Author Topic: Billfold article  (Read 5393 times)

resy

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Billfold article
« on: March 11, 2016, 12:15:18 PM »
https://thebillfold.com/how-a-stay-at-home-mom-in-washington-dc-does-money-f2cf95f42cff#.gjejx7iyj

Reading this gave me a bit of anxiety. Yikes, where to even begin?!
170k income but living paycheck to paycheck from the sound of it.
It really bothered me how this woman did her numbers, like when she says that if she were to get a million bucks she would pretty much break even because of 100k student loans and a 500k-600k mortgage. Uhh, no you wouldn't, you would still have 300k. I really dont think she was accounting for taxes either lol.
Btw, who is off on their morgage balance by 100k??!!
Then she talks about growing up poor but says her and her husband can rely on their families if things go south for them financially... poor people don't typically have that cushion.
Im going to stop because I think I'm working myself up a bit by the sheer stupidity.
Yeah, definitely won't be taking her advice of "enjoy life because it is short" because for me, unlimited pretzels at the mall could never make up for seeing my father for only 20 minutes (if lucky) a night. But yeah, priorities.
Craziness.
Sorry, sorry I'll stop.

coolistdude

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Re: Billfold article
« Reply #1 on: March 11, 2016, 02:14:02 PM »
I tried to read the whole article, honest. Judging by the scroll bar, I got about 1/2 through.

You are justified in your pain here. The priorities here are just insane. This lady is a ripe candidate for the Mustachenian makeover. If I only saw my kid(s) for twenty minutes a day, I would have an exit plan or bargain for some awesome vacation/sick time (4 week minimum/yr) and spend lots of time with family on those days. Let's say I would go from $170k to $100k income by leaving DC and there was NO OTHER WAY, I would find an alternative location in a LCOL and save enough equity/down to practically buy the house outright.

Go from stressing about money, working 80 hours a week and saving under $20k/yr to working 40ish hours a week, with an almost paid for house saving $50k/yr. Hmm...which life is better?

onlykelsey

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Re: Billfold article
« Reply #2 on: March 11, 2016, 02:38:33 PM »
Clearly a lot of bad choices, but I"m glad she's honest about the problem with a lot of graduate/law education.  I like billfold because it essentially is people opening up about money choices, which we don't get a lot of in this society.

Of course if you think this is the ideal way to live your life, that's a problem.

ambimammular

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Re: Billfold article
« Reply #3 on: March 11, 2016, 02:52:59 PM »
At one point she's musing that there must have been another way, "Sometimes I think about the road we could have taken. Taken a smaller firm job in a smaller city (I would have loved Philadelphia). Bought a smaller house."

It's like she almost sees it, but just can't make the connection.

lhamo

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Re: Billfold article
« Reply #4 on: March 11, 2016, 07:48:47 PM »
Sorry, but I can't have much sympathy for a SAHM who is complaining about not having any money and spending 500 F-IN USD ON TAKE OUT EVERY MONTH!!!!!!!!  WTF!!!!! 

Scandium

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Re: Billfold article
« Reply #5 on: March 24, 2016, 11:28:52 AM »
wait. His grandparents paid for his college. She: "we had no family income so I didnít pay much for college. Maybe $2K a semester?". How in the world do they have $100k in student loans then?

Yeah $500 per month on takeout does not sounds very frugal. And perhaps don't fall for the marking and avoid the $7 organic milk.

Imustacheyouaquestion

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Re: Billfold article
« Reply #6 on: March 24, 2016, 11:53:20 AM »
Wow.

  • Decided to stay home because "daycare was a wash," except she never actually researched costs. At $32k/year for two kids (what her friend pays), even if she made the $65k government attorney salary she quoted later in the article, then she gave up substantial earning power to stay home.
  • Assumes she couldn't look for a higher paying law job. If you have $200k in student loans and "hate debt," you should probably seek out a higher paying job that your degree makes you qualified for.
  • Owes somewhere between $500 and $600K on the mortgage. DC real estate is very expensive, but they could have looked for a much less expensive condo instead of a house.
  • Claims to be very frugal and shops only at sales racks. Yet later, says she doesn't nag her husband about home depot splurges and he doesn't nag her about buying bags. So...not quite so frugal.
  • $500/month on Chipotle and Jimmy Johnís because "Weíre both just so tired and over it by the time the weekend rolls around." When you have a double income couple with high powered jobs that demand a lot and leave you with little energy to cook, these conveniences might make sense. But staying at home should mean you have more time to plan meals, cook healthy foods, etc. "Tired and over it" is definitely complainypants here.

mm1970

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Re: Billfold article
« Reply #7 on: March 24, 2016, 12:50:33 PM »
wait. His grandparents paid for his college. She: "we had no family income so I didnít pay much for college. Maybe $2K a semester?". How in the world do they have $100k in student loans then?

