Author Topic: Guardian article on even the rich living paycheck to paycheck...  (Read 24313 times)

khizr

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"Private schools, divorce and basic necessities – about 25% of people making six-figure salaries say they are struggling"

Scary read :(
http://www.theguardian.com/business/2015/dec/25/wealthy-americans-living-paycheck-to-paycheck-income-paying-bills?CMP=fb_gu

MgoSam

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Re: Guardian article on even the rich living paycheck to paycheck...
« Reply #1 on: December 26, 2015, 09:32:44 AM »
It seems to me that a very common factor in people making $250k annually and barely hanging on is that their kids go to private school. As someone without kids, nor any desire to ever have kids, I don't understand what's so freakin' great about private schools. I grew up in an affluent neighborhood, one that my parents picked largely for it's schools, and went to public high school, which is an amazing school.

mm1970

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Re: Guardian article on even the rich living paycheck to paycheck...
« Reply #2 on: December 26, 2015, 10:40:34 AM »
It seems to me that a very common factor in people making $250k annually and barely hanging on is that their kids go to private school. As someone without kids, nor any desire to ever have kids, I don't understand what's so freakin' great about private schools. I grew up in an affluent neighborhood, one that my parents picked largely for it's schools, and went to public high school, which is an amazing school.
And it definitely trickles down.

I live in an area where schools - you know, aren't terribly great.  It's California.  The difference between a "good" public school and a "bad" public school comes down to 2 things: 1. Money and 2. English proficiency.

Without a doubt, the "best" schools in the district have a high % of English Origin students and a lot of money (to throw at the "problem" kids who don't speak English).  When you can raise $120k in a month and spend it to bring the 15% of English learners up to speed, your kids operate at a higher level.

In contrast, there are schools where 95% of students are poor and English learners.

Then there are the schools in the middle, which struggle to serve two very different groups on very little money.

So, private schools let you "escape" from that, and the unwashed masses - so to speak.  In my town, most private schools give need-based scholarships.  So if you are poor-to-middle class in income, it can be affordable.

But for everyone else, you are looking at $15k per year, and that does not include after school care or summer camp.  That's fine for people who get a discount for working at the school, or who get scholarships, or are rolling in dough.  But then the regular joes and middle class feel like they  "need" private school.  I've seen many FB posts about people in MLMs SO HAPPY to be making enough money to send their kids to private school (not to mix two of our favorite topics ... ha!)

For sure it can really give your kids a leg up.  But every time I price it (out of curiosity, and also because I'm shopping for a preschool), it makes me cringe.

dcheesi

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Re: Guardian article on even the rich living paycheck to paycheck...
« Reply #3 on: December 26, 2015, 10:56:47 AM »
Yeah, apparently it varies a lot. The public schools in Virginia are good as long as you pick the right school district to live in. But my friend is moving to Indianapolis with a new baby, and he says the public schools out there are so uniformly dismal that private school is the only real option if you care about your kids' education.

nobodyspecial

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Re: Guardian article on even the rich living paycheck to paycheck...
« Reply #4 on: December 26, 2015, 01:09:30 PM »
But for everyone else, you are looking at $15k per year, and that does not include after school care or summer camp.
Here there is a much more economical solution - you just pay $1M more for a house in a "good school" area. Or more commonly you rent an apartment in a good school area where you have the paperwork mailed to.

MgoSam

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Re: Guardian article on even the rich living paycheck to paycheck...
« Reply #5 on: December 26, 2015, 01:23:51 PM »
I live in an area where schools - you know, aren't terribly great.  It's California.  The difference between a "good" public school and a "bad" public school comes down to 2 things: 1. Money and 2. English proficiency.


Yeah, I guess that makes more sense in California or any where there are sizable populations of children without English proficiency. I'm spoiled here in Minnesota as real estate prices aren't as insane as they are in California, but most of the school districts here are amazing.

