Author Topic: NY Times article -- "What the Rich Won't Tell You"  (Read 17429 times)

dude

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NY Times article -- "What the Rich Won't Tell You"
« on: September 08, 2017, 09:17:21 AM »
The notion of who is middle class and who is rich in this country has been the subject of much debate in the MMM forums, so I thought many would find this article of interest.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/09/08/opinion/sunday/what-the-rich-wont-tell-you.html?action=click&pgtype=Homepage&clickSource=story-heading&module=opinion-c-col-left-region&region=opinion-c-col-left-region&WT.nav=opinion-c-col-left-region&_r=0

Bucksandreds

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Re: NY Times article -- "What the Rich Won't Tell You"
« Reply #1 on: September 08, 2017, 09:59:29 AM »
The more I read about the privileged, the more I believe in wealth taxes and high inheritance taxes. The reason these people hide their expenses from their servants is so that the servants don't demand a higher salary. When your new sofa costs more than what you paid your nanny for half a year then there is a problem. Obscene wealth and income inequalities have always lead to bad consequences (Wars and Revolutions.)

less4success

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Re: NY Times article -- "What the Rich Won't Tell You"
« Reply #2 on: September 08, 2017, 10:00:14 AM »
Pretty interesting read, thanks! I wonder how widespread this sort of "wealth shame" feeling is.

StarBright

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Re: NY Times article -- "What the Rich Won't Tell You"
« Reply #3 on: September 08, 2017, 10:32:05 AM »
great read- thanks!

bender

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Re: NY Times article -- "What the Rich Won't Tell You"
« Reply #4 on: September 08, 2017, 11:16:15 AM »
Interesting read, until the opinion part at the end at least.  It feels like the opinion part was written by someone else and represents the views of NYT, where the rest of the article is much different.

I wouldn't call the people interviewed 'obsenely wealthly' as the article states.  These people ranged in assets from a few million to 50M and incomes I saw were as low as 250k.  In NYC it's hard to call $250k wealthy at all.  Most of the people in this article are at the bottom of the 1%. 

And $6 bread in NYC seems high, but outrageous, probably not.

soccerluvof4

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Re: NY Times article -- "What the Rich Won't Tell You"
« Reply #5 on: September 08, 2017, 11:19:45 AM »
While a good article its pretty much what I would have expected. Theres extremes in everything but most people like to keep things private and while money helps alot of things its not the solve all.
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KCM5

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Re: NY Times article -- "What the Rich Won't Tell You"
« Reply #6 on: September 08, 2017, 11:50:22 AM »
Interesting read, until the opinion part at the end at least.  It feels like the opinion part was written by someone else and represents the views of NYT, where the rest of the article is much different.

I wouldn't call the people interviewed 'obsenely wealthly' as the article states.  These people ranged in assets from a few million to 50M and incomes I saw were as low as 250k.  In NYC it's hard to call $250k wealthy at all.  Most of the people in this article are at the bottom of the 1%. 

And $6 bread in NYC seems high, but outrageous, probably not.

The median income in NYC is somewhere around $55k. Let's not pretend that making $250,000 isn't an incredible amount of money, even in NYC. Additionally, they all had net worths in the millions, many of which were inherited. So what if it's the bottom of the 1% or the top?

Continued societal stratification won't end well for any of us. It would behoove us to consider the implications and possible solutions (returning the estate tax to previous levels, looking at dividend tax rate, consider adding another tax bracket for income over $500k or something, etc)

slappy

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Re: NY Times article -- "What the Rich Won't Tell You"
« Reply #7 on: September 08, 2017, 12:03:06 PM »
The more I read about the privileged, the more I believe in wealth taxes and high inheritance taxes. The reason these people hide their expenses from their servants is so that the servants don't demand a higher salary. When your new sofa costs more than what you paid your nanny for half a year then there is a problem. Obscene wealth and income inequalities have always lead to bad consequences (Wars and Revolutions.)

I was thinking something similar. If they are so concerned about it, why not increase the wage of the servant/nanny? It's not like they can't afford it.

Mustache ride

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Re: NY Times article -- "What the Rich Won't Tell You"
« Reply #8 on: September 08, 2017, 12:12:26 PM »
The more I read about the privileged, the more I believe in wealth taxes and high inheritance taxes. The reason these people hide their expenses from their servants is so that the servants don't demand a higher salary. When your new sofa costs more than what you paid your nanny for half a year then there is a problem. Obscene wealth and income inequalities have always lead to bad consequences (Wars and Revolutions.)

Why is that a problem? It is up to the person to decide just how much something is worth. It is also up to the nanny to decide what she wants to do for a career. No one is forcing the nanny to work for whatever they make. They chose to become a nanny and make X amount of dollars. If the nanny thinks they aren't being paid what they are worth they should look for someone who will pay them what they want. There is a market for a reason, people decide what something is worth. Obviously some people are born into favorable situations and there are barriers to entry in some careers, but to diminish someone else's accomplishments and worth just because they have too much of it creates a disincentive to strive for that.

Two opposite sides of the spectrum, look at welfare and then most of us on here. There are people on welfare who don't work because they would rather get "free" money than just a bit more for actually working. I look down on those people and call them freeloaders, but honestly if I were in their shoes I'd probably do the same thing. Then there are people like most of us here who are using loopholes or inefficiencies in the tax code to get out of paying a large portion of taxes. Sure people say they would be ok if taxes were increased, but I don't see anyone willingly signing up to do this unless it's forced upon them.

End of rant.

FINate

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Re: NY Times article -- "What the Rich Won't Tell You"
« Reply #9 on: September 08, 2017, 12:18:16 PM »
Quote
Some even identified as “middle class” or “in the middle,” typically comparing themselves with the super-wealthy, who are especially prominent in New York City, rather than to those with less.

The author should take the plank out of her own eye. How is it morally acceptable that those of us who just happen to be born in the industrialized West (including the author) have such immense wealth, while much of the rest of the world scratches by on less than $2/day?  If you have a roof over your head, clothes to wear, don't have to worry about when you'll have your next meal, don't have to worry that the water you drink will make you sick or kill you - well, you're rich. Rich by today's standards, and certainly rich by historical standards.

We are all extremely privileged. The folks interviewed in the article seem like decent people, aware of their privilege, and generally not acting like asshats wasting money on ostentatious displays of wealth. Almost seems the author is frustrated that these folks are not so easily vilified.

bender

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Re: NY Times article -- "What the Rich Won't Tell You"
« Reply #10 on: September 08, 2017, 12:42:48 PM »
Interesting read, until the opinion part at the end at least.  It feels like the opinion part was written by someone else and represents the views of NYT, where the rest of the article is much different.

