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Old 01-10-2017, 02:46 PM
 
2,446 posts, read 2,079,049 times
Reputation: 5706

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Serious Conversation View Post
You've absolutely nailed this.

I'm not saying that two adults making $50,000 each annually is a really high mark to hit - in midsized metros, even ones in the South and the Midwest, it's not uncommon. Still, in my little small town in the middle of nowhere, I'd say $50,000 for a single income earner makes you a top 15%-20%er - median household income is just in the mid $30k range. Manufacturing, mining, and tobacco are either gone or have dramatically contracted, and what we're left with are mostly low wage junk jobs - food service, retail, call centers, and a lot of low end jobs in home health and elder care, but even that's going to dry up as that generation dies off and the younger generation moves out of Appalachia due to lack of opportunity. I have a good job, for now, but if something happens to it, I'm probably going to have to move to Nashville, Raleigh, or Charlotte to make more than $12-$15/hr.

When I was growing up, a man with just a high school education could work in the mines or factories and provide a decent, though not flashy by any means, life for his family here. Those folks often got overtime and had benefits. Today, that's all but gone for the low end worker. If he can find a job, and hasn't turned to drugs, crime, or SSI, he's having to bust butt for low wages relative to the past and few if any benefits. Most of the guys I know my age who are still with just a high school education are what I'd consider a basket case.

I know this forum has a lot of wealthy people and college educated folks who have done quite well, but it's disheartening sometimes.
Probably true but then again they could be 40 year olds living in their parents basement and getting their kicks playing on the internet.
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Old 01-10-2017, 02:54 PM
 
Location: Born in L.A. - NYC is Second Home - Rustbelt is Home Base
1,608 posts, read 744,346 times
Reputation: 1372
OP, no one cares. I work around the visual arts. they like to promote the young, not the old. Things went downhill when the gov reduced % rates to 0. The retirees were screwed with their interest bearing investments. I don't have an answer, we live in a different world than before. I'm just supposed there are not 100 times more homeless people in America. I don't know how they can get by.
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Old 01-10-2017, 03:02 PM
 
2,446 posts, read 2,079,049 times
Reputation: 5706
Quote:
Originally Posted by slackercruster View Post
OP, no one cares. I work around the visual arts. they like to promote the young, not the old. Things went downhill when the gov reduced % rates to 0. The retirees were screwed with their interest bearing investments. I don't have an answer, we live in a different world than before. I'm just supposed there are not 100 times more homeless people in America. I don't know how they can get by.
I see a lot of young people in nice cars, big houses and all the toys. The only thing I can figure is they are deep in debt. The thing is young people have not really seen a bad recession. I live in an area where the eighties recession was devastating as the manufacturing sector got clobbered. It was hard to even find a bad job.

Thankfully the area as diversified and is no longer as dependent on manufacturing which is usually the first thing hit in a down time. The eighties experience made me very cautious with debt and generally frugal.
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Old 01-10-2017, 03:16 PM
 
7,582 posts, read 2,242,294 times
Reputation: 9139
Quote:
Originally Posted by Perryinva View Post
It's called being frugal and smart with their money. My wifes ex-MIL was a single secretary and her mother and son lived with her. She has a paid off house in Miami, now worth maybe $250k, near the airport, had a couple of hundred k saved, and has a pension as well. Now, she retired in 1994, at age 65, when pensions were more prevalent, but she collects a $1600/mo SS check and it is the only job she ever worked. So she was not making big bucks by any stretch. In her case, her denial of any real luxuries is over the top. She used to rinse and reuse paper towels and paper plates. She still uses no hot water 3/4s of the year, and only uses AC for 2-3 hours in the hottest part of the year to cool down her bedroom right before she goes to bed. Despite her electric bill of only $40. In summer. In Miami. She treats a dollar likes it's a $50 bill. While many may be poor, too many are poor because they refuse to live at a level that their income can justify. Television makes one think one can work in a coffeehouse and live in a nice 2br apt in Manhattan, and stuff along those lines is justification for spending.

1 in 5 housholds makes over $100k a year. Not exactly Elysium by any stretch. And the majority of those will be understandably in higher COL areas. The gross amount means much less to ones standard of living with out comparing COL. How much you save and invest are what counts, and the higher wage means more SS and more pension (if it exists). Once you reach a certain level of savings, then in retirement you can relocate to a lower COL area, where that higher SS, and maybe pension will really pay off. Thats how my parents and many, many others retired.
So she retired almost 25 years ago? Not even close to being representative of today.