When I was looking at houses, my Realtor kept harping on about good school districts and I kept looking at her and saying, "Every house I've picked is in a good school district," just because it wasn't the MV school district, doesn't mean it isn't great, the Roseville and Edina and Eden Prarie and Blaine districts are all good. So I guess I'm spoiled in that this isn't a big deal here in Minnesota, there are bad schools but they are mostly in districts where I wouldn't have been picking a house to live in anyways.

syednaeemul

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Re: Guardian article on even the rich living paycheck to paycheck...
« Reply #6 on: December 26, 2015, 05:01:26 PM »
Note: I was a private school kid, 1st in Malaysia because the public schools would mean studying in Malay, and 2nd in New Zealand because I had a full scholarship awarded.

Here in Australia and New Zealand, private school is not just an education thing, but is also a networking tool for the kids' parents. If you're an attorney / accountant looking for high net worth individuals, you can probably find them spending $20k+ per child in these schools. If $20k of school fees can help you make the connections to high-powered senior executives, it may be a decent return on investment (but can't be considered a business expense!).

Education-wise, since private schools have smaller class sizes you get low student:teacher ratios (something that even universities proudly advertise). The increased focus does help with learning, but one weakness it builds is it doesn't give you a place where you have to fight for yourself (I think that's the biggest thing I missed due to not going to a public school).

gimp

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Re: Guardian article on even the rich living paycheck to paycheck...
« Reply #7 on: December 26, 2015, 08:35:56 PM »
$250k a year + private school shouldn't cause people to go paycheck to paycheck.

Even in CA, $250k a year ... let's do some math. Married filing jointly, maximum 401k contributions. Two kids, each going to private school. Let's say that's $30k a year cash (which is on the far upper end of private school costs in the bay area - source.)

http://www.taxformcalculator.com/ tells me that after $36k of 401k contributions, take-home pay is $145.5k for the family. After private schools, that's still $85.5k. That includes federal and state taxes.

The only problem is that a house in the same area - well, a 30-year mortgage for $1.5m at today's 3.9% is 7k a month, which is a cool $84k a year. Yeah, that'd be paycheck to paycheck, eh?

I'm a pretty big believer in education... so if I had to make the choice, I'd go for a smaller house. I'd also not bother with private school until teenage years, because it tends to be fairly useless for little kids, unless you really don't want them hanging out with The Poors. And of course, there are plenty of decent private schools even here for closer to half the price. All of that would give a lot more breathing room.

Really though, shit like this is why people think that $250k in the bay area ain't much. It ain't much if you want everything that other people seem to have: nice house, nice cars, private schools, vacations, stuff, travel. You gotta pick. And save when you don't yet have those things. And go for slightly cheaper versions of those things. As soon as you go just slightly less nice, prices fall rapidly.

Vanguards and Lentils

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Re: Guardian article on even the rich living paycheck to paycheck...
« Reply #8 on: December 26, 2015, 08:59:13 PM »
The comments on this article are like the funniest bits of this forum!

Rob_S

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Re: Guardian article on even the rich living paycheck to paycheck...
« Reply #9 on: December 27, 2015, 03:58:04 AM »
Here in Australia and New Zealand, private school is not just an education thing, but is also a networking tool for the kids' parents. If you're an attorney / accountant looking for high net worth individuals, you can probably find them spending $20k+ per child in these schools. If $20k of school fees can help you make the connections to high-powered senior executives, it may be a decent return on investment (but can't be considered a business expense!).

Education-wise, since private schools have smaller class sizes you get low student:teacher ratios (something that even universities proudly advertise). The increased focus does help with learning, but one weakness it builds is it doesn't give you a place where you have to fight for yourself (I think that's the biggest thing I missed due to not going to a public school).

I don't agree. I was a teacher and I know for my son I am seriously considering selling the current home and renting in a good school zone for the next 12 years. A school in the outer western suburbs with a high numbers of refugees and non english speakers verse a public school in Carlton... yeah there's a big difference. We aren't that different to the US or the UK.

Suncoast

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Re: Guardian article on even the rich living paycheck to paycheck...
« Reply #10 on: December 27, 2015, 04:50:58 AM »
Yeah, apparently it varies a lot. The public schools in Virginia are good as long as you pick the right school district to live in. But my friend is moving to Indianapolis with a new baby, and he says the public schools out there are so uniformly dismal that private school is the only real option if you care about your kids' education.

Inner city Indianapolis, sure. I would avoid IPS. But some of the other townships within the city are decent, and the towns / suburbs surrounding Indianapolis have mostly great schools. I think your friend got some bad advice, you might want to let him know.

