Author Topic: The Meme Wars of Personal Finance  (Read 6716 times)

LalsConstant

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The Meme Wars of Personal Finance
« on: August 06, 2017, 07:03:56 PM »
http://imgur.com/gallery/qRXnS

You know, I actually don't have a problem with people making the argument the modern economy is more challenging to navigate, but this is so whiny, complainypants, entitlement mentality based and devoid of statistical integrity it makes me cringe.

Seriously, where do these numbers even come from?  This smacks of "I made it up".  Which is sad, but sadder still are all the comments blindly agreeing with it and not asking for citations.

ixtap

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Re: The Meme Wars of Personal Finance
« Reply #1 on: August 06, 2017, 07:11:06 PM »
Pay no nevermind to the fact that you had one or zero cars, your house was half the size and your stay at home spouse only expected to eat out on very special occasions. Your house had one phone, possibly a party line.




paddedhat

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Re: The Meme Wars of Personal Finance
« Reply #2 on: August 07, 2017, 06:28:21 AM »
Most of us have nothing to offer but personal experience here, but I find the situation far from whining, and the driver behind our current political situation in the states.

My wife finished a teaching career a few years back. Retired at 55, with a fantastic pension and benefits. She will be one of the last generations of teachers to do so, as states dial back on pensions and reduce benefits.  The cost of her state university education was less than a third of the current rate, in adjusted dollars. Newly hired teachers are starting the game from a totally different position with massive student loans, and a fraction of the retirement benefits of those who are leaving. If they end up with a pair of children in daycare it better be a two income family, since the teacher's pay is upside down on a weekly basis, after expenses, until the kids are in school all day. Pretty rough way to spend you twenties, while building little for retirement. In a related, but totally different part of this problem, we have parted ways with a few older couples who were casual friends, and slowly revealed themselves to be rabid followers of extreme conservative propaganda from cable TV and the net. Basically, their core values are based on the fact that they lived though a time when America was, in their opinion,  the land of opportunity , where you could step out of high school, or return from a war, and find a high paying job that would support a family in a comfortable lifestyle. They are bitter as hell that their children and grandchildren no longer have that opportunity, and they want it back. Naturally, a lot of this thinking is bound with threads of everything from barely concealed racism, to a total refusal to realistically look at the world economy, and geopolitical impacts of what they demand.

 Our recent relocation really drove home the fact that this was far from a rosy backward look at what really never was. We moved into a great neighborhood in a small town. The homes were all built from 1955 to 1965, and are now worth in the $250-400K range. We are surrounded by elderly neighbors who are the original homeowners, and have done stunning well on single incomes, no higher education, and factory jobs.  It was common here to be the only wage earner, working in a factory job, like building TVs, or watches, and  afford a nice large, custom built home, on a suburban lot. I'm talking about a 2000 sq. ft. all stone or all brick ranch, with a two car garage.  These folks then spent 20-35 years living comfortably on pensions and SS, after retirement.  Since the men typically pass on first, there are many sweet old ladies here who never had a paying job in their lives.

so, I might not agree with the mindset of the "MAGA" crowd, or anybody who is bitter about the modern global economy, but there is no doubt that, for a lot of the white lower and middle class, there really was a "good old days" and things were a hell of a lot better.

« Last Edit: August 07, 2017, 06:38:50 AM by paddedhat »

KungfuRabbit

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Re: The Meme Wars of Personal Finance
« Reply #3 on: August 07, 2017, 08:21:32 AM »
While it is true a lot of statistics are made up, the general idea is true. Wages have not grown with cost of living, plain and simple. A large part of that problem is consumerism - I personally don't consider a $700 phone every two years with a $100 / month plan cost of living - but the sad reality is Bernie Sanders is right on some fronts. 

A Definite Beta Guy

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Re: The Meme Wars of Personal Finance
« Reply #4 on: August 07, 2017, 09:07:42 AM »
I don't think my generation realizes how much our parent's generation struggled. My parents also struggled to afford a down payment on a home and struggled to pay rent before that. Their first home was an actual, legitimate starter home (2 bed/1 ba). There are several condos like this in my area (same area my parents moved to), that are less than $200,000. The cheapest I see is $900/month between the HOA and the mortgage. This is probably LESS than what my parents first paid, adjusted for inflation, because the interest rates THEY paid were MUCH higher.

