Author Topic: (Complainy Rant) Being priced out of the housing market  (Read 4840 times)

FIREfly34

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(Complainy Rant) Being priced out of the housing market
« on: August 11, 2017, 03:32:44 AM »
I make decent money (for a single person) in a low/med COL area, but the housing market here is effing absurd. Housing prices exceeded their 2008 highs several years ago. Iím expecting my rent to go up by $150/month when I renew in December. I could move somewhere cheaper and save maybe 100 bucks a month than what I pay now (based off of Zillow), but then Iíll have to deal with moving expenses and that rent will go up next year too. Plus I kind of like living someplace thatís been renovated since the 80s.

Iíd like to buy a small condo or something, but unless I drain my savings/401k now or have no down payment, it will take several years to save for, and unless the economy crashes I wonít be able to afford it by then anyways. I know people at work that own houses on our salaries so maybe it isnít so unaffordable, but it sure looks that way on paper. And they bought their houses closer to the post 2008 crash.

Iíve been looking at increasing income/reducing expenses but still having a hard time. When I got my current job it was *by far* the best pay and benefits in my field. Iím thinking about getting a second job, but I am completely exhausted working one job (extreme introvert). Iíve never had any fancy-pants expenses that can be reduced either, although I did cancel Netflix (woo 8 bucks a month). I feel strongly against roommates, babysitting, tutoring, or anything that has a strong people focus. Iím not very skilled either, like Iím not going to make money off of freelance photography or something like that.

I should be able to manage for the next few years, and then my salary should go up a bit, so Iíll probably end up being fine. It just sucks because I feel like Iím doing everything right and still struggling.

simmias

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Re: (Complainy Rant) Being priced out of the housing market
« Reply #1 on: August 11, 2017, 04:42:44 AM »
You're just experiencing what most first-time home buyers are experiencing in that price range.  There's a ton of demand in the cities for your price point and barely any supply, and it's driving up prices just like you'd expect.  You're not going to be able to get champagne tastes on a beer budget in this market - you may have to adjust your expectations in terms of age of the home and location.

On the bright side, owning isn't all it's cracked up to be.  You can still get "rent hikes" in the form of property taxes increasing (or in a condo, HOA fees increasing as well).  There are big-ticket maintenance items you have to budget for as well.  I just replaced an HVAC - not fun.

I have seen some crazy financing options come back, at least in my market (NC).  If you're dead set on owning, take a look at special financing and downpayment assistance options for first-time home buyers in your market.

jlcnuke

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Re: (Complainy Rant) Being priced out of the housing market
« Reply #2 on: August 11, 2017, 05:33:42 AM »
According to Zillow, the average home value in the US is ~$200k.  A 5% mortgage on $200k would cost $1,073/month, which leaves ~$200 for taxes/insurance to get to 28% of a $56k income (the median income in 2016). Unless property taxes are ridiculous in such a scenario, a person making a median income salary, in an average cost of living area (where homes cost about the average), should be able to afford a home (with taxes etc) using less than 1/3rd of their income. If they stay in the same house (and avoid lifestyle creep), that percentage of income should go down every year as it stays the same despite inflation and the person advancing their career/pay over time - right up until they only have to pay taxes and insurance once the mortgage is paid for.

Now, there are additional expenses that make the earlier years tighter financially (such as outfitting the house, buying the things needed to take care of your own place, etc), so such expenses need to be considered when deciding if you are ready to buy as well. So yeah, getting into the housing market at first can be a bit "tight" on the budget, but an average income in an average cost of living area should be able to reasonably afford and average house. Obviously, below average incomes would only be able to afford below average priced housing in such a scenario though.
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jtraggie99

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Re: (Complainy Rant) Being priced out of the housing market
« Reply #3 on: August 11, 2017, 05:40:49 AM »
Just curious, where do you live?  I'm seeing the same thing in Dallas, one of the hottest housing markets in the country right now.  The problem here is it's due to a huge amount of job growth.  Texas and Dallas (specifically north Dallas) has been luring businesses here for the past few years, which started with Toyota.  This used to be a fairly LCOL area.  It's quickly moving away from that.  People are moving here from the coasts in droves and driving up prices. 

I had a house I bought for around $270,000 (4/3, about 2700 sqft, mid-80's-ish build) in 2012.  When my ex and I divorced in 2014, we sold it for $325,000 and split the proceeds, money that I mostly used to pay off debt.  When I checked this year, that house is now appraised by the county at close to $400,000.  That's pretty much par for the course around here.  I've been renting since but would like to buy again.  Of course my problem is I'm limited in where I can live as I have two school-age kids that I split time 50-50 with my ex.  My rent has steadily gone up year after year, although in my somewhat MMM ways my 7 year old son and I currently share a bedroom in order to save money by having a 2-bedroom apartment (I have a 15 year old daughter as well).  We can't do that indefinitely and moving up to a 3-bedroom apartment, I might as well have a mortgage.  Granted, being a former homeowner I know all about the added expenses that come along.  So now I'm stuck with trying to spend a lot on a down payment as home prices continue to rise or deal with higher and higher rents.  It's not a fun situation to be in.

FIREfly34

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Re: (Complainy Rant) Being priced out of the housing market
« Reply #4 on: August 11, 2017, 06:05:51 AM »
Let's just say that I live in a city that's following in the footsteps of Denver, Portland, et al. I make less than the median household income, but I am a household of one. I would expect property taxes to run ~1.5k per year where I live and don't expect them to go up too much. My city/state has pretty decent finances as far as I can tell. No guarantees of course.

I'm not terribly picky about what I buy, but I'd to have to move someplace less nice than where I am now. Feelings of failure and all...

steviesterno

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Re: (Complainy Rant) Being priced out of the housing market
« Reply #5 on: August 11, 2017, 06:13:50 AM »
we scrimped, saved, and gave up a fancy ass wedding to buy a home 3 years ago. It felt crazy tight, but right when you think you're broke another paycheck rolls in. we never even decreased our retirement savings, but could have to pump some extra money into the budget. we did most of the projects ourselves including some demo and patio building, so just did stuff as we had the money. our rent was going up like yours, and it worked out to be what we pay in rent is the same thing we pay in mortgage+taxes+insurance, so we were able to do it. saving quickly for a downpayment was the surprise, but the house has gone up almost 50% in value in 3 years (north Texas). turning out to be quite the financial move.

FIREfly34

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Re: (Complainy Rant) Being priced out of the housing market
« Reply #6 on: August 11, 2017, 06:34:53 AM »
steviesterno, that's kinda what I'm hoping for. My estimates show that I could save ~6000 a year for a downpayment if I pay the minimum on my student loans and my car survives. I am seriously considering reducing my 401k contributions just to the match. I'm young so I have plenty of time to catch up and I'm not in a hurry to FIRE. But, of course, everyone advises you not to do that.

