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Re: Will Trump be Re-elected?

Posted: Thu May 09, 2019 5:51 pm
by Kriegsspiel
Yes, $18,000. Obviously it depends on your definition of middle class, but you can afford a decent apartment, a car, good food, clothes/furnishings/other durables, and some entertainment on that, which is the way I see lower middle class status. Maybe not with kids, but middle class single is doable on entry-level jobs.

EDIT

These are the numbers I'm thinking of
  • $650-750 rent can get a decent apartment in a city in the midwest, or a house in a less fashionable area
  • $220 for groceries, give or take depending on how much you eat, is plenty
  • $130 for transportation should cover whatever combination of transit/ridesharing, gas, insurance, maintenance
  • $40 is guestimating a premium for health insurance? Not really sure here.
That's $1,040 to cover the basics. $460 left over. If I was just starting out and didn't have a car or any furniture, I would be saving up until I could afford a good used car for $5,000 or so, or about a year of taking the bus. I'd probably also cut out processed and unhealthy food from my grocery shopping and put it towards buying some furniture (small apartments don't need much). Once you get that stuff taken care of, you can split the surplus up between savings and luxuries however you want. You probably have been promoted by this time too, so you'd be earning more.

Re: Will Trump be Re-elected?

Posted: Thu May 09, 2019 5:57 pm
by Ad Orientem
In the United States an annual income of $18k is on the low end of working class. That doesn't mean you can't make do on that. A lot depends on where your priorities in life are. My time in the Navy taught me how little I really needed and still remained fairly happy. There is definitely more to life than material things. But I don't know anyone who would call that a middle class income in a developed country.

Re: Will Trump be Re-elected?

Posted: Thu May 09, 2019 6:35 pm
by Kriegsspiel
Ad Orientem wrote:
Thu May 09, 2019 5:57 pm
In the United States an annual income of $18k is on the low end of working class.
The argument I was trying to make was that you can blur the lines between poor and middle class by how you deploy your money. What I had in mind was something more like an aesthetic issue, not a pure dollars issue, in sense of the 3 Ladders class definitions, as opposed to Pew Research's "middle class income is between 1/3 and double the median."
There is definitely more to life than material things. But I don't know anyone who would call that a middle class income in a developed country.
If they didn't know that the person worked at McDonalds.. If they only knew that our hero had a car and an apartment (maybe he had them over for dinner or game night or something), and he organized a golf outing with the group the second Thursday of the month, went out for beers with the gang every once in a while, was clean and well groomed (being presentable is low cost/high value), was well read (library, baby!), and generally not stressed out about money, why wouldn't they think he was middle class?

Re: Will Trump be Re-elected?

Posted: Thu May 09, 2019 7:53 pm
by dualstow
Kriegsspiel wrote:
Thu May 09, 2019 6:35 pm
Ad Orientem wrote:
Thu May 09, 2019 5:57 pm
In the United States an annual income of $18k is on the low end of working class.
The argument I was trying to make was that you can blur the lines between poor and middle class by how you deploy your money. What I had in mind was something more like an aesthetic issue, not a pure dollars issue, in sense of the 3 Ladders class definitions, as opposed to Pew Research's "middle class income is between 1/3 and double the median."


Is this a good time for me to plug earn dot org? I’m still checking it out, but..four stars in charity navigator.

Re: Will Trump be Re-elected?

Posted: Thu May 09, 2019 8:21 pm
by Kriegsspiel
Well, they chose to locate their office in San Fransisco, so it doesn't seem like they're concerned with being good stewards of the donations they get as a charity. And they use the word "intersection." They also advocate for some stupid student loan policies too. So I'm voting no. Just link people to ERE or MMM or any of the tons of free content out there.

Re: Will Trump be Re-elected?

Posted: Thu May 09, 2019 8:39 pm
by dualstow
Hmm, I’m definitely not a fan of “intersectional.” Need more research. Thank you.

Re: Will Trump be Re-elected?

Posted: Thu May 09, 2019 10:37 pm
by boglerdude
> Something that gets me is how many people refuse to leave high COL locations when they aren't earning the high incomes that would justify it.

People dont like change. Gov should do more on this, some say UBI would help with mobility. I think high speed rail would be a better start. If the CA rail gets built, living inland would be more palatable.

Re: Will Trump be Re-elected?

Posted: Fri May 10, 2019 7:09 am
by sophie
Some personal observations from living in a city that's as HCOL as it gets (NY):

- if you're earning minimum wage and working full time, you're most likely a recent immigrant and you don't speak English. You live in a neighborhood where the residents and retail businesses all speak your language (e.g.. Spanish), and you have a tight network of family & friends that are a critical support structure. In that situation, moving away is unfathomable.

- The HCOL city in question provides many services & benefits that augment that minimum wage income, e.g. food stamps and Medicaid, plus free transit if you're low income. Also, no need for a car.

- Most likely you actually work that minimum wage job part time. The rest of the time, you do something else and get paid a lot more under the table. Handyman or mover jobs, housecleaning, dog-walking/cat sitting etc, earns you a LOT more than minimum wage post-tax, probably $20/hour in cash on the low end. There's also the chance of landing a cushy, well paid unionized city job with generous benefits including a pension that you can start drawing on in your mid 40s.

Re: Will Trump be Re-elected?

Posted: Fri May 10, 2019 7:42 am
by pugchief
sophie wrote:
Fri May 10, 2019 7:09 am
There's also the chance of landing a cushy, well paid unionized city job with generous benefits including a pension that you can start drawing on in your mid 40s.
Okay, I live in IL, the land of corruption and unionized government workers with outsized pensions. No group I know of can start drawing pensions in their 40s, so do tell. Hard to believe we can be out done.

Re: Will Trump be Re-elected?

Posted: Fri May 10, 2019 8:34 am
by jhogue
US military pensions for those who entered before 1981 allowed service members to retire at half pay after 20 years active service. Retirement pay is protected against inflation by federal law. Retirees also received free health care and GI Bill benefits, access to the post exchange and commissary, and access to the global network of free space-available travel aboard US Air Force transports and charters.

At one time, the US Postal Service and many police and fire departments across the country had similar retirement plans, if not all of the fringe benefits of the military. Obviously, all those retirement plans (for new members) have been phased out and shifted from defined benefit to defined contribution schemes over the last 30-40 years.

Re: Will Trump be Re-elected?

Posted: Fri May 10, 2019 10:30 am
by Kbg
I think there is so much dishonesty when it comes to pensions. I’ll mention a couple thoughts for my area of work.

The military is a young persons profession by and large. After WW2 the system was revamped to force people out at younger ages based on rank. Heart attacks and strokes were a very common occurrence amongst the professionals during the first year of the war. It should stay that way. Recently the system was changed to be more like the normal world. This was also tried in the early 90s with disastrous retention results.

Locally, do we really want 60 year old line police officers or firefighters?

I don’t profess to know where the exact line is but a system needs to recognize these aren’t lifetime professions in the traditional sense.

Re: Will Trump be Re-elected?

Posted: Fri May 10, 2019 3:08 pm
by jhogue
My point was simply that many military and first responders retire in their 40s—and most of them probably should. I would also point out that most of this population of retirees go on to develop second careers and really can’t be tagged as hangers-on with “outsized pensions.”

Other professions do not have the same physical demands and those in good health may continue working into their 70s and 80s. Warren Buffett (now age 88) does not draw a pension or Social Security (as far as I can tell) and nobody at the recent Berkshire Hathaway annual meeting called for his resignation or retirement.