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Old 02-16-2019, 08:24 PM   #26
Matt A
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also, the irony of the OP who is a doctor with 3 kids and one of the biggest consumerism addictions around, should not be lost.

"gosh, what's wrong with all you dummies with no money?"
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Old 02-16-2019, 08:26 PM   #27
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a HUGE part of the problem is nearly 4 decades of wage stagnation.

don't place all the blame on Joe Sixpack for making poor financial decisions. A majority of this **** is to be placed on corporations not investing in their workforce.
I dont disagree, but getting into a field that pays that poorly with that much education is a terrible choice and they should know roughly what a field pays before they start school.
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Old 02-16-2019, 08:30 PM   #28
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everyone knows that architectures pays terrible for a long time. Once you get your license, things change. But it takes several years of work in the field after graduation.

like I said, if wage stagnation wasn't so bad, the job would pay a livable wage.

What's the alternative? No architects? Sure, education is expensive, far too expensive. But architecture takes a lot of training, both in school and on the job. It's also highly competitive, so you can't go to City College Architecture school and expect to get a great job. You need to go to a top tier program to have a shot, which is costly.


<--- went to the #1 architecture school in the country. Not an architect.
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Old 02-16-2019, 08:32 PM   #29
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everyone knows that architectures pays terrible for a long time. Once you get your license, things change.
There are a lot of fields that require 4+ years of college that pay poorly. I dont understand why anyone would choose to spend $100k on an education to make $40k a year.
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Old 02-16-2019, 08:35 PM   #30
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****, man. Don't stash away a little here and there if you have credit card debt! Pay that down.
I suppose you're right. for now it's not making life too difficult, but yeah, I agree.
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Old 02-16-2019, 08:37 PM   #31
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also, the irony of the OP who is a doctor with 3 kids and one of the biggest consumerism addictions around, should not be lost.

"gosh, what's wrong with all you dummies with no money?"
It was a first thought but I like to play pretend sometimes.


Stash some away or pay off credit cards. yes.

Have some cash around for emergencies so they don't go on credit. It's almost like having jumper cables, you'll likely never need them if you have them. Or do whatever you want, it's your life and you're not going to live forever.

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Old 02-16-2019, 08:37 PM   #32
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our house was 70k and we owe maybe something like 58K on it now..



lordamercy. That's half of what I put down on my current house.





what's your mortgage? $67/mo?
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Old 02-16-2019, 08:41 PM   #33
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$35k annual salary and $80k in loans? What kind of field did these idiots choose?
Like others have said, average cost for 4yr college is $20k/yr (there's your $80k) and wages lagged way behind, so starting salaries are still low in many fields.

It's like having a mortgage right off the bat without a place to live.

On top of that a high deductible health care plan means you are spending maybe another $1500-$2k on medical stuff.

And take another 5%-8% to put in your 401k so you can at least get the company match. Add "essential" utilities like internet and mobile and you have another $1200/yr.

Let's compare that to when I started my first real job 20 years ago. I worked multiple jobs thru college with a couple of small scholarships that covered about 10%. Graduated with about only $2k in debt which I paid off within a couple of months.

I was earning $36k/yr, my healthcare was *entirely* free, and I had a pension started after my first year. Plus I worked about 20% overtime, which helped boost my income, and I had less free time to spend money. Nobody had a mobile phone and you could get dial up (maybe!) for $10/mo.

So for the same salary, my expenses were drastically lower.

Another thing I've noticed is nobody seems to do anything for themselves anymore. Lawn service, car repairs, home maintenance, appliance repair, they all call someone else. And those people charge a goddamned fortune.

I'd bet my wife and I have easily saved more than $100k doing stuff ourselves instead of hiring out.

I also remember saving up for a home down payment. My wife and I ate PB&J at our desks every day for years to build up cash.

But here I am today, with pension halted, lucky to see a 2% raise, dumping almost 30% into my 401k, and listening to my coworkers all bitch that an HSA is a total effing joke because we end up spending it all every year. In 4 more years we'll be getting raped on taxes and lucky to see half benefits from social security by the time we retire. The average cost of a base model midsize sedan will be over $45k by then.
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Old 02-16-2019, 09:13 PM   #34
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A friend paid off their debt by cashing out their 401k. They didn't talk to anyone before they did it so no one had a chance to break their legs or anything to stop it. The friend almost instantly understood the mistake they made. When they paid the penalties they didn't know about they understood very clearly they had ****ed up. The next time they'll take a loan out of their 401k to beat the system, smart! They'll pay themselves back. How did thy already end up in more debt after taking a loan out of their 401k, HOW DOES MONEY WORK!!!! They're not really asking a question so there's no question marks there. Death will make it go away 30 or 40 years from now. Just a waiting game really.


