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Sun Apr 29, 2012, 06:25 PM

about poverty - how poor have you been, as an adult?

Just for fun, I calculated my own wages compared to the poverty line over the years. I graduated from college in 1985 and got a job that November, working for Uncle Sam at the USAF. So, starting in 1986.

1986 - 299%
1987 - 0% (quit the last job in November (after getting promoted) and didn't have a paying job. Bought a trailer and some land for $4,500 in July and lived there for a year before going to graduate school (saved about $3,000 in rent expenses and much later sold the land for $22,000)
1988 - 96% (based on the school year rather than the calendar year, I know I made $5900 for my first year as a graduate assistant and $6100 for my second year)
1989 - 95%
1990 - 40%
1991 - 76%
1992 - 0% (started my own store in June 1991, made no money, but lived in the store and covered some living expenses that way. So my real income was somewhat higher through 1998, but I wasn't really living well in a basement for a year with no hot water, but considering the upstairs was practically a library, that's living well for me)
1993 - 124% (in Feb, got a job at a satellite dish factory)
1994 - 160%
1995 - 39% (sorta quit and then got laid off from the factory in March, made some money shovelling snow the next winter which does not show on my FICA earnings report)
1996 - 69% (first got a job at another satellite dish factory, then a part-time job at the bar down the street from my store)
1997 - 123%
1998 - 129% (in June sold the building and moved, mostly working temp jobs for three years in Iowa also made some money as a landlord from the building I bought, but that was negated, and then some, when I later sold the building for a huge loss)
1999 - 168%
2000 - 180%
2001 - 190% (in those two years I ALMOST made it out of the bottom quintile if I hadn't gotten fired in March 2002 ...)
2002 - 113% (not including some $4,000 I made from unemployment, got a part-time janitor job in August)
2003 - 145%
2004 - 201% (full time janitor in May)
2005 - 237%
2006 - 219% (went back to part-time in October, as I called it "semi-retired", partly was afraid Bush would wreck the banking system. No point working full time and saving if the banking system collapses and wipes it all out, and besides, my house was paid for by then)
2007 - 104%
2008 - 113%
2009 - 130%
2010 - 116%

25 year average 126.64%. 22 of 25 years in the bottom quintile, and no health insurance until May 2004.

Anyway, perhaps TMI, but that is my experience with poverty and near-poverty. I'd like to hear your stories.

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Reply about poverty - how poor have you been, as an adult? (Original post)
hfojvt Apr 2012 OP
liberal N proud Apr 2012 #1
hfojvt Apr 2012 #2
liberal N proud Apr 2012 #5
dkf Apr 2012 #3
hfojvt Apr 2012 #7
dkf Apr 2012 #12
tularetom Apr 2012 #4
hfojvt Apr 2012 #11
madrchsod Apr 2012 #6
Kaleva Apr 2012 #8
hfojvt Apr 2012 #32
RebelOne Apr 2012 #34
Honeycombe8 Apr 2012 #9
Johnny Rico Apr 2012 #10
Lydia Leftcoast Apr 2012 #13
hfojvt Apr 2012 #17
upi402 Apr 2012 #14
HeiressofBickworth Apr 2012 #15
loyalsister Apr 2012 #16
hfojvt Apr 2012 #20
loyalsister Apr 2012 #33
Fire Walk With Me Apr 2012 #18
joshcryer Apr 2012 #19
hfojvt Apr 2012 #22
joshcryer Apr 2012 #24
polly7 Apr 2012 #21
hfojvt Apr 2012 #23
polly7 Apr 2012 #25
meaculpa2011 Apr 2012 #26
pecwae Apr 2012 #27
hfojvt Apr 2012 #30
pecwae May 2012 #35
Marrah_G Apr 2012 #28
hfojvt Apr 2012 #29
slackmaster Apr 2012 #31

Response to hfojvt (Original post)

Sun Apr 29, 2012, 06:30 PM

1. Graduated in 1982, didn't have a job until February 1984

No income for two years.

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Response to liberal N proud (Reply #1)

Sun Apr 29, 2012, 06:37 PM

2. How did you survive on your own?

What happened after that? A life of luxury?

Wait, was this a college graduation or a high school? Either way, after I graduated in June I lived at home, still working for the City Band (about $200 a summer) and a week for the State Fair (about $320 for 70+ hours of work). I got the job interview in September and dad said it was probably a slam dunk (and he was right).

