Minimum Wage: the unsaid truth

The Argument About Minimum Wage

 How many people do you think make minimum wage? Can you count it in a percentage? Do you think that it’s a majority? If it’s a majority, then there’s a problem that our society is not seeking out skill training, and if we, as a country, are not attracting jobs that are higher than entry level, unskilled positions, then we, as a country, are seriously failing.
The value of the dollar varies in the hands of the beholder. This beholder has two college degrees, and is making a lower/mid 5 figure salary. XB and Mr. XB are not blessed with children, so we work hard at our jobs. As a result, we stress out when things go wrong, and give up off-time and weekends to ensure that the work is done and done right.
Side note #1: Ontario recently increased the minimum wage to $14/hour in January, 2018 and scheduled the next increase to $15/hour in January, 2019. 
Side note #2: Someone recently said: Take care of yourself, because killing yourself over a job ends in one fact: your position will be advertised before your obituary. 

How much is that a year?

A $15 min wage is a $30k/year salary. In Ontario, that means if you are fulltime, you would gross about $30k before taxes, and get two weeks paid vacation a year. This is for a minimum wage job.
College educated people are working in this area for barely above minimum wage, and benefits are a rare commodity.
It appears that we are seeing a push to increase minimum wage jobs (because who will pay much more?), and a push that is decreasing the amount of money that educated people are making, in comparison. Anything above the dreaded “minimum wage” title is supposed to be gravy.

Why go to college?

Isn’t this the question of the decade! Why go to college? What is the point of spending $25k or more on transportation, supplies, text books, food, tuition, time… why do this if all that is offered is slightly above minimum wage, if that?
Until people start realizing that $15/hour is not a fair representation of minimum wage OR …

WAIT!

Is it that those who employ either the minimum wage earner or the college-educated support staff/labourers are so heinously greedy? Or is it time that they started sharing the wealth and start paying their staff a decent wage?

Example Time

Let’s look at people who are making $40,000.00 a year.  This is a “decent” wage to most. But is it? Off the top, you lose 22% on taxes, CPP and EI. That means take-home pay is $31,200.00.
In Niagara, the average two-bedroom apartment in a decent building is $1,200.00/month. A mortgage on a $300,000 house would be $1,500.00. Then you have utilities… say $300/month. Insurance. Taxes. Maintenance. Repairs.

So, is a college education enough to own a home?

$31,200/12 months = $2,600.00. If you have a home that is “modest”, chances are you spent more than $300k. Using this example, I would say it’s fair to assume costs of home ownership, without repairs or any extras, cable tv or internet packages or telephone, would eat up close to $2,000/month. That leaves $600 for food, entertainment, transportation, health care, retirement savings, repairs, replacement of household goods, insurances, etc. Are we not allowed modest home ownership as a single income family?

I can hear the naysayers out there: get a second income, a roommate, etc. Find cheaper housing. Cut the extras.
Why are we allowing people to tell us to live in sub-par housing, have sub-par services, and deal with making less? Where do you live for less today?

Factor in children.
  • Child care.
  • Debt.
  • Annual vacation.
  • Education.
  • Student loans.
  • Transportation.
  • Elderly parents or grandparents.

I no longer think that the problem is minimum wage. If the government is saying that a basic job should pay $30k annually on a full-time basis, then that tells me a skilled, educated person who is support staff or labourer for an employer should make nearly twice as much as the example above.

So… then what?

So instead of saying the minimum wage needs increasing, we should be looking at those who are in the middle. A minimum wage increase of $2.40 (the most recent jump to $14/hr) is a cut for those who make more. We will pay more, as the companies charge more to pay for the increase in wages. We will lose options, because the cost of doing business has increased significantly. Our dollar in our pocket will not go as far. And yet, the wealthier people, the employers, the ones living in houses twice the modest price, and driving cars as much as a third of the modest price of a house, … they say, well, everyone is on salary here, or makes more than minimum wage, so it doesn’t affect them.

It doesn’t affect them.

It doesn’t affect the employers that futures are bleak, employees of the middle can no longer afford housing, and there is not a decent income anymore, because the employer needs to afford their lifestyle. (Think about a particular $19.9 million yacht up for sale recently.) It doesn’t affect employers because support staff is replaceable, trainable, and shapeable.
And for those like me, who have an opinion, well, we are not desirable. We are replaceable. We affect the bottom line.
Let’s affect it together  Talk about this problem. Let’s find a solution together.
This is why I blog.