Ramblin' Ma'am

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Re: (Complainy Rant) Being priced out of the housing market
« Reply #7 on: August 11, 2017, 07:02:54 AM »
A 5% mortgage on $200k would cost $1,073/month, which leaves ~$200 for taxes/insurance to get to 28% of a $56k income (the median income in 2016). Unless property taxes are ridiculous in such a scenario, a person making a median income salary, in an average cost of living area (where homes cost about the average), should be able to afford a home (with taxes etc) using less than 1/3rd of their income.

$56K is the median household income, not median individual income. Yes, in low/medium COL areas, a couple making the average income should be able to buy a home, but it sounds like the OP is single.

patchyfacialhair

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Re: (Complainy Rant) Being priced out of the housing market
« Reply #8 on: August 11, 2017, 07:18:32 AM »
If you're single, just do your best to save, and get out of debt. I'd say that flexibility is more powerful than anything.

I live an hour south of Denver and my city's market went nuts a few years ago. Demand is far outpacing supply, and the only reason we were able to buy something "nice" was because together we make mid-six figures and have minimal debt. Focus on getting your income up and living the same lifestyle you're used to and doors will open up for you, pun intended.

2Birds1Stone

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Re: (Complainy Rant) Being priced out of the housing market
« Reply #9 on: August 11, 2017, 07:19:01 AM »
Hello OP.

You would need to provide some concrete numbers for specific feedback.

Housing is expensive, and maybe a SFH is not in the cards for someone making below median HH income....without getting creative that is.

Why not shoot for a 2-4BR/2B and get 1-2 roommates? That could allow you to own a home in an area you like, have autonomy over it's upkeep and renovations, and have someone else pay most of the taxes, interest, etc.

Not only that, but if you buy something that needs a bit of work, your sweat equity might pay much more than your low income at W-2 employer.

Just food for thought.
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Capt j-rod

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Re: (Complainy Rant) Being priced out of the housing market
« Reply #10 on: August 11, 2017, 07:39:11 AM »
Houses have been discussed on here a ton. They are not necessarily the best investment. I paid $300k for my house 6 years ago... With the rule of 7's(money invested @7% doubles every 10 years, money invested @10% doubles every 7) my house will not be worth 600k next year. Now this is a warped conclusion because I didn't have $300k to invest. My house is 16 years old... I have replaced the hot water heater, Furnace, A/C, a new roof, new flooring, paint, and tore off a wooden deck replacing it with concrete. I did all of this work myself. I have put $40k in materials into these upgrades. Yes the value of the house has gone up, but only if I leverage it with a HELOC, or sell it outright. The biggest return on investment with a home is that it is your sanctuary. My family loves it here, I have great neighbors, and it is a very safe and stable area to live. Houses do not really save a ton of money. I could rent a nice 3br 2 ba for around $1200/ mo. This would probably be a savings especially in free time and lack of responsibility. The savings is when you lock in and ride for 20 years. Save up the 20% down that you need. Get a conventional loan when you're ready. Remember that I also locked in 3.5% fixed interest on a 30 year mortgage. That is the window that will Ultimately close in the future. Take your time and make an educated decision.

jlcnuke

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Re: (Complainy Rant) Being priced out of the housing market
« Reply #11 on: August 11, 2017, 07:41:59 AM »
A 5% mortgage on $200k would cost $1,073/month, which leaves ~$200 for taxes/insurance to get to 28% of a $56k income (the median income in 2016). Unless property taxes are ridiculous in such a scenario, a person making a median income salary, in an average cost of living area (where homes cost about the average), should be able to afford a home (with taxes etc) using less than 1/3rd of their income.

$56K is the median household income, not median individual income. Yes, in low/medium COL areas, a couple making the average income should be able to buy a home, but it sounds like the OP is single.

Correct. It's possible I wasn't very clear in my "point". My point was mostly that housing is, on average, affordable for the "average" people looking to buy a home. There will be some who can afford much more than "average", and some who can't afford "average", but "on average" it is still affordable in average cost of living areas. If a person's income is below average, or they live in an above average cost of living area, they shouldn't expect to be able to afford an "average" house.
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Bucksandreds

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Re: (Complainy Rant) Being priced out of the housing market
« Reply #12 on: August 11, 2017, 08:50:01 AM »
This thread adds to my opinion that FIRE really only reasonably works if one is willing to live like a Hobo or you make much more than the average person.  No way I would be able to afford FIRE in the next decade if I didn't make 3 times the median income and I'm not judging others in that. I will not live in a terrible apartment (Neither will MMM.)  I wish that there was more honesty on here about the fact that you either have to live like you make $10,000 per year or you have to make 6 figures.

rtrnow

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Re: (Complainy Rant) Being priced out of the housing market
« Reply #13 on: August 11, 2017, 09:14:02 AM »
This thread adds to my opinion that FIRE really only reasonably works if one is willing to live like a Hobo or you make much more than the average person.  No way I would be able to afford FIRE in the next decade if I didn't make 3 times the median income and I'm not judging others in that. I will not live in a terrible apartment (Neither will MMM.)  I wish that there was more honesty on here about the fact that you either have to live like you make $10,000 per year or you have to make 6 figures.

It's all about your expectations. I did it in 12 years and never made six figures. I have a paid for house and then live off about 24K/yr otherwise. I live in a smallish house with a pool in a nice neighborhood. I don't feel like a hobo though I think a look like one sometimes biking with all my groceries.

matchewed

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Re: (Complainy Rant) Being priced out of the housing market
« Reply #14 on: August 11, 2017, 09:25:21 AM »
If buying a house is a goal then save for it. If you're just looking to have the lowest cost way to put a roof over your head then do whatever that is. There is no guarantee rents will continue to rise in your area, you're just making an assumption. And yes it's a complainy rant because you've painted a box around yourself that you're unwilling to move from. Well of course you can't see a way out then. Change your view and you will see more options available for you.

matchewed

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Re: (Complainy Rant) Being priced out of the housing market
« Reply #15 on: August 11, 2017, 09:27:20 AM »
This thread adds to my opinion that FIRE really only reasonably works if one is willing to live like a Hobo or you make much more than the average person.  No way I would be able to afford FIRE in the next decade if I didn't make 3 times the median income and I'm not judging others in that. I will not live in a terrible apartment (Neither will MMM.)  I wish that there was more honesty on here about the fact that you either have to live like you make $10,000 per year or you have to make 6 figures.