Yeah $500 per month on takeout does not sounds very frugal. And perhaps don't fall for the marking and avoid the $7 organic milk.
student loans probably for law school not undergrad

mm1970

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Re: Billfold article
« Reply #8 on: March 24, 2016, 01:10:27 PM »
Wow.

  • Decided to stay home because "daycare was a wash," except she never actually researched costs. At $32k/year for two kids (what her friend pays), even if she made the $65k government attorney salary she quoted later in the article, then she gave up substantial earning power to stay home.
  • Assumes she couldn't look for a higher paying law job. If you have $200k in student loans and "hate debt," you should probably seek out a higher paying job that your degree makes you qualified for.
  • Owes somewhere between $500 and $600K on the mortgage. DC real estate is very expensive, but they could have looked for a much less expensive condo instead of a house.
  • Claims to be very frugal and shops only at sales racks. Yet later, says she doesn't nag her husband about home depot splurges and he doesn't nag her about buying bags. So...not quite so frugal.
  • $500/month on Chipotle and Jimmy Johnís because "Weíre both just so tired and over it by the time the weekend rolls around." When you have a double income couple with high powered jobs that demand a lot and leave you with little energy to cook, these conveniences might make sense. But staying at home should mean you have more time to plan meals, cook healthy foods, etc. "Tired and over it" is definitely complainypants here.
Some of the exhaustion with cooking is probably the age of the kids, too.  Those ages are pretty rough.  It does get better.

$500 for takeout though...honestly, back in 2001 pre-frugal days for me (and pre-weight loss), we were spending $850 a month on food.  $400 eating out, $450 on groceries.  Fifteen years ago.

$500?  Not bad considering (15 years ago was just the two of us, no kids!)  It could be MUCH worse.

I think part of it is that she's young.  I had a similar upbringing - poor family, got financial aid, didn't cook much, wasn't great with finances...I got my shit together in my early 30's.  But luckily, I didn't have kids or a house yet.

Scandium

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Re: Billfold article
« Reply #9 on: March 24, 2016, 01:26:01 PM »
Wow.

  • Decided to stay home because "daycare was a wash," except she never actually researched costs. At $32k/year for two kids (what her friend pays), even if she made the $65k government attorney salary she quoted later in the article, then she gave up substantial earning power to stay home.
  • Owes somewhere between $500 and $600K on the mortgage. DC real estate is very expensive, but they could have looked for a much less expensive condo instead of a house.
  • $500/month on Chipotle and Jimmy Johnís because "Weíre both just so tired and over it by the time the weekend rolls around." When you have a double income couple with high powered jobs that demand a lot and leave you with little energy to cook, these conveniences might make sense. But staying at home should mean you have more time to plan meals, cook healthy foods, etc. "Tired and over it" is definitely complainypants here.

Daycare for two would be $20k/year for infants, or $15k for a toddler, so $35-40k sounds right. At least that's what we pay less than 1 hr north of DC. So 2/3 her salary would have gone to daycare, but she'd also get health insurance, perhaps a pension and other benefits plus keep her knowledge current. And loan forgiveness? If she want to stay home fine, but the money argument isn't convincing.

I'm pretty sure there are suburbia houses for less than $600k. But maybe not up to "big law" standards though.. People around here commute to DC and houses are $350-450. Expensive, but not 600k..

We splurge on Chinese takeout or similar once per weekend, but that's 4 x $25. How do you spend $500 at chipotle..?

TheGrimSqueaker

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Re: Billfold article
« Reply #10 on: March 24, 2016, 01:43:46 PM »
We splurge on Chinese takeout or similar once per weekend, but that's 4 x $25. How do you spend $500 at chipotle..?

You can eat there once, and then go to the ER with a galloping case of food poisoning.

eljefe-speaks

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Re: Billfold article
« Reply #11 on: March 24, 2016, 02:09:04 PM »
Re: the husband, "He loves making things by hand and fixing up stuff around the house but he never has time. His happy place would be in the middle of nowhere fishing by himself. And yet he is here in D.C. for the foreseeable future."

