On Let’s Throw Some Money at Our Problems: July 2014 Check-in

@nnlsbin I'm sorry to hear about the funeral :(

Posted on July 30, 2014 at 7:51 pm 0

On Let’s Throw Some Money at Our Problems: July 2014 Check-in

@andnowlights I suppose! If we didn't have that random extra money coming in, it would definitely be a step back, though, and I tend to think you shouldn't spend extra money because that's "living beyond your means". Car's 16 years old though, I guess it's inevitable that we'd eventually have a repair too big to manage from monthly cash flow. Fingers crossed that the next year is uneventful in terms of cars for us both!

Posted on July 30, 2014 at 7:50 pm 0

On Let’s Throw Some Money at Our Problems: July 2014 Check-in

This is going to be a month of little to no progress, but I won't know until tomorrow. On the one hand, I'm getting back pay for something that didn't get processed last month, and partner got an inheritance check from a relative, so with both of those we could be able to save around $1500 for the "moving and baby" fund. That would be unusually amazing! Also, thanks to the back pay I'm going to save around $400 in my computer replacement fund. On the other hand, we finally bit the bullet on a major car repair that isn't urgent yet because 2 other more urgent things also went wrong in the last month, and it's due for an inspection as well. We find out about the bill tomorrow, but we expect the cost to be...somewhere between $1000 and $1500. Spending extra money on necessities as soon as you get it is sad times!

Posted on July 30, 2014 at 5:00 pm 0

On Concerning the Moral Obligations of the Wealthy

@theballgirl I think cost of living makes more sense than median income because they don't necessarily match up. Generally, the first is increasing while the second is stagnating, so purchasing power at the median income is decreasing, and in some areas that's a really serious problem.

Posted on July 29, 2014 at 9:37 pm 0

On Concerning the Moral Obligations of the Wealthy

@forget it i quit I really wonder how much our own personal circumstances figure into our estimations of whether the number he chose is low or high. I think I've read stuff here saying that most people estimate twice their current income would be highly comfortable to rich.

Posted on July 29, 2014 at 6:06 pm 0

On Concerning the Moral Obligations of the Wealthy

@ellenbw Not sure I agree with your first line! I do agree if you mean the charitable obligation should be enforced by the state (or simply become tax policy rather than voluntary donations). But I think it's also perfectly consistent to think capitalism is the best economic system, and also think people who are "winners" in it have a private, personal, moral obligation to donate all of their wealth past a certain point. (Buffett and Gates are the famous examples of this, and they don't draw the same line for too much wealth that this article is trying to, but they're certainly both in favor of capitalism and moral obligations to charity.) Maybe one of the attractions of tithing is that it draws a pretty specific line for everyone - 10% is enough that it hurts, but not so much that it's unachievable for people making less than $75K. I make a lot less, and I don't reach 10%, but I do recognize that the way I prioritize other things over charity is a moral weakness. I think in terms of time surplus, it's more like "if you have time to watch an hour of TV a week at a time of day/week when places you could volunteer are also open, plus whatever additional and consecutive hours it takes to travel to/from the volunteer site, you have time to volunteer for an hour." Like, I watch TV at night after work, when I'm really tired, but a place I'd like to volunteer requires 3 hour shifts in the middle of my current weekend work schedule. But that's being pedantic, there probably is something that can be done, I'm just making excuses for not looking hard enough.

Posted on July 29, 2014 at 6:03 pm 0

On Concerning the Moral Obligations of the Wealthy

@dotcommie It would actually be nice if jobs worked that way, if people could say, "Well, I really want a 20% reduction in hours, so I'll just stay home one day a week and earn 20% less." But my impression of highly paid jobs (or even many salaried, low- to median-paid jobs, because let's be honest, those aren't even that easy to get), the expected work hours and pay are more take-it-or-leave-it. If you're very well established, you may be able to negotiate more, but that's not the norm. This is why so many people have problems when they have kids or other needs requiring flexible scheduling - a lot of employers are just not flexible, the options are to get a part-time job that pays a LOT less for the same number of hours of work, or get salary and benefits but lose control of your time. I'm not sure what that does to incentives, but if charitable obligations make more people in jobs working 60 hours a week to make $200K decide to do something easier with much worse compensation, is that a huge loss to society?

Posted on July 29, 2014 at 5:56 pm 0

On When Your Boss Monitors Your Bathroom Breaks

That's ridiculous. I think it would be fair to limit recommended time for individual breaks if you don't have a medical need - like if you're taking 15-20 minute bathroom breaks at least once a day, that's a little ridiculous, and indicates either a medical issue or perhaps the need for a dietary change. (If you don't just make it "recommended: be back at work in X minutes," though, then for one thing you're treating your workers like children, and for another, you deserve all the poop stories you hear when people tell you why they weren't back in time.) But I think six minutes PER break is a bit draconian...six minutes a DAY?

Posted on July 29, 2014 at 1:40 pm 0

On Millennial "Earnings Hangovers" And How to Fight Them

Sadly, hearing that $38,000 is the median for my age group actually makes me feel a lot better about myself. I don't even make that much, but I'm a lot closer to 38 than 50K, so I'm 25% less failure than I thought! It's funny that around half the items on this list are not actually things you can do to make more money, but that goes to show that setting wages is just so out of our control as individuals. So what about 11) unionize! Or if that's not possible where you are, organize.

Posted on July 28, 2014 at 7:01 pm 1

On The Billfold Book Club Discusses Helaine Olen's 'Pound Foolish'

@cjm Yes, that is exactly the main option. But the only full-time job opportunity between the two of us happens to be located in one of those cities (how did you guess?!). It just doesn't happen to pay enough for a family of 3 to live on there, so we have to hope to find a second job in the same place relatively quickly, or a better financial option for one of us to pop up elsewhere after putting in a year or so at that job. Outside of major cities you do sometimes run into the problem of housing being cheap, but jobs being primarily around minimum wage and part time, which I think is a symptom of the same issue. If you're a 30 year old with kids working retail 25 hours a week, your housing may not cost very much, but it can still be a huge portion of your monthly budget without the extra bedrooms or hot tubs. I really think that housing affordability is a huge issue related to wage stagnation and the casualization of the workforce.

Posted on July 24, 2014 at 5:06 pm 0