Dr. Helen

Could You Live on $15,000 a Year?

Captain Capitalism (Aaron Clarey) sent me a copy of his new book Enjoy the Decline and I’ve spent the day reading it. It’s an entertaining read, to say the least, and it has me wondering about some of the strategies that Clarey brings up and if they are worth implementing.

He discusses how the relationship between the state and its citizenry has become parasitic; one chart he mentions shows a full 70% of government spending going to income transfers. “These income transfers are parasitic in nature in that they benefit a specific group of people instead of investments, infrastructure, roads, defense, and other public goods which benefit everyone.” Clarey asks, “..how do you as an individual adapt or change your behavior when your relationship with the state changes from a symbiotic one to that of a parasitical one?”

So what do you do?  You can kill the parasite, not really an option. Another option is to leave the country but not everyone can pack up and go and finally, the third option and the one Clarey discusses most as he feels it is the most optimal is minimalism. “While there is no official definition, minimalism is essentially shrinking your economic production to its absolute minimum.”

So Clarey says that the idea is to work “VERY LITTLE” and still get by.  He states, “If you have no major financial obligations (children, mortgage, etc.) the average person can easily get by on $15,000 per year.  This amount can be earned quite easily by either working full time at some menial job, or part time as independent contractor with some semblance of a skill.”

I do have financial obligations and it would be hard to live on $15,000 a year.   Could you do it? If so, how? Would it be worth it to “Go Galt?”