Author Topic: Article: Living in cars, working for Amazon: meet America's new nomads  (Read 6736 times)


Erica

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Re: Article: Living in cars, working for Amazon: meet America's new nomads
« Reply #1 on: December 05, 2017, 12:41:26 PM »
They don't live in cars, they live in RV's. Big difference. I live a few hours from Fernley and visited once
Most appeared to be doing just fine financially. They pay $13 an hr, a bonus if you don't miss work, and a good amount of overtime
« Last Edit: December 05, 2017, 12:43:37 PM by Erica »

accolay

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Re: Article: Living in cars, working for Amazon: meet America's new nomads
« Reply #2 on: December 05, 2017, 03:26:50 PM »
They don't live in cars, they live in RV's. Big difference. I live a few hours from Fernley and visited once
Most appeared to be doing just fine financially. They pay $13 an hr, a bonus if you don't miss work, and a good amount of overtime

Yeah, seems awesome. Seasonal work, so they're basically only working a few months out of the year and camping the other part.

Of course, $13 an hour with no benefits isn't what we would define a "living wage" and they would still qualify for "food stamps" but you know....Living the dream.

TheAnonOne

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Re: Article: Living in cars, working for Amazon: meet America's new nomads
« Reply #3 on: December 05, 2017, 03:31:41 PM »
They don't live in cars, they live in RV's. Big difference. I live a few hours from Fernley and visited once
Most appeared to be doing just fine financially. They pay $13 an hr, a bonus if you don't miss work, and a good amount of overtime

Yeah, seems awesome. Seasonal work, so they're basically only working a few months out of the year and camping the other part.

Of course, $13 an hour with no benefits isn't what we would define a "living wage" and they would still qualify for "food stamps" but you know....Living the dream.

This job looks a lot better when you frame the RVer as already FI, just supplementing their spending.

accolay

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Re: Article: Living in cars, working for Amazon: meet America's new nomads
« Reply #4 on: December 05, 2017, 03:40:16 PM »
This job looks a lot better when you frame the RVer as already FI, just supplementing their spending.

I'm sure the majority of those folks are FI... and not just doing it out of necessity.


ixtap

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Re: Article: Living in cars, working for Amazon: meet America's new nomads
« Reply #5 on: December 05, 2017, 03:43:36 PM »
This job looks a lot better when you frame the RVer as already FI, just supplementing their spending.

I'm sure the majority of those folks are FI... and not just doing it out of necessity.

I don't know, there was an article a few months ago about folks moving back and forth between this kind of work and summer work, like working at amusement parks. The article made them all sound miserable, but I also remember at least one couple who was maintaining the RV, plus a home someplace and complaining about costs.

accolay

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Re: Article: Living in cars, working for Amazon: meet America's new nomads
« Reply #6 on: December 05, 2017, 03:58:15 PM »
Living in an RV is cool and happy when you're young, you have enough money to choose to live there while you're retired or you work for google and live in their parking lot or otherwise sticking it to the man by not owning anything etc.

It's not cool when you have to live there in retirement age while chasing jobs around the country sometimes unable to afford repair or gas because you're broke.


Cassie

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Re: Article: Living in cars, working for Amazon: meet America's new nomads
« Reply #7 on: December 05, 2017, 04:40:46 PM »
I read some articles about seniors doing this and many were miserable. At 63 I would not want to live in our old 27 ft motorhome. About a month is enough for me.  Often their SS was low and some had lost good jobs and their homes during the recession. 

Laura Ingalls

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Re: Article: Living in cars, working for Amazon: meet America's new nomads
« Reply #8 on: December 05, 2017, 08:07:53 PM »
I have met several full time RVs.  Their means vary a lot.  I have found that one of the best ways to tell the broke from the more FI is if they bother to title their RV in Texas or South Dakota.  Folks with no money don’t worry about their state income taxes liability.  I have also read Jessica Bruder’s excellent book.  Her subjects are mostly super broke folks that have never made much money and their other choices are limited. 

I would gladly live in 27 foot 5th wheel.  I would want to do it by choice not default.

Erica

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Re: Article: Living in cars, working for Amazon: meet America's new nomads
« Reply #9 on: December 05, 2017, 08:59:41 PM »
It would be interesting to know the truth regarding their wealth & assets.

