So, after adding some more foam tot his thread (like it needed any more .. The orange and black box are overflowing already with foam .. :-) I do have an overheard/witnessed at work story to share with you.
A young co-worker fresh from university more or less strong arms her boyfriend to go live together. They lived separately, each in their own studentsflat/room in the city where they had gone to university but since they were now working she was ready to start her adult live. He just liked to hang out with friends and I got the impression he was way less in a hurry to embrace the adult live.
Anyway, since the university city is very expensive on the housing front she finds an apartment in a city 2 train stops away. It has frequent connections with the city where she works but her commute time is 2x longer now and in all honesty the little city she moves to is small and very boring, as a young person it would not be a place I would like to live. But it did definitely stop him from hanging out with friends so much.
But the apartment is in a brand new building, so they are paying top euro’s (so they do not save on rent money, they just have a bit more room and a brand new apartment, in their university city you can rent for that amount, but it will be in an older building and with less room).
New apartment, well they need new furniture off course. So for weeks on end we get to hear stories of all the furniture she is buying. Granted, she did shop for a lot at ikea but even that can add up after a while. And she is buying stuff even I do not have (and I am 15 years older and bought my own place). Since the apartment was brand new it was not yet painted so she buys all the paint and paints the apartment herself (matching with the furniture, very hip colors). Now in Belgium painting walls and such is normally something the landlord does, often people do the painting (because they like to choose the colors) but it is the landlording paying the paint. Not my co-worker, she didn’t even ask if the building owner wanted to pay for the paint and just bought it all herself.
So renting brand new apartment, freshly painted on her euro with all new furniture and cracks start to appear. He is starting to hang out at friends in the university city, even sleeping over. They have fights over it. The relationship ends, a few weeks later she turns out to be pregnant. Normally I really do not like guys dodging their parental duties but here I got a strong vibe that it was an ‘oopsy pregnancy’ by her to try trap the guy in a relationship that was already breaking apart.
So single mother to be in a little city with 0 friends nearby. After a few weeks she does realize this is not going to work out and decides to move back in with her mother (was actually advise from us, she was first reluctant but she didn’t really have any other chose if she wanted to keep her job she needed somebody to pick up the baby at the crčche, her mother is a teacher so that was very convenient).
Living at the mother should have permitted her to save a decent % of her pay check, even with the baby expenses. Of course, those baby expenses were on the high side: name brand baby clothing, nothing second hand, …
After a year she does start thinking about buying a place of her own, but not too far from the mother since she would still need somebody to pick up the baby as she would not be able to when working.
Then start the stories of her apartment hunting. It is expensive (correct, where her mom lives is an expensive place), it takes time, complain, complain, complain... But again, she is looking for new buildings that are 100% in order with no work to be done. I try to nudge her in the direction of an older building with some work because you are never going to find a bargain when looking at new build apartments. She does go to look at a few older buildings but nope, they are too much hassle and too much work (duh, that is why they are cheaper!).
So she stops looking because ‘everything is too expensive, I cannot afford anything decend’.
You would think that after this she would finally start to save. But no, still more expensive baby clothing, going out for drinks …
But now we also get stories of her dad (parents are divorced) who has a shopping addiction: he buys tons of CD’s or DVD’s and doesn’t watch them or even open the package a lot of the time. This has been going one for a long time but we hear about it now because he already spent the small inheritance he got from the grandmother on crap but the big part of the inheritance was coming (it took some time to sell the house of the grandmother, and well the co-worker comes from well off family, the grandmothers property was big, even divided among her three children her father is going to get a lot). And she is worried he is going to spend it all on useless crap. So she was planning an intervention with the family to try to convince her father he needed help with his shopping addiction.
I did agree with her that her dad had a problem and should get some help but some remarks of her made it clear that she wanted him to stop buying crap so she could have some of the inheritance to be able to buy a nice place. And yes helping a child to buy a house definitely is a better use of money than buying another boxset of DvD’s nobody is going to watch and are since Netflix nearly worthless anyway (the drop in DVD prices only got him to buy more of them, he didn’t get a Netflix subscription because ‘he doesn’t have the time to watch anything anyway’, …)
Funny how she only wanted to fix her father’s problem when she could use the money and it wasn’t a problem before, and at the same time she did nothing to reduce her own spending.
I changed work shortly after this so no idea how it all worked out …
It was a real live example how a well off family can become ‘poor’ in just two generations. The grandparents were upper-class, the father becomes a gynecologist and should have remained upper-class but his shopping addiction is holding him in middle class (for now, since he is still working and making good money, once he retires I am afraid it is going to be a different story) and she is making a middle class wage but has upper class taste but doesn’t realize that without the support of her mother who is also middle class she would have ended up poor …