Secretaries make at MOST $15/hour today. Explain how a CURRENTLY EMPLOYED SECRETARY MAKING $15/hour can buy a house, amass $125K in savings and secure a pension of $30K to $40K, used in the other example.

Explain how your wife's ex MIL who stopped working 25 years ago managed to save "a couple hundred K" in a pre-401K era.

This should be the fantasy retirement board. No one has been able to show mathematically how low wage jobs miraculously turn into hundreds of thousands of dollars at retirement. As my math teachers used to say, "Please show your work."
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Old 01-10-2017, 03:19 PM
 
Location: Los Angeles area
14,018 posts, read 17,765,919 times
Reputation: 32309
Quote:
Originally Posted by CrownVic95 View Post
And the vast majority of those households are in New York, Wash DC, San Francisco, and other coastal metros with stratospheric housing costs. Where 100k is nothing like 100k. So it is a meaningless statistic.

Those of you who continue to attempt to brush aside the economic calamity that has befallen millions of average Americans over the last 30 years with individual anecdotal examples and happy faces might just as well set out to climb Niagara Falls. Far too many people know better. And they're not, for a moment, going to sit still for the argument that they've done it to themselves because they didn't re-use their paper towels and squandered their nest-egg on hot water.

On the surface, it is very difficult to understand the degree of denial that still floats around out there on this and other closely related topics. But dig a little deeper and it perhaps becomes clearer. I think it's safe to say the denial comes from two main groups. 1) Those who are too young to have seen it any other way and have no idea what we've lost. 2) Those who are old enough to know better, but have milked the system, gotten theirs while they could - at the expense of many others, and are doing their damnedest to raise the moat behind them just ahead of the angry mob.
I agree that individual anecdotal examples don't prove anything; people who generalize from them are deluding themselves. But is it possible that you are doing the same thing from the other end of the spectrum by assuming that the "average" American is suffering an "economic calamity"?

Lots of people are very insular; they look at their neighbors, their coworkers, the families of children that attend school with their own children, the people who eat at the restaurants they eat at. From these observations they conclude that what they see is "normal". But my description can apply at any financial/economic level. In some neighborhoods BMW's and Mercedes' are normal, while in others old beater cars on their last legs are normal. So "normal" is a problematic concept and statistics such as median family household gross income are skewed by the cost of living in any given location.

Also, I have to wonder whether anger, frustration, resentment, and jealousy color the conclusions people arrive at. One example is your statement that people who have been successful in life have done so "at the expense of many others". If someone has been dishonest and defrauded others, well that is accurate. Otherwise not so much.

I see both sides of this because I am literally in the middle, and also because I personally know a very wide spectrum of people of many ages, including a few Boomers who don't have two nickels to rub together. I am not "successful" in the sense that real achievers would define it, but neither am I living under a bridge. I live in reasonable comfort; I neither have nor want luxuries.
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Old 01-10-2017, 03:50 PM
 
Location: Loudon, TN
5,815 posts, read 4,859,778 times
Reputation: 19538
There are only two ways to save money. Increase your income, or reduce your expenses.

It would be very hard to retire comfortably if one's income remained $15/hr throughout their career. I would hope that someone who has a $15/hr job would, over the years, apply for and promote to positions with higher skill levels and responsibility, thus higher salaried jobs over the course of their career. If I stayed at my starting clerical ($7/hr ) position for my entire career, I doubt I would have been able to retire until a ripe old age. Anyone with a calculator can see that. Over the course of a "career" (not a "job"), the plan is to continue to educate yourself, learn all you can about the business, follow industry trends in the news, take company or industry training courses, maybe get one or more certificates, or a degree in night school, shadow people in positions that you would like to attain, find and collaborate with a mentor, apply over and over (and over) for higher level positions, and always ask for feedback on what you can do to further yourself in your career. In addition, a person wanting to grow their investments could ask those who were obviously successful investors for advice on how to grow their nest eggs without excessive risk. And look for money making opportunities wherever they could. You usually don't move upward on the pay scale without putting in extra effort. You don't just take a job and ride it for 30 years, anymore than you would ride the same horse for 30 years and expect it to carry you through your old age. You have to hustle, you have to fight for it.

