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Old 05-03-2007, 06:17 AM
 
Location: SW MO
1,238 posts, read 4,039,867 times
Reputation: 986

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Carthage,MO:
Most people are mid-line conservative,we have lots of churches in the area. Our population is mostly Caucasion, with a fair percentage of various Hispanic groups due to the poultry and farming industries. Very few other nationalities. Many people grew up here and stayed, or moved away and came back. The cost of living is very low, but good-paying jobs are hard to come by. Most people who make a decent living work in manufacturing or health care. Unfortunately, teenage pregnancy is a big problem. I read that 1/4 of our population is on Medicaid. Some families make disability checks and food stamps a way of life for generations. Being overweight is a huge problem, as there are many fast food restaurants and Wal-mart is our main grocery store. Chain restaurants have pushed out many mom & pop palces. So why do people stay? It's a pretty town with a beautiful courthouse, maple trees and Victorian houses. Most everyone is super-friendly and helpful. We know our neighbors and the kids can play outside safely. Soccer is edging out softball for kids sports. A recently passed school bond means a new high school and rearranging the other schools to avoid overcrowding. We are close to lakes, rivers and National Forest so fishing,boating and hunting are very popular. Local groups hold fish-fry fundraisers and someone is always holding a concert to help pay expenses for the critically ill. We have excellent healthcare facilities nearby. Meth continues to be a problem, since our rural areas make manufacturing it in secrecy easy. Our main crime tends to be domestic violence, petty theft and drunken driving. Everyone is either related, went to school together, goes to church together or works with everyone else. A trip to Wal-mart takes 3 times as long because you have to stop and chat with the people you know. A generally normal small-town, with small-town folks.
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Old 05-03-2007, 06:50 AM
j33
 
4,625 posts, read 12,866,572 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wallstreet1986 View Post
I want the ability to have a McMansion like a normal attorney family would not inflated house prices. The housing market is slow and that stuff is all coming down. The younger generation wants to afford houses at some point, well it shouldn't go up again as fast as before or as fast as gas
Then don't live in a large city. I don't know of many 'attorney families' that live in places like nyc or boston who can afford palatial houses. It is a general rule of thumb that the more people you squeeze into a small space, the smaller the spaces they live in. Moving to a large city and complaining because you can't live in a large house seems sort of silly, sort of like moving to Barbados and complaining because of the lack of ice-fishing.
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Old 05-03-2007, 08:17 AM
 
Location: Portland, OR
414 posts, read 2,416,495 times
Reputation: 296
Quote:
Originally Posted by j33 View Post
Then don't live in a large city. I don't know of many 'attorney families' that live in places like nyc or boston who can afford palatial houses. It is a general rule of thumb that the more people you squeeze into a small space, the smaller the spaces they live in. Moving to a large city and complaining because you can't live in a large house seems sort of silly, sort of like moving to Barbados and complaining because of the lack of ice-fishing.
What do you need two doctors, two investment bankers

guessing that a big city partner makes about 500k a year = 2 million in buying potential. If spouse works too at a good job maybe 3 mil in buying potential.

well theres a lot of mcmansions out here in suburbs and somebodys got to afford them. I refuse to believe they are all doctors and corporate execs. There are just too many of those houses for that to be true and too great a proportion versus the other housing options.
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Old 05-03-2007, 08:22 AM
j33
 
4,625 posts, read 12,866,572 times
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It is becoming very, very clear that you and I simply have vastly different notions on how to go through life and what one ought to expect from it ... but then again, what do I know, I work in the arts make less that 45k a year, I like my apartment even though it is small, and grew up happily in a 1300 sq foot home with six people and 1.5 bathrooms. Do I want a bit more, sure, who doesn't, but I quite frankly appreciate what I have, and my current lot in life. In my opinion (for me at least), life is good. I'm content, you clearly are not.
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Old 05-03-2007, 09:32 AM
 
Location: Southern California
3,455 posts, read 7,300,432 times
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well...wallstreet. judging by what you have written and your screename -- your pretty young. It takes work and comittment to get to the point you want to get. Going to a good law school and passing the bar does not guarantee you instant mcmansion success. Trust me. Judging by your screename, I am about 10 years older than you and I have had to work my way up -- and I have a masters degee and I live in an apartment....no one hands you anything right out of school and at this point I am pretty glad they dont. It builds character.