I call BS. I saved nearly 50% of my FIRE goal on an income of 40k without living like a hobo.

LurkingMustache

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Re: (Complainy Rant) Being priced out of the housing market
« Reply #16 on: August 11, 2017, 09:34:35 AM »
I am about to purchase a home in Dallas at 245k near one of the trendier parts of the city.  It also has a mother in law suite in the back of the property, which a tenant is currently renting out at $825 a month.

You might be able to look for some type of house hacking like this.  I like that it isn't a duplex -- there are no shared walls.  My mortgage, taxes, and interest end up being around $1500/month.  So it pays over half of it.  I know you were against a roommate situation, but I'm also thinking about getting one for about $600 a month.  It would almost lead to me living rent free, which isn't terrible for a "hot" market.

jtraggie99

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Re: (Complainy Rant) Being priced out of the housing market
« Reply #17 on: August 11, 2017, 09:44:58 AM »
This thread adds to my opinion that FIRE really only reasonably works if one is willing to live like a Hobo or you make much more than the average person.  No way I would be able to afford FIRE in the next decade if I didn't make 3 times the median income and I'm not judging others in that. I will not live in a terrible apartment (Neither will MMM.)  I wish that there was more honesty on here about the fact that you either have to live like you make $10,000 per year or you have to make 6 figures.

I call BS. I saved nearly 50% of my FIRE goal on an income of 40k without living like a hobo.

This biggest takeaway I've gotten from this forum is everyone's situation is different.  You're statement is a little unclear, though.  You said you saved 50% of your FIRE goal on an income of 40K.  That doesn't really tell much of anything.  What's your FIRE goal?  How long did that take?  How much were you actually living on?  Was there a significant other or kids living on that income as well?  Lots of variables there.

Lanthiriel

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Re: (Complainy Rant) Being priced out of the housing market
« Reply #18 on: August 11, 2017, 09:46:04 AM »
Confession time. I just bought a $400k house in Portland with a 3% down conventional mortgage. I have a hefty $2400/mo PITI+PMI payment on a $145k/year income. I'm sure I'll get eviscerated by MMMers for having low equity and paying PMI, but prices are going up 10%/year here with no sign of slowing down unless the recession everyone keeps freaking out about actually happens. Even if it does, I think Portland is finally coming into its own as a West Coast city and is going to follow a similar pattern to what we've seen in Seattle and LA in terms of attaining sky high COL in the long run.

I recognize I'm rolling the dice, especially after just playing a similar game in Alaska and only getting out by the skin of my teeth (broke even on a house after appreciation minus repairs and closing costs after only 2 years of ownership) when the gas bubble burst up there. Only time will tell if the risk pays off, I guess, but I have friends who bought houses in 2014 that have $100k+ in equity due to appreciation. Plus even though those numbers look kind of crazy, I'm only paying 40% of my take home pay after maxing out two 401ks and an HSA on my mortgage.

Only you can know what your risk tolerance is. Everything I have read indicates that if we hit another recession, the housing market won't take the beating it did last time because the real debt that's sinking everyone is student and auto loans. But we never really know...

BFGirl

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Re: (Complainy Rant) Being priced out of the housing market
« Reply #19 on: August 11, 2017, 09:55:25 AM »
@OP

I haven't read all the way through this thread, so I don't know if someone made this response or not.  I know you are an introvert and don't want roommates, however, living alone is a luxury.  People live together because it is cheaper.  I think there has been 1 year in my 50 years that I didn't live with someone else and that was because my ex-husband didn't like the places I could afford to live by myself and helped to pay my rent (we lived in different cities at the time).   I have recently had this discussion with my adult children who were bemoaning how expensive it is to get an apartment and pay bills (they still live with me) and how they shouldn't have to have roommates.

Just something for you to consider.

mm1970

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Re: (Complainy Rant) Being priced out of the housing market
« Reply #20 on: August 11, 2017, 10:24:41 AM »
I am about to purchase a home in Dallas at 245k near one of the trendier parts of the city.  It also has a mother in law suite in the back of the property, which a tenant is currently renting out at $825 a month.

You might be able to look for some type of house hacking like this.  I like that it isn't a duplex -- there are no shared walls.  My mortgage, taxes, and interest end up being around $1500/month.  So it pays over half of it.  I know you were against a roommate situation, but I'm also thinking about getting one for about $600 a month.  It would almost lead to me living rent free, which isn't terrible for a "hot" market.
I was going to suggest something like this too.  Also, you say you are young.  How young?

We were well into our mid-30s before we bought a house.  Over a decade of saving up for a down payment.

undercover

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Re: (Complainy Rant) Being priced out of the housing market
« Reply #21 on: August 11, 2017, 10:48:28 AM »
Simple: make more money or find ways to save more of it. I'll echo other's suggestions by saying you should definitely be considering living with others too (part of the saving equation). I'm heavily introverted too trust me, but my goals are more important than my personality. With a lower income, you have to be willing to get creative if you want to get ahead and meet your goals.

If it's truly your number one priority, you'll find a way to make it work. Ultimately, whether you rent or buy is pretty irrelevant. The goal though is to minimize housing expense and buying will usually do that over time (especially with roommates).

I doubt buying will be a better investment than maxing out your retirement accounts, so I wouldn't be tempted by that. There's no way to predict the future, but run your own numbers anyway.
« Last Edit: August 11, 2017, 10:58:34 AM by undercover »
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inline five

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Re: (Complainy Rant) Being priced out of the housing market
« Reply #22 on: August 11, 2017, 10:49:07 AM »
I knew people who lived in RVs, or rented rooms for ~$500/month, and got rid of almost all their possessions in order to quickly save money. The one that lived in an RV paid off $70k in student loans in under two years, he then saved some more and bought a condo.

The only thing I would caution is buying a cheaper house in an out of the way area. We bought our house nine years ago and it's only gone up around $50k, I know friends who bought lesser homes in more desirable areas of the city who made over $100k in half the time.

Real estate is all about location location location. If you can afford to buy something in a desirable location, do so and rent out the other rooms, your roommates will be buying the house for you.

I agree with you about the squeeze being felt on the lower end and the places we are looking to move have seen huge gains in property values, so I feel your pain. The economy is fairly robust and I see this going on for some time unfortunately.
« Last Edit: August 11, 2017, 10:50:50 AM by inline five »

Goldielocks

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Re: (Complainy Rant) Being priced out of the housing market
« Reply #23 on: August 11, 2017, 10:53:48 AM »
Yeah it sucks.   I moved at the age of 24 to a LCOL area, specifically because I wanted to own my own home, and start having kids in the next few years.   I realized that in the HCOL area, two married engineers (no kids) I knew were struggling to make payments on a run down house even with an income suite, and I knew I had to move to get the home ownership life I wanted.

