A Livable Minimum Wage

1. scheherazadeNorthern Horse WhispererValued Senior Member

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3,798
There is a huge disparity in the income of people, yet the cost of living is the same for all and we must choose from options within our means. This is reasonable to a degree, in that if you work harder, learn greater skills earn more wages, benefits and compensation this is a self-rewarding system.

The problem comes when the minimum wage will not allow you to put a roof over your head and food on the table unless you can hold two jobs or have at least two wage earners in a household, be they in a relationship or only housemates.

My question to start this thread is: "What would be the minimum hourly wage or monthly salary that would allow a single person to live a very modest life where you reside."

It would be interesting if you can tell us roughly where you live, some costs such as living space, food and transportation for purposes of comparison. As example, gasoline costs $1.249/liter at the moment. In the last 8 years prices have ranged between 99 cents and$1.549 with heating oil very near on par. Given that I live in Whitehorse, Yukon and we have a lengthy cold season, transport and fuel figure highly in my budget.

EDIT - Fixed LaTeX formatting issues - Kittamaru

Last edited by a moderator: Jan 6, 2018

3. Xelasnave.1947Valued Senior Member

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5,601
At the moment I am in Northern New South Wales a state in Australia.
If you are lucky you can get a house for free as a cartaker but generally $200 to$250 is cheap rent.

Energy costs are reasonable as the climate is wonderful.
Plenty of wood if you have a fire place.
Clothing is cheap because the winters are mild...if you buy at Kmart $10 for pants,$8 for a t shirt $20 for a jacket and$20 for shoes.
Lamb $10 a kilo. Beef$15 up Fish $10 or catch them. Petrol$1.30 a lt. But it can go lower or higher.
Food reasonable.
If you live in a town rent will be the main expence.
A couple would need $400,000 for a house in a town but you can spend double with ease. It depends on what you must have...live in the bush for free with a vegie garden, hitch hike to get around, make your own beer and grow your own tobacco or pot, buy clothes at the "opportunity shop" and borrow books from the library it wont cost much. Cars second hand can be very cheap. TV$200.
Alex

EDIT - Fixed LaTeX formatting issues - Kittamaru

Last edited by a moderator: Jan 6, 2018

5. Xelasnave.1947Valued Senior Member

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5,601
I have not met anyone who feels they have enough but I really think its a state of mind. I have plenty and content yet others have much more and are not content.
Honestly if I won lotto I would not rush out and even replace my 1200cc car, get new clothes or even go out for dinner.
Bought take away pizza yesterday only $50. We had half in a nice park and the rest today for brunch. Maybe I would spend another$6000 on astronomy gear ($3000 camera and$3000 scope) but probably not as I am happy with the gear I have now.

8. iceauraValued Senior Member

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28,193
That's 30,000 @year American - far more than most individuals need, bottom line, if they could depend on it.

I have never earned that much - in an honest accounting - but nevertheless managed to survive. That is largely because I was never unemployed.

Thing is: one must account for times of no wages received, no money coming in, to find the minimum wage. And the average of a fluctuation must be higher than the average of a steady stream: as in a bicycle race through mountains, boom and bust itself creates inefficiency.

Which is one reason a national minimum income would work far better than a minimum wage. It would be cheaper, for the same benefit.

9. scheherazadeNorthern Horse WhispererValued Senior Member

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3,798
The current minimum wage in Yukon is $11.32 per hour which is what many of the retail venues offer. Few offer full time positions with benefits because part time positions are more advantageous to the corporations since they do not have to confer benefits with their associated costs to provide. Housing costs are very high to buy and with new mortgage stress tests, fewer will be able to qualify and certainly not with part-time work, even two jobs, because of the lack of certainty of scheduling. Retail sectors cut hours in response to any fluctuations downward so employees have no guarantee of employment income from week to week. Rental vacancies are at an all time low here and$1,000/month plus utilities is the least you can expect to pay if you are lucky enough to find a place.

If an employee works 180 hours per month @ $11.32, their gross salary is$2,037.60 with a net of $1,630.00 after taxes.$630.00 to pay for heat, electric and food is not enough and that does not even consider phone, internet, television or any other such additional amenities.