People your age, in this area with that kind of money probably did not make it themselves or are in huge debt. Be careful what you wish for.

j33 -- I think were on the same page. And I'm still working my way up, I think in school they dont tell you really how hard it will be

And, I have known a few lawyers who are still not making as much as me....they have to start at the bottom too and work horrible hours. I'm talking about state and county jobs. A degree just doesn't guarentee you that kind of money (500k) sorry.

And...ahem, neither does having a wife with earning potential
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Old 05-03-2007, 09:37 AM
j33
 
4,625 posts, read 12,866,572 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rgb123 View Post

j33 -- I think were on the same page. And I'm still working my way up, I think in school they dont tell you really how hard it will be
They sure don't! I completed my Master's Degree over 5 years ago and it took me a year to find a job! I think a lot of younger people are expecting instant success out of school, and I'm not sure why. (I'm in my mid-thirties and realize that is most certainly not the case these days, I don't know if it ever was).
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Old 05-03-2007, 10:15 AM
 
766 posts, read 2,269,839 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wallstreet1986 View Post
College sucked. Socially it was very isolating for me though I did decently academically and stuff like that.

Yeah choose a college that works with your personality. My college is in the Chicago burbs and I couldn't be more at odds with it.

Most of the kids at my school have luxury SUVS - Jeep Grand Cherokee Limited, Lexus RX300, BMW X5, or Audi A4s, BMW 3 series, some pretty nice stuff there in the lot, Acura TL, bunch of leased/newish cars. Yeah my car is more of the beater and theres a couple others but thats about it. Amazing that most kids are driving $8000+ cars.

I have wheels and it gets me places. The only places to go here are the city, the mall, out to eat, or hang out at some other random crappy burb. Its cold and no leaves out for most of the year at school. If you're more of an introvert outdoors kind of guy like me its very isolating and depressing. The people get drunk all weekend with people that they know and have cliques and waste money on crap and watch sports on tv.

I've taken the opportunity to go up to Duluth, Minnesota and a couple of times to the Northwoods. I'm a college student so if I had the $$ to do that stuff more often I would. My school has no outdoors club and I couldn't start one cuz you need to rent a van to take everyone up and I wasn't old enough to drive the van. A damn shame. I miss that stuff from being a Boy Scout and in high school.

People here in the Chicago burbs work professional corporate office park jobs, commute at least 15 miles each way (spending hour plus in traffic), drive big Lexus GX470 suvs and similar kind of stuff, have big houses that cost 800,900k with 15k/year property taxes and 1000/month heating bill, eat out at chain restaurants and go to the mall on the weekend, and drive 75 mph in a 55 zone or 50 instead of 35 on regular roadway. You'll get pushed around while driving too if you're not into that fast pace kind of life.

Then there's group of young type A corporate workers who pay 1000/month for some stupid apartment with hopes of someday upgrading to a condo or a townhouse, drive a honda or acura with a sport package tail, drive super fast and aggressively, and like to get drunk and watch sports on the weekend like the kids at my college.

Then there's a huge immigrant underclass that unlike in NoVa doesn't seem to be happy here. Maybe it's the bad weather, high prices, depressing sky, and general lack of beauty around them. Happier maybe in the city -- less so in the burbs I'd say. Big crews of Mexicans doing all the land work for people who have properties, not too many people doing it themselves. Places like Waukegan, Wheeling, Elmhurst, Franklin Park, Zion, some of the most depressing strip kind of things I can think of. Pay 3.10/gallon for gas and no apartments for under 700/month. Some days I dont even feel like getting up and going to class in the winter. Imagine what it would be like working 2 jobs and living in some dump box city with crime and bad schools like Waukegan. Unlike Los Angeles, the weather and sky drains you, the flat bleak prairie -- yes one job is enough for me and I have to fight all winter to keep my mood up.

