How Much is a Livable Wage?
October 26th, 2020
How much money do you need to earn for a livable wage? The short answer- it depends on the area of the country that you live in. If you live in San Francisco, you’d need $46.74 per hour or $97,219 annually for a single parent with two children.* In Portland, $35.53 an hour or $73,902 annually for a single parent raising two children.* How many people do we know that are earning this living wage?
We all know that the minimum wage of $12.00 an hour is not enough to live on, it is a minimum wage, and people live minimally at this wage, it is simply not enough. (Currently, the Portland metro are minimum wage is $13.25, still not enough). As you can see, the minimum wage is a third of the living wage.
Another misleading indicator is the inflation rate, the cost of goods and services in any given time is only as reliable as the products and services you’re using. For instance, health care rose nearly 4% between 2019 and 2020, more than double the inflation rate for that time period for all other items. Food items increased nearly 5%, and lastly the most expensive item, housing, where in Portland the maximum annual increase is at 10%.
How can we get ahead when housing, health care and food continue to increase at a much faster rate than our pay increases?
Here are several suggestions that may help you:
- Shop wisely, try lower cost supermarkets
- Buy used, cars, clothing, etc
- Negotiate, barter and trade
- Non-profit org’s for computers/electronics
- Shop with a mindset driven by “need”. Can you live without it?
- Wait to purchase for a month - see if you still want to purchase item
- Shop online to see if you can find the item cheaper
- Try not to buy items on credit- live within your means
Changing your habits is not easy, but proper financial literacy habits can lead substantial change. Reach out if you would like to connect to a financial coach to assist with ideas and accountability.