Tuesday, December 04, 2007

December Challenge - Calculate your Hourly Pay

vintage book illustration grocery storeIn Living the Good Life by Linda Cockburn there is a paragraph that really opened my eyes:
Imagine walking through a warehouse full of TV's, cars, barbecues, software,books, clothes and more, and instead of having a dollar value it was instead magically converted into the hours you would need to work to pay for it. Imagine you make $15 an hour, after tax; some of that must go towards mortgage, insurances, medical expenses and other non-negotiable living expenses, so the hourly rate might be closer to $7.50. If you choose an item valued at $30, then you are going to need to work four hours to pay for it. It is no longer worth $30 - it's worth four hours of your life. Do you really want that item, or would you prefer half a day off to do with as you'd like?

How about you? Have you got shivers down your spine? That's the effect it had on me when I first read it.

I've got more to say about this, but I'll leave it at that for today. December's challenge is to calculate your hourly expendable income. It doesn't have to be to the exact penny. But most of you probably haven't got a clue what the figure will be, so all you need to do is improve on that state of cluelessness. Get a payslip and divide your net pay (take-home pay, after tax) by the number of hours you worked that month. If you know what you paid that month for your mortgage, loans, insurance, bills etc., so much the better. But if the thought of finding all that out makes your head hurt, just half the number you started with, as a quick-and-dirty figure.

Don't forget to vote in the poll in the right-hand sidebar when you've done it.

15 comments:

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Chile said...

I had a little trouble with the first step: "Get a payslip..." Once I got past that hurtle, I quickly calculated my hourly expendable income: $0. Zip. Nada. Ain't got nothin' to spend here, sister. My only expendable income is time.

Lesley said...

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Ally said...

I'm thrashing around with the idea of trying to get a LETS scheme off the ground locally - I love the idea of swapping an hour's toil for an hour's toil.

Also ... you know I do reiki? I'm not working at the moment - but when I start again, my scale of charges is going to be 'an hour's treatment for the client's hourly wage, put in my box, no questions asked'. It seems a very balanced way to work.

daharja said...

"Living The Good Life" is one of my favourite books - and did you know she has a blog?

We did that activity a while ago - found it in a book by Joe Dominguez and Vicki Robin (the book is called "Your Money Or Your Life"), and have never spent the same way since.

It's real food for thought. But pondering it yet more deeply, what I find most disturbing is how sheaply we can buy consumer goods, and I question how much that person in China/India/Chile got paid per hour of their time so we could buy the latest ugly clothing that some Guru has deemed 'fashionable'.

The world is a strange place. Perhaps we all need to do a bit more smelling the flowers and a little less buying the consumer goods.

Just my thoughts for the moment :-)

Anonymous said...

It's not really your "hourly pay", as the pool asks, though is it? Really you are talking about expendable income (what is left over) and therefore it is 'expendable hourly income' as you said at one point. I think this is the better phrase.

It is an interesting measure, but is not always so useful for people not paid by the hour or not able to get overtime. i.e. if your are paid for a job regardless of the hours, you can't actually swap the time for the money or vica-verca. However it can be an interesting abstraction.

Yellow said...

Ally, I LOVE that idea. It means that your time is worth the same any anyone elses, be they a high paid director, or a dustman, a clerical worker or a labourer. If you give thema hour's worth of your labour, they respond in kind. I really love that way of thinking.

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