Thursday, May 28, 2015

Minimum wage workers make less than half of what is needed for a one-bedroom apt in many places

In no state can someone who works for minimum wage qualify for a one-bedroom apartment on his or her own, as a Vox Media map (article by Ezra Klein), link here
The best state in this regard seems to be Montana, where it would take 54 hours. 
The rule of thumb used to be, you have to make in a week what your rent is a month (gross).  That seemed to be OK when I was working.  But you generally had to be a “salaried professional” if young to be in this category.
On my first job with RCA in 1970, my rent near Hightstown, NJ was $165 (one bedroom, ample, garden) and my salary was $13,800.  By the time I moved to NYC in the fall of 1974, my rent for a studio in the Cast Iron Building was $270 and salary was $16,500 at NBC.  It was comfortable enough.  The apartment was a studio, but the odd trapezoidal shape helped extend the shelf wall space and provide a little sleeping alcove.  I still kept an entire classical record LP collection in the place.   
Now, people are settling for 200 sq ft apartments to live in Manhattan.  Murphy beds help.
Generally, in Arlington, young adults often rent “group homes” with about four people in an older house, each with a room.  There is some advantage to this arrangement;  usually someone is home, and that makes belongings more secure.
I understand the call for the $15 minimum wage.  Home health workers really have issues.  But after my end-of-2001 layoff, I went back to $6 an hour plus commissions.  But I had savings, unemployment, severance, various components of a cushion (and no debt), so I could continue my same “lifestyle”.

Here’s another important topic, homeowner’s insurance and renter’s insurance, which some apartment complexes actually require (and sometimes provide referrals for), link here. Many people don’t have (adequate) separate flood, earthquake and sinkhole insurance, which they need (and for which the need for is getting more unpredictable, with climate change, huge storms, and even fracking).  Flood insurance has to be a big issue in Texas now.  As with auto insurance (mostly for liability), there is the idea of umbrella insurance, on top of it, which might get difficult to underwrite properly in the Internet world (like for the issues posed by "review sites"), link

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