making this work...?
I think the bickering about source citations and calculations obscured the original post. I agree with Linda J...it would be impossible to finance the life style you require (health insurance etc) on $8 an hour. Most young people who live at that kind of money are living on the margin...no insurance (car or health), cramped accomodation, no ability to travel, and frequent "go without" times. Not a lifestyle I would choose, but each to their own.
The VI is very expensive and no local family support would make life very difficult.
Try it as a "funded" vacation and have a hoot...but as a lifestyle change, I'm not recommending it.
$8 per hour would definitely be a situation of ekeing out a very low standard of living. Some people live that way already on the mainland and expect to continue to barely scrape by throughout their lives. If those were my choices, I would personally rather live in poverty in the USVI climate than live in poverty in a northern mainland climate where I'd literally risk freezing to death half the year. Some people do pick up jobs here that pay a better wage even without a degree or experience. It helps to be motivated and to hit the ground running when you get here.
If you come with funds to help supplement your income for a while, you may be able to try a few things and find a job worth holding onto. New arrivals need a lot of self-discipline to keep from going "on vacation" their first month and blowing their bank account before they find a way to support themselves reliably.
People who make less money than you in your limited experience can comprehend do not have an existence any less worthy of being called "life" than yours. Many of us live by different economic standards by choice, because our value systems are different and less materialistic than those of others. Managing your expenditures is no less valid than any other way to live.
So while some people are debating whether $8 an hour qualifies a human for the parochial determination of having a worthwhile "life", many people are actually out there living their lives on that amount.
Socio-economic discrimination is more insidious than other forms of unwarranted generalizations. I'd rather make $8 an hour any day than to be so pretentious and disconnected as to judge others that don't bother with 52" plasma televisions and $10 a pound goat butter.
Just my two cents (or eight dollars, depending how you look at it).
Linda J and others that have posted similarly are correct. It will be near impossible to live on stx with that income. Don' t get me wrong - we have lots of locals who do just that. They usually walk about 1/2 mile to catch a bus to take them across the island for under $2 then catch a ride or walk from Christiansted to work. Then do the same going home. And alot of them live in Section 8 housing projects. - don't get me wrong - some have their own homes too, but it's not a livable wage for here.
I make half again that much, live in an efficiency apt - pay $700/month for a furnished place, but pay the electric to the landlord. With the window ac unit on at night only and 2 days per month, an electric hot water heater and the stove - my 1st electric bill was $215 +/-. I immediately quit using the ac. we'll see this month how it changes.
So - right there is the $1000/month. That's not cable, or internet, or telephone. Or transportation.
Good luck! It's not easy. I've been here 2 1/2 years, love it dearly, but wonder sometimes how I make it.
love to all,
Linda from Michigan
Nice speech letahl...
But $8 an hour is hardly a "living wage" for adults who
a. Want a clean safe place to live
b. Need health insurance
c. Need their own transportation to get to work
d. Need to deal with life's emergencies rather than be dependent on the government or family
e. Might suddenly have a child to take care of
f. Want to be in control of their destiny, rather than at the mercy of of it.
This is true in virtually every place in America, and more true in higher priced areas, such as the USVI. This isn't the judgement of a snob, it's just the cold hard reality of wages versus the cost of living.
"wow" is right letahl. i am very happy to see all the conversation i struck up. hope it's as easy when i come.
my first post wasn't exactly on mark for what i am expecting financially. i went bare minimum, maybe even a little lower. but sometimes it's hard to get straight answers from folks unless you make them a little uneasy. i just had to see what everybody thought. obviously, everybody thinks A LOT. this is not always a good thing...
sometimes it is much better to "go with the flow" as some say.
thank you all very much, from the bottom of my heart, for all of your "real world" advice. but let us remember that we are not here for long, and this world isn't as real as it may seem. so i will make the adventure when the time comes, if i reach the time. and i will do all in my power to make it work because it is what i will. i wish you all peace and happiness and will speak with you later. goodnight.
ps- to all who seem to consider 8/hr such a terrible way to "eke" through life. do you keep up with the news there on your tiny island? there are children raising other children on NO money. have you seen what happens in places like Darfur, Africa. my point is this, and it goes along with what Alex said, i would rather be poor in paradise than middle class here in the states. it's not about money, it's about a way of life.
Judging from your thinking, you'd do just fine here! There is a definite group of people that think this way, although its not as prominent as one might hope. May I also recommend to you Alaska if you haven't been? Lots of like-minded folks up that way too. I have lived off of nearly zero dollars in the past, a way of living you know, and can't say I was any less happy than I am now. I really do believe the cost of living is free. It's the rest of the b.s. that really costs!
Take care and do say hello if you ever show up down this way.
I would agree that money does not equal happiness.
I would also agree that were I young and single, it might be an adventure to make $8 a hour and live on an island for a few years. If that's your dream, I say "go for it." But what I think some of us are addressing here are "caveats" born out of experience, --not greed.
Invariably, people's needs change, and their ideas of "happiness" change. Having no money and needing an operation or dental care certainly would not make most people happy. Having a parent die or brother get married and not being able to afford the plane ticket to grieve or rejoice isn't most people's idea of happiness. Neither is living off the government or the occasional family bailout. Ignorance can be bliss, but it's still ignorance and usually comes with a heavy cost.
In my work with young people and in impoverished areas, I've seen this happen time and again... young people trying to get by on low paying jobs, neglecting their education and skills development, only to find themselves trapped 5 years later in a lifestyle, life circumstance, and job that no longer suits their definition of happiness, and with too few opportunities and means to move on from it. This doesn't make me an expert. Most of the people posting here know this story first or secondhand. We've seen it happen in our families and to our friends and in our towns.
For the 0.01% of people who can truly survive and be happy and see to all their needs living in a cabin in the jungle or mountains or islands, truly...God bless them.