But none of my friends want this. Their "starter" homes are 3-4bd/2-3 ba homes that are as large or larger than the home my parents live in now, which is the home my grandfather only purchased when his title was "Vice President" of a major worldwide company.


Neither my mother nor my MIL actually had engagement rings, because they weren't affordable. My parents never had a honeymoon and barely had a wedding. Both sets of parents drove cars that would break down at the worst of times: my Mom's brakes died as a train was coming, so she had to gun the engine to cross the track.


ketchup

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Re: The Meme Wars of Personal Finance
« Reply #5 on: August 07, 2017, 10:01:22 AM »
It's tricky.

There was also a time when houses were less than half the size on average, people had fewer cars, food was a large percentage of household spending (and I don't mean restaurants), nobody paid for cable/internet/cell phones, and advertising wasn't as prevalent.

Almost everything is cheaper now.  Food is way cheaper (as long as you're not stupid).  Household appliances are a hell of a lot cheaper.  Airline tickets cost almost nothing now by comparison.  Clothes are so cheap that if your shirt rips a little, most throw it away.  (New) cars are pretty much the same price (adjusted for inflation), but they're way less maintenance-heavy, are way better on gas, and last way longer (not to mention that they have way more features and are far safer).

The main outliers to this are college tuition, childcare, and medical care.  Those have gone up a lot more than inflation and they can sink your ship.  College can still make sense, but if your post-college wage doesn't support your debt load, you can get in trouble (and many make those pivotal decisions at 18 without all the information, and in with the "you must go to college" ethos very commonplace).  If you are two working parents and need to shell out for childcare, that will be a tough pill to swallow.  If you have very expensive medical problems and no insurance (or your insurance is crazy expensive or doesn't cover what you need), you're pretty much fucked (though it probably still beats being dead like you'd probably be in the good old days).

PDXTabs

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Re: The Meme Wars of Personal Finance
« Reply #6 on: August 07, 2017, 10:20:25 AM »
http://imgur.com/gallery/qRXnS

You know, I actually don't have a problem with people making the argument the modern economy is more challenging to navigate, but this is so whiny, complainypants, entitlement mentality based and devoid of statistical integrity it makes me cringe.

My Grandfather had one of those jobs. With an 8th grade education he got a job in a steel mill with a defined benefit pension plan and good pay. He purchased two houses and his wife never had to work, even after his two children were grown. He also managed to send one of this kids and some grand-kids (including me) to college.

Now, he also invested his money, but he had enough left over to invest.

Laura33

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Re: The Meme Wars of Personal Finance
« Reply #7 on: August 07, 2017, 12:35:16 PM »
I would change the meme to say "There once was a time in this country when a straight white Christian man could work 40 hours a week, his wife couldn't work, and he could retire at 60 with a pension that could be cut whenever the company wanted to."
 
I think the data are pretty clear that straight white Christian men with only a HS education are, on average, much worse off than they were 50 years ago.  But that metric ignores the many other groups of people who are much better off, because they now have opportunities that they were legally excluded from 50 years ago. 

Yes, many things are harder/different/more expensive now (home prices in desirable areas, college costs, retirement savings).  My Grandpa supported his family on a HS degree; my dad did it with a college degree; and DH and I are doing it with postgrad degrees.  OTOH, my Grandma -- one of the few who had the opportunity to go to college, as her dad was a successful merchant -- was expected to drop out as soon as she married; my Granny's husband joined the military because it was the only way to escape the farm and was killed in WWII; my mom was legally required to take my dad's name when she married and could have been legally fired when she became pregnant (I guess it's a good thing she was in college); years later, she was treated like a hussy because she was a divorced single mom with a career; she was "lucky" to get a mortgage at 9%, before rates spiraled to 16%; etc.  And then there's my husband's family, which lost entire branches of the family tree in the camps in WWII and had to start all over again from nothing in the bad-old-days in Brooklyn (but who would have been redlined out of good neighborhoods if they could even have afforded them).

