The Cost of Living…

When you first look at the graphic above, you will focus on your own state, we all do. Upon taking a closer look, you will see that no part of the United States allows a person, who is single, to live on their own with just a minimum wage job. This data is based on rent consuming 30% of your income, which is rather fair considering taxes and health insurance now take around 25% for someone on minimum wage.

20 Dollars art5

This means that in order to pay rent, in Wisconsin, you will need to work 79 hours a WEEK. Otherwise, you will be using one full paycheck (at 40 hours a week) just to pay rent, and the other to pay the remaining bills associated with having an apartment (heat, electricity, water, sewer.) This leaves nothing at the end for things like food, gas (automotive,) phone, or internet. Now, internet may be a luxury, but I firmly believe that a phone is a necessity as one can’t keep a job if they cannot be contacted by phone.

Part of the problem is that landlords are increasing rental prices every year, regardless of their costs rising or falling. I can’t fault them completely, because if they have prices that are far below the average, then they will attract a certain type of tenant that is not exactly desirable. Another major factor is the number of retired people who are now taking up a lot of the living spaces in more rural areas. Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin, is home to the highest population of people over the age of 65 (per-capita) in the state. This means younger people, who do not have the savings or jobs to afford to compete with life-savings accounts, are being pushed out and forced to move.

Adapted from Wikipedia's WI county maps by Bumm13.

The young people then have to have multiple roommates to survive, or are forced to move back in with their parents. It’s not at all uncommon to see many homes becoming multi-generational family dwellings these days. This is where an entire young family moves in with their parents, often placing three (sometimes 4) generations under one roof.

The demand on housing is costing young adults the ability to even get started with their own savings to send kids to college, let alone retirement. You may have noticed that I have taken a bit of an ageist tone with this post, but I am just calling it as I see it. The aging population of this country is suffocating the younger generations out of housing, and is the single largest reason why such high salaries are demanded here.

We need to find a way to bring the prices back in line with starting wages so that people have a fighting chance. Perhaps if some of the retired folks moved to traditional retirement locations, instead of small communities which are already struggling, the prices could relax.


I don’t blame the retired people, I blame the civil servants who enacted policies that favor one group over the other. We would not have such a huge influx of older people if there were not incentives put in place to encourage it. The city council here has been so focused on providing for the needs of the elderly, that they forgot the needs of the people who still work, and the needs of the people who are just starting out. When all you have is elderly people and their support staff, you guarantee that your community has an expiration date. Once the older population passes away, the support staff will leave, and you’ll end up with another Flint, Michigan, only you won’t have a mega-corporation like General Motors to blame for it.

Politicians need to stop worrying so much about elections, and instead they need to actually do the job they volunteered to do.


2 thoughts on “The Cost of Living…

  1. Good map.

    Another thing that is boosting rents is all the people who have lost their homes due to foreclosure. They are renting. My community near Madison has empty houses, but the apartment buildings are filling up. And on top of that, when did you see a residential neighborhood really want more apartment buildings. So, renters are in a major squeeze.

    Young folks are in a really tough spot these days. I thought I had it bad in the 80’s starting out, but compared to now, I had an easy street. It is absolutely hard to fathom what younger generation must do to survive.

    • That could be solved by some creative thinking on the part of the banks. They could start renting out the houses they have under foreclosure, so there would be two benefits. Prices would go back down, and they would generate income rather than just being a drain. That would provide a positive side-effect; the banks would start making money again, rather than borrowing it from the government. Unfortunately, most banks do not think like I do and are stuck in crusty old ways that waste tons of money.

      I don’t feel sorry for a lot of the people who lost their homes… Too many people thinking they could afford $400,000 homes on $40,000 incomes, and too many banks not setting them straight.

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