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Old 03-01-2008, 06:34 AM
 
Location: DC Area, for now
3,517 posts, read 12,058,733 times
Reputation: 2141

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I agree with most of what janb said. The sooner we get our collective heads out of the sand and start building the infrastructure to move our energy needs to other clean sources and rely less on oil, the smoother the transition to becoming a second tier nation will be. It does look like that is where we are headed unless we do some serious changes.

I just got my propane bill - yikes! And I keep my house at 60, 55 when I'm gone or asleep.
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Old 03-01-2008, 09:44 AM
 
Location: Gary, WV & Springfield, ME
5,826 posts, read 8,656,184 times
Reputation: 17267
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tesaje View Post
I just got my propane bill - yikes! And I keep my house at 60, 55 when I'm gone or asleep.
And here I thought I was the female version of Scrooge McDuck. I use a space heater to keep my legs warm when I am on the computer and rarely take my ski jacket off. The thermometer beside the computer usually reads 40 and I can see my breath more often than not.

I use the propane (ventless fireplace) heater in the kitchen where I keep my tv and one very comfortable arm chair. I do not use any source of heat in the house when I am not here and none at night when I am under an electric blanket and two comforters. Cold? Only when I step out of the shower. Brr.
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Old 03-01-2008, 10:07 AM
 
Location: New Orleans Louisiana
156 posts, read 352,305 times
Reputation: 215
Quote:
Originally Posted by normie View Post
For what it's worth...

I'm catching up on city-data, and just read all five pages of this thread in one piece. It's great to read such thought provoking comments and also very amusing.

Why is it amusing, you may ask? Because I could swear I just fell into a time warp. I remember having all night bull sessions that were just like this... in the 1970's. I shared a house with a bunch of 20 somethings, and we'd sit up all night debating this sort of thing. I still remember some of those conversations, as if they just happened.

I swear, you could print out this thread and go back in time and hear us saying the exact same things. Almost all of us were convinced we would never be able to retire. We knew that retirement was a thing of the past! (We were also positive none of us would ever be able to afford a house. Or even our own apartment. Not with the way the economy was going in the 1970's. There was a recession going on! Gas lines! Inflation! An war that was eating through the nation's budget and politicians warned we might be there 100 years! We knew that we would never have a life even remotely like our parents' because the economy would never recover.)

We were so sure we knew how life would turn out. 30+ years later I find myself retired, in a house that I own. It's a completely different place than I expected to be. Who knew?

Was it because I was lucky? Because I was disciplined? Because I was born at the right time? Who knows. I made plenty of mistakes along the way, hit a few lucky breaks, did a few things right. Is it a story that will repeat for the next generation? Beats me. I don't know the moral of this story, I just was struck by the de ja vu.
True Normie...I remember those days of waiting for gas. You probably remember too that the price of oil actually decreased after that period. The problem of course... is that the shortage then was caused by factors much different from what faces us now. After those few months of lines at gas stations and discussion of what the future would bring...we all went back to business as usual. I don't think you will see much of a decrease this time. $4 and $5 a gallon gasoline is right around the corner and it's almost assuredly here to stay. Everything else that is made from petroleum or moved to market by petroleum will follow with increases. However wealthy you feel at this point is going to slip. This time we may have to do more than just talk about it.

Real estate is one of the most inflationary aspects of this financial corner we have painted ourselves into. Real estate, for some reason I have never understood, is not treated as a depreciating asset. A new car depreciates as soon as you drive off the lot...try to sell it for twice what you paid 5 years after you bought it. If real estate increased in value only as the cost of living did and with deduction for depreciation...everything would not be so totally out of whack. New homes would fall back in price more to where they should really be. The greed factor would be a little more suppressed. There is no basis, other than demand, for housing appreciating 100% in a 5 year period and no possible way that wages can keep up with it. Real estate needs a huge correction. You are just beginning to get a glimpse of what happens when demand isn't there. It's simply not sustainable and it may be today, tomorrow or five years from now but something has to give. People have been sold on the idea that the wildly appreciating home they are living in somehow has made them more wealthy. The government has perpetuated this by allowing predatory financial practices such as sub prime loans, all to entice people into purchasing far larger and more expensive homes than they can afford(all to keep the illusion of ever increasing demand going)....and others to feel the need for greed and out of sight speculative profit making. Of course some make fortunes off of this but for the most of us it actually causes losses in personal wealth after those loans make themselves into the financial markets and the already rediculously priced real estate market goes higher into the stratosphere. The truth is that it's hurts far more than it helps for the average person. We are very near to or have already reached the tipping point on real estate prices too. There may be far more to this housing slowdown than is evident now. Future generations might not be as lucky as we were in the 70's...
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Old 03-01-2008, 10:52 AM
 