10. Xelasnave.1947Valued Senior Member

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5,601
Move to Northern NSW it is the best of everything and relatively cheap.
Alex

11. birchValued Senior Member

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5,077
that amazes me because you come across so educated. there are plenty of idiots who make two, sometimes three times that. i mean, they are not complete idiots but even one of my social workers made it a point to tell me that there are many people who are more successful who are heck of a lot less intelligent. lol

it is true that education and position isn't always an indication of intelligence (there are even genuises who are homeless). but that depends, usually the more technical or artistic it is, the real deal is more evident. but there are many in some level of administrative (business) positions that are complete idiots or very average (even below average) people making sometimes six figures. even on my temp jobs i was sharper, more productive and better than most around me but i was not favored because (very) mediocrity is the majority.

even most psychiatrists i have dealt with were pretty stupid except a couple. especially, this one hispanic female. i couldn't believe she had that position as she was totally unprofessional and had a hard time with critical thinking/analyzing. she was too emotional, fuzzy and couldn't discern much at all accurately or understand proper context. i remember thinking that i could do their job with more accuracy and better judgement.

this is because there is politics, friends, community and family support that has a lot to do with their success besides education, not just whether one is intelligent. average will pretty much guarantee a comfortable life and a place in society if you have all these factors in your favor.

Last edited: Jan 6, 2018
12. parmaleeperipatetic artisanValued Senior Member

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2,512
With the exception of a few particular urban areas, i.e., SF, New York, I'm inclined to agree with you here.

I've managed on far less (no kids, obviously), both in cities--LA, Seattle, Portland, Baltimore, Boston, etc.--as well as much smaller cities, and out in the middle nowhere--the bush, but partly dependent upon civilization for food and such. In fact, I've managed--and quite comfortably, by my standards--on 4 figures, without problem.

What drives people's expenditures up considerably are things like are smart phone monthlies (don't have one--think they're worthless and turn people into cyborgs), cable tv (don't have a tv--everything is on the web anyways, so why even bother?), and buying or leasing new cars (just, why?! For the life of me, I cannot understand this).

Can't say the same here. Often unemployed, sometimes by choice, other times for health reasons (chronic seizing isn't conducive to stable work).

Last edited: Jan 6, 2018
13. birchValued Senior Member

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5,077
It is somewhat surprising to read that some members here who come across very together are not professionals. Most members who post here are very lucid and use excellent grammar and know how to debate (correctly) even complex matters.

The truth is the average person cannot do that. There are no interests beyond the literal and materialistic.

But in truth, i did meet at a homeless shelter (but still rare), a fellow veteran who used to be an intelligence officer as well as a guy who had several degrees but both of them had serious mental health issues. The guy with the degrees was always telling me about his horrible family. The only thing i had in common with the vet (besides our mental health issues which can render us comatose zombies at times) was our close asvab scores; his was a tad higher but he praised me and told me it was still high enough i could have gone into some intelligence field (if i had requested it) and that i'm not really stupid.

So, intelligent people can find themselves on the bottom or have worked many menial jobs due to various reasons (issues/problems).

Last edited: Jan 6, 2018
14. parmaleeperipatetic artisanValued Senior Member

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2,512
I've got a few degrees--full ride scholarships, by the way, as I come from a single parent, minimum wage household. Until the age of 25, I was "officially" schizophrenic; problem being, I'm not. I'm epileptic, but wasn't diagnosed properly ('cuz poverty and shit medical care) until I went to grad school in Canada. Being epileptic, but being treated for schizophrenia, tends to fuck one up royally. Consequently, I was homeless on and off for years, and just generally... wacked. Still sometimes homeless, but now it's by choice.

15. birchValued Senior Member

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5,077
That's terrible. Misdiagnosis is common, especially if you are referred to mental health because it's still largely a field still on the frontier and much guesswork and trial and error. Unless, you get a very good psychiatrist, this is the usual. I got several diagnosis until one team at va finally got it right.

16. parmaleeperipatetic artisanValued Senior Member

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2,512

Kind of a hard question for me to answer, but I'll try. I've lived in a lot of places--well over a dozen, and all over the place--but presently reside in rural western Massachusetts. We're kinda in the boonies and live fairly primitively on 10 acres, but surrounded by thousands of acres of woodland. Our home is an 18' x 22' A-frame, with loft and a small (about 80 sq. ft.) outbuilding which I use as a studio and workshop--it's valued at ~120 K, but most homes around here go for a good deal more (Rachel Maddow lives down the road--by which I mean 8 miles away--so there's quite a range). We heat exclusively with wood (about 3-4 cords a year), use little electricity (~100 Kwh per month, but often quite less), and have well water. So our energy costs are very, very low.

