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Old 06-13-2012, 11:17 PM
 
Location: DC Metro
20 posts, read 61,430 times
Reputation: 61

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Hi all. My fiancé and I are both 20 years old and finding it pretty impossible to afford to live around here. He works in DC making about 50k and I'm currently taking care of other things in my life and do not have a job.

We are living with his mom in Stafford and desperately want to move out, but I just can't see how it's possible. We stick to a very strict monthly budget, but at the end of the month we end up saving very little. Between his commuting costs, car payment, insurance, food, pet bills, giving money to his mom, and unexpected expenses that always come up we're lucky to be saving a few hundred bucks. My parents are still paying for most of my expenses until we get married, so right now we don't have to worry about those thankfully.

He should be getting paid about 25k more than he is, but because of his age employers won't hire him for that despite the fact that he is doing the exact same job as the rest of his team. How do other people deal with this?

We would really like to buy a house because in our minds renting is just throwing money away. The fact that we have four pets doesn't help much either. Although I'm not from around here and don't particularly like the area we're looking to stayin stafford because we cant even come close to affording anything farther north. Despite being so far out of the city the area is still fairly expensive and the homes that aren't either double wides or uninhabitable tend to start at about $225k. How can anyone afford to pay this after taxes and utilities if they're making under 80k? To get anything cheaper would make his commute absolutely unbearable.

There must be other people in their early twenties who've been underpaid due to their age. How do you all afford to live around here? Is there some big secret we're missing?
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Old 06-13-2012, 11:41 PM
 
421 posts, read 821,214 times
Reputation: 417
Well, you asked but you may not like what I have to say. I'm not trying to be mean, just honest. I may not be 20, but I have raised my children so I do know what I'm talking about. First of all, you have to be realistic. It's not important what one thinks they should make, it's what an employer is willing to pay him. I don't think it's realistic for a 20 year old to expect to go into something making the same wage as someone who has been doing it for years. Time and experience count. Secondly, forget buying a house. Nobody who is 20 should have a car payment and a mortgage unless you plan to file bankruptcy by age 25. The area is flooded with foreclosures and short sales already. You should be renting, if anything. At least you wouldn't have to pay major bank if your AC breaks down. Secondly, there should be no car payment. You should both be driving paid for junkers that get you from point A to point B and that only need liability insurance. Thirdly, you can't just move out of Mom & Dad's and expect to maintain the quality of life you had growing up on their dime. If you think it's hard living rent free on 50K, someone is living waaaaay beyond their means. You may have to give up some things. It's hard to pay bills and still have the Starbucks, dinners out, hair, nails, vacations, status vehicles, smart phones, Coach bags and Jimmy Choo's. Then again, you said he isn't even paying your expenses yet. Just wait until that if you think this is bad. If you really want to be an adult, you're going to have to make sacrifices and do without. You can't have it all @ 20 years old. You probably can't have it all, ever. Very few of us do. It's tough out there.

Last edited by Dazed&Confused; 06-14-2012 at 12:15 AM..
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Old 06-14-2012, 12:13 AM
 
Location: Between West Chester and Chester, PA
2,599 posts, read 2,302,406 times
Reputation: 4429
Lets see............you're both 20. You and your fiancé are living at home with his mom. Are you sure this is the man you want to spend the rest of your life with? What does he have to offer you? From the looks of it, he doesn't have jack squat to offer. Also, why are you unemployed, and what are those "other things" you've mentioned? ... How is renting throwing money away? Do you want to have to handle the repair costs for an air conditioner, heater, plumbing, roof, etc...? Forget that! That's something my landlord can handle with his own money! Renting will save you money! Why do you think a 20 year old should be making $75,000 without having to work his way up for it? If your parents brought you up through life with the belief that everything is guaranteed, as well as the tale about you being special, you were lied to!