I wouldn't call the people interviewed 'obsenely wealthly' as the article states.  These people ranged in assets from a few million to 50M and incomes I saw were as low as 250k.  In NYC it's hard to call $250k wealthy at all.  Most of the people in this article are at the bottom of the 1%. 

And $6 bread in NYC seems high, but outrageous, probably not.

The median income in NYC is somewhere around $55k. Let's not pretend that making $250,000 isn't an incredible amount of money, even in NYC. Additionally, they all had net worths in the millions, many of which were inherited. So what if it's the bottom of the 1% or the top?

Continued societal stratification won't end well for any of us. It would behoove us to consider the implications and possible solutions (returning the estate tax to previous levels, looking at dividend tax rate, consider adding another tax bracket for income over $500k or something, etc)

$250k after taxes is about $150k in NYC.  $55k after tax is still $55k, if not more after tax and other social benefits.  I'm not sure I'd use the word incredible to describe that income level...

Tass

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Re: NY Times article -- "What the Rich Won't Tell You"
« Reply #11 on: September 08, 2017, 12:50:13 PM »
These people ranged in assets from a few million to 50M and incomes I saw were as low as 250k.

I wouldn't call the people interviewed 'obsenely wealthly' as the article states.

Uh. Any net worth in the 7 figures should be considered very wealthy, even if you don't want to use the judgmental adjective "obscene." 150k income is also nothing to sneeze at. Maybe not in the top 1%, but easily in the top 10%, even in NYC, surely...

Interesting article!

bender

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Re: NY Times article -- "What the Rich Won't Tell You"
« Reply #12 on: September 08, 2017, 01:46:29 PM »
These people ranged in assets from a few million to 50M and incomes I saw were as low as 250k.

I wouldn't call the people interviewed 'obsenely wealthly' as the article states.

Uh. Any net worth in the 7 figures should be considered very wealthy, even if you don't want to use the judgmental adjective "obscene." 150k income is also nothing to sneeze at. Maybe not in the top 1%, but easily in the top 10%, even in NYC, surely...

Interesting article!

Totally agree.  One can be wealthy without being obscene!  I don't like the wholesale vilification of wealth.  Look at MMM for example.

jjandjab

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Re: NY Times article -- "What the Rich Won't Tell You"
« Reply #13 on: September 08, 2017, 01:58:35 PM »
I gotta say the article, to me, was nothing interesting and quite cringe-worthy (this is how a sociology professor spends their days...)

Let's take almost anything in the world that is coveted or valuable - money, beauty, athletic ability, musical talent, intelligence, etc... Now let's take the 1 in 100 or 1 in 1000 or greater who are just super rich, or incredibly beautiful, fast, can play virtuoso piano with barely any instruction, etc... Some of those people will flaunt it. Others will minimize it and be humble and never talk about it. Many will have mixed feelings. How is this not quite common sense having observed society?

And all society since the beginning of time has been based on a hierarchy of power/money. Again, some people at the top flaunt it and take advantage of others, some are supremely generous, and others are a mix. This is not uniquely American (as implied early in the article) nor something new. Unless you are the one at the absolute bottom or top someone will always be in the "middle" so to speak.

SecretSquirrel

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Re: NY Times article -- "What the Rich Won't Tell You"
« Reply #14 on: September 08, 2017, 02:00:32 PM »
The more I read about the privileged, the more I believe in wealth taxes and high inheritance taxes. The reason these people hide their expenses from their servants is so that the servants don't demand a higher salary. When your new sofa costs more than what you paid your nanny for half a year then there is a problem. Obscene wealth and income inequalities have always lead to bad consequences (Wars and Revolutions.)

And the nanny's sofa costs more than some people's yearly pay in other parts of the world. So what?

I don't understand the logic in thinking that if person A has $100, and person B has $1, then we must take money from person A, and give it to person B. Unless person A has stolen the money from person B, or otherwise has obtained it illegally, who is to say the $100 is unfair or wrong?

hoping2retire35

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Re: NY Times article -- "What the Rich Won't Tell You"
« Reply #15 on: September 08, 2017, 02:21:10 PM »
the shame of $6 bread...lol

most bread I see cost $3-4, what is the big deal

seriously, just pay her more if you are worried about it, that is what everyone else does.

mathlete

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Re: NY Times article -- "What the Rich Won't Tell You"
« Reply #16 on: September 08, 2017, 02:49:36 PM »
I'm a big fan of newspapers in general and I read the times somewhat regularly. So I'm not in the "fake news" camp to be sure.

I remain ever skeptical of unfactcheckable opinion pieces though. Especially ones that are designed to feed into preconceived notions that readers already have.

All that said, I don't doubt that the general thrust, at least, is accurate. It makes you want to shake these people and scream, "If you're so embarrassed about the $4m apartment, then go across the Hudson, buy a nice 3-2, and put the difference in a scholarship fund for underprivileged youth."

mathlete

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Re: NY Times article -- "What the Rich Won't Tell You"
« Reply #17 on: September 08, 2017, 02:56:31 PM »
The author should take the plank out of her own eye. How is it morally acceptable that those of us who just happen to be born in the industrialized West (including the author) have such immense wealth, while much of the rest of the world scratches by on less than $2/day?  If you have a roof over your head, clothes to wear, don't have to worry about when you'll have your next meal, don't have to worry that the water you drink will make you sick or kill you - well, you're rich. Rich by today's standards, and certainly rich by historical standards.

We are all extremely privileged. The folks interviewed in the article seem like decent people, aware of their privilege, and generally not acting like asshats wasting money on ostentatious displays of wealth. Almost seems the author is frustrated that these folks are not so easily vilified.

You can handwave away any discussion by bringing up something worse that is tangentially related.

We can recognize that living in the US is a huge privilege and still discuss the subject of inequality within our borders.

Dabnasty

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Re: NY Times article -- "What the Rich Won't Tell You"
« Reply #18 on: September 08, 2017, 03:02:26 PM »
The more I read about the privileged, the more I believe in wealth taxes and high inheritance taxes. The reason these people hide their expenses from their servants is so that the servants don't demand a higher salary. When your new sofa costs more than what you paid your nanny for half a year then there is a problem. Obscene wealth and income inequalities have always lead to bad consequences (Wars and Revolutions.)

And the nanny's sofa costs more than some people's yearly pay in other parts of the world. So what?

