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America as two countries… literally?

DaveW

Space Monkey
Jul 2, 2001
8,613
535
Karori, Poneke Te Ika-a-Maui
And that ^ is the mindset problem of the privileged.
The closer you get to the breadline the more of a luxury item that sort of planning becomes.
 

Toshi

Harbinger of Doom
Oct 23, 2001
26,106
1,740
And that ^ is the mindset problem of the privileged.
The closer you get to the breadline the more of a luxury item that sort of planning becomes.
That's Toshi, who seems never to have missed a meal in his life, nor thought deeply about it.
The only way you get there is by spending every last cent of your paycheck. Is part of that learned behavior? "If I try to get ahead then something unexpected rears up and shoves me back down, just like it did to all my family." Sure, I'll buy that. But a lot of it is from the mindset of living for today, picking the one marshmallow now, of maxing out one's credit card at Christmas and hoping the tax refund will be enough this year to cover it.
 

Pesqueeb

bicycle in airplane hangar
Feb 2, 2007
27,117
3,532
Riding the baggage carousel.
And that ^ is the mindset problem of the privileged.
The closer you get to the breadline the more of a luxury item that sort of planning becomes.
It's expensive to be poor.


The 9.9 percent are different. We don’t delude ourselves about the ancient sources of our privilege. That’s because, unlike Aunt Sarah and her imaginary princesses, we’ve convinced ourselves that we don’t have any privilege at all.

Consider the reception that at least some members of our tribe have offered to those who have foolishly dared to draw attention to our advantages. Last year, when the Brookings Institution researcher Richard V. Reeves, following up on his book Dream Hoarders, told the readers of The New York Times to “Stop Pretending You’re Not Rich,” many of those readers accused him of engaging in “class warfare,” of writing “a meaningless article,” and of being “rife with guilt.”

In her incisive portrait of my people, Uneasy Street, the sociologist Rachel Sherman documents the syndrome. A number among us, when reminded of our privilege, respond with a counternarrative that generally goes like this: I was born in the street. I earned everything all by myself. I barely get by on my $250,000 salary. You should see the other parents at our kids’ private school.

In part what we have here is a listening problem. Americans have trouble telling the difference between a social critique and a personal insult. Thus, a writer points to a broad social problem with complex origins, and the reader responds with, “What, you want to punish me for my success?”

In part, too, we’re seeing some garden-variety self-centeredness, enabled by the usual cognitive lapses. Human beings are very good at keeping track of their own struggles; they are less likely to know that individuals on the other side of town are working two minimum-wage jobs to stay afloat, not watching Simpsons reruns all day. Human beings have a simple explanation for their victories: I did it. They easily forget the people who handed them the crayon and set them up for success. Human beings of the 9.9 percent variety also routinely conflate the stress of status competition with the stress of survival. No, failing to get your kid into Stanford is not a life-altering calamity.
 

stoney

Part of the unwashed, middle-American horde
Jul 26, 2006
14,077
1,375
Colorado
How is financing a car or an education a shity financial decision? I know very few people that pay cash for their cars. And who can afford to keep up with the price of higher education tuition without some debt? No way.
Only shitty in a few circumstances:
1) you can't afford the car in the first place and you're using debt to make the monthly payment lower
2) you are paying an non-inconsequential amount of interest on an extended period loan.
3) you have no legitimate ability to get a job that can generate the income needed to pay you school loans

I have sympathy, Tim, but I also lived that life. I know what it feels like to get by on little, growing up as the kid of a medical resident in NYC, in grad school and residency myself, etc. And if everyone’s poor now you sure as hell cant tell it from the phones in peoples’ hands and the late model cars they drive.
Getting by on little when it was know that there was money coming down the pipe makes things easier to survive. It's not great, but still better than not knowing where your next meal was coming from.

You and I have similar backgrounds when it comes to a specialized talent parent who started at the bottom with kids, so I'd assume your story will sound like mine:

Dad made just enough money to get by, but we couldn't save anything. At one point, we got kicked out of his ex-fiance's and lived out of our van for a while as he saved up for a down payment for a rental. He got lucky and got hired by another company at a higher rate, only to be hired back by Boeing for even more, getting a 40% raise in 2 months (kind of like going from resident to Dr.). That event allowed saving in our household and changed everything regarding money, but we still loved right despite not needing it.

Sound familiar?

Mindset my ass. Some people, yes. Most people? No. At a certain point, you need money to get ahead. If you have no money because it costs money to live, then you're SOL.

i would not say that.....probably great parents.
This. Winning the genetic lottery.