When I was 20, I was still working at a pizza joint. My car was one of the most unpleasant things on the road, but it ran from point A to B without a problem. I was also realistic about my approach in life. I knew I wouldn't be able to afford the super spendy and trendy lifestyle, so I sat back and contemplated my next moves within the next few years. Fast forward 9 years: due to lots of patience and solid decision making, things have panned out for me. Now I can afford some of the finer things in life. However, I don't live beyond my means. I still don't own a house. I don't plan on to. When something needs repairing, I let my landlord know about it.

By the way, if you haven't figured it out by now, you'll help your fiancé out quite a bit by being employed.

Last edited by FindingZen; 06-14-2012 at 10:01 AM.. Reason: personal attack
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Old 06-14-2012, 12:21 AM
 
421 posts, read 821,214 times
Reputation: 417
LOL, Creature. Great minds...
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Old 06-14-2012, 12:30 AM
 
Location: DC Metro
20 posts, read 61,430 times
Reputation: 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dazed&Confused View Post
Well, you asked but you may not like what I have to say. I'm not being mean, but I am 53 and I have raised my children so I do know what I'm talking about. First of all, you have to be realistic. I don't know why you think a 20 year old should be making 75K a year. Secondly, forget the buying a house. Nobody who is 20 should have a car payment and a mortgage unless you plan to file bankruptcy by age 25. It sounds like you are living paycheck to paycheck already and, by the sound of it, even a temporary job loss would send you all over the edge. So would a major home repair. You should be renting, just like you are. At least you don't have to pay major bank if your AC breaks down. Secondly, there should be no car payment. You should both be driving paid for junkers that get you from point A to point B and that only need comprehensive insurance. Thirdly, you can't just move out of Mom & Dad's and expect to maintain the quality of life you had growing up on their dime. Best of luck to you!
I didn't find that mean at all and I'm happy to listen to anything anyone wants to say.

We've done a lot of research on the market rate of his position and it is a lot higher than what he's making, even on the low end. For example, at his previous job he was making 40k and one of his coworkers was making 55. This coworker had only worked at this job for a few months, but was being paid higher because of his degree and previous job experience... both of which are very unrelated to the job. My fiancé worked at that job for a year and his coworker only stayed there for about two months, so obviously my fiancé got much more experience from this job. They have now both moved on to a new company and positions but still have the exact same job tittle despite my fiancé's position having slightly more responsibility. His coworker is now making close to 30k more than he is with LESS experience in their field. My fiancé's brother who manages another team with similar jobs was even surprised to hear how low he was being paid for the work he's doing. Don't get me wrong, he's very greatful to have a job in the first place, let alone one that will provide him with do many opportunities down the road, but it'd frustrating knowing you're doing more work than the guy next to you for so much less.

He was driving a junker up until a few months ago. The car is sitting around 250k miles, gets very poor gas mileage, and was constantly needing repairs worth more than the car, lol. He's driving a 2008 now. He got a good deal on it and it's ending up costing less than the other one that he owns but constantly has something wrong with it, plus his insurance barely went up. I do agree with you that buying a car probably wasn't the smartest idea, but he loves it and is really proud to have something to show for his hard work.

I have no intentions of ever going in to bankruptcy. I know we can't afford a mortgage which is why we don't have one yet, lol. That being said, I just hate to keep throwing money away. I want to eventually be a real estate investor, so to me being the one who is renting is hard to swallow if that makes sense. I know we won't have anything like my parents house for a long time, but I'd like to at least be able to find a fixer upper that we can sell in two years for a small profit. I look at owning a home as our first investment rather than some sort of status figure or anything like that. However, I do understand that we could get ourselves into a lot of trouble if we push things too fast before we're financially ready. I have a budget spreadsheet showing exactly what we spend and save and I've made one that includes owning a home. I know we're not there yet.

