Letters to the Editor, Opinions

Letter: Do we need six figures to pay the bills?

Friday, September 28, 2018

To the Editor:

In a Herald op-ed published yesterday, Alexa Clark ’19 wrote that “perhaps, at the age of 21, (Aidan Calvelli ’19) is able to prioritize a job’s fit for his ‘individuality’ over its ability to pay his bills. However, this is not the case for all of us. I took a job in consulting because I have to support myself when I graduate, and so my salary matters to me.” Many Brown students will have to support themselves when they graduate, but supporting oneself doesn’t require an $80,000-plus annual income (plus health insurance and benefits). There are students at Brown who need to support family members, attend to debts, etc. who might require such an annual income, and that seems like a very good reason to accept a job with such a high annual income. I don’t think Calvelli was suggesting that people who accept consulting jobs to help themselves and their families enter more financially stable situations are “greedy.” This seems like an unfair reading of his op-ed.  However, it is naive to suggest that a Bain and Company salary is required to pay one’s bills at the age of 22. The median income for an American family of four is about $60,000 per year. This is the reminder of reality that we need. How can we expect American families to get by on $60,000 while insisting that we need nearly six figures to pay the bills?

Julia Rock ’19

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  1. Technically, you don’t “need” anything. Heck, you probably don’t even need 60k to just survive on basic necessities. But again, you go to a school that charges 54k for tuition alone. I guess you could say that since Brown diploma is definitely not a median diploma for American households you don’t even need to graduate from here. Definition of “need” is so different for everyone, even for those within the same socioeconomic class.

    With that said, new graduates don’t go for the 80k+ jobs because they absolutely need it to live. Yeah, they’ll probably live in better housing and maybe eat fancier meals, but that’s not even true for people in SF or NY. The difference between 60k and 80k isn’t that big. 80k+ jobs are more attractive because they offer more than just the salary – upward mobility, exit opportunities, etc. The difference will be more than 20k a few years down the line.

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