+1 I lived in a suburb of Indy and found the schools to be among the best I've seen anywhere (and I've lived in several states).

astvilla

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Re: Guardian article on even the rich living paycheck to paycheck...
« Reply #11 on: December 27, 2015, 07:36:23 AM »
Or more commonly you rent an apartment in a good school area where you have the paperwork mailed to.

Isn't this part somewhat illegal?  In my township, it's illegal and a crime to use a mailing address in a good school district and actual resident address outside the school district/township.  Because you are avoiding paying the property tax dollars (higher generally cause you're trying to get your kid in that public school) by living somewhere else.

I remember on the school TV, the district offered $500 awards if we caught people who pretended to live in the town just to send their kids to our school without actually living in the town and paying the higher property taxes/values.

Unless you mean renting an apartment and actually living there, as opposed to renting it just for mailing paperwork.

I can't really remember where the legal boundary is or how those people fooled the BOE/township...renting an apartment is a way of putting $$ into the township but it isn't really "honest" in a traditional sense.
« Last Edit: December 27, 2015, 07:45:05 AM by astvilla »

nobodyspecial

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Re: Guardian article on even the rich living paycheck to paycheck...
« Reply #12 on: December 27, 2015, 08:27:15 AM »
Or more commonly you rent an apartment in a good school area where you have the paperwork mailed to.

Isn't this part somewhat illegal?  In my township, it's illegal and a crime to use a mailing address in a good school district and actual resident address outside the school district/township.
Yes but fortunately we have anti-terrorism laws to deal with these threats to national security http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-562409/How-town-hall-snoopers-hijack-anti-terror-powers-crack-dog-fouling.html


Eric222

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Re: Guardian article on even the rich living paycheck to paycheck...
« Reply #13 on: December 27, 2015, 08:33:33 AM »
But for everyone else, you are looking at $15k per year, and that does not include after school care or summer camp.
Here there is a much more economical solution - you just pay $1M more for a house in a "good school" area. Or more commonly you rent an apartment in a good school area where you have the paperwork mailed to.
Or, you have a plan like mine - stay where I'm at where is the public elementary school you managed to get your kids in is good - then rent and live in the suburb that happens to be really close to work but is insanely expensive.  The public school there is great.

Who needs to own a house, renting is certainly the cheaper option around here no matter what...  As an aside, the town has bike lanes everywhere and an amazing library.

arebelspy

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Re: Guardian article on even the rich living paycheck to paycheck...
« Reply #14 on: December 27, 2015, 09:28:56 AM »

But for everyone else, you are looking at $15k per year, and that does not include after school care or summer camp.
Here there is a much more economical solution - you just pay $1M more for a house in a "good school" area. Or more commonly you rent an apartment in a good school area where you have the paperwork mailed to.
Or, you have a plan like mine - stay where I'm at where is the public elementary school you managed to get your kids in is good - then rent and live in the suburb that happens to be really close to work but is insanely expensive.  The public school there is great.

Who needs to own a house, renting is certainly the cheaper option around here no matter what...  As an aside, the town has bike lanes everywhere and an amazing library.

People worry about being uprooted if their landlord asks them to move.

Some of my friends in San Digeo just got a notice on the 22nd that the landlord's son and daughter in law will be moving in, so they have a month to find a new place.

If you're good tenants, it's not necessarily likely, so it's a risk you may want to take, but it is there.  And it is a risk with any rental, true, but seems a bit more likely in a nice area with nice schools (and also more disruptive in that case, as you need to find another house within that school's region).