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Response to hfojvt (Reply #2)

Sun Apr 29, 2012, 09:58 PM

5. Lived on some money I had made the summer of 81

When that was gone, I did an odd job here and there (day work). I also had a land lady who was more than generous. It sure wasn't a party.

In 1984, I went to work for the company that I am still with today. I was lucky to land a stable job, one that I have been able to move up a little and life is OK now.

But, life comes full circle, I have a daughter who graduated two years ago in July, she has yet to find a job in her field.

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Response to hfojvt (Original post)

Sun Apr 29, 2012, 06:47 PM

3. Wow you own a house free and clear?

 

And through various jobs and circumstances. I'm impressed.

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Response to dkf (Reply #3)

Sun Apr 29, 2012, 10:13 PM

7. well, it is only a $35,000 house

I put $7,000 down on it and financed $28,000 closing in November 2001 with a 5-1 ARM at 5.5%. For some reason my first payment was not due until January 1. At the time, I was making about $26,000 a year. I figured that in 5 years I would make $130,000. If I could not pay off $28,000 in debt out of that, there was something wrong. My first payment was $1661.95 and my second was $1138.04. Then I got fired. On unemployment I was still able to pay $292.42 and $223.2 and $382.36 and $260.12 amd $260.65 through August until I got another job (I am reading this off the spreadsheet I kept, not remembering these amounts). The part-time job barely paid as much as unemployment but somehow I paid $1990.08 in October 2002.

Some of that payment money may have been borrowed. And I still think that is a funny story. My credit card was constantly sending me offers for balance transfers. One I had was for 3.9% for the life of the loan. Since I was working in credit card customer service I learned that I could just request a check. So they sent me a check for $2,000 which I then paid on my mortgage. Effectively I was being paid 1.6% to borrow that money. Ultimately I maxed out that credit card (to about $4,000) and paid the credit card off early too since 3.9% was still more than my savings account was paying. The funniest part was that my employer and my credit card company and my mortgage holder - were all the same company. A company which paid me 1.6% to borrow money (dang, if only I could have borrowed $500,000 at that rate).

Once I started working full time in May 2004, then I could make some much bigger payments and clearly I had some fun, paying $2,222.22 in May, and $1,111.11 in June and $888.88 in July. But after a $1500 payment in December, for some reason I made smaller payments in 2005. Maybe savings account rates were better or I was putting money in IRAs to save on taxes. But then I made two large paymens in September and October 2005 to finish it off. I figure I saved $2,107.46 in interest by paying ahead just for the four years I paid on it.

Heck, if I had followed their amortization schedule, I would have paid $1,164.44 in interest last year alone. Having saved at least that much over the last seven years puts me $8,151 ahead.

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Response to hfojvt (Reply #7)

Mon Apr 30, 2012, 12:54 AM

12. Smart smart smart!

 

Love it.

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Response to hfojvt (Original post)

Sun Apr 29, 2012, 08:07 PM

4. Pre baby boomer here - saved by an accident of timing.

Thanks to the assistance of the United States government I was fortunate to acquire an education at a publicly operated university (graduated in 1966) with assistance from the GI bill and thus gain skills which enabled me and my family to exist at a level surely not wealthy but at least somewhat above the poverty line until I retired in 2001. I'm grateful every day that I was born when I was because the same opportunities are not presenting themselves to my grandchildren and great grandkids.

As a child there were probably a few years where our family came close to the poverty line but I don't think we were ever below it.

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Response to tularetom (Reply #4)

Sun Apr 29, 2012, 10:29 PM

11. timeing was pretty good for me some 18 years later

If I had stayed with the MIC I could have cruised along at 300 - 400% of poverty. Or I could have gotten that statistics job, with the Ag department, if only they had not threatened to move me to California. I did not think, when I jumped off the good job train, that it would be impossible for me to get back on. Even now that I have a semi-decent job as a janitorial supervisor, I am making less money than a GS-7 - which was the pay I was making in 1985, to say nothing of the intervening years, and I was promised three more promotions in three years, up to GS-12 which pays about twice what I am making now.

I coulda been somebody. I coulda been a contenda, instead of a bum.

I am not sure what the next generation will do, but it aggravates me that one niece turned down two years of free college and chose to go into debt instead. I sorta came out of retirement so I will have the means to help them if they need it. I need to keep reminding myself of that because I sure hate working full time.

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Response to hfojvt (Original post)

Sun Apr 29, 2012, 10:05 PM

6. simple....