One thing that tipped me off is their haircuts. They were not done at Supercuts or Great Clips but they were clearly, nicer haircuts.

None of these people were fat. Many appeared in shape.

Very Nice RV's, overall.

I came in the beginning though....before they started working really hard.

Someone told me they got $500 last year as a bonus for not missing any shifts, Amazon pays for the trailer spot and they were served a few free catered lunches, spiratically. Some won a few gift cards the prior year, yes you guessed it, Amazon gift cards

Working 2 hrs on your feet running around ion hard concrete is hard work so these Seniors need to be in shape. I was told many stay at the Mobile Home Park until the end of Dec instead of leaving on Dec 23rd because they had no family to spend Xmas with. So they all spend it together. If you add up the cost of housing, the 4 hrs of overtime 3-4 days a week, and free exercise, it's not such a bad deal.

Don't use that dirty temp agency amazon uses to hire people. They screwed a bunch of old folks over regarding their overtime pay.
Only be hired via Amazon




SC93

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Re: Article: Living in cars, working for Amazon: meet America's new nomads
« Reply #10 on: December 05, 2017, 10:12:09 PM »
I have met several full time RVs.  Their means vary a lot.  I have found that one of the best ways to tell the broke from the more FI is if they bother to title their RV in Texas or South Dakota.  Folks with no money don’t worry about their state income taxes liability.  I have also read Jessica Bruder’s excellent book.  Her subjects are mostly super broke folks that have never made much money and their other choices are limited. 

I would gladly live in 27 foot 5th wheel.  I would want to do it by choice not default.

Laura, not only my youngest daughter's name but my wife LOVES Laura Ingalls. Have you visited their homestead in Missouri? Anyway, to what I was going to comment about.... I know a few racers that have license plates on their trailers from Texas yet Texas is not their home state. They reside in Nebraska, South Dakota, Iowa and usually from the midwest.

We had some friends that got an rv and went from state park to state park and worked. They were paid to work odd jobs at the park and they got free lot rent (or what ever you call it). As for me, I might be able to handle being in an rv a week at most and I hate driving them. My first legal job when I was 16 was a Southwind mechanic.

soccerluvof4

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Re: Article: Living in cars, working for Amazon: meet America's new nomads
« Reply #11 on: December 06, 2017, 02:50:23 AM »
I also read an article once about this and it being mostly retired people Rv'ing around the country and loading up their stash around the holidays. The thing that I remember most was the work was hard and they were not treated the best. Hopefully that has changed.

slappy

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Re: Article: Living in cars, working for Amazon: meet America's new nomads
« Reply #12 on: December 06, 2017, 07:07:58 AM »
This job looks a lot better when you frame the RVer as already FI, just supplementing their spending.

I'm sure the majority of those folks are FI... and not just doing it out of necessity.

This article makes it seem like exactly the opposite.

surfhb

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Re: Article: Living in cars, working for Amazon: meet America's new nomads
« Reply #13 on: December 06, 2017, 08:26:20 AM »
This job looks a lot better when you frame the RVer as already FI, just supplementing their spending.

I'm sure the majority of those folks are FI... and not just doing it out of necessity.

This article makes it seem like exactly the opposite.

Me too.    Kinda of a sad existence if you asked me.

mm1970

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Re: Article: Living in cars, working for Amazon: meet America's new nomads
« Reply #14 on: December 06, 2017, 10:46:52 AM »
Living in an RV is cool and happy when you're young, you have enough money to choose to live there while you're retired or you work for google and live in their parking lot or otherwise sticking it to the man by not owning anything etc.

It's not cool when you have to live there in retirement age while chasing jobs around the country sometimes unable to afford repair or gas because you're broke.
Whether you are young or old, it really depends on what you want.

I'd imagine that many of the RVers and Vandwellers are doing it because they like it.  They like the freedom.  I know many people like this - wanderers, travelers, etc. (I am not one of them!)

There are many many others who are doing it out of necessity.  They'd rather have a small house or condo, steady income in one place, but that's not their reality anymore.

It's a serious issue and I don't know the answer.  We have a lot of homelessness here in CA (all over the west coast).  It's easy for some people to say "you can't afford to live here, move!"  But the problem is harder than that.  And people want easy.  The fact is, there are plenty of homeless folks that have jobs, and have had them a long time.  But they can no longer afford a roof.  Moving doesn't help if there is no job at the other end.