I agree with you, renting is the way to go in that circumstance, most likely, but that is a factor to consider.
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mm1970

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Re: Guardian article on even the rich living paycheck to paycheck...
« Reply #15 on: December 27, 2015, 10:48:34 AM »
But for everyone else, you are looking at $15k per year, and that does not include after school care or summer camp.
Here there is a much more economical solution - you just pay $1M more for a house in a "good school" area. Or more commonly you rent an apartment in a good school area where you have the paperwork mailed to.
Ha ha that's true here too.  My friends bought a house in a better school district the same time we bought our house, and it was $150,000 more than ours. Which, you know, would pay for 10 years of private school.  Maybe it was worth the price when you consider they have two kids.

mm1970

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Re: Guardian article on even the rich living paycheck to paycheck...
« Reply #16 on: December 27, 2015, 10:54:26 AM »
Quote
Really though, shit like this is why people think that $250k in the bay area ain't much. It ain't much if you want everything that other people seem to have: nice house, nice cars, private schools, vacations, stuff, travel. You gotta pick. And save when you don't yet have those things. And go for slightly cheaper versions of those things. As soon as you go just slightly less nice, prices fall rapidly.

This is great.  I live in Santa Barbara, and I've been saying the same thing for years.  Here, you gotta pick.  If you are a 2-career couple, you can probably afford a house (or a condo). But you can't have that AND a new minivan and a new pickup truck.  You can't have that AND eat out 5 times a week.  You can't have that AND private school, 2x a year trips to Europe / Hawaii, and an RV.

Although the "slightly less nice" thing doesn't seem to apply here.  At least in housing.  When we bought our house, it was a stretch at almost $800k for an 1100 sf house with one bathroom and no garage.  My CEO was building a new house the size of our lot, and said "wow, for only $150k more you could have bought the house I'm selling, better school district, and 2x bigger!"  Then, like now, there was a lot of "compression" in the housing market by square footage.  It was so hard to get in, the low end crept up but the "mid-size" houses were cheaper per square foot. Because when you are stretching for $800k, where does the extra $150k come from?

LiveLean

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Re: Guardian article on even the rich living paycheck to paycheck...
« Reply #17 on: December 27, 2015, 06:16:10 PM »
At a certain point, what more are you getting for $35,000-$50,000 a year of private, non-boarding high school?

I grew up in the DC area and went to a highly-regarded private high school for the now-amazingly low figure of $2,500/annually. There were schools at the time that were $10,000 a year. I graduated in 1987.

My school today is $12,500 a year and, yes, those $10K schools are $50,000 schools. At a certain point, parents are just paying to hang with a certain crowd. It's usually not even about the kid.

nobodyspecial

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Re: Guardian article on even the rich living paycheck to paycheck...
« Reply #18 on: December 27, 2015, 06:18:50 PM »
At a certain point, what more are you getting for $35,000-$50,000 a year of private, non-boarding high school?
Automatic entrance to an IVY league school, and then either a cabinet post or a lucrative contract providing services to your freinds who got the cabinet post.

Of course in a purely meritocratic society like America which has thrown off the feudal shackles of aristocracy and monarchy this probably isn't a factor.
« Last Edit: December 28, 2015, 05:42:50 PM by nobodyspecial »

steviesterno

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Re: Guardian article on even the rich living paycheck to paycheck...
« Reply #19 on: December 28, 2015, 07:19:14 AM »
we actually made the decision to buy a house in the area we did because of the schools, a number of years before our kiddo is going to even go to one. in our area (Dallas) the school districts are crazy different. One side of the road you're in one of the worst in the nation, the other side of the street you're in the best. House prices were about 30k difference for a smaller house like we wanted. so that works out to be way cheaper than a few years of private school.

it also helps when you go to sell, too. so sure, we paid extra to get into the area, but by all accounts we'll get it back when we leave.

rents were absolutely exploding in our area. so by buying a house, we actually doubled our square footage, and after insurance and everything we're spending 100 a month LESS than an apartment, not including tax savings. since we bought 10/14 the house has gone up probably $30,000 in value, so you can think we've increased our NW or we've been living for free the last year.

it helps that our market isn't as crazy as the bay area or NYC, but if we see crazy growth like they did we'll be even better off. and if it doesn't go nuts? we're still living less expensively than we would in an apartment

WGH

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Re: Guardian article on even the rich living paycheck to paycheck...
« Reply #20 on: December 28, 2015, 03:12:50 PM »
Yeah, apparently it varies a lot. The public schools in Virginia are good as long as you pick the right school district to live in. But my friend is moving to Indianapolis with a new baby, and he says the public schools out there are so uniformly dismal that private school is the only real option if you care about your kids' education.

