It’s easy to talk shit about what you earn / spend / are worth on the internet, and many do, there was an old saying here in the 80’s “two cars in the driveway and fuck all in the fridge” regarding people who lived on credit.
Today there are a plethora of people trying either to make a living or to support their income on the internet, and a big bunch of that is people with monetized YouTube channels, the perfect apex fallacy.
When people like Dave over at the EEVblog are making 50-60k US$ per annum you know that most are making fuck all, and that’s the truth.
Apart from a fairly small overdraft facility and a single credit card with a £500 limit I don’t have any credit / debt, as a mid to late fifties guy that pretty much means I’m never going to be able to borrow money, even if I wanted to, so things like mortgages etc are non starters, as are things like auto finance, even if I wanted it I would be declined.
Rent costs me 550 quid a month, if I moved out of here I have exactly zero hope of getting anything else for that kind of money, maybe a one room studio, and that is just a maybe, really I’d be looking at 750 a month minimum to rent anything livable.
Council tax costs 1,000 a year, utility energy is running around 0.18 per kWh, I say living here costs me 2 quid a day electric, 1 quid a day gas and 1 quid a day water…. so 4 quid a day for utilities…diesel is 1.30 and because of my age and shit vehicle insurance and road tax and shit runs around £1 a day per vehicles and I have 4, 3 of them on the road, vehicle maintenance you can allow 500 per year so ex fuel you can say a car costs 1,000 a year and that is if you are running reliable 15 year old cars with a capital value of less than 1000.
Put the housing together and you have 550 x 12 = 6,600 + 4 x 365 = 1,460 = 8,060 +1,000 = 9,060, plus 3 vehicles excluding fuel 11,500 add in fuel say 30 a week for local commuting 1500 a year, add in food and bog roll and so on 50 a week = 2500 a year, add in smoking 40 a week = 2000 a year, we are up to £17,500 per annum in expenses to live, and it’s not exactly a profligate high end lifestyle, there is no going out to eat and drink or go to cinema or anything else in there.
The flipside is what is described ain’t bad either, own front door, hot and cold running water, food in the fridge, clothes on your back, vehicle out front that is legal and reliable, no shitting yourself when there is a knock on the door.
The “you really are taking the fucking piss” cisco kid job paid 17.5 k plus car, and the reality of that is the car cost me 2k per year in extra taxes, after tax and everything else it was enough to live here (no other vehicles kept legal and on the road, didn’t need em, company car) and pay the bills and a bit left over, but not much, every month… I could live with it because I probably only got 3 or 4 call outs a week initially and I had my own sideline doing PC stuff and I have to admit there was always something nice about knowing that 1,300 quid after tax would hit your bank last friday every month, you knew when and where your next income was coming from, be it ever so humble.
Full time city bus driving here pays up to 18.5k if you do all the hours you can, so however paltry it sounds in exchange for the skills and experience, the reality was 17.5k p.a. wasn’t a bad wage compared to the job market as a whole in this region, put it this way, while I could go out and find wimminz working on the state tit working to protect battered wimminz earning 35k, I could also find plenty of people just trying to make ends meet who would have jumped at the chance of 17.5k and a company car…
Bear in mind this is all “single guy who doesn’t have any debt to service” numbers, and while it is true that for many things “two can live as cheaply as one” this specifically excludes any scenarios where children are involved.
But the numbers don’t lie and they are all good, if you are a single male and do nothing but live and don’t smoke or run a vehicle or get public transport or go out socialising or anything else you can just about slide by on £13k per annum, thanks to free healthcare should you need it.
If you are a wimminz and have kids then the state has a duty to house you, so the state gives you money in one hand and takes it away with the other to justify their own finances, houses that I’d have to pay 750 a month for the skanks “pay” 280 for which is subsidised by the state, or if it is privately rented the housing benefit covers it all, and of course there are all the child (financial) benefits and should skanky work 16 hours a week or more she will get working tax credits (more payouts) and so on…. I know of one very rare man who has custody of his three children and he works full time as one of the aforementioned bus drivers and even so the state benefits match his salary.
When it comes to people “owning” their own homes if the people in question are less than 50 years old the sheer number / proportion on interest only mortgages will make your eyes bleed, bear in mind at the end of the term you have paid £0 of the capital cost of the house off and you hold £0 equity in the house, it’s like renting a place but being able to repaint it at will and put a conservatory up etc and not having to ask the landlord’s permission, but you’re also liable for all repairs.
I know people 15 years into this shit with 10 to go and not a thought enters their head about what they are going to do in 10 years time.
But anyway, back to money.
The car is an old volvo estate, really the body is a mitsubishi and the engine is a renault turbo diesel lump, 5 speed manual, it’s pretty economical but even so I rarely see 2k rpm in town and longer journeys I cruise at 65/70 which is just under 2.5k rpm in top, I’m paying for my fuel and it makes enough of a difference over a year that it is worth it to me to drive with a light right foot, when I was in the company car and not paying for fuel I’d often be doing 85/95 mph and I’d rev that engine all the way to get there.