In hindsight, the driver  in home ownership was the lower down payment required to get to 20% equity in the LCOL area, rather than lower monthly payments as interest rates are so very low right now.

I had to take a lower paid job in a new industry to do it, too...    but the LCOL differential was worth it.


Bracken_Joy

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Re: (Complainy Rant) Being priced out of the housing market
« Reply #24 on: August 11, 2017, 10:54:03 AM »
Living alone period, but especially owning alone, is a MASSIVE luxury. You have a few choices: bite the bullet for a couple years and really scrimp, then buy. Wait a longer period of time then buy. Move. No one *owes* you a house, lol.

Useful calculator: https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2014/upshot/buy-rent-calculator.html?_r=0

Personally, we went with the "scrimp" and "move" options. Lived in the ghetto for a year, then moved to another place where we could afford to buy for a lot less. And that was *with* a partner.

Buying a home in your 20s is a massive achievement with no help, and a rare thing to achieve, especially single and without roommates.
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Re: (Complainy Rant) Being priced out of the housing market
« Reply #25 on: August 11, 2017, 10:56:40 AM »
This thread adds to my opinion that FIRE really only reasonably works if one is willing to live like a Hobo or you make much more than the average person.  No way I would be able to afford FIRE in the next decade if I didn't make 3 times the median income and I'm not judging others in that. I will not live in a terrible apartment (Neither will MMM.)  I wish that there was more honesty on here about the fact that you either have to live like you make $10,000 per year or you have to make 6 figures.

I call BS. I saved nearly 50% of my FIRE goal on an income of 40k without living like a hobo.
Thanks, I was about to do the same. I may look like I live rich in my HCOLA, but I'm pretty darn frugal and have never earned a huge income. Real estate ownership is a big part of how I got there.

I'll further explain that for a frugal person, owning a home that costs more than a third of your income is completely do-able. For years, mine exceeded 50% of my take-home pay. I still managed to dress well, drive a decent car, furnish my home attractively, have a social life, travel and save for FIRE. Except for a $6k inheritance, I paid for everything myself and never had a co-signer. This only works if you have no debt, decent reserves, a DIY attitude, and can squeeze a buck 'til it screams.

I bought my first home in a more reasonably priced area and rented it out while I lived with a roommate in my rent-controlled apartment in LA. It even had PMI, because it was a fixer and I didn't want to spend all my savings on the DP. A few years after I moved to NorCal, I found a screaming deal on a short-saled condo. I actually borrowed from my 401k (ugh, never again, hated it) so I could do grab the condo before I had time to sell the first property.

When I needed a bigger property due to work requirements, I bought something big enough to comfortably co-exist with a roommate, which I did for five years.

I'll add that I knew I wanted to buy property early on (22) and was a dedicated saver. Took me until I was 30 to amass a year's salary in liquid savings.

It required baby steps and big leaps to get to where I am today,  but it was completely worth the effort. You can do this if you hold firm, unwavering goals, ignore the naysayers, and believe in yourself. Whining will get you nowhere, just get started. It will happen if you're determined enough and when the timing is right. What is that saying that luck favors the prepared? "Fortune favors the prepared mind."* And wallet. Be that person.

* Loius Pasteur, 1854


ETA: inline five's cross post makes another good point. I made nothing on the first house in the less desirable area. But the condo more than doubled during the next four years. Realing Estate is fickle, but somewhat predictable. Learn as much as you can before you buy.
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VoteCthulu

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Re: (Complainy Rant) Being priced out of the housing market
« Reply #26 on: August 11, 2017, 11:01:11 AM »
The best part of being a single introvert is the freedom to move wherever you want. Start looking for jobs in very LCOL areas. When I lived in Missouri I was surprised to see people living on federal minimum wage in $200/month studio apartments, with plenty left every month for beer, etc. I've heard the rural areas of many states are that way too.

The trick is finding the small town with a company you can work for, and even if they pay 1/2 your current pay it could still be better overall.

CrispySub

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Re: (Complainy Rant) Being priced out of the housing market
« Reply #27 on: August 11, 2017, 11:02:15 AM »
I live in a HCOL area and I got tired of wasting money paying rent, so I bought a home.

When I was renting, I could have gone cheaper/more dangerous, but I was paying $2600 for a one bedroom with parking. 

I bought a home for $625k (close to average for my city) with a mortgage of $3200 a month.  I now rent the basement short term (my current tenant is April to November) and I will try to find another around after November.  I include all utilities and internet for my basement renter and I spend less than $3500 a month on internet, water, gas, electricity, TV, etc and all mortgage associated items.

This sounds expensive (and it is), but after I collect monthly rent, I only have to pay about $1400 out of pocket.  So instead of a worry free $2600 a month +utilities rent, I pay a worrisome $1400 a month and get all of the tax benefits on a mortgage.

The point is, if you find the right property (ideally with an inlaw suite with a separate entrance or a stand alone cottage), you can get roommates without noticing you have roommates to save you even more while building equity and tax benefits.




matchewed

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Re: (Complainy Rant) Being priced out of the housing market
« Reply #28 on: August 11, 2017, 11:22:57 AM »
This thread adds to my opinion that FIRE really only reasonably works if one is willing to live like a Hobo or you make much more than the average person.  No way I would be able to afford FIRE in the next decade if I didn't make 3 times the median income and I'm not judging others in that. I will not live in a terrible apartment (Neither will MMM.)  I wish that there was more honesty on here about the fact that you either have to live like you make $10,000 per year or you have to make 6 figures.

I call BS. I saved nearly 50% of my FIRE goal on an income of 40k without living like a hobo.

This biggest takeaway I've gotten from this forum is everyone's situation is different.  You're statement is a little unclear, though.  You said you saved 50% of your FIRE goal on an income of 40K.  That doesn't really tell much of anything.  What's your FIRE goal?  How long did that take?  How much were you actually living on?  Was there a significant other or kids living on that income as well?  Lots of variables there.

Irrelevant information given the statement by Bucksandreds. There may be several variables but his statement was equally broad without variables being discussed. Hence the BS callout.

Sibley

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Re: (Complainy Rant) Being priced out of the housing market
« Reply #29 on: August 11, 2017, 11:32:06 AM »
I've seen this a couple times in this thread, so I'm going to point it out.

Renting is NOT wasting money. Renting is paying for a place to live.

Whether you should rent or buy is a complex decision, and it's both financial and emotional. But BOTH options are valid and result in a place to live.