One block up our street is a private park.  There are 4-5 RVs in there permanently now - has been that way for about 5 years or so.  The economic downturn dried up donations to the park, so it now runs using "volunteer park hosts", who get free "rent" for their RVs and 5th wheels.  They seem to be mostly older retired people.  We see them having potlucks.
« Last Edit: December 06, 2017, 10:50:07 AM by mm1970 »

Cassie

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Re: Article: Living in cars, working for Amazon: meet America's new nomads
« Reply #15 on: December 06, 2017, 11:39:51 AM »
I know some poor seniors here who have section 8 housing where the government pays their rent and they pay 30% of their income. They also get reduced rate to ride the bus, food stamps, etc so they can live in a nice place and have a good quality of life.  It is not a low income apartment as many residents pay the full rate if they can afford it.   From what I have read about the RVer's many end up hurting themselves on the job from the long days and physical demands. An RV would have a hard time staying warm even with the heat running in Fernley in the winter.  The Midwest also has lots of places with a LCOL.

MayDay

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Re: Article: Living in cars, working for Amazon: meet America's new nomads
« Reply #16 on: December 06, 2017, 11:46:15 AM »
If you can get section 8, it is great.  Here in Mpls,you can't even get on the lists. They are closed. They periodically open them for disabled people. A disabled friend just got on the list and she thinks it'll be a decade before she gets housing.

We are working on building affordable housing in my suburb. A developer wants their affordable units to be for 80% of median income. They will replace units that rented for 400$ a month.  It isn't even comparable.

Living in a southern location in an RV is often the only affordable option. Maybe senior section 8 waits are shorter since they die regularly.

mm1970

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Re: Article: Living in cars, working for Amazon: meet America's new nomads
« Reply #17 on: December 06, 2017, 01:31:16 PM »
If you can get section 8, it is great.  Here in Mpls,you can't even get on the lists. They are closed. They periodically open them for disabled people. A disabled friend just got on the list and she thinks it'll be a decade before she gets housing.

We are working on building affordable housing in my suburb. A developer wants their affordable units to be for 80% of median income. They will replace units that rented for 400$ a month.  It isn't even comparable.

Living in a southern location in an RV is often the only affordable option. Maybe senior section 8 waits are shorter since they die regularly.
Our Section 8 lists are 8 years long. 

LibrarianFuzz

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Re: Article: Living in cars, working for Amazon: meet America's new nomads
« Reply #18 on: December 06, 2017, 01:32:00 PM »
If you would really like to read into this topic, I suggest reading: Nomandland: Surviving America in the Twenty-First Century.

https://www.amazon.com/Nomadland-Surviving-America-Twenty-First-Century/dp/039324931X

This book just came out a few months ago.

Here is a description:

From the beet fields of North Dakota to the National Forest campgrounds of California to Amazon’s CamperForce program in Texas, employers have discovered a new, low-cost labor pool, made up largely of transient older Americans. Finding that social security comes up short, often underwater on mortgages, these invisible casualties of the Great Recession have taken to the road by the tens of thousands in late-model RVs, travel trailers, and vans, forming a growing community of nomads: migrant laborers who call themselves “workampers.”

On frequently traveled routes between seasonal jobs, Jessica Bruder meets people from all walks of life: a former professor, a McDonald’s vice president, a minister, a college administrator, and a motorcycle cop, among many others―including her irrepressible protagonist, a onetime cocktail waitress, Home Depot clerk, and general contractor named Linda May.

In a secondhand vehicle she christens “Van Halen,” Bruder hits the road to get to know her subjects more intimately. Accompanying Linda May and others from campground toilet cleaning to warehouse product scanning to desert reunions, then moving on to the dangerous work of beet harvesting, Bruder tells a compelling, eye-opening tale of the dark underbelly of the American economy―one that foreshadows the precarious future that may await many more of us. At the same time, she celebrates the exceptional resilience and creativity of these quintessential Americans who have given up ordinary rootedness to survive. Like Linda May, who dreams of finding land on which to build her own sustainable “Earthship” home, they have not given up hope.

LibrarianFuzz

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Re: Article: Living in cars, working for Amazon: meet America's new nomads
« Reply #19 on: December 06, 2017, 01:33:20 PM »

Our Section 8 lists are 8 years long.


