In a post here – http://men-going-their-own-way.net/4ums/viewtopic.php?f=8&t=136 – I talk about the cost of living.
Rent 550 + light and heat 120 + water and sewerage 100 + council tax 80 = 850 a month.
That’s £850 a month to put a roof over your head, a modest roof at that.
If you are a single man in full time work, 40 hours a week, this works out that if you earn £8 an hour before tax, you can live, if you are careful and frugal and have no debts or other commitments.
In reality this is around 16k a year in wages, and in reality that’s probably what you are going to earn, say as a truck driver etc… you’ll take home 1,000 a month. The rest goes as taxes on your earnings.
If you try going self employed or independent trader, well, while the salaried guy takes home 250 every week (paid monthly) you are in a different boat, if you go two weeks earning nothing, the next two weeks you need to pull in 500 a week, it’s tough.
Here’s where it gets tougher, but this is reality.
I am in my mid 50’s, I have no savings to speak of, no retirement plan, no pension plan, I work and I pay bills, this is the reality for many, for many others, they look at me and think me fortunate, THIS IS REALITY.
As long as I am able to work, I can keep my head above water, the instant I stop work, well, within a week it has gone to shit, as zerohedge likes to call it, I am living paycheck to paycheck, in reality I personally have a 2/3 month buffer, but that’s me, not everyone else is me.
Looking to the future, it’s a thing man, I just don’t fucking know, and that’s the truth, provided I can keep working regular, which is exactly analogous to saying provided I can keep swimming regular, I won’t drown.
When I am too old or ill to work, well, either the state is going to take care of my bills, or I am going to die…. fact is, 90% of my shit would fit in a hi-cube transit van in one load, and if I tried to sell it all, I’d probably be lucky to pull in 3k, being a realist in today’s market.
I’m, not trying to go all doom and gloom oh woe is me, I’m trying to tell it like it is, I have fuck all of note asset wise, I have fuck all of note savings wise, I have fuck all of note pension / retirement wise, and I got 15 years before mandatory retirement, not that anyone is going to want to keep around 70 year old cisco / IT engineers… you hear what I am saying here.
And I am one of the lucky cunts, because while I do not have a pot to piss in, compared to so many who are underwater in debt and commitments and alimony and child support and shit, I’m living the life of fucking Riley.
But, we are men, and this is all about the numbers.
If you are a single man with no debts, then you need to earn £8 an hour and work a steady 40 hour week 50 weeks of the year to live securely.
The national minimum wage is £6.31, I know *lots* of people in their 40’s and 50’s getting that wage…. eg they could not live alone, just on their own income alone.
If you think you are going to be all fuck it and be a self employed entrepreneur, think again, I have the skills and a workshop out back, look at those numbers above, who has any disposable income to hire me?
Even the really big boys, the Morrisons and Tescos, are hurting, and yes, they are all paying £6.31 an hour, and if they can’t make a profit with their vast economies of scale, what hope do you have?
Nobody owes me a fucking living, and trying to make a living is all I can fucking do, get ahead and be a self made man, forget it.
Again, I am not whining or complaining, I think I have a good life, I *can* pay all my bills, I *can* afford to live alone, I *can* just turn the heating on and stay warm as I like, so why are we here?
We are here because we are in another phase just like when the Tolpuddle Martyrs came about, money is tight everywhere, and so the thing that is driven down hardest is wages, “people” have no value, business has no “sense”, I drive 100 miles each way to fix routers that are so obsolete you can buy them on fleabay for £10, and if the hardware is dead we put in a replacement old obsolete box of the same model, the cost of the router is blown away by my time and the time of the guys in the support department of the ISP in question.
I will drive 100 miles each way to a business site with 6 employees that is down hard, because everything works via the internet now, and the whole site relies on a single xDSL connection that isn’t as good as my own connection here at home.
I will drive 100 miles each way because a 50 cent Chinese made micro-filter and 75 cent Chinese made RJ11 cable had died, because the routers and everything else are just slung under a desk in a rats nest of cabling and dirt to cook to death, because a cabinet is too expensive…. not because the Chinese can’t make decent kit, they can, but it costs more.
I will drive 100 miles each way because they bought a cabinet, but fitting fans was too expensive, or an 8 gang power strip was too expensive, so when I get there and the 4 gang power strip is already fully populated my whole trip is wasted.
I shit you not, LITERALLY, in the last year I have seen ONE cabinet that was cabled up properly and tidily, and that was a new install in a 5 star hotel, and ONE cabinet that had a network map printed on the doors, and that was in a building site, and all I do every day is visit business premises and colo’s, from the small high street store to the out of town megastores, it is all the same.
We all seem to know the price of everything,
but the value of nothing.
When your old man told you life wasn’t a box of chocolates boy, he wasn’t being grumpy or miserable or boring, he wasn’t telling you that you could not go out and have fun, what he was telling you is there are no re-runs, no safety nets, and no clean slates.