I don't understand the logic in thinking that if person A has $100, and person B has $1, then we must take money from person A, and give it to person B. Unless person A has stolen the money from person B, or otherwise has obtained it illegally, who is to say the $100 is unfair or wrong?
This is an age old debate that is much more complicated than I care to get into but a few thoughts.

1) The person who has 100 times more money almost certainly didn't work 100 times harder or provide 100 times more value to society, they just had better opportunities.
2) On "fairness", that's not the issue so much as what will make society work the best. As someone mentioned already, extreme consolidation of wealth has lead to revolution in the past.
3) A different way to think about income: person A has a salary of $20,000 and person B of $30,000. Assume the necessities of life cost $10,000 and as we all know the cost of living doesn't increase with your income. So While person B has an income of 50% more, they are actually able to accumulate 100% more.




Tass

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Re: NY Times article -- "What the Rich Won't Tell You"
« Reply #19 on: September 08, 2017, 03:41:44 PM »
Some of those people will flaunt it. Others will minimize it and be humble and never talk about it. Many will have mixed feelings.

I don't think this article describes people who are humble about their wealth. What's interesting is the fact that they are a little ashamed of it, at least in certain contexts, and don't really know where that shame comes from or how to address it - except by avoiding the topic altogether. And like I said earlier, I don't think having wealth is inherently obscene, but how you use it can be, and it sounds like most of those interviewed here are relatively frivolous spenders. One of the couples spent $600k a year and had no idea how they did it.

It doesn't make them bad people, but I do think it reflects the same inattention to exploding consumption that MMM targets in the middle class.

scottish

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Re: NY Times article -- "What the Rich Won't Tell You"
« Reply #20 on: September 08, 2017, 05:31:02 PM »
The more I read about the privileged, the more I believe in wealth taxes and high inheritance taxes. The reason these people hide their expenses from their servants is so that the servants don't demand a higher salary. When your new sofa costs more than what you paid your nanny for half a year then there is a problem. Obscene wealth and income inequalities have always lead to bad consequences (Wars and Revolutions.)

And the nanny's sofa costs more than some people's yearly pay in other parts of the world. So what?

I don't understand the logic in thinking that if person A has $100, and person B has $1, then we must take money from person A, and give it to person B. Unless person A has stolen the money from person B, or otherwise has obtained it illegally, who is to say the $100 is unfair or wrong?
This is an age old debate that is much more complicated than I care to get into but a few thoughts.

1) The person who has 100 times more money almost certainly didn't work 100 times harder or provide 100 times more value to society, they just had better opportunities.
2) On "fairness", that's not the issue so much as what will make society work the best. As someone mentioned already, extreme consolidation of wealth has lead to revolution in the past.
3) A different way to think about income: person A has a salary of $20,000 and person B of $30,000. Assume the necessities of life cost $10,000 and as we all know the cost of living doesn't increase with your income. So While person B has an income of 50% more, they are actually able to accumulate 100% more.

Suppose I invent a great things that makes life better for millions of people.   I'm able to partner with a business guy/gal who can turn it into a product and we sell millions of units and make $10M/year each  in profits.  Additionally we create several hundred jobs, providing employment for many people.

Is this fair?

Mikenost12

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Re: NY Times article -- "What the Rich Won't Tell You"
« Reply #21 on: September 08, 2017, 06:27:47 PM »
  dang, i skipped the Equifax stuff and now i'm down this rabbit hole. Income inequality is bad actually for the economy, the rich have lower velocity of money, the poor spend it on goods and services that create more jobs. If your 100x wealthier than most you don't buy 100x the cars and sofas. Of course capitalism is the best system, but unregulated you pay nothing, bribe politicians, destroy competition, have children working in factories, poison the rivers, etc...
   Taxing the wealthy at much higher rates was fine in the United States, 40s, 50s 60s, etc... Investment income and inherited investment income is the source of most wealth inequality. It is getting much worse. I'm not sure the ultra wealthy making 5 or 10% less is unfair or would sap them of their motivation to work. The Walton Family or Koch Brothers just might have to struggle making slightly less so teachers in their states could get paid more.
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If the states are the laboratory of democracy, then Brownback's experiment (which he framed as a test of trickle down, as a test of supply side), should be entered as evidence. The policies the ultra-wealthy promote are actually toxic not just to the Country but ultimately the consumers they need

« Last Edit: September 08, 2017, 06:40:26 PM by Mikenost12 »

MrsPete

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Re: NY Times article -- "What the Rich Won't Tell You"
« Reply #22 on: September 08, 2017, 07:08:07 PM »
Who else really liked that photograph of a glass of champagne hidden inside a red Solo cup?

jlcnuke

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Re: NY Times article -- "What the Rich Won't Tell You"
« Reply #23 on: September 08, 2017, 07:51:09 PM »
The author should take the plank out of her own eye. How is it morally acceptable that those of us who just happen to be born in the industrialized West (including the author) have such immense wealth, while much of the rest of the world scratches by on less than $2/day?  If you have a roof over your head, clothes to wear, don't have to worry about when you'll have your next meal, don't have to worry that the water you drink will make you sick or kill you - well, you're rich. Rich by today's standards, and certainly rich by historical standards.

We are all extremely privileged. The folks interviewed in the article seem like decent people, aware of their privilege, and generally not acting like asshats wasting money on ostentatious displays of wealth. Almost seems the author is frustrated that these folks are not so easily vilified.

You can handwave away any discussion by bringing up something worse that is tangentially related.

We can recognize that living in the US is a huge privilege and still discuss the subject of inequality within our borders.

We can discuss the subject of inequality within our borders. Personally, I think inequality of wealth is much like inequality of intelligence, or inequality of effort, or inequality of most other things. It will exist and trying to vilify those who have more of one thing than others is absurd. The CEO making an 8-figure salary isn't preventing an 18 year old kid from becoming a CEO or stopping a janitor from going to school and becoming an engineer that starts his own multi-billion dollar company. So faulting them for being worth a lot of money to the job market is pretty ridiculous.
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Paul der Krake

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Re: NY Times article -- "What the Rich Won't Tell You"
« Reply #24 on: September 08, 2017, 09:20:46 PM »
When I was a teenager, I used to babysit the children of the professional elite in London, a city very similar to NYC even though it's a different country. Never seen yachts and private jets, but I've seen the inside of more million dollar homes than I care to count, probably closer to the 2-3 million mark now. Almost all the men were some sort of executive at a large companies. Women had a lot more variety, with a good chunk of stay-at-home mothers.

