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For retirees on fixed incomes, rising prices for consumer goods can be tough

Jul 13, 2021
Social Security provides cost of living updates. But for those with additional money to invest, inflation can eat into more conservative investments like cash and bonds.
The logo of the US Social Security Administration is seen outside a Social Security building, November 5, 2020, in Burbank, California.

How hard is it to get cost-of-living raises during times of inflation?

Jun 16, 2021
Typically, unionized companies are the ones that directly tie cost-of-living increases to inflation. And union membership has been falling.
“In nonunionized companies, it's very unusual for there to be an explicit cost-of-living increase,” says Erica Groshen, a senior economics adviser at Cornell University. Above, two women negotiate in an office.
fizkes/Getty Images

Could the federal minimum wage vary by the regional cost of living?

Apr 29, 2021
A listener writes: "If you make the minimum wage $15/hour, it’s not enough in New York and it’s way too much in Peoria. Would it be possible to tie the minimum wage to the cost of living?"
Many Democrats back a $15 hourly federal minimum wage. That can buy you different things in different parts of the country.
Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Employers rethink cost of living calculations

Oct 12, 2020
As employees stay remote and can move anywhere to work, some companies are reconsidering the math that goes into compensation packages.
People sit in socially distanced circles while picnicking at Mission Dolores Park in San Francisco. Some companies are reconsidering compensation based on a worker's location.
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

People still leaving California for Texas despite COVID-19 surge

Jun 26, 2020
The reasons for relocation include the lower cost of living, bigger houses for less money and more conservative politics.
Demonstrators call for the reopening of Texas at the state Capitol in April. Politics is one reason some Californians relocate to Texas.
Sergio Flores/Getty Images

Much of the economy has stopped. Rent and other payments haven't.

Mar 30, 2020
Millions of people's incomes have been reduced or disappeared completely because of COVID-19, and rent day is just around the corner.
A pedestrian walks by a San Francisco restaurant closed because of COVID-19.
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Social Security benefits' buying power is fading, despite adjustments

Oct 10, 2019
Seniors will get an extra 1.6%. But their cost of living rose by 1.9%.
Blank Social Security checks are run through a printer at the U.S. Treasury printing facility Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
William Thomas Cain/ Getty Images

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Why this Washington Post reporter crossed the urban-rural divide

Sep 9, 2019
Washington Post reporter Christopher Ingraham once called Red Lake County, Minnesota the "worst place to live in America." Now? He lives there.
Christopher Ingraham, author of the new book "If You Lived Here You'd be Home by Now" with his family.
Courtesy of Christopher Ingraham

What it's like to live on an average wage in Shanghai

Jul 18, 2019
China's official inflation is still under 3%, but residents complain that the cost of living in the financial hub of Shanghai just keeps getting higher.
Workers on a lunch break in Shanghai. According to the job site, Zhaopin, the average worker spends 20 yuan ($2.90) or less per lunch. Convenience stores like this one are one of the few places that offer cheap meals in office areas.
Charles Zhang/Marketplace

In the Bay Area, even doctors struggle to make ends meet

May 14, 2019
A resident says medical school "made almost no financial sense."
"When I first moved out to the Bay Area for medical school, I was very excited," said Anita Lowe Taylor. "It's a good program. I really appreciate the people I work around. But it really made almost no financial sense."
Courtesy of Anita Lowe Taylor