Living from paycheck to paycheck reality
For most of my life I have lived from paycheck to paycheck. This has happened for several reasons. I don’t think I am alone in this. Research says that 78% of full-time workers live this way.
- The last decade has had flat wage growth. This means that normally people might get raises that stopped with the recession in 09. After that people feel glad to get a job so didn’t worry about the salary. Now this is not the case. With record employment, workers currently have the upper hand.
- Uncertain job security. Most of us have suffered with companies that have had massive layoffs or gone out of business entirely. The landscape of business is always changing, and many of us are casualties of these changes. I personally have had 6 layoffs due to lack of business, and I wasn’t the first person to be let go. So when many companies have 15% or more people being layed off, it isn’t helpful for anyones budget.
- Increasing price of things. Things get more expensive every year, and often people can’t afford buy the luxuries that they once did. As the rich change their consumption, people are left holding the costs of things that the rich used to pay their fair share for. For example we have seen news reports of rich families making it look like their children need financial aid. This reduces the real people who need financial aid from people who could otherwise pay if they didn’t do these financial tricks.
- Automation is replacing the labor worker in the US and other places. Automation is replacing even the cashier with self-checkouts, and now there are robots roaming the aisles in Walmart and other stores. This means with less jobs available, people have less options to have a secure financial future.
- Requirements for jobs are inflated. A person doesn’t need a college degree to do many jobs, yet many companies only hire college graduates. Apple, Facebook, Google all say that a college education does not indicate job performance. So the artificial demand for college education hurts those who are least able to pay for it. This means that people are underworked, and their abilities are being wasted.
- Lack of opportunity for diversity or foreign workers. Farmers and other professions have no problem hiring undocumented workers under the table, but then complain that we need a wall for security. If jobs did not exist for foreign workers, they would not come here to work them. The fact is that as a society we can not have it both ways. We can not say we need a wall and made it difficult for foreign workers, and then say that we lack jobs that we can’t find US workers for. If we had a sensible immigration policy that would give citizenship to people who graduate from US universities we would solve so many issues. We have the talent here in the US, we just need companies that are wise enough to realize it.
- The lack of opportunity for diversity/foreign workers keeps salaries down. The reason for this is that businesses say that they have to hire cheap talent overseas. However current trade policies make that difficult. How can we give good paying jobs to people when we ignore so many talented people already here? A domestic workforce that is nurtured would help everyone.
- Finally I think the biggest reason people have problems saving is that research says that most debt is medically related. We need a sensible health policy and we need to stop playing partisan politics with peoples health. Everyone has a right to be healthy, and we can find a way to make this happen and be capitalistic. If we can not solve this, then we have failed as a democracy. What use is freedom when you are too sick to enjoy it? I would rather be a socialist or communist with adequate health care. Freedom is not just freedom to buy, it is also freedom to live and we don’t have that in the US currently.
These are my thoughts and I don’t expect you to agree with them. Why am I sharing this? It is because with my last paycheck I no longer live from paycheck to paycheck. I reduced my expenses because I’d rather buy things as I need them instead of always be predicting and buying for the future. In time, I hope that everyone will be able to find ways to reduce expenses like I was fortunate to do.
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