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Old 09-13-2014, 02:34 PM   #41
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For those interested, this article got a lot of derisive exposure around the blogosphere. Here are some selections:
Still Curious About Running Short on a $400,000 Income? Read This. - Total Return - WSJ
Quote:
The phenomenon of individuals with six-figure incomes spending themselves into financial ruin puzzled and angered some readers of our weekend story on these affluent overspenders. Readers offered their own financial advice.
From the BBC: BBC News - Wall Street Journal explains how to go broke on $400k a year
Quote:
The Journal's article is an example of "insidious reporting", writes the Los Angeles Times's Michael Hiltzik, asking readers to sympathise with high-earners in "situations that middle- and working-class families can only dream about".
LATimes: The WSJ again wrings its hands over our struggling 1% - LA Times
Quote:
The article's theme is that even rich people can live beyond their means. Not really news. What's insidious about reporting like this is that it asks us to commiserate with high-earners who run into financial trouble despite having the flexibility to deal with their situations that middle- and working-class families can only dream about.

Yet if you turn from the Journal's news pages to its editorial page, you'll find the latter being cursed for the moral turpitude, and the former getting the benefit of the doubt. If the Journal's editorial writers read their news pages, they may discover that their reporters are undermining their usual argument that we need to safeguard the income of the "job creators" at the top of the economic pyramid by cutting income and benefits for the rank and file at the bottom.
[]
Articles like this fall into the category of reverse econ-porn. They offer the chance not to salivate over the lifestyles of the rich and famous, but to chortle over their heedlessness and stupidity. Fine: give us this glimpse into how high earners can spend their way to ruin. Just don't ask us to feel sorry for them.
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Old 09-13-2014, 09:47 PM   #42
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Originally Posted by RobLJ View Post
Or you can just copy the headline into Google search and click on what is usually the first search result. Almost always works unless you're reading more than 5 or 10 articles from the same newspaper.
Even then you can do it again. Go into your browser's settings and look for the cookies for that newspaper, i.e., Washington Post. Delete the cookies. You do not have to delete all of your other cookies, just the ones for the Washington Post. Rinse 'n repeat.
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Old 09-14-2014, 08:45 AM   #43
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I loved the BBC article on the story. Snark snark snark at its finest!
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Old 09-14-2014, 09:43 AM   #44
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Here is a plea for another WSJ article:
The story the Wall Street Journal won’t touch.
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But the corollary story that the WSJ wont touch is this: if it families making $400,000/yr are feeling like they are struggling, then how must 150 million people getting by on less than $50,000/yr feel? Where is the WSJ chart showing us the typical distribution of expenses for a family making less than $50 grand a year? Show us that chart WSJ, and then explain to us, since you advocate for cutting all programs that benefit or help support these people, exactly where the fat is in their budgets?
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Old 09-14-2014, 10:05 AM   #45
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I just take this article as a cautionary tale that anyone can get in trouble.

So it is OK for someone to make 50k? They shouldn't be derided? Ask the majority of our earthly inhabitants... they may differ. From the same BBC: they say a USA adjusted average worldly wage is 18k.

Quote:
That gives you the answer - the world's average salary is $1,480 (928) a month, which is just less than $18,000 (11,291) a year.

But these dollars are not normal US dollars. The economists use specially adjusted exchange rates - the average salary is calculated in Purchasing Power Parity (PPP) dollars. One PPP dollar is equal to $1 spent in the US.

Essentially, the PPP dollar takes into account the fact that it is cheaper to live in some countries than others. The idea is that we don't care how many actual dollars somebody is paid in, say, China, but we care about what sort of stuff those dollars can buy.
So what's enough? We should all be able to live on 18k, I guess, unless we want to get into the envy game.

But anyway, how about all the rock stars and movie stars who run into trouble? Once their royalties diminish, they suddenly are having trouble making it work.
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Old 09-14-2014, 11:17 AM   #46
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Originally Posted by JoeWras View Post
So it is OK for someone to make 50k? They shouldn't be derided? Ask the majority of our earthly inhabitants... they may differ. From the same BBC: they say a USA adjusted average worldly wage is 18k.



So what's enough? We should all be able to live on 18k, I guess, unless we want to get into the envy game.

But anyway, how about all the rock stars and movie stars who run into trouble? Once their royalties diminish, they suddenly are having trouble making it work.
I understand that there are many ways of slicing and dicing this, and it's no easy task to devise the "one" answer....but there are too many variables left unanswered in their article:

Taxes - how did they factor in tax policy into the equation?

SS/state pension plans - Workers in the US have SS contributions for them, which turn out to be a reasonably 'good deal' for low wage earners. Does China have a SS system? What about Europe's version? Having a mandate to retire at 60 (I think some European countries rule?) is vastly different compared to some other countries.

Standard of living - They looked at converting the currency to PPP to make $1 earned in the US 'equal' to $1 earned in China, but what exact standard did they use? Do many workers in China even have air conditioning available to them? Many of the world's citizens don't even have any potable water available to them. How does one 'adjust' for that? And I'm willing to bet that many structures built in China would not pass the same building codes in the US. How about auto standards? Air/water quality? Quality of healthcare standards? (Some developing nations have excellent healthcare systems for low costs, but many do not)

Food will always be somewhat based on world commodity prices and have adjustments based on local cost of transport, etc., and it's relatively easy to compare, since the cabbage in China is roughly equal to cabbage in England. But outside of most food and electricity, it's a bit of a hodgepodge of standards to attempt to compare and adjust for.

As I mention, it's an almost impossible task to truly equate the 'average world wage', but there are some very relevant, major variables that need to be attempted to be taken into account, which I don't know have been in their study.
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Old 09-14-2014, 11:59 AM   #47
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As I mention, it's an almost impossible task to truly equate the 'average world wage', but there are some very relevant, major variables that need to be attempted to be taken into account, which I don't know have been in their study.
I don't know either.

Again, I think the point of the original article is that despite your income, you can "blow it" and get in trouble.

Perhaps a person in a 3rd world country should be spending their meager wages on expensive safe water, but instead they blow it on a mobile phone. (And yes I know many of us consider a phone a necessity.)

No matter your level, this danger is always lurking.
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Old 09-14-2014, 12:42 PM   #48
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Originally Posted by JoeWras View Post
I just take this article as a cautionary tale that anyone can get in trouble.

So it is OK for someone to make 50k? They shouldn't be derided? Ask the majority of our earthly inhabitants... they may differ. From the same BBC: they say a USA adjusted average worldly wage is 18k.



So what's enough? We should all be able to live on 18k, I guess, unless we want to get into the envy game.

But anyway, how about all the rock stars and movie stars who run into trouble? Once their royalties diminish, they suddenly are having trouble making it work.
I think those rock and movie stars do not work for publications where their editors and co-workers write editorials trying to derail basic, still expensive if you get sick but somewhat affordable medical care for the unwashed masses households making 25% of 400K or much, much less.
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