Yes, ours closed years ago, too.

accolay

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Re: Article: Living in cars, working for Amazon: meet America's new nomads
« Reply #20 on: December 06, 2017, 08:19:41 PM »
We are working on building affordable housing in my suburb. A developer wants their affordable units to be for 80% of median income. They will replace units that rented for 400$ a month.  It isn't even comparable.

Good luck. We haven't built affordable housing for years in the Metro Burbs with the MetCouncil. It's NIMBY problem.

MayDay

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Re: Article: Living in cars, working for Amazon: meet America's new nomads
« Reply #21 on: December 06, 2017, 08:34:44 PM »
We are working on building affordable housing in my suburb. A developer wants their affordable units to be for 80% of median income. They will replace units that rented for 400$ a month.  It isn't even comparable.

Good luck. We haven't built affordable housing for years in the Metro Burbs with the MetCouncil. It's NIMBY problem.

Thanks.  The developer bought a trailer park that housed 100 extremely low income families, and wants to replace with 50 @ 80% median.  It is pretty heartbreaking.  The 100 families have already been evicted.  The land is sitting empty while the developer tries to get approval to build.  I will be shocked if we even get 50 to be honest.  One person committed suicide when he was evicted.

Erica

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Re: Article: Living in cars, working for Amazon: meet America's new nomads
« Reply #22 on: December 06, 2017, 09:22:21 PM »
The people I saw were in pretty good shape. Dressed as if they shop at REI. I mean you have to be in pretty good shape to walk 15 miles a day on concrete as that's how much walking/running they do.

It's hard to believe anyone who keeps themselves in that good of shape in their Senior years is poor. That is not typical of the poor.
But looks can be deceiving. Certainly not owning a house will allot you extra money towards nice clothes.

Apple_Tango

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Re: Article: Living in cars, working for Amazon: meet America's new nomads
« Reply #23 on: December 06, 2017, 10:02:21 PM »
I'm in the RV community, I live part of the year in my 5th wheel for work. I'm also 26 and do it by choice. I pile up my stache, have more freedom, always get to sleep in my own bed, no bed bugs or roaches, etc. There is a huge difference in people's perception when it is a choice vs when it is a necessity. On youtube there are two really good contrasting examples. Knorpp and South are a family of 12 or something like that, who lived in their RV by choice for cultural experiences and seem to be quite well off (now doing a Europe trip). Road Rice are a family of 9 who are quite poor and it is not really a choice, it's all they can afford. The latter channel are much more likely to have negative comments. In one video they even filmed CPS being called on them, from a youtube viewer!!

A lot of seniors have not saved enough money, and SSI is not cutting it when they have a large portion going to rent/housing. Sometimes living in a car/van/RV is all they can afford. But in a way it is a choice. They can either be homeless on the street, in section 8, in a stationary trailer park, or they can travel in a car/RV and get part time traveling work. The RV community is actually quite friendly, it seems that the people in sticks and bricks are the ones who are mean and don't want to be around anyone who is poor, like it's some sort of catching disease. I think the main fear is that poverty is associated with drugs, alcohol, uncleanliness, stealing, etc. But honestly I have not seen that in the RV/workamping community. It's mostly nice, retired people.

I have a career, good degrees, etc and I have considered Workamping, seasonal work at national parks etc, as a choice once I'm FI. We'll see how it goes once I'm closer!

accolay

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Re: Article: Living in cars, working for Amazon: meet America's new nomads
« Reply #24 on: December 06, 2017, 10:16:27 PM »
We are working on building affordable housing in my suburb. A developer wants their affordable units to be for 80% of median income. They will replace units that rented for 400$ a month.  It isn't even comparable.

Good luck. We haven't built affordable housing for years in the Metro Burbs with the MetCouncil. It's NIMBY problem.

Thanks.  The developer bought a trailer park that housed 100 extremely low income families, and wants to replace with 50 @ 80% median.  It is pretty heartbreaking.  The 100 families have already been evicted.  The land is sitting empty while the developer tries to get approval to build.  I will be shocked if we even get 50 to be honest.  One person committed suicide when he was evicted.

Oh yeah....we're talking about St Anthony yes?

