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Living on low income - accepting the "poor" life.

Discussion in 'Road Side Pub' started by velocicaur, Jun 28, 2018.

  1. velocicaur

    velocicaur Active Member Established Member

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    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.
     
  2. Booky

    Booky Who's Pick'n The Banjo Here? Established Member

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    088c38cc56ac77cf84b4ea94181e3096.jpg
     
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  3. VegasMichael

    VegasMichael Well-Known Member Established Member

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    A lot of poor people are happy. Aside from that, college is only for those who have their mind set on a certain career where a degree is the only way to get in. My sister took 5 years to drop out of high school and now makes 6 figures. Find your road, bruddah.
     
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  4. 01Jes

    01Jes Z06 bought with food stamps Established Member

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    Learn a good trade, machining, welding, operator or maybe a co-op partnership with college/entry level program. Takes a ton of persistence and hard work to get your foot in the door. 15yrs I was super hungry to find a career and I was 21. I was knocked down several times. You gotta keep trucking man. Find a lucrative trade you like and pursue it. How old are you?
     
  5. Tylerc

    Tylerc Member Established Member

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    Are you in college? Honestly trades are the way to go right now. Find a local union and do an apprenticeship. It’s pretty easy to be 80k+ in a grade nowadays.
     
  6. BrunotheBoxer

    BrunotheBoxer Little Boy Blue - He needed the money. Established Member

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    Marry right/thread.
     
  7. gimmie11s

    gimmie11s Well-Known Member Established Member

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  8. Ohio Snake

    Ohio Snake Well-Known Member Established Member

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    Different regions of the US have different meaning of poor/ low wages. Lucky your not on the west coast where cost of living is quite higher than the Midwest.
    Sounds to me you need to find something you enjoy doing and you consider it as a career....not just a job. If you like what your doing and you want to control your destiny, consider self-employment. If you prefer a steady predictable income, you may be better working for someone. You need to find your happy place.
    Im self-employed, owner of a firm with 5 employees for 24 years, and have close to 600 clients.
    When I was much younger, I was a waiter in a restaurant then....worked as service station attendant, then became a salesperson in a jewelry store. I thought being a jeweler would be my passion, but retail hours and the grind burned me out and I hated a time clock. Today Im a investment advisor and financial planner.
    You need to find the career you want and like and strive to excel in it.......be better than the competition.


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  9. MG0h3

    MG0h3 Well-Known Member Premium Member Established Member

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    My brother was a maintenance guy at an apartment complex in his mid twenties. Company that owned the complex does all kinds of construction; lots of high end residential medium rise stuff.

    30yrs later he’s making 215k. Superindent with a high school education.

    But ya. Figure out what you want to do and go for it.


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  10. Outlaw99

    Outlaw99 Join us. Moderator Premium Member

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    I am the complete opposite. I do not have the lust to chase paychecks. I live simple. I dont have nice stuff anymore. Simply have zero interest in being flashy with expensive things. I wake up, do what i love doing. Work for myself and life is awesome.

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  11. svtfocus2cobra

    svtfocus2cobra Opprimere, Velocitas, Violentia Operandi Established Member

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    Technically I am in the same boat as you at the moment OP. I am barely scraping by on my income, but much of it is by my own choices. My car payment and other bills outside of rent could be changed to help me out more but I am putting up with it to hopefully get myself in a better position and to avoid accruing any penalty fees. Rent is killer out her in Washington though. Rent alone accounts half my net income and I live in a pretty cheap apartment in a decent area. All of my other basic bills eat up most of my income, but with that it has taught me how to be much more frugal.

    The only thing that keeps me sane is that I have a great career where there is a future in it and along with that career I am running a business as if it is my own even though it is not mine. I've learned more about business in 2 years than I have learned in all my different work experience combined. I have picked up other jobs as well being a firearms instructor and doing side work as a security contractor doing various jobs and whatever pays. I'm pretty much doing what I know I am good at and trying to do it as much as possible. This is the hardest and most stressful time in my life, but also the most I have ever worked. The more I work the more connections I make which means more opportunities.

