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nil  ·  279 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Families Go Deep in Debt to Stay in the Middle Class

You're definitely alive on this planet KM.

I guess what I meant to say in some kind of bad way that ended up just coming out as a wavefront of improperly expressed broke-student anger was people that just didn't care. It's not about dreams. It's not about thinking you "won" the game of life. Did I win? Certainly not.

But it's just people who had the advantages. Who had everything. 99.8% of people on this planet would kill to have even a fraction of the life that couple has. The family bothered me because I could sense they made it and it just wasn't good enough for them. That their solution to the economy sucking was to just get further and further in debt so they could look nice. The niceness that only <5% of people in the first world have anyway.

Who is middle-class at 25? Who can buy a house at 26? Or 28?

And maybe that isn't the case because I really don't know them. But that's what I meant by not feeling alive. They're seriously jeopardizing the future of their kid. And I know countless families here in C-to-the-anada that do things like lease new Beemers they can't afford just to look the part. That is not being alive. Having a great job in coding and taking care of yourself? That's being alive 'fo sho. And just because Dad could do it doesn't mean I've absolving them of their responsibility. I asked my Dad and while everything was way cheaper people couldn't get credit.

Foveaux  ·  279 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Super thankful my parents never bought into the "We could do it in our day, why can't you?" shtick. They've just bought their first house this year, they've been renters all their life as we shifted a great deal up and down the island.

I could buy a house now, at 29, though what's stopping me is the absolute cut-throat nature of real estate in our country now. I'm sure it always has been, but now it's glaringly obvious how fucked you are if you don't time it right. My two flatmates just bought their house last week, a really exciting time for them but I watched them bounce from open to open home, all absolutely packed with families of 4/5 wanting to buy a two bedroom home because it's all they could afford. Then come auction day a 2 bedroom house with an RV of 190k going for 450k - seeing them return home each day entirely outclassed in the finance realm by people just wanting to add to their investment portfolio.

I don't have anything against making wise investments, but the way we treat housing as a source of income scares the shit out of me.

My flatties wound up buying a place by strategically attending the first open home on a weekday so families would find it harder to attend, getting alone time with the vendor, writing a soppy letter about making milestones in the house and the sound of kids running down the hallway and making an unconditional offer knowing that's pretty much what you have to do these days.

The worst part? They're never going to have kids. They don't want them, they just knew they had to present themselves in a certain light or they'd never get a look in. So the letter was fabricated and it worked, the vendor is an English teacher who loves kids and wanted the house going to a similar minded couple. She said the letter was a huge factor in the decision and they got the offer accepted last week.

Shits fucked man.

kleinbl00  ·  278 days ago  ·  link  ·  

I graduated with no debt from a program that paid an average of $65k a year. My wife graduated with no debt from a program that paid an average of $50k a year but she's really fucking good at her job and she was making $80k a year within six months of graduating. Within another year she had bought a house for $175k.

Fast forward 20 years. My program now averages $72k a year and it costs five times as much. Her program now averages $50k a year and it costs five times as much. Meanwhile the house is currently worth half a mil.

Me, 20 years later, is epically fucked. It's the timing. Purely. But wait, there's more - we happened to have not great credit on paper while also never missing a payment on the house so TARP funds got us out of a 30 and into a 15 at a lower payment. My mortgage payment is less than my neighbor's HELOC. I looked at paying it off last year but it would literally save me about $3500. Fate and circumstance has been kind to my family but if I had less clarity about the situation, I'd assume that kids these days can't afford a house because they're too busy eating avocado toast.

Foveaux  ·  278 days ago  ·  link  ·  

I was absolutely stoked to see I now only have 19k left on my 42k student loan for a Bachelors degree in Psychology (which hung on my wall as I started working in retail the day after graduation). Thank goodness our government made it interest free. Over half way baby!

The interesting thing is, I don't feel particularly hard done by on a day to day basis. I earn bang on 60k a year and my living expenses mean I can quite comfortably save for fun, a house, and enjoy things every week. If I didn't get paid for a month or two I'd be comfortable living on my savings until things got sorted. Plenty don't have that luxury and I am appreciative of that.

