If you think you’re having it rough, you’re not alone.

A report

citing a recent study by the United Way of Northern New Jersey finds that “one in four households in New Jersey is walking a financial tightrope, unable to afford this state’s high cost of living, one emergency from falling into poverty.”

To live in New Jersey, a family of four needs an income of $58,500 a year, according to the report.

So I have to ask the question.

Does 58,5K sound like a reasonable sum for a family of 4 here to live on?

Granted, it’s probably an average…given the disparities between North, Central, and South Jersey.

But still, with the ever climbing prices of food and gas strapping budgets, 58,500 I don’t even think scratches the surface.

The report goes on to say that
the study, five years in the making, was authored by Stephanie Hoopes-Halpin, associate professor at Rutgers’s School of Public Affairs.

Hoopes-Halpin said….“In New Jersey 40 percent of households in 2009 didn’t have enough cash assets to subsist at the poverty level for 3 months,” That number didn’t include assets such as cars, homes or retirement accounts.

The report found more families are struggling because they aren’t earning enough to survive living in New Jersey.

More than 50 percent of jobs in New Jersey pay less than $20 an hour and the average wage for a new hire here was $2,900 a month two years ago, according to the report.

Although, there are large inconsistencies for new hires in 2010; those in Atlantic County took in half of what those in Somerset County, the ninth-richest county in America, made.

Meanwhile more than a quarter of Somerset County households did not meet the threshold of the ALICE study.

Hoopes-Halpin said…."There’s a stereotype of low-income people being lazy and milking the system,". "From what we see there’s a lot of people who are working very hard — one or two jobs for not a lot of money and they don’t have a lot of savings. These families have no room to make a mistake."

New Jersey is one of the states with the highest cost of living and the lowest minimum wage (unlikely to increase because of the financial strain it would place on small-business owners).

58,500 for a family of 4 to make it in New Jersey.

Not much to live on…unless you’ve developed a taste for Kraft Macaroni and Cheese; and don’t mind walking most places.

Do you find that New Jersey is mostly affordable or unaffordable?