Location: Home is where the heart is
15,400 posts, read 25,838,249 times
Reputation: 18992
Quote:
Originally Posted by GregoryS View Post
I don't think you will see much of a decrease this time. $4 and $5 a gallon gasoline is right around the corner and it's almost assuredly here to stay. Everything else that is made from petroleum or moved to market by petroleum will follow with increases. However wealthy you feel at this point is going to slip.
LOL, we didn't see much of a decrease back then, either. Gas went down a little but never got even close to being 23 cents a gallon again. Homes went down a little but never returned to their earlier prices. My parents bought a house in an upper middle class suburb of Miami in 1974 for $26,000 (Miami Springs, if you know the area). In 1978 the house next door sold for $70,000. It was almost identical to ours, and it more than doubled in price. I remember this all these years later because it was considered shocking. $70,000 for a simple 4-bedroom house! Unheard of! It's certain to destroy the economy, people just can't withstand it. Etc. Etc. Yup, I remember saying all these things.

Anyway thanks for some funny memories. Here's another ironic one: I can remember getting an A for an essay question in my college economics class on why the stock market would never go over 4,000. That's what the professor taught us and he had all sorts of statistics and charts to prove it... so it must be true.

Ah, it's good to have a little laugh! Wonder what "truths" will be making us chuckle 30 years from now?
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Old 03-01-2008, 11:27 AM
 
Location: New Orleans Louisiana
156 posts, read 352,305 times
Reputation: 215
Quote:
Originally Posted by normie View Post

Anyway thanks for some funny memories. Here's another ironic one: I can remember getting an A for an essay question in my college economics class on why the stock market would never go over 4,000. That's what the professor taught us and he had all sorts of statistics and charts to prove it... so it must be true.

Ah, it's good to have a little laugh! Wonder what "truths" will be making us chuckle 30 years from now?

Wow I remember that too....4,000....seems incredibly low now doesn't it. Thanks for not slamming me for some of my "out of the box" thinking. I guess I get into that Bobby Kennedy frame of mind ya know..."some people see things as they are and ask why....I dream things that never were and say why not" .....I just hope to be alive to be chuckling 30 years from now lol
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Old 03-01-2008, 12:23 PM
 
Location: DC Area, for now
3,517 posts, read 12,058,733 times
Reputation: 2141
Quote:
Originally Posted by AliceT View Post
And here I thought I was the female version of Scrooge McDuck. I use a space heater to keep my legs warm when I am on the computer and rarely take my ski jacket off. The thermometer beside the computer usually reads 40 and I can see my breath more often than not.

I use the propane (ventless fireplace) heater in the kitchen where I keep my tv and one very comfortable arm chair. I do not use any source of heat in the house when I am not here and none at night when I am under an electric blanket and two comforters. Cold? Only when I step out of the shower. Brr.
You are more frugal than I. I'm impressed. As I see the prices go up and up for heating, I've been thinking of ways to go even more frugal. I've got a space heater next to me in my den which is the only room where I sit down for any length of time and that helps a lot. Polartec layers are my best friend. I also have a space heater on a timer in the bath so that isn't brutal. the rest of the house is fine in the low 50s because I'm either moving about and don't feel cold or in bed where I have plenty of covers.
The animals don't seem to mind. Interestingly, while my propane bill is much higher than its ever been, the electrical bill is not, despite the additional space heating and I switched to an electric water heater again last year.

