submitted 3 months ago by [email protected] to c/[email protected]
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[-] [email protected] 141 points 3 months ago

I'm worried "paycheck to paycheck" is up to the interpretation of the person filing it the survey and how the questions are phrased. Depending on how the questions are worded, they'd possibly include me. My wife and I max our IRAs, 401ks, and HSAs each year. Anything that can be put on the credit card, is (then paid off before any interest can accrue). Like sure if you look at our monthly expenses vs income hitting the bank, we are "paycheck to paycheck". But we could both lose a significant portion of our income and be just fine (provided we scale back retirement savings).

Unless they address that in these articles or surveys, it just sounds like they're trying to get the poor and middle class to just agree to this shared misery while the rich keep fucking the world over.

[-] [email protected] 90 points 3 months ago

Speaking anecdotally, I've always heard "living paycheck-to-paycheck" to mean having insufficient savings to cover a missed paycheck

I.e. if you don't get an expected paycheck then you cannot pay your monthly debts/utilities/rent and still have enough money to feed.yourself and your dependents

[-] [email protected] 42 points 3 months ago

Which is why I'm worried it's not adequately defined. I'm definitely not paycheck to paycheck. But they could word the questions in such a way that I'd be included.

[-] [email protected] 19 points 3 months ago

Oh, absolutely. If you click through to the Quicken press release they have a small section defining their methodology but don't list the specific questions

I wish more people appreciated the lengths that Pew et al. go through to both minimize and recognize sources of bias, confusion, etc

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[-] [email protected] 25 points 3 months ago

(provided we scale back retirement savings).

But it would affect you, just longer-term than shorter-term. You don't know what things will be like when you're old, which is why most people who can do put the max amount in their IRAs, 401Ks, and HSAs. That doesn't mean they're bad people or misspending their money or not living paycheck-to-paycheck.

If you suffer in your old age because you had to cut back on retirement, that's a huge impact on your life. It's way easier to live paycheck-to-paycheck when you still can work than it is when you literally cannot and are relying on Society Security or retirement investments. I think that matters.

I'm poor as fuck, but I don't feel like I need to judge people who barely make more money than me in the context of fucking billionaires.

Also, do you have kids, because that's a huge impact on the bottom-line of people who make a decent salary.

[-] [email protected] 15 points 3 months ago

Also, do you have kids, because that's a huge impact on the bottom-line of people who make a decent salary.

Only furry ones with four paws. And the cost of raising kids is a not insignificant factor in that decision.

[-] [email protected] 15 points 3 months ago
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[-] [email protected] 112 points 3 months ago

If you're making 150k and are living paycheck to paycheck you either live in a crazy expensive area or are a total fucking idiot when it comes to managing your money.

[-] [email protected] 48 points 3 months ago

Rent in NYC where I live is insane. My partner and I recently toured a place where they broke up the basement of a building into 4 apartments, none of which had a real bedroom, and were asking for $3k each

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[-] [email protected] 40 points 3 months ago

Try making $150k in a "reasonably priced area." It can be done, but is not the norm. The problem is that to make a good salary, you have to be in a place that pays those wages. Obviously, this attracts more people, so real estate is more expensive.

The trick is to make $150k in some kind of sweet spot where housing does not compensate. But it's always a moving target and is extremely difficult. Then in you lose your job? Start all over again.

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[-] [email protected] 35 points 3 months ago

Go look at a mortgage or even rent in any major city.

[-] [email protected] 16 points 3 months ago

Hi, this is pretty much me, and I concur. If you can't live on $150k then you are definitely making some questionable decisions. That's around $8k/m take home. Even if you are spending $4k on rent/mortgage, you should have plenty left over to live on.

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[-] [email protected] 27 points 3 months ago* (last edited 3 months ago)

Hmmm you're not going to be making 150k a year in a shit fly over state.

I moved from the Bay Area to the East side of Washington near Seattle, folks here don't make as much as I do for sure, at least not on average. We both have good salaries so we can afford a lot of things. We essentially got to keep most of our bay area salaries.

But even then if we need a big repair we still have to sit down and plan out the money.

I can't even imagine what it's like for folks around here.

