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I'm Asking: How Much of a Pay Cut Could You Handle?

I'm Asking: How Much of a Pay Cut Could You Handle?

For many Americans, payday just isn't what it used to be. CNN Money profiled seven workers from around the country who lost their jobs and were unable to find a new position that paid close to the same salary. They've seen their salaries decrease anywhere from 25 percent to 82 percent of what they had been making at their previous jobs.

All of the people interviewed have had to change their lifestyles as a result of making less money. Many of them mentioned freedom as the hardest thing to give up, whether in relation to taking sporadic trips, thinking about if it's worth the gas to go somewhere, or the freedom of mind in knowing they were financially secure. What percentage pay cut could you handle while maintaining your current lifestyle?


Join The Conversation
Amarojo Amarojo 8 years
NEWSFLASH everyone! You have all been taking paycuts every year. As the economy changes...your money means less and less. If you care about your money and safety and well being...get educated about the real things that effect your life and money. It is so important. FYI: Did you know that most Asian people save at least 1/2 of their salary every month. It is all about smart money habits and addiction to s way of life tha is not sustaining. Change your habits!
thelorax thelorax 8 years
I'm taking a 10% pay cut starting next month, and I'll be OK. Much more than that, though, and my already-conservative lifestyle would have to change. I have a mortgage to pay.
hibiscus96818 hibiscus96818 8 years
There is no way I could handle a pay cut right now. I have finally gotten to the point where I don't need my parents help, financially, and I would like to keep it that way.
mondaymoos mondaymoos 8 years
I just quit my second job because I start school in a few weeks... and I'm still going to be okay, but I'm definitely going to have to cut back on my going out, and I'm thinking about downgrading my cable.
starangel82 starangel82 8 years
I make enough now that I can pay my bills and put some in savings. My hours were cut temporarily this past summer (but I got them back this winter). And I struggled. I stressed and cried myself to sleep some nights wondering if I was going to be able to buy groceries, pay rent, and bills. I so thrilled when my company said we could go back to 40 hour weeks. Now I have my wiggle room back incase something happens.
skigurl skigurl 8 years
i could take a pay cut and still live, technically, but i would also feel the loss of freedom because i have a lot of disposable income right now and i really enjoy being able to, like savvy said, take sporadic trips and never having to think twice if i want to hang out with a friend or go to a concert or go skiing or buy a new dress for an important event....i like that ya, i could probably take a 40% pay cut but i wouldn't like it!
javsmav javsmav 8 years
I just took a 55% pay cut to leave an job I hated for a job I absolutely love. There's absolutely no way I could take another hit. Fortunately this job is more secure.
graylen graylen 8 years
Depends on the cut. I couldn't afford much if I keep living in a big city. However, there are still a lot of cuts I could make to have ends meet.
OHmeetsBK OHmeetsBK 8 years
Things would get really ugly if I had to take a pay cut.
Spectra Spectra 8 years
I'm underpaid as it is, so a pay cut would really suck. However, we get along fine with just my husband's income, so theoretically I could not work at all and we'd still be OK. But I like being able to afford a few little extras here and there and putting extra $$ toward our mortgage each month, so I'd definitely like to keep my pay where it is.
wackdoodle wackdoodle 8 years
Interestingly it doesn't seem to matter to the companies how much of a pay cut I am willing to take - they all see my city government salary and think "there's no way she work for what we're offering". First off I wouldn't apply if I wasn't interested. I won't show up for the interview after you tell me what the salary is if I wasn't interested. And how much I can live on comfortably is my decision when it comes to accepting a job. But I have had two companies say "Well, we cannot compete with what the city is paying you, so we'll have to pass." At the last interview I went off on the HR Director and VP and down right questioned why they would assume that after going through three different interviews that I wasn't interested in the job and wouldn't accept a lower wage than I'm making. I told them I'd work for minimum wage if I liked the job and the company. I would find a way to have a second job but that again would be my business not theirs. The HR director apologized and said he assumed that I had house payments and children to pay for. I told him to never assume, I don't own a home and have absolute no desire to ever own a home AND why the f- would he assume I had children or even a child? Did I mention a child? Does every single black woman have to be a single parent too? Really, I told him that their low opinion of their own company and their assumptions about my race were the true reason the didn't extend an offer. They did call a month later to find out if I would be interested in taking that job or going for a higher position and I told them "Hell no." I understand that when changing job titles that you may take a pay cut and that you may never regain the previous level of income you had attained before. It's funny cause the only person who understood that was this batty SF socialite who I interviewed with about working part-time for her PR business. She said "If you decide to change professions then you accept that you may start on the bottom rung."
ilanac13 ilanac13 8 years
to be honest, right now i couldn't afford to take any pay cut. i have a mortgage to pay along with my current rent and all my bills, and i'm not even breaking even. if i had to lose any money at all, i'd be in a HUGE problem.
lawchick lawchick 8 years
well, my husband is bordeline unemployed so if I had to take a pay cut, we would be in trouble. we would need to sell our house to cut our expenses, but we haven't been in it long and I'm afraid we'd come out of it owing money -- money we don't have. the upside to this is that having to live on basically one income has made us pretty smart with money! we have learned lessons that should continue to serve us when this mess is over :)
grablife365 grablife365 8 years
I couldn't live on a pay cut. I couldn't save up money, I couldn't get to work even. I commute so that's a big chunk right there not to mention that bills have to be paid, groceries.
WeTheLiving WeTheLiving 8 years
None. I'm living at home to save money as it is and I definitely could not live on my own without struggling with what I make now.
aimeeb aimeeb 8 years
I had to take about a 20% salary decrease and I'm dieing because of it, okay not literally but...I needed something (back in May) and I had no clue if it would get any better...obv not. So now I'm struggling and penny pinching just to make ends meet-rent, bills and junk on one salary is horrible esp with such a salary cut. :(
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