After I graduated, I at one point had a horrific crash that put me in the hospital with no insurance. To try and dig out of that hole, I sold everything and still wasn't able to. All I had was my truck, clothes, and few miscellaneous things with no real value and I was living out of my truck.

You would think that having no overhead, one would be able to pay down debt quickly? We'll, no. I was making slightly under $9 an hour working for a financial planner (yes underpaid, I chalk it up to being naive) - so just above minimum wage in CA at the time.

Because I had nowhere to live, I wasn't able to buy food in bulk enough to get cost savings. Because I had nowhere to live, I didn't have anywhere to cook, so if I wanted hot food I had to pay for fast food. Eventually I had a friend let me crash on his couch for an extended period, but I was still limited as to my ability to buy food in a scale that saved money. Doing laundry before I moved in with Brett involved coin operated machines - that's expensive. Somewhere to take showers? Membership to the YMCA. Even discounted because I was poor, it still cost money.

It wasn't until I was able to get a job that was paying me appropriately for my knowledge and skills that I was able to get out of that neverending negative loop. Now think about it, I'm a white male, from an upper middle class family, with a degree from Berkeley. I got trapped into that cycle (in large part because of my naivety) and it wasn't until somebody gave me to opportunity then dragged me out (recruiter then Morgan Stanley) that I got free. Now imagine being poor. Somebody who has only been poor your entire life and never experienced the benefit of money or education being an equalizer. How is your mentality going to get you out of that cycle?
 

Toshi

Harbinger of Doom
Oct 23, 2001
26,106
1,740
Would it have made more sense to declare bankruptcy at that point, stoney? Did you take advantage of any public assistance programs or did you bullheadedly do it all on your own?

I'm all for a helping hand up via such programs, but my "mentality" line of thought is kind of like the deal with lottery winners wrought smaller: if one doesn't change their mindset when they actually get a bit of scratch they're going to end up flat broke again soon enough.
 

Westy

the teste
Nov 22, 2002
36,369
3,121
Sleazattle
The only way you get there is by spending every last cent of your paycheck. Is part of that learned behavior? "If I try to get ahead then something unexpected rears up and shoves me back down, just like it did to all my family." Sure, I'll buy that. But a lot of it is from the mindset of living for today, picking the one marshmallow now, of maxing out one's credit card at Christmas and hoping the tax refund will be enough this year to cover it.

How much cash would you have if all your debts were called?
 

Toshi

Harbinger of Doom
Oct 23, 2001
26,106
1,740
How much cash would you have if all your debts were called?
Like what's my net worth? Counting liquidating out the house? None of my debts are deferred so I'm paying down all of them actively… not sure what the question is.
 

Westy

the teste
Nov 22, 2002
36,369
3,121
Sleazattle
Like what's my net worth? Counting liquidating out the house? None of my debts are deferred so I'm paying down all of them actively… not sure what the question is.
If you did not rely on credit, are you in the red or in the black? Assuming no material assets are sold.

I would have never had a problem with a $400 Bill since my first real job, but have been in the red probably half that time. My $400 bill ability has been generally due to borrowing more than I needed to.
 
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Toshi

Harbinger of Doom
Oct 23, 2001
26,106
1,740
If you did not rely on credit, are you in the red or in the black? Assuming no material assets are sold.
I still don't quite get the gist of this question. I use consumer credit only to shift expenses a month later so that I can budget for it after the fact, as it were. So if I wanted to not use credit I'd have to hold an additional month of expenses liquid, basically.

Over the course of the year I run in the black out of my pile of "spendable income", with another 20+% put away tax-deferred that's not even on the table in the first place. In individual months, especially the first half of the year, I'm in the red, but that shortfall is made up from the two marshmallows^Hpile of acorns I saved up in the back half of the previous year.
 

stoney

Part of the unwashed, middle-American horde
Jul 26, 2006
14,077
1,375
Colorado
I still don't quite get the gist of this question. I use consumer credit only to shift expenses a month later so that I can budget for it after the fact, as it were. So if I wanted to not use credit I'd have to hold an additional month of expenses liquid, basically.

Over the course of the year I run in the black out of my pile of "spendable income", with another 20+% put away tax-deferred that's not even on the table in the first place. In individual months, especially the first half of the year, I'm in the red, but that shortfall is made up from the two marshmallows^Hpile of acorns I saved up in the back half of the previous year.
I think he's saying if you took assets off your balance sheet but kept debt and cash (because assets aren't necessarily liquid), would you be red or black?

