Some background information: The median income for a single person in 2010 was $26,197; the mean was $38,337. I make slightly more than that. However, I’m the sole income provider for our household of two; the median for a household is $49,445, with the mean at $67,530. I make considerably less than that. For a married couple (no kids), the median is $72,751, with the mean at $90,989. I make a LOT less than that. For size of household two people, the median is $54,617, the mean is $71,149.
(I suppose if I’m quoting numbers I can stop being cagey and outright say I make the equivalent of $40k a year, though I’ve not been working for a year yet at this position and at the one year mark I’m hoping to renegotiate for a higher salary since my contract will be up.)
Now, that’s not really our sole income; Chaos’ parents pay for a number of our bills, enabling us to survive in reasonable comfort (if you don’t mind the “barely treading water” feeling, high debt, and having no savings). However, given the numbers quoted above, I feel comfortable declaring our financial status as “the low end of average for the United States in this decade”.
Average. Look at my life: This is what average looks like. A lot of people out there don’t realize they’re actually well above average, don’t understand what someone like me goes through. So I figured I’d throw some numbers out there, see if this is enlightening or interesting to anyone.
The biggest expenses on my plate are rent*, car payments**, and medical bills. Leaving aside the cost of insurance premiums for the moment, here’s a sampling of my monthly medical bills:
First of all, $80 a week for physical therapy. I’m not making good progress, I’m meant to go twice a week, but I can’t afford $160/week. So there’s $320/month right there.
I need something like 11 fillings. $17/filling, appointments every two weeks for two fillings at a time, there’s another $68/month. Preventative care being free, at least Chaos could get his teeth cleaned. I don’t have the spare cash for eye exams yet.
Then there’s medication. I haven’t seen a doctor in years, so I don’t have many prescriptions; I have an inhaler, but it only cost me $40 (for brand-name) and has so far lasted me several months, so that’s negligible. However, I was on Singulair (an asthma drug) for a long time; it helped, but it’s not generic yet. That would cost me $40/month with insurance; when I went off it, I didn’t have insurance and it was more like $80.
To manage my allergies that lead into the asthma, I take OTC allergy meds. Buying generic, I got a 90-day supply of one pill for $30; the other comes in half the size, so 90 days would be $44. Divide by three, that’s about $25/month for allergy medications.
Walmart.com lists $5/month for my multivitamin. That is NOT accurate. In store, it’s more like ten or twelve bucks. But I’ll take their word for it. Maybe I should order those online instead.
My birth control costs me $30/month.
That brings my total for just medical expenses to $488/month. For this level of coverage I pay $138/week, remember, plus $15/week for dental; that’s another $612/month, but it covers both of us. For that total to be accurate you have to add Chaos’ nose crap*** (about $17/month), which brings our total to $1,177/month total for medical expenses.
I only earn $3200/month before taxes.
That’s a third of my paycheck.
For a family of four, apparently the average cost of health insurance is something like $20k/yr. That’s half my income, or 40% the average household income, or over a quarter of the median income for a family of four. And that’s presumably reasonably healthy people.
Mitt Romney believes that the only reason not to have health insurance is being a “cheapskate”. Mitt Romney made 21.6 million dollars in one year. Average health insurance is .1% of his income. Even assuming he’s insuring all of his children, not just two, and probably quite well, he still doesn’t have to think about that bill. He just pays it and barely misses the money.
*I don’t, can’t, pay rent, that’s the bulk of Chaos’ parents contribution. This tiny apartment is $600/mo and we’ve long since outgrown it.
**I have a reasonable loan but at an unreasonable rate, intending to refinance after I got better credit; I have great credit now, but my car is too old to refinance, something nobody told me up front. That’s probably not average. Maybe it is, I don’t know.
*** I want him to go to a sleep clinic but we both know we don’t have the money for that, let alone any kind of treatments.