Why Do Some People Live Paycheck-To-Paycheck?

Authored by Tom Chatham via Project Chesapeake blog,

It is common place today to hear of people living paycheck to paycheck. If so many people are living so close to the edge one must ask why? There are many reasons why someone might be in financial distress but one looming question remains. If they lack sufficient funds to live as they do, why do they continue on that path?

It has become evident to me that many people live paycheck to paycheck because they choose to. It seems that many people today decide what standard of living they want and start living it. They get the home, car, clothes, jewelry and other items they view as their birthright. Then they try to find a job that will pay for it all. They are basically doing things ass backwards.

In a normal world a person gets a job and builds a life around what they can afford. They live within their means in other words. This includes having sufficient funds for emergencies so they can continue on for a while if something happens to disrupt their income. This is the way most responsible people have always lived.

Today is different.

Most people have never had a good role model to teach them how to handle money. The banker controlled media has led them to a life of debt and despair. The people have been conditioned to spend everything they can get their hands on and then spend any credit they can get. Even though they have been conditioned to live like this they make a conscious effort to do it.

To get off this debt cycle they only need to want to. Many people are paying a lot for monthly rent or mortgage and cannot afford it. They do not have much control over what someone wants them to pay for rent but they can control where they decide to live. Just like they can decide what car to buy and what they buy at the store. Their choices determine how much they have left at the end of the month. Show me someone living paycheck to paycheck and I’ll show you something they pay for and do not need or are overpaying for.

There are people living in some cities right now paying more for monthly rent than I spend on all of my living expenses all year, and that is not an exaggeration. And I am not talking about rich people in expensive homes, just ordinary people in ordinary apartments.

Most people like to live near their jobs for an easy commute but their jobs are usually located in expensive areas that house a lot of working people. The landlords know what people in that area make so rents are adjusted to get the most they can. The ordinary person just tries to get a place as cheap as they can which is usually more than they can really afford.

Instead of doing this they have the option of choosing a longer commute allowing them to get a place in a less expensive area. There are people in my area that work in D.C. every day. That is a 100 mile drive each way every day. They do this because they can earn more money and live in an area with a low cost of living. It takes a lot of dedication to do that but it can pay off in a big way over time.

While it is understandable for someone making $15k – $20k a year to have financial difficulty, there are a lot of people making $40k – $100k a year also living paycheck to paycheck that should not have to. These people are struggling now when things are fairly good but it won’t take much of a drop in the economy for them to go negative. That day is fast approaching and if they do not get their financial house in order now, they may not be able to later and that will force them to change their living habits causing a lot of pain along the way. It is better to do it now while it can be done with minimal pain.