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Old 06-17-2017, 05:05 PM   #1 (permalink)
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The hoarding of the American Dream

The hoarding of the American Dream
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Old 06-17-2017, 06:22 PM   #2 (permalink)
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There's a huge difference between ~100,000 and ~200,000 income. I theoretically do well for a cubicle worker (almost hitting the 100,000 line), but I haven't been able to afford anything but a "staycation" in 20 years.
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Old 06-17-2017, 06:39 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Area matters too. 100,000 is still quite a bit of money here, enough to raise a family on, even if only one works. The average income here for a two earner family is around half that.
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Old 06-17-2017, 06:48 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Hubman and I together make close to 100k per year, but there are a lot of areas around here where we simply could not afford to buy a house/live. His company got bought by a company in NJ. So, we looked at moving close to his job in NJ. We couldn't even afford a 1 BR condo there. Our house, as it currently stands, would sell for around 300K there. But, if we put it on the market, we'd need to put several thousand dollars work into it, and then we'd be lucky to sell it for 80 - 90K.

If we lived in Harrisonburg, VA on our current salaries we'd be sitting pretty.
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Old 06-17-2017, 06:59 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Argent Stonecutter View Post
There's a huge difference between ~100,000 and ~200,000 income. I theoretically do well for a cubicle worker (almost hitting the 100,000 line), but I haven't been able to afford anything but a "staycation" in 20 years.
While I absolutely agree with your first sentence, I'm ambivalent regarding the rest. Had I stayed in Silicon Valley I would probably have been making close to or maybe more than 100K, but since I chose to bail and go back to an old job I'm making substantially less. I'm down with that; spending my free time/shopping time/whatever cruising around the Monterey Bay Area beats the pedal-to-the-metal attitude of Silly Valley all to Hell. My life benefit far outweighs my income reduction.

Yet we still do vacation. Sometimes as a couple (the kids outgrew them years ago), sometimes separately. When we're together we stay in California, when we're on our own that can change. She and the youngest went to Singapore, to see the eldest's wedding. I think all I did on that one was to pick out a hotel for them (I'd made a few trips to S.E. Asia not long before and had learned how to read the details; turned out they loved the choice). She paid for the tickets and the hotel. She's off to visit our friends in Washington (state) in a couple of weeks—this time I am paying for her ticket. Her expenses will be whatever she decides to buy plus cash contributions to the grocery budget.

Not long after she gets home I'll head out for my Summer Road Trip. Even if I don't spend the night in US Forest Service campgrounds (for anything between No Charge and about $16.00) I won't spend a lot of money. One trip I was lame enough to choose motels instead of camping. I spent three nights in motels on that trip. Two of them were in California. Total lodging for those three nights was a bit less than $150.00.

Vacations are good for you. They don't have to be in Port Au Prince and include sailing lessons.
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Old 06-17-2017, 07:09 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Mostly agreed. We do driving vacations sometimes. You can save a fortune that way, provided you avoid the traditional tourist industry usury.
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Old 06-17-2017, 07:33 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Troy's and my wages combined don't come to $50k annually. In a good year we might hit $35k.

In the 17 years we have been together we have never had a vacation. I haven't had one since I was 17.

Traveling outside of the US is out of the question.

That article pretty much hits the nail on the head, imo.
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Old 06-17-2017, 09:22 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Home ownership is both tax protection and access to emergency credit. It's also the result of a stable career that probably includes decent benefits like good health insurance. Life without these things is far more risky and possibly much shorter. But the people who have these relatively comfortable lives don't always understand the risks the lower middle class have been told they must live with.

There really are two Americas, or more. I don't think this is stable. It's generational, as well - home ownership is moving out of the reach of many younger people, who are also saddled with absurd levels of college debt.

To my mind the three things that would do more than anything to fix the problem would be single payer healthcare, good public schools, and free public college tuition. I don't think lower middle class people would care whether or not someone else had the gold plated version of these goods as long as they still had access at all. We would still have renting classes and owning classes, but with less immiseration and more class mobility.