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[-] [email protected] 17 points 3 months ago

In California, a new mortgage payment is 8-15k/month. Rent on an apartment is 3-4k/month. $150k salary isn’t enough for the mortgage and will struggle to cover that cost of rent.

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[-] [email protected] 15 points 3 months ago

Terrible assumption

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[-] [email protected] 70 points 3 months ago

I mean you can make any income be paycheck to paycheck by spending too much.

[-] [email protected] 56 points 3 months ago

150k for me would be a dream right now. I have a dog, a gf, and I rent. But if you're making 150k and you have two kids and a spouse for example, suddenly that 150k doesn't go very far at all.

[-] [email protected] 16 points 3 months ago

Yep, my mother used to manage pays for engineers making up to 300k and for some of them it was a disaster if a mistake lead to 200$ being missing from their cheque and they would be in her office first thing in the morning in full panic mode...

[-] [email protected] 17 points 3 months ago

I mean, if my cheque was off by a couple of hundred dollars, I'd want to follow up on the discrepancy (not in panic mode though). My wife's a high earner and some pay was delayed a month due to staff turnover.

Leadership was like "it shows financial stability to be able to wait for pay," but people have budgets and plans for that money. Otherwise it's an interest free loan to the organization - the money should be paid out timely.

But I do agree, overall, that folks should be able to manage their budget, especially as a high earner.

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[-] [email protected] 47 points 3 months ago

Don't let this sensational headline fool you. These are not the 1% not even close.

[-] [email protected] 34 points 3 months ago* (last edited 3 months ago)

If you're making 150k per year and "living paycheck to paycheck" you suck with money, full stop.

That's more than double median household income

[-] [email protected] 30 points 3 months ago* (last edited 3 months ago)

My combined household income is more than 150k per year and I have not changed my spending habits since I was in college.... caveat being I own a house but my mortgage may only be twice what I was paying in rent. Also I now have healthcare.

Still living paycheck to paycheck. I guess I'd be ok if I missed one or both my wife and I missed one. Though, my marriage would start to be in jeopardy after 2 or 3 I'd guess. Not that she would leave me because I'm not making enough but the added stress would quickly become unmanageable.

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[-] [email protected] 29 points 3 months ago

If you are living in an area with a high cost of living, $150k won't feel like $150k.

From Bungalow, 10 Mist Expensive Cities in the US,

  1. San Francisco, CA The cost of living in San Francisco is the highest in the country. Jobs in the City by the Bay pay well, with average annual incomes of over $100,000. In 2019, the city had an unemployment rate as low as 1.8%. But a good chunk of each check goes toward the nation’s highest housing costs. As of January 2020, the average rent for an apartment in San Francisco was $3,700, and the median home purchase price was $1.35 million. Prices are sky-high because of limited housing stock and lack of new construction.

If you are making $100k and renting at the average rental price of $3,700, in one year the cost your housing is $44,400 which is almost 45% of your income. The goal is to spend 30% of your income on housing. If people with would be normally considered to have a good income are struggling then the poor are completely fucked.

There is a small group of people who are making money off this system and ain't us.

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[-] [email protected] 28 points 3 months ago

This is out of touch. There is a huge number of factors that dictate what amount of money is enough to live a fulfilled live. A bachelor can live a fulfilled life on 30k a year and still save money, but a family of 5 can definitely be living paycheck to paycheck on 150k, especially if they live in an expensive area.

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[-] [email protected] 24 points 3 months ago

I think location definitely plays into this. 150k in some places is nothing.

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[-] [email protected] 16 points 3 months ago

I'm almost there.

I also live in the Bay Area. My rent is locally cheap but nationally very high. My wife has a chronic illness and an unrelated acute issue that recently required surgery. She can barely work. Until this most recent surgery I was keeping ahead, but expenses are up and income is down and that's not true anymore.

I have good health insurance but there's a lot more to medical costs than just doctors, and to partially manage her daily quality of life it's not weird to cook her three different dinners and she can only stomach one. This explodes our meal budget.

We're childfree but one of our dogs recently also got diagnosed with chronic illness. They are our kids, full stop.

