$13 an hour and financial stress


DSC04796Jamie Dimon received a lot of ink earlier this month when he announced he was giving 18,000 of JPMorgan Chase’s lowest paid employees a bump up in wages. He is moving them from a low of $12 an hour to between$13 and $16.50. Nice gesture. But, still not enough.

If the goal of handing out an hourly wage increase to the lowest paid employees is to move them to a living wage level, $1 an hour increase –or even pay of $16.50 an hour —-doesn’t do it.

Work 40 hours a week for 52 weeks at $13 an hour and someone will have earned $520 a week and $27,040 a year, without deduction, taxes, etc. , according to my orange hand-held calculator. At $16.50 an hour it’s $660 a week, $34,320 a year.

That’s not much of an income for a household of any size.

Dimon, as the CEO of JPMorgan Chase, has an annual income that has grown handsomely over the past few years and now reportedly is $27 million. (That’s a year. Not accumulated over a lifetime.)

Break his 27 million down and divided by 52 equals a weekly pay of $519,230.76. If that week included 40 hours of work, his hourly pay would be about $12,981. So basically, Dimon has to work less than 2.5 hours a day to earn what it takes someone at his bank earning 13 bucks an hour to make in one year.

There is something very wrong when a CEO makes more money in a few hours of work each day than his low-level employees make in an entire 12 months.

From where I sit, Dimon gets no bragging rights for increasing the hourly wage for his bank’s low income wage earners. The bank can afford to pay them much more particularly since his income continues to increase year after year. And, he especially gets no bragging rights for cutting jobs to pay for either.

If he and other execs need a clue as to what constitutes a living wage in America today, it’s about $30 an hour. According to a recent Financial Finesse survey, “mothers with minor children living in households with income below $60,000 a year are the most financially stressed.”

Imagine an America where even  low salaries  afford a living wage. It’s doable. After all, how long  does someone have to make  $20 million or more a year  before they finally have enough?

For most of us it would be one.








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