As Roseanne Roseannadanna said, it's always something.
« Last Edit: August 07, 2017, 12:39:18 PM by Laura33 »
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PDXTabs

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Re: The Meme Wars of Personal Finance
« Reply #8 on: August 07, 2017, 12:48:56 PM »
Laura33,

I do agree with what you wrote. For the sake of argument I was ignoring the fact that at the same time that my white grandfather was making good money with an 8th grade education my black uncle was struggling to find food to eat with a highschool diploma. It wasn't until he went into the Army and used the GI bill to get a BA and then an MA that he had the same level of success.

On that note, when my mom was growing up, health care and state university was affordable. Even when I started school in 1999 school resembled something affordable. I don't think that you can still say that.

Goldielocks

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Re: The Meme Wars of Personal Finance
« Reply #9 on: August 07, 2017, 01:14:44 PM »
Yeah,  that's whiny.   And exaggerated.

Quite a few people can find a modest way to live on an 40 hour a week job..  Within 5 years of working, your income does increase, typically.

acroy

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Re: The Meme Wars of Personal Finance
« Reply #10 on: August 07, 2017, 01:30:26 PM »
It is what it is, not worth whining about. We've got it so unbelievably cushy it's mind-boggling. I flip a switch and light comes on. It's incredible. I can drink water out of the tap. I have a button to control the temperature. I don't have to hunt my food. If I carry a gun it's because I want to, not because I'm unsafe or looking for dinner. Food is so available I carry around an extra 20 pounds of fat. It's soooo cushyyyy....

That said, the 'middle class' is on a slow decline. Somewhere in the 60's the median income disconnected from rising GDP and rising productivity. Work harder, get paid the same or just a little more. In the same time period, more households became multi-wage earner, yet the household incomes did not keep up with GDP and productivity gains.

Real median household income peaked around 2000 and has been slowly declining since.

In the meantime, big-ticket items (child care, health care, college) have skyrocketed.

This is largely obfuscated by inflation. Since the dollar inflates, we can't compare grandpa's wages to today. We just know that only he in the family worked, and they had a nanny. Now we both work and the concept of a nanny is funny.

And the top 1%, 0.1%, 0.01% ... man are they filthy rich! The top 5% have more than doubled their income in the last decards, while the 'middle quintile' have barely moved, despite more workers in the 'household'.

I personally think this is a result of 'financilazation', crony-capitalism, and the malaise of the middle class. It's easy to be comfy. We don't try all that hard.

A few graphs attached. Interesting to watch the trends.

someone brought in race, color, religion, sexual orientation..... Not sure what that has to do with the price of a car.
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Laura33

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Re: The Meme Wars of Personal Finance
« Reply #11 on: August 07, 2017, 01:32:23 PM »
On that note, when my mom was growing up, health care and state university was affordable. Even when I started school in 1999 school resembled something affordable. I don't think that you can still say that.

Oh, absolutely, I don't disagree with that at all.  Frankly, the reason my FIL got to be where he is was because he got a free college degree, back when NY still offered that.  My mom and dad were able to work their way through the cheap state school -- and, heck, even my JD cost about $3500/yr thanks to the historic oil funds.  My kids won't have it that good.  OTOH, I've been one of the "winners" from all these social changes, so at least I can afford to pay those increased prices in a way my parents and their parents never could have.
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Laura33

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Re: The Meme Wars of Personal Finance
« Reply #12 on: August 07, 2017, 01:38:21 PM »
someone brought in race, color, religion, sexual orientation..... Not sure what that has to do with the price of a car.

That would be me.  The point would be that back in the "good old days," by and large the only people who were allowed to compete for the jobs that allowed them to afford that car were generally the straight white Christian males.  So you have to balance the "good life" that was available for one subset of the population against the problems that other subsets of the population faced in trying to achieve the same thing.
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paddedhat

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Re: The Meme Wars of Personal Finance
« Reply #13 on: August 07, 2017, 02:21:45 PM »
someone brought in race, color, religion, sexual orientation..... Not sure what that has to do with the price of a car.

That would be me.  The point would be that back in the "good old days," by and large the only people who were allowed to compete for the jobs that allowed them to afford that car were generally the straight white Christian males.  So you have to balance the "good life" that was available for one subset of the population against the problems that other subsets of the population faced in trying to achieve the same thing.