SC93

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Re: Article: Living in cars, working for Amazon: meet America's new nomads
« Reply #25 on: December 07, 2017, 07:01:09 AM »
Section 8 needs to be elderly and handicapped ONLY.

mm1970

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Re: Article: Living in cars, working for Amazon: meet America's new nomads
« Reply #26 on: December 07, 2017, 10:22:56 AM »
Section 8 needs to be elderly and handicapped ONLY.

LOTS of single moms with kids in Section 8 housing. Many, if not most, working but unable to afford the full amount of rent (the amount they pay goes up with income).

asauer

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Re: Article: Living in cars, working for Amazon: meet America's new nomads
« Reply #27 on: December 08, 2017, 05:38:05 AM »
Is this the new Grapes of Wrath?  Migration for subsistence?

pachnik

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Re: Article: Living in cars, working for Amazon: meet America's new nomads
« Reply #28 on: December 08, 2017, 08:10:38 AM »
Is this the new Grapes of Wrath?  Migration for subsistence?

I read the article and wondered how much choice the migrants had in it.  If they had a choice with decent options and chose to do this, great.  But if not, I don't think it is so great.  I don't think it would for me.

Cassie

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Re: Article: Living in cars, working for Amazon: meet America's new nomads
« Reply #29 on: December 08, 2017, 11:41:31 AM »
From some of the articles I have read it is not really a choice for many seniors.  Some had professional jobs at one point but got laid off and couldn't find more work. Some made bad financial decisions. Some don't want to live in apartments.  Some of them have a tough time with the physical demands and spend their off time just sleeping and resting. Some end up hurt on the job.

clutchy

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Re: Article: Living in cars, working for Amazon: meet America's new nomads
« Reply #30 on: December 08, 2017, 12:17:43 PM »
Is this the new Grapes of Wrath?  Migration for subsistence?

You know maybe yes? 

I ran into a bunch of 50 and 60 year olds out in Quartzite in the desert.  They were having a great time and I got the feeling they really enjoyed it. 

the town is a ghost camp for most of the year and buzzing with life for the other half.  RV's parked out in the desert grouped up or on pads.

It's like a cheaper snow-birding. 


I'm sure there are those that are suffering as with anything there are winners and losers.

Laura Ingalls

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Re: Article: Living in cars, working for Amazon: meet America's new nomads
« Reply #31 on: January 06, 2018, 09:18:24 PM »
I have met several full time RVs.  Their means vary a lot.  I have found that one of the best ways to tell the broke from the more FI is if they bother to title their RV in Texas or South Dakota.  Folks with no money don’t worry about their state income taxes liability.  I have also read Jessica Bruder’s excellent book.  Her subjects are mostly super broke folks that have never made much money and their other choices are limited. 

I would gladly live in 27 foot 5th wheel.  I would want to do it by choice not default.

Laura, not only my youngest daughter's name but my wife LOVES Laura Ingalls. Have you visited their homestead in Missouri? Anyway, to what I was going to comment about.... I know a few racers that have license plates on their trailers from Texas yet Texas is not their home state. They reside in Nebraska, South Dakota, Iowa and usually from the midwest.

We had some friends that got an rv and went from state park to state park and worked. They were paid to work odd jobs at the park and they got free lot rent (or what ever you call it). As for me, I might be able to handle being in an rv a week at most and I hate driving them. My first legal job when I was 16 was a Southwind mechanic.

I have not been to Mansfield but I have been to DeSmet, Pepin,and Walnut Grove.   The tag thing is sort of weird.  In South Dakota both trailers and trucks are cheap.  In Iowa my 5th wheel is ~$50 per year and our pick ups truck is spendy ~$600 per year. 

We volunteered at an Army Corp facility.  DH and I liked it a lot.  The kids not so much. 

Just Joe

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Re: Article: Living in cars, working for Amazon: meet America's new nomads
« Reply #32 on: January 08, 2018, 02:30:40 PM »
If stories like these don't motivate a person to make careful life choices with alot of crossed fingers for good luck, I don't know what would do it.

The Guru

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Re: Article: Living in cars, working for Amazon: meet America's new nomads
« Reply #33 on: January 08, 2018, 08:51:02 PM »
From the article:

When I started exchanging emails with Don, he was 69, divorced, and staying at the Desert Rose RV park near the warehouse in Fernley. His wife had gotten to keep the house. The 2008 market crash had vaporized his savings. He had been forced to sell the Mini Cooper. In his old life, he’d spent about $100,000 a year. In his new one, he learned to get by on as little as $75 a week.