I go to the farm shop and buy a 56 lb sack of spuds for 7 quid, I go to the supermarket to buy the 2 x 4 litre bottles of milk for £2 deal, my smoking and my coffee is my only regular weekly “extravagance” as it were.
I’ve got a good main PC and NAS box (talked about both on here before when they were built) and I’m mindful that at some point they are going to need updating.
I don’t have a job and an employer any more, just a small business, but I don’t treat it like so many do and start in with the directors drawings and salary and company car and so on, it would have ceased trading already if I had done that, in effect it is a separate entity financially, when I make enough profit to draw some money to live I do, when I don’t I live off the fat in the existing accounts and in the cupboards and so on, all the while trying to build up as much capital as possible for reinvestment and new equipment.
I jumped from the cisco job at a time of my own choosing, rather than hanging on until it progressed to the point where we got laid off or I turned around one day and told someone to stick their job up their fucking ass, because that reality is the same, the job market is such that I’d be scrabbling around 4 or 5 different agencies doing temp stuff while trying to find something else that paid 17.5 k as opposed to the 14 or 15 k most are offering for full time work, that’s if you get past the “competitive salary” or “great rates” or “earn up to 23k” (like your broadband is up to 20 meg, but usually around 4…) …
… it’s basically not a pleasant experience, all of the recruiters and agencies will complain about people with an attitude, but do it for three months and you’ll have an attitude too, and jobs like the old cisco kid one where you never visit the office and you are your own man out on the road start looking like the holy grail….
But the purpose of this post, as said, was to discuss real numbers here in the UK in 2017, and you have them, you can just about survive on 12.5k and you can live quite quietly and happily on 17.5k as either a single individual or a joined at the hip couple, but you won’t be taking any foreign holidays or buying vehicles on hire purchase or getting a mortgage.
the very few “starter” government supported mortgage deals now are basically shoe boxes on soon to be sink estates where the state owns the freehold and much of the equity and you’ll never get the option to obtain those two things in your name, so it’s a bad deal, land is running to crazy prices and good luck getting any kind of permission to live on it, and good luck living there without permission.
You can buy a decent (move in tomorrow quality) used 12 x 40 caravan for around 15k but where to put it, an acre or two of land is another 20k even if it is totally unsuitable for ever getting panning permission even for a horse stable, if there is even a remote chance it could at some future point get planning permission for housing it’s running nearer 200k, if it has outline permission it’s already being sold in handkerchief sizes plots for 100k a plot.
So it’s *possible* to live within your means, in 2017 UK, but as far as social mobility goes fucking forget it, and speaking as a small business owner the challenges of making your small business grow and survive are on a par with any social mobility aspirations, “build it and they will come” is the least of your worries.
So anyway, I have been asked a few times and I wanted to put it out there, these are real on the ground numbers for this region of the UK (it’s worse in big cities where rents are so much higher) of the sort of thing you yourself could expect to find if you travel here tomorrow and try to make a living.
What orks and rapefugees are going to bring to this party is anyone’s guess, if things are tight with little or no social mobility for law abiding 50 somethings who are multi skilled and experienced, you can work out for yourself how things are for everyone else, and of course that lowest common denominator shit is why so many real jobs pay such shit wages.
The bus driver I mentioned earlier is a good example, for all his faults he is a nice guy, and a good bus driver, I hear stories (bear in mind all equivalent make and model buses on a route / depot are physically identical) that he drives through tight areas in town due to one asshole parking badly, and all the other drivers phone in that they can’t get though, and he never touches anything with his bus or damages it in any way… they all have bus licences, but he is one of the old school type that always wanted to be a bus driver.
There are drivers and then there are drivers, know what I mean…. but they all get paid the fucking same.
I can remember as a lad a man doing that job could keep a stay at home wife 1.0 and buy a decent house on a mortgage and have a holiday every year, if the missus worked on the buses too they were pretty well off and could have two cars and two holidays per year.
Now he has his wages matched by state handouts for three kids and an interest only mortgage that is half what my rent is and while he is paying all his bills, he couldn’t find 2k without borrowing it from family or selling a kidney.
I’m in the minority as someone who doesn’t get any handouts of any kind from the state and doesn’t have any debts or credit, most people cannot say both of those things, so things get complicated when you talk about the economy or employment, what are you really talking about?
As stated, people like myself living purely on earned income and expenditure are the rarity nowadays, so we are the smallest part of the economy overall, however we are also the purest source… the ones who are 100% self sufficient economically and still staying afloat by selling our labour on the open market.
It’s not a rosy picture for the economy as a whole.
I cannot relate anything in my day to day economic existence with the shit put out by the media and the state, there simply is not any correlation, anywhere.
Anyway, that’s it, it’s only one data point but it is a true and factual one and while it does indeed omit a whole host of detail (broadband, mobiles, running harleys, 250 quid coffee machines, etc), if you moved here tomorrow and made plans based on those numbers you’d find that the reality was very very close, in effect the model and the reality would closely match.