Add Some Advice For The 1 Out Of 3 People Who Could Not Afford A $500 To $600 Car Repair Without Going Into Debt


Not really. If you’re subsisting on $1200/month (minimum wage in our state for a full time employee) whether you would choose to invest is immaterial - you don’t have the liquid funds to do it. Assuming you pay no taxes and get to keep all $1200, more than half of it will go to a place to live. With the less than $600 left, you have to buy food, clothes, pay the light bill, the trash bill, oh, and also keep a car running and filled with gas.

The stock market is the playground of people who have cash left over at the end of the month. That’s not poor people.


I hear your concerns but lets talk about personal decisions that keep you poor. If you graduate from high school and are making $10 an hour? If married, and add a Saturday job like my folks, we’re over $30K a year. Of course now there are food stamps, section 8, EIC, and a myriad of other programs that didn’t exist 50 years ago. Then soon with a good work history, many fast food places are hiring at over the minimum wage. Then you can get on a management track.

But OTOH if you drop out of the free public school, have a child, are not married before that child, you are pretty much doomed to a life of poverty. Even if you win the lottery, inherit money, or have some other win fall, the decision pattern already established early on means that it will soon be gone.

Now let’s look at what some folks from other cultures do when they come to this country, like the Hmong. Cluster together in groups to save housing money. All work full time and pool their earnings. Save save save until they can establish a business or earn a trade. Then all of a sudden they are a powerhouse of wealth. They didn’t see all the restrictions to their advancement, only opportunity to move ahead at their own pace.


Maybe where you live. Not here in NH or MA.

You can find many people working at these fast food shops making minimum wage…and they’ve been working there for YEARS.

Yes I agree there are people who have no ambition to go further…but there are many people where any upward path is closed to them.


No, in this instance that would only be true if a poor person’s decisions came down to…Should I eat this month, or should I open a brokerage account?

This is purely guesswork on my part, but I think that most poor people would probably opt for having some kind of food on the table, rather than trying to invest for a future that seems rather…intangible.


I know a guy who way trying to make it in California, and just couldn’t do it

He had a good head on his shoulders, but could not land a job that paid enough, so that he would be able to dream of a down payment

He finally went back to his home state of Georgia, and everything changed for him. He got hired by AT&T, they paid for him to get his commercial driver’s license, and is now driving one of those “bucket trucks” like Rick drives. Pay is good, it’s a union job, decent benefits, and he’ll soon have that downpayment. he told me what kind of mortgage he qualifies for, and it didn’t sound like a lot, but then again, house prices in Georgia are lower, versus California. He told me he’d be able to buy a 3 bedroom, 2 bath, on a good sized lot, something he’d never be able to do in California

Sometimes, it’s a good thing to see what your prospects are in another location. Might be a completely different dynamic, cost of living might be more reasonable, etc.


I can see how a perfunctory appraisal of the poor could lead to such a simplistic but logical conclusion @Bing. But if you grew up around the corner from dire poverty, went to school with kids without shoes, knew many families without a single member who was literate above 3d grade level and many so illiterate they signed their names by copying a signature on their driver’s license that someone filled out for them you might have a different perspective on the situation. And yes, I grew up seeing those conditions long ago but the conditions resulted in a culture of poverty and desperation and entitlement that will be difficult to eliminate. And the conditions that I saw were much less severe than elsewhere in Mississippi.

Today a great many in Mississippi yearn for a return to those GOOD OLE DAYS. They call themselves ‘states rights advocates.’ They hold J.K.Vardaman in great esteem.

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I feel compelled to post this link on J.K.Vardaman. It is not the most explicit but it is a publication from his time and there are a great many automotive ads that should satisfy Miss Carolyn’s demands… She is such a demanding lady.


Conspiracy theorist here I guess. There is an effort to cut taxes to the rich, decrease funding for planned parenthood and other safety net programs such as food stamps, medicaid, insurance coverage for the elderly and ill, granted there are abuses, but I guess that is the reason for stand your ground to be able to shoot any of the starving people that might rob your house. Now I am not against shooting anybody that robs your house, but to take away the safety nets is not the solution imhop. In budgetary standards it is a minimal factor to provide help to prevent desperation, as desperate people do desperate things. Car related, hmm Maybe the starving people will be able to drive to the house before you have the right to shoot them.


Many work full-time x 2 (or more), day job and then drive a cab at night. This is still the land of opportunity for people ambitious enough to pursue it!

In the words of my flight instructor, “You have to give it what it takes to get the job done.”

My wife and I and both my kids all worked several jobs, simultaneously, while attending college full-time.

Cry me a river about no jobs in the area, minimum wage doesn’t pay the bills, not a living wage, rent costs too much, yada, yada, yada… :cry:

I live in the middle of nowhere and the unemployment rate in my county is the highest in the state. Nobody in my family ever had trouble finding work.

