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Old 06-28-2010, 09:53 AM
 
Location: Out in the Badlands
10,425 posts, read 8,758,235 times
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Old 06-28-2010, 12:29 PM
 
Location: Falls Church, VA
722 posts, read 1,753,026 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TechlawyerinPG View Post
One fact that no one has mentioned is parental/family gifts. There is a lot of generational wealth being passed down to assist children with college, grad school and home purchases (just assistance with college/grad school alone means you may have $1000 more a month disposable income because you do not have student loans). Where there is a huge gap between peers in that you make the same amount of money but cannot obtain the same level of housing or disposable income...many forget that mommy/daddy/grandparents assistance plays a large part. I find when I talk with many peers that are able to obtain much more but we came out of school the same time and make the same amount...that this is the real reason. I had classmates in law school whose parents bought them condos downtown instead of them living in the dorm and they later used equity from this to buy their first home. I've had coworkers get wedding gifts of $100k+ down payments on a home. I've known people run up a credit card beyond their means and mom and dad paid it off. When you are doing it all on your own, you can't really compare yourself to peers operating under these scenarios.
This is all very, very true and worth keeping in mind. Last weekend, we spent time with friends who have just bought their first house. Meanwhile, we still rent. It's easy to default to feeling bad about ourselves or bemoaning how we went wrong.

But our friends make the same amount of money as us - quite literally, since half of us share a workplace and job titles - are the same age and have the same level of education. How could it be that we did it so "wrong" and they did it so "right," if our circumstances are the same? Turns out that they have wealthy parents who were willing to assist with a downpayment.

While I don't begrudge them this advantage - I know I'd take advantage of it if I had it, too - it is frustrating to be competing with these folks on the market. We can never, never match them. It amazes me how much wealth is in this area, how many of these 20 and 30 somethings have parents who are apparently just out there sitting on huge wads of cash! My parents live on Social Security, for heaven's sake, and not well. Living here is like being exposed to an alien world.
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Old 06-28-2010, 04:00 PM
 
1,403 posts, read 1,849,126 times
Reputation: 451
Quote:
Originally Posted by athousandlogins View Post
While I don't begrudge them this advantage - I know I'd take advantage of it if I had it, too - it is frustrating to be competing with these folks on the market. We can never, never match them. It amazes me how much wealth is in this area, how many of these 20 and 30 somethings have parents who are apparently just out there sitting on huge wads of cash! My parents live on Social Security, for heaven's sake, and not well. Living here is like being exposed to an alien world.
Who says you have to "match" or "compete with" them this way? So one day you will have your own house and they might have a bigger house still. So what? Maybe you have a better taste and will make your smaller home more attractive. Or maybe you are nicer and have more friends and lead a richer social life.

My wife and I do very well financially, but we don't try to compete with others. First of all, we feel very blessed that we materially have so much more than the vast majority of human beings on the planet who live with so little. Second, in an area like this, there will ALWAYS be someone with a bigger house or more money (some with very little education and certainly lower than what we have). It's a futile and utlimately unhappy endeavor to measure oneself materially with those who are materially "next level up" and complain "why don't I have that?" That road never ends. It's best not to take that road.
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Old 06-28-2010, 04:02 PM
 
1,339 posts, read 2,960,947 times
Reputation: 2220
Quote:
Originally Posted by athousandlogins View Post
This is all very, very true and worth keeping in mind. Last weekend, we spent time with friends who have just bought their first house. Meanwhile, we still rent. It's easy to default to feeling bad about ourselves or bemoaning how we went wrong.

But our friends make the same amount of money as us - quite literally, since half of us share a workplace and job titles - are the same age and have the same level of education. How could it be that we did it so "wrong" and they did it so "right," if our circumstances are the same? Turns out that they have wealthy parents who were willing to assist with a downpayment.

While I don't begrudge them this advantage - I know I'd take advantage of it if I had it, too - it is frustrating to be competing with these folks on the market. We can never, never match them. It amazes me how much wealth is in this area, how many of these 20 and 30 somethings have parents who are apparently just out there sitting on huge wads of cash! My parents live on Social Security, for heaven's sake, and not well. Living here is like being exposed to an alien world.

Au contraire, my friend! You must learn to be proud of yourself because everything you have/own is a result of your hard work. You have two options from here:
  • Teach the importance of being a self-made person to your kids, OR
  • Be the parent who's going to dole out wads of cash to their kids
I hope you make the correct choice.