70`s-very comfortable

80`s-near or below poverty level

90`s-just above poverty to comfortable

2000`s-very comfortable to just above poverty

2010`s-just getting by by the skin of our teeth. medicare has cut our insurance payments and my social security is keeping us in our home.

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Response to hfojvt (Original post)

Sun Apr 29, 2012, 10:19 PM

8. If one accepts $10,890 as the poverty line for an individual, I'm just above that at $14050.80

I own the house free and clear and my monthly expenses (utilities, phone, internet, netflix) run about $300 a month. I have a $107 a month term life insurance premium and set aside another 100 for property taxes, fire insurance and such.

It looks like I'm eligible for food stamps, commodities and medicaid but that's in the works and wont know for sure for about another month.

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Response to Kaleva (Reply #8)

Mon Apr 30, 2012, 02:15 PM

32. I never saw the point to life insurance

Maybe it pays better than $107 a month in a savings account does, but it's even worse than an IRA. I cannot collect my IRA money until I am 60. I cannot collect my life insurance until I am dead (unless it builds equity somehow). At one time I applied for food stamps, and qualified by income, but I had too many assets because of my land. Land I paid for ten years earlier. Yet, if I had had a $5,000 car, I could have gotten food stamps. I didn't really want them, but felt I had been cheated out of unemployment compensation and was trying to get something.

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Response to Kaleva (Reply #8)

Mon Apr 30, 2012, 02:49 PM

34. I am about at that level with my social security.

My monthly expenses are fairly low. I own a mobile home and only pay lot rent of $367 a month, which includes water and garbage pickup. Then there are the usual utilities, phone, Internet and car and home insurance. I must carry home insurance because I live in Tornado Alley in North Georgia.

Fortunately, I have Medicare that costs me $100 a month that is deducted from the social security check. But I am eligible for food stamps but I have not applied for them yet.

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Response to hfojvt (Original post)

Sun Apr 29, 2012, 10:22 PM

9. Very. nt

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Response to hfojvt (Original post)

Sun Apr 29, 2012, 10:28 PM

10. I've never been poor.

 

Got a job with the Post Office after a couple years of college in the 1980s, and have stayed with the USPS ever since.

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Response to hfojvt (Original post)

Mon Apr 30, 2012, 01:09 AM

13. Three tough periods

Just out of graduate school: No jobs in my field for three years. I taught part-time and temped during vacations until I finally found a full-time teaching job. I learned something about the economy then: If you're really short of money, a store can't lower its prices enough to make you buy. A shirt for $5 is no bargain if you don't have $5. (Hey, right-wingers, THAT is why stores are having trouble. Too many people are poor, and all your special offers won't entice them to buy.)

Two years into my free-lance career: I moved out of my super-cheap living situation (the owner of the house wanted it back) and into a one-bedroom apartment that was the best I could get for the money. However, at the same time, my editing work was drying up and I wasn't yet established as a translator. Here's how bad it got: I needed to mail an invoice to a client, but I couldn't afford to buy a stamp. I literally had NO money, although my rent was paid and I had food for a week.

In one of those odd coincidences reminiscent of Dear Abby's "pennies from heaven" stories, I found a book of stamps on the sidewalk. This enabled me to mail the invoice--to the only client I ever had who paid immediately.

A bit later, I got an offer from a phone company: $100 if I would switch to their service. Even after the money from the client, I would still be a bit short on the next month's rent, so I took the offer. Fortunately, business picked up after that.

2008-early 2009: Translation work was in such a slump that I considered getting a regular job. The trouble was, there were no regular jobs for someone my age. I considered a job that was in line with my skills, but it paid a monthly salary that I knew from experience to be a real scrimp-and-save income, and it was full time, which would leave no time or energy for translating on the side. I ended up borrowing from relatives, paying them back after inheriting a small sum from my mother.

Fortunately for us Japanese-English translators, a couple of large Japanese companies have been sued lately. Each of these lawsuits generates literally millions of pages that need to be translated. I am convinced that translating the various e-mails, meeting minutes, letters, reports, company handbooks, and so on is what is keeping many Japanese translators alive. The work is as boring as can be, but there's a lot of it, and occasionally I get to work on something more interesting, like a short story or a biography.