Shit happens. Don't be a dick about it.

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[-] [email protected] 30 points 3 months ago

Famine, disease, collapse, or war. Those are historically the only ways inequality of anywhere near this level has been rectified.

[-] [email protected] 32 points 3 months ago* (last edited 3 months ago)

We came close with COVID, but literally the businesses of the world fucking rejoiced that we avoided a Black Plague scenario where enough people died that workers were able to demand better wages. They were so happy it mostly affected old people, because that meant they could just pile those old non-money-makers into wood chippers while they would lean on the able bodied workers dwindling health's.

You can see it in how it went from "essential workers are heroes!" back to "you should be happy to have a job, I could replace you with anybody in an instant!" pretty much overnight in early 2023.

As fucked up as it is, if more young, able bodied people would have died, the people that were left would have been in a better bargaining position.

On the plus side, millennials aren't having fucking babies so we're killing this fucking sick system one way or another by showing how it's a fucking pyramid scheme that benefits the already-wealthy at the expense of everyone else.

When they won't have enough workers to keep pushing exponential "growth" each year, this whole fucking kit and caboodle will fall apart. Especially when the workers start actually demanding to have their real human lives back.

Even worse, climate change will probably kick all of our asses far before that's even possible.

As sad as it is, the last thing that could change things will be the thing that changes them so far for the worse that forward movement will be nearly impossible and society as we know it will likely fail.

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[-] [email protected] 22 points 3 months ago

I’d love to see this as a paycheck breakdown. Unless you have a history of debt, a huge house, or like 8 kids I don’t see how it’s not possible to do at least moderately well on 150k/y

[-] [email protected] 47 points 3 months ago* (last edited 3 months ago)

Edit: before folks reply with a comment about people being worse off, I know. I agree. This is just a scenario description.

It is very easy to be strapped with a modest sized house or apartment in the "right" zip code.

As in a 1.2mil mortgage on a 3 bedroom house that's never been renovated since the 70s. That mortgage could be 5k / month.

150000 a year is 8.7k a month, after taxes. If you have student loans, any medical debt, kids, that remaining 3.7k is pretty critical. You aren't swimming in liquid chocolate every night and wiping with singles.

If you own a home things can happen out of nowhere. I personally just had to replace my sewer line last month. 17k for the work and 1.5k for new concrete. Not covered by my home insurance because I didn't opt for the rider on my account. My fault there... My finances are a bit different than the above description but if you were the 150 + paycheck to paycheck situation, you'd be in hot water.

This isn't a "woe to the 150 crowd" comment. I'm well aware folks are way, way worse off, but when a 150 household talks about being paycheck to paycheck, it's totally possible.

[-] [email protected] 19 points 3 months ago* (last edited 3 months ago)

At least in CA where the property tax is 1%, last time I fed the info into one of those calculators a few months ago, a 1.2m house (exactly the type you describe) with a standard 20% down-payment would run closer to $8k/mo with good credit. That includes property tax and homeowners insurance, which is required to get a loan.

So yeah, that doesn't leave a whole lot to live off of.

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[-] [email protected] 21 points 3 months ago
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[-] [email protected] 20 points 3 months ago

Welcome to the jungle fellas. How’s that trickle down working for you now?

[-] [email protected] 15 points 3 months ago

A lot of, if not most, folks in that income bracket vote democrat and hate republicans. These are tech folks who voted for Bernie. It isn't until you add another couple of zeros that you find the people funding the Republican party. 150k isn't elite, it's literally just barely middle class in any major city.

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[-] [email protected] 20 points 3 months ago

Adam Smith observed in his epic that when people get more money they generally spend it on more/better housing. Today we have a few more luxury goods, to add to a house, but a house is still something people spend more and more money on when they get it.

I'm not sure that is bad. My dad died at 65 - what was the point of all the retirement savings he had saved up (at least my mom can enjoy it). Even if you live for much longer, most old people I know have failing bodies and so they can't really enjoy those old years. More and more my advice to people is save for a rainy day and an okay retirement, but don't save for a rich retirement - instead enjoy that difference now.

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this post was submitted on 30 Nov 2023
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