Thanks,
K
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Old 06-28-2010, 04:36 PM
 
2,671 posts, read 4,524,137 times
Reputation: 2122
Quote:
Originally Posted by kutra11 View Post
Au contraire, my friend! You must learn to be proud of yourself because everything you have/own is a result of your hard work. You have two options from here:
  • Teach the importance of being a self-made person to your kids, OR
  • Be the parent who's going to dole out wads of cash to their kids
I hope you make the correct choice.

Thanks,
K
You may like this Blood, Sweat, and Tears cover of a Billie Holliday song:


YouTube - Blood,Sweat & Tears-God Bless The Child(1969)

"Mama may have...and Papa may have...God bless the child that's got his own."
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Old 06-28-2010, 05:09 PM
 
2,688 posts, read 5,953,655 times
Reputation: 1288
Quote:
Originally Posted by IndiaLimaDelta View Post
Who says you have to "match" or "compete with" them this way? So one day you will have your own house and they might have a bigger house still. So what? Maybe you have a better taste and will make your smaller home more attractive. Or maybe you are nicer and have more friends and lead a richer social life.

My wife and I do very well financially, but we don't try to compete with others. First of all, we feel very blessed that we materially have so much more than the vast majority of human beings on the planet who live with so little. Second, in an area like this, there will ALWAYS be someone with a bigger house or more money (some with very little education and certainly lower than what we have). It's a futile and utlimately unhappy endeavor to measure oneself materially with those who are materially "next level up" and complain "why don't I have that?" That road never ends. It's best not to take that road.
Excellent advice.
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Old 06-29-2010, 07:44 AM
 
Location: Falls Church, VA
722 posts, read 1,753,026 times
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Hahahaha - sorry. I meant that we are competing with them, or people like them, for housing. Not for like, happiness in life. The nature of the free market is such that people compete for scarce items - in this case family housing within reasonable commuting distance of Ballston - and of course folks who can walk up with a big, fat check from their parents' bank accounts are always going to be able to make higher offers and secure mortgages with more favorable terms, giving them more flexibility as to what they can purchase. In an area where houses sometimes spend only a day on the market, there really is competition to purchase. The good houses get snapped up really, really quickly.

But no, we're not in a lifestyle competition with anybody.

Last edited by athousandlogins; 06-29-2010 at 07:46 AM.. Reason: typo!
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Old 06-29-2010, 08:16 AM
 
1,403 posts, read 1,849,126 times
Reputation: 451
You can also save more than they do.

You'd be amazed how much you can save when you cut out truly optional lifestyle choices. Although unimaginable now, I once lived on $695 per month when I was in graduate school and that was BEFORE deducting housing cost.

That "big, fat check from their parents" did not magically appear from nowhere. Somebody worked and saved for it. If that bothers you so much, make sure you can do the same for your kids. If having a big house is an important priority, save, save, save like mad and invest wisely.
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Old 06-29-2010, 09:44 AM
 
Location: Falls Church, VA
722 posts, read 1,753,026 times
Reputation: 316
A big house is not a priority at all. At all. In fact, I vastly prefer a smaller residence for a variety of reasons. However, even a small house is prohibitively expensive here.

But thanks for the insulting assumption.

And thanks, also, for the insulting assumption that I know nothing about spending or being thrifty simply because I haven't saved the downpayment on a six hundred thousand dollar rambler.

Do you see how hurtful it is to go spouting about how people should be happy with what they have now, and yet assume at the same time that they are poor with money because they don't own a house? This is what the middle class here is up against. It is no way to live.
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Old 06-29-2010, 09:53 AM
 
Location: Virginia
18,717 posts, read 26,849,198 times
Reputation: 42860
Quote:
Originally Posted by athousandlogins View Post
A big house is not a priority at all.
Yup--those of us who've known you over the years know how unlikely an assumption that was.

FWIW, we had a small starter home for a very long time and after awhile I presumed it would be the only house I'd ever be able to afford. I wanted to live in a bigger house, and I wanted to be closer to where I work, but after years of frustrating searches I came to believe such a goal was out of reach.

Then last year, when we weren't even looking, it all fell into place. A nice house in our price range became available, we jumped on it and to our amazement we got it! At the same time my son got married and needed a place to live, so we sold him our old house. It seemed like it was "meant to be." If you had asked me a day before we saw that house I would have said there was no way I'd ever be living in the neighborhood where we are now. So hang in there, athousandlogins, you never know what's about to come your way. It was mostly a matter of good luck (although it was important to have the savings lined up, too, so that when good luck did come our way, we had the ability to pounce on it).

Last edited by Caladium; 06-29-2010 at 10:02 AM..
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