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Response to Lydia Leftcoast (Reply #13)

Mon Apr 30, 2012, 02:11 AM

17. I have had low income

but never lived that close to the ground. I lived for that year in the woods with no running water, no indoor plumbing and no central heat, but the poorest I got I still had $1,000 in the bank and about $2500 worth of stock (God, I sorta sound like Mitt Romney there, except he seems to have had $250,000 worth of stock that he got from his dad, whereas I bought mine with my own savings (and lost money on that particular purchase as I recall, held it for about two years before finally selling for a $200 loss or so). I also had the land that was worth about $5,000.

There was another time I was pinched. I remember I had a payment coming up and was about $25 short. I must not have had savings to fall back on either, but I remember also not being worried because I had the option of paying interest only (because I had paid ahead on principle) but I didn't want to do that. In some sense I had savings, but had put too much of it into equity on my store and also inventory. Anyway, five minutes or so before I was going to close, and I think it was after my regular closing time, this woman comes in and buys like 6 new books by Terry Brooks for about $35. Which was an amazing big sale for me.

The sort of odd part, besides the last second save, is that, although she was a local vetrinarian, she did not become a regular customer. Which kinda sucked, but it was sorta like she was called there on that one day. I would have loved for her to spend money like that every two weeks or so. Heck, I would have liked to get to know her, if she was single. A woman who reads sci-fi, has a decent job, and loves animals sounds pretty awesome to me.

Kinda odd for me not to have a cushion though. Maybe I had money tied up in CDs or something. In spite of being the poorest of my family, I have never borrowed from them (although they have given me gifts for birthdays and Christmas (I keep telling them to stop and that we should draw names) and also free meals and used clothes from my brother). Anyway, when I was just about at my poorest, going to graduate school on a $5900 annual stipend, I actually leant $2,000 or so to my sister. I was looking at getting a CD at about 6% and my sister was telling me about her car loan at 12.5%. So I was "hey, why don't I lend you $2,000 at 8% interest. That way you save 4.5% and I make a higher return than the bank would pay." Later, she told me that this sort of hidden debt helped them to get financing for their first house.

Anyway, enough about me. Dozo yoroshiku. Thanks for sharing, although I do wonder what you consider to be a "scrimp and save income". You are seemingly paying more for housing than I usually have.

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Response to hfojvt (Original post)

Mon Apr 30, 2012, 01:20 AM

14. been to the food bank & owned multiple commercial, residential properties

The wheel of fortune spins both directions. Poor is hard work. Money is easy livin'.

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Response to hfojvt (Original post)

Mon Apr 30, 2012, 01:22 AM

15. I had some pretty lean times in the early 70's

when I was a single mother with little child support. Until recently, the job market was always good and I was never without a job for long. For 2 years in the 90's I was unemployed, but due to careful planning and taking freelance jobs when I could, things worked out ok.

When it was the fad, I resisted refinancing the house. Consequently, the house has been paid off for about 10 years now. I paid off all debts, put some money aside, and retired in 2009. My daughter, her husband and my granddaughter live with me and we share expenses. I've never been much of a shopper so I don't spend a lot. I haven't been to a mall in a couple of years. My discretionary spending is on lunch and a movie with a friend once or twice a week.

So, over all, I'm doing ok on SS income. I'm also grateful I don't have to face what younger people face today. I got my first job as a secretary in a law firm and had various mentors teach me (it was called on-the-job training) and was promoted to paralegal in 1979. I don't think kids can do it that way any more. My granddaughter (age 16) has announced she wants to be a doctor and in fact, is enrolled in a program though the school district where she takes high school classes in the morning and college classes in the afternoon. She's registered as a pre-med student. I have a college account for her which will pay for her first 2 years, but of course, we don't know what will be available to her in terms of financial assistance when she is ready to transfer to a 4 year college and if she is able to go to med school. And no, Mr. Romney, her parents aren't in a position to give her loans.

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Response to hfojvt (Original post)

Mon Apr 30, 2012, 02:07 AM

16. Always have been

I don't know the percentages, but in summary;

I do know that I have never made more than 10,000 a single year in my life.

89- 94 college years. Part time work.

95 on- disabled. I started out getting about $400\month in 1995 and it has increased to $700

I was an uninsured student when I became totally disabled.

My experiences have varied. It helps that I don't have children, and I only have my own needs to consider.

It took some time, but I have adapted by necessity.
I have an income I can count on.
I have health coverage.
I live in public housing.
If I need clothes, I shop at thrift stores.
I consider myself lucky to have SS income and reduced rent with utilities covered. It allows me to pay for internet and phone service.
I'm with little money to spend but I don't really feel I am missing anything by not taking vacations, going to movies, etc.
Some people I know are stunned to learn that I am not desperately unhappy. But, I think I have it easy compared to people I know who are living paycheck to paycheck. Particularly those who have children. The college days when I was doing that were much more stressful.