Same situation where I live. All the public schools in pretty much the entire state of NM are garbage. We moved to a suburb that we are praying the elementary school that just received an A rating from the state's report card will be sufficient until we can begin paying for private school tuition for 6-12th. I REALLY don't want to fork over $25k a year but we are prepared to do it because we know how crappy the public schools are here.

I went to a blue ribbon public school growing up and I believe it made a world of difference. No blue ribbon schools within 200 miles of me...

Making Cookies

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Re: Guardian article on even the rich living paycheck to paycheck...
« Reply #21 on: December 28, 2015, 07:47:25 PM »
Could be worse - all the private schools in my town (that I'm aware of) are run by churches so if your religious ideals don't match or you aren't religious at all - the choices are few.

FWIW if we could get rid of common core in public schools here we'd be a long way ahead of where we are now. Too much teaching to the test, too little spent on topics (skipping around too much). We spend a fair amount of our evenings reinforcing what didn't soak in at school.

Topics include personal finance per this forum, math/calc/algerbra, English (grammar, lit), and science. Not all three each night though. Not everyone learns the same way so some people have to study more, get tutored, etc.

On the topic of low income schools - our's is not - but I think there is still a fair amount of babysitting required for a few of the kids in my oldest child's classes.

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Re: Guardian article on even the rich living paycheck to paycheck...
« Reply #22 on: December 28, 2015, 07:52:48 PM »
Yeah, apparently it varies a lot. The public schools in Virginia are good as long as you pick the right school district to live in. But my friend is moving to Indianapolis with a new baby, and he says the public schools out there are so uniformly dismal that private school is the only real option if you care about your kids' education.

Same situation where I live. All the public schools in pretty much the entire state of NM are garbage. We moved to a suburb that we are praying the elementary school that just received an A rating from the state's report card will be sufficient until we can begin paying for private school tuition for 6-12th. I REALLY don't want to fork over $25k a year but we are prepared to do it because we know how crappy the public schools are here.

I went to a blue ribbon public school growing up and I believe it made a world of difference. No blue ribbon schools within 200 miles of me...

Some of them are awful, but others are what you make of them. Being able to expel students who actively disrupt classes or who interfere with other students' education would be a great first step, but it's not going to happen because we live in a state where it's socially acceptable to be pig-ignorant.

nobodyspecial

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Re: Guardian article on even the rich living paycheck to paycheck...
« Reply #23 on: December 28, 2015, 07:57:23 PM »
the school districts are crazy different. One side of the road you're in one of the worst in the nation, the other side of the street you're in the best.
If you had a sufficiently disruptive kid there is a real arbitrage opportunity there.

Squirrel away

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Re: Guardian article on even the rich living paycheck to paycheck...
« Reply #24 on: December 29, 2015, 01:36:13 AM »
Lol. I'm giggling at some of the comments at the bottom.:D

mm1970

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Re: Guardian article on even the rich living paycheck to paycheck...
« Reply #25 on: December 29, 2015, 10:25:49 AM »
Could be worse - all the private schools in my town (that I'm aware of) are run by churches so if your religious ideals don't match or you aren't religious at all - the choices are few.

FWIW if we could get rid of common core in public schools here we'd be a long way ahead of where we are now. Too much teaching to the test, too little spent on topics (skipping around too much). We spend a fair amount of our evenings reinforcing what didn't soak in at school.

Topics include personal finance per this forum, math/calc/algerbra, English (grammar, lit), and science. Not all three each night though. Not everyone learns the same way so some people have to study more, get tutored, etc.

On the topic of low income schools - our's is not - but I think there is still a fair amount of babysitting required for a few of the kids in my oldest child's classes.
That's interesting -

My older son is in 4th grade, and I have to say that I really like the Common Core changes, compared to when I was in school.

As far as "teaching to the test", I don't see that it has changed from pre-common core to now - they were teaching to the test before.  It's worse now, sure, because we are all under the gun of "if you don't improve you are fired!!"  (Mostly the principals.)

I am very good at memorization, but it's always been harder for me to absorb and learn things organically. Repetition is my thing.  I have found that Common Core teaches more methods than memorization.  I don't remember 2nd grade math right now, but when I was helping my son (and learning it myself), I was shocked at the kind of math that I could do in my head - that I couldn't do before.  (And I'm an engineer.)