Yes indeed, when I discussed dealing with older (70+) couples who are pissed and want "their" country back, they will never admit to being racist. Fact is, they are to the core, yet vigorously deny that the extreme preferential treatment they enjoyed, and the systemic racism of the times, were a significant contribution to insuring their success. Don't forget we are talking about a demographic that needs to believe that any fellow deserving white person who became a success, is a self made man (or occasional woman), who made it by pulling their own boot straps up, period. Until you really put an effort into researching and learning about the situation, it's hard to really imagine exactly how much of the government programs, GI bill, lending regulations, hiring practices, and other barriers were institutionalized to prevent minorities from succeeding. 

mm1970

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Re: The Meme Wars of Personal Finance
« Reply #14 on: August 08, 2017, 01:31:16 PM »
someone brought in race, color, religion, sexual orientation..... Not sure what that has to do with the price of a car.

That would be me.  The point would be that back in the "good old days," by and large the only people who were allowed to compete for the jobs that allowed them to afford that car were generally the straight white Christian males.  So you have to balance the "good life" that was available for one subset of the population against the problems that other subsets of the population faced in trying to achieve the same thing.

Absolutely. I've read a few good books on the subject.

The Way We Never Were by Stephanie Coontz
Homeward Bound: American Families in the Cold War Era by Elaine Tyler May

- the "golden age" as it were, of a husband working and wife at home was, historically, an aberration
- it applied ONLY to middle class whites.  People of color and poor people still had two working parents.
- women, even married women, were often fired - especially when they got pregnant.  The US government had rules about married women working.

LalsConstant

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Re: The Meme Wars of Personal Finance
« Reply #15 on: August 08, 2017, 02:32:30 PM »
So now that I look at it again, a few anecdotal observations:

I'm a millenial by some definitions of the term (born 1981).  Here's what I've seen:

One of my grandfathers ran different businesses concurrently (fireworks stands, grocery store, pool hall, gas station) and was known to work 12 hours a day seven days a week.

His wife, my maternal grandmother, never worked outside the home but only because she had, at any given time, between 9 and 15 children to raise from age 25 until about age 66, when she was finally down to just two children to raise.

My other grandfather I believe averaged close to 40, but he was disabled and lived in a small town where it was hard for him to find paying work besides the job he already had (though he did do a lot of volunteer work, not relevant to the discussion here).

My grandmother worked full time as well, she only took around 4 or 5 years off while my father was very young and when she didn't have a conventional job, she would take pains to save money.  We laugh at "darning socks" today but she would literally repair the same pair of socks a dozen times.  She would haggle with the grocer.  She hand made, hand cooked and prepared everything in that house by hand, scrubbing laundry against an old fashioned washboard and grew food in the back yard.

She would do anything she could find, which wasn't much, for a little bit of money here and there.  Cooking lunches for construction crews, baking pies, washing other people's laundry, minding other children, etc.

Now, one generation later, my parents were better off overall.  My father usually averaged about 50 hours a week, 65 during busy times, but he had stints where he could work 90-100 (he spent three years working for a startup consulting firm).

My mother who "stayed at home" only did so for about ten years because my siblings and I are spaced out that way, and she too was a money conserving machine.  She would do things like take us to the apartment pool for hours on end in the summer so she could turn off the air conditioner and save money.  Granted she didn't grind her fingers to the bone against a washboard like my grandmothers both did, but every pair of pants I had as a kid was A) used and B) repaired by her.  She had grocery shopping down to an art; the coupon piles were staggering.

But before that decade, she worked full time, and she went back to work full time after (though she worked part time for a few years while she was working on her degree to get back into the workforce competitively).

None of these people had pensions.  Granted, three of my four grandparents retired at 60, but on Social Security and they lived in very humble conditions in their retirement (my parents were the "sandwich generation" who supported all of my grandparents financially at one point or another).  None of them ever saved or invested anything with the exception of my maternal grandfather, who managed to keep about $20,000 in cash in a safe from liquidating all his businesses.

I, ironically, the millenial, have a pension.  It sucks.  They got rid of pensions for a reason.