Mrs. Lag has a 'family friend' that does yard work. $40, doesn't a better job than I could being out there all day. He might take an hour if I'm out there talking to him in my postage stamp sized yard. Moved to a place with a bigger yard and similar sized house... still $40. Not going to complain but he does get us in fall/spring when there's stuff to takeaway and things to trim. Still more than fair and does a better job than we would at any price.

Car stuff, I do all of mine still. I would be done with most anything before making it a shop so time is still making it make sense. For Mrs. Lag it depends. She found a shop I trust but there a lot of jobs that are costly just due to time I would do for her. The basic stuff they had more than fair prices and she always paid right then so that seemed to give her priority so there wasn't any waiting despite her having waited far beyond me suggesting getting her hubs replaced wasn't a wait and see thing with a 500 mile trip coming up. But she has family friends everywhere and she made it even if the hubs didn't want to make it.

I've found over time it's not a good idea to expect people to be able to do their own work. A friend will think you're dumb for getting a fence put in but not find it funny he can't replace a cabin filter without breaking something and pointing out your girlfriend doesn't have a problem doing it. And they're terrified about doing brake work but they'll still think it's dumb to not put in your own fence. But they haven't done it themselves they're just remembering how easy it was when they helped their dad do it. I helped my dad put up a fence. I helped him build a workshop too which is odd since I'm terrified of heights but helped him do some shingling. Maybe I was there to tell mom if he fell off the roof, but he didn't. Thankfully since I wouldn't have been able to get down. I can only sometimes be brave enough to clean my gutters now. I had retired neighbor come over and offer to do it for me for free he felt so bad watching me do it. I was still young enough to care about my perception of my manhood so I turned him down. I wish he lived here, where we live now I'd cook him some good steaks and get the good beer if he'd do it.

Time is the primary decision maker with who does what. Hot water heater died, nope, going to need that done today. Tomorrow is fine if it's already night time. I don't think she's ever never had hat water. I don't want see what happens when she doesn't have it and the cost was worth it just to not have to get the old water heater out of the basement and the soldering work the installer did was incredible. I made sure to make him uncomfortable commenting on it too much.


This should go in the gripe thread but this made me think about it. I think the most upset I've been with Mrs Lag was her putting a steak in the microwave after I cooked a couple of perfectly cooked steaks. I let her know, the good was/is never cooking her a steak again. Take the good with the bad and you have the facts of life. The facts of life, there's too many microwave steak moments in life if you're lucky.

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Old 02-16-2019, 09:30 PM   #35
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lordamercy. That's half of what I put down on my current house.





what's your mortgage? $67/mo?

well, it was a bank repo, and an old house about 15 miles out of town. we have about 1.5 acres. Like I said it's a constant work in progress but when we took out our mortgage we were approved for much more but didn't want to get as much as we could...our interest is kinda high, but it's fixed. I've toyed with the idea of a refi to a 15 year with a better rate.

it's a nice enough house, but not as nice as the houses some of you have, but I get it... it's about 1450 sq.ft. 3 bed, 2 bath, small basement, garage etc. if we lived in town (traverse) i'm sure this same house would sell for 120-ish.... we're at about 620/month including tax/insurance.
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Old 02-16-2019, 09:50 PM   #36
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Put in simplest terms: People are expected to spend too much and don't make enough.

Healthcare costs are drastically shifting to the individual employee, wages have been stagnant (when adjusting for inflation), bachelor degrees are nigh on expected for everything, with subsequent student loans unless your parents are loaded, pension plans are a thing of the past, and you're happy just to not get fired most times, even if you're treated like ****, because there's no rights enforced by collective bargaining.

Housing costs are through the roof in most areas with even semi attractive job markets and wages haven't kept up. Not particularly hard for me to understand how it's hard to get by these days.

While the wife and I are pretty financially conservative and have been able to increase our household earnings quite a lot over the last 8 years while more modestly increasing spending, those decisions come with their downsides.

If we wanted to live the kinds of lives that young semi-professionals normally would have 20-40 years ago in their early/mid 30's, we'd be paycheck to paycheck too. No mortgage (because we can't afford it without struggling to save monthly) and no kids means we're able to be comfortable, but if we wanted kids and decided to be more irresponsible and buy a house in our market, we'd save nothing to $200.00 month tops. Neither of us have any near term expectation of significant pay increase.
No kids. That's why you're doing so well.

We blame consumerism because it's a quick and easy answer that everyone can identify with. Wage stagnation, two income families driving up costs for themselves and others, student debt, having kids, healthcare costs because work is literally killing us....stuff just happens, people tend to start in a hole of debt and we don't get paid enough to deal with it and the other things that life throws at us.