The woman in the article who describes her family dinners and reading to her children fits my observations. My clients took great care of their kids, who were always well-mannered and highly intelligent. They don't need reminding that eating vegetables and brushing your teeth is important. They almost never get yelled at, by anyone. Their table manners are impeccable and are far from the entitled brat stereotype. Their homes were always filled with nice things, but rarely flashy. They'd think nothing of calling a cab for me to get me home if they came back later than expected. I've picked up kids from school in London and delivered them to their parents in Paris, and then gone back to London in one afternoon. Best of all, I was always paid handsomely for what amounted to very little actual work. Best job ever.

You can detect hints of a very comfortable lifestyle if you know what to look for, but to the untrained eye these families look completely normal.

okits

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Re: NY Times article -- "What the Rich Won't Tell You"
« Reply #25 on: September 08, 2017, 10:56:51 PM »
When I was a teenager, I used to babysit the children of the professional elite in London, a city very similar to NYC even though it's a different country. Never seen yachts and private jets, but I've seen the inside of more million dollar homes than I care to count, probably closer to the 2-3 million mark now. Almost all the men were some sort of executive at a large companies. Women had a lot more variety, with a good chunk of stay-at-home mothers.

The woman in the article who describes her family dinners and reading to her children fits my observations. My clients took great care of their kids, who were always well-mannered and highly intelligent. They don't need reminding that eating vegetables and brushing your teeth is important. They almost never get yelled at, by anyone. Their table manners are impeccable and are far from the entitled brat stereotype. Their homes were always filled with nice things, but rarely flashy. They'd think nothing of calling a cab for me to get me home if they came back later than expected. I've picked up kids from school in London and delivered them to their parents in Paris, and then gone back to London in one afternoon. Best of all, I was always paid handsomely for what amounted to very little actual work. Best job ever.

You can detect hints of a very comfortable lifestyle if you know what to look for, but to the untrained eye these families look completely normal.

What are the most obvious tells?  I'm curious to know both to increase my stealthiness when I want to be inconspicuous, but also to keep a look out for new friends who might be open to personal finance conversations (it's nice to not have to deflect or pretend around people, and it's most easily done with others in similar circumstances).

I enjoyed your comment, PDK.  Thanks for posting it.
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Monkey Uncle

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Re: NY Times article -- "What the Rich Won't Tell You"
« Reply #26 on: September 09, 2017, 05:36:29 AM »

Suppose I invent a great things that makes life better for millions of people.   I'm able to partner with a business guy/gal who can turn it into a product and we sell millions of units and make $10M/year each  in profits.  Additionally we create several hundred jobs, providing employment for many people.

Is this fair?

Would you be able to make $10M/year without the efforts of those several hundred people?  How much of the total revenue are you sharing with them in exchange for enabling you to make $10M/yr?
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Capt j-rod

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Re: NY Times article -- "What the Rich Won't Tell You"
« Reply #27 on: September 09, 2017, 06:01:22 AM »
I assume that many of us have read The Millionaire Next Door.   This basically reinforces the findings of that book. I live in a smaller rural community. There are many farmers. You can line them up and then try to pick the farmer who is in debt up to his ass and then pick the millionaire. Shiny and big does not equal money. Many educated people with successful businesses fly under the radar in a pick up truck and a pair of wranglers. Location has very much to do with wealth. It takes three times as much money to be "wealthy" in NYC as it does in my area. The book Rich Dad Poor Dad jokes that the rich will never pay taxes. Why? because they know money and how to make it and shelter it. Lottery winners usually go broke because they don't know about money. You would never guess my net worth or my income from just sitting down and talking unless I told you. You would never know that my neighbor is a multi millionaire by going to the eagles club and drinking bud light with him. Our balance sheets tell a different tale. I always enjoy this site for the great advice. I am into preserving capital and using it to make more money rather than being dependent on employers and others to stabilize my future. Mustachians know about money and how to use it as a tool... That's what makes us able to retire.
« Last Edit: September 09, 2017, 06:20:22 AM by Capt j-rod »

Tetsuya Hondo

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Re: NY Times article -- "What the Rich Won't Tell You"
« Reply #28 on: September 09, 2017, 06:06:49 AM »
We can discuss the subject of inequality within our borders. Personally, I think inequality of wealth is much like inequality of intelligence, or inequality of effort, or inequality of most other things. It will exist and trying to vilify those who have more of one thing than others is absurd. The CEO making an 8-figure salary isn't preventing an 18 year old kid from becoming a CEO or stopping a janitor from going to school and becoming an engineer that starts his own multi-billion dollar company. So faulting them for being worth a lot of money to the job market is pretty ridiculous.

Actually, I think the CEO making an 8-figure salary is preventing the advancement of others. Consider that a few decades ago a CEO made roughly 20 times their employees and now it's over 300 times. Along the way, top execs have started paying themselves more while paying employees less and taking away benefits to boot. They sit on each others boards and rubber stamp each others' salary packages. It's a rigged system where rewards are completely disconnected from their actual performance. You can sink a company and still leave with a $100M plus for the pleasure. We've also slashed the tax rates for the top percentiles, so now they're paying in less of a percentage of wages than ever, which could go to things like public education, which can help others to advance.

jlcnuke

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Re: NY Times article -- "What the Rich Won't Tell You"
« Reply #29 on: September 09, 2017, 06:47:21 AM »
We can discuss the subject of inequality within our borders. Personally, I think inequality of wealth is much like inequality of intelligence, or inequality of effort, or inequality of most other things. It will exist and trying to vilify those who have more of one thing than others is absurd. The CEO making an 8-figure salary isn't preventing an 18 year old kid from becoming a CEO or stopping a janitor from going to school and becoming an engineer that starts his own multi-billion dollar company. So faulting them for being worth a lot of money to the job market is pretty ridiculous.

Actually, I think the CEO making an 8-figure salary is preventing the advancement of others. Consider that a few decades ago a CEO made roughly 20 times their employees and now it's over 300 times. Along the way, top execs have started paying themselves more while paying employees less and taking away benefits to boot. They sit on each others boards and rubber stamp each others' salary packages. It's a rigged system where rewards are completely disconnected from their actual performance. You can sink a company and still leave with a $100M plus for the pleasure. We've also slashed the tax rates for the top percentiles, so now they're paying in less of a percentage of wages than ever, which could go to things like public education, which can help others to advance.
Ah, goody. A "rich hater"... Glad to have identified ya.

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Leisured

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Re: NY Times article -- "What the Rich Won't Tell You"
« Reply #30 on: September 09, 2017, 06:51:46 AM »
Nice link, dude. Two ideas stand out for me: the rich person who thought that affluence only applies to people who fly by private jet; and the other rich person who said that affluence means not having to worry about money. I agree with the second idea.