Of course my son learns more like me, so he struggles sometimes - he wants to just "know the answer" and is not very happy about having to explain something that he "just knows".

Anyway, my point is teaching to the test and common core are two different things.

arebelspy

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Re: Guardian article on even the rich living paycheck to paycheck...
« Reply #26 on: December 29, 2015, 10:34:50 AM »
Common core got a bad rap due to misinformation.  It's actually amazing.  It's the curriculum people have a problem with, not common core, they just don't know the difference.

Also, teaching to the test is a GOOD thing.  As long as the test is good.

What it means is you're teaching what they should know.

If it's a junk test, and you're just teaching how to pass that one test, obviously that's bad.  But if you're teaching based on the types of questions the test will be asking, and it's a good test based on the standards, that's good teaching.

Better than when teachers teach with no end goal in mind, but just teach random stuff, and the kids can't pass any test cause they weren't taught what they needed to learn.
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merula

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Re: Guardian article on even the rich living paycheck to paycheck...
« Reply #27 on: December 29, 2015, 10:52:07 AM »
+1 to the defense of Common Core. Yes, it'd be great if all teachers everywhere were above average and all school districts everywhere cared about developing rigorous curricula that taught children everything they need to know to be productive members of society. Unfortunately, that's not the case and never has been.

My grandma was a teacher and started in a one-room schoolhouse. She hated administration because she didn't like someone who had never set foot in a classroom telling her how to do her job. I sympathize with that view, but how do you let experienced, passionate teachers do what they do best and yet step in for those who don't care about anything but tenure? I've had both as a student and I gotta say, it's really hard to tell the difference from the outside when the latter knows exactly how to game the system.

I'm happy to see Common Core enforcing the basics, and I see it as more of a burden on the bad teachers than the good.

But I also don't buy the whole "good school/bad school" thing. I went to a top-rated school in my state. It was top-rated because the kids scored well on tests and went to college. Both of those things happened because the vast majority of the kids had rich, educated parents who wouldn't accept anything else. The school wasn't great, they put any and all extra money into sports. The bathrooms ran out of TP at the end of the day.

Contrast that with the school a good friend went to. Inner-city, but her parents are wealthy and educated. She had an amazing experience and learned how to interact with a lot of different people early on. Her school had a ton of programs mine didn't, including both IB and AP. And we went to the same college. I'm planning to send my kids to this school.

obstinate

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Re: Guardian article on even the rich living paycheck to paycheck...
« Reply #28 on: December 30, 2015, 06:05:13 AM »
Re: the private school question: to be financially efficient, you definitely have to pick one or the other of {private school, good neighborhood}. Otherwise, you're paying twice for a good education.

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Re: Guardian article on even the rich living paycheck to paycheck...
« Reply #29 on: January 03, 2016, 09:30:00 AM »
For math one initial roadblock for my son was that the teacher never issued textbooks. Students were instructed to hit up Google for examples to solve their homework. The methods used to solve work sheets were odd and illogical to me. Not enough repetition built into homework. They apparently try not to give homework but instead do it all in class b/c I suspect some of the students might not come from homes where the parents can help with homework. Leads to not enough repetition which is key to how my son learns. Working five or six problems is not enough.

I finally (nicely) demanded a textbook and a syllabus. He got a textbook but no syllabus.

We have found a few good math websites and paired with the textbook we've made progress but he still has a long way to go.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not blaming the teacher for everything - he has to make an effort too but overall - not impressed with how this teacher has designed her class.

- - - -

I thought the US Navy taught the best math classes I ever took. Very clear and concise. Lots of repetition.

mm1970 - I hear you. Am also an engineer. I want to see a clear method or methods to solving an equation when it is being taught. Am also improving my own math skills while working with my teen.

Krnten

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Re: Guardian article on even the rich living paycheck to paycheck...
« Reply #30 on: January 04, 2016, 06:56:44 PM »
At a certain point, what more are you getting for $35,000-$50,000 a year of private, non-boarding high school?
Automatic entrance to an IVY league school, and then either a cabinet post or a lucrative contract providing services to your freinds who got the cabinet post.

