Thursday, April 7, 2011
Minimum Wage Survival?
I was explaining to a 19 year old boy the other day that he really needed to be thinking about his future right now - he's not going to college (yet) and has no clear direction for where he's headed. I'm not concerned about his lack of direction - I think most young folks lack a clear direction for where they are headed in the future. But this particular young man was telling me that he's happy with the job he has and didn't see the need to think about the future. So I asked him how much money he was making per hour - $10. How many hours he worked - 40 - 50 per week (paid time and a half for the over time). And for how long - about 26 weeks a year. Reality check: let's say he's working 45 hours per week - 40 hours at $10 ($400) and 5 hours at time and a half ($75) = $475.00. Gross. I mean, gross wages, not "eww, gross" wages! A total annual salary of $15,210 or $1,267.50 per month - before expenses! Let's start deducting our expenses. Taxes - we'll deduct 15% for taxes - that leaves $269.34 per week. First things first - housing. There's not much rental stock in the local papers - the minimum rent I could find in Torrington was $650 per month. Let's say our young man decides to get a roommate, which frankly he'd have to do to survive on his annual pittance of a salary. He shares the expenses of the apartment including the rent ($325), heat and electricity (let's say $100), and TV (gotta have some fun, can't always be working - $50). That's $475 per month. Now we need food - a young boy is a growing boy - so realistically we're talking $75 per week for food - times 4 is $300 per month. (And he'll probably want to date someone which gets very expensive!) We have $302.38 left now to pay for a car, gas, repairs, savings (like for the future?!), clothing, medical, dental - most likely our young boy is not receiving medical insurance through his job because it is seasonal so he's one accident away from bankruptcy. And remember, the article's title was Minimum Wage Survival - in our example, our young man is making $10 per hour - minimum wage in the state of Connecticut is $8.25 per hour. Now we've dropped our weekly earnings down to $330. You do the math! The moral of this story: let's make sure kids stay in school, get their high school diploma's and have a clear understanding of the cost of a future in this State!