I first saw the word 'affluent' in the sixties, and affluent then meant a person who is comfortably off, like say a suburban doctor or lawyer. The people the journalist interviewed are beyond affluent; they are rich.

In Australia, in the eighties, there was a TV sitcom where one of the characters said that her ambition was to 'effluent', meaning 'affluent.'

Nice post, PDK. Sounds like being Jeeves is a good job.


Imma

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Re: NY Times article -- "What the Rich Won't Tell You"
« Reply #31 on: September 09, 2017, 11:00:12 AM »
The more I read about the privileged, the more I believe in wealth taxes and high inheritance taxes. The reason these people hide their expenses from their servants is so that the servants don't demand a higher salary. When your new sofa costs more than what you paid your nanny for half a year then there is a problem. Obscene wealth and income inequalities have always lead to bad consequences (Wars and Revolutions.)

I'm not a rich hater (a word I've learned from this thread!) but I do agree with this. There is a difference between earned wealth and inherited wealth.

You are born with nothing and you die with nothing. Whatever happens in between is your own responsibility. I don't have children, but if I did I would make sure they wouldn't give them lifelong wealth on a silver platter. I think it would be better if inheritance taxes would rise so income tax could be lowered. People earn their income, you don't earn or deserve an inheritance. It's something that happens to you. It would be much more fair if everybody had to start at square one. ( of course, it would be impossible to give everyone exactly the same start in life and I don't want anything extreme, but I think everyone can agree that some children are starting miles ahead of others which makes it very hard for others to keep up with them).

My country has had inheritance tax since the 1850s, when a progressive, liberal politician came into office. Back then nearly all of the land was in the hands of the aristocracy. For peasants (my ancestors) there were very few options: stay in the countryside and work yourself to death on a tenant farm, or go to the city and work yourself to death in a factory. It wasn't slavery, but it wasn't very far from it either because if you wanted to move to another estate, you often needed a letter of recommendation. Inheritance tax destroyed the landed aristocracy in two generations. Of course they still complain about this injustice, but it allowed many tenants, again including my own ancestors, to buy their own little farm and work for themselves. Owning property allowed them to vote, to send their kids to school, to pay doctor's bills, and to eventually retire. I think it's one of the most important laws in the history of our country.

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Re: NY Times article -- "What the Rich Won't Tell You"
« Reply #32 on: September 09, 2017, 11:04:34 AM »
We can discuss the subject of inequality within our borders. Personally, I think inequality of wealth is much like inequality of intelligence, or inequality of effort, or inequality of most other things. It will exist and trying to vilify those who have more of one thing than others is absurd. The CEO making an 8-figure salary isn't preventing an 18 year old kid from becoming a CEO or stopping a janitor from going to school and becoming an engineer that starts his own multi-billion dollar company. So faulting them for being worth a lot of money to the job market is pretty ridiculous.

Actually, I think the CEO making an 8-figure salary is preventing the advancement of others. Consider that a few decades ago a CEO made roughly 20 times their employees and now it's over 300 times. Along the way, top execs have started paying themselves more while paying employees less and taking away benefits to boot. They sit on each others boards and rubber stamp each others' salary packages. It's a rigged system where rewards are completely disconnected from their actual performance. You can sink a company and still leave with a $100M plus for the pleasure. We've also slashed the tax rates for the top percentiles, so now they're paying in less of a percentage of wages than ever, which could go to things like public education, which can help others to advance.
Ah, goody. A "rich hater"... Glad to have identified ya.

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C'mon, you're better than that. Do you refute what I said, is any of it inaccurate, or can you just sling insults? Because if it's the latter, then you might want to reexamine your beliefs here. Maybe you're on shakier ground than you realize.

The fact is, inequality is not a constant. It has changed over time and for the worst in recent decades. Our policies and the actions of some have led to that.

As for being a "rich hater," I have no problems with the rich so long as they don't game things to the disadvantage of others. I believe that those that work the hardest and take risks to better themselves should be rewarded. However, wealth does not spring forth in a vacuum. Certain conditions help it grow, including infrastructure, a reliable judicial system, an educated populace, etc. I do have an issue with wealthy people who don't realize that. Especially those that were born on third base and think that they hit a triple.

I'm in the upper percentiles myself. Hell, we even had a nanny until recently. I empathize with some of the people in the article and even have similar stories. My only issue is that things have gotten out of whack. Allowing this issue will fester, will come back to bite us in the long run.

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Re: NY Times article -- "What the Rich Won't Tell You"
« Reply #33 on: September 09, 2017, 11:05:56 AM »
We can discuss the subject of inequality within our borders. Personally, I think inequality of wealth is much like inequality of intelligence, or inequality of effort, or inequality of most other things. It will exist and trying to vilify those who have more of one thing than others is absurd. The CEO making an 8-figure salary isn't preventing an 18 year old kid from becoming a CEO or stopping a janitor from going to school and becoming an engineer that starts his own multi-billion dollar company. So faulting them for being worth a lot of money to the job market is pretty ridiculous.

Actually, I think the CEO making an 8-figure salary is preventing the advancement of others. Consider that a few decades ago a CEO made roughly 20 times their employees and now it's over 300 times. Along the way, top execs have started paying themselves more while paying employees less and taking away benefits to boot. They sit on each others boards and rubber stamp each others' salary packages. It's a rigged system where rewards are completely disconnected from their actual performance. You can sink a company and still leave with a $100M plus for the pleasure. We've also slashed the tax rates for the top percentiles, so now they're paying in less of a percentage of wages than ever, which could go to things like public education, which can help others to advance.
Ah, goody. A "rich hater"... Glad to have identified ya.

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But what if he's a good CEO who build the business up by himself, instead of the typical executive who knows little but how to play politics and utter pithy statements?

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Re: NY Times article -- "What the Rich Won't Tell You"
« Reply #34 on: September 09, 2017, 11:31:02 AM »
I read "The Millionaire Next Door" recently, and I thought this article was an interesting dichotomy to it. The affluent talked about in the book didn't buy the expensive things that needed the price tag taken off because it the price was so outrageous. They were, by all accounts, frugal who had saved their money. The affluent talked about in this article were mainly super high earners and heirs. I thought the first person may have actually been slightly frugal until it came out that they had spent $600,000 the year before! I wonder what their net worth would be without the $500,000/year job?