I was very fortunate growing up to have had the life I did and I don't expect for a second to have that sort of life again for quite a while. When I stopped working I got rid of my nice phone and my car has been paid off for years. My parents still pay for my health insurance because certain medical problems that I have would make it very, very expensive for me. My stepmother's company pays the majority of it, so they have offered to keep me on their policy until I'm married to help me out. I never asked them to, and I've offered to pay it on multiple occasions. My father also pays for my cell phone only because he wants me to have one. I was fine with not having any phone, but he bought it for me so I can keep in touch with him since I live pretty far. It's not a smart phone and it has limited texts and calls. The only time I use it is to talk to him so he wants to pay for it.

I've got about 40k in savings, so if anything major did happen with his job we would be able to recover without substantial damage. I do not, however, want to use this for a downpayment as I like to have an emergency fund.

I appreciate your response.

I'd love to hear from someone who is in a similar situation with being underpaid and not being able to afford the area. I'm especially interested in hearing from people who were or are younger and able to buy a home or invest without going into debt.
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Old 06-14-2012, 12:49 AM
 
Location: DC Metro
20 posts, read 61,430 times
Reputation: 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dazed&Confused View Post
If you think it's hard living rent free on 50K, someone is living waaaaay beyond their means. You may have to give up some things. It's hard to pay bills and still have the Starbucks, dinners out, hair, nails, vacations, status vehicles, smart phones, Coach bags and Jimmy Choo's. Then again, you said he isn't even paying your expenses yet. Just wait until that if you think this is bad. If you really want to be an adult, you're going to have to make sacrifices and do without. You can't have it all @ 20 years old. You probably can't have it all, ever. Very few of us do. It's tough out there.
You're being a bit quick to judge. I don't have Starbucks. I drink water all day. We go out for dinner maybe once a month. I've been doing my own hair and nails for the past five years, even when I had a job. The only vacations we go on are the ones we drive to when visiting my parents at their beach house which cost nothing but the gas to get there. My car is a 1999 Honda. I don't think that qualifies as a status vehicle. His was a 1997 Nissan until it got more expensive to keep repairing than to just get a new car. He now drives a 2008 Nissan which I also don't think qualifies as a status symbol either. It's a commuter car. The purse that I use was $20 in China Town from last year when I went to NYC to visit family and I don't own a single pair of shoes over $60 bucks.

I grew up in a very wealthy family, yet I live nothing like them. I don't ask them for money and I don't feel that I'm entitled to live a certain way. We're not trying to "have it all", we're trying to start a life for ourselves where we work hard for what we have and eventually somewhere down the line can enjoy the nicer things.

None of that had relevancy to the actual topic of my thread.
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Old 06-14-2012, 12:56 AM
 
Location: My beloved Bluegrass
14,731 posts, read 10,624,988 times
Reputation: 19904
Quote:
Originally Posted by JBennett View Post
, but was being paid higher because of his degree and previous job experience... .......both of which are very unrelated to the job....
That degree will get you more money, especially in the long run. That is the main reason why people sacrifice four years of their life and live like paupers to get one. It's just a fact of life.

Quote:
........They have now both moved on to a new company and positions but still have the exact same job tittle despite my fiancé's position having slightly more responsibility. His coworker is now making close to 30k more than he is with LESS experience in their field.
There must be a reason for the difference in the income other than just the degree, despite what I said above. Most businesses don't just throw away an extra 30 grand for funsies.

But as far as your original posting... most 20 year olds do not expect to be able to purchase property.
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Old 06-14-2012, 01:02 AM
 
Location: Chapel Hill, NC, formerly DC and Phila
8,573 posts, read 12,671,394 times
Reputation: 8333
Most people afford this area by having two incomes. Until that time, starting out, many single people live with roommates. That helps keep expenses down. It's usually not until several years later of saving and moving up the ladder income-wise that one can afford to buy a home around DC. $50K for one person starting out is adequate, but it's way too low to support two people well around DC.
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Old 06-14-2012, 01:11 AM
 
Location: DC Metro
20 posts, read 61,430 times
Reputation: 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by Creature of the Wheel View Post
Lets see............you're both 20. You and your fiancé are living at home with his mom. Are you sure this is the man you want to spend the rest of your life with? What does he have to offer you? From the looks of it, he doesn't have jack squat to offer. Also, why are you unemployed, and what are those "other things" you've mentioned? ... How is renting throwing money away? Do you want to have to handle the repair costs for an air conditioner, heater, plumbing, roof, etc...? Forget that! That's something my landlord can handle with his own money! Renting will save you money! Why do you think a 20 year old should be making $75,000 without having to work his way up for it? If your parents brought you up through life with the belief that everything is guaranteed, as well as the tale about you being special, you were lied to!