As for my situation, part of the naivety I was dealing was also pride from my upper middle class upbringing, refusing to ask for help. The farthest I got was the $15/m YMCA membership, and that was really embarrassing for me to go through. Pride before the fall...

Then again, bankruptcy is one of those things that can keep you from getting a job in the financial industry. Not filing was of huge benefit to me as well.
 

Toshi

Harbinger of Doom
Oct 23, 2001
26,106
1,740
I think he's saying if you took assets off your balance sheet but kept debt and cash (because assets aren't necessarily liquid), would you be red or black?
I'd be in the red if I had the mortgage but not the house. Still don't see the point of it.

You callin' him fat?
I let that one slide because being fat is a marker of Fishtown these days. I'm the anomaly in Belltown, the yoga-and-Volvo modern caste.
 

stoney

Part of the unwashed, middle-American horde
Jul 26, 2006
14,077
1,375
Colorado
Hell - I'd be in the red if they called my debt (and it's only a mortgage) right now. I don't keep a ton of cash around...
You have a lot of trust in your cash flow... Unfortunately Wifey's industry and position doesn't give me that confidence. I end up sitting on an extended time period of assumed unemployment worth of cash (technically cash and a 6 month t-bill ladder).

As for this topic, if I could sell all of our investments (read retirement accounts) with no tax implications, we'd walk away up. We carry almost no debt though, just the house, Wifey's car because the rate was lower than I could justify not, and a bunch of zero rate carries for things like tires and carpet (thank you cheap credit). I'm an oddball though. Saving money is effectively what I do for a living; I absolutely know the consequences of coming up short.
 

Toshi

Harbinger of Doom
Oct 23, 2001
26,106
1,740
You’ve got a mortgage worth of retirement savings? I’m still shy of that.
 

kidwoo

Celebrating No-Pants Day
Aug 25, 2003
22,148
1,808
In my pants
The only way you get there is by spending every last cent of your paycheck.
Now THAT is a mindset of the privileged. Kinda depends on the size of the paycheck there buddy.

Damn, T. Not everyone is able to enter the highly developed and all but guaranteed debt structure of med school loans.
 

Toshi

Harbinger of Doom
Oct 23, 2001
26,106
1,740
Now THAT is a mindset of the privileged. Kinda depends on the size of the paycheck there buddy.

Damn, T. Not everyone is able to enter the highly developed and all but guaranteed debt structure of med school loans.
Like I said, I have sympathy... but I also know the stats on subprime auto and home loans, payday lenders, etc. There's a lot of financial illiteracy at all levels of the pyramid (scheme?).
 

Westy

the teste
Nov 22, 2002
36,369
3,121
Sleazattle
I still don't quite get the gist of this question. I use consumer credit only to shift expenses a month later so that I can budget for it after the fact, as it were. So if I wanted to not use credit I'd have to hold an additional month of expenses liquid, basically.

Over the course of the year I run in the black out of my pile of "spendable income", with another 20+% put away tax-deferred that's not even on the table in the first place. In individual months, especially the first half of the year, I'm in the red, but that shortfall is made up from the two marshmallows^Hpile of acorns I saved up in the back half of the previous year.

I am saying I find it ironic that you are disparaging those who live paycheck to paycheck when you (and myself) are extended years beyond their actual paychecks. I am probably 10 years away from having liquid assets that equal my liabilities.

A lot certainly has to do with what you are taught growing up. Should be easy to see the relation for you as I believe you ended up in the exact same profession as your father. Some of us have had to go out and figure this shit on our own. My father was an airplane mechanic, not the well read rational airplane mechanic like Pesqueeb, more like the "learnin' is for fags" type. My parents expected my to suffer the same financial hardships they did and prepared me accordingly, and they always made it clear I could expect no help from them. As a result I have always been very fiscally conservative. It has worked well for me but I could have been much better off at this point in my life if I had invested more vs aggressively paying off debt.

Most of my peers are far from financially conservative and have no worries over it as they can expect help from family if necessary. I think a lot of people are in the situation they are in today because they grew up with those same values but their families/parents lost so much in last decades melt-down.
 

kidwoo

Celebrating No-Pants Day
Aug 25, 2003
22,148
1,808
In my pants
but I also know the stats on subprime auto and home loans, payday lenders, etc. There's a lot of financial illiteracy at all levels of the pyramid (scheme?).
Kinda my point. A lot of how traditional loans and financing function changed in the last 15 years. As well as where to get sound advice. It became FAR more predatory, and less transparent than when you and I were getting out of school, and especially moreso than our parents. The landscape changed. And not everyone had the luxury of being involved with the traditional system before this shit started.