Of course in a purely meritocratic society like America which has thrown off the feudal shackles of aristocracy and monarchy this probably isn't a factor.
  Of the small handful of people I know who fit into this category, one is a SAHM, another is a mildly successful fashion blogger, one is unemployed but looking for work, one spent a LOT of $ on law school but is now a software engineer (his original field).  They have the same kinds of jobs that my non-exclusive-prep-school friends do.  Most of them did go to ivy/ivy type schools.  But I just don't see it mattering much in the long run.  Maybe I'll feel differently when my kids go to school but my current belief is that the school experience matters FAR FAR less than a kid's home life experience.

MacBury

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Re: Guardian article on even the rich living paycheck to paycheck...
« Reply #31 on: January 04, 2016, 08:10:06 PM »
Here in London I estimate the total present value to send one child to private school 5-18 is £300k of after tax money.

That is how much you'd have to pay me today to take the school fee liability off your hands.

Just school fees nothing else.

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Homey The Clown

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Re: Guardian article on even the rich living paycheck to paycheck...
« Reply #32 on: January 04, 2016, 10:25:34 PM »
We are paying for private elementary school. Kids are natural scientists. They observe, make hypotheses, test them, and draw conclusions. They do this without us telling them. They do it in both "hard" and "social" sciences. They do this throughout their younger years. Then we put them in school and instead of them discovering things, the teachers tell them. They have to take tests that are not diagnostic, but rather grade them, their teachers, and their schools. Kids take joy in learning, but if I were designing a system to get rid of that joy, it would look a lot like the public education system in the US. Students need to move around their classrooms, the classrooms shouldn't be rows of desks, the kids should be outside exploring nature, they should ask hard questions and expect to have to figure out many of the answers themselves. Our kids go to a school that does all that. In our explorations of the public options in our area, we didn't find that type of learning to be common in the classrooms. You might find teachers who are individual exceptions, but I want my kids in a school where that type of learning is the mission of the school.

Lizzy B.

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Guardian article on even the rich living paycheck to paycheck...
« Reply #33 on: January 05, 2016, 07:45:16 AM »

But I also don't buy the whole "good school/bad school" thing. I went to a top-rated school in my state. It was top-rated because the kids scored well on tests and went to college. Both of those things happened because the vast majority of the kids had rich, educated parents who wouldn't accept anything else. The school wasn't great, they put any and all extra money into sports. The bathrooms ran out of TP at the end of the day.

Contrast that with the school a good friend went to. Inner-city, but her parents are wealthy and educated. She had an amazing experience and learned how to interact with a lot of different people early on. Her school had a ton of programs mine didn't, including both IB and AP. And we went to the same college. I'm planning to send my kids to this school.

I think Merula really made a good point about how the metrics used to define “good” and “bad” schools are pretty arbitrary.  I think what matters is not so much the school’s rating (or perceived rating, which could be very different) but the level of opportunities and teacher engagement.  That’s a whole lot tougher to gauge, but really makes the difference.  For example, my high school, while offering great math and English AP/honors classes, didn’t offer any AP science programs.  To make up for this, several of the science teachers gave alternate and additional assignments to the interested students to challenge them.  One even stayed late with us for several weeks to give us access to the labs and to help us get together a science fair project (which was completely optional at that grade level).  In middle school, a few of us were interested in fencing, and our PE teacher let us come in during lunch once a week to mess around with the fencing equipment.  She saw that we weren’t super into the competitive team sports that she covered in class and wanted to make sure we felt engaged with her subject.  That’s the kind of attention that really made a difference to me and to my peers, but which probably wouldn’t have shown up in school ratings.


Same situation where I live. All the public schools in pretty much the entire state of NM are garbage. We moved to a suburb that we are praying the elementary school that just received an A rating from the state's report card will be sufficient until we can begin paying for private school tuition for 6-12th. I REALLY don't want to fork over $25k a year but we are prepared to do it because we know how crappy the public schools are here.

I went to a blue ribbon public school growing up and I believe it made a world of difference. No blue ribbon schools within 200 miles of me...


For what it’s worth, I went to public schools in NM.  Granted, we were in ABQ, not in rural NM. The schools weren’t highly rated, and my parents were cautioned by wealthier friends that the high school in particular had a bad reputation and that they should put me in the prestigious private school if they cared about my education.

