Author Topic: 7 Things the Middle Class Can't Afford Anymore  (Read 24937 times)

EricL

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7 Things the Middle Class Can't Afford Anymore
« on: October 22, 2014, 09:54:32 PM »
What it sez. Sounds like selective sampling.  Like the fat chick on the dole in the other thread.


http://wallstcheatsheet.com/personal-finance/7-things-the-middle-class-cant-afford-anymore-2.html/?ref=YF

RWD

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Re: 7 Things the Middle Class Can't Afford Anymore
« Reply #1 on: October 22, 2014, 10:29:54 PM »
Link didn't work for me, tried to redirect to ftp instead of http. This worked though (bonus, all on one page instead of spread out over eight pages...):
http://wallstcheatsheet.com/personal-finance/7-things-the-middle-class-cant-afford-anymore-2.html/?a=viewall

For those who don't want to read the article, here are the seven things:
Quote
  • Vacations
  • New vehicles
  • To pay off debt
  • Emergency savings
  • Retirement savings
  • Medical care
  • Dental work

Pretty boring list. We have no problems with affording all of those at once and still on track to retire early.

As a side note, that looks to be a pretty low quality, clickbaity site. Other articles advertised:
  • Anyone's Arrest Record Is Now Viewable Online
  • "Discount Site" Sells Apple Products For $20-$35
  • Little-Known Way To Pay Off Mortgage
  • How To Make Any Woman Obsess Over You
  • If You Don't Speak Spanish, Here's Why
  • 58-Year-Old Outsmarts Skin Care Doctors
  • Same Story, Different Chapter: The Rich Get Richer, Much Richer
  • 3 Charts Revealing America’s Disappearing Middle Class
  • 5 Secrets People Should Keep From Their Coworkers

GuitarStv

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Re: 7 Things the Middle Class Can't Afford Anymore
« Reply #2 on: October 23, 2014, 06:17:37 AM »

  • Anyone's Arrest Record Is Now Viewable Online
  • "Discount Site" Sells Apple Products For $20-$35
  • Little-Known Way To Pay Off Mortgage
  • How To Make Any Woman Obsess Over You
  • If You Don't Speak Spanish, Here's Why
  • 58-Year-Old Outsmarts Skin Care Doctors
  • Same Story, Different Chapter: The Rich Get Richer, Much Richer
  • 3 Charts Revealing America’s Disappearing Middle Class
  • 5 Secrets People Should Keep From Their Coworkers

GuitarStv's answers to some of the above:

Little-Known Way To Pay Off Mortgage
- Save!

How To Make Any Woman Obsess Over You
- Be More Awesome!

If You Don't Speak Spanish, Here's Why
- You probably never learned it!

58-Year-Old Outsmarts Skin Care Doctors
- . . . at chess!

EricL

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Re: 7 Things the Middle Class Can't Afford Anymore
« Reply #3 on: October 23, 2014, 06:30:16 AM »
Thank you for posting the contents of the article.  Next time I will do the same to keep people from reading such spurious material that accompanies it.  But the point of my posting it here is that the entire article is drivel. Is it any surprise at all the ads and other stuff on the page or also drivel? 

Cheddar Stacker

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Re: 7 Things the Middle Class Can't Afford Anymore
« Reply #4 on: October 23, 2014, 09:52:19 AM »
Yeah, I read the same article this morning. I like what you did there GuitarStv, I do the same thing in my head when I read this stuff. My responses to the actual article topics:

Quote
  • Vacations
- Camping? Travel hacking?
  • New vehicles
- How about used vehicles, the bus, or bicycles?
  • To pay off debt
- Consumer debt, stop buying crap?
  • Emergency savings
- stop buying crap
  • Retirement savings
- this should be on autopilot, stop buying crap
  • Medical care
- this one I'm sort of in agreement with, it's tough
  • Dental work
- stop buying crap, it's not that expensive
[/list]

They listed middle class as $54K income (ish). There are plenty of people around here that live on much less than that, and can afford all of the above things. Although, they don't purchase all of them because they aren't necessary.

I do feel bad for people earning half that amount, but the middle class would be doing just fine if they only paid attention a little more.

iris lily

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Re: 7 Things the Middle Class Can't Afford Anymore
« Reply #5 on: October 23, 2014, 10:00:06 AM »
We can easily afford all of that, and while I consider us "rich" the IRS does not because we are in the 25% tax bracket.

Middlesbrough

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Re: 7 Things the Middle Class Can't Afford Anymore
« Reply #6 on: October 23, 2014, 10:13:12 AM »
    Yeah, I read the same article this morning. I like what you did there GuitarStv, I do the same thing in my head when I read this stuff. My responses to the actual article topics:

    Quote
    • Vacations
    - Camping? Travel hacking?
    • New vehicles
    - How about used vehicles, the bus, or bicycles?
    • To pay off debt
    - Consumer debt, stop buying crap?
    • Emergency savings
    - stop buying crap
    • Retirement savings
    - this should be on autopilot, stop buying crap
    • Medical care
    - this one I'm sort of in agreement with, it's tough
    • Dental work
    - stop buying crap, it's not that expensive
    [/list]

    They listed middle class as $54K income (ish). There are plenty of people around here that live on much less than that, and can afford all of the above things. Although, they don't purchase all of them because they aren't necessary.

    I do feel bad for people earning half that amount, but the middle class would be doing just fine if they only paid attention a little more.
    Wow, I am below the median household income and I am doing just fine. I have educational debt I would like to be more aggressive with, but nothing on that list am I incapable of doing or achieving at my desired level. I must be delusional.

    MgoSam

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    Re: 7 Things the Middle Class Can't Afford Anymore
    « Reply #7 on: October 23, 2014, 10:17:26 AM »
    7. Dental work
    -Correct me if I am mistaken, but if our nutrition is cleaned up, many of our dental issues will clear away. By eating less candy and sweets, and eliminating soda, I am certain that my teeth will go through far fewer cavities (though I still love sweets), and by brushing regularly and flossing occassionally, this is a worthy investment. Not saying that dental bills are eliminated, but they certainly are reduced and as an added bonus, my grocery/entertainment bills are reduced (saving $2 per meal in a restaurant by not ordering pop, more savings if I might have ordered alcohol instead).

    Cheddar Stacker

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    Re: 7 Things the Middle Class Can't Afford Anymore
    « Reply #8 on: October 23, 2014, 10:21:02 AM »
    7. Dental work
    -Correct me if I am mistaken, but if our nutrition is cleaned up, many of our dental issues will clear away. By eating less candy and sweets, and eliminating soda, I am certain that my teeth will go through far fewer cavities (though I still love sweets), and by brushing regularly and flossing occassionally, this is a worthy investment. Not saying that dental bills are eliminated, but they certainly are reduced and as an added bonus, my grocery/entertainment bills are reduced (saving $2 per meal in a restaurant by not ordering pop, more savings if I might have ordered alcohol instead).

