Low-earners- What is your profession?

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holycow007
Posts: 128
Joined: Sun Aug 19, 2012 10:23 pm

Re: Low-earners- What is your profession?

Post by holycow007 »

Combined we are not below 100K but wife is 35 years and grosses under 35K a year. Administrative work in non-profit.Benefits are good.
She has 3.5X her income saved up. My job helps but I am still proud of her.

I would go do it if we are set. 15 more years to go at our rate. Hoping kid would clear college by then and the only reason I am working for is insurance plus some money to spend on wants.
kjvmartin
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Joined: Wed Jan 21, 2015 8:57 am

Re: Low-earners- What is your profession?

Post by kjvmartin »

phxjcc wrote: Sat Dec 28, 2019 1:30 am
kjvmartin wrote: Sun Apr 02, 2017 10:22 pm Law enforcement. Salary capped at about $65,000.

kjvm.
LAPD
PO 1 avg 76
PO 2 avg 92
PO 3 avg 96
Lt Avg 146

Source: Glassdoor

These guys earn their money.

But, I wanted to clear the air about any misconception of large metro area LEO's not making good numbers.
Detroit Police Department Pay Range: $40,732 - $60,892.
stoptothink
Posts: 8296
Joined: Fri Dec 31, 2010 9:53 am

Re: Low-earners- What is your profession?

Post by stoptothink »

kjvmartin wrote: Sat Dec 28, 2019 3:56 pm
phxjcc wrote: Sat Dec 28, 2019 1:30 am
kjvmartin wrote: Sun Apr 02, 2017 10:22 pm Law enforcement. Salary capped at about $65,000.

kjvm.
LAPD
PO 1 avg 76
PO 2 avg 92
PO 3 avg 96
Lt Avg 146

Source: Glassdoor

These guys earn their money.

But, I wanted to clear the air about any misconception of large metro area LEO's not making good numbers.
Detroit Police Department Pay Range: $40,732 - $60,892.
Salt Lake City PD $49,600 to $57,900 https://www.salary.com/research/salary/ ... ke-city-ut

With some overtime and SWAT, one of my good friends makes ~$70k after more than a decade on the force. My childhood best friend is LAPD, he has some hilarious stories regarding how he is not earning his decent salary, but that is another (political) story.
Momus
Posts: 1023
Joined: Tue Feb 21, 2012 9:23 pm

Re: Low-earners- What is your profession?

Post by Momus »

https://transparentcalifornia.com/

Public employees have their salaries viewable online. $100-500k+ for police officer/fireman.
lostdog
Posts: 3167
Joined: Thu Feb 04, 2016 2:15 pm

Re: Low-earners- What is your profession?

Post by lostdog »

Wife 63k a year Dietitian age 41.

Me, retired for now age 44. Net worth $820k.

4k a month income. 2k a month expenses.

Upper Midwest LCOL area.
capran
Posts: 123
Joined: Thu Feb 18, 2016 10:45 am

Re: Low-earners- What is your profession?

Post by capran »

After having read most of the replies, it sure made it interesting to reflect back. We both were Certificated in Education positions. Started in the mid 80's making 18,000 each with Masters degrees. The first 16 years we got step increases in salary so that the base salary topped out at about 70k each. We lived on much less after taking advantage of loopholes that allowed us to have 15% of salary deducted for our teachers retirement fund, and at the same time contribute the max into a deferred compensation fund. By the time all the medical premiums that reduce taxable income, as well as our deferred and retirement contributions, we were in the 70-80k taxable income bracket. But we sure didn't consider that "low income". (and, as an FYI, wish we would have thought about what our retirement income would be (SS & pensions, plus RMD's and interest and dividends) which bumps us up into a much higher tax bracket in retirement than we were working. We would have deferred less!
Freetime76
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Re: Low-earners- What is your profession?

Post by Freetime76 »

CyclingDuo wrote: Wed Apr 05, 2017 10:42 am We would have qualified for this thread as a dual income household in our 20's, 30's, and all through our 40's for sure.

:sharebeer

The debate between low income vs. lower income obviously always has potential to ruffle some feathers. Respecting why people are here on BH includes many different income levels. Another point that was raised which could cause debate was surrounding windfalls. They do happen when parents age and pass something on to their heirs, and should not be shamed no matter how they look or come across. :idea:

We are in our 50's now and have ground, scratched, clawed, worked our way up to finally bump up and over the $100K hurdle as I guess we have now hit our "peak earning years". The timing of reaching that mark happened to be right when we had two kids in college - so it hasn't felt much different than the lower income years with all of the education costs. Hence, we feel much more akin to this thread than any other due to the prior 30+ years of work and income level.