When I was 20, I was still working at a pizza joint. My car was one of the most unpleasant things on the road, but it ran from point A to B without a problem. I was also realistic about my approach in life. I knew I wouldn't be able to afford the super spendy and trendy lifestyle, so I sat back and contemplated my next moves within the next few years. Fast forward 9 years: due to lots of patience and solid decision making, things have panned out for me. Now I can afford some of the finer things in life. However, I don't live beyond my means. I still don't own a house. I don't plan on to. When something needs repairing, I let my landlord know about it.

By the way, if you haven't figured it out by now, you'll help your fiancé out quite a bit by being employed.
We live with his mother because she offers us very cheap rent. Your post seems more like an attack than useful information, but I'll answer you anyway. Yes I'm sure this is the man I want to spend my life with. He works extremely hard. All of the people I was friends with in high school are off at college partying every night or pregnant and being supported by their parents. I don't see how living with your mother while working and saving money to move out would make someone an unworthy fiancé?

I'm not sure why you would need to know why I'm unemployed as it has nothing at all to do with what I asked. I had a job and was going to college up until a few months ago. I have certain health problems that I'm taking care of which make it very difficult for me to work right now. My health is, and will always be, a priority over my employment.

If you buy a house knowing that it makes you money when you purchase it and not when you sell it it's a very good investment. Renting isn't an investment at all. Your landlord is making money off of you and once you move you'll have absolutely nothing to show for the tens of thousands you spent on rent each year. I'll eventually own my house outright and possibly rent it and make money off of someone just like you one day. Not to be rude, but I'm fairly sure I'm not the stupid one.

My fiancé has worked his way up. He's followed the same path as the rest of his co-workers, only much faster because he excels at what he does. As I already said, I'm not looking for that " super spendy and trendy lifestyle", we want to work our way up just like everyone else has to. That doesn't mean, however, that at 20 years old we should be working at a pizza place driving a junk car. We grab the opportunities we're given and work with what we have. I'm sorry if you weren't making your ideal salary at twenty, but that doesn't mean other people don't deserve to be paid at least market value for their time and hard work.

Thanks for the tip. I never would have thought of that.

Last edited by FindingZen; 06-14-2012 at 10:02 AM.. Reason: updated previously edited quote
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Old 06-14-2012, 01:24 AM
 
Location: DC Metro
20 posts, read 61,430 times
Reputation: 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by Oldhag1 View Post
That degree will get you more money, especially in the long run. That is the main reason why people sacrifice four years of their life and live like paupers to get one. It's just a fact of life.


There must be a reason for the difference in the income other than just the degree, despite what I said above. Most businesses don't just throw away an extra 30 grand for funsies.

But as far as your original posting... most 20 year olds do not expect to be able to purchase property.
He works for a subcontracting company, so his boss doesn't determine how much he makes, the other company does. From what his boss says its a combination of not having a degree, minimal work history, and although he did not directly state it, age. He said something along the lines of having years of experience and a degree are worth a lot even if they aren't directly related. As I said, he's very happy to have the job at all and the employer did give him a huge chance seeing as the requirements in those departments were much higher than he could meet for a few years. He also said that employers don't like to give such substantial raises to people who were previously making much less and that he should be happy getting such a large pay increase in the first place, lol.

And yes, I realize that most 20 year olds don't expect to purchase property, but I'd rather not be like most of the 20 year olds I know, lol.
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