This is sort of an extension of the mustang cost over the last few days: pay, lifestyle, future, etc. I have been thinking about this for years now and I just don't see it. I'm not sure where I'm going with this thread. I'm looking at how people live on low income and accept doing it. It's a general observation about lifestyle and such that I just do not understand. Why do people live like this? This being a car forum gives the impression that this is a group of people that have more than the basics. I'm looking for input and perspectives from people that were in this situation, perhaps live in this situation, and are above/out of this "life." I give perspective of my current position but I don't want it to be a "woe is me" thread even though it might come across that way. I don't want any flaming (though that might be necessary). Just looking for constructive thoughts. For a backstory, I grew up in an extremely privileged household and an extremely sheltered life. This is definitely conflicting my views when looking at my current situation and the outlook of life. Here goes: I've been working in landscaping this year. It's a crappy job: busting ass in the heat for $11/hr with no benefits and little advancement. While there are some better lawn care companies in the area that may offer $15/hr with some sort of health plan, 401k, etc., it really doesn't offer much of a life. It'll be hard physically and mentally. I mean, it's is at the point where it really feels fruitless. You cannot do anything on 25k a year. It's hard to even support yourself: rent just wipes you out, it's really hard to save any money, medical bills will be an instant bankruptcy, etc. A few minutes on Excel just paint the picture of... despair. There is nothing wrong with living with the basics, but it gets to the point where it just doesn't feel worth the struggle. When I look at the job boards, there are a TON of jobs that offer what I currently have: low pay, little to no benefits, and no real future. All the people working in retail and hospitality are working for next to nothing. Warehouse work and manufacturing are better but there isn't much more to it. Construction is (largely)the same way. Now don't get me wrong, there are definitely exceptions in these fields, however, for every good job there has to be at least 20? 40? 100? other crap jobs in the same areas. College can play a huge role in this as well. Generally speaking, your career outlook is better than not having one. Of course, there are exceptions. Loans are available to cover the gaps. Hell, when you're making money in this range, you really don't have much to lose. Loan repayment would be an issue if you do not finish. The last thing you would want is having a loan hanging over your head - that would be an absolute disaster. Then again, I think there are people paying child support on low income? That would be a similar situation. What am I missing? Where do people find the drive to do this for their whole working life? Why don't they try to get out of it? Is it impossible to get out of once you start? Again, I don't understand. I can see it if you have a kid. However, for the average single male? I'm not sure what I would do if someone told me I had to ride out the next 30 years doing something like this. At what income point does it turn around? I am looking for what other people think about the topic. What would be the bare minimum number for you? What income level would give you a "decent" life. What about a good life? What career fields should people living this life look to get into? What's the best way out? Apprentice, engineering, accounting, etc. People know that. Why don't they do it? There have been multiple studies that say the number to reach is ~75k in terms of happiness. Anything below that and you are yearning for more. Anything more than that really doesn't add much to life. Agree? Disagree? This is getting way too long. Any thoughts, ideas, perspectives on this would be appreciated.