I am getting the hell out and going to law school down south. There I can afford a house, my school reputation will go farther, I'll have the outdoors and opportunities, and a more laid back outdoors oriented lifestyle. If you're poor its a much richer life to live in some rural area in Mississippi with the sun shining and a creek to enjoy than having a life full of concrete, harsh wind, hardship, rigid class structures, high cost, and feeling like dirt. Yes there is a brain drain. With current prices one of those McMansions that I'd want for working hard and becoming an attorney would be inaccesible for me unless I was a partner at a major Chicago law firm. Yes I work 70 80 hour weeks to afford a 4 bedroom development house in a place like Libertyville or Long Grove and I commute an hour each day. Not to mention those jobs being highly competitive and necessary to go to a place like Northwestern or UChicago to get one. Maybe my wife will work too if I have one and then we could afford a couple nice cars and the property taxes and heating on the house. No lifes not all about work and joining a consumerist culture in a major city. All the arts and stores in the city of Chicago alone could not attract me to adopt the low quality of life present in the suburbs.
wallstreet,

I know that you don't like the Chicago suburbs. I'll admit that I'm very partial to the Chicago area since I've lived in both the city and suburbs all of my life and can't really imagine living anywhere else. However, if you don't like the strip malls and prevelance of gas guzzling vehicles of the Chicago suburbs, how can you possibly say that you want to move down south where the large cities have little or no public transportation and are completely sprawled out with even more of the items you supposedly don't like and not even have the urban option of the city of Chicago as a completely different alternative?

I can understand that if you want a smaller town or lots of outdoor activities, then the Chicago area might not be the place for you. Yet, on the one hand, you seem to criticize the lifestyle of wealthy suburbanites, and then on the other hand, still want the ability to buy one of those McMansions. I'm not sure what you're looking for.

Look, I'm an attorney that got a large firm job in Chicago going to a local law school that wasn't the University of Chicago or Northwestern and I'll admit that wasn't an easy process. In fact, the one thing that I realized in law school is that unless you go to a school in the top 15 or 20 of the U.S. News rankings, it is extremely difficult to get a job outside of your law school's home region (this applies anywhere, whether it's Chicago, New York or the South). Therefore, unless you're going to a place like Duke or UNC for law school, you better be prepared to practice law in the South for your career if you go to law school in that region. At least places such as Chicago have a huge legal job market outside of the large firms, whether you're talking about corporations, smaller boutique firms, or government positions at both the federal and local levels. For even medium-sized cities, you're going to basically only see either small firm or local government jobs. That's just something to think about long and hard about when you're considering a law school.

I'll be up-front with you since you seem to be concerned a lot about money: Chicago is about the best market in the country salary-wise for attorneys in relation to cost of living. The pay scale is at the top of the line with New York City and the California cities but the cost of living here (at least in terms of real estate) is significantly lower. There are certainly a lot of other cities that have a lower cost of living than Chicago, but the drop in the average salaries for attorneys in those markets is such that it means that your "standard of living" won't be any higher (or even lower in a lot of circumstances). That's another thing that you really need to consider.

I hope that this gives you a few things to think about, since there are few things I know more intimately than the life of an attorney and the state of the legal job market.
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Old 05-03-2007, 10:28 AM
 
Location: Southern California
3,455 posts, read 7,300,432 times
Reputation: 1410
And getting back to the subject of the thread. Chicago and its suburbs may have its share of spoiled teens and young people driving cars that they could not have possibly bought for themselves.

But the REAL culture here....

This is an older city (in American terms) Familes...working hard, the north shore and barrington, etc did not pop up overnight. Families, immigrants, what not have literally slaved for generations to make Chicago what it is. This is an area where working hard is rewarded and people pay there dues, as they know their parents did too. (not in all cases...but I think this is still the dominant culture).

If your from another area. Chicago and its suburbanites may seem unduly wealthy, proud and spoiled. But I can assure you in most cases they have family that has been here awhile and they have been working hard for a long time too. And no they are not all doctors and lawyers...they are blue collar, criminals, white collar, whatever....they are invested in the area and have gotten to the point they are at through committment, perserverance, or family.

I'd say that is more the culture here. Its competitive, people are frank and to the point -- they say what they mean most of the time and respect each other for it. People work hard and expect the same of others.