Lmoot

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Re: (Complainy Rant) Being priced out of the housing market
« Reply #30 on: August 11, 2017, 11:54:04 AM »
What does being an introvert have to do with getting a second job? I am an introvert, on a single income and I never could have bought my house if I didn't work multiple jobs. When you really want something, little else matters, and obstacles merely become things to overcome as efficiently as possible. You don't have kids or a SO reliant on your time...you might never be in as good a position as you are now, to work every waking hour. Even if you just do it for a year or 2. It is possible. You have an obstacle which is the market is rising faster than your savings...so suck it up for 2 years and rent a cheap place, or get a roommate, and it won't matter cuz you'll never see them, cuz you'll be working so much.

jtraggie99

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Re: (Complainy Rant) Being priced out of the housing market
« Reply #31 on: August 11, 2017, 11:58:30 AM »
This thread adds to my opinion that FIRE really only reasonably works if one is willing to live like a Hobo or you make much more than the average person.  No way I would be able to afford FIRE in the next decade if I didn't make 3 times the median income and I'm not judging others in that. I will not live in a terrible apartment (Neither will MMM.)  I wish that there was more honesty on here about the fact that you either have to live like you make $10,000 per year or you have to make 6 figures.

I call BS. I saved nearly 50% of my FIRE goal on an income of 40k without living like a hobo.

This biggest takeaway I've gotten from this forum is everyone's situation is different.  You're statement is a little unclear, though.  You said you saved 50% of your FIRE goal on an income of 40K.  That doesn't really tell much of anything.  What's your FIRE goal?  How long did that take?  How much were you actually living on?  Was there a significant other or kids living on that income as well?  Lots of variables there.

Irrelevant information given the statement by Bucksandreds. There may be several variables but his statement was equally broad without variables being discussed. Hence the BS callout.


My point was kind of two-fold.  You often see broad, sweeping generalizations here about how cheaply some get by and how quickly they retired with the mentality of "stop complaining, if I can do it, anyone can do it".  That's all fine and good, but everyone's situation is unique.  There can be way too many variables involved.  So I will add onto my biggest takeaway statement.  After that its about cutting out and minimizing unnecessary expenses and focusing on what's really important to you.  The holier-than-though I see at times of look at what I did, and if you can't do the same you're not trying hard enough, just diminishes the bigger philosophy. 

This is not directed at you, just something I've noticed from time to time that seems to clutter up the message.

intellectsucks

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Re: (Complainy Rant) Being priced out of the housing market
« Reply #32 on: August 11, 2017, 12:15:19 PM »
This thread adds to my opinion that FIRE really only reasonably works if one is willing to live like a Hobo or you make much more than the average person.  No way I would be able to afford FIRE in the next decade if I didn't make 3 times the median income and I'm not judging others in that. I will not live in a terrible apartment (Neither will MMM.)  I wish that there was more honesty on here about the fact that you either have to live like you make $10,000 per year or you have to make 6 figures.
Bucksandreds, can you clarify what you mean by ďliving like a hoboĒ?  MMM and most people here have said repeatedly that FIRE is much EASIER when you make above average income but they have also shown multiple times that it is still possible to FIRE when you make average income or below.  Yes, if you have hundreds of thousands of income you will have much more wiggle room for luxuries in your budget than someone making a more average income, but that doesnít mean that achieving FIRE with a comfortable lifestyle is impossible.
I personally found very little value from this thread.  We have no idea what area the OP is referencing, we have no idea what budget they are looking at for rentals.  We have no idea what their income or spending ranges are.  For all we know, they could be spending 30% of their money on restaurants and partying.
Yes there are markets and circumstances that make home ownership a very difficult, possibly impossible goal for some people, but those circumstances seem to be pretty rare.  In most cases it comes down to the person making poor budgeting choices

Bucksandreds

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Re: (Complainy Rant) Being priced out of the housing market
« Reply #33 on: August 11, 2017, 12:17:07 PM »
This thread adds to my opinion that FIRE really only reasonably works if one is willing to live like a Hobo or you make much more than the average person.  No way I would be able to afford FIRE in the next decade if I didn't make 3 times the median income and I'm not judging others in that. I will not live in a terrible apartment (Neither will MMM.)  I wish that there was more honesty on here about the fact that you either have to live like you make $10,000 per year or you have to make 6 figures.

I call BS. I saved nearly 50% of my FIRE goal on an income of 40k without living like a hobo.

This biggest takeaway I've gotten from this forum is everyone's situation is different.  You're statement is a little unclear, though.  You said you saved 50% of your FIRE goal on an income of 40K.  That doesn't really tell much of anything.  What's your FIRE goal?  How long did that take?  How much were you actually living on?  Was there a significant other or kids living on that income as well?  Lots of variables there.

Irrelevant information given the statement by Bucksandreds. There may be several variables but his statement was equally broad without variables being discussed. Hence the BS callout.


My point was kind of two-fold.  You often see broad, sweeping generalizations here about how cheaply some get by and how quickly they retired with the mentality of "stop complaining, if I can do it, anyone can do it".  That's all fine and good, but everyone's situation is unique.  There can be way too many variables involved.  So I will add onto my biggest takeaway statement.  After that its about cutting out and minimizing unnecessary expenses and focusing on what's really important to you.  The holier-than-though I see at times of look at what I did, and if you can't do the same you're not trying hard enough, just diminishes the bigger philosophy. 

This is not directed at you, just something I've noticed from time to time that seems to clutter up the message.

Youre not going to get far arguing with the cult mentality here. Hence the reason that I haven't responded.

VoteCthulu

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Re: (Complainy Rant) Being priced out of the housing market
« Reply #34 on: August 11, 2017, 01:01:16 PM »
Youre not going to get far arguing with the cult mentality here. Hence the reason that I haven't responded.
Yeah, it's hard to make progress after you're proven wrong, so you might as well ignore that evidence and accuse people of being cult-like instead.

jtraggie99

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Re: (Complainy Rant) Being priced out of the housing market
« Reply #35 on: August 11, 2017, 01:18:46 PM »
Youre not going to get far arguing with the cult mentality here. Hence the reason that I haven't responded.
Yeah, it's hard to make progress after you're proven wrong, so you might as well ignore that evidence and accuse people of being cult-like instead.


I'm not trying to wedge myself into this, so this is my last response.  But what exactly was proven?  Poster says he's halfway to FIRE making 40K a year.  Ok.  What does that mean though?  How old are they?  How long have they been saving?  How much are they actually saving and spending?  What is their FIRE goal?  How have they done it (i.e. what is their situation)?  The sort of questions I asked that they said were irrelevant.  I thought the whole reason people were here was to learn about and takeaway something from what others have done and how it might apply to our own situation.  There was virtually nothing of detail or substance provided that suggests anything was proven to completely shoot down the other posters point.