Paul der Krake

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Re: NY Times article -- "What the Rich Won't Tell You"
« Reply #35 on: September 09, 2017, 11:56:56 AM »
What are the most obvious tells?  I'm curious to know both to increase my stealthiness when I want to be inconspicuous, but also to keep a look out for new friends who might be open to personal finance conversations (it's nice to not have to deflect or pretend around people, and it's most easily done with others in similar circumstances).
Honestly, it's hard to point out at any particular thing, it's more of a package deal. Kinda of like how you can spot tourists without them saying a word. None of the things I'm about to list are an absolute giveaway, and I can think of someone who was the complete opposite, but these things tend to show up with regularity.

Home location and size is pretty obvious. If all your children have their own rooms in K&C, you are most likely doing very well. In the UK schools have uniforms, and that's another indication of which school you've chosen to associate with, and they don't even have to be private to be exclusive.

Outsourcing is another one. You wouldn't need my services if you have a nanny, but somebody comes once or twice a week to clean your house and iron your clothes. You may have private tutoring lessons for your children.

Then there is speech. Well-spoken, often multilingual parents and children. They rarely raise their voice. Communication whether by phone/email/text is a breeze because they communicate for a living.

Family dinners, with high quality ingredients. Probably a wine cellar to chill your wine. There is a quality centrist newspaper or magazines floating in your living room. Paintings on the walls. One or more musical instruments, and the children practice daily. Young children are being read to every night, and the older ones are voracious readers. Screen time is limited.

You are on top of current international affairs, and regularly travel overseas for work and pleasure.

You wear quality clothing that fits. You don't have visible tattoos or piercings. Your haircut is unremarkable and your teeth look great. On the weekend, you wear timeless classics. You either play or follow country club sports such as golf, tennis, sailing. You walk tall and straight, and generally convey an air of confidence.

jlcnuke

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Re: NY Times article -- "What the Rich Won't Tell You"
« Reply #36 on: September 09, 2017, 12:25:09 PM »
We can discuss the subject of inequality within our borders. Personally, I think inequality of wealth is much like inequality of intelligence, or inequality of effort, or inequality of most other things. It will exist and trying to vilify those who have more of one thing than others is absurd. The CEO making an 8-figure salary isn't preventing an 18 year old kid from becoming a CEO or stopping a janitor from going to school and becoming an engineer that starts his own multi-billion dollar company. So faulting them for being worth a lot of money to the job market is pretty ridiculous.

Actually, I think the CEO making an 8-figure salary is preventing the advancement of others. Consider that a few decades ago a CEO made roughly 20 times their employees and now it's over 300 times. Along the way, top execs have started paying themselves more while paying employees less and taking away benefits to boot. They sit on each others boards and rubber stamp each others' salary packages. It's a rigged system where rewards are completely disconnected from their actual performance. You can sink a company and still leave with a $100M plus for the pleasure. We've also slashed the tax rates for the top percentiles, so now they're paying in less of a percentage of wages than ever, which could go to things like public education, which can help others to advance.
Ah, goody. A "rich hater"... Glad to have identified ya.

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C'mon, you're better than that. Do you refute what I said, is any of it inaccurate, or can you just sling insults? Because if it's the latter, then you might want to reexamine your beliefs here. Maybe you're on shakier ground than you realize.

The fact is, inequality is not a constant. It has changed over time and for the worst in recent decades. Our policies and the actions of some have led to that.

As for being a "rich hater," I have no problems with the rich so long as they don't game things to the disadvantage of others. I believe that those that work the hardest and take risks to better themselves should be rewarded. However, wealth does not spring forth in a vacuum. Certain conditions help it grow, including infrastructure, a reliable judicial system, an educated populace, etc. I do have an issue with wealthy people who don't realize that. Especially those that were born on third base and think that they hit a triple.

I'm in the upper percentiles myself. Hell, we even had a nanny until recently. I empathize with some of the people in the article and even have similar stories. My only issue is that things have gotten out of whack. Allowing this issue will fester, will come back to bite us in the long run.
Refute it. Nope. Put it in actual, realistic context, sure. The vast majority of CEOs aren't making 300 times what the janitor makes. Most aren't pulling in 50 times what the lowest paid employee of the company makes. The highest compensated ones, however, have seen an increase in their relative pay to the lowest paid though. Of course, the have gone from managing a much smaller workforce, and/or revenue, and/or number of customers, and/or some other significant increase in their responsibilities.. while having more companies need people with such skills/experience while not having a significant increase in the number of qualified people for such positions..  all things driving their salaries up while the janitor or secretary etc have had zero increase in their responsibilities and no shortage of qualified applicant for their positions.

So, yeah, some jobs pay more now, but they also deserve it as a general rule based on the basic rules of supply and demand and fair compensation for increased responsibilities and the associated accountability... Now, if the janitor went from cleaning 500 sq ft to 50000 sq ft then they should have got a pay raise too. I haven't heard any stats saying their responsibilities have been increasing over the past 40 years though. As sch, the CEO with a ton more responsibility now getting a larger pay raise makes a lot of sense to me...

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neverrun

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Re: NY Times article -- "What the Rich Won't Tell You"
« Reply #37 on: September 09, 2017, 04:59:47 PM »
What struck me with this article is that these rich people were having a hard time recognizing that they were in fact rich.  They also see that having a 2nd home in the Hampton's or spending $600,000/year is normal.  Yes it is normal among your rich peers but it is not normal by any stretch.   

okits

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Re: NY Times article -- "What the Rich Won't Tell You"
« Reply #38 on: September 09, 2017, 07:55:32 PM »
What are the most obvious tells?  I'm curious to know both to increase my stealthiness when I want to be inconspicuous, but also to keep a look out for new friends who might be open to personal finance conversations (it's nice to not have to deflect or pretend around people, and it's most easily done with others in similar circumstances).
Honestly, it's hard to point out at any particular thing, it's more of a package deal. Kinda of like how you can spot tourists without them saying a word. None of the things I'm about to list are an absolute giveaway, and I can think of someone who was the complete opposite, but these things tend to show up with regularity.

Home location and size is pretty obvious. If all your children have their own rooms in K&C, you are most likely doing very well. In the UK schools have uniforms, and that's another indication of which school you've chosen to associate with, and they don't even have to be private to be exclusive.

Outsourcing is another one. You wouldn't need my services if you have a nanny, but somebody comes once or twice a week to clean your house and iron your clothes. You may have private tutoring lessons for your children.

Then there is speech. Well-spoken, often multilingual parents and children. They rarely raise their voice. Communication whether by phone/email/text is a breeze because they communicate for a living.