I have largely been protected from this recession. It's another example of how Social Security is working. It also is an indicator of how damaging welfare reform has been.

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Response to loyalsister (Reply #16)

Mon Apr 30, 2012, 03:01 AM

20. although I like movies, I consider going to them a waste of money

Just tonight, I watched The Last Starfighter again. Why would I want to spend $8 to see a movie once when I can wait a couple years and buy a DVD for $12 that I can watch a dozen times? Vacations also seem to be lots of work, and I hate the expense. I do enjoy short trips though.

Your income is a little bit higher than the cash income though, although the poverty line does not measure it that way. Still, public housing is worth $300-400 a month in the rent or house payments you would otherwise be paying, and you'd be doing it with after tax dollars. Same with health care, although people with good jobs often get that with their jobs. But before I got my latest promotion, I was paying $3258.96 for medical and dental insurance every year (actually that is what I paid in 2008, so I am sure it was higher last year). And that is with my employer paying for half of it.

With social security, it seems that being disabled pays better than working. My earnings report from 2008 says. If I became disabled, I could collect $864 a month. If, on the other hand, I keep working until 2029 (another 20 years with my current pay (at the time of $11,202) that I could collect $825 a month. With 20 years of work, I collect $39 a month less.

So the money part of disability is better. The huge downside though, as I am sure you know, is actually being disabled. But I have known several people, who don't seem very disabled, who are getting disability. One was recently doing community service work at my job. He's 55 and not all that spry, or motivated, but seems to me he could do something.

Oddly enough some low income workers are jealous of those on disability. I had a friend who thought another friend with cerebal palsy was lucky. I told him he was nuts and he said "thank you" because his life's ambition was to get on mental disability, which he finally did six or seven years ago.

Although I probably could not afford them, I think it sucks that I don't have children. I always wanted to be a father, or even a step-father.

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Response to hfojvt (Reply #20)

Mon Apr 30, 2012, 02:20 PM

33. Being able to do "something"

does not necessarily make a person employable. I don't know about your coworker, but I do have the capacity to be active and volunteer. As far as employment goes, it doesn't transfer. There is the insurance side. For my situation, my meds would cost $1000 + out of pocket. Additionally, with seizures I get injured often requiring ER Xrays, recently a surgery, etc..
If I were able to find a job flexible enough to accommodate my down time that results from seizures and medication side effects, I would need either as pretty large salary or a stellar insurance plan. The condition of disability is institutionally driven to some extent.
If you think my income is supplemented by not paying for medical costs, you are way off. Not everything is covered I spend money on prescribed by not covered supplements and dental care. Totaling $150 or so each month.

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Response to hfojvt (Original post)

Mon Apr 30, 2012, 02:14 AM

18. I'm on disability, which for me is less than a minimum wage job.

 

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Response to hfojvt (Original post)

Mon Apr 30, 2012, 02:16 AM

19. Could someone help me out with the percentages here?

What are they conveying? I'm an idiot.

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Response to joshcryer (Reply #19)

Mon Apr 30, 2012, 03:16 AM

22. Maybe I am just a poor explainer

160% means, for example, if the poverty line was $10,000 (for my status as a single person) in 2008 that I made $16,000 that year or 160% of a poverty income.

The percent then is (my income) divided by (the poverty line income) times 100

Except I am only using wage income from my social security earnings report. So the numbers will be low, because I usually had some interest income from savings. Sometimes a fair amount. I considered it a good year if I had to fill out Schedule B, which you do if you make over $400 in interest. But I probably don't have consistent records of how much that was.

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Response to hfojvt (Reply #22)

Mon Apr 30, 2012, 03:56 AM

24. Ahh, OK, thank you, that is fine, it explains it well enough.

I just suck at percentages and fractions and whatnot. Thank you for explaining it more clearly!

edit: I'll try to do this later, too, so you'll get a free kick by me, really interesting OP you made here. As far as I can tell I've been below poverty for pretty much all of my life except for the last 5 years.

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Response to hfojvt (Original post)

Mon Apr 30, 2012, 03:10 AM

21. I was living on two big macs a day for about a year and couldn't afford to take a

bus to school and work, so walked. I'd run away from home and was living in a room not fit for a dog .......... but I did learn from it. I didn't give up, graduated and found another job which allowed me to move and start over.