In fact...the way the most of us from this area have responsded to wall street is a good example of that

I still want to go to helena
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Old 05-03-2007, 12:02 PM
 
Location: Polish Hill, Pittsburgh, PA
30,196 posts, read 67,339,144 times
Reputation: 15835
Quote:
Originally Posted by j33 View Post
They sure don't! I completed my Master's Degree over 5 years ago and it took me a year to find a job! I think a lot of younger people are expecting instant success out of school, and I'm not sure why. (I'm in my mid-thirties and realize that is most certainly not the case these days, I don't know if it ever was).
Agreed. I only expect to be earning a salary of $30,000 or so once I snag my Bachelor's of Science Degree in Accounting in 2009. Perhaps that will edge up somewhat when I complete the CPA exam as well, have my MBA, and invest in some real estate on the side, but I still would be more than happy to "peak" at around $70,000 per year. The allure of suburban McMansions and BMWs just isn't for me, even though they're proliferating in the Scranton hillsides at an alarming rate with all of the NYC transplants. Give me a sturdy older Victorian that needs a bit of TLC in the Hill Section of Scranton and a Toyota Prius, and I'm a happy camper. The emphasis the accounting majors here at King's College place upon the almighty dollar is sickening. Whenever a former graduate of our school comes to speak to current students, questions about starting salaries, current salaries, etc. almost always seem to creep up afterwards. As long as I can afford Kraft macaroni & cheese and Pop Tarts I'm set for life! Anything would be an improvement from working for Lowe's, where I spend my holidays getting yelled at by customers who have nothing better to say besides "Bah Humbug!" LOL!

This nation is built around plastic right now, and the credit companies are laughing all the way to the bank. I believe I read somewhere recently that the typical American family now has $8,000 in credit card debt! Considering Scranton/Wilkes-Barre's median household income is among the lowest in the state, the dominance of luxury SUVs and tract housing on the periphery indicates to me that FAR too many people are "living beyond their means." Why? Who cares if your next-door neighbor, who is a plastic surgeon, just bought a Jaguar? If you work as a legal secretary and can only afford a Honda Civic, then so be it. If anyone judged you solely by your material assets, then they're not the types of people you want to associate yourselves with! Life is too short to be so worried about "outdoing the Jones's next-door," and when you're six feet under it all means nothing anyways! I'd rather give away much of my fortune to leave a legacy of philanthropy in the city of Scranton as opposed to leaving only an empty suburban McMansion behind in my wake.
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Old 05-03-2007, 12:05 PM
 
Location: Portland, OR
414 posts, read 2,416,495 times
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Quote:

I know that you don't like the Chicago suburbs. I'll admit that I'm very partial to the Chicago area since I've lived in both the city and suburbs all of my life and can't really imagine living anywhere else. However, if you don't like the strip malls and prevelance of gas guzzling vehicles of the Chicago suburbs, how can you possibly say that you want to move down south where the large cities have little or no public transportation and are completely sprawled out with even more of the items you supposedly don't like and not even have the urban option of the city of Chicago as a completely different alternative?
The South does not have large cities on the scale of Chicago except for Atlanta, in Florida, and Dallas, Houston, etc. Driving from the far out Birmingham suburbs to downtown Birmingham is no more than 20 miles at most. Its not like driving from Lake Forest to Palatine and then on to Orland Park and back to Deerfield and up to Gurnee what have you on the toll way and long grid roads. You are simply put not going to be doing much driving and in the Chicago area unless you are going to the city there is simply no way of getting to the Old Orchard Mall from Lake Forest or Vernon Hills or what not without having a car. The city of Chicago has public transit yes, the suburbs only do for commuting in and out of the city.

I don't like public transit. I like having my car. If I could afford a big SUV and the gas I would as I'm a big tall guy and like the luxury feel and stance. I also like the outdoors a lot and taking trips to go camping.

Quote:

I can understand that if you want a smaller town or lots of outdoor activities, then the Chicago area might not be the place for you. Yet, on the one hand, you seem to criticize the lifestyle of wealthy suburbanites, and then on the other hand, still want the ability to buy one of those McMansions. I'm not sure what you're looking for.
I'm criticizing the ability of the younger generation to afford that kind of lifestyle in the future. Yes we want to work hard and will do so on a similar level to what did our parents to get to that place. But no we do not want a door shoved into our face by harder to get job opportunities, higher home prices and taxes, and pay that does not meet up to afford the standard of living. If I want to work hard and get a development house in Long Grove I should be able to do that -- not a God given right but there are plenty of people with those houses.