    +1. Same thing to an extent with medical care, but we still likely have to pay premiums which are high.

    Gin1984

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    Re: 7 Things the Middle Class Can't Afford Anymore
    « Reply #9 on: October 23, 2014, 11:12:26 AM »
    7. Dental work
    -Correct me if I am mistaken, but if our nutrition is cleaned up, many of our dental issues will clear away. By eating less candy and sweets, and eliminating soda, I am certain that my teeth will go through far fewer cavities (though I still love sweets), and by brushing regularly and flossing occassionally, this is a worthy investment. Not saying that dental bills are eliminated, but they certainly are reduced and as an added bonus, my grocery/entertainment bills are reduced (saving $2 per meal in a restaurant by not ordering pop, more savings if I might have ordered alcohol instead).
    Not always.  I am pretty bad on what I eat, and my husband is much, much better.  He brushes more than I do etc.  His teeth are genetically weaker than mine.  I've never had a cavity, even when I had braces.  Medical and dental may be affected by behavior but it is also affected by genes.

    BlueMR2

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    Re: 7 Things the Middle Class Can't Afford Anymore
    « Reply #10 on: October 23, 2014, 11:27:04 AM »
    Link didn't work for me, tried to redirect to ftp instead of http. This worked though (bonus, all on one page instead of spread out over eight pages...):
    http://wallstcheatsheet.com/personal-finance/7-things-the-middle-class-cant-afford-anymore-2.html/?a=viewall

    For those who don't want to read the article, here are the seven things:
    Quote
    • Vacations
    • New vehicles
    • To pay off debt
    • Emergency savings
    • Retirement savings
    • Medical care
    • Dental work

    - New car.  Yeah, that seems to be true.  Back in my younger days, people doing manual labor all day were making $10/hr and buying new $8500 mid-sized cars.  Nowadays, people doing manual labor are still making $10/hr, but the same class new car is in the upper 20's to low 30's.  Safety and economy don't come for free, that's for sure.  The more regulations pushed to make ALL cars better, the less affordable they become.  Not a huge problem since there's tons of great used cars available, UNLESS, you foolishly insist on only ever buying new...

    Kaspian

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    Re: 7 Things the Middle Class Can't Afford Anymore
    « Reply #11 on: October 23, 2014, 11:54:42 AM »
    Quote
    • Vacations

    Ridiculous!  It's the new normal for even middle-class 20 year-olds to go on vacation to the Caribbean once every year or two.  When I grew up in the 70s, a trip to Mexico or Italy was the trip of a lifetime--something you might do only for your honeymoon or when you retire.  And it was a huge deal, usually involving travel agents and a lengthy slideshow to relatives when you returned.   People now go on Expedia, whip out a credit card, and the next thing they know they're on a 3-week tour across all of Europe.

    A *normal* vacation for the middle class back in the day was 2 or 3 days with your parents in a nearby (i.e., driveable) metropolis or a week spent camping somewhere.

    Middlesbrough

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    Re: 7 Things the Middle Class Can't Afford Anymore
    « Reply #12 on: October 23, 2014, 12:09:24 PM »
    Quote
    • Vacations

    A *normal* vacation for the middle class back in the day was 2 or 3 days with your parents in a nearby (i.e., driveable) metropolis or a week spent camping somewhere.
    I thought was what vacation still means.

    sobezen

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    Re: 7 Things the Middle Class Can't Afford Anymore
    « Reply #13 on: October 23, 2014, 12:24:26 PM »
    Quote
    • Vacations

    Ridiculous!  It's the new normal for even middle-class 20 year-olds to go on vacation to the Caribbean once every year or two.  When I grew up in the 70s, a trip to Mexico or Italy was the trip of a lifetime--something you might do only for your honeymoon or when you retire.  And it was a huge deal, usually involving travel agents and a lengthy slideshow to relatives when you returned.   People now go on Expedia, whip out a credit card, and the next thing they know they're on a 3-week tour across all of Europe.

    A *normal* vacation for the middle class back in the day was 2 or 3 days with your parents in a nearby (i.e., driveable) metropolis or a week spent camping somewhere.

    Growing up this was my experience too. Don't really know when or why the expectation changed. I feel thankful I do not feel the need to constantly go on vacations or escape.  Cheers!

    mydogismyheart

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    Re: 7 Things the Middle Class Can't Afford Anymore
    « Reply #14 on: October 23, 2014, 01:55:28 PM »
    7. Dental work
    -Correct me if I am mistaken, but if our nutrition is cleaned up, many of our dental issues will clear away. By eating less candy and sweets, and eliminating soda, I am certain that my teeth will go through far fewer cavities (though I still love sweets), and by brushing regularly and flossing occassionally, this is a worthy investment. Not saying that dental bills are eliminated, but they certainly are reduced and as an added bonus, my grocery/entertainment bills are reduced (saving $2 per meal in a restaurant by not ordering pop, more savings if I might have ordered alcohol instead).
    Not always.  I am pretty bad on what I eat, and my husband is much, much better.  He brushes more than I do etc.  His teeth are genetically weaker than mine.  I've never had a cavity, even when I had braces.  Medical and dental may be affected by behavior but it is also affected by genes.

    I think it depends, I have been really bad at taking care of my teeth over the years and I just got my first cavity at the age of 31.  My dentist told me that it was in between the teeth and had I been flossing it most likely wouldn't be there.  I also know people that are meticulous and perfect about there teeth and end up with tons of cavities.  I do believe that taking care of your teeth can help immensely, but I also wonder if some people just have stronger teeth than others?

    SpicyMcHaggus

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    Re: 7 Things the Middle Class Can't Afford Anymore
    « Reply #15 on: October 23, 2014, 02:18:45 PM »
      Quote
      • Vacations
      - Everywhere I want to go has free couches to sleep on
      • New vehicles
      - Bought one. Hated it. Biggest waste of money ever. I buy nicer used cars now.
      • To pay off debt
      - I owed $17k on a credit card last year. It's gone.
      • Emergency savings
      - I have lots.
      • Retirement savings
      - Again, I have lots.
      • Medical care
      - Prices are up, but I have insurance and stay healthy.
      • Dental work
      - Same as above.
      [/list]

      Goldielocks

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      Re: 7 Things the Middle Class Can't Afford Anymore
      « Reply #16 on: October 24, 2014, 12:35:16 AM »
      Ah, then,

      By this list, the people who can't afford #7 are no longer "middle class", but "poor".