Family dinners, with high quality ingredients. Probably a wine cellar to chill your wine. There is a quality centrist newspaper or magazines floating in your living room. Paintings on the walls. One or more musical instruments, and the children practice daily. Young children are being read to every night, and the older ones are voracious readers. Screen time is limited.

You are on top of current international affairs, and regularly travel overseas for work and pleasure.

You wear quality clothing that fits. You don't have visible tattoos or piercings. Your haircut is unremarkable and your teeth look great. On the weekend, you wear timeless classics. You either play or follow country club sports such as golf, tennis, sailing. You walk tall and straight, and generally convey an air of confidence.

Thanks, PDK, that's really interesting, and reminiscent of some of the generationally-wealthy people I have done work for (very nice in person, genteel manners, calm and collected, not flashy but all their belongings are in good condition, as are they.  They are very engaged with their children and the kids are similarly nice.)  None have seemed unaware of their privilege, and some were from families noted for their philanthropy.
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WhiteTrashCash

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Re: NY Times article -- "What the Rich Won't Tell You"
« Reply #39 on: September 09, 2017, 10:58:44 PM »
One thing the article touches on that I've experienced in my own dealings with extremely wealthy people is that they are incredibly cheap. They do not tip well and they try to avoid paying liveable wages to the people who work for them. That's probably how they ended up making 100 times the wages of their employees. No wonder they are ashamed of themselves. They are really unpleasant to be around.

sol

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Re: NY Times article -- "What the Rich Won't Tell You"
« Reply #40 on: September 10, 2017, 09:53:11 AM »
some jobs pay more now, but they also deserve it as a general rule based on the basic rules of supply and demand and fair compensation for increased responsibilities and the associated accountability...

Since when have people ever been paid for responsibility or accountability?  That's a crock of shit.

There is a municipal engineer who tests your drinking water every day.  He makes about $85k/year, and if he screws up then literally millions of people will die.  He has more real responsibility than virtually anyone else in the country, but he's not paid for it.

I work an office building where I sit at a computer and wiggle my fingers all day over a keyboard.  There are other people who wiggle their fingers in my same building for approximately 25% of what I make, and there are people who wiggle their fingers for twice what I make.  It's not like you can tell who works the hardest based on their paycheck, or who is the most dependable, or who has the most work stress or responsibility, or even who has the most specialized skill set.  Mostly, the size of a particular person's paycheck corresponds with the sizes of the paychecks of the other people they communicate with, and not with the actual work they do or the topic of their communication.

sol

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Re: NY Times article -- "What the Rich Won't Tell You"
« Reply #41 on: September 10, 2017, 10:00:58 AM »
I know a farmer in my state who makes roughly twenty million dollars per year in profits.  He works hard every day to provide for his large family.  He runs a business, and there is the ever present risk of drought or commodity price fluctuations, and most people believe he earns his money honestly. 

I know a farmer in Mexico who makes roughly $5000 per year.  He works hard every day to provide for his large family.  He runs a business, and there is the ever present risk of drought or the risk or price fluctuations, and most people believe that he earns his money honestly. 

These two men both work hard, in basically the same industry, with basically the same business model, and yet one of them is among the wealthiest people on the planet and the other legitimately fears his children might starve this year.  What's the difference?  It's not the amount of responsibility they have, and it's not how hard they work every day. 

The difference is privilege.  One of them was born into a stable democracy with advanced infrastructure that supports his operations.  He gets tax breaks and crop insurance, and a steady and reliable supply of irrigation water, and access to chemicals and pesticides, and a political system that enforces his property rights, and a ravenous market of consumers who want his product.  The other was born into a much less stable country, where his land is often ruined by neighbors or criminals, his crop is routinely stolen or destroyed, his water supply is often contaminated or totally dry, and he has no way to collect, store, distribute, or profit from whatever production excess he can manage, other than a roadside fruit stand that is routinely robbed by the corrupt state and local police.

It's important to recognize your privilege.  Yes, the American farmer works hard and considers himself morally virtuous, but so does the Mexican farmer.  The vast wealth an American farmer can accumulate is not due to his actions or his superiority, but due to the incredibly fortunate and secure environment into which he was born and in which he now operates his business.

Paul der Krake

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Re: NY Times article -- "What the Rich Won't Tell You"
« Reply #42 on: September 10, 2017, 10:12:22 AM »
Well said, sol.

Capitalism doesn't care about who deserves what the most. Markets are supposed to find their own equilibrium, and that's that.

It's useful to be reminded how much we stand on the shoulders of the people who came before us. Who here can build a refrigerator from scratch?

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Re: NY Times article -- "What the Rich Won't Tell You"
« Reply #43 on: September 10, 2017, 11:43:16 AM »
"In contrast, the people I spoke with expressed a deep ambivalence about identifying as affluent. Rather than brag about their money or show it off, they kept quiet about their advantages. They described themselves as “normal” people who worked hard and spent prudently, distancing themselves from common stereotypes of the wealthy as ostentatious, selfish, snobby and entitled."

I was struck by how accurately this paragraph describes the majority of us in the MMM community. How often do we discuss the awkwardness of our friends or colleagues finding out that our net worth has a few more zeros than theirs? Or try to differentiate ourselves from other, more frivolous and irresponsible, wealthy people? We sometimes work overtime to catelogue all of the ways in which we are being virtuous with our wealth and privilege; we don't spend lavishly on ourselves, we give back or plan to give back once retired, we focus on the important things in life and don't let ourselves get caught up in the consumer lifestyle, etc, etc.

I think, just as it's easy for the "obscenely rich" to believe that their multi million dollar homes, fleet of luxury cars  and lavish vacation are really quite normal and unremarkable because everyone else at their country club shares the same lifestyle, it's easy for the decidedly middle class to believe their 2300sq/ft house that uses up 1/3 of their paycheck in mortgage payments, financed SUVs, and massive flat screen TVs (purchased on credit cards of course) is normal and average because all of their coworkers have followed similar paths in coping with their 40+ year wage servitude. Similarly, the family of 4, working a combined 2.5 jobs on minimum wage, running out of food stamps mid month and buying name brand shoes even though they have a mailbox full of late notices threatening to shut off their utilities probably can't see another way to live because everyone in their apartment complex lives basically the same way. I think one of the reasons this forum and this community are so important to us is because it finally provided a community that validates our lifestyle values. Other people who value frugality, don't judge us for driving old cars or resent us for having no debt. But most of all don't think we are selfish or lazy for exiting the workforce early and living off of our pile of cash while they are still chained to their desks and married to consumerism. I'm proud of and grateful for this community... *and* articles like this one can be a good reminder that we are not immune to our own biases and stereotypes. Our privilege is not average (which is not to say Moreno people found y be where we are if they worked toward it). To me it's worth being grateful each day that we live in a time and a place where we were afforded an abundance of opportunity and inspired down an extremely rewarding path at a time in our lives when we couldn't seize those opportunities.

obstinate

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Re: NY Times article -- "What the Rich Won't Tell You"
« Reply #44 on: September 10, 2017, 07:47:19 PM »
It's important to recognize your privilege.  Yes, the American farmer works hard and considers himself morally virtuous, but so does the Mexican farmer.  The vast wealth an American farmer can accumulate is not due to his actions or his superiority, but due to the incredibly fortunate and secure environment into which he was born and in which he now operates his business.
Same thoughts here. The "deep ambivalence" us rich people feel should not be compared with the much more serious problems of those without our privileges.