It's also a real brake on the economy to price people out of education and healthcare. If I was an enemy to America, I'd do everything I could to encourage "I've got mine" while trying to turn the place into a second world country.
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Old 06-17-2017, 09:28 PM   #9 (permalink)
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To my mind the three things that would do more than anything to fix the problem would be single payer healthcare, good public schools, and free public college tuition.
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Old 06-18-2017, 10:48 AM   #10 (permalink)
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To my mind the three things that would do more than anything to fix the problem would be single payer healthcare, good public schools, and free public college tuition.
The only way to get these things is to raise taxes or do without something else. There is a great reluctance to pay more taxes across the entire tax payer spectrum, from low income all the way up to upper class, perhaps for different reasons, but still valid reasons to those income classes.

On the other hand, no one wants a badly trained or equipped military, or do without social supports, or any of the other millions of things that the government does every day, however inefficiently they may get it done.
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Old 06-18-2017, 10:52 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Thing is, my parents did NOT have a lot of money, yet they owned two different homes [not at the same time]. And the first one would have been when my mom was in her early 30s. We might even have bought one sooner, but my dad was Army, so it wasn't until he was at what was supposed to have been his last posting that we settled down.

Match that with my spouse and I, we didn't have a house until he was in his 40s [he's a little younger then me/ my mom was younger than my dad]. And only because his mom passed away.

Its a lot harder for younger people to afford a house unless their family has money.
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Old 06-18-2017, 09:18 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Argent Stonecutter View Post
There's a huge difference between ~100,000 and ~200,000 income. I theoretically do well for a cubicle worker (almost hitting the 100,000 line), but I haven't been able to afford anything but a "staycation" in 20 years.


I'm bumping up against the 20%, although probably not quite in that group based on salary alone. Even in a relatively affordable area of the country to live in, I don't feel like my life is affluent...until I compare myself with so many others who are truly struggling day-to-day.

We clip coupons, seldom eat out, never travel for vacations, live in a dodgy neighborhood, wear out our cars and our clothing. On the other hand I have a modest retirement fund, no significant debt, own my house, and can meet any reasonable emergency from a sick pet to repairing a leak in the roof.

What that first $100,000 can do is keep you on your feet without burdensome debt and provide a savings buffer against reasonable unexpected expenses. Assuming you don't spend it on frivolous consumer consumption and showing off your middle-class status, that salary is a solid base for a modest life without stomach-churning fear when your car breaks down.

But I've only been making a high 5-figure salary for a couple of years, since I turned 60. I only own my own home because of an inheritance from my grandparents helped with the down payment. My wife and I are comfortable now because our parents died and had money left over to hand down to us both and we've been spared major misfortune for decades.

I never lose sight of the fact that luck had an awful lot to do with the security I have for now.
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Old 06-18-2017, 09:56 PM   #13 (permalink)
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It's always been my dream to have enough money to both live comfortably and afford to give heartily to those who need it. Given that all I need to be truly happy is books, candles and friends, it's something I'm looking forwards to once I land a job.
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Old 06-19-2017, 05:36 AM   #14 (permalink)
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The only way to get these things is to raise taxes or do without something else. There is a great reluctance to pay more taxes across the entire tax payer spectrum, from low income all the way up to upper class, perhaps for different reasons, but still valid reasons to those income classes.

On the other hand, no one wants a badly trained or equipped military, or do without social supports, or any of the other millions of things that the government does every day, however inefficiently they may get it done.

People will have to decide between extra low taxes and living in a first world country. Since being in an illiterate, disease ridden country with failing infrastructure is ultimately bad for business and bad for all incomes, insisting on too-low taxes is shortsighted.

Basically it comes down to the right wing voting base being unwilling to share the country with younger people of a different race. So things will get worse before they get better.

Insisting on too-low taxes is a kind of economic suicide, but the people who think they're immune from the effects will all cry about how unjust it is when their own voting record comes back to bite them.
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