This I don't understand. I lost about 30% of my NW in '08. By 2011 I had recovered my losses; today it's twice what it was post-crash. even assuming that he had panicked and pulled his money from the market...what happened to the rest? There must have been more bad decisions than he's admitting.

Helvegen

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Re: Article: Living in cars, working for Amazon: meet America's new nomads
« Reply #34 on: January 08, 2018, 11:03:21 PM »
From some of the articles I have read it is not really a choice for many seniors.  Some had professional jobs at one point but got laid off and couldn't find more work. Some made bad financial decisions. Some don't want to live in apartments.  Some of them have a tough time with the physical demands and spend their off time just sleeping and resting. Some end up hurt on the job.

Something I have noticed in the FIRE community is the denial of poverty. Like if you post an article about how X number of Americans don't have more than X in savings, you get all these responses that the article must be BS because "I don't keep my money in savings. It is brokerage or retirement accounts.". I just want to bang my head into a wall. News flash: lots of people in America are poor and have no money. It could because they made bad decisions. It could be because of bad luck. Who knows, but not everyone has good paying, secure jobs that have allowed them to build up significant nest eggs or have the mental capacity or discipline to think more than five seconds ahead financially. They don't have retirement accounts. They barely have money for rent. My mother has dickall for retirement just like her brother. They are both working two or three jobs and barely are making ends meet. My mother will have to come live with one of us at some point because she has no retirement.

It just really irks me to see it assumed that everyone is faking living poor and might not actually, you know, be poor.

The Guru

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Re: Article: Living in cars, working for Amazon: meet America's new nomads
« Reply #35 on: January 09, 2018, 07:58:24 AM »
From the article:

When I started exchanging emails with Don, he was 69, divorced, and staying at the Desert Rose RV park near the warehouse in Fernley. His wife had gotten to keep the house. The 2008 market crash had vaporized his savings. He had been forced to sell the Mini Cooper. In his old life, he’d spent about $100,000 a year. In his new one, he learned to get by on as little as $75 a week.

This I don't understand. I lost about 30% of my NW in '08. By 2011 I had recovered my losses; today it's twice what it was post-crash. even assuming that he had panicked and pulled his money from the market...what happened to the rest? There must have been more bad decisions than he's admitting.
He quite possibly lost his job too so used the remaining investments to cover his living expenses. Many of my friends (much younger than "Don" by a couple of decades) lost it all and couldn't find jobs to support themselves and their families (often as a single parent of several young children) for several.years and lived on greatly reduced investments during that time. Since most were younger (30s and 40s) it was easier for them to get jobs again. Some of the older people like "Don" probably weren't so lucky..

Point well taken. maybe I'm just being to literal in my interpretation of "I lost everything in the Crash".

Slee_stack

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Re: Article: Living in cars, working for Amazon: meet America's new nomads
« Reply #36 on: January 09, 2018, 10:22:43 AM »
From some of the articles I have read it is not really a choice for many seniors.  Some had professional jobs at one point but got laid off and couldn't find more work. Some made bad financial decisions. Some don't want to live in apartments.  Some of them have a tough time with the physical demands and spend their off time just sleeping and resting. Some end up hurt on the job.

Something I have noticed in the FIRE community is the denial of poverty. Like if you post an article about how X number of Americans don't have more than X in savings, you get all these responses that the article must be BS because "I don't keep my money in savings. It is brokerage or retirement accounts.". I just want to bang my head into a wall. News flash: lots of people in America are poor and have no money. It could because they made bad decisions. It could be because of bad luck. Who knows, but not everyone has good paying, secure jobs that have allowed them to build up significant nest eggs or have the mental capacity or discipline to think more than five seconds ahead financially. They don't have retirement accounts. They barely have money for rent. My mother has dickall for retirement just like her brother. They are both working two or three jobs and barely are making ends meet. My mother will have to come live with one of us at some point because she has no retirement.

It just really irks me to see it assumed that everyone is faking living poor and might not actually, you know, be poor.

Are folks here actually denying that poverty exists?

I don't think so.  Not beyond a few exceptions perhaps.