Anyway, all of this appears to have gotten completely off topic, so I will bow out.

intellectsucks

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Re: (Complainy Rant) Being priced out of the housing market
« Reply #36 on: August 11, 2017, 01:23:24 PM »
Bucksandreds, I gotta join Matchewed in calling BS here.  You made an overly broad claim that FIRE is impossible unless you ďlive like a hoboĒ in a ďterrible apartmentĒ or if you make less than $100k.  Iíll use myself as an example.  I make a little bit more than median US income, which is the only income coming into my household.  Iím in the process of purchasing a 6 BR, 2500 sq ft house on almost a half acre of land in a very nice Philadelphia suburb.  My wife and I both drive comfortable, reliable cars.  We have three children in diapers and twins on formula.  Our grocery budget is higher than MMM standards.  We have access to more digital entertainment than we could possibly consume in our lifetime.  We travel, either in the U.S. or abroad every other year or so.  Thereís no way you could classify my lifestyle as hoboesque  At this rate, Iíll likely be FIRE in about 15 years in my late forties.  A jump in my income of about 10k or if my wife gets a job that will net this much or more after expenses puts our timeframe at 10 years or less.  If I had discovered MMM ten years ago, Iíd ALREADY be FIRE.
Your claim that FIRE and home ownership is out of reach for the vast majority of Americans just doesnít stand up to scrutiny, and youíve made no effort to support your claim.

A Definite Beta Guy

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Re: (Complainy Rant) Being priced out of the housing market
« Reply #37 on: August 11, 2017, 01:48:32 PM »
Bucksandreds, I gotta join Matchewed in calling BS here.  You made an overly broad claim that FIRE is impossible unless you ďlive like a hoboĒ in a ďterrible apartmentĒ or if you make less than $100k.  Iíll use myself as an example.  I make a little bit more than median US income, which is the only income coming into my household.  Iím in the process of purchasing a 6 BR, 2500 sq ft house on almost a half acre of land in a very nice Philadelphia suburb.  My wife and I both drive comfortable, reliable cars.  We have three children in diapers and twins on formula.  Our grocery budget is higher than MMM standards.  We have access to more digital entertainment than we could possibly consume in our lifetime.  We travel, either in the U.S. or abroad every other year or so.  Thereís no way you could classify my lifestyle as hoboesque  At this rate, Iíll likely be FIRE in about 15 years in my late forties.  A jump in my income of about 10k or if my wife gets a job that will net this much or more after expenses puts our timeframe at 10 years or less.  If I had discovered MMM ten years ago, Iíd ALREADY be FIRE.
Your claim that FIRE and home ownership is out of reach for the vast majority of Americans just doesnít stand up to scrutiny, and youíve made no effort to support your claim.

Yeah...it's possibly you're overoptimistic  that you could be fired today on median household income.

MMM's no frills budget for his family of 3 is 22k/year:
http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2017/05/19/2016-spending/

A family of 5 is going to incur higher expenses.

To reach that no-frills 22k/year spending on a 4% SWR, you need to have a nest egg of $550,000/year.

Let's just look at the numbers, assuming you pay no taxes, and assuming 8% return on your savings every year. All your savings, so no emergency savings.

Year   Income   Expense   Savings   8% Return Prior Period   New Total
1   56,000   22,000   34,000      
2   56,000   22,000   34,000   36720                           70,720
3   56,000   22,000   34,000   76377.6                           110,378
4   56,000   22,000   34,000   119207.808                   153,208
5   56,000   22,000   34,000   165464.4326                   199,464
6   56,000   22,000   34,000   215421.5873                   249,422
7   56,000   22,000   34,000   269375.3142                    303,375
8   56,000   22,000   34,000   327645.3394                    361,645
9   56,000   22,000   34,000   390576.9665                   424,577
10   56,000   22,000   34,000   458543.1238                492,543
11   56,000   22,000   34,000   531946.5737               565,947


So our hypothetical 22 year old in a 3 person household on household median income, paying absolutely no taxes on anything, will be able to FIRE at age 33, if he lives according to the "no-frills" MMM budget.

Note that this above 22k also doesn't include rent or student loans. Lord help you if you run into any unexpected medical bills (Half of MMM's budget is medical bills).

Don't know what your specific numbers are, so kudos to you for accomplishing so much on a median household income. A family of 5 at median household income is 200% of poverty level. In the US, I think that qualifies for food stamps, so it's considered a low income level.

VoteCthulu

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Re: (Complainy Rant) Being priced out of the housing market
« Reply #38 on: August 11, 2017, 02:01:22 PM »
Youre not going to get far arguing with the cult mentality here. Hence the reason that I haven't responded.
Yeah, it's hard to make progress after you're proven wrong, so you might as well ignore that evidence and accuse people of being cult-like instead.
I'm not trying to wedge myself into this, so this is my last response.  But what exactly was proven?
That FIRE is possible without living like a hobo while earning average wages.

Poster says he's halfway to FIRE making 40K a year.  Ok.  What does that mean though?  How old are they?  How long have they been saving?  How much are they actually saving and spending?  What is their FIRE goal?  How have they done it (i.e. what is their situation)?  The sort of questions I asked that they said were irrelevant.
I agree that more information would provide stronger proof, but since Bucksandreds provided no evidence or reasonable arguments and instead immediately resorted to ad hominem attacks, I consider the point conceded.

undercover

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Re: (Complainy Rant) Being priced out of the housing market
« Reply #39 on: August 11, 2017, 02:03:42 PM »
So our hypothetical 22 year old in a 3 person household on household median income, paying absolutely no taxes on anything, will be able to FIRE at age 33, if he lives according to the "no-frills" MMM budget.

Two thoughts:

1. MMM's "no-frills" budget is based on much higher health insurance expenses than normal due to an extreme jump in income.. Last year's "no-frills" was closer to $17k.

2. Bucksandreds was saying that it would be hard to fire on anything less than $100k without living like a hobo. In your analysis, that family could make a whopping $43k more a year without being hobos!

I think it's fair to call BS on the original post since there were some very broad over-generalizations.

Youre not going to get far arguing with the cult mentality here. Hence the reason that I haven't responded.
Yeah, it's hard to make progress after you're proven wrong, so you might as well ignore that evidence and accuse people of being cult-like instead.
I'm not trying to wedge myself into this, so this is my last response.  But what exactly was proven?

I'm going to go ahead and say that it's going to be very easy to find someone's finances here and find out that they're A) not living in a "terrible apartment" B) making under $100k and C) plan on retiring within 10-15 years of working (total time working, not just from the time you ask them) and D) does not live like a "hobo". It can easily be proven because that is the norm on these forums.