And for what it's worth, my mother believes we (her children) have worse opportunities than she and Dad ever did.  But by no means does she believe we got a more raw deal than her or her parents.  Every generation faces its own problems in its own time, she says.

Granted this was all purely anecdotal, but given such experiences this idea among younger people that the past was all sunshine and rainbows vexes me.

A Definite Beta Guy

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Re: The Meme Wars of Personal Finance
« Reply #16 on: August 08, 2017, 03:13:03 PM »
someone brought in race, color, religion, sexual orientation..... Not sure what that has to do with the price of a car.

That would be me.  The point would be that back in the "good old days," by and large the only people who were allowed to compete for the jobs that allowed them to afford that car were generally the straight white Christian males.  So you have to balance the "good life" that was available for one subset of the population against the problems that other subsets of the population faced in trying to achieve the same thing.

Absolutely. I've read a few good books on the subject.

The Way We Never Were by Stephanie Coontz
Homeward Bound: American Families in the Cold War Era by Elaine Tyler May

- the "golden age" as it were, of a husband working and wife at home was, historically, an aberration
- it applied ONLY to middle class whites.  People of color and poor people still had two working parents.
- women, even married women, were often fired - especially when they got pregnant.  The US government had rules about married women working.

But that describes a lot of the population. Middle class whites were a substantially larger portion of the population. Whites made up more than 85% of the population until the late 70s.

You can definitely see the macro-trend. The labor force participation of mothers has gone from 45% in the 70s to 70% today.
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Goldielocks

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Re: The Meme Wars of Personal Finance
« Reply #17 on: August 09, 2017, 10:54:00 AM »
someone brought in race, color, religion, sexual orientation..... Not sure what that has to do with the price of a car.

That would be me.  The point would be that back in the "good old days," by and large the only people who were allowed to compete for the jobs that allowed them to afford that car were generally the straight white Christian males.  So you have to balance the "good life" that was available for one subset of the population against the problems that other subsets of the population faced in trying to achieve the same thing.

Absolutely. I've read a few good books on the subject.

The Way We Never Were by Stephanie Coontz
Homeward Bound: American Families in the Cold War Era by Elaine Tyler May

- the "golden age" as it were, of a husband working and wife at home was, historically, an aberration
- it applied ONLY to middle class whites.  People of color and poor people still had two working parents.
- women, even married women, were often fired - especially when they got pregnant.  The US government had rules about married women working.

My grandparents were (lower) middle class whites.   To all appearances, they would have technically fit with this "abberation" description of single income, mom at home, pension from dad's work.

But.  They moved from the farm when my mom was 13.   It is worthy to note that they did not get electricity on the farm until the mid 1950's.   Grandma raised a lot of ducks, chickens, geese and other animals, plus a veggy garden to feed them when on the farm.  They went into town to fetch meat from their rented freezer once a week.

In the city, he worked, and she "stayed at home". In reality, she still needed the large vegetable garden, but also 2 boarders that she housed and fed to bring in income.  (students for the local community college).    The house was 800 sq.ft. 3 bedrooms.  And there was no money for my mom to have a dress to go to her graduation dinner, only the ceremony, etc..

I have it so much better -- despite both DH and I working (or working part time when it is hard to get full time, and having 4 layoffs between us), no work pension, etc.  I have zero worries about feeding myself, and my daughter went to graduation dance and will go to college, we live in a large lovely home, can RE, and my body was not broken by work.

What the facts seem to say on paper, versus the reality of living it then and now, is a large difference.

Laura33

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Re: The Meme Wars of Personal Finance
« Reply #18 on: August 09, 2017, 01:08:21 PM »
someone brought in race, color, religion, sexual orientation..... Not sure what that has to do with the price of a car.

That would be me.  The point would be that back in the "good old days," by and large the only people who were allowed to compete for the jobs that allowed them to afford that car were generally the straight white Christian males.  So you have to balance the "good life" that was available for one subset of the population against the problems that other subsets of the population faced in trying to achieve the same thing.

Absolutely. I've read a few good books on the subject.