Sure, you can live like a monk...or more accurately, you can suggest someone else lives the life of a monk, because very few people are willing to go through that **** by choice.
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Old 02-16-2019, 10:12 PM   #37
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also, the irony of the OP who is a doctor with 3 kids and one of the biggest consumerism addictions around, should not be lost.

"gosh, what's wrong with all you dummies with no money?"

Iím interested in the plight of the common man.



It just astounds me how such a large portion of America lives hand to mouth. See below: 46% of Americans would not be able to come up with $400 for an unexpected expense, and, amazingly, 19% of those making $100k and up wouldnít be able to come up with that.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/...=.69b5538c17be

These are the people in traffic with you with bald tires, expired tags, and probably no insurance of any sort. How did we get to this point? Was it easier to live like this in the past when a major medical problem wouldnít lead to costs of a magnitude thatíd bankrupt nearly anyone? Was it easier when credit was tighter? Or has it always been this way, that people will use whatever length of financial rope that is offered to them to hang themselves?

Or am I just too cynical in the face of these numbers? (46%!) Does wage stagnation explain it alone? Are the people buying trucks by the boatload not the same that are skint?
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Old 02-16-2019, 10:24 PM   #38
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You don't read much history. Go do some of that to see how we started from the bottom and somehow are under that point in a general financial sense.

I almost will not drive in more than a damp day having been too close to what felt like death from others not too concerned with things like tread and reasonable speeds for road conditions. I'll be in a little later after everyone has ran off the road already and somehow have rolled off overpasses since they tend to end up on the road I'm taking to get to work. It's not worth my time to pretend someone hasn't fallen off the overpass and/or has not slid off an on ramp into someone bringing all traffic to a stop.

Almost being hit by a stationary 4x4 Tahoe with summer tires in snowmegedon was one of the more exciting and confusing times in my life. Then having someone catching up to me driving sideways just after that put a solid "nope" in my answer for driving anywhere in the snow around here.

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Old 02-16-2019, 10:25 PM   #39
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Like Iíd get it if we were a frugal nation, where houses were modest and cars were all 12 year old imports from another country, like with New Zealand and their old Japanese cars. In such a setting maybe itís common for people to be scraping by.

But what I see outwardly (in a neutral sense, not even a keeping up with the Joneses sense) is that we donít appear to live like that as a nation. Maybe Iím biased because of the neighborhoods in which I live and travel and Iím just missing it entirely, I guess, but again: 46%.

Or see this:


https://dqydj.com/retirement-savings...united-states/

Note the median values. It follows from the observation that people live hand to mouth so isnít some profound observation, but it suggests that people really do modulate spending based on how much money they have. They spend it all.

Did everyone fail the marshmallow test as a kid?!
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Old 02-16-2019, 10:30 PM   #40
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architecture.

only it's more like 150K in loans and a 35k job.
That's the real problem. When I graduated in 99 my buddies in engineering were making 35k. I went into consulting and got 50. Grads in 2000 started at 60. Not sure where it went from there, but I'm guessing backwards.
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Old 02-16-2019, 10:36 PM   #41
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That's the real problem. When I graduated in 99 my buddies in engineering were making 35k. I went into consulting and got 50. Grads in 2000 started at 60. Not sure where it went from there, but I'm guessing backwards.
Dunno, I know 25yo kids barely out of undergrad making just under six figures in "consulting" right now. When I got out of college I was commuting 30 miles to make $25/hr as a contractor.

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Old 02-16-2019, 10:37 PM   #42
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https://www.theatlantic.com/business...-money/478929/

Too many points to Cliffs Notes. Many factors, some of which have been pointed out here already, some which have not. The one about poor people spending more to give the impression that theyíre not poor is particularly interesting.
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Old 02-16-2019, 10:49 PM   #43
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https://www.theatlantic.com/business...-money/478929/

Too many points to Cliffs Notes. Many factors, some of which have been pointed out here already, some which have not. The one about poor people spending more to give the impression that theyíre not poor is particularly interesting.
Have you ever been poor? It sucks. Everyone knowing you're poor because you look it too can be psychologically devastating.
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Old 02-16-2019, 10:51 PM   #44
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I was earning $36k/yr, my healthcare was *entirely* free, and I had a pension started after my first year.

So for the same salary, my expenses were drastically lower.

I also remember saving up for a home down payment. My wife and I ate PB&J at our desks every day for years to build up cash.
Not to mention that $36k in 1999 money is $55k in 2019 money.