No one here is saying that more income doesn't help and makes things less stressful, it's just that savings rate is more important than income and it's possible to have an under six figure income, live a decent life, and still have a high savings rate to qualify for "FIRE" status (we'll say under 15 years).
Every solution has a problem

intellectsucks

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Re: (Complainy Rant) Being priced out of the housing market
« Reply #40 on: August 11, 2017, 02:11:38 PM »
Another example:
US Median income is around $52k/year.  Hereís a pretty realistic example for the Philadelphia area of someone who can build significant wealth on just that with a crappy 401k that only matches 2%:
$52000
-$5200 (10% 401k contribution)
-$15600 (taxes and deductions)
-$12000 (Rent on a luxury 1 BR apartment in Philadelphia area or above average 2 BR with no roommates)
-$400 (higher end google fi or republic wireless cell phone plan)
-$5000 (really high food and grocery budget)
-$1200 (really high alchohol/restaurant budget)
-$1200 (really high entertainment budget)
-$1800 (car and renters insurance)
-$1200 (crazy high numbers for disability and life insurance)
-$1200 (misc whatever else)
-$600 (Gasoline/transportation costs)
Leaves another $3000/year to save and invest.
With the 401k contribution, the horrendous 2% match, and the extra $3000 savings, earning a VERY conservative 7%, this person will have a stache of around $627k in 25 years (mid to late 40ís if they start just after college).  With a withdrawal rate of 4%, their stache will pay about 2/3 of their expenses with almost zero chance of ever being reduced.  With a higher withdrawal rate, they will have all of their expenses fully paid with the risk of running out of money.
This is a budget for a very comfortable lifestyle with a TON of fat that could be trimmed.  It also makes absolutely ridiculous assumptions (no raises EVER, no bonuses EVER, no tax returns EVER, no one else contributing any income EVER, no social security income EVER).  It STILL gets you to a point that most would consider FIRE with almost ZERO effort or sacrifice.
Will a similar budget work in EVERY area for EVERY person?  No, of course not.  Will it work for most?  Absolutely. 

intellectsucks

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Re: (Complainy Rant) Being priced out of the housing market
« Reply #41 on: August 11, 2017, 02:33:15 PM »
Bucksandreds, I gotta join Matchewed in calling BS here.  You made an overly broad claim that FIRE is impossible unless you ďlive like a hoboĒ in a ďterrible apartmentĒ or if you make less than $100k.  Iíll use myself as an example.  I make a little bit more than median US income, which is the only income coming into my household.  Iím in the process of purchasing a 6 BR, 2500 sq ft house on almost a half acre of land in a very nice Philadelphia suburb.  My wife and I both drive comfortable, reliable cars.  We have three children in diapers and twins on formula.  Our grocery budget is higher than MMM standards.  We have access to more digital entertainment than we could possibly consume in our lifetime.  We travel, either in the U.S. or abroad every other year or so.  Thereís no way you could classify my lifestyle as hoboesque  At this rate, Iíll likely be FIRE in about 15 years in my late forties.  A jump in my income of about 10k or if my wife gets a job that will net this much or more after expenses puts our timeframe at 10 years or less.  If I had discovered MMM ten years ago, Iíd ALREADY be FIRE.
Your claim that FIRE and home ownership is out of reach for the vast majority of Americans just doesnít stand up to scrutiny, and youíve made no effort to support your claim.

Yeah...it's possibly you're overoptimistic  that you could be fired today on median household income.

MMM's no frills budget for his family of 3 is 22k/year:
http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2017/05/19/2016-spending/

A family of 5 is going to incur higher expenses.

To reach that no-frills 22k/year spending on a 4% SWR, you need to have a nest egg of $550,000/year.

Let's just look at the numbers, assuming you pay no taxes, and assuming 8% return on your savings every year. All your savings, so no emergency savings.

Year   Income   Expense   Savings   8% Return Prior Period   New Total
1   56,000   22,000   34,000      
2   56,000   22,000   34,000   36720                           70,720
3   56,000   22,000   34,000   76377.6                           110,378
4   56,000   22,000   34,000   119207.808                   153,208
5   56,000   22,000   34,000   165464.4326                   199,464
6   56,000   22,000   34,000   215421.5873                   249,422
7   56,000   22,000   34,000   269375.3142                    303,375
8   56,000   22,000   34,000   327645.3394                    361,645
9   56,000   22,000   34,000   390576.9665                   424,577
10   56,000   22,000   34,000   458543.1238                492,543
11   56,000   22,000   34,000   531946.5737               565,947


So our hypothetical 22 year old in a 3 person household on household median income, paying absolutely no taxes on anything, will be able to FIRE at age 33, if he lives according to the "no-frills" MMM budget.

Note that this above 22k also doesn't include rent or student loans. Lord help you if you run into any unexpected medical bills (Half of MMM's budget is medical bills).

Don't know what your specific numbers are, so kudos to you for accomplishing so much on a median household income. A family of 5 at median household income is 200% of poverty level. In the US, I think that qualifies for food stamps, so it's considered a low income level.
A Definite Beta Guy, my likelihood of being FIRE was based on being single and working for a long time, then my wife and I both working and saving for home purchases, etc, THEN starting a family a little over two years ago.  Iím NOT FIRE because I spent so many years making poor spending and lifestyle decisions.  Now that Iím where I am, achieving FIRE is much more difficult than it was when my wife and I were both working but itís not the fault of ďthe systemĒ and believing that I can achieve it is not ďcult thinkingĒ.  The fact that I still have to work today is the result of my younger self making so many poor big and small decisions.  Complaining about how home prices are out of control is neither relevant nor helpful to my FIRE journey.

GenXbiker

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Re: (Complainy Rant) Being priced out of the housing market
« Reply #42 on: August 11, 2017, 02:35:10 PM »
While median household income is over $56,000/yr, median personal income is closer to $30,000/yr, and it's lower for millennials.

http://www.businessinsider.com/millennial-median-wage-map-2016-11

GenXbiker

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Re: (Complainy Rant) Being priced out of the housing market
« Reply #43 on: August 11, 2017, 02:40:22 PM »
Youre not going to get far arguing with the cult mentality here. Hence the reason that I haven't responded.

It can seem that way at times.  Some things are better left unsaid.  For example, if someone posts about purchasing a brand new SUV, there are likely to be a series of face punches.

VoteCthulu

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Re: (Complainy Rant) Being priced out of the housing market
« Reply #44 on: August 11, 2017, 02:52:38 PM »
Youre not going to get far arguing with the cult mentality here. Hence the reason that I haven't responded.
It can seem that way at times.  Some things are better left unsaid.  For example, if someone posts about purchasing a brand new SUV, there are likely to be a series of face punches.