...
In blue above (color, bold added), thank you for saying this!! I am quite tired of hearing...”oh, she inherited money” (via DH, of course not directly to me - chickens :oops: ) as if that is the reason for all later successes. So. Frustrating. Schmucks, I saved over half my lifetime earnings so far. No, it’s following livesoft’s list mostly.

Our incomes vary a lot, and we both have irregular work histories. DH was maybe 30K annual until recently at 50K plus match and benefits. He had years with no work/ homeless or borderline homeless, and jobs with no benefits worth buying, no company match. My income range is zero to 97K, years ago. Typical around 65-70, but many years in school and/or in a training program on a stipend - 16-22K. Currently not working. It’s good to remember how to live like a grad student. DH obviously happy is he has a big plate of food at the end of the day!

We’re now at the point of scratching and clawing to the point of stability and security with retirement happening on schedule. Not easy, and lots of time - years actually- marching to the beat of our own drum to meet our goals. That means ignoring a lot of people :wink:
FoolMeOnce
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Joined: Mon Apr 24, 2017 11:16 am

Re: Low-earners- What is your profession?

Post by FoolMeOnce »

Lawyer, government position, 11+ years, large fairly HCOL city, $78k. Not low paying, not high paying. Good pension, if it doesn't get slashed.
Dfree
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Joined: Mon May 13, 2019 10:45 pm

Re: Low-earners- What is your profession?

Post by Dfree »

Thanks for the thread, OP. I used to be a newspaper reporter ($35,000/year in 2005) and got to know and respect a lot of cops. Most of us would lose our damn minds after one shift in uniform. I admire and appreciate the work you are doing.

I now work at a violin shop restoring old instruments ($43,000/year for 32-hour weeks), make/sell violins outside the shop ($25,000/year after consignment fees), and am just starting to invest with a taxable account in addition to retirement accounts ($5,000 this year in taxable dividend payments, which were reinvested). $73,000 this year.

That feels like more than enough because I love my work and live like I did as a cub reporter in the early 00s. I drive a 2001 Honda. I wear clothes until they look like they look like I stole them from Kurt Cobain's closet in 1991 (this works because I live in a hipster town). Vacations are usually hiking and camping off old logging roads, the wilder and more remote the better. All the money I save gets invested, with a 12-month emergency fund left untouched. I'm on track to retire early and comfortably, as long as the market averages at least 6% over the next 20 years.

If the market under performs...Well, shucks, I'll just have to keep doing the work I love. I agree, a middle class income is plenty if you enjoy your work and spending money doesn't make you happy. Unless you have kids, especially ones who are planning on college...
sawhorse
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Re: Low-earners- What is your profession?

Post by sawhorse »

Jags4186 wrote: Mon Apr 17, 2017 4:34 pm I don't know if this has been mentioned--I didn't read all 6 pages--but the median household income of $56k isn't a great stat. That includes plenty of retired folk on Social Security and people who actively try to keep their incomes low.


For the people in the 35-55 age category--those most likely to be working and in a swing of their careers--the median income is closer to $72k
This is very important. Besides age, another factor is cost of living in the area. We used to live in a low cost of living area. We made $104k a year and felt super rich. I was embarrassed about how much we made.

Then a few years ago we had to move to a very high cost of living area. Now we make $130k and don't feel nearly as rich even though I know we technically are.

Don't get me wrong, I know how lucky I am financially and am grateful for it every day. Without such a high salary we would be bankrupt due to having tens of thousands of dollars in medical costs every year. But I don't feel super rich anymore despite making 30% more.
AlphabetBackward
Posts: 3
Joined: Mon Feb 04, 2019 6:23 pm

Re: Low-earners- What is your profession?

Post by AlphabetBackward »

Histotechnician in CA

2010: 21,649.12 (half a year of employment)
2011: 39,950.79
2012: 42,188.06
2013: 44,725.11
2014: 47,797.76
2015: 47,349.56
2016: 49,460.17
2017: 50,157.48
2018: 70,027.47 (quit at the beginning of 2018, unemployed for two and a half months, found a new job in the Bay Area)
mikemagz11
Posts: 54
Joined: Mon Nov 21, 2016 1:37 pm
Location: Hoboken, NJ

Re: Low-earners- What is your profession?