Series: Habits of the Wealthy and how I implement them into my Life (2)

habits of wealthyHabits. These are what turns us from ordinary into extraordinary. Through an ongoing focus and a goal for this year, I am striving to build not only financial wealth, but a more professional, positive and productive mindset. One way to change what we receive from the universe is to do something different. This habit is about how we spend our downtime.

I don’t want to title this “Don’t watch TV” because I do not feel it’s that simple. Let’s think of it as maximizing our time. 

Maximizing Our Time

www.Businessinsider.com wrote an article entitled 9 things rich people do and don’t do every day. Here are some stats they share on the use of time:

They don’t watch TV.
“I watch TV one hour or less per day.”
Rich people who agree: 67%
Poor people who agree: 23%
They read … but not for fun.
“I love reading.”
Rich people who agree: 86%
Poor people who agree: 26%
Plus, they’re big into audio books.
“I listen to audio books during the commute to work.”
Rich people who agree: 63%
Poor people who agree: 5%

Variable statistics range in that the average person reads between 1 and 5 books a year. Wealthy people read an average of 30 minutes a day or more on self-improvement, and choose to listen to books during commutes and other times.

From Dave Ramsey’s website: President Harry Truman once said, “Not all readers are leaders, but all leaders are readers.” In The Millionaire Next Door, Stanley says that the average millionaire reads one nonfiction book per month.

The Ways To Implement Change Into Your Life

I love to read. (Nerd moment: all reading is played out in my head like a movie. Just like a movie, I cannot stop it part way. This is part of why reading is hard for me to do in pieces – I want to read it all at once!)

While I was growing up, we had one television in the house. It was a 13” analog television, no remote, two dials and thirteen stations. One station was just fuzz, two were French, and the rest were of a basic variety. There were four of us in the house. While the demand on the television was not as bad as some houses, sitting on the floor and watching tv from a few feet away was not as comfortable as being in my room, on my bed, with a book or three, and not having to watch She-Ra because my sister’s turn to pick had come up. In fact, this tv was probably the reason we both were raised as readers. Neither of us prefer television as a means to pass time.

Today, I do not pay for cable television. We do not have a sports package, or the HBO channels. I watch what I want on Netflix, and avoid the commercials of the newest and greatest inventions that I must buy. Netflix binges do occur, but we try to limit them by turning it off after a few episodes. I read, listen to books, play puzzle games and have conversations. Follow it up with reflecting on and schedule my week. I load up my audio books for the drive to and from work, and I read other people’s blogs about the topics that interest me.

While it’s not an easy task to schedule in time to read, it’s easy to do when the television is turned off. How many hours can fly by when you are watching “something”, then just one more episode, and just one more minute. Same thing can be said about the internet: There are so many cute kitten pictures and funny videos of people falling down that you could entertain yourself all day. Instead, turn off the television and turn off the social media. Pay attention to where and how you are sitting, and get comfortable. Pick up a book (or e-reader), newspaper, or any other resource, and read. Stretch your mind, learn some new words, and best of all, think.  

There is a link above called Resources. You will find a list of books that I have read during my journey of learning about investments, and a few others that have motivated me. I recommend checking them out. Even a 30 minute break from the screen can help you sleep better, and feel better. Plus, you will have more to talk about at the water cooler tomorrow. 

Another option is audiobooks. I no longer listen to the radio in my car, as I was tired of hearing the commercials and the same songs on repeat. I wanted something that would make me think and improve my life. There are apps available to download free podcasts, audiobooks and news summaries. I use Podcasts for Apple, and subscribe to a variety of podcasts that interest me. The podcasts automatically download while I am on wi-fi, and automatically delete after I’ve listened to them. 

If you enjoy listening to the radio or having the television on while getting ready in the morning, you aren’t alone. Streaming a podcast or an audiobook is a great substitute and is a wonderful way to get in some extra reading. Wake up with your coffee and a great book while you get ready in the morning or walk the dog.  

So the next time you find yourself sitting in front of the television after dinner, mindlessly watching another sitcom about some dire situation made into reality tv, turn it off. Reach for a book and enjoy some learning instead. After all, these are the habits of the wealthy! 

Habits
Indigo/Chapters: So Many Books To Read