It isn't that I couldn't spend more, I just don't want a larger percentage of my budget to go towards the increasing energy prices. I have to believe that the high prices are gouging because their profits are breaking records by large margins. So it isn't their cost that is driving the prices up.
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Old 03-01-2008, 12:34 PM
 
Location: Gary, WV & Springfield, ME
5,826 posts, read 8,656,184 times
Reputation: 17267
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tesaje View Post
The animals don't seem to mind. Interestingly, while my propane bill is much higher than its ever been, the electrical bill is not, despite the additional space heating and I switched to an electric water heater again last year.
I've noticed the same thing. I try to get my pomeranian under the covers with me at night and within 10 minutes, he's trying to get on top of the covers. He prefers to sleep on top - and there have been times when the house is in the 20's.

I have my pipes wrapped in electric insulators and have been pleasantly surprised at my electric bill - never more than $45/month.
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Old 03-01-2008, 12:38 PM
 
Location: Home is where the heart is
15,400 posts, read 25,838,249 times
Reputation: 18992
Quote:
Originally Posted by GregoryS View Post
Thanks for not slamming me for some of my "out of the box" thinking.
I try to avoid slamming anyone... because the longer I live the more I realize how little I know! The only thing I really know is that you never know who's going to end up being right!
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Old 03-01-2008, 12:42 PM
 
Location: New Orleans Louisiana
156 posts, read 352,305 times
Reputation: 215
Quote:
Originally Posted by normie View Post
I try to avoid slamming anyone... because the longer I live the more I realize how little I know! The only thing I really know is that you never know who's going to end up being right!

You are wise beyond your years...
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Old 03-02-2008, 09:00 AM
 
29,812 posts, read 34,900,894 times
Reputation: 11730
Quote:
Originally Posted by GregoryS View Post
True Normie...I remember those days of waiting for gas. You probably remember too that the price of oil actually decreased after that period. The problem of course... is that the shortage then was caused by factors much different from what faces us now. After those few months of lines at gas stations and discussion of what the future would bring...we all went back to business as usual. I don't think you will see much of a decrease this time. $4 and $5 a gallon gasoline is right around the corner and it's almost assuredly here to stay. Everything else that is made from petroleum or moved to market by petroleum will follow with increases. However wealthy you feel at this point is going to slip. This time we may have to do more than just talk about it.

Real estate is one of the most inflationary aspects of this financial corner we have painted ourselves into. Real estate, for some reason I have never understood, is not treated as a depreciating asset. A new car depreciates as soon as you drive off the lot...try to sell it for twice what you paid 5 years after you bought it. If real estate increased in value only as the cost of living did and with deduction for depreciation...everything would not be so totally out of whack. New homes would fall back in price more to where they should really be. The greed factor would be a little more suppressed. There is no basis, other than demand, for housing appreciating 100% in a 5 year period and no possible way that wages can keep up with it. Real estate needs a huge correction. You are just beginning to get a glimpse of what happens when demand isn't there. It's simply not sustainable and it may be today, tomorrow or five years from now but something has to give. People have been sold on the idea that the wildly appreciating home they are living in somehow has made them more wealthy. The government has perpetuated this by allowing predatory financial practices such as sub prime loans, all to entice people into purchasing far larger and more expensive homes than they can afford(all to keep the illusion of ever increasing demand going)....and others to feel the need for greed and out of sight speculative profit making. Of course some make fortunes off of this but for the most of us it actually causes losses in personal wealth after those loans make themselves into the financial markets and the already rediculously priced real estate market goes higher into the stratosphere. The truth is that it's hurts far more than it helps for the average person. We are very near to or have already reached the tipping point on real estate prices too. There may be far more to this housing slowdown than is evident now. Future generations might not be as lucky as we were in the 70's...
You can argue all you want about new home affordablity and income increase vs housing cost increase but! There is a reality that that the cost of materials and construction are escalating. Just as oil is shooting up so are the cost of other building products. We are just one part of a global market that is competing for the available resources. Home ownership as we see it with size and lot will be for those of above average means. Future home ownership for those of modest means will be much more modest in size and features. Builders will build houses with the greatest margins. Why? Because thats the nature of business to minimize risk and increase profit margins.
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