Post by mikemagz11 »

mikemagz11 wrote: Mon Apr 03, 2017 6:40 pm Work in college athletics making $47.5k in a hcol. Luckily I'm getting my masters for free from the school I work at to make it worthwhile.
Work in the same profession but started a new job in July making $66.5k and have a part-time job that makes roughly 10k. Maxing out my Roth for the first time and also receiving a 5% 403B match for the first time.
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CyclingDuo
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Re: Low-earners- What is your profession?

Post by CyclingDuo »

Freetime76 wrote: Sat Dec 28, 2019 10:28 pm
CyclingDuo wrote: Wed Apr 05, 2017 10:42 am We would have qualified for this thread as a dual income household in our 20's, 30's, and all through our 40's for sure.

:sharebeer

The debate between low income vs. lower income obviously always has potential to ruffle some feathers. Respecting why people are here on BH includes many different income levels. Another point that was raised which could cause debate was surrounding windfalls. They do happen when parents age and pass something on to their heirs, and should not be shamed no matter how they look or come across. :idea:

We are in our 50's now and have ground, scratched, clawed, worked our way up to finally bump up and over the $100K hurdle as I guess we have now hit our "peak earning years". The timing of reaching that mark happened to be right when we had two kids in college - so it hasn't felt much different than the lower income years with all of the education costs. Hence, we feel much more akin to this thread than any other due to the prior 30+ years of work and income level.

...
In blue above (color, bold added), thank you for saying this!! I am quite tired of hearing...”oh, she inherited money” (via DH, of course not directly to me - chickens :oops: ) as if that is the reason for all later successes. So. Frustrating. Schmucks, I saved over half my lifetime earnings so far. No, it’s following livesoft’s list mostly.

Our incomes vary a lot, and we both have irregular work histories. DH was maybe 30K annual until recently at 50K plus match and benefits. He had years with no work/ homeless or borderline homeless, and jobs with no benefits worth buying, no company match. My income range is zero to 97K, years ago. Typical around 65-70, but many years in school and/or in a training program on a stipend - 16-22K. Currently not working. It’s good to remember how to live like a grad student. DH obviously happy is he has a big plate of food at the end of the day!

We’re now at the point of scratching and clawing to the point of stability and security with retirement happening on schedule. Not easy, and lots of time - years actually- marching to the beat of our own drum to meet our goals. That means ignoring a lot of people :wink:
:beer to a big plate of food at the end of the day! And for your use of the word Schmucks! :mrgreen:

Sounds like the two of you have been through the gamut over the years regarding fluctuating income from human capital and are finding some stability as well as remaining focused on that retirement target. Kudos!

I wrote the post back in 2017 because the part you highlighted in blue was pertinent to our situation. We had very frugal parents (all were born in the roaring 20's and lived through the depression and aftermath with their parents). We had lost three parents in a span of 18 months leading up to that post and it really was one of the reasons we joined Bogleheads in the first place to get some advice on how best to manage the windfalls. Although we were doing great on our own in terms of saving and investing for 30 years, I personally felt a burden of additional responsibility when taking on each additional chunk of inheritance as each parent passed and all of the siblings dealt with the estates. In our case, it seems as the unwinding of it all is taking years (4-5 years in our case) from start to finish for the stretch annuities to be distributed, real estate sales, the sibling discussions and choices, taxes, etc... .

As a result, my radar is usually on when it comes to posts here at Bogleheads regarding windfalls from estates of deceased parents as it can be the elephant in the room discussion which it sounds like you have also experienced. I've seen some odd reactions and posts from time to time here on the forums which also led to the portion of what you highlighted in blue. My initial post in trying to deal with the complexity of the windfalls received responses from only three forum members, and Boglehead forum member dbr hung in there with me and helped guide me through some decision making as to whether or not I could DIY or if we should hire an AUM firm to take on the additional responsibility and complexity. Thankfully, the BH Wiki has an excellent section on windfalls and there is a lot of good advice doled out here regarding a windfall - whether it is or is not the elephant in the room type of subject when it comes to a household's financial picture.

