We asked the following question to readers on social media and the Public Insight Network recently: Has your salary kept up with the cost of living in South Florida? Thanks for all of your responses. Below is a sampling of your comments, some of which were edited for length and clarity. Learn more about the Public Insight Network and comment on previous discussions at MiamiHerald.com/community and select Community Conversations.
I work for the largest transportation company in the U.S. and during the recession, we were asked to donate hours, otherwise the probability of unemployment was certain. The company has grown and its stock continues rise but salaries remain the same. Cost of living in Miami is so high that reputation itself is not enough to keep workers too long.
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Dhavynia Anduray, Kendall
I’m making about two thirds what I used to make. But more importantly, below the $15 minimum living wage —with no hope in sight of achieving that number. Actually, as health care costs have gone up, they take more out. So, in effect, I’m making less money now.
Bill Andrews, Hollywood
I’m a teacher and a single mom. I’m one of those who had to move back in to her parents house because the rent is way too high and my salary is low. Living paycheck by paycheck really is depressing.
Ana Valdes, Miami
My salary has gone up but only by me being forced to switch to employers that pay more than the very small yearly increase my previous employers would normally give if I stayed with them (typically 1-3 percent). I see firsthand that employee turnover has been increasing a lot over the years in South Florida because of employees doing the same as me. Long term, organizations would save immensely if they increased the salaries of their employees more — at least to an amount that is equal to the increase in living expenses.
Matthew Reibel, Aventura
I keep trying to get new business, but no one wants to pay what they should if they think they can get services cheaper in India or China. The economy is stagnant and has been for many years. The new jobs are low-paying ones or part-time so employers don’t have to pay for benefits.
Charlotte Tomic, Miami Beach
We have less disposable income. While it hasn’t affected our core expenses it has forced us to be more selective in how we spend our grocery money and when and where we go to dine out, see shows and other fee-based entertainment. We have had minor adjustments through Social Security and my military pension, but my major source of income has stayed completely flat. My income is from three pensions and my wife’s pittance as a Broward substitute teacher.
Abe Sternberg, Coral Springs
With wages adjusted for inflation we should all be making a minimum of $21 an hour. The result of the lack thereof has lead my colleagues and I to move in with parents, take up roommates, or work multiple jobs. This is all in addition to having to pay off student debts, rent, car payments, health insurance, utilities, etc. If this was 1983 we would have been able to support all of this, even buy homes, with an entry level salary. But living expenses have gone up, and wages have not. It is absurd what the millennial generation happens to be the most educated generation in human history, and yet, in the U.S., suffers some of the highest unemployment rate.
Alex Hernandez, Miami
I have to cut all debt and discretionary expenses a bit more every year. I haven’t received a significant pay increase since 2007, and nothing at all since 2010, except for a piddling 1 percent in 2013. We purchase very little that isn’t absolutely necessary. No impulse purchases of any kind, only the clothes and food we need while I pay down debt. The rising cost of living mainly serves to delay paying my debt off.
Robert Black, South Miami
Doing groceries has been especially hard because a gallon of orange juice, which should be less expensive, is a little more than twice the cost of a gallon of gasoline. Eating out is ridiculous. And forget splurges like boxing classes.
Elizabeth Gonzalez, Miami
I have only received 2 to 2.5 percent increase every year, so I feel my salary has merely kept up with inflation and cost of living increase. I feel fortunate that although I lost my job at Nortel Networks in 2010 after the company declared bankruptcy, I was only unemployed for three months (my husband was unemployed for six months) with no severance we got through with our savings, kept our jobs and our offspring in college.
Lourdes Covach, Davie