First of all, $500 a month equals a yearly $6000 sum. To compare, the median US wage is about $26,000 per person, and the federal minimum wage of $7.25 equals a full-time yearly salary of about $15,000. Also, the US poverty threshold for a single person was about $12,000 in 2012.
In other words, to be able to live as a digital nomad on a tropical island in Thailand, or in a city like Chiang Mai, you only need half of the US poverty threshold or four times less than the US median wage. Now that suddenly doesn’t sound all too bad. It’s sometimes hard to believe that living on a tropical island, working from your laptop by the oceanfront can be acquired for what would be regarded poverty in lots of western countries. Let’s look at it a bit further.
500 dollars a month equals a daily average income of $17 after tax. That equals about 2 hours and 20 minutes a day if you’re working at a minimum wage job. If you’re working 8 hour days on the other hand, $17 daily equals earning about $2.13 per hour of work. Again, this sounds pretty doable, right?
Even if you aspire to earn $1000 a month, that equals about $24 per day, or $4.25 per hour in an 8-hour workday. $1000 per month, equals $12,000 a year – which again is pretty much the poverty threshold in the US. If you want to be able to travel to more expensive destinations, where costs of living can equal $2000 per month, that again is$24,000 per year – which still is less than the US median wage of about $26k.