      I read a definition of middle class once, and it was parents that can just "barely" afford to get their child orthodontics.

      When I thought about it, that was a pretty good definition, because so MANY people will buy orthodontics to fix a bad dental problem for their child, even if all other savings, cars, and "extras" disappear.

      Gundy

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      Re: 7 Things the Middle Class Can't Afford Anymore
      « Reply #17 on: October 24, 2014, 04:25:02 AM »
      Quote
      A vacation is an extra expense that many middle-earners cannot afford without sacrificing something else

      Obviously if you have to give up anything else you are in hardship. Oh no! I can't go to the movies and eat out all the time and afford my vacation!

      PhysicsCat

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      Re: 7 Things the Middle Class Can't Afford Anymore
      « Reply #18 on: October 24, 2014, 04:57:57 AM »
      Just read that and was hoping it was posted here. The whole things makes me sad. Not that median earners can't "afford" these things, but that somehow those surveyed are wasting so much money that they think they can't afford them. #3-#7 (maybe 6 depending on how you feel about dentists) seem like things you would have covered before you start spending on whatever that money is being wasted on; things that should be covered before you call yourself middle class.

      I'm surprised they didn't put housing on there what with the return of the housing market and the "I 'need' but can't afford a 5000 sq ft house!" mentality.

      DecD

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      Re: 7 Things the Middle Class Can't Afford Anymore
      « Reply #19 on: October 24, 2014, 05:22:04 AM »
      Ah, then,

      By this list, the people who can't afford #7 are no longer "middle class", but "poor".

      I read a definition of middle class once, and it was parents that can just "barely" afford to get their child orthodontics.

      When I thought about it, that was a pretty good definition, because so MANY people will buy orthodontics to fix a bad dental problem for their child, even if all other savings, cars, and "extras" disappear.

      I am beyond grateful that my parents, who didn't have much, managed to get me orthodontics.  I have my dad's small mouth, and my teeth were on the way to being completely crossed in front like his are.  My teeth were so bad, I was a professional before/after photo framed on the wall of the orthodontist's office once I was done.  My life would have been significantly affected by my teeth- I can't imagine what it would've been like trying to make as a high school/college girl with such disastrously crossed teeth.

      My parents were super frugal, but braces were in the budget, thank goodness.

      agent_clone

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      Re: 7 Things the Middle Class Can't Afford Anymore
      « Reply #20 on: October 24, 2014, 07:00:24 AM »
      Ah, then,

      By this list, the people who can't afford #7 are no longer "middle class", but "poor".

      I read a definition of middle class once, and it was parents that can just "barely" afford to get their child orthodontics.

      When I thought about it, that was a pretty good definition, because so MANY people will buy orthodontics to fix a bad dental problem for their child, even if all other savings, cars, and "extras" disappear.

      I am beyond grateful that my parents, who didn't have much, managed to get me orthodontics.  I have my dad's small mouth, and my teeth were on the way to being completely crossed in front like his are.  My teeth were so bad, I was a professional before/after photo framed on the wall of the orthodontist's office once I was done.  My life would have been significantly affected by my teeth- I can't imagine what it would've been like trying to make as a high school/college girl with such disastrously crossed teeth.

      My parents were super frugal, but braces were in the budget, thank goodness.

      If wouldn't have just affected school/college.  It likely would have affected your working life as well.  The lady who wrote this essay http://www.theguardian.com/society/2014/sep/21/linda-tirado-poverty-hand-to-mouth-extract had a car accident at one point.  It knocked out some of her teeth, this then affected her career, as due to having missing teeth she looked like a poor person and which doesn't fit with the company image for hiring or promotion.

      Edit:
      In regards to the points oulined in the article, I can't comment on the US but, if your on 54k in Australia none of these are out of reach if you budget appropriately depending on your actual requirements, also depending on where you life and if you are a family situtation.  My notes are below:
      1.        Vacations
      When I earnt 53k a year a few years ago I went on a plane to my parents place yearly.  I also went on a trip to Japan.
      2.        New vehicles
      This will require savings but is doable
      3.        To pay off debt
      Depends on how much debt you have, the best thought would be to avoid it.
      4.        Emergency savings
      Doable, one week at a time.
      5.        Retirement savings
      We have mandatory superannuation, my 53k a year includes the amount for superannuation (at that point in time I think it was 9%).
      6.        Medical care
      You can afford the doctors visits.  However this may be difficult if you have chronic health problems
      7.        Dental work
      As with the medical care, you can afford the general visits, standard fillings, however chronic dental problems may be a bit difficult.  Some dental work may be available in the public hospital system, but most is done privately (I'm not sure what is available in the public system, the public system also has waiting lists).
      « Last Edit: October 24, 2014, 07:18:11 AM by agent_clone »

      eyePod

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      Re: 7 Things the Middle Class Can't Afford Anymore
      « Reply #21 on: October 24, 2014, 07:02:51 AM »
      I was going to rant about how it's untrue but I think the problem with the article is a poor title.

      "7 things the middle class made really poor life choices about!" seems to be the right one.

      Lot's of scary info in there - average of 15k on CREDIT CARDS. Average interest rate is 13.4%.... CRAZY!

      hodedofome

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      Re: 7 Things the Middle Class Can't Afford Anymore
      « Reply #22 on: October 24, 2014, 03:19:38 PM »
      The medical care is one thing that is killing just about everyone these days. Gone are the days when you could insure your whole family for $100 a month and then pay out of pocket for everything but surgery. Medical care has been going up like 20% a year for years, and nobody is getting raises like that to keep up with it.

      Health insurance (no doctor's visits) for my wife and 2 boys is $550 a month and that was the absolute cheapest we could find. And we are very healthy! That's about what our house payment is. It's a complete waste of a lot of money, money that we could be saving instead.

      sheepstache

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      Re: 7 Things the Middle Class Can't Afford Anymore
      « Reply #23 on: October 24, 2014, 05:18:40 PM »
      Quote
      A vacation is an extra expense that many middle-earners cannot afford without sacrificing something else

      Obviously if you have to give up anything else you are in hardship. Oh no! I can't go to the movies and eat out all the time and afford my vacation!

      More accurately:
      Quote
      Obviously if you have to give up anything else you are in hardship.

      Seriously, at some point people decided budgeting is something only poor people do. It used to be that people thought being rich meant you never had to think about money but now people think it's supposed to be true of the middle class as well.