It has become less of an elephant in the room for our own social circle where we live simply because we are old enough and all of our good friends are old enough where almost everyone has lost their parents in the past few years. Most of us, if we discuss finances, talk about retirement, future goals and for the most part the discussion also consists of passing on something to our heirs.

Point being, for some it is one more aspect of the financial picture of a household and should not be any more taboo - or certainly not shamed - than any other subject related to finances no matter what the household income level is of those who are recipients of a windfall.
"Save like a pessimist, invest like an optimist." - Morgan Housel
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Geneyus
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Re: Low-earners- What is your profession?

Post by Geneyus »

phxjcc wrote: Sat Dec 28, 2019 1:30 am
kjvmartin wrote: Sun Apr 02, 2017 10:22 pm Law enforcement. Salary capped at about $65,000.

kjvm.
LAPD
PO 1 avg 76
PO 2 avg 92
PO 3 avg 96
Lt Avg 146

Source: Glassdoor

These guys earn their money.

But, I wanted to clear the air about any misconception of large metro area LEO's not making good numbers.
Large police departments like to advertise in smaller cities around the country, and they often flash their big salary numbers. The only difference is, the cost of living will eat that salary up. Every once in a while, I see one of my peers sharing one of those job postings on FB, and he's quickly shot down with information that the glamorous job descriptions leave out. Dallas has made a lot of mistakes regarding law enforcement, and they're heavily advertising in Memphis and other areas that are having issues keeping officers (the grass isn't usually greener). I've also seen ads from as far as Oregon.
The one positive about policing in CA (which isn't typically friendly to police) is if you can retire and move to a low cost of living area. Then you can really enjoy retirement.
spammagnet wrote: Fri Dec 27, 2019 5:51 pm Out of curiosity, what industry are you now in, and does the experience that is unique to having been a LEO apply directly?
I have dual roles in Security Management and Safety at my company. A lot of my knowledge and skills did transfer over. I'm conducting employee investigations, using CCTV, applying policies to different situations (cops are great at that), and I am teaching active shooter response and other topics to employees. The safety part came naturally, but I added OSHA 30 training, and I joined some Safety oriented groups online to learn more.

I was pretty worried about leaving law enforcement because I knew it so well, and I wasn't sure how well I would do in the private sector. I did a ton of homework on each company and position and was very selective. I haven't regretted it.
HotRod140
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Re: Low-earners- What is your profession?

Post by HotRod140 »

Babysitter to Grandkids, $0.00 per hour, plus time and a half for overtime. Best profession in the world
coachf
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Location: Texas

Re: Low-earners- What is your profession?

Post by coachf »

College strength and conditioning coach, $40,960 a year. I live in a LCOL area.
frugalmama
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Re: Low-earners- What is your profession?

Post by frugalmama »

We are pretty much under 100K every year and tend to be between 80K and 95K between teaching and some side gigs (sitting, college instructor, sports official). We live in a relatively LCOL area, but we have a large family so our income places us not too far above the poverty level. We traded our high paying jobs in about 10 years ago and I am so glad we didas we have a much better quality of life. For us, we just try to be very frugal so we can do all the things we place a priority on.
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9-5 Suited
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Re: Low-earners- What is your profession?

Post by 9-5 Suited »

Rainmaker41 wrote: Sun Apr 02, 2017 7:05 pm Gross income: $11k in 2014, $22k in 2015, and $34k in 2016... in a high cost of living city. Things picked up partway through 2016 when I started making about $40k annualized as a Finance Associate for a 501(c)(3) nonprofit. Before that I worked through a temp agency. Whenever I feel like I wish I was more accomplished, I try to remember how things were for me a couple years ago; the trend is upward after all.

My struggles out of college have definitely shaped how I approach spending decisions. I still only spend around $800 a month. Thus, I maxed 2015, 2016, on schedule for 2017 Roth IRA so far and have about $9k in my pre-tax 403b; call it 30% gross savings rate of my cumulative income.
While the “what if’s” are inevitable, you’re doing awesome. Maxing out IRAs plus some extra savings is more than tons of high spending people with higher incomes than you do. Great job with the upward progression and positive thinking. Your frugal ways are a huge advantage to achieving financial independence.
Rainmaker41
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Re: Low-earners- What is your profession?