The Way We Never Were by Stephanie Coontz
Homeward Bound: American Families in the Cold War Era by Elaine Tyler May

- the "golden age" as it were, of a husband working and wife at home was, historically, an aberration
- it applied ONLY to middle class whites.  People of color and poor people still had two working parents.
- women, even married women, were often fired - especially when they got pregnant.  The US government had rules about married women working.

My grandparents were (lower) middle class whites.   To all appearances, they would have technically fit with this "abberation" description of single income, mom at home, pension from dad's work.

But.  They moved from the farm when my mom was 13.   It is worthy to note that they did not get electricity on the farm until the mid 1950's.   Grandma raised a lot of ducks, chickens, geese and other animals, plus a veggy garden to feed them when on the farm.  They went into town to fetch meat from their rented freezer once a week.

In the city, he worked, and she "stayed at home". In reality, she still needed the large vegetable garden, but also 2 boarders that she housed and fed to bring in income.  (students for the local community college).    The house was 800 sq.ft. 3 bedrooms.  And there was no money for my mom to have a dress to go to her graduation dinner, only the ceremony, etc..

I have it so much better -- despite both DH and I working (or working part time when it is hard to get full time, and having 4 layoffs between us), no work pension, etc.  I have zero worries about feeding myself, and my daughter went to graduation dance and will go to college, we live in a large lovely home, can RE, and my body was not broken by work.

What the facts seem to say on paper, versus the reality of living it then and now, is a large difference.

This is another good point.  Post-WWII, both sets of my grandparents had MC/LMC lives (one in a series of trailers/small rental homes, one in the same small brick ranch they lived in for @40 years).  But grandma worked just as hard as grandpa did -- all the cooking, cleaning, washing, provisioning, etc. was hours and hours every week.  My Granny in particular (the LMC one) always had a huge garden and canned everything to keep costs down -- she tells stories about having to scrub and then wax the wood floors every week (no polyurethane then), which was a 4+ hour chore in and of itself.

Part of the reason more women WOH now is because modern inventions have freed up time to do so by making housekeeping a less-than-full-time job.  Polyurethane, weed killers, vacuum cleaners, wall-to-wall carpeting, wring-mops, dishwashers, larger grocery stores/modern logistics, food preservatives, clothes washers and dryers, TV dinners, box cake mix, freezers, Tilex, Clorox, electric irons, permanent press fabrics, Tide pens, Magic erasers, you name it -- every invention incrementally freed up a little time.  And eventually, all of those inventions led to this so-called "golden age" in which dad worked to support the family while mom put the kids in a playpen and watched the soaps all day before throwing a TV dinner in the oven and running the vacuum quickly (in heels and pearls) before dad got home. 

In reality, though, that was a very brief period in time, available to only a limited part of the populace.  For pretty much the rest of human history, supporting a family has always been an all-hands-on-deck endeavor.  Everybody worked their asses off -- it's just that only some of them routinely did it outside the home for pay.
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BTDretire

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Re: The Meme Wars of Personal Finance
« Reply #19 on: August 09, 2017, 04:46:20 PM »
While it is true a lot of statistics are made up, the general idea is true. Wages have not grown with cost of living, plain and simple. A large part of that problem is consumerism - I personally don't consider a $700 phone every two years with a $100 / month plan cost of living - but the sad reality is Bernie Sanders is right on some fronts.

 My parents had the same black rotary dial phone on the wall for 48 years.

BTDretire

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Re: The Meme Wars of Personal Finance
« Reply #20 on: August 09, 2017, 05:48:07 PM »
I'm slowly shifting my opinion regarding how easy / hard it is to get ahead.
Over the last 36 years my wife have earned approx 1.5M.  (using SS records)
Looking at some historic data, that puts us about in the
middle between the fourth and middle quintile. So a little below the
average income. But we always lived on less than we earned.
 I'd say we had it easy, after the first year of marriage, we never had
less than a few thousand as a cushion. We now have a NW of more than
we ever earned.
Going by this it would seem that everyone could do it.
 But as I said I'm slowly shifting my opinion, we never had a major
health cost, we had insurance when the kids were born, everyones
health has been good, only major expense were braces for both kids.
We also never had an extended time of unemployment.
Not everyone is that lucky.
 I see families with two kids and two working parents bringing home
about $35k. If they have any daycare expenses, oh man!
I have no doubt that makes things difficult.
 I have watched several Youtube videos on the working poor,
they sure make me appreciate what we have.
 A big part of our success was lack of consumerism.
We just didn't buy it.

bobechs

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Re: The Meme Wars of Personal Finance
« Reply #21 on: August 09, 2017, 06:18:00 PM »
I'll tell you what I hated about the old days.