      EDSMedS

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      Re: 7 Things the Middle Class Can't Afford Anymore
      « Reply #24 on: October 24, 2014, 05:42:50 PM »
      I agree that there are certainly solutions to the problems listed in the article and that much of the "woe-is-me" in the middle-class is laughable, but how can each of us be so sanctimonious about it being the fault of individuals when the AVERAGE credit card debt is $15K?!  That is not one person making bad choices; it is a predatory capitalist culture established to thrive on the popularization of bad choices and then point the finger at the individual.

      One easy example of how individualism can be a poisoned thought process is health care.  My supervisor's brother, who had retired at 48, was diagnosed with an aggressive and rare cancer that could not be treated within his "network."  He paid out-of-pocket for the incredibly expensive services for months until his (immense) savings were depleted.  The treatments stopped abruptly and he was dead in two weeks.  He was frugal, responsible, and intelligent but his individual choices were insignificant compared to the systematic issues he encountered.  Can you blame him?

      I agree that "at some point people decided budgeting is something only poor people do" but there is a limit to the efficacy of individual action.

      sheepstache

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      Re: 7 Things the Middle Class Can't Afford Anymore
      « Reply #25 on: October 24, 2014, 06:39:44 PM »
      One easy example of how individualism can be a poisoned thought process is health care.  My supervisor's brother, who had retired at 48, was diagnosed with an aggressive and rare cancer that could not be treated within his "network."  He paid out-of-pocket for the incredibly expensive services for months until his (immense) savings were depleted.  The treatments stopped abruptly and he was dead in two weeks.  He was frugal, responsible, and intelligent but his individual choices were insignificant compared to the systematic issues he encountered.  Can you blame him?

      I agree that "at some point people decided budgeting is something only poor people do" but there is a limit to the efficacy of individual action.

      Not to sound cold, but it sounds like maybe what happened is he was able to live longer than he would have in the past with this condition thanks to new developments in technology and he was willing to use his savings to buy that extra time which was probably an excellent deal for him. I freely acknowledge that there is some messed up stuff going on with the affordability of healthcare in the US, but another part of the issue is that medical technology is advancing faster than the economics can keep up. Just because something is possible doesn't mean it has to be affordable.

      infogoon

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      Re: 7 Things the Middle Class Can't Afford Anymore
      « Reply #26 on: October 27, 2014, 07:54:23 AM »
      The medical care is one thing that is killing just about everyone these days. Gone are the days when you could insure your whole family for $100 a month and then pay out of pocket for everything but surgery. Medical care has been going up like 20% a year for years, and nobody is getting raises like that to keep up with it.

      One of my coworkers is married to a teacher, so he has excellent, fully-covered health insurance through her district.

      It's open enrollment time at our workplace right now, so he was paging through the materials; he thought that the $200 price per pay period for our family coverage was so ludicrous that it must be per year.

      BlueMR2

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      Re: 7 Things the Middle Class Can't Afford Anymore
      « Reply #27 on: October 27, 2014, 10:23:46 AM »
      One easy example of how individualism can be a poisoned thought process is health care.  My supervisor's brother, who had retired at 48, was diagnosed with an aggressive and rare cancer that could not be treated within his "network."  He paid out-of-pocket for the incredibly expensive services for months until his (immense) savings were depleted.  The treatments stopped abruptly and he was dead in two weeks.  He was frugal, responsible, and intelligent but his individual choices were insignificant compared to the systematic issues he encountered.  Can you blame him?

      I agree that "at some point people decided budgeting is something only poor people do" but there is a limit to the efficacy of individual action.

      Not to sound cold, but it sounds like maybe what happened is he was able to live longer than he would have in the past with this condition thanks to new developments in technology and he was willing to use his savings to buy that extra time which was probably an excellent deal for him. I freely acknowledge that there is some messed up stuff going on with the affordability of healthcare in the US, but another part of the issue is that medical technology is advancing faster than the economics can keep up. Just because something is possible doesn't mean it has to be affordable.

      It may sound cold, but I totally get where you're coming from on that.  There are no guarantees in life.  Some of us will die much younger than we like.  Cost of care is so high that society as a whole can't afford to do everything possible for everyone.  Those resources simply aren't available.  I've known those that have run out of money for treatment and died, those that have refused treatment knowing they couldn't afford it (and died), but I also know those that have thrown the last dollar at treatment at a near zero percent chance and had it work...  It's an exceptionally difficult situation to be sick with something that *might* be treatable, but is very expensive to do so.

      asytsma

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      Re: 7 Things the Middle Class Can't Afford Anymore
      « Reply #28 on: October 27, 2014, 12:25:13 PM »
      Dang it! You posted this before I could!

      This article made me laugh and made me sad at the same time. How I pity the average middle-class American. And how blessed I am to live a mustachian life-style. So much abundance! So little crap.

      julez916

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      Re: 7 Things the Middle Class Can't Afford Anymore
      « Reply #29 on: October 27, 2014, 02:18:52 PM »
      I'm glad to see this here, too. A friend posted it on facebook over the weekend and the comments that ensued had me nearly pulling out my hair... the like of "If I ever have kids, there's no way I'll ever be able to give them the quality of life my parents gave me!" I am pregnant with my first and looking forward to sharing all that this world has to offer with my little one, including vacations. They just won't be resort style vacations, but I have no interest in that anyway. Our transportation needs will be met, we will have health care, an emergency fund, and I expect we will continue saving for retirement. My husband and I, combined, make less than $80,000 per year.

      I do agree that these are all areas that require some critical thought; you can't spend recklessly on a middle class income, you have to make choices based on your values. But hasn't that always been the case?

      RFAAOATB

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      Re: 7 Things the Middle Class Can't Afford Anymore
      « Reply #30 on: October 27, 2014, 04:11:08 PM »
      I'm glad to see this here, too. A friend posted it on facebook over the weekend and the comments that ensued had me nearly pulling out my hair... the like of "If I ever have kids, there's no way I'll ever be able to give them the quality of life my parents gave me!" I am pregnant with my first and looking forward to sharing all that this world has to offer with my little one, including vacations. They just won't be resort style vacations, but I have no interest in that anyway. Our transportation needs will be met, we will have health care, an emergency fund, and I expect we will continue saving for retirement. My husband and I, combined, make less than $80,000 per year.

      I do agree that these are all areas that require some critical thought; you can't spend recklessly on a middle class income, you have to make choices based on your values. But hasn't that always been the case?