Post by Rainmaker41 »

9-5 Suited wrote: Tue Dec 31, 2019 11:07 pm
Rainmaker41 wrote: Sun Apr 02, 2017 7:05 pm Gross income: $11k in 2014, $22k in 2015, and $34k in 2016... in a high cost of living city. Things picked up partway through 2016 when I started making about $40k annualized as a Finance Associate for a 501(c)(3) nonprofit. Before that I worked through a temp agency. Whenever I feel like I wish I was more accomplished, I try to remember how things were for me a couple years ago; the trend is upward after all.

My struggles out of college have definitely shaped how I approach spending decisions. I still only spend around $800 a month. Thus, I maxed 2015, 2016, on schedule for 2017 Roth IRA so far and have about $9k in my pre-tax 403b; call it 30% gross savings rate of my cumulative income.
While the “what if’s” are inevitable, you’re doing awesome. Maxing out IRAs plus some extra savings is more than tons of high spending people with higher incomes than you do. Great job with the upward progression and positive thinking. Your frugal ways are a huge advantage to achieving financial independence.
Thanks. It’s strange to think back how things were in those early working years. Things really picked up later in 2017-2019 as it turns out. I was hired into a different department as a regular non-temp employee with better pay and a retirement match, and promoted in both 2018 and 2019.

I married in 2017. We moved in together to a better apartment, and we have two modest but decent incomes for our location at nonprofits. We are frugal but comfortable, spending about $33k per year. We’ve maxed all retirement accounts since 2018 and plan to do so indefinitely. The big question is what we do about housing, since homes are expensive where we live whereas we have a cheap apartment we are happy with for now.

I finalized our 2019 household financial statement today. The sense of security looking at that is like night and day versus my first working years out of college...
jmk
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Re: Low-earners- What is your profession?

Post by jmk »

CyclingDuo wrote: Sun Dec 29, 2019 11:51 am It has become less of an elephant in the room for our own social circle where we live simply because we are old enough and all of our good friends are old enough where almost everyone has lost their parents in the past few years. Most of us, if we discuss finances, talk about retirement, future goals and for the most part the discussion also consists of passing on something to our heirs.
Point being, for some it is one more aspect of the financial picture of a household and should not be any more taboo - or certainly not shamed - than any other subject related to finances no matter what the household income level is of those who are recipients of a windfall.
I agree with you. Even someone like me who personally favors the wealth tax doesn't feel this is the forum to shame anyone for their wealth or inheritance. I don't come on to BH to discuss politics but rather what to do with the realities of my finances. I think most of us here feel that same way.
upperleftcoast
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Re: Low-earners- What is your profession?

Post by upperleftcoast »

54 yo.
Make <$60k / year.
Medical billing office for large Seattle healthcare organization.
Sticking it out be/cs soon eligible for (smallish) pension.
Single no kids. Frugal but still spend and greatly enjoy life.
More disposable income than anyone in my family, who have kids / own houses / incurred student debt.
Lifetime renter. Have kept costs low.
25% of paycheck goes into 401K. Might crest $1M in 5-7 years, depends on market.
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9-5 Suited
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Re: Low-earners- What is your profession?

Post by 9-5 Suited »

Rainmaker41 wrote: Wed Jan 01, 2020 9:53 pm Thanks. It’s strange to think back how things were in those early working years. Things really picked up later in 2017-2019 as it turns out. I was hired into a different department as a regular non-temp employee with better pay and a retirement match, and promoted in both 2018 and 2019.

I married in 2017. We moved in together to a better apartment, and we have two modest but decent incomes for our location at nonprofits. We are frugal but comfortable, spending about $33k per year. We’ve maxed all retirement accounts since 2018 and plan to do so indefinitely. The big question is what we do about housing, since homes are expensive where we live whereas we have a cheap apartment we are happy with for now.

I finalized our 2019 household financial statement today. The sense of security looking at that is like night and day versus my first working years out of college...
Ha, I didn't realize that I dug this up from the comment annals of 2017 :) Was fresh to the thread when it appeared on the main page again. Glad to hear things are going so well since the comment was made, but that was a predictable outcome given the attitude expressed.

Housing is probably the toughest financial question I grapple with as well. We spend so much on it and sometimes it seems fine because I love our place and the amount is manageable but other times it feels like a burden and a waste. In my ideal scenario I'd probably go a little more frugal on the housing to expedite financial independence and enable more spending on other things, but it's not like I'm deprived of much so can't really complain too heartily.
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