Sunday, July 6, 2008

Does More Income Actually Mean More Money?

I want to thank Fabulously Broke In The City for giving me something to talk about on these slow three days (personal finance wise anyways).  She wrote a post on July 4th entitled High Income doesn't necessarily mean Financial Smarts that set off a topic I like to talk about--basically people that have a lot of income (or what should be a lot of income), but still don't have any money and lots of debt.

One point that wasn't brought up was that income and how much is high really depends on where you live.  Other factors such as whether you are single or married, or have children or not could also determine what is considered a low or high income to someone.

For instance my husband's salary would barely pay the mortgage/rent if we lived up north.  Because we live in the south and have stayed out of the larger cities, then his income allows us to pay the bills plus some and I can stay home with the children now.  Five to ten years ago we were only making in the $25K-$35K range and managed to build two houses (not at the same time) and have two kids (again not at the same time).  My husband was able to stay home for a while during that time period to take care of our youngest son who was born with a birth defect and needed extra care, and go to school.  Now with DH working post-degree (and his student loans paid off early) we are making in the $50K range, living more comfortably, and I get to go back to school.  Imagine what we'll be able to save and pay off when we are both working!

At the same time I've known people that make more than we do, but still don't have a life as comfortable as ours.  Oh on the surface it looks comfortable!  One job layoff though and it'll be all more house, no more cars, debts sent to collections, trying to figure out how to pay for food.  Yeah that could be bad!  

I don't believe that income has anything to do with whether you can pay off your debt and live comfortably or not.  Yes, more income does make it easier, but the real key is living below your means.  I'm pretty sure I've mentioned how we live below our means here.  Has it always been easy?  No, and more income would have been nice, but we managed and we still do.  

I do believe that there are people out there that try very hard, budget their money well, and due to situations out of their control still don't have enough to make it.  Just living below your means and budgeting doesn't always cut it for everyone.  But I think there are also a lot of people out there that would benefit if they would just live below their means and budget and the amount of income really wouldn't have anything to do with it.


Fabulously Broke said...

Thanks for the link!

I agree that location and a bunch of other factors really make a difference earning the same amount. If I could move and get even CHEAPER than I am (nigh impossible) I could probably save a bundle....

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