Quote:

Look, I'm an attorney that got a large firm job in Chicago going to a local law school that wasn't the University of Chicago or Northwestern and I'll admit that wasn't an easy process. In fact, the one thing that I realized in law school is that unless you go to a school in the top 15 or 20 of the U.S. News rankings, it is extremely difficult to get a job outside of your law school's home region (this applies anywhere, whether it's Chicago, New York or the South). Therefore, unless you're going to a place like Duke or UNC for law school, you better be prepared to practice law in the South for your career if you go to law school in that region. At least places such as Chicago have a huge legal job market outside of the large firms, whether you're talking about corporations, smaller boutique firms, or government positions at both the federal and local levels. For even medium-sized cities, you're going to basically only see either small firm or local government jobs. That's just something to think about long and hard about when you're considering a law school.
I am ready and prepared to practice law in the South and know what kinds of places my school places graduates and what is realistically available to me. I am going to Samford Law in Alabama which has a good reputation in the Southeast and a track record for sending graduates to work all over across the state and in Tennessee, Kentucky, South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida.

I want to work for a medium sized firm and expect something around 70-80k/year to start. I have done my research in this capacity, however, for tax law which I intend to pursue I may need another year LLM which I would discuss with a firm because it would be much harder financially. With law school debt my comfortable starting income is 60k/year. This allows me to live like a law student and keep my old car, start saving for retirement, and pay my debt. I will not afford a house for a while but this is better than making 70-80k at a medium size firm in Chicago and having the accompanying high cost of living. The South is also a lifestyle choice because I enjoy warm weather, a slower pace, and the outdoors. Maybe I can work at my dream firm in a place like the mountains of Tennessee. If not I can get a good job in Alabama. Yes you must choose where you go to school carefully.

Quote:
I'll be up-front with you since you seem to be concerned a lot about money: Chicago is about the best market in the country salary-wise for attorneys in relation to cost of living. The pay scale is at the top of the line with New York City and the California cities but the cost of living here (at least in terms of real estate) is significantly lower. There are certainly a lot of other cities that have a lower cost of living than Chicago, but the drop in the average salaries for attorneys in those markets is such that it means that your "standard of living" won't be any higher (or even lower in a lot of circumstances). That's another thing that you really need to consider.

I hope that this gives you a few things to think about, since there are few things I know more intimately than the life of an attorney and the state of the legal job market.
I agree that for big cities, Chicago is a great opportunity for hiring salary wise and cost of living. However, I do not intend to pursue life with a large firm or if I do it would be in a more quality of life kind of city like Memphis or Nashville, Birmingham, Mobile. Maybe I can get a top firm job in Atlanta. Dunno it will depend on my grades. I want to have a nice career and work for a decent sized medium firm or as a corporate tax counsel. The South has a good job market and growing economy. With an influx of retirees, manufacturing plants and companies, and relocators, tax will be a good opportunity there as well.

I am very concerned with money because I will have to shell out around 150k for my legal education which I hope to reduce through summer work and through careful budgeting. I want to be a tax lawyer and my total burden may be 200 Yes, stuff is tough. You have to take what you are given and do the best with it. I will explore opportunities that I have as they come, but I know I can pay back my debt load, get a decent job, and just go upwards from there.

As for living in the Chicago suburbs here it has been a frustrating thing. I'm a college student and have not enjoyed the social setting at my school and am limited in the opportunities available to me. People do not get that good jobs from here and it is a hard thing to live in the suburbs with a car for 40k or less a year. I have taken advantage of the city sometimes and enjoy that. Sometimes it is also a downer living in a very rich area and going to a school with a rich kids to not really be exposed enough to the meaning of work and to reality. Glad to hear that you were able to take what you were given Frank and make something work of it. I intend to do the same. Thank you everyone for your posts so far and taking my comments in stride.
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