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“I Am Gonna Move Out!”
When is the last time these words have run through your mind? Maybe an argument with the ‘rents about keeping up with chores or obeying curfew? Parental Units just don’t understand the modern teenager’s daily stress and upkeep. Academic life, friends, high school drama, athletic events, social media and that part-time job! What parents do understand is that as a financial guardian, they are looking out for their teen’s best interests. The standard of living parents have as an adult took decades to accumulate. Many teens today hope to move out of their parent’s home and into a comparable living environment, sacrificing no standard of living. That is absolutely not an attainable goal at today’s minimum wage. The federal government has priced fair wages at $7.25 an hour. Most teens work minimum wage jobs and do not attain a full 40 hour work week. Read the attached article and discuss why minimum wage earners are struggling to pay for their own place.
Take a moment and write down your expected living expenses when living on your own. Assign a dollar amount to each of your items. How much money will you have to earn at minimum to keep this determined standard of living. Florida has set their state minimum wage at $8.46 an hour. How many hours would you have to work at this rate to pay your monthly bills?
Share your list and your work findings with a partner. Did you forget any expenses? Did either of you take out taxes, FICA medicare, or social security? At 40 hours a week, working for a full 52 weeks of the year, the federal tax rate is 12%. Find out how much you will pay in taxes each pay period. Investigate how much money will come out of your pay and go to medicare and social security. Find your new disposable income after all taxes have been removed.
Relook at what 30% (recommended housing expenditures- including utilities) can really buy in your part of town. When the article refers to a “modest apartment” what does that mean? What does “modest” mean to you? How does your idea compare to the federal government?
Extension: Explore the apartments that are available for rent in your area by conducting a search online. How many can you find that meet the federal government’s idea of “modest housing?” Create a brochure designed to attract teens on how far their paycheck may take them without help from Mom and Dad.
Florida Literacy Standards:
SS.912.FL.1.6: Explain that taxes are paid to federal, state, and local governments to fund government goods and services and transfer payments from government to individuals and that the major types of taxes are income taxes, payroll (Social Security) taxes, property taxes, and sales taxes.
SS.912.FL.1.7: Discuss how people’s sources of income, amount of income, as well as the amount and type of spending affect the types and amounts of taxes paid.
SS.912.FL.2.1 Compare consumer decisions as they are influenced by the price of a good or service, the price of alternatives, and the consumers income as well as his or her preferences.
SS.912.FL.2.2 Analyze situations in which when people consume goods and services, their consumption can have positive and negative effects on others.
SS.912.FL.2.3 Discuss that when buying a good, consumers may consider various aspects of the product including the product’s features. Explain why for goods that last for a longer period of time, the consumer should consider the product’s durability and maintenance costs.
Deborah Kozdras, Ph.D.