My personal peeve is externalizing.  Life is unfair and there will always be some who 'never had a chance'.  However, I do believe most actually do 'have a chance' if even that means just trying or making an effort to improve themselves.  People that use 'Poverty' as their 'excuse' to not make an effort at anything cause me frustration.

The 'Don' in this article seems written to be a sympathetic character and yet the few details given just pose questions about why he is where he is.  He obviously had opportunity at some point.  He may have done poorly during divorce.  But why exactly am I supposed to feel bad for him?  Because he very likely made poor decisions?  Maybe his ex-wife is evil incarnate?  Just maybe Don contributed to the poor divorce circumstance.  Was he a smart saver but just 'happened' to lose everything all at once?

I guess I'm just skeptical.  I try not to jump to any conclusion...but I actually tend to want to side with the opposite conclusion when an article is so biased towards a specific one.
« Last Edit: January 09, 2018, 10:26:59 AM by Slee_stack »

Cranky

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Re: Article: Living in cars, working for Amazon: meet America's new nomads
« Reply #37 on: January 09, 2018, 11:51:26 AM »
I can sympathize with someone who made poor decisions, and now has to live be with the consequences. I’ve done some pretty dumb things and have been lucky enough that it didn’t all turn out as badly as it might have.

I’d guess that Don had a big mortgage on an underwater  house, and had to buy out his ex and give her some chunk of what was left, at a point in the market when his account was valued believed w what he’d actually put into it. (As mine was in 2009).

And then he lost his job and couldn’t get another one.

So yeah, maybe Don could have made some better choices, but that doesn’t change the fact that he’s got a very changed future from what he was expecting.

“I am smart and you are dumb, so you deserve to suffer” is not only unkind, it distracts us from seeing how the deck is often stacked against people.

Dabnasty

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Re: Article: Living in cars, working for Amazon: meet America's new nomads
« Reply #38 on: January 09, 2018, 12:53:05 PM »
From the article:

When I started exchanging emails with Don, he was 69, divorced, and staying at the Desert Rose RV park near the warehouse in Fernley. His wife had gotten to keep the house. The 2008 market crash had vaporized his savings. He had been forced to sell the Mini Cooper. In his old life, he’d spent about $100,000 a year. In his new one, he learned to get by on as little as $75 a week.

This I don't understand. I lost about 30% of my NW in '08. By 2011 I had recovered my losses; today it's twice what it was post-crash. even assuming that he had panicked and pulled his money from the market...what happened to the rest? There must have been more bad decisions than he's admitting.
He quite possibly lost his job too so used the remaining investments to cover his living expenses. Many of my friends (much younger than "Don" by a couple of decades) lost it all and couldn't find jobs to support themselves and their families (often as a single parent of several young children) for several.years and lived on greatly reduced investments during that time. Since most were younger (30s and 40s) it was easier for them to get jobs again. Some of the older people like "Don" probably weren't so lucky..
He didn't lose his job, he retired in 2002.

Anyone who was at any point spending $100,000/year and didn't create their own safety net doesn't get any sympathy from me. I recognize that some people are in this position due to unfair circumstances but I don't think Don is one of them.

Dabnasty

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Re: Article: Living in cars, working for Amazon: meet America's new nomads
« Reply #39 on: January 09, 2018, 01:03:27 PM »
From the article:

When I started exchanging emails with Don, he was 69, divorced, and staying at the Desert Rose RV park near the warehouse in Fernley. His wife had gotten to keep the house. The 2008 market crash had vaporized his savings. He had been forced to sell the Mini Cooper. In his old life, he’d spent about $100,000 a year. In his new one, he learned to get by on as little as $75 a week.

This I don't understand. I lost about 30% of my NW in '08. By 2011 I had recovered my losses; today it's twice what it was post-crash. even assuming that he had panicked and pulled his money from the market...what happened to the rest? There must have been more bad decisions than he's admitting.
I agree with your take on this, even the way it's worded gives that vibe of "money is magic". It's like, sometimes it's here and sometimes it's just gone, especially if that darn economy goes bad. I don't like it when writers reinforce these ideas, math is not magic.

Although I suppose he could've had everything invested with Madoff Investment Securities...


