about 17k per year as a grad student.  I had previously worked in industry and built up a good nest egg before deciding to do my doctorate.  While living here, I found MMM and index investing.  Before MMM, I was slowly eating into that nest egg.  After MMM, I sold my car (7.5k profit) and made other changes that mean that I'm now living within that salary.  Admittedly I'm now living with my boyfriend too which helps, but I pay rent and for groceries to contribute.  This site has made a huge difference in how I run my life, and has saved me hundreds.  Too bad I didn't find the site earlier, but then I couldn't have sold my car at that point (working in northern ontario).  When I get a real job again in a year or two I'm going to feel like I've won the lottery!