But as soon as I look at buying a house, it suddenly looks impossible. Aside from the stress, I need my partner on board with her income otherwise we can't afford the repayments as the average house in our city has shot to an average of $460k, up from $306k in just 2016, and we're the lucky area that's experiencing relatively slow growth!

I'm telling the young lads at my local gym to seriously consider trades and not to be put off by people who look down on Polytech courses - if they want to get into building or plumbing, we sorely need skilled people in those realms. They get told they need a University degree to be employable and to avoid working with your hands - same message I got in high school in 2007. Trades are for labourers and unintelligent people, apparently. Turns out they're plenty bright, earning well and quite often doing something they genuinely enjoy.

kingmudsy  ·  279 days ago  ·  link  ·  

    ...what I meant to say in some kind of bad way that ended up just coming out as a wavefront of improperly expressed broke-student anger...

Hey man, your thoughts are valid. I don't want you to feel bad about them just because I reacted to them with frustration. Let's not pretend my indignation is any more or less 'correct' than your wavefront of broke-student anger, it's just where we were when we wrote those comments! Sorry for being uncharitable to you, I know you better than to think you'd actually be insulting me.

I think the 'point' got away from me, and the conversation went awry. But at its core, I agree with you - these people can't afford the small dreams that they want. This is, fundamentally, something that they're doing to themselves - their debt is an irresponsible, irrational thing that they're subjecting themselves to.

At the same time, I get where Klein is coming from. People have relatively quaint dreams and it feels bad that they can't even have that. Maybe I'm being too sympathetic, though, because there's nothing wrong with waiting until middle age for New Car Smell? But their household income is twice the natural average, and it feels like I've been fed a line about how New Car Smell (tm) should be possible for People Who Did It Right (tm) at 28. And I guess there's some dissonance between that image and reality.

Ah well. I've got some thinking to do. Thanks for giving me the opportunity to do so :)

kleinbl00  ·  278 days ago  ·  link  ·  

    “Wealth - any income that is at least $100 more a year than the income of one's wife's sister's husband.”

- HL Mencken

I'm thankful my wife didn't die in childbirth, like 1 in 5 women used to. I'm thankful my daughter didn't die before reaching the age of 6, like 1 in 4 children used to. But I'm not really thankful for this most of the time. I take it for fucking granted. You see, my social contract is not with Victorian England, it's with modern America. Cholera is off the table.

Nobody risks la migra and coyotes in order to live better than their buddies in Honduras. They stake it all to live like Americans. Sure - 99.8% of the planet would kill to be up to their eyeballs in debt in a 1700 sqft house with two Priuses they can't afford in the driveway. Shit - I'll bet a block away there's a guy arguing with the voices in his head about what he'd do if he could afford a tent and a sandwich. You're making the "kids are starving in China" argument - sure they are, but we're not in China and I don't want to eat my fucking peas. Yer goddamn right that if I'd been living under a tarp and licking the insides of c-ration cans for two weeks I'd chow the fuck down on your freezer-burned, mealy-ass Birds Eye TV dinner but I'm not. And neither are you. And neither are those poor fuckers in West Hartford. They sat down at this gaming table, not the Honduras table, not the Yemen table, not the Lesotho table. Hey let's grab those guys from the Norway table and let 'em know that they'd earned the right to spend their lives servicing debt and hoping against major medical bills in exchange for 16 years of schooling. How do you think they'd feel about that?

Who is middle class at 25? Fuckin' three quintiles, bitch. Who can buy a house at 26 or 28? Fuckin' everybody 20 years ago. That's the point.

You're making the Brexit argument - sure it might be hard but we survived The Blitz. Yeah ya did. But there are no Nazis in the skies. Freedom does not face an existential crisis from totalitarian populists with a hankering for genocide. It's not about winning - nobody with a fuckin' Prius thinks they won. They just think they aren't falling behind. 3-0 is a great soccer score, a terrible football score and an unbelievably bad basketball score. Surviving to ten was a masterful accomplishment once but here in the place where we used to celebrate our constant upward mobility, it's a fucking given.