      If you and your spouse make less then your parents, then it is a very real probability that you can not give your kids the same quality of life your parents gave you.  I fall in this category and it is a legitimate fear.  Anyone in my age cohort with the added burden of drowning in student loans would figure the same thing.  Would it not be a disappointment to have an upper middle class childhood and see your children have a lower middle class childhood?

      julez916

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      Re: 7 Things the Middle Class Can't Afford Anymore
      « Reply #31 on: October 28, 2014, 08:47:07 AM »
      I guess that hinges on how you define quality of life. The biggest things I remember from my childhood were not the things my parents spent lots of money on. They were snuggling into bed and reading at night with my mom, riding bikes around the neighborhood with other kids, water gun fights, road trips to visit family, any time spent outdoors, playing soccer, going fishing... These are all things that I feel that, with the financial choices we make, we will be able to provide for our kids. We won't be able to afford the fancy private school that I went to (as did the poster of the Facebook comment, who earns much more money than my family), but I don't think that equates a lower quality of life. I hated private school and adored public school.

      I do see where the fear comes from, and I realize that having a lower income means that you can't afford as many big ticket items; you have to make choices. We were upper middle class and my did spend money on me and my brother as a child (as I said, I did go to private schools, and we owned horses-- no small expense), but I know they made choices that allowed them to pay for those things. They did not spend recklessly on restaurants, ran a pretty tight ship with groceries, and kept us in the loop about finances enough that we knew when some of the bigger items would need to be cut out for a while. I never felt imposed upon or deprived for the sacrifices that we did make.

      To bring it back to the article, it's true, I won't be able to afford the items on the list as described. We won't be taking fancy vacations, but we will hit up a ton of national parks and all that Colorado has to offer. When the kids are old enough to handle it, we will probably do some off the beaten path international travel. We won't be driving new cars, especially ones that cost over $30,000, but our transportation needs will be met. We have made choices to live close enough to most of what we need that we can bike or walk. We have an emergency fund that we will continue to build, which will hopefully keep us out of debt and help us afford big medical and dental bills, should they arrive. And we may not be able to save a ton for retirement, but we are making small choices every day that help bring us closer and closer. I really believe it is all about the choices you make on a day to day basis, and, when it comes to kids, the amount of time and energy you invest in your relationship with them. Quality of life does not necessarily go up or down based on income.

      Quark

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      Re: 7 Things the Middle Class Can't Afford Anymore
      « Reply #32 on: October 28, 2014, 09:08:58 AM »
      To add to the fluff: my lifelong struggle with cavities went away when I switched to brushing with baking soda.

      Supposedly there are ingredients in toothpaste that can keep your teeth from remineralizing.

      I've always eaten healthy, I don't eat junk food.

      julez916

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      Re: 7 Things the Middle Class Can't Afford Anymore
      « Reply #33 on: October 28, 2014, 09:23:53 AM »
      To add to the fluff: my lifelong struggle with cavities went away when I switched to brushing with baking soda.

      Supposedly there are ingredients in toothpaste that can keep your teeth from remineralizing.

      I've always eaten healthy, I don't eat junk food.

      This has been a recent transition for me, so it's nice to hear from someone who has seen long term benefits!i have been lucky enough to have only had a few cavities, so I tend to have a little bit of "why rock the boat?" syndrome when it comes to making changes in my dental routine.

      Gone Fishing

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      Re: 7 Things the Middle Class Can't Afford Anymore
      « Reply #34 on: October 28, 2014, 01:39:17 PM »
      1.McMansions
      2.SUV's
      3.Eating every meal out
      4.Cable
      5.The latest smart phone
      6.Beer/Wine
      7.Cigarettes

      There, fixed! Now they can afford all the other stuff!

      Zamboni

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      Re: 7 Things the Middle Class Can't Afford Anymore
      « Reply #35 on: October 28, 2014, 01:59:26 PM »
      ^Well done!

      horsepoor

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      Re: 7 Things the Middle Class Can't Afford Anymore
      « Reply #36 on: October 28, 2014, 02:38:10 PM »
      1.McMansions
      2.SUV's
      3.Eating every meal out
      4.Cable
      5.The latest smart phone
      6.Beer/Wine
      7.Cigarettes

      There, fixed! Now they can afford all the other stuff!

      Things that used to never cross the minds of the middle class:

      Man Caves
      Mani/Pedis
      Designer purses
      "Push presents"
      iPads for each kid
      Keeping the house at 70 year round
      New wardrobes each season
      Ridiculous seasonal decorations
      High-end kitchens
      Walk in closets
      Huge cable packages
      Multiple vehicles/trucks with not utilitarian purpose

      sheepstache

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      Re: 7 Things the Middle Class Can't Afford Anymore
      « Reply #37 on: October 28, 2014, 03:06:09 PM »
      1.McMansions
      2.SUV's
      3.Eating every meal out
      4.Cable
      5.The latest smart phone
      6.Beer/Wine
      7.Cigarettes

      There, fixed! Now they can afford all the other stuff!

      Things that used to never cross the minds of the middle class:

      Man Caves
      Mani/Pedis
      Designer purses
      "Push presents"
      iPads for each kid
      Keeping the house at 70 year round
      New wardrobes each season
      Ridiculous seasonal decorations
      High-end kitchens
      Walk in closets
      Huge cable packages
      Multiple vehicles/trucks with not utilitarian purpose

      So true!

      EastCoastMike

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      Re: 7 Things the Middle Class Can't Afford Anymore
      « Reply #38 on: October 28, 2014, 08:24:09 PM »
      What's a "Push Present"?

      horsepoor

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      Re: 7 Things the Middle Class Can't Afford Anymore
      « Reply #39 on: October 28, 2014, 09:21:57 PM »
      What's a "Push Present"?

      Oh, you had to ask.  This has been discussed at length in the "Overheard at Work" thread.

      Post 5112 on.  And kiss a day or two goodbye when you get sucked into that thread, bwahahaha.

      http://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/antimustachian-wall-of-shame-and-comedy/overheard-at-work/5000/

      rocksinmyhead

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      Re: 7 Things the Middle Class Can't Afford Anymore
      « Reply #40 on: October 29, 2014, 06:33:13 AM »
      1.McMansions
      2.SUV's
      3.Eating every meal out
      4.Cable
      5.The latest smart phone
      6.Beer/Wine
      7.Cigarettes

      There, fixed! Now they can afford all the other stuff!

      Things that used to never cross the minds of the middle class:

      Man Caves
      Mani/Pedis
      Designer purses
      "Push presents"
      iPads for each kid
      Keeping the house at 70 year round
      New wardrobes each season
      Ridiculous seasonal decorations
      High-end kitchens
      Walk in closets
      Huge cable packages
      Multiple vehicles/trucks with not utilitarian purpose

      You guys are so right on!!

      sheepstache

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      Re: 7 Things the Middle Class Can't Afford Anymore
      « Reply #41 on: October 29, 2014, 08:37:31 AM »
      I thought of a couple more, albeit small things.

