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Old 06-06-2011, 07:45 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Caladium View Post
Funny, the cars I see driving by me every morning all seem to be shiny, new and in perfect shape. Not a rusted out, dented clunker to be seen. And if nobody can afford the dentist how come I have to schedule my cleanings months in advance?
LOL! But don't you think the receptionists at some doctors' offices are trained to act like maitre d's at fancy restaurants - disclaiming the possibility of any immediate appointments (or reservations) in order to create the impression of heavy demand (or at least to make sure the doctor/dentist's time on the links is safe)?
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Old 06-06-2011, 07:48 AM
 
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Originally Posted by michgc View Post
While this area has among the highest incomes in the country, we also have among the highest cost of living, so I don't know necessarily think that this is the wealthiest area. If we do a COL adjustment, I'd bet there are other areas that are wealthier. Also, many would define wealth by how much families have in assets (minus their debts) rather than by their income. Many around here have high income but are not wealthy.

i agree with this and say this all the time. what I've learned most about this area is that all that glitters ain't gold. incomes may be high and it "seems" people are doing well--it could be that most of that income is spent to just maintain. you can't tell who's loaded and who's just scraping by based on income alone. it's pretty easy to get a nice car these days and rent a nice, newer place with a high income and a 600-620 credit score, plus depending on how much you put down, that score can be even lower.

factor COL, daycare expenses, food and gas, then let's talk wealth and what people have in the bank.
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Old 06-06-2011, 08:07 AM
 
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Originally Posted by michgc View Post
While this area has among the highest incomes in the country, we also have among the highest cost of living, so I don't know necessarily think that this is the wealthiest area. If we do a COL adjustment, I'd bet there are other areas that are wealthier. Also, many would define wealth by how much families have in assets (minus their debts) rather than by their income. Many around here have high income but are not wealthy.
I'm sure there are a lot of wealthy areas like Scottsdale or parts of Florida where there are lots of retirees with high net worths, but otherwise where do large numbers of people have high salaries and a low cost of living? It seems to me that high incomes and a high cost of living go hand in hand (merchants are very good at scaling up their prices to reflect what they think people can afford), so the question is how good a job people do of managing their finances.

I don't really know, but my guess is that, for a large metropolitan area, the DC area currently has a lot of wealthy families as determined by their net worths. For every dual-doctor couple that is over-extended, there are probably more who have lived within their means and gradually accumulated wealth over longer periods of time. Of course, if a lot of this "wealth" is tied up in local real estate, it could turn out to be ephemeral if home prices slide.

Anyway, we're mostly talking numbers here. As they say, you can't take it with you!

Last edited by JD984; 06-06-2011 at 08:15 AM..
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Old 06-06-2011, 08:26 AM
 
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Originally Posted by JEB77 View Post
I'm sure there are a lot of wealthy areas like Scottsdale or parts of Florida where there are lots of retirees with high net worths, but otherwise where do large numbers of people have high salaries and a low cost of living? It seems to me that high incomes and a high cost of living go hand in hand (merchants are very good at scaling up their prices to reflect what they think people can afford), so the question is how good a job people do of managing their finances.
Probably any area that is in the middle of nowhere or close to it but has like 1 or 2 big companies installed there that have 90% of the high paying jobs. My hometown was like that. There were engineers in their 20s buying 4 bedroom single family houses for themselves.

It's not for me, the problem with that kind of place is nothing to do. But it's probably the perfect setting for families with children. There is still the danger of what if those 1 or 2 big companies go under and start laying off?
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Old 06-06-2011, 10:49 AM
 
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A lot of the high income people I meet through work turn out to be supporting their extended families, especially parents and siblings, but also sending nieces and nephews through school.
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Old 06-06-2011, 11:05 AM
 
Location: Chapel Hill, NC, formerly DC and Phila
8,555 posts, read 12,619,006 times
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Originally Posted by JEB77 View Post
...but otherwise where do large numbers of people have high salaries and a low cost of living? It seems to me that high incomes and a high cost of living go hand in hand...
I wasn't necessarily thinking of high-income areas, but possibly mid-income areas with low cost of living. Without researching it, I will throw out a city name - Kansas City. Suppose the median income for KC is $60K but the price of homes/rents and other living expenses only add up to $40K on average. Compare that to Fairfax County where the median income may be $100K but the cost of living adds up to $90K on average. It appears that we are a wealthier area, but are we really? In this case, it the KC residents have more discretionary income even though we have higher salaries. (Again, these are made up numbers, just to give a possible scenario. I have no idea of the median income of KC, it's cost of living, etc.)
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Old 06-06-2011, 11:05 AM
 
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Originally Posted by tsuric View Post
Of course we see luxury everywhere we go but the real question is are these people spending more than they earn on luxuries?

What is the credit score of these people?

I have a friend who is a manager in a bank and he tells me that he knows of rich couples (ex. double doctor income) who spend way more than they take in and are barely getting by. They are negative each month almost money-wise.
I think rich people have more pressure to spend highly, more so than the average person.
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Old 06-06-2011, 11:07 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by normie View Post
Some do, some don't. Just like in every other town.



Now this is an interesting question. I wonder if there are statistics about this that show the average credit score of people in the DC metro area vs. the average score of people in other cities. I suspect DC metro area tends to have high credit ratings.
that would be a great study, I think it can be done. It would have good value.
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Old 06-06-2011, 11:18 AM
 
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Originally Posted by derniss View Post
I think rich people have more pressure to spend highly, more so than the average person.

I think Notorious B.I.G. said it best, "mo' money, mo' problems."
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Old 06-06-2011, 11:30 AM
 
Location: Home is where the heart is
15,400 posts, read 25,780,931 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JEB77 View Post
LOL! But don't you think the receptionists at some doctors' offices are trained to act like maitre d's at fancy restaurants - disclaiming the possibility of any immediate appointments (or reservations) in order to create the impression of heavy demand (or at least to make sure the doctor/dentist's time on the links is safe)?
That seems like an odd way to get new customers. Most people moving here don't know one dentist from another. If they want to get their teeth cleaned, they'll choose the one with the most convenient opening. If a dentist says they have to wait 2 months, they'll just move on to the next one.

BTW, one of my kids works for a doctor in Reston, so when I called her at lunch I told her this theory. When she stopped laughing, she assured me that not only do they book every appointment every day, they sometimes have a problem with overbooking and by the afternoon appointments can run late. (Of course, you never know.... maybe the doctor is paying her to say this. It's all part of the conspiracy. )
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