I worked full time while going to school full time, but not once did I ever make more than $20,000 in any given year. However, I didn't need to, because by the end of my college days I had a surplus of $6,000 (which I bought a converitble with to celebrate finishing college). And while there has no doubt been inflation over the past 15 years, this spartan existence behooves the question;
"What is the absolute minimal amount a single person can live on today?"
I ask the question because whereas 15 years ago your young and naive Captain had dreams of working hard and establishing a long and successful career, observations of mortality and a limited life starts to make one think how does one spend their finite time on this planet. You throw in a recession, a-soon-to-be overall tax rate of 40%, the increasing likelihood Roth/401k's/IRA's will be rescinded and nationalized, and a general deteriorating future for the country it's like being the navigator on the Titanic. Inevitably you should give up trying to convince the captain to change course and just pony up to the bar and get the finest bottle of scotch.
Thus some back-of-napkin calculations to find out what, if necessary, is the absolute minimal a single person can live off of and pursue a life of leisure fully intending to maximize their free time on this planet and not to build up an estate or empire.
My estimate is in today's dollars $16,200 in annual income should cover every bachelor's basic desires and needs. This of course assumes several things;
1. Never a new car, always used.
2. Liability insurance only
3. No children
4. Catastrophic insurance only
5. No traditional "$25,000" wedding should he/she get married.
6. Living in an area that is NOT New York or San Francisco or some other expensive area to live
7. Roomate or a cheap one bedroom apartment
Now I am being serious here because I want to make sure I've caught everything. Do any of the Cappy Cap readers see something in my budget that is missing? The reason for my adamancy is because if we can calculate a precise number, then it will allow people to look at their personal finances, see if they can live on that amount, and if so, then weigh whether a life of slaving away for $60,000, $35,000 net, not to mention the standard corporate political BS that comes with it and complimentary high blood pressure and 2 hour commute, is a better existence than working some night time security job for $18,000 a year and fishing and reading books.