It was the goddamn bears, both ways, going to and from school.   In the snow. Uphiill.   And the bears had skis.  Uphill skis.

ketchup

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Re: The Meme Wars of Personal Finance
« Reply #22 on: August 10, 2017, 07:38:15 AM »
I'll tell you what I hated about the old days.

It was the goddamn bears, both ways, going to and from school.   In the snow. Uphiill.   And the bears had skis.  Uphill skis.
Let the bears pay the bear tax; I pay the Homer tax.

A Definite Beta Guy

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Re: The Meme Wars of Personal Finance
« Reply #23 on: August 10, 2017, 07:44:45 AM »
I'll tell you what I hated about the old days.

It was the goddamn bears, both ways, going to and from school.   In the snow. Uphiill.   And the bears had skis.  Uphill skis.
Let the bears pay the bear tax; I pay the Homer tax.

That's the home owner tax. :)

paddedhat

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Re: The Meme Wars of Personal Finance
« Reply #24 on: August 10, 2017, 12:32:31 PM »
I don't think my generation realizes how much our parent's generation struggled. My parents also struggled to afford a down payment on a home and struggled to pay rent before that. Their first home was an actual, legitimate starter home (2 bed/1 ba). There are several condos like this in my area (same area my parents moved to), that are less than $200,000. The cheapest I see is $900/month between the HOA and the mortgage. This is probably LESS than what my parents first paid, adjusted for inflation, because the interest rates THEY paid were MUCH higher.

But none of my friends want this. Their "starter" homes are 3-4bd/2-3 ba homes that are as large or larger than the home my parents live in now, which is the home my grandfather only purchased when his title was "Vice President" of a major worldwide company.

Neither my mother nor my MIL actually had engagement rings, because they weren't affordable. My parents never had a honeymoon and barely had a wedding. Both sets of parents drove cars that would break down at the worst of times: my Mom's brakes died as a train was coming, so she had to gun the engine to cross the track.
Actually the idea of a "starter" home is a modern marketing technique. Back in the day you saved money until you bought a house and that was pretty much it. If you needed more space you would build an addition or finish part of the interior (in the case of Cape Cods). Same thing with engagement rings, that's entirely marketing there.

Absolutely true. Half of the town I grew up in was built at one shot, for the post war boom. You had one choice. An incredibly tiny (800 ft, or so) Cape cod on a 4000 sq. ft. lot. It was priced in the $7-8K range, and offered two small bedrooms, a tiny kitchen, a full bath and a living room, with an unfinished basement and second floor, but no garage at all.  It wasn't viewed as a "starter" it was a place to raise a family, retire and live out your life, and thousands of the original owners did just that. As a homeowner you typically built a "rec" room in the basement, and added two bedrooms and a full bath to the second floor, as funds allowed.  Detached garages were a common addition, since lots were rarely big enough for even a one car attached. As folks aged in place, a first floor master suite was a common upgrade. For many of these folks of my parents generation, the concept of starter homes, moving up, having a bedroom for each kid, plus a guest room, great rooms, bonus rooms, etc.. simply did not compute.

We bought our great, modest ranch from a young couple that "desperately needed" more room. They left a one of a kind mid-century ranch, in a super neighborhood, with a postcard view of an Amish valley, since they "just couldn't have a second kid without more bedrooms". The seller's grandmother is a sweet old lady that lives down the street. She is pissed that her grandchildren left, and will never forgive them for what she believes to be nothing but a burning desire to keep up with the Joneses.  In this case, she is 100% correct.

A Definite Beta Guy

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Re: The Meme Wars of Personal Finance
« Reply #25 on: August 11, 2017, 02:04:22 PM »
Starter homes might be a marketing technique. It's really not the Millennials who fell for it, though. All of our baby boomer parents pretty much did the same thing (buy small home, move into big home).

