Awesome essay. Love the slightly sardonic but sincere tone. Hope your luck turns around. Ever tried to get a state job? From a former Sacramentan
I thought this was well-written and thought-provoking. Chad and his family took a risk, a big risk, but they seemed to go in (esp. his dad) with more knowledge about the the risk they were taking than many families. It reminded me of the Guy de Maupassant story, The Necklace, but with a happier ending (at least so far). Anyone who can live that spartan a life for that number of years deserves a lot of credit. You know who doesn't come off that great: Tufts. I felt like I was reading another NYU story. One thing I wondered: If he could do it all again, would Chad do things differently--maybe not do early decision, go to UConn, or deferring for a year to work full-time and save up.
@boringbunny Because living (even temporarily) with poor people would actually force a person to interact with/relate to people who are in fact poor. The point of the Atlantic story is that not only does almost no one in the Senate or House of Reps have any actual experience w/poverty but most don't even KNOW anyone who is poor. How can realistic and compassionate approaches to people in poverty be crafted by people w/no knowledge of the way in which poverty limits choices? And, of course, there's the fact that most rich people in the U.S. self-identify as "middle class"--an understandable impulse but one that clouds their understanding of people in lower socioeconomic strata.
I do not watch "reality" TV at all--no Survivor, no Housewives, no Jersey Shore, no nothing. But … I WOULD totally watch U.S. senators and congresspeople living in a housing project for two-week stints. I would also watch business people who have opinions about our "education system" teach a K-12 class for two weeks. Either of those would be riveting television (to me if not anyone else).
Megan R.: Is the color of your former co-worker's hair relevant to to your post?
My commencement speaker at Smith was the economist John Kenneth Galbraith. Also don't remember a word he said, though I do remember trying desperately to pay attention. I have been disappointed to see the protests against Birgeneau, Lagarde, and Rice. While I do think all have made questionable decisions (some more than others), they all have engaged in public service of a type. And which national/international leader hasn't made questionable decisions that may have seemed right at the time? Maybe Gandhi?
@madrassoup This exactly. Logan has a distinct style: wryly ironic, a tad edgy, gently sardonic--I can't describe it exactly, but I miss it. Wish you could do a regular weekly feature here.
@Allison Yep, they do, at least at present. In 2013, as an employee you also pay SS taxes (6.2%) on earnings UP TO $113,000. If you have an employer, it pays the other 6.2%. (I think self-employed folks have to pay the whole 12.4% but double-check me on that.) So you're paying exactly the same SS taxes if you're making $113K or $250K.
One of the most interesting posts (with understandable math and an awesome table--scroll down) that outlines and explains a formula for early retirement is called The Shockingly Simple Math Behind Early Retirement: http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2012/01/13/the-shockingly-simple-math-behind-early-retirement/ Essentially you want your annual living expenses x25. If you retire at the traditional age and receive SS, you can subtract SS from your monthly living expenses to determine what the gap is. Let's say your living expenses are 5K a month, you get 2K in SS, then you need to replace 3K (or 36K per year). If you were to use a 4% SWR (safe withdrawal rate), you'd need $900,000. If you reduce your living expenses before you retire (pay off house, for example), you can live on a lot less and might need to replace only $1500 (or $450,000). Currently, Social Security monthly retirement tops out at $2500 in 2013 for people retiring at 65. If you're 70 and starting to collect in 2013, the amount is about $3300. (It depends on how much you paid into the system but you don't need to have earned a 6-figure income to get the max.)
Loved this--the data, the analysis, the inspiration. I have tackled and mastered a lot of things in the kitchen over the years, but I've had two boxes of Bell jars in my garage for um ... at least two years. Must take the plunge.