Saving tons of money?
Shono's creative living arrangement sparked a lively debate in the video's comment section. Many viewers praised his resourceful approach to a challenging situation, noting it was a financially savvy decision, especially given his profession.
One of the top comments reads, “As an RN, you must be saving tons of money living in your vehicle while you are young.”
The commenter raises a good point: nursing can be a well-paid profession. The average annual wage for registered nurses in the U.S. is $89,010, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Although Shono’s reasoning for living out of his van isn’t necessarily that he can’t afford it, posting on YouTube that he simply “hates paying for rent,” he definitely has been able to save significant amounts of money by avoiding rent.
In a 2022 TikTok, he revealed his former apartment cost him $1,800 a month with utilities by living in his van for nine months (and crashing with friends and family the other three), he was able to save a whopping $16,200 in a year.
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America’s rental crisis
While Shono seems to enjoy his unique living situation, many Americans don’t share his enthusiasm for van living.
For those who need (or just want) to live in a traditional home, that’s becoming increasingly difficult to afford.
Anyone paying more than 30% of their income on rent and utilities is considered cost-burdened. As of 2022, more than 50% of American renters were considered cost-burdened, according to a report from Harvard’s Joint Center for Housing Studies. That’s a 3.2 percentage point increase from 2019.
And it appears many Americans simply can’t keep up with rising rent. The Harvard study reported that homelessness in America reached an all-time high of 653,100 people in January 2023. Moreover, the number of unsheltered homeless people surged by 48% from 2015 to 2023, reaching 256,610 — also a new record.
Older Americans are especially vulnerable.
The study offers a glimmer of hope, suggesting that rental markets in America are “finally cooling as a decades-high volume of new supply has come online.” Nevertheless, recent figures from the consumer price index indicate that despite a slowdown in the headline inflation rate, housing costs remain elevated. In December 2023, the rent index had risen by 6.5% compared to the previous year.
It remains to be seen what 2024 holds for Americans who rent, but some see reason for optimism ahead.
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