Seems like it's permanently in the water supply now!

Nangirl17

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Re: The Meme Wars of Personal Finance
« Reply #26 on: August 11, 2017, 02:09:24 PM »
Pay no nevermind to the fact that you had one or zero cars, your house was half the size and your stay at home spouse only expected to eat out on very special occasions. Your house had one phone, possibly a party line.

Preach!

prognastat

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Re: The Meme Wars of Personal Finance
« Reply #27 on: August 11, 2017, 03:07:31 PM »
Starter homes might be a marketing technique. It's really not the Millennials who fell for it, though. All of our baby boomer parents pretty much did the same thing (buy small home, move into big home).

Seems like it's permanently in the water supply now!

We bought a "starter home", it was still 3bed/2.5bath. I'm glad I realized before even thinking about upgrading later that unless our family somehow explodes(in count) there is no need to upgrade to anything larger. Rather if it weren't for my wife being vehemently against it I would be all for downgrading even.

HildaCorners

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Re: The Meme Wars of Personal Finance
« Reply #28 on: August 12, 2017, 06:48:16 PM »
It's still possible to raise a family on one income if you do it the Mustache way.

My family did so, for 15 years. My ex-husband was in a STEM field, well-paid but not over-paid(in the upper third of US incomes, but not in the top 20%). I was a SAHM, and we had two kids. We lived in high cost of living areas, too.

However, we lived like people did in the 1960s and 70s (we're Boomers; this is how we grew up):
- no cable tv, ever. Only owned one small tv anyway.
- we handled all home maintenance ourselves (except when code required a licensed professional)
- we drove modest cars, the one new car we bought was paid in cash
- I shopped at 4-5 different food stores every week for the best deals
- we ate out a maximum of once a week, at lower cost "family" restaurants
- we bought a minimum of clothing, and wore it until it was rags
- only traveled to visit family
etc.
We did have a computer and internet, that was our one claim to 21st century life.

Even though this was in the 1990s and 2000s, it can still be done today, if you avoid rampant consumerism.
Been there, done that

Lentils4Lunch

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Re: The Meme Wars of Personal Finance
« Reply #29 on: August 12, 2017, 07:37:26 PM »
I'm just gonna go ahead and re-post Ketchup's response because it was the best so far:

It's tricky.

There was also a time when houses were less than half the size on average, people had fewer cars, food was a large percentage of household spending (and I don't mean restaurants), nobody paid for cable/internet/cell phones, and advertising wasn't as prevalent.

Almost everything is cheaper now.  Food is way cheaper (as long as you're not stupid).  Household appliances are a hell of a lot cheaper.  Airline tickets cost almost nothing now by comparison.  Clothes are so cheap that if your shirt rips a little, most throw it away.  (New) cars are pretty much the same price (adjusted for inflation), but they're way less maintenance-heavy, are way better on gas, and last way longer (not to mention that they have way more features and are far safer).

The main outliers to this are college tuition, childcare, and medical care.  Those have gone up a lot more than inflation and they can sink your ship.  College can still make sense, but if your post-college wage doesn't support your debt load, you can get in trouble (and many make those pivotal decisions at 18 without all the information, and in with the "you must go to college" ethos very commonplace).  If you are two working parents and need to shell out for childcare, that will be a tough pill to swallow.  If you have very expensive medical problems and no insurance (or your insurance is crazy expensive or doesn't cover what you need), you're pretty much fucked (though it probably still beats being dead like you'd probably be in the good old days).

talltexan

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Re: The Meme Wars of Personal Finance
« Reply #30 on: August 31, 2017, 07:01:14 AM »
It's not fair to pick on the house size without considering school quality. The older, more modest houses are often in areas with under-resourced schools.

Many young people feel like buying the opulent houses is necessary to give their children access to better educations.

tralfamadorian

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Re: The Meme Wars of Personal Finance
« Reply #31 on: August 31, 2017, 01:07:02 PM »
The older, more modest houses are often in areas with under-resourced schools.

Maybe for your area this is true but it is the exact opposite in my city.  The best school districts are older neighborhoods with small homes.  The newer, larger homes are in mediocre districts where most of the wealthier residents send their children to private schools.