      Real maple syrup
      Heated car seats

      Now, I know, some people had these before. But they tended to be understood as special things, traditions or indulgences or christmas gifts, etc. Now, they're standard. And you're deprived if you don't have them. Most people I grew up with ate the fake corn-syrup (the distinction among our middle-class group was whether you bought storebrand or Mrs. Butterworth's), but now this same group of people firmly believes it is poison that only poor people eat. It's a scissor approach where certain, formerly commonplace items were denigrated and the spread of approaching high-end purchases as opportunities to display sophistication and intelligence. It used to be okay for there to be just that one guy in town who knew a lot about wine and had a wine cellar, now, everyone is supposed to be educated and discerning about their consumption, and obviously not everyone has time to actually develop expertise, so it has to be manufactured, thus all the people who think well of themselves for preferring Android phones because there are open-source elements even though this makes no difference to their user experience and don't personally know enough about coding to take advantage of it.

      gimp

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      Re: 7 Things the Middle Class Can't Afford Anymore
      « Reply #42 on: October 29, 2014, 11:12:05 AM »
      Quote
      Heated car seats

      Do you take issue with power windows too? Air conditioning? Cruise control?

      The thing about cars is that luxuries get invented, eventually introduced into top-end models, and filter their way down. By the time they hit the cheapest cars, they're not luxuries anymore; they're well understood systems that have went through dozens of rounds of reliability improvement - and cost reduction. Add in the cost reduction you get from making the devices mass-market, standard, and commodities (multiple manufacturers making more or less the same system), and it doesn't have to be a luxury anymore.

      You know how much a window motor and regulator costs? Like $30 retail. Add in all the wiring that is needed to make it happen, and I wouldn't be surprised if car companies spent $5 per window.

      How about heated seats? I don't know, my car doesn't have them (an option the original owners didn't get), but based on the schematics and drawings I've seen in my shop manual, I would guess that they add maybe fifty bucks to the BOM. At most. Quite possibly less. They are, after all, just resistive elements dissipating about 50W; add in a switch, a fuse, a relay, a couple more miscellaneous components, some wiring, and make sure to design your seats so they don't have issues with the heat. You know how cheap all of those things are? Super, duper cheap. It shouldn't be surprising that they're found on the cheapest cars, standard or part of options packages.

      That's the nice thing about tech: luxuries become standard over time. See smart phones: you can buy a fully functional, acceptable smart phone for like fifty bucks. Flip phones were more expensive. Do you need a smart phone? No. But over its life, a low-end model might cost you two bucks a month. Data plans are another story entirely but we can do well there these days as well. How about computers? My current (admittedly luxurious computer) is about as powerful as the most powerful supercomputer in 1997. Should we go on about how anything over 4 meg of ram is a luxury? I can still run old supercomputing workloads (except now I can run them faster), though admittedly my word processor would cripple just about anything from that era.

      That's why I laugh when people complain about backup sensors or whatever. Luxury ten years ago? Sure. Standard today. Adds several dollars to the bill of materials. It doesn't have to be a luxury, it can just be a nice feature everyone loves that doesn't cost extra. I'd be much more annoyed about current infotainment systems since those don't really add value in my opinion. But maybe ten years from now they will be as non-luxury as power windows.

      I agree with you on everything else, of course. I just think we should look at the progression of tech (and cars fall under this category), remember what we used to have, and be grateful for the standard improvements instead of grousing about how they're luxuries.

      Louis the Cat

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      Re: 7 Things the Middle Class Can't Afford Anymore
      « Reply #43 on: October 29, 2014, 12:10:06 PM »
      I thought of a couple more, albeit small things.

      Real maple syrup
      Heated car seats

      ...

      Don't you dare take away my maple syrup! FWIW, my parents were so poor they probably could have declared bankruptcy when I was a baby (dairy farmers in Ohio when dairy farming was going to hell in a handbasket). We may not have had maple syrup all the time but we did have it and we NEVER had Mrs. Butterworth's or similar. I was raised in a family that prefers real food, as close to the original ingredients as possible. And these days, I can get a quart of organic maple syrup from CostCo for about $13 and it lasts 6 months or more.

      rocksinmyhead

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      Re: 7 Things the Middle Class Can't Afford Anymore
      « Reply #44 on: October 29, 2014, 01:05:18 PM »
      Quote
      Heated car seats

      Do you take issue with power windows too? Air conditioning? Cruise control?

      The thing about cars is that luxuries get invented, eventually introduced into top-end models, and filter their way down. By the time they hit the cheapest cars, they're not luxuries anymore; they're well understood systems that have went through dozens of rounds of reliability improvement - and cost reduction. Add in the cost reduction you get from making the devices mass-market, standard, and commodities (multiple manufacturers making more or less the same system), and it doesn't have to be a luxury anymore.

      You know how much a window motor and regulator costs? Like $30 retail. Add in all the wiring that is needed to make it happen, and I wouldn't be surprised if car companies spent $5 per window.

      How about heated seats? I don't know, my car doesn't have them (an option the original owners didn't get), but based on the schematics and drawings I've seen in my shop manual, I would guess that they add maybe fifty bucks to the BOM. At most. Quite possibly less. They are, after all, just resistive elements dissipating about 50W; add in a switch, a fuse, a relay, a couple more miscellaneous components, some wiring, and make sure to design your seats so they don't have issues with the heat. You know how cheap all of those things are? Super, duper cheap. It shouldn't be surprising that they're found on the cheapest cars, standard or part of options packages.

      That's the nice thing about tech: luxuries become standard over time. See smart phones: you can buy a fully functional, acceptable smart phone for like fifty bucks. Flip phones were more expensive. Do you need a smart phone? No. But over its life, a low-end model might cost you two bucks a month. Data plans are another story entirely but we can do well there these days as well. How about computers? My current (admittedly luxurious computer) is about as powerful as the most powerful supercomputer in 1997. Should we go on about how anything over 4 meg of ram is a luxury? I can still run old supercomputing workloads (except now I can run them faster), though admittedly my word processor would cripple just about anything from that era.

      That's why I laugh when people complain about backup sensors or whatever. Luxury ten years ago? Sure. Standard today. Adds several dollars to the bill of materials. It doesn't have to be a luxury, it can just be a nice feature everyone loves that doesn't cost extra. I'd be much more annoyed about current infotainment systems since those don't really add value in my opinion. But maybe ten years from now they will be as non-luxury as power windows.

      I agree with you on everything else, of course. I just think we should look at the progression of tech (and cars fall under this category), remember what we used to have, and be grateful for the standard improvements instead of grousing about how they're luxuries.