Last year our out of pocket healthcare costs were in the $4-5k range, that's after spending $2k combined of "Wellness awards" (blood money they give you to know your health situation too). No hospitalizations or intensive care, just doctors visits and prescription medications. My asthma meds alone is $350.00/mo and I have to pay out of pocket 100% for the first $2k.

Wife and I have basically been doing the savings game for 7 years now for a down payment, but after this year we may give up unless there's signs the market is softening, prices just continue to go up at a higher rate than we can save at.

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No kids. That's why you're doing so well.

We blame consumerism because it's a quick and easy answer that everyone can identify with. Wage stagnation, two income families driving up costs for themselves and others, student debt, having kids, healthcare costs because work is literally killing us....stuff just happens, people tend to start in a hole of debt and we don't get paid enough to deal with it and the other things that life throws at us.

Sure, you can live like a monk...or more accurately, you can suggest someone else lives the life of a monk, because very few people are willing to go through that **** by choice.
Yeah if we had kids or bought a mortgage at what we were approved for 4 years ago, we'd be close to paycheck to paycheck, with kids, we'd probably be overextended and need some side hustles or stable overtime.

I suppose it's a thankful situation that we don't want any kids at this point, but it's a travesty that in a supposed industrialized country, people can be forced to make that decision, even if they're solidly higher middle class.

We're better off than most households, and I have no problems understanding how tough it's out there, it's easy to blame the individual, but it's a systemic problem based on some psychotic idea of normalcy.

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It just astounds me how such a large portion of America lives hand to mouth. See below: 46% of Americans would not be able to come up with $400 for an unexpected expense, and, amazingly, 19% of those making $100k and up wouldnít be able to come up with that.
See above, with kid's I'd be close to being in that boat and definitely one layoff away from financial peril. Had it not been for my support, prior to getting married, my wife would've been homeless after being fired by her psychotic boss, which the boss could do of course, because right to work state. And once you go down that road, it's damn hard to get back on your feet.

So yes, for a wast number or American households, life ****ing sucks, all so Bezos and Kochs can add a little more money to the pile that's so big there's no way they'd notice.
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Old 02-16-2019, 10:53 PM   #45
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Have you ever been poor? It sucks. Everyone knowing you're poor because you look it too can be psychologically devastating.
It can also be incredibly motivating.

More to say on that but will wait for tomorrow.
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Old 02-16-2019, 10:54 PM   #46
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Like Iíd get it if we were a frugal nation, where houses were modest and cars were all 12 year old imports from another country, like with New Zealand and their old Japanese cars. In such a setting maybe itís common for people to be scraping by.

But what I see outwardly (in a neutral sense, not even a keeping up with the Joneses sense) is that we donít appear to live like that as a nation. Maybe Iím biased because of the neighborhoods in which I live and travel and Iím just missing it entirely, I guess, but again: 46%.

Or see this:


https://dqydj.com/retirement-savings...united-states/

Note the median values. It follows from the observation that people live hand to mouth so isnít some profound observation, but it suggests that people really do modulate spending based on how much money they have. They spend it all.

Did everyone fail the marshmallow test as a kid?!

There are too many Donks in New Zealand. And New Zealand is new, not old zealand so this fails right out of the door. Mom wouldn't buy marshmallow in a jar for my peanut butter sandwiches. Is that passing the marshmallow test?
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Old 02-16-2019, 11:02 PM   #47
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A little of this, a little of that.

We have some friends with 2 kids, where she was making $75k a year as a nurse.

We heard one story from them where they had to dig in the change drawer to get $2.50 for a gallon of gas so they can go another 25 miles before payday. Or borrow $5 from his BIL to buy milk.

A few years earlier (so around the same time?), they bought a house, then did some light-remodeling (wainscotting/animal themed ceiling fan/etc). Stuff that was nice, but didn't really need done, especially with how their finances apparently were.

Meanwhile, we have more CC debt than I'd care to share (It's all being bounced around on 0% cards, so no real cost to carry it while it's paid down).

And I finally have a steady job so we can actually budget and start making ends meet.

edit: clicked post too soon
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Old 02-16-2019, 11:13 PM   #48
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It can also be incredibly motivating.

More to say on that but will wait for tomorrow.
Absolutely, ask my parents.
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Old 02-16-2019, 11:29 PM   #49
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Did everyone fail the marshmallow test as a kid?!
When you know you can have a marshmallow any time, it's easy to pass up one now, but if the future isn't so certain, you take it when you can get it.
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Old 02-16-2019, 11:35 PM   #50
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It can also be incredibly motivating.

More to say on that but will wait for tomorrow.
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Absolutely, ask my parents.
But the burgers still need to be flipped, and someone is going to end up doing it. That someone is who we're talking about.

In what sort of economic model can everyone be moderately successful and still allow for the existence of the wealthy?
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