Sorry (I truly am), but whiners and complainers, people with excuses, are not the ones hired first. They’re also not the ones promoted. :wink:



We bounce from one extreme example to the other. That’s one of the reasons for FREE public education through grade twelve. True around here back in the 30’s and 40’s kids had to drop out to help on the farm and so on but you don’t go long without shoes in Minnesota. We are not talking about eliminating a safety net or providing shoes or meals to kids but somewhere moving from giving fish to help people to fish to become self-reliant. Some people prefer that these poor people you speak of remain poor and dependent. I don’t. I want them to be successful and independent.


Right pull yourself up by your bootstraps, but yes from @bing "We are not talking about eliminating a safety net " is exactly what is being talked about being defunded, and only a small percentage in the budget. Now lets increase the military ala trumpster,


But soon we will see someone post a pie chart that includes Social Security/FICA taxes to paint a different picture of the situation. And I’d accept the unified picture of the budget if it weren’t for the flip flop with FICA in and out of the equation depending on what is being promoted. If we are to see the unified picture we should expect that FICA be taxed on all wages without an upper limit.


I’m going to submit that the image of the lazy poor idiot is also an extreme example.

Which, by the way, has been under attack for years. Vouchers? All that does is siphon money away from public schools. And once you’re done with public school, and start looking at college, you discover that tuition at a state school is over 20 grand a year.

I’m not saying it’s impossible for anyone to improve their socioeconomic standing, but the idea that anyone can do it if they’d only stop being lazy and stupid is pretty off base.

By the way, the example of the immigrants coming here and living 5 families to a house? That’s great and everything, but it’s also illegal in many cities which have ordinances restricting the number of non-related adults who can live in the house. It’s usually to keep loud, drunk college kids from pooling their money and moving into a neighborhood that they then proceed to torture.


OK we’ll just keep doing the same ole thing we’ve always done and 50 years from now magically things will be worse again for the poor people you seem so concerned about. I never mentioned political party and don’t necessarily like either one of them, but if you look at the Democratic party of the 60’s and JFK, it is quite different and would have been closer to what the Republican party is now. Things got so much better for poor people and the world the last 8 years, how could we ever do anything better? Sheriff Clark has an interesting and easy read book out that talks about the plight of the poor and why it has gotten worse over the past 50 years. Might be worth reading something from a different viewpoint. Of course they are all alt right lies and fake news except for the Post and NYT. How did we get so stuck in the mud? Maybe it has to do with so many people who now have careers making sure the poor stay poor. What a radical thought though to do something different when what we are doing doesn’t work except for some bureaucrats.


Why don’t we just make being poor against the law? That seems the be the solution to everything else.


Hi there. Could we please reintroduce some car discussion? Thanks.


I remember a slogan my agriculture teacher had posted above the chalkboard in his classroom. The slogan read: “Those who look ahead seldom fall behind”. When I thought about this slogan, I think that the best investment one can make is in himself or herself. The problem is to get a person to have the self confidence to make the investment in himself or herself. Unfortunately, schools let us down in this regard. Time and money is spent drilling students for the multiple choice standardized tests which somehow measures the “performance” of a school. I would rather see the resources spent on these meaningless tests in helping students from elementary through high school experience explore different areas. For example, I think that upper elementary and junior high school should have an industrial arts or shop class required of all students. Students who may be gifted academically, but are not good at working with their hands might gain an appreciation for students that are talented in this regard.
It is difficult to invest in one’s self. My wife has a cousin who worked the assembly lin a factory. To supplement his income, he worked evenings and weekends at a funeral home. He then decided to go to mortuary school to become a mortician, but that required two years of college. He then enrolled part time at a regional campus, gained the credit hours and then went to mortuary school. His coworkers at the factory made fun of him. By the time he enrolled in mortuary school, the factory had closed, but he had enough savings to go ahead an pursue his dream. He is now a mortician.
I my own case, when I had completed a master’s degree, I took a year to year position at a state university teaching mathematics courses. My salary in 1965 was $6000 for the academic year plus whatever I could earn teaching in the summer. I decided to invest my spare time and the necessary money in taking more coursework. We lived in an inexpensive apartment and I drove an old car. Our furniture was mostly hand-me-down stuff. Some of my colleagues made fun of me spending my extra hours doing coursework. However, when I did go back to school to work on a doctorate, the classes I took while I was teaching full time cut a year off my doctoral work. I was able to return to the same university as a regular faculty member in the mathematics department. There were a few computer courses taught in the department, but faculty in computer science were hard to find. Industry offered salaries three times that which the university was willing to pay. I suggested at a department meeting that if we couldn’t hire computer science faculty, maybe we could “grow our own”. My colleagues laughed at my suggestion. I then enrolled in an evening course at a University 50 miles away, taught a full load and commuted two nights a week. In the summer, I taught a half load and took more coursework. I was immediately assigned computer science courses to teach as part of my load. The Dean then realized that this was a way to get faculty, gave two of my colleagues their salary and paid the the tuition for them to attend another university full time. When I asked for the same privilege, I was told that I was needed on campus to teach classes. While I was doing the coursework, I actually had colleagues that were resentful of what I was doing. I was told that I had a job-why did I want to do additional coursework?
We had a single mom who was a janitor in our building. She started taking courses. I went to bat on a program to give fee reduction for the employees who wanted to take classes. I was back on campus a couple of weeks ago and ran into this woman. She is graduating this spring with a master’s degree. She then told me something interesting: The percentage of employees taking courses before the fee reduction plan was implemented was higher than it was after the plan was put into place. She said the reason was that many of the supervisors were resentful of employees that sought more education. Her own hours kept being changed to make it difficult for her to take classes, but she persisted.
My point is that it is difficult to invest in one’s self and there is a lot of pressure against doing this. However, I think that it is the best investment one can make. Of course, one has to give up instant pleasures to make this investment. I had a student who was failing a math class I was teaching. When he came in to talk about the situation he was working an 8 hour job to make his car payments on a brand new car. He was commuting form seven miles away. He was worried that if he failed the course, he would be drafted. I suggested to him that the depreciation on the car would pay for room and board on campus. However, he couldn’t give up his car, flunked the class and with a low grade point average, was disqualified and was drafted. Some years after that, I had a female student who was also a horn player as well as a computer science major. I did get her a couple of paying gigs. She took a job as a night computer operator at a local plant working 8 hours a day and was failing a statistics class. I worked with her for several hours and she managed to finally pass the course with a “C”. (I wasn’t the instructor for the course). When she came to let me know that she successfully completed the course, I told her that maybe she shouldn’t be working a full time job and taking a demanding curriculum. She then pointed out that she had payments to make on her new car, had rent payments on an expensive apartment and had bought all kinds of new things. I told her that she was just getting a surface knowledge in her classes and she would probably be a computer operator for the rest of her life. As she got up to leave, I then said “The person went away sorrowful, because she has a great many possessions”. She walked out of my office and slammed the door so hard I thought the glass would break in the door. I figured I would never see her again. However, in the middle of the summer, she appeared at my office. “You really made me mad about what you said to me”, she said. “However, when I was working my job one night, it dawned on me what you meant. I sold the car, rented a room in a house just off campus and bicycle too and from my classes”. There is a lot of pressure to have everything at once. I never wanted to be a slave to my possessions, nor do I want to be a slave to an employer. I want to be valuable to that employer so that I am difficult to replace. I don’t have the answer as to how we get young people to believe in themselves enough to invest in themselves, but I think it is important for rising out of poverty.