I honestly have no idea how much gasoline costs--between 2 and 3 bucks a gallon, I think. We don't eat out (have to travel a good ways for anything worth my while) and our gardens produce a fair bit, but we still spend between 4 and 5 hundred a month for food (for two people). We could spend less on food, but why? I'm vegan and kinda particular, most packaged foods are garbage (some--ones I would never eat regardless--even lower my seizure threshold considerably), and certain non-organic produce is frankly scary--I once purchased cilantro that somehow did not brown or go bad after six weeks. That is absolutely terrifying. I wouldn't even put it in the compost, it went straight to the garbage.

Other stuff? Honestly, I really don't buy much apart from raw materials to make shit, i.e., hardware, electronics components and suchlike, some art supplies. Most "stuff" manufactured in the past thirty years frankly depresses me. Other significant expenses are largely dog related. They've got insurance, they eat fairly pricey organic dog food which comes from free-range animals, and they've got a lot of nice beds.

17. parmaleeperipatetic artisanValued Senior Member

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2,512
Much misdiagnosis is a consequence of inadequate medical care, as well. I was accustomed to 5 or 10 minute appointments, and for complex issues, one simply cannot make a proper diagnosis in a few minutes.

18. scheherazadeNorthern Horse WhispererValued Senior Member

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3,798
Okay...some relevant input on costs associated with living, cost of housing etc. so far.
My propane delivery arrived today, surprising for a Saturday but between the holidays, cold weather and highway closures, deliveries were behind and some folks getting low on their heating propane. I am on call for delivery and from experience I order more propane when I am at 30% so that I can wait for a while if need be. I have a wood stove for auxiliary heat and have been quite diligent to burn wood when I am not at work as there is considerable cost savings because I have a wood lot on my own property and a gentleman who aids me in harvesting same.
My propane bill for four months was $1,050.00 plus I would have had to pay$500.00 for two cords of wood had I bought it. That means that my average heating cost in the winter months is $387.50/month. During the summer months, heating costs are much lower but I need to budget at least$250.00 per month and set funds aside to pick up the larger bills during the winter months. Folks living in warmer climates often have higher costs associated with air conditioning, something which is very seldom required in Yukon although we have seen the odd day or even a week of 30C during the summer months, but very, very rare.
So to start, I need to budget $1.39 of my hourly wage for heating year round. How does that compare to other folks? 19. scheherazadeNorthern Horse WhispererValued Senior Member Messages: 3,798 20. parmaleeperipatetic artisanValued Senior Member Messages: 2,512 A chainsaw is one of the few power tools which I cannot use--the oscillations can trigger a seizure; consequently, harvesting our own wood isn't a realistic option. We buy four cords for$900, but use a good deal less. Next year we'll like only need three, or even just two. No other heating costs, and no cooling costs, of course. So less than a grand for annual heating costs. Not bad. Of course, we don't see many -40 C days. For the past couple of weeks, we've seen a number of -25C/-30C days, but that is rather anomalous.

That's a lot of propane. Any way to improve or enhance your wood burning options? Ceiling fans and the little heat powered fans which sit atop a wood stove are quite effective. I also obsessively seal and re-gasket the stove.

21. scheherazadeNorthern Horse WhispererValued Senior Member

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Actually, my heating costs are low compared to most. Insurance will not cover wood heat as a primary source in a log home and few will even insure log homes. We get nailed with an additional 10% premium because of the construction type. Therefore, I burn the auxiliary when I am home and must rely on the propane while I am at work. I have two ceiling fans and one on the floor to keep the air circulating. My home is 1150 square feet total, 24 x 28 exterior footprint. Stove gasket replaced etc. Been using wood for 40 years so I am aware of the efficiencies and the hazards. My propane is locked in at an annual rate which saves me considerable when market forces cause fluctuation. I am at $0.85 /liter and the going rate now is over$1.00.

Until folks have actually experienced a Yukon winter, it is hard to comprehend the months of cold weather and short daylight hours which result in our high energy use just to survive. I keep my thermostat at 65F or 15C which is lower than most folks as well.

22. scheherazadeNorthern Horse WhispererValued Senior Member

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3,798
By the way, what is with my replies getting compressed and italics appearing where I used none? Do we have some kind of glitch in the software?

23. quantum_waveContemplating the "as yet" unknownValued Senior Member

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6,626
I tried a post and see that I am having the same problem with words being compressed and sent to italics, but it is intermittent. Doesn't show up when I post, but next time I look, there is a problem with compressed words. I deleted the post and will try again later.

Last edited: Jan 7, 2018