    Depending on your age I would say definitely get into the trades or into the military. The Marines gave me a lot of direction and everything I needed to learn about leadership. People say the infantry doesn't provide you with any applicable skills, but it taught me how to get out of the military and go straight into a management position as a civilian, and now I am in a position with the authority of an owner and a much more promising future.

    Edit: However, I am always looking out for Bruno's advice. Keeping an eye out for that gold mine! lol
     
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  12. nxhappy

    nxhappy Well-Known Member Established Member

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    What's sad, and what pisses me off, is MANY people milk the system like crazy. They don't ****ing work at all and they steal government money. With a huge lump of them fake disability claims. And half of them are on drugs. Instead of giving out money we need to give out food and clothes. And shit people actually need. That being said, getting a good job is about who you KNOW. You can get a Masters degree in college, and not know what the **** you are doing when you get out. I know a lot of people like that (very smart but no common knowledge). It's all about the family/friends connection. Only these connections will get you the great jobs. With friends they might "overlook" certain requirements. In this economy there should be NO reason to make low wages. Hell, even Mcdonalds workers are making 10-11/hr these days it's crazy. I would also like to mention many POOR people turned out to be very very wealthy people. That's because they busted ass and decided to grab the world by the balls. You have to be determined to reach ultimate success. Only lazy ****s make low wages. There is no reason to be poor.
     
  13. phil a

    phil a Member Established Member

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    Interesting topic

    How old are you? I was in a situation that seems nearly identical to yours when I was in early/mid 20s. I'd gone to college to appease my mom, finally graduated without much direction. It was kind of scary, actually, because the kids I'd gone to school with and graduated with all seemed to have a direction/path they were headed toward, while I just kind of ended up at my folks' place. Ended up finding a guy who painted houses who'd allowed me to work along side him. It was awful pay, he was an ass, and here I was - all finished with my business degree - confused why I was making $10/hr and putting up with a dickhead on a daily basis.

    I'd worked a variety of minimum-wage manual labor jobs in high school and before college. Back then, it felt like the work I'd had to do around the house anyway, just a lot more of it, and I was actually getting some scratch together without expectations. I think the problem is this: when you work menial jobs as a kid or in high school, it's OK - mentally, emotionally. Nobody would say you're 'stuck' working those jobs during that time of your life. It's a bit later, when you see people in your age group differentiate themselves into college, trades, different career paths with differing levels of success - that's when it ends up feeling frustrating or when you start to compare yourself to other people (or your own expectations of yourself).

    What are you passionate about? Is there anything you'd love to do all day that someone may pay you to do? Any way to turn your hobbies into a job?

    It may take a while to figure out where you want to go with this - and that's OK, no worries. As long as you're actively planning - not necessarily how to escape from your current job, but where you want to head, you'll no longer feel like you're floundering. If it takes six months, if it takes a year to get to where you'd like...hell, if it takes five years, that's fine - just one day at a time get to where you'd like to end up. I"m not sure if you'd like to go to school, but I do feel like that's a good option that can - and does - open many doors. School vs trades - neither's better, it's all about which will provide you with the key(s) you need to open the doors on the path you set out on.

    Great thing about this country is this: if you do decide to go to school, you can do it. Loans are available, and don't let the prospect of debt worry you. Again, if the knowledge, the classes, the degree are instrumental to the career you'd like to have, go for it. It's scary being in debt, sure, but look at it as an investment in yourself. I ended up deciding to go back to school and am staring at a gigantic amount of debt, but about to start a career that will allow me to pay off my loans while living a comfortable lifestyle.

    Good luck - and listen to these guys' advice. Lots of different experiences here, different routes, but lots of valuable advice.