Um, maybe a trade school in rural America would have been a better idea for him? As adults, aren't we all responsible for our choices?

bacchi

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Re: Billfold article
« Reply #12 on: March 24, 2016, 04:49:00 PM »
Re: the husband, "He loves making things by hand and fixing up stuff around the house but he never has time. His happy place would be in the middle of nowhere fishing by himself. And yet he is here in D.C. for the foreseeable future."

Um, maybe a trade school in rural America would have been a better idea for him? As adults, aren't we all responsible for our choices?

"As his coworkers say ó you either work or you work out. You canít do both."

Yow. Midlife crisis material right there.

MgoSam

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Re: Billfold article
« Reply #13 on: March 24, 2016, 05:17:18 PM »
Reading this helps explain my sister's mentality. Her and her family live in suburban Boston, which has a very cost of living. In addition she has 3 kids, so getting nannys and school and other activities can't be cheap. Back in the summer she commented that I would be stupid to consider retiring with less than a few million and that it would be 'unfair' of me to do so so young, even if I have that kind of money.

Her husband thinks the 4% rule a bunch of hogwash (did I mentioned he's a tenured business professor?) and that he ignored me when I sent him some research...I was honestly curious because there's a good chance he's worked with some of the people involved in the research. Instead of looking at it, he started asking about my expenses and how they don't add up (his approach wasn't to say I was wrong, he genuinely cares and just wants to make sure that if I do retire early that I will have enough to be comfortable).

Another cousin that said I should have at least $5M has a brownstone in long island with his family. I didn't know how to tell him but the amount he pays in property taxes alone is likely more than I spend annually. I shudder to think what his total expenses are as I found out that his kids are all in private schools.

KodeBlue

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Re: Billfold article
« Reply #14 on: March 24, 2016, 07:19:46 PM »
"Daycare in the D.C. area would run in theÖ $30K/year mark? Higher?
I never did the research for two kids, but I have a friend who puts her two kids in daycare part-time and she pays $2,700 a month."

wow...IOW "It made more sense to quit my job then spending a couple of hours finding out how much daycare cost". Perfect logic.
« Last Edit: March 24, 2016, 07:23:24 PM by KodeBlue »

onehair

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Re: Billfold article
« Reply #15 on: March 25, 2016, 08:31:32 AM »
The only smart thing I see she did was staying home to tend to the rugrats since daycare is expensive.  The rest of the article made me clutch my head or want to bang it on the desk.
4k a month on mortgage? Umm move to a cheaper house?  That sounds like  McLean or Potomac or upper Georgetown Spring Valley type neighborhood. $7 on organic milk? Is she standing over the cow while it's being milked and supervising it being pasteurized?  We do have local creameries and a few milkmen around here plus the farmers markets.
And no comment on $500 a month takeout or her and hubby's compulsive shopping habits with bags (handbags I assume and Home Depot)..The poor children I pity them in advance.

MgoSam

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Re: Billfold article
« Reply #16 on: March 25, 2016, 08:43:34 AM »
I love how the first comment is about the organic milk, and how she should be fortunate because it costs $10/gallon in NYC.

chesebert

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Re: Billfold article
« Reply #17 on: March 25, 2016, 11:30:21 AM »
$7 for a gallon of organic milk in the United States? Mind blown.

"$5 Auntie Anne’s pretzel" I thought they were like $3.75. $5 is a lot for some dough.
« Last Edit: March 25, 2016, 11:37:47 AM by chesebert »

oldmannickels

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Re: Billfold article
« Reply #18 on: March 25, 2016, 11:56:25 AM »
At one point she's musing that there must have been another way, "Sometimes I think about the road we could have taken. Taken a smaller firm job in a smaller city (I would have loved Philadelphia). Bought a smaller house."

It's like she almost sees it, but just can't make the connection.

yea and Philly is much bigger than DC

MgoSam

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Re: Billfold article
« Reply #19 on: March 25, 2016, 12:11:59 PM »
If I were looking to hire a lawyer and after reading this story I would be flabbergasted.

How are you to quote that daycare would eliminate your complete paycheck when you haven't researched prices!!!! It may be better for you to stay home just purely on the expenses of it, but you can't know that until you look into it. Now if you said that it would be better for childhood development, I wouldn't argue, but it's insane that you would just say something like, 'my friend said it's expensive.'

onehair

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Re: Billfold article
« Reply #20 on: March 25, 2016, 01:10:11 PM »
I admit I didn't think of that.  They're at the income level where they could compare the costs of various daycares versus staying home.  It was never an option for me.