Which is generally warranted, unless you got one with $20k of rebates and 0% interest for 3 years and need it for your side gig of painting houses, or whatever.

Most of us realize that spending your own money in whatever way makes you happiest is perfectly healthy, but it's nice to have a community that realizes that buying fancy new crap often doesn't make us happy and helps us counteract the consumerism we experience too much of in the rest of our everyday lives.

intellectsucks

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Re: (Complainy Rant) Being priced out of the housing market
« Reply #45 on: August 11, 2017, 03:32:16 PM »
While median household income is over $56,000/yr, median personal income is closer to $30,000/yr, and it's lower for millennials.

http://www.businessinsider.com/millennial-median-wage-map-2016-11
Whoops, made a math error... reposting in a minute.
« Last Edit: August 11, 2017, 03:36:59 PM by intellectsucks »

intellectsucks

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Re: (Complainy Rant) Being priced out of the housing market
« Reply #46 on: August 11, 2017, 03:46:49 PM »
While median household income is over $56,000/yr, median personal income is closer to $30,000/yr, and it's lower for millennials.

http://www.businessinsider.com/millennial-median-wage-map-2016-11
GenXbiker, you make a fair point, though there are a lot of caveats to that low median personal income; it includes ALL wage earners including those who are not yet in full time careers (I donít think either of us would consider a college student working a job in between classes as representative of the overall workforce).  Perhaps my estimate of starting income is a little high, however itís also fair to point out that someone with an MMM mindset is unlikely to stay at that income level.  Even if they DO stay at that income level the numbers still work out fairly well for them in regards to building wealth.
$33k income/year
$3300 401k contribution
$9900 taxes and deductions (this number is likely way too high for this level of income but whatever)
$6000 rent (split a luxury/above average apartment with a roommate or find a bargain apartment)
$1800 utilities (same as above)
$400 cell phone bill
$3000 groceries (probably fair to say that putting some budgeting here is appropriate vs my previous example)
$1200 alcohol
$1200 entertainment
$1800 car+renters insurance
$1200 disability/life insurance
$1200 misc
$600 petrol/transportation
That leaves them $1400 left over every year.  Still a very comfortable budget but yes, they will need to choose between ďFIREĒ and home ownership if they canít increase their income.  An additional $5400/year in income from side hustles, bonuses, tax returns or other sources means that this happens:
That leaves them $6800 left over every year.  If they earn ZERO interest on that $6800 they have enough for a down payment on a $200k house in six years.  A five minute Zillow search shows 36 houses for sale in that price range in a VERY desirable Philadelphia suburb (Abington PA).  This person then has a few choices: buy the house, live alone on a comfortable budget with almost nothing going towards savings outside their 401k; sublet one or more rooms in their fancy suburban house and maintain their previous comfortable budget with a ton of wiggle room; purchase a cheaper home in a nice neighborhood within the Philadelphia city limits for much cheaper, allowing them to live alone and maintain their comfortable budget with a ton of wiggle room.  No matter which choice they make, their crappy 401k with itís crappy 2% match and crappy 7% return will be over $250k in 25 years.  A 4% withdrawal rate at that point will give them about $10k/year about half of their expenses.
So yes, the scenario outlined above (once again filled with ridiculously conservative assumptions) means that they MAY have to choose between home ownership and ďFIREĒ, however you canít really say that with a really nice house and 250k in their retirement accounts that theyíre in terrible shape.
So have I been effective enough in disproving the point that you can't succeed financially without ďliving like a hoboĒ?
« Last Edit: August 11, 2017, 03:55:57 PM by intellectsucks »

A Definite Beta Guy

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Re: (Complainy Rant) Being priced out of the housing market
« Reply #47 on: August 11, 2017, 04:00:22 PM »
That person isn't having any kids, isn't paying for health insurance, and doesn't have student loans. The tax rate is definitely way too high.

I think the 52k/year person is a great example, but the same logic applies, and that person wasn't buying property, and still isn't FIRE'D at hitting 50 if I am reading your description correctly.

I'd definitely say you don't have to live like a hobo to be financially successful unless you have a REALLY crappy circumstance...but Bucks was saying that you have to live like a hobo to FIRE. I mean, that depends on what FIRE "means" to you, but if you want to pull a MMM and retire at 30....well, that might be a different story. Not sure what Bucks means by it.

intellectsucks

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Re: (Complainy Rant) Being priced out of the housing market
« Reply #48 on: August 11, 2017, 06:10:02 PM »
That person isn't having any kids, isn't paying for health insurance, and doesn't have student loans. The tax rate is definitely way too high.

I think the 52k/year person is a great example, but the same logic applies, and that person wasn't buying property, and still isn't FIRE'D at hitting 50 if I am reading your description correctly.

I'd definitely say you don't have to live like a hobo to be financially successful unless you have a REALLY crappy circumstance...but Bucks was saying that you have to live like a hobo to FIRE. I mean, that depends on what FIRE "means" to you, but if you want to pull a MMM and retire at 30....well, that might be a different story. Not sure what Bucks means by it.
I actually accounted for insurance premiums through the employer in the taxes line. As to the other things, those omissions are about as relevant as raises, tax returns, bonuses etc in my mind.
I guess it comes down to your definition of FIRE. To me it means being able to give up full time work. I don't see any future where I'm doing zero paid work, so I'm setting my FIRE number much lower than a lot of others to account for it.  I also intentionally included some ridiculous numbers in my examples (who the fuck spends $1800 a year on disability and life insurance?) to make it even more clear that some definitions of FIRE can be achieved even on modest incomes. Someone at a lower income level could certainly live comfortably on a budget way lower than my examples and FIRE much earlier or much more completely.
I'm not going to say that you can live like MMM on average income or less (I've been critical of MMM in the past when it seemed like he was in his yearly spending posts), but making a blanket statement that FIRE isn't possible with incomes under six figures isn't correct. You may not be able to choose the best of all worlds but that doesn't mean that FIRE isn't impossible.

phil22

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Re: (Complainy Rant) Being priced out of the housing market
« Reply #49 on: August 11, 2017, 06:40:35 PM »
So our hypothetical 22 year old in a 3 person household on household median income, paying absolutely no taxes on anything, will be able to FIRE at age 33, if he lives according to the "no-frills" MMM budget.

MMM's "no-frills" budget is based on much higher health insurance expenses than normal due to an extreme jump in income.. Last year's "no-frills" was closer to $17k.

MMM's "no-frills" budget doesn't include rent or mortgage principal payments, so that budget is irrelevant for someone saving for FIRE.