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What constitutes a "liveable wage"?

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by SilvioDante, Apr 19, 2008.

  1. SilvioDante

    SilvioDante Member

    You see this term tossed out a lot around here, but what is it? And I know it's different in different parts of the country. But let's say your average American suburb - excluding California or NYC.


    Long-term, where do you have to be for it to be a "liveable wage" and feel some security. If we're talking spouses, then what would you feel comfortable averaging together, salary-wise?
  2. thegrifter

    thegrifter Member

    We're journalist. Right now, there's no such thing as security.
  3. PHINJ

    PHINJ Active Member

    I define livable wage as paying rent that's no more than 1/3 your salary and not being afraid to walk around the block.
  4. 93Devil

    93Devil Well-Known Member

    Or a mortgage, but that post is spot on.
  5. lono

    lono Active Member

    Especially when you can't tell singular from plural.
  6. Pilot

    Pilot Well-Known Member

    You can get by on less than 25k a lot of places in the country. I started several years ago at $23,500 and got along fine. I wasn't exactly ready to purchase the vacation home and I had to watch what I bought, but I was a good ways from homeless.

    You didn't really trigger this rant, but while I'm here:

    Do people constantly have to bitch about how much they make in this field? At my shop, in a fairly high-rent part of the world, the pay is alright. It's enough to get by, for sure. Again, no splurging on insane stuff and it's safe to say I'm not driving a BMW, but it's a very desirable place to live and damn it, we have it pretty good, I think. Nevertheless, people bitch every single day about how little they make.

    For most people, this is a first or second job. It's a good paper, a good place to get experience and a great place to live. What the hell do they expect in terms of salary? $60,000? Did all these idiots miss the memo that journalism doesn't pay shit at it's lower levels? If they really want to stay in the field, keep working and eventually they can make more money elsewhere. But OH NO, let's continue to bitch and bitch and bitch about the fact that we're making $30k at our first stop out of college, which is about 10k more than most other papers this size and most other rookie-friendly papers pay. Lets bitch and bitch and bitch about working at a paper that's owned by a solid, small company, and a paper that's actually adding staff.

    It just boggles my mind that people are surprised by the pay. It really, really could be worse, and what the fuck did they expect, anyway?
  7. schiezainc

    schiezainc Well-Known Member

    I'm making a tad over $21K before mileage. I've got an '07 car which I have to pay $300 on per month, full-coverage insurance that costs just over $220 per month, plus rent ($466 per month) and Cable/Electricity (probably a combined $80 per month). Add to that a $75 cell phone bill, and you can see that most of my money is gone before the month even begins. And that doesn't even include food.

    I've been smart about my spending and have banked away a lot in case of emergencies, so, while not living poor or rich per se, I'd have to say I probably have it a lot better than a lot of people on this board, so i can fully understand their gripes.

    I just don't know how you could raise a family on these meager salaries. And with the hours, it's near-impossible to get a steady second job. But, that's the price you pay to do something you love.

    Would I be doing better with another 4K or so? Of course.

    Would I rather be working at a place I hate to do so? No.
  8. a_rosenthal

    a_rosenthal Guest

    Unless someone held a gun to your head, you probably didn't need to buy a car with a monthly payment that's nearly 1/5 of your monthly salary. Just a thought.
  9. Hank_Scorpio

    Hank_Scorpio Active Member

    That was my first thought too. There definitely are cheaper options out there for a car. And most of those options are less than $300/month.
  10. Chi City 81

    Chi City 81 Guest

    Agree with both posts.
  11. BTExpress

    BTExpress Well-Known Member

    I have a 1990 car which I pay $0 per month. Insurance? $50 per month. Cell phone? $25 per month.

    And I passed the $21K mark for 2008 . . . last week. But no matter what you make, stretching a dollar is never a bad thing. Especially today.
  12. buckweaver

    buckweaver Active Member

    $0-$84-$55 here for car ('99)/insurance/cell. No sense paying more than you have to for all this stuff.

    As for the original question, there's no such thing as a standard "livable wage". Too many variables involved, including region of the country, family situation, health situation, long-term outlook (economic, professional and personal), and, uhh, luxury priorities (for instance, I get my money's worth out of high-speed Internet; even if I needed to save a shitpot of money, I'd get rid of a lot of "luxuries" before that.)

    Yes, you can make it work on $25K, moreso if you're young and single and not in LA/NYC/SF. But a trained professional in this or any industry that mostly requires an undergraduate degree should never have to subsist on those wages.
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