      I get what you're saying, but no way would I consider heated seats or backup sensors to be "standard" today. Yes, they are inexpensive to manufacture, doesn't mean they're assumed to be standard in an affordable car. Maybe if you are buying a new, mid-range vehicle for $24,000+, but I would argue that that is not comparable to what (used to be?) considered middle-class. Maybe I am off though.

      sheepstache

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      Re: 7 Things the Middle Class Can't Afford Anymore
      « Reply #45 on: October 29, 2014, 01:33:47 PM »
      Quote
      Heated car seats

      Do you take issue with power windows too? Air conditioning? Cruise control?

      Mmm, I've never had a car or a driver's license so I maybe should have stayed away from car features all together, but, maybe?

      Maple syrup isn't that expensive either. It's not the price but the standardization of desire. And the things we desire are things we see as premiums. What bugs me is the weird contradiction that we see these items as premium but we also feel terribly deprived if we don't get them. Plenty of people I know don't have heated seats and don't care, but if someone does want it but feels like they have to economize and not get it, it is the end of the freaking world and the middle class is doomed.

      I did find it interesting reading about the fact that the consumer price index doesn't include things like cell phones or the higher cost of cars due to mandatory safety features like airbags in the cost of living indices. Obviously as new technology finds a broad market the cost comes down and so we're all going to be living better lives with more comforts than decades ago, but it seemed like a basic like a car was still costing you more as time went on, whether you liked it or not, even though the money was getting you a better product. Likewise there's a lot of bashing of people buying bigger and bigger homes but 1. you have to put effort into finding smaller homes now, and 2. I'm assuming improved building construction and insulation techniques have made larger homes more economical than one would immediately suppose. But I'm concentrating on 1 here, the rising tide that lifts all lifestyles without anyone ever really deciding that it should.

      While heated seats might be cheaper to manufacture, I'll bet that hasn't proportionately affected the price they're sold to individuals at. And while people in extreme climates might feel safer with them or some might argue it could be more efficient than heating the whole car for just one person, most people just like the feeling of their butt being warm. Whereas cruise control and air-conditioning, while offering comfort, could also be argued to increase fuel efficiency and sensors could be argued to increase safety (though, one might have other arguments against these sorts of things such as Robert Heinlein's maxim about moving parts, or the proprietary complexity that keeps owners or non-brand professionals from performing work on them, or the hackability/surveillance aspects.)

      This is a bit tangential, but my SO complains about the fact that we don't have a dishwasher. Our kitchen is small and our future plans aren't solidified enough to pull the trigger on the somewhat involved re-organizing the whole space would require to fit a dishwasher. It's been fine. But it emphasizes to him that we live in a ghetto. Also, it's a problem to him that we don't have a car. A car would be completely impractical because we don't need it and there's nowhere to park it. But a car and a dishwasher are part of a middle class life to him. Regardless of his education level, cultural tastes, professional job, along with those of our friends, these material products are deeply tied to how secure he feels in his class. He feels dishwashers should be standard in all apartments now, because progress, and it's a disgrace to the country that they're not. Getting even more tangential, no one I know owns a folding grocery cart. Regardless of the fact that all of the lower-income neighbors living in the same building types around us have found granny carts to be the most convenient way to go grocery shopping or do laundry, everyone I know insists on lugging things by hand because granny carts are ghetto. I just think it's interesting how we imbue physical objects with these hopes for our identities.



      Also, I do legitimately hate power windows. Jesus Christ, just pull on your big girl panties and use a little muscle. And what the fuck is with electronic key fobs? How fucking difficult is remembering what your car looks like and turning a key? I could see an argument for keyless entry being more secure, but how is the bee-boop button thingy an improvement? It's like the world is being built for children. But, um, that's probably exactly the grousing, luddite attitude you had a problem with.

      Don't you dare take away my maple syrup! FWIW, my parents were so poor they probably could have declared bankruptcy when I was a baby (dairy farmers in Ohio when dairy farming was going to hell in a handbasket). We may not have had maple syrup all the time but we did have it and we NEVER had Mrs. Butterworth's or similar. I was raised in a family that prefers real food, as close to the original ingredients as possible. And these days, I can get a quart of organic maple syrup from CostCo for about $13 and it lasts 6 months or more.

      Ha, ha, yes, that's the sort of situation I was thinking of in including it under tradition. Families of friends from upstate New York definitely have been enjoying maple syrup since time immemorial. Fun fact according to them: it never goes bad, even without refrigeration. You just skim off the mold and the rest of it is fine. That's devotion to maple syrup. Most of the other folks, wannabe-yuppies, I see consuming it do so just because that's what they've been told their station in life entitles them to.

      (And my parents believed in real food too, they just figured, at 1/10th the price of real maple syrup, the fake stuff was okay considering we didn't actually eat it that much.)
      « Last Edit: October 29, 2014, 01:36:18 PM by sheepstache »

      rocksinmyhead

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      Re: 7 Things the Middle Class Can't Afford Anymore
      « Reply #46 on: October 29, 2014, 01:43:31 PM »
      This is a bit tangential, but my SO complains about the fact that we don't have a dishwasher. Our kitchen is small and our future plans aren't solidified enough to pull the trigger on the somewhat involved re-organizing the whole space would require to fit a dishwasher. It's been fine. But it emphasizes to him that we live in a ghetto. Also, it's a problem to him that we don't have a car. A car would be completely impractical because we don't need it and there's nowhere to park it. But a car and a dishwasher are part of a middle class life to him. Regardless of his education level, cultural tastes, professional job, along with those of our friends, these material products are deeply tied to how secure he feels in his class. He feels dishwashers should be standard in all apartments now, because progress, and it's a disgrace to the country that they're not. Getting even more tangential, no one I know owns a folding grocery cart. Regardless of the fact that all of the lower-income neighbors living in the same building types around us have found granny carts to be the most convenient way to go grocery shopping or do laundry, everyone I know insists on lugging things by hand because granny carts are ghetto. I just think it's interesting how we imbue physical objects with these hopes for our identities.

      Totally interesting. I pondered this a little in the thread about rent-to-own couches.

      Also, I just gotta point out that a HUGE plus of power windows is that the driver can control all the windows. You know, for improved ventilation and letting your dog stick his head out (but then you can close them if it starts to rain or you get on the freeway or whatever). Totally with ya on key fobs though.

      BlueMR2

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      Re: 7 Things the Middle Class Can't Afford Anymore
      « Reply #47 on: October 29, 2014, 05:07:53 PM »
      Also, I do legitimately hate power windows. Jesus Christ, just pull on your big girl panties and use a little muscle. And what the fuck is with electronic key fobs? How fucking difficult is remembering what your car looks like and turning a key?