Things were working fine in this country just 35-40 years ago. Most people who had jobs didn’t have to take any government handout.

I can only assume that you don’t know any working poor people. Yes the group of people that don’t work and are on welfare, I’ll agree that things may have gotten better. But that’s NOT the point. The point is that there are many more people who are now fitting in that category. 40 years ago if you worked 40 hours a week you could actually survive on a minimum wage job. Today we have two parents each working 50+ hours a week and are barely able to keep a roof over their head and food on the table.


That too true, I’m giving up my cell phone that costs me $15 a month and going with a smart phone that will cost me $40 a month. My old cell phone won’t let me get e-mails,or messaging. Now I don’t need an unlimited plan, so I’m getting the cheapest plan I can get, but it still costs more.

What funny is when I got my first cell phone 20+ years ago I got 90 min. a month and didn’t use them all, and even today I talk less than 75 min. a month on my phone, but everyone (including my 70 yo mother) wants to send pictures, message me, e-mail, etc, all of which my old phone won’t do. My work is also happy I’m upgrading because a lot of our departments like to use messaging, but they won’t pay for the phone, so they couldn’t force me to upgrade.

I know it’s not much of an increase, but it is money that can be used in other places.


Sure, there are many people who can’t afford to keep a car even if they got it for free. It’s something they should have been taught in school. Now if you need a car but can’t afford the upkeep what do you do. Well, in most place fast food walmart etc are begging people to work nights weekends and even at min wage 7.25 per hour that’s $116 for 16 hours assuming they put just $50 a week aside for upkeep they would be able to pay for the upkeep of a car. That’s the advice I’d give someone who could afford the upkeep on a car.

But, given that I’ve said that before I already know the excuses. “I need to spend time with my kids” “I need me time.” “I would never flip burgers” etc. But unless you’re a single parent they are nothing be excuses.


There’s an upside for the little guy as well. They don’t have the vast overhead that a Walmart has. If you can find a niche you can do okay. I have a side business of building, repairing and upgrading computers (mostly gaming computers). I can charge much, much less than say Geek Squad for repairs and I can undercut most boutique gaming computer companies because for me it’s a cottage industry. Granted I don’t make my living doing it, but I make enough extra money doing it, that’s it a worthwhile endeavor. I never actively seek out new customers, 100% of my business is all word of mouth. I generally average about 6-8 new builds a year, do hardware upgrades on about 3 or 4 computers a month, and do virus removal on about 20-35 computers a year. Like I said it’s not full time job, but it’s an easy way to get some discretionary cash.

If I were to open up a proper business, then it probably wouldn’t be financially worthwhile. But the point is that if you can find it, there’s a sweet spot were you can beat the big guys in terms of price and service.