Author Topic: Anyone see this article in the Seattle Times? "Poor Bellevue Couple"  (Read 5956 times)

Dicey

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If anyone else has posted this, I'll take this down. What the absolute fuck did they think would happen when they saved nothing, paid for their children's schooling with money they didn't have, used their home as an ATM, and have NO idea how much money they're spending per month?

I can't think of anything nice to say, so I'll stop typing and y'all can check it out for yourselves.

https://www.seattletimes.com/business/house-rich-savings-poor-and-eyeing-retirement-bellevue-couple-ponders-options

Kimera757

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Re: Anyone see this article in the Seattle Times? "Poor Bellevue Couple"
« Reply #1 on: June 23, 2018, 08:07:56 PM »
It's behind an adwall/paywall :(

GoConfidently

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Re: Anyone see this article in the Seattle Times? "Poor Bellevue Couple"
« Reply #2 on: June 23, 2018, 08:15:43 PM »
How can they spend $400/month on digital media?!?! Netflix and Redbox? That doesnít even make sense.

bacchi

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Re: Anyone see this article in the Seattle Times? "Poor Bellevue Couple"
« Reply #3 on: June 23, 2018, 08:56:27 PM »
I had to check the date -- thought the article was written before 2007.

All I could think was Holy. Shit. Their children are going to be helping them out in a few short years. They got lucky with the house but, damn, they've been living beyond their means for a while.

+1 on the $400/month on digital media. WTF?

Cassie

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Re: Anyone see this article in the Seattle Times? "Poor Bellevue Couple"
« Reply #4 on: June 23, 2018, 09:02:26 PM »
They have no choice but to sell at this point.

Paul der Krake

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Re: Anyone see this article in the Seattle Times? "Poor Bellevue Couple"
« Reply #5 on: June 23, 2018, 09:03:10 PM »
How can they spend $400/month on digital media?!?! Netflix and Redbox? That doesnít even make sense.
Pretty sure that's code for pay-per-view porn.

bacchi

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Re: Anyone see this article in the Seattle Times? "Poor Bellevue Couple"
« Reply #6 on: June 23, 2018, 09:34:39 PM »
How can they spend $400/month on digital media?!?! Netflix and Redbox? That doesnít even make sense.
Pretty sure that's code for pay-per-view porn.

To be fair, Bell takes advantage of my parents this way. They want a home phone and internet and, per the salesperson, they need cable for that. Their net+VOIP+cable is around $200. Add in premium channels, netflix, hulu, Prime, and you're getting close to...$300.

Ok, yeah, it's definitely porn.

Dicey

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Re: Anyone see this article in the Seattle Times? "Poor Bellevue Couple"
« Reply #7 on: June 24, 2018, 03:51:33 AM »
It's behind an adwall/paywall :(
I'm not a subscriber the ST and I use ad blockers, but I had no trouble getting through. Sorry it didn't work for you.

Zamboni

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Re: Anyone see this article in the Seattle Times? "Poor Bellevue Couple"
« Reply #8 on: June 24, 2018, 05:19:42 AM »
I did not experience a paywall.

The first thing that jumps out to me is the photo caption which says they have a "cash-flow problem."
My experience this term is that it means people are counting their chickens before they hatch while also spending more than they earn. So, red flag right there before I even start reading the article.

Then I quickly get to this gem:
"the house represents 94 percent of the coupleís total assets." Ouch!
They have 50K actual dollars (YAY!) but it is in a bank savings account earning less than 0.1% (BOOOOO!)
He is still working and participates in his work 401k plan (yay!) but, at 69 years old has a $3K balance in that (WTF?)
They bought their house for <$60K back in the day (yay!) but now owe $235,000 on the two mortgages associated with it . . .

This reminds me too much of one of my parents, who sometimes cite how they got into trouble "helping their children with the education" even though we went to public school K-12 and then I got a scholarship that paid almost my entire undergraduate education and living expenses while I worked for the rest including putting myself through grad school while my brother went to state schools (and he also had hefty scholarships.)

News bulletin: it wasn't the education expenses. Spare us.

I just can't continue. You'll have to read the rest for yourself.