    Phil
     
  14. Weather Man

    Weather Man Persistance Is A Bitch Premium Member Established Member

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    The less money you make, the more ruthlessly self reliant you have to be and clearly define what you want to spend money on. Only you can decide that, but I have known guys that made every nickel scream like a lost soul before it was spent. They would buy bread when on sale and bulk peanut butter and bulk cereal and their food bill was almost nothing because they never ate out. They got the cheapest phone that only had texting and calling. They didn't have cable. They were the most ruthless deal hunters imaginable. They learned how to barter the skills they had for what they wanted. The had a plan and they stuck to it like glue. It can be done, but it certainly isn't easy. Good luck OP.
     
  15. ashleyroachclip

    ashleyroachclip Well-Known Member Established Member

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    I have been poor so to speak , remember my first job at 12 Paid 2.10 an hour .....
    Went thru high school , living on my own since 14.
    Minimum wage was I think 4 bucks then .
    Graduated , made 10 an hour , and took home like 400 a month .
    Entered the military, pay decrease to 3 something .
    Started buying Mustangs in the early 80's to supplement my income , and to have a nice car .
    Got out after 4 years , built everything from decks and swimming pools , to residential and commercial buildings.
    Make 60k plus , but hated the feds share of my hard work .
    Went back to a Ford dealer for a few years, not really my cup of tea .
    Back to construction , this time for myself as a sole proprietor, making 80k , until 08 crash .
    Went to work for another outfit , building bridges and dams in the forest for the power company's hydro plants, near work but too old now after an injury in 02 that broke my back , crushed one ankle bla bla bla , was making 70 plus , feds taking 40% .
    Everything I owned was paid for , and decided to get off the grid , go back to my
    Hobby , growing g weed , and light building .
    I have no stress , no neighbors , and enough to get by comfortably.
    Wife is not real keen , but she has what she needs , and accepts not having the latest and greatest .
    Uncle sam gets nothing out of my old ass anymore , and what I do have they can come and try to get it lol .
    Moral , happiness is not how much money you make , but how you make it and spend it .
    Look inside. Yourself , find who you are .the rest will come .
     
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  16. CompOrange04GT

    CompOrange04GT I like Wood, and not Oak in my butt Established Member

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    High school drop out here. 7 years ago. I was making $12 an hour to cut grass in South Florida.

    Like others have said.. find what you want and DO IT. I wanted time off, so I found a career that gives me that.

    Was a rough road, but now it's okay
     
  17. Four Door SVT

    Four Door SVT Well-Known Member Established Member

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    Most jobs will pay better as your experience increases. Especially the trades. Your work in landscaping and possibly a second job should give you a little extra money for savings for things you want not need. I joined the navy in 79, I went through engine schools, several types diesel and gasoline, air conditioning and refrigeration school.
    After that I still needed my time in whatever company I worked at to increase my pay scale. I worked second jobs at restaurants, Walgreens cleaning and repairs.
    Yes you go home tired but you sleep well.
     
  18. nxhappy

    nxhappy Well-Known Member Established Member

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    that sounds like me LOL. Yep, I'm a jew. Gotta save money to blow money.
     
  19. 2011 gtcs

    2011 gtcs GT500 poster Established Member

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    Only input I can say is find what you're good at. I graduated high school with a D averaged and dropped out of college and became a technician for Lexus. All I have ever been good at it is working on cars.
     
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  20. 909venm

    909venm Active Member Established Member

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    I’ve gone from $10 a hour working 40 a week bringing home $636 biweekly. Now I work 3 days a week making $375 a week back at the company I started at after high school. Going from $10 an hour to my current $18.50 for even easier work than when I was making $10 an hour has been a big change for me. Recently there was a full time position in maintenance I applied to and that would take me to full time, I’m talking going from $23k a year to possible $45-50k depending how busy our “peak” season is. That is a massive pay jump for me.

    Some people may know a lot but they never get the chance to show it. I’ve been doing all forms of hands on work since I was 5-6 with my father including rebuilding entire light sources/generators (ingersoll rand and Volvo) since my father has been with them since 05. Prior to than he should me engineering and CAD work since he was the secondary designer on the now defunct Johnston sweeper company (now Allianz or alliance?). This may be my one and only chance to get out of general warehouse work so I’ve thrown everything into this “basket”.
    To OP never give up searching, something may come up and that can change everything.


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