Immediately people will tell me "it doesn't work like that anymore" or "you're living in a fantasy", but the fact is that's how I was able to retire 6 years ago. I know all of this works because I, and many of my friends and family, have done it. Public sector or private, this is how people do it. I lived on a budget, and saved, and stayed out of debt, and practiced saying the words I grew up on "We can't afford it". I "do the math" everyday in my head before I make a purchase, or if I'm thinking of selling or buying an investment. I don't wash paper towels (anymore), but I sure as heck did when I made $7/hr.
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Old 01-10-2017, 03:53 PM
 
1,158 posts, read 1,255,090 times
Reputation: 922
Quote:
Originally Posted by jasperhobbs View Post
The thing is young people have not really seen a bad recession.
What do you call the Great Recession of the late 2000s? If that's not a bad recession, nothing is.

Take a look at some of these numbers:

For First Time In 130 Years, More Young Adults Live With Parents Than With Partners
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Old 01-10-2017, 04:02 PM
 
2,446 posts, read 2,079,049 times
Reputation: 5706
Quote:
Originally Posted by basehead617 View Post
What do you call the Great Recession of the late 2000s? If that's not a bad recession, nothing is.

Take a look at some of these numbers:

For First Time In 130 Years, More Young Adults Live With Parents Than With Partners
Yes the 2000's recession was bad but near as bad as the 80's recession where I live (Midwest). We didn't have the housing bubble like many areas of the country.
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Old 01-10-2017, 04:19 PM
 
6,553 posts, read 3,107,016 times
Reputation: 6056
Quote:
Originally Posted by BayAreaHillbilly View Post
According to you macroeconomics play no role in anything.

It's not so much that I grew up in high COL and decided to remain (imagine that - something about the jobs thingey, the family thingey, etc .... oh, but as a bowling alone, highly mobile, rootless murican I'm supposed to care nothing about family and home turf). All things (including income / expense ratio, etc) being equal, and being of an educated upper middle class background, it really should not have mattered. Thing is, the income piece, in real terms, for most middle class people (upper, middle and lower thereof) declined since the early 1970s. This is true in high COL, and low COL. People in Pittsburgh have their own version of these issues, especially in light of the lower pay there vs. here.
How much did you care when other people needed to leave their families and move to improve their lives?

That's a story as old as this country and at all class levels. Things change.....also a story as old as time.
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Old 01-10-2017, 04:41 PM
 
7,582 posts, read 2,242,294 times
Reputation: 9139
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheShadow View Post
There are only two ways to save money. Increase your income, or reduce your expenses.

It would be very hard to retire comfortably if one's income remained $15/hr throughout their career. I would hope that someone who has a $15/hr job would, over the years, apply for and promote to positions with higher skill levels and responsibility, thus higher salaried jobs over the course of their career. If I stayed at my starting clerical ($7/hr ) position for my entire career, I doubt I would have been able to retire until a ripe old age. Anyone with a calculator can see that. Over the course of a "career" (not a "job"), the plan is to continue to educate yourself, learn all you can about the business, follow industry trends in the news, take company or industry training courses, maybe get one or more certificates, or a degree in night school, shadow people in positions that you would like to attain, find and collaborate with a mentor, apply over and over (and over) for higher level positions, and always ask for feedback on what you can do to further yourself in your career. In addition, a person wanting to grow their investments could ask those who were obviously successful investors for advice on how to grow their nest eggs without excessive risk. And look for money making opportunities wherever they could. You usually don't move upward on the pay scale without putting in extra effort. You don't just take a job and ride it for 30 years, anymore than you would ride the same horse for 30 years and expect it to carry you through your old age. You have to hustle, you have to fight for it.

Immediately people will tell me "it doesn't work like that anymore" or "you're living in a fantasy", but the fact is that's how I was able to retire 6 years ago. I know all of this works because I, and many of my friends and family, have done it. Public sector or private, this is how people do it. I lived on a budget, and saved, and stayed out of debt, and practiced saying the words I grew up on "We can't afford it". I "do the math" everyday in my head before I make a purchase, or if I'm thinking of selling or buying an investment. I don't wash paper towels (anymore), but I sure as heck did when I made $7/hr.
I'm not debating the try to get ahead plan or cut back when you need to plan. My point is that people are saying flat out that I know this secretary who retired and has a couple hundred thousand saved and a paid off mortgage. Riiiight. So yes, I'd love to see those numbers.
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