Roadrunner53

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Re: Anyone see this article in the Seattle Times? "Poor Bellevue Couple"
« Reply #9 on: June 24, 2018, 05:46:04 AM »
I knew a couple who had a boy and a girl. The mother insisted that they go to a swanky private high school which I think was 5 years for each kid. Then the kids went to expensive colleges. They hocked their house to the moon for all of this. Then the Dad took a retirement package at work but his pension and SS couldn't cover all the debt. So he worked several part time jobs that paid crap. He said he would never pay these loans off and regretted taking the package since his PT jobs paid next to nothing. He finally had to quit his jobs after many years and now has an illness from being in the Vietnam war. The girl either worked a very short time or didn't but she got married and started to have kids. The boy didn't use whatever it was he studied in college and went in another direction which is fine but I don't think he needed college to go in that direction.

I don't know what is wrong with public high school. In my area we have a good school system and no violence. The mother and father neither had extraordinary paying jobs. They are just average joes. It is none of my business but it really irks me that this mother caused her husband so much financial volatility in his retirement years. She still works and is close to 70 but her job pays crap too. Makes me wonder if she did this so she could have bragging rights to tell people her kids didn't go to yucky public high school but a hoity toity private school where movie stars kids go. Her husband should have put his foot down and told her absolutely not!

G-dog

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Re: Anyone see this article in the Seattle Times? "Poor Bellevue Couple"
« Reply #10 on: June 24, 2018, 08:54:07 AM »
I did not experience a paywall.

The first thing that jumps out to me is the photo caption which says they have a "cash-flow problem."
My experience this term is that it means people are counting their chickens before they hatch while also spending more than they earn. So, red flag right there before I even start reading the article.

Then I quickly get to this gem:
"the house represents 94 percent of the coupleís total assets." Ouch!
They have 50K actual dollars (YAY!) but it is in a bank savings account earning less than 0.1% (BOOOOO!)
He is still working and participates in his work 401k plan (yay!) but, at 69 years old has a $3K balance in that (WTF?)
They bought their house for <$60K back in the day (yay!) but now owe $235,000 on the two mortgages associated with it . . .

This reminds me too much of one of my parents, who sometimes cite how they got into trouble "helping their children with the education" even though we went to public school K-12 and then I got a scholarship that paid almost my entire undergraduate education and living expenses while I worked for the rest including putting myself through grad school while my brother went to state schools (and he also had hefty scholarships.)

News bulletin: it wasn't the education expenses. Spare us.

I just can't continue. You'll have to read the rest for yourself.

This is a great summary.

Can they even find a condo for $250K in the area?? The Seattle RE market is cray-cray.

seattlecyclone

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Re: Anyone see this article in the Seattle Times? "Poor Bellevue Couple"
« Reply #11 on: June 24, 2018, 11:06:32 AM »
It's behind an adwall/paywall :(

Right-click link, open in incognito/private window. The Seattle Times and several other newspapers have a paywall where you get the first few articles per week/month free, after that they block you...unless you bypass it by opening the link in a new window with no cookies.

How can they spend $400/month on digital media?!?! Netflix and Redbox? That doesnít even make sense.

Good question. I just signed into my Comcast account and it looks like I could upgrade to the fanciest TV/Internet/Phone combo package for a base price of $160/month for the first two years. Of course the cable box and rental modem (which I'm sure they're probably paying for) would be extra, and there are numerous premium channels that can be added for "only" $5-10/month each on top of that. What a deal! I can't find a way for them to tell me what the price would be after the introductory period.

Then if you sign up for all the streaming services at once (Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, CBS, HBO, etc.) and rent a DVD from Redbox every night, you can probably get up to $400. Good news for them is that if they spend enough time watching TV to actually use each of these services once in a while, they might just be unhealthy enough to fail to outlive their savings after they downsize their house.

Can they even find a condo for $250K in the area?? The Seattle RE market is cray-cray.

In Bellevue? None for sale at that price point right now. There are a handful in Seattle proper, but for more selection in that range you have to go out a bit into the north or south suburbs. https://www.redfin.com/city/1387/WA/Bellevue/filter/property-type=condo,max-price=250k,viewport=47.81566:47.51369:-122.04234:-122.53226,no-outline

What gets me about this thing is that this guy is still earning a salary, has already started taking social security, is spending more than their combined income from three sources (job and social security for two), has a few weeks of spending in his retirement accounts, and thinks he should be able to retire soon. Nope, not going to happen.

Elle 8

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Re: Anyone see this article in the Seattle Times? "Poor Bellevue Couple"
« Reply #12 on: June 27, 2018, 04:41:16 AM »
It's behind an adwall/paywall :(

Right-click link, open in incognito/private window. The Seattle Times and several other newspapers have a paywall where you get the first few articles per week/month free, after that they block you...unless you bypass it by opening the link in a new window with no cookies.
...

