Could you survive on half your pay?

CNN Money is running the stories of people who were laid off from their jobs & now are making much less than before. Cleverly titled Take this job – or shove it, it gives the stories in the subject’s own words.

(I would like to add that I think all of the from-their-point-of-view slideshows, such as the one about gas prices and a different one about layoffs, are a stroke of genius. Hearing someone describe their problems, rather than reading a description from an impassive journalist, makes it almost haunting. Thumbs up, CNNMoney!)

The saddest thing is that none of these people planned for it. I want to shake some of them, like, “You moved to New York to find a job in banking in June?? Do you even read the newspapers?” As I was reading, I found myself cataloging their mistakes.

The guy making $55K/year is going on shopping trips to Saks? I make more than that & I can’t afford to shop at Saks!

The ex-VP was helping his kids out with car payments. This always sounds like a good idea, like a nice thing for a parent to do, but my belief is that it weakens both the parent and the child. The kid depends on Dad for money & now Dad doesn’t have anything saved for his own future. The guy is 61, he should have been OK to retire.

The same guy who moved to NY in June to find a banking job (he moved there without a job! How could he think that was a good idea? In banking? Seriously?) describes his lifestyle before his move – “going out every night, having fun.” Well, it’s no wonder you lasted about 2 weeks in NYC, then.

It’s easy to shake my head & criticize the choices these people made, while I sit at work and blog. I have my shiny emergency fund & enough money to finish planning the wedding, but then what?

The people in the article were screwed because they didn’t have money & they didn’t have a plan. I have money, but no plan. Guess I better start thinking about one…


6 Responses

  1. I may be finding out soon enough. It’s not a cut, but going to a higher COLA and almost doubling the expenses for two households will be a major challenge. I have half money-half plan right now. 😛

  2. I can live on 1/2 my pay but only after I pay off my student loans. All the more reason I need to become debt-free ASAP. (BTW, you’ve already accomplished the hardest part by being debt free and having a fully funded EF. Your planning should be easy, breezy. Good job!)

  3. I agree with shtinkykat – being debt free and having a full EF is a good start 🙂

    I’m debt free with a full EF too… so .. yea. I can live on half my income. And I’m making it a point of anything I make starting in 2009, will be halved. Half goes into savings, the other half I can use. It’s my new thing.

    But it’s hard to do without a job and an actual paycheque to halve. Instead, I’m halving what I would normally spend and trying to figure out a good system to spend from my savings to survive while not depriving self.

    Going to read the article now. Sounds like a good one.

    Fabulously Broke in the City
    Just a girl trying to find a balance between being a Shopaholic and a Saver.

  4. @ Revanche: I know you can do it!

    @ shtinkykat: I do have student loans, but they’re small & so the payments are small. They’re just deferred while I’m in school.

    @ FB: I did the 50% thing, and it wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be. This year my goals are lower, but I think it might be harder because costs for the wedding are spiraling out of control!

  5. I couldn’t get by on half my salary, my mortgage is too big. I could probably still pay it, but we’d have no money for food or other bills! Let’s hope I don’t have to find out.

  6. I’ve wondered if I could live off half of my income, and I think that once I paid my credit card off, I could. But then I couldn’t leave the house either. 😛

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