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Response to polly7 (Reply #21)

Mon Apr 30, 2012, 03:28 AM

23. that does not sound like a good diet

or enough food. For a time they had a special of two big macs for $2 so I had two - for a single meal.

Still, even at $2 a person could get a loaf of bread and an 18 ounce jar of peanut butter that would feed you for more than a day.

For me, busing has not been available. I usually take a bike. In college once, my roommate went to his job and I waved at him as he left. Then went down to my bike, took back roads to where he worked about two miles away, went past it three blocks to the bus stop and was waiting for about a minute before he got there. Funny too, he walked right past me without even looking at me. I had to call to him.

I take it this was in Canada, so at least you had health care.

Then again, I don't live in New York.

There isn't any poverty in Canada is there? And no oppressive government either, right?

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Response to hfojvt (Reply #23)

Mon Apr 30, 2012, 03:59 AM

25. No, it wasn't a good diet.

I had no fridge or stove or even a counter-top. I had a bed and dresser with about a foot around each to move around. I was also 16 and stupid .... McDonald's was on my way to work and there were no grocery stores nearby.

I had no bike.

Yes, I had health care but thankfully was always healthy.

Of course there's poverty in Canada, and at present our Government is trying hard to go as far-right as the opposition will let them get away with.

I know many, many people had it worse than me.

Forgot to add ...... I was making minimum wage and nearly every cent I didn't spend on those big macs went towards my room. The people who owned the house were SCARY. It felt so good to get out.

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Response to hfojvt (Original post)

Mon Apr 30, 2012, 06:47 AM

26. Couldn't say for sure...

but it's not really relevant. Married in 1972. Graduated with a BA in 1974. Bought our first house in 1977. Worked for six years in a series of Fortune 500 jobs. Got promoted regularly until I had gained the skills to go out on my own. Been a freelance speechwriter and event producer since 1981 so my income has gone from boom to bust, month to month and year to year.

Some years six figures, some years......

Luckilly my wife handles all finances or we would have been bankrupt long ago.

House paid off in 18 months. Kids' college tuition provided for but that's a pipe dream. My son had to sign papers last year when he took control of his trust fund, but he wouldn't know how to access the money if his life depended on it.

And I have the best retirement plan on the planet: Keep working until they close the lid.

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Response to hfojvt (Original post)

Mon Apr 30, 2012, 06:51 AM

27. To the point of relying on a soup kitchen

for a couple of years for our daily meal. Shared a tiny apartment with 7 others. Walked everywhere. We'd hang out in front of the SSI building to pick up odd jobs as day labor.

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Response to pecwae (Reply #27)

Mon Apr 30, 2012, 02:00 PM

30. ouch

now that is brutally poor, but still not homeless. I volunteered at a soup kitchen in Iowa a few times, but they mostly had plenty of people between churches and people forced to work community service by the courts. This city, while as large as Mason City, does not have a soup kitchen.

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Response to hfojvt (Reply #30)

Tue May 1, 2012, 07:09 AM

35. You're absolutely right!

We were lucky enough to have a roof over our heads and to live in a town where we had access to a meal. It could have been a lot worse. At least we didn't have children at the time.

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Response to hfojvt (Original post)

Mon Apr 30, 2012, 07:10 AM

28. I have always ranged between below the poverty level to 300% of the poverty level

3 times the poverty level might seem like alot, but it's just getting by for a single parent in the north east. Right now I am at about 250% of the poverty level according to the latest paperwork I filled out for Commonwealthcare ( Romneycare)

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Response to Marrah_G (Reply #28)

Mon Apr 30, 2012, 01:55 PM

29. yes, the poverty line does not account for higher rents

or more expensive housing. Even in Baraboo, Wisconsin I could not seem to find a house for less than $70,000 and that did not seem affordable on $20,000 a year.

Still 250% is getting by a little better than 180% or 80%. Although the way it is measured, somebody at 80% could have section 8 housing, get food stamps and Liheap and free school lunches for their kid and SCHIP and medicaid and be better off than somebody at 210% who does not qualify for those benefits.

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Response to hfojvt (Original post)

Mon Apr 30, 2012, 02:11 PM

31. My income and net worth were both zero for the first seven months after finishing my BA

 

My income was very low for about the next 15 years.

In early 2000 when my divorce became final, my net worth dropped back to zero. I've had decent income for most of the time since then.

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