Dabnasty

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Re: Article: Living in cars, working for Amazon: meet America's new nomads
« Reply #40 on: January 09, 2018, 02:03:28 PM »
From the article:

When I started exchanging emails with Don, he was 69, divorced, and staying at the Desert Rose RV park near the warehouse in Fernley. His wife had gotten to keep the house. The 2008 market crash had vaporized his savings. He had been forced to sell the Mini Cooper. In his old life, he’d spent about $100,000 a year. In his new one, he learned to get by on as little as $75 a week.

This I don't understand. I lost about 30% of my NW in '08. By 2011 I had recovered my losses; today it's twice what it was post-crash. even assuming that he had panicked and pulled his money from the market...what happened to the rest? There must have been more bad decisions than he's admitting.
He quite possibly lost his job too so used the remaining investments to cover his living expenses. Many of my friends (much younger than "Don" by a couple of decades) lost it all and couldn't find jobs to support themselves and their families (often as a single parent of several young children) for several.years and lived on greatly reduced investments during that time. Since most were younger (30s and 40s) it was easier for them to get jobs again. Some of the older people like "Don" probably weren't so lucky..
He didn't lose his job, he retired in 2002.

Anyone who was at any point spending $100,000/year and didn't create their own safety net doesn't get any sympathy from me. I recognize that some people are in this position due to unfair circumstances but I don't think Don is one of them.
OK didn't see that. In that case he probably just spent down his remaining assets trying to live his former spendy $100k/year life instead of making adjustments or getting a job eventually. So also no sympathy from me if thats the case. Or maybe he had illness that were bad enough he couldnt work and expenive to treat so all his money went to that.. That happens often with older people. Also at 69 now why does he have to live on $75/week? Surely he gets a decent amount in SS if his previous income was $100k.
He started reading ERE? And decided to one up Jacob?

I highly doubt he actually lives on $75/week.
« Last Edit: January 09, 2018, 02:07:21 PM by Dabnasty »

Apple_Tango

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Re: Article: Living in cars, working for Amazon: meet America's new nomads
« Reply #41 on: January 09, 2018, 10:28:03 PM »
My best guess is that after all his living expenses he has $75 per week left, as extra money to have fun with or save? The semantics are a little fuzzy. To someone used to spending $100,000 that would feel like nothing, especially if now living in a van.

Cassie

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Re: Article: Living in cars, working for Amazon: meet America's new nomads
« Reply #42 on: January 21, 2018, 04:08:05 PM »
A couple I am good friends with both had good professional jobs with a paid for house. Then she had 8 bouts of stage 4 cancer and eventually the chemo negatively affected  her brain and she had to go on SSDI. Even with insurance they could not afford the medical bills so borrowed from the house to pay off. Then he gets terminal cancer.  You guessed it they both died broke. They sold everything to pay off their debts before they died. So bad things do happen to good people.

retireatbirth

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Re: Article: Living in cars, working for Amazon: meet America's new nomads
« Reply #43 on: January 21, 2018, 04:16:47 PM »
Here's a FI Bay Area former engineer who took a job at Amazon as an experiment and posted his thoughts on it. Main takeaway that I think a lot of us don't consider is you are not treated with respect working in an Amazon warehouse. The supervisors assume you are not intelligent and treat you that way. That kind of environment is not going to be tolerated by many FI people.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5SginT4BAgQ

eliza

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Re: Article: Living in cars, working for Amazon: meet America's new nomads
« Reply #44 on: January 21, 2018, 05:50:20 PM »
One of my goals it to get a small RV and travel long periods of time - so this doesn't sound too bad to me.  But, as others pointed out, it's one thing to do it by choice and quite another to have to do it because you have no other choice.


Just Joe

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Re: Article: Living in cars, working for Amazon: meet America's new nomads
« Reply #45 on: January 22, 2018, 10:17:39 AM »
Here's a FI Bay Area former engineer who took a job at Amazon as an experiment and posted his thoughts on it. Main takeaway that I think a lot of us don't consider is you are not treated with respect working in an Amazon warehouse. The supervisors assume you are not intelligent and treat you that way. That kind of environment is not going to be tolerated by many FI people.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5SginT4BAgQ

Isn't that just typical of that kind of work? All of the jobs I had in factories were really picky about people arriving at a particular time and leaving again at a particular time. Very little flexibility about alot of basic things my professional self never gives a thought to. These were not assembly line jobs. People got fired at one factory job for being 60 seconds late.

I'll make assumptions that warehouse environments are staffed by similar people and have similar rules.