But regardless of what your personal opinions are on the people subject to or utilizing shitty lending......when it crashes it affects everyone. It's a lot more productive to both educate people and push for lending transparency than kicking some poor schmuck on the street and scream at him for not saving 20% of his 8 dollar an hour paycheck. 80% of which may be going to rent in a fucked up housing market ruined by capital investment firms and 9th homeowners Air bnb-ing the neighborhood into desolation. Look how expensive cars, houses, bikes, food etc have gotten. Like every change the lower echelon gets fucked when salaries don't follow.
 
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Toshi

Harbinger of Doom
Oct 23, 2001
26,106
1,740
I don't get the fixation on liquid assets, of counting the mortgage but not the house. Count assets and liabilities alike and my net worth is solidly positive and growing by a substantial amount each year--given that growth I don't consider it as being "extended years beyond [my] actual paycheck" but rather just being leveraged. With what I earn I pay my taxes, service my debts, pay my bills, and still end up in the black. That to me is not being overly extended.

What I learned from my parents:

1) Don't count on them, because who knows what shit will go down unexpectedly.

2) Don't switch jobs and move repeatedly, as transaction costs from buying and selling houses washes any potential equity gain.

3) Save early, because you don't know when your career will end. My parents have a lot less in retirement assets than they should have had given what my dad earned.
 

Toshi

Harbinger of Doom
Oct 23, 2001
26,106
1,740
Look how expensive cars, houses, bikes, food etc have gotten. Like every change the lower echelon gets fucked when salaries don't follow.
Food: https://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2015/03/02/389578089/your-grandparents-spent-more-of-their-money-on-food-than-you-do
Cars: https://www.marketplace.org/2014/09/19/economy/marketplace-inflation-calculator/why-youd-pay-more-car-hand-crank-windows

Houses and bikes, ok. https://www.cnbc.com/2017/06/23/how-much-housing-prices-have-risen-since-1940.html

I'm projecting here, but bear with me: When I was growing up we didn't have a TV. We didn't have a car for several years, and then it was a base Toyota Corolla with power nothing. My dad commuted to his fellowship and his first attending job in a shitbox $2k (he overpaid) Ford Tempo. Yet now having a flatscreen, a car (financed with usurious terms +/- negative equity), and a smartphone all seem to be assumed as requirements just to survive.
 

Toshi

Harbinger of Doom
Oct 23, 2001
26,106
1,740
Kinda my point. A lot of how traditional loans and financing function changed in the last 15 years. As well as where to get sound advice. It became FAR more predatory, and less transparent than when you and I were getting out of school, and especially moreso than our parents. The landscape changed. And not everyone had the luxury of being involved with the traditional system before this shit started.
Are payday lenders and check cashing places really a new thing? There are truth in lending disclosures, assuming Mulvaney et al haven't torn them all to shreds... Not sure what more can or should be done when ultimately that's a voluntary transaction.
 

kidwoo

Celebrating No-Pants Day
Aug 25, 2003
22,148
1,808
In my pants
Are payday lenders and check cashing places really a new thing? There are truth in lending disclosures, assuming Mulvaney et al haven't torn them all to shreds... Not sure what more can or should be done when ultimately that's a voluntary transaction.
I'm talking about what happened in 2006 with BANKS. Not sketchy mcCornerstore's instant cash-0-rama.
 

Toshi

Harbinger of Doom
Oct 23, 2001
26,106
1,740
https://www.chalkbeat.org/posts/co/2018/06/22/when-denver-stopped-lunch-shaming-debt-from-unpaid-meals-skyrocketed/

After the Denver schools chief made a high-profile announcement last August guaranteeing a full meal to students whether or not they had the money to pay, many advocates cheered the end of so-called “lunch-shaming” in the 92,000-student district.

Then came an unpleasant surprise: Debt from unpaid lunches soared, rising to $356,000 from $13,000 the year before.
Another 68 percent of Denver families with unpaid meal debt don’t qualify for free or reduced-price meals. Still, district officials said it’s impossible to determine how many of those families would qualify for subsidized lunches if they applied, how many struggle financially but just miss the cut-off for eligibility, and how many can afford to pay for school lunches but choose not to.
 

jstuhlman

We noticed.
Dec 3, 2009
9,328
4,116
Cackalacka du Nord
so i saw a report somewhere that russia just dumped all of its us treasury bonds...tinfoil me says they’re planning to fuck up our elections, through influence on trump fuck up our global trade, and then fuxxor our energy grid and plunge us into chaos so they want nothing to do with any of our $. but that’s tinfoil me.