Paycheck (EP.22)


We hear conversations about “Living Wage”. This implies that the employer is responsible for paying enough for the employee to live in their present circumstances. If true, would we pay a man with stay-at-home-wife and four kids more than a single, childless woman? Of course not. “Living wage” has a very different meaning in these two examples.  

Key point: Pay people for the value they add, not for what they need.

Here’s a military example. Does the military, or other parts of government, pay those who serve with large families more than those of the same rank with no families? Don’t be silly. Rank is the placeholder for value in the military.

Expanding on the private business example. Two people; same education, same job skills and the same time on the job in equivalent positions in the same company. One is a man with a non-working wife, a mortgage and money owed on their two cars–and four children who are approaching college age. The other is a single woman with a tropical fish and a paid-for, used car. Do you pay more for to this man than the woman in our example? No, why even ask the question? Their value is the same, but a living wage to the single woman would be completely inadequate, and not meet the definition of a living wage to the man here.

We asked the above question to make the point that you deserve to be paid for the value you add to your employer–not for what you need to live the life you have chosen. For example, minimum wage was not designed to support families. As a starting wage, it was designed for people who live in inexpensive housing with one or more roommates, using coupons at the grocery store, taking cheap transportation. Trust me, I did that for years–part of my learning experience…:).

Delayed gratification and hard work will get you from minimum wage to where you want to be. Remember the rules for getting into the middle class?

  1. Graduate HS
  2. Get a full-time job
  3. Don’t have kids until you marry.

Check out the podcast link to exactly this at “Young, Poor and Angry”

The danger of insisting–to the point that it might even become law–on paying people what they need to deal with the financial responsibilities they have chosen should be obvious. Business and governmental agencies, faced with paying employees far in excess of the value they create, will either go out of business, wind up providing an inferior product or service, or in the case of governmental entities, simply raising taxes.

Remember, the rules for succeeding personally, financially and politically are all the same. And they are all simple to learn and understand. Simple, and hard to do. And exceedingly well worth it.

Today’s simple rules are:

  1. Understand that you deserve to get paid for the value your create, not what you for needs you have and
  2. Delayed gratification; delay your gratification rather than wanting it all now–and passing the bill along to someone else in the name of needing a “living wage” due to your choices.

Hey, anyone follow the Phillies? If you do, are you surprised? Hopeful? Let me know!

Please do contact me. Respond in my Revolution 2.0 blog, email me at And I’m easy to find on iTunes, Google Play and the usual Bat Channels, including Twitter and Facebook.

It is time for our usual parting thought. For us at Revolution 2.0, it is not simply change your thinking, change your life. It is change your thinking, change your actions, change the  world. And if you can do it in love and enjoy the people around you at the same time, all the better. Remember: Knowledge by itself is the booby prize.

Will Luden, writing from my home office at 7,200’ in Colorado Springs.

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7 Responses

  1. Charlie Reply

    A couple of quibbles today.
    I think many people live lifestyles that they would not have chosen. A single parent, for instance, may be in that situation because he or she disregarded your rule number 3, but they may also be in that situation as a result of death, abandonment or spousal abuse or because he/she was assigned responsibility for someone else’s child. Those folks are probably unable to provide the same economic value to an employer as a carefree single or someone with a stay-at-home spouse. That being said, the assumption that an employer must adjust his compensation or business practices to accommodate those situations is certainly questionable. In a competitive labor market, or as a matter of compassion, many employers may very well choose to provide such perks as child care or flexible work schedules in order to keep valued employees.
    Second, in fact, the U.S. military does make allowances for varied family situations. There are different subsistence allowances for those with and without dependents, and the size of family housing provided will depend on the size of the family. The old saying, “If the Army wanted you to have a wife it would have issued you one.” has become outmoded.

    • Will Luden Reply

      Charlie, all good points. I completely agree that we as individuals and a society need to have enough flexibility to meet legitimate needs of people who are busting it to get it right. That’s the “Brother’s Keeper” balance to the “Personal Responsibility”. And I had completely forgotten the part about the size of military family housing varying with family size. Cheers, Will

  2. Charley Reply

    Great podcast Will!

    How many more “safety nets” is our society going to construct… which continues to dis-incentivize people from buckling down and getting to work. All these welfare assistant programs have just come about in the last 50-years, so how did we survive before that? Quite simple, by 1) living within our means, 2) working very hard, and 3) leaning on our churches, neighbors, families, and friends (the private and personal sector) when times were bad.

    The numbers don’t lie… since welfare was enacted in the mid-60s, rather than rid the country of poor, the poor have only grown in numbers, since work requirements are mostly removed, and fathers could leave their responsibilities behind. If a living wage is enacted, it will only expand as people begin to complain that the wage is not enough to pay for their “needs”. So, who determines what those “needs” are? The government? Each person? This is a seriously dangerous Pandora’s box. What about illegals? Will they be paid the living wage? Some on the left will certainly petition for it. Already, it’s known that more than 70% of the illegals coming in through our porous southern border apply for Welfare.

    • Will Luden Reply

      “All these welfare assistant programs have just come about in the last 50-years, so how did we survive before that? Quite simple, by 1) living within our means, 2) working very hard, and 3) leaning on our churches, neighbors, families, and friends (the private and personal sector) when times were bad.” Charley, seems we are on a slippery slide. Part of my mission is to reverse that very slide.

  3. Tim Larson Reply

    My first (other than selling Christmas cards and newspapers) wage was $1.20 an hour. Worked at a menswear store. It was a thrill to get my first raise – $.20/hour. Then another, then another. The point of the job was to save for school; I was living at home with my parents. To your point, it was never my expectation to stay in that job. In fact, though it was fun sometimes, it motivated me to go to college.

    I’m with you on your argument. Grew up that way, and still have that view. But, working with many who didn’t have the kind of advantages we had (stable home, focus on education, not in poverty), the balance question raised by Charlie and your response are tough. How do you help those who are homeless, abused, addicted, achieve more?

    Thankfully, we have organizations in COS that are doing great work in that regard. Springs Rescue Mission, Mary’s Home, I’m sure others.

    And to your point about knowledge is the “booby prize” –

    “I am enough of an artist to draw freely upon my imagination. Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world.”

    And last (“yeah!” you say), from a FB post I saw last night: “We all have greatness within us. It is our responsibility to manifest that greatness”.

    Manifest on!

  4. Tim Larson Reply

    Hey I should have added the source to the Imagination vs Knowledge quote – Albert Einstein

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