Minimum Wage vs Living Wage vs Essential Wage

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My first job at 16 years old was a courtesy clerk at Kroger. I worked part-time during the week and usually a full eight hours on the weekend. I used my paycheck to buy tennis shoes and clothes from Express. (Gas money was easy because I was one of the few among my friends who had a car, so if I gave you a ride, you had to chip in a dollar.) I lived in a household with income from both parents, so I was never expected to contribute to utilities, or groceries, or rent.

Minimum wage was just fine for me. It was the legal requirement, and I knew if I worked for a while, I would be eligible for a raise. 

Fast-forward to 2008 when the mortgage crisis forced millions of people out of their jobs and out of their homes. There were a multitude of educated and highly educated people now working in jobs traditionally classified as minimum wage. That is what I recall as the advent of the term “living wage.” It evolved with the increase in the number of working adults that lacked alignment with a more progressive blend of entry-level and highly paid career opportunities. 

How Can You Actually Live on Minimum Wage?

You can’t. You exist, but your quality of life varies.

You may require subsidies from government assistance, multiple minimum-wage jobs, sharing living space with. . .

Source: ERE

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