And, yes, as a New Yorker, 250k a year is still very good money. It's not "buy a townhouse in Chelsea" money, but it is, "rent a nice apartment with enough bedrooms for your family in almost any neighborhood, and cover all other expenses" money, which is something the vast majority of New Yorkers cannot afford to do. My family is on track to spend $165k post tax this year in NYC, including $10k of one-time medical and dental costs, living in a very desirable neighborhood and paying for full-time childcare.

obstinate

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Re: NY Times article -- "What the Rich Won't Tell You"
« Reply #45 on: September 10, 2017, 07:54:16 PM »
Quote
"When I used the word “affluent” in an email to a stay-at-home mom with a $2.5 million household income, a house in the Hamptons and a child in private school, she almost canceled the interview, she told me later. Real affluence, she said, belonged to her friends who traveled on a private plane."
I hate when I hear about people like this. You're rich as fuck. Own it. Stop being so fucking fragile that you get offended when someone uses a euphemism usually used to describe a the social class one or two rungs below where you are actually.

Quote
"In context of New York City, especially its private schools, heightened their fear that their kids would never encounter the “real world,” or have “fluency outside the bubble,” in the words of one inheritor."
Send your kid to fucking public school then.
« Last Edit: September 10, 2017, 07:59:24 PM by obstinate »

Imustacheyouaquestion

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Re: NY Times article -- "What the Rich Won't Tell You"
« Reply #46 on: September 11, 2017, 07:28:32 AM »
I grew up in an affluent NYC suburb and this article hit the nail on the head in terms of how people seem to forget how wealthy they are by simply comparing themselves to others that are one rung higher in terms of consumption (we're not wealthy, we drive "old" cars and fly on commercial planes to our exotic vacations!)

It's also interesting to note that this level of wealth doesn't seem to make people stress less about money - they are still worried about getting deals on strollers and worrying about food costs, and worried that a loss of income would be a major hurdle. Seems like nobody has considered that downshifting consumption (even moderately) could lead to never having to worry about a wage income again.


panda

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Re: NY Times article -- "What the Rich Won't Tell You"
« Reply #47 on: September 11, 2017, 07:46:59 AM »
I wouldn't call the people interviewed 'obsenely wealthly' as the article states.  These people ranged in assets from a few million to 50M and incomes I saw were as low as 250k.  In NYC it's hard to call $250k wealthy at all.  Most of the people in this article are at the bottom of the 1%. 
I'm disappointed. You're on a site where we sit around and literally talk about passive income and nobody called out the fact that $50M in assets is likely generating a lot more than $250k/year. It is extremely possible that some of these people have jobs that pay less than their passive income and that must be taken into account when discussing total annual income.

Gondolin

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Re: NY Times article -- "What the Rich Won't Tell You"
« Reply #48 on: September 11, 2017, 07:59:05 AM »
Quote
Send your kid to fucking public school then

But what would the Joneses think?? I pity these nouveau riche who are too busy complaining that they're not as rich as their neighbors to enjoy their incredible fortune.
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dude

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Re: NY Times article -- "What the Rich Won't Tell You"
« Reply #49 on: September 11, 2017, 08:06:27 AM »
"In contrast, the people I spoke with expressed a deep ambivalence about identifying as affluent. Rather than brag about their money or show it off, they kept quiet about their advantages. They described themselves as “normal” people who worked hard and spent prudently, distancing themselves from common stereotypes of the wealthy as ostentatious, selfish, snobby and entitled."

I was struck by how accurately this paragraph describes the majority of us in the MMM community. How often do we discuss the awkwardness of our friends or colleagues finding out that our net worth has a few more zeros than theirs? Or try to differentiate ourselves from other, more frivolous and irresponsible, wealthy people? We sometimes work overtime to catelogue all of the ways in which we are being virtuous with our wealth and privilege; we don't spend lavishly on ourselves, we give back or plan to give back once retired, we focus on the important things in life and don't let ourselves get caught up in the consumer lifestyle, etc, etc.

I think, just as it's easy for the "obscenely rich" to believe that their multi million dollar homes, fleet of luxury cars  and lavish vacation are really quite normal and unremarkable because everyone else at their country club shares the same lifestyle, it's easy for the decidedly middle class to believe their 2300sq/ft house that uses up 1/3 of their paycheck in mortgage payments, financed SUVs, and massive flat screen TVs (purchased on credit cards of course) is normal and average because all of their coworkers have followed similar paths in coping with their 40+ year wage servitude. Similarly, the family of 4, working a combined 2.5 jobs on minimum wage, running out of food stamps mid month and buying name brand shoes even though they have a mailbox full of late notices threatening to shut off their utilities probably can't see another way to live because everyone in their apartment complex lives basically the same way. I think one of the reasons this forum and this community are so important to us is because it finally provided a community that validates our lifestyle values. Other people who value frugality, don't judge us for driving old cars or resent us for having no debt. But most of all don't think we are selfish or lazy for exiting the workforce early and living off of our pile of cash while they are still chained to their desks and married to consumerism. I'm proud of and grateful for this community... *and* articles like this one can be a good reminder that we are not immune to our own biases and stereotypes. Our privilege is not average (which is not to say Moreno people found y be where we are if they worked toward it). To me it's worth being grateful each day that we live in a time and a place where we were afforded an abundance of opportunity and inspired down an extremely rewarding path at a time in our lives when we couldn't seize those opportunities.

But sometimes don't you just want to scream at your consumerist friends who pine for huge houses and luxury auto brands and complain about their financial problems, "motherfucker, I'm a goddamned millionaire, so listen to what the fuck I'm puttin' down!"  I really want to sometimes.  But I don't.