Do We NEED 150K?

I read an article yesterday that was rather interesting. The title of it, “You Need A $150,000 Income To Lead A Good Life In America“, was met with no small amount of incredulity on my part. Click on the title to read the short article for yourself.

While I found the article part fascinating and part ridiculous, it was reading through the comments that surprised me somewhat. It seems that some people agree that, yes, you must be making at least $150K in order to “make it”.

By those standards, I must be poor. I do not think of myself as poor, especially considering that I have a warm home, food, and clothing. I’m better off than the majority of the world’s population. I have the luxury of a washing machine and dryer!

One commenter remarked, “I can say that my 50k income is not even enough to afford the basics. I can’t afford cable, can’t afford new clothes, can’t afford to go to the movies even after paying my bills, buying food, and having a modest/low cost night out on Friday and Saturday.”

Clothing is something of a necessity, though opinions on how much new clothing you need will certainly vary. But can we honestly claim that cable and movie theater tickets are “basics”? If the commenter really does go out an average of two nights per week, then cutting back on that would free up some money to put towards clothes or other things. I don’t mean to specifically pick on this particular commenter, but I do want to make the point that our modern idea of what constitutes the “basics” is unrealistic. Many people currently live with FAR less than what we in America think is absolutely necessary.

I’m just as guilty of this skewed thinking. I’m not always thankful for or even aware of all of the luxuries that I enjoy. Think about it… How many of us have easy access to safe drinking water? How many of us have food in the fridge right now? How many of us live in a dirt floor shack cobbled together out of corrugated metal and canvas? How many of us walk around barefoot because we have no shoes at all?

I realize that there are people even in America who don’t have clean water, food, shelter, or shoes. The fact that I do have all of those things should remind me to be thankful daily for the things I’ve been blessed with.

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