      I hate power windows too.  I've had more ridiculous intermittent faults with power windows...  Mechanical windows are pretty reliable.  Power, not so much...

      The keyfob thing comes into play in the Winter.  I don't have one, but often wish I did when the ice storms roll through and the door locks all get stuffed with ice.  I've spent as much as an hour outside with spray alcohol and a hair dryer trying to get my door locks unfrozen enough to insert the key and turn it.  If you're lucky, the key will go in, but just not turn.  In that case it's usually just a few minutes.  However, if the key won't even go in, it's going to be a sad time...  More incentive to retire so I don't have to go anywhere on a schedule though.  :-)

      sheepstache

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      Re: 7 Things the Middle Class Can't Afford Anymore
      « Reply #48 on: October 29, 2014, 06:22:52 PM »
      The keyfob thing comes into play in the Winter.  I don't have one, but often wish I did when the ice storms roll through and the door locks all get stuffed with ice.  I've spent as much as an hour outside with spray alcohol and a hair dryer trying to get my door locks unfrozen enough to insert the key and turn it.  If you're lucky, the key will go in, but just not turn.  In that case it's usually just a few minutes.  However, if the key won't even go in, it's going to be a sad time...  More incentive to retire so I don't have to go anywhere on a schedule though.  :-)

      Ha ha, okay, message received, I'm clearly not familiar enough with cars to have an opinion on their features  :)

      gimp

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      Re: 7 Things the Middle Class Can't Afford Anymore
      « Reply #49 on: October 29, 2014, 06:29:30 PM »
      Quote
      Yes, they are inexpensive to manufacture, doesn't mean they're assumed to be standard in an affordable car.
      Quote
      While heated seats might be cheaper to manufacture, I'll bet that hasn't proportionately affected the price they're sold to individuals at.

      You're right, low cost to manufacture doesn't mean it's cheap as an OEM part. On the other hand, non-oem is not expensive, nor is it difficult to install.

      Okay, let me back up a sec: I put my electrical engineering degree to good use by reading the schematics. They're made for mechE, not EE, but they're readable. There are only a couple things in my car (2000 model) I would be afraid to touch from an electrical standpoint. Even on newer cars, the only things I wouldn't fuck with are the infotainment/gps system since it tends to tie into the car, and the engine control.

      "But what about drive-by-wire and brake-by-wire?" Admittedly, I think brake by wire is a shitty idea, but that doesn't mean it's difficult to mess with - generally, you just have a wire with a bunch of connections, and you can unplug and replug that wire in. Just like the mechanical components that hold your struts, or your transmission, or your engine - scary consequences if you mess up, but not actually difficult to understand.

      So I mean, some home mechanics can rebuild their carburetor or their engine or their transmission. I don't know how yet. On the other hand, I'll learn and figure out and do anything necessary to wiring and electronic components that are hooked up in a straightforward way, because to me that's all straightforward. With that said, it doesn't mean I know how to debug the issues, because that often needs fancy hardware specialized to shops or often only dealers.

      Quote
      Maybe if you are buying a new, mid-range vehicle for $24,000+, but I would argue that that is not comparable to what (used to be?) considered middle-class. Maybe I am off though.

      But to the last part: isn't it? A $24k car, times two, every ten or fifteen years. Fifteen years ago a $24k car was not a basic model; today... well, that's around a Camry MSRP. Not a particularly fancy car.

      Whether "middle class" should buy on average a new $24k car every 5-8 years per nuclear family is entirely another question. Probably not. They would probably do better with buying a $7k camry from a previous generation. But it's well within their means: median household income is $50k a year; taxes on a family of four aren't terribly high; that's about 5-10% of post-tax income per year over the vehicle's life to finance it and maintain it. Again, should people be spending 5-10% on their car? Maybe not, but it's easy to see how they can find the money to do it, and so it moves up to being a "middle class" thing.

      I assure you, my memory is good enough to remember fifteen years ago, and this hasn't changed (except the prices have gone up, inflation happens.) I don't know a lot of people earning the median wage anymore (everyone is too young to have families and buy family cars, and I don't know what their parents are doing anymore, and also bay area salaries mean people often buy luxury cars instead.)

      The features, by the way, of an entry-level car over those of one from fifteen years ago are much improved. The updated version of my 2000-model car is safer, gets about 50% more mpg, and gets more power from the engine. I'm sure it also pairs with your phone over bluetooth or whatever other stupid shit people want.

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      Also, I do legitimately hate power windows. Jesus Christ, just pull on your big girl panties and use a little muscle.

      My muscles aren't long enough to roll down the passenger window, let alone the ones in the back, when I'm driving. Being able to control windows is excellent. I would say for me it's a requirement: I love to drive with the windows open; I love to drive long distances that see temperature swings of around 40 degrees F; and I would prefer not to sweat my balls off (90 or 95+) nor freeze them (55-) so it's quite nice not to have to pull over to adjust my windows, you know?

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      And what the fuck is with electronic key fobs? How fucking difficult is remembering what your car looks like and turning a key? I could see an argument for keyless entry being more secure, but how is the bee-boop button thingy an improvement? It's like the world is being built for children. But, um, that's probably exactly the grousing, luddite attitude you had a problem with.

      Beep-boop as in the honking cars make? That's obnoxious. My car makes the sound of locks closing or opening, which is appropriate because locks close or open. As far as security goes... let's just say that most high-tech methods of security are significantly worse than a key. The benefit is convenience, really. Also the ability to light up a large area, then turn the lights off once I don't need them. Also not needing to de-ice my locks. The cost is approximately nothing. It costs $200+ to install an after-market remote fob but it costs approximately zero to design one into the car, which is why it's standard on all but the most barebones of cars. But here's the best part: You usually get a set of spare keys with your car without the fob, so you don't have to use it, ever, if you don't want to. You won't even know the feature is there. Just like heated seats, OEM parts may be a little expensive but the actual addition to the BOM for which you have to pay is nearly zero.

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      I hate power windows too.  I've had more ridiculous intermittent faults with power windows...  Mechanical windows are pretty reliable.  Power, not so much...

      Won't argue with reliability. The regulator can slip and the motor can burn out. My parents have one window in a car that sometimes refuses to go up or down, other times works fine. They were quoted a fairly large amount to repair it. I can do it in an hour with $30 in aftermarket parts. Still, it's annoying. With that said, don't pretend you've never seen manual windows jam or the handle fall off. Oh god, how many fallen-off handles I've seen... for pure reliability, mechanical might be better, but factor in improvements over the last however many years and how much those handles tend to stick out and how roughly people treat cars, and I wouldn't be surprised if current power windows break less often than the damn handle fell off.