Thanks for this tip.  It worked for me!

I think they were expecting some magic solution, but selling the house seems to be their only solution to ever being able to retire.


eljefe-speaks

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Re: Anyone see this article in the Seattle Times? "Poor Bellevue Couple"
« Reply #14 on: June 27, 2018, 11:21:39 AM »
Why do people volunteer to be subjects of these cautionary tale articles??
What to people benefit from it?
It seems like an enormous sacrifice of personal privacy and dignity for no gain...
I donít get it.

Play the victim and soak up all the delicious sympathy.

Dicey

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Re: Anyone see this article in the Seattle Times? "Poor Bellevue Couple"
« Reply #15 on: June 27, 2018, 11:27:21 AM »
Why do people volunteer to be subjects of these cautionary tale articles??
What to people benefit from it?
It seems like an enormous sacrifice of personal privacy and dignity for no gain...
I donít get it.
Ha! They might do it because they're too cheap to pay for financial advice. In pre-MMM days, when my town had a real paper, they used to do a quarterly Money Makever feature, complete with an interview by a journalist, a visit to a CFP, and pictures by a staff photographer. I signed up for it and it was a fantastic experience. I was looking to create a path to early retirement long before PF blogs existed. It really helped me get my shit together and figure out a plan.

Now I'm FIRE. Recently, I met the planner's mother at an event for a new group we've both joined. It's the kind of group that requires a generous annual contribution to the worthy charitable cause. I get a kick out of this stuff now that I'm FIRE and I have plenty of extra to share. The required annual gift is less than we already give, so why not?

Anyway, the mom was thrilled that her daughter had been so helpful to me. She's aware that I am retired early and part of this group, which means that I've been reasonably successful. Mustachian Note: I took a lot of the advice given, but I did not invest with her daughter's firm. I'm not that kind of spendy, lol. It should be noted (again) that I pretty much had my shit together at the time of the interview, I just needed to figure out how to get to the finish line.

This couple may have been magical thinking when they signed up. They seem to be looking for a solution that doesn't exist due to their history of poor choices.

FIRE@50

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Re: Anyone see this article in the Seattle Times? "Poor Bellevue Couple"
« Reply #16 on: June 27, 2018, 11:43:08 AM »
This seems like a pretty simple case study. Just sell the house and retire which is pretty much the advice that they received. Obviously they haven't lived a Mustachian lifestyle, but having well over half a million in home equity is pretty enviable for most Americans. With the $2750 a month from SS, they are doing fine. This isn't even really worth discussing now that I think about it.

Just Joe

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Re: Anyone see this article in the Seattle Times? "Poor Bellevue Couple"
« Reply #17 on: July 13, 2018, 11:11:16 AM »
Why do people volunteer to be subjects of these cautionary tale articles??
What to people benefit from it?
It seems like an enormous sacrifice of personal privacy and dignity for no gain...
I donít get it.
+1 - maybe the newspaper paid them $50 or so for their story?

Sell the house, retire to Mississippi.

"The Weddells bought their 63-year-old house in southeast Bellevue for $59,500 in 1983."

And they owe $200K+ STILL?
« Last Edit: July 13, 2018, 11:14:34 AM by Just Joe »

Sibley

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Re: Anyone see this article in the Seattle Times? "Poor Bellevue Couple"
« Reply #18 on: July 18, 2018, 01:24:54 PM »
The real problem comes in when even if you sell the house, you won't get enough out of it to get much past poverty level income. <grumble, mom and dad, grumble>

KodeBlue

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Re: Anyone see this article in the Seattle Times? "Poor Bellevue Couple"
« Reply #19 on: July 20, 2018, 02:43:32 AM »

Ha! They might do it because they're too cheap to pay for financial advice. In pre-MMM days, when my town had a real paper, they used to do a quarterly Money Makever feature, complete with an interview by a journalist,

By any chance was it Helaine Olen?

Dicey

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Re: Anyone see this article in the Seattle Times? "Poor Bellevue Couple"
« Reply #20 on: July 20, 2018, 07:20:59 AM »

Ha! They might do it because they're too cheap to pay for financial advice. In pre-MMM days, when my town had a real paper, they used to do a quarterly Money Makever feature, complete with an interview by a journalist,

By any chance was it Helaine Olen?
IIRC, the writer's name is Janet Ademy. The paper's been sold and is a shadow of its former self. I hope she's found a new and more rewarding job.