In many ways, this is the most important post I have ever made, because none of the other stuff I have talked about is even possible unless you are solvent.
In some ways worrying about my retirement in 15 years time is futile, that’s a long fucking time away, on the other hand, YOU HAVE TO GET THERE, and the only way to get there is to be solvent today.
Being solvent today is not easy, it is certainly a LOT harder than it was back when I was a very young man starting out…. today I have a brain and two hands and a healthy body, AND 40 fucking years work experience and knowledge and ethic, and I can just about stay solvent, as a single man…
Think on that.
We live in a world where the cost of everything is being looked at, and everyone is trying to drive down unit costs, whether that is an hour’s labour or a patch cable or anything else, drive the cost down per unit.
Nobody is looking at the bigger picture, we have gone way, way, way beyond the point where these cost “savings” per unit are causing cost increases and reliability decreases when looking at the larger picture, and yet, there is still no end in sight.
In my night/weekend job as a self employed bod, I build home and business PC’s for people, amongst other things, and I never hear from the cunts again, until it is time for a new one, which is as it should be, because the bastards DO NOT GO WRONG…. just last night a guy spoke to me about such an upgrade, the last one I built, fucking slot 1, and it is still working…. yeah, at the TIME it was 50% more than an apparently identical spec job from Dell or anyone else, at the time…. and not only has it not gone wrong, and not cost any money to fix, because it has been working solidly since then, he hasn’t lost any work or time to it either.
I estimate that 99% of the money spent in the economy is not earnings, which is what I spend, (I earn it one month then spend it over the next month to get me to the next paycheck), but credit.
With the end of credit, 99% of our economy would disappear overnight, and that is not merely catastrophic, that is apocalyptic.
So credit cannot be allowed to end, and everyone has to stay underwater, essentially in indentured servitude, servicing the interest on the capital, which means that yet again a lot of the money gets siphoned off for financial purposes, not so much is getting spent in the economy, and what is, well, people want more for their 9.99 a month, or they will go to someone offering the same deal for 4.99 a month, and you can only offer 4.99 a month by driving unit costs down.
It is an extremely vicious circle… and it has now become so voracious that it is feeding upon itself.
I have a less luxurious lifestyle than many of those around me, but their lifestyle is illusory, it is all based upon being indebted for life, and god help you if you lose your job, or get divorced, or get sick, fucking game over man.
I got a friend, he is on about 16 quid an hour, hates his job, but can’t quit, can’t get anything else offering the same money, can’t live on less money thanks to the house / car / wife / kids all on credit.
If he loses his current job, he will struggle to get another one, and after a while he will get offered and accept one at 8 quid an hour, because it is 8 quid an hour more than nothing, he will still be drowning, but more slowly… who knows, a ship may come sailing by to rescue him.
Don’t eat your seed corn, one of those pithy phrases, only a small farmer really understands it, “don’t eat your children” is analogous, it’s like going out and raping to death a pair of 5 year old twins, there is no way back, ever, once you do that shit.
Yet as a society that is exactly what we are and have been doing, since the late 80’s at the very least, shit in the paper today, average house price is £270k it says, which is 10x the average wage, which is £27k, it says….. trust me, fucking £16k is the average wage, and I mean average, not mean, there is a shit ton of part time work out there at 6.31 an hour for less than 16 hours a week, so you are part time, so the employer doesn’t have to pay all sorts of taxes, so you are never a true employee with rights.
But loans for homes can’t go any lower than the base rate of 1.2%, or for longer terms than 40 years, and we are already at that, so no new buyers, but we can’t afford a house price crash either… only house sales happening are those already in the system playing musical chairs, ain’t nobody new entering the system.
Ain’t nobody new entering into marriage.
If you are one of those unfortunates on the minimum wage (basically your annual salary is approx 2000x your hourly rate, as a rule of thumb)and getting a gross of £13k per annum, you can’t afford a basic one bedroom apartment / flat / house all to yourself… and this is not in the cities, this is here.
So you can house share, or get a bedsit, either way, communal living, no contents insurance because of that, only one room truly your own, and if your housemate falls on hard times or injects this month’s rent into a vein, you’re still fucked.
Static caravans are still affordable, just, you can pick up a good one for 10k, but nobody is going to loan you money for that on a mortgage, but you also need a piece of land to put it on, and there are no amenities… and you’ll need planning permission if it is static.
Speaking for myself, if I am working 40 hours a week, I have the other hours to try and make some extra doing my own thing, but as I said above, nobody has any fucking money.
Times are tough all over.
Don’t get me wrong here, I’m not trying to get you down and depressed, quite the opposite, I’m trying to get you to see what is really, really, really important.
Stay solvent at any cost. It’s cheaper than not staying solvent.
Be it ever so humble, I have my own front door key, a comfortable pad, fuck it, it’s a working day and I’m done, I’m typing this while still being paid, in a moment I will make a coffee, and next week, well, all next week I am working in a prison… and I will go home at night to my own front door…etc