As if we don’t need to worry. A recession that will last through most of 2023 is increasingly likely. Inflation is rising along with interest rates, and more and more Americans continue to find themselves in dire financial straits.
But according to financial TikTok influencer Ryan Halbert, the situation is about to get worse. If you’re making less than $25 an hour, essentially, he says, “you should be scared.”
In a video that quickly went viral, Halbert broke down the average cost of living in America. And it sure is terrifying. After adding in all the typical basics like rent, groceries, gas, and water, the total average cost came to $3,285.37 per month.
Divided by a 40-hour work week, that means you should earn a minimum of $20.50 an hour.
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However, what is not included here is taxation, which Halbert goes on to explain and show in the table. Add in tax, and you need to make $25 an hour to get into the $3,285 range after tax.
“So it gives you very limited options,” Halbert said.
“Either you have to kill yourself working long hours or find a way to make a ton of money. Also, remember that these costs do not do any work. There is no free time, he does not go out to eat, there are no extra miles on the car, there is nothing.”
Experts disagree on how to deal with it
Halbert’s video sparked significant discussion among viewers, who quickly shared the video, which now has over 1.4 million views. Halbert discusses some answers, such as cutting back to keep your expenses in check. This can include your streaming services, cable, internet, cell phone, and other expensive recurring expenses.
But Halbert says that’s not a realistic solution. You’ll only ever be able to put an extra $200 or so in your pocket, he adds, adding, “It’s never going to add up, so you have to increase your income. This is a must.”
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, this crisis is only getting worse. Current employment statistics for October 2022 showed that real average hourly earnings decreased by 2.8% from October 2021.
Moreover, unemployment for October is up to 3.7%.
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Halbert suggests that side hustles may not bring enough income, especially if you want to retire one day. Instead, he’ll invest – he says it’s the only way.
But if you ask the figures behind The Ramsey Show YouTube channel, that’s certainly not the only way.
“It’s complete nonsense,” said Ken Coleman, career coach on The Ramsey Show.
Flanked by The Ramsey Show host George Kamel, Coleman admitted that while many Americans understand how they feel, it’s simply inaccurate. They specifically noted that the average used car payment is close to $700, while the average lease will be close to $1,659 only in more expensive cities.
This path does not have to be permanent
They gave Halbert some points, including that Americans continue to hand over their “hard-earned money” to creditors.
“They think, ‘This is the way, this is how I get financial freedom, this is what success looks like.’ But we do not teach debt. Pay for items with cash, buy affordable used cars. So that’s a big part of the picture as to why there’s no margin in this guy’s budget,” George Kamel said.
But the couple really had a problem that the only solution was to “kill yourself by working” or accept that fate. That’s because what Halbert doesn’t cover in his videos are real cost-saving solutions. For example, a couple thinks you shouldn’t have to pay $1,659 in rent as a single person.
Instead, they suggest finding at least one roommate to cut costs in half. Or sell that car you can’t sell, – Kamel suggested.
Ultimately, Coleman says, these are usually the times in your life that you must go through on your way to financial freedom.
“This is not a sentence. This is a chapter of your life, but not a life sentence.”
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This article provides information only and should not be construed as advice. Provided without any warranty.