Good teachers, good programs, and people who care about kids can be found anywhere.  If those things are missing, by all means look elsewhere, but I think it’s easy to dismiss the public schools too hastily by not seriously looking at the opportunities that are available.

Edited to fix quoting issues. Apparently my teachers weren't so helpful preparing me to deal with multiple nested quotes in Tapatalk. :-)
« Last Edit: January 05, 2016, 07:53:11 AM by Lizzy B. »

Apples

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Re: Guardian article on even the rich living paycheck to paycheck...
« Reply #34 on: January 05, 2016, 01:09:34 PM »
Yeah, apparently it varies a lot. The public schools in Virginia are good as long as you pick the right school district to live in. But my friend is moving to Indianapolis with a new baby, and he says the public schools out there are so uniformly dismal that private school is the only real option if you care about your kids' education.

Same situation where I live. All the public schools in pretty much the entire state of NM are garbage. We moved to a suburb that we are praying the elementary school that just received an A rating from the state's report card will be sufficient until we can begin paying for private school tuition for 6-12th. I REALLY don't want to fork over $25k a year but we are prepared to do it because we know how crappy the public schools are here.

I went to a blue ribbon public school growing up and I believe it made a world of difference. No blue ribbon schools within 200 miles of me...

I had a roommate in college that went to a blue ribbon public school, was decently high on the Top 100 High Schools list that some publication puts out.  I attended a public school in rural PA where 1/3 of students have free or reduced lunches, 10-20% are ESL, and we have a thriving Tech Ed program because that's the kind of population that lives here.  We were "adequate" on the No Child Left Behind ratings, but sometimes just barely, and not all grades in every subject every year.  I did better than this roommate in college.  I had higher SAT scores to get in.  I had taken the only two A.P. classes my high school offered.  She had almost had enough credits to skip Freshman year, and over 90% of her graduating class went to a 4 year college.  40% of mine went to a 2-year or 4-year school.  And she was a smart girl, not someone wasting her great h.s. education.  If you as a parent teach your child to value education (or at least to value that good grades can get you into a good school to study what you want), then a lot of non-blue ribbon schools are great for kids.

StetsTerhune

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Re: Guardian article on even the rich living paycheck to paycheck...
« Reply #35 on: January 05, 2016, 01:37:42 PM »
If you as a parent teach your child to value education (or at least to value that good grades can get you into a good school to study what you want), then a lot of non-blue ribbon schools are great for kids.

Yes. A thousand times yes.

I'm genuinely surprised to see the people on this forum defending private schools this much. This all seems completely opposed to everything this forum stands for.

Yes, there's such a thing as a terrible school, don't get me wrong, it's just that probably no one who's on this forum is living in an area that their children would go to one. Unless the school is actively, truly, terrible, a child in a good home that values education is going to be fine. Hell, I've even heard the argument that for a lot of kids going to a mediocre school where they can gain confidence by being a "smart kid" is better than being below average at an elite school.

As for this sample size of one, I went to grade school and high school at places that I'm sure people here would classify as "Garbage." Well it was good enough to get me into an ivy league school. I'm not saying I'm a typical case, but you don't "need" a great school. In terms of the actual education, I guarantee you could spend 30 minutes a night with your kid and teach him more than he learned in school that day at any school in america.Maybe this stops being true in late high school, but maybe not.

jengod

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Re: Guardian article on even the rich living paycheck to paycheck...
« Reply #36 on: January 05, 2016, 02:16:49 PM »
At a certain point, what more are you getting for $35,000-$50,000 a year of private, non-boarding high school?
Automatic entrance to an IVY league school

FWIW, it may actually be a little harder to get into an Ivy from a competitive private high school because the competitive base is so much stronger and so you are less likely to accumulate the highest possible GPA, extracurricular status and sports team placements.

jengod

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Re: Guardian article on even the rich living paycheck to paycheck...
« Reply #37 on: January 05, 2016, 02:31:09 PM »
If you as a parent teach your child to value education (or at least to value that good grades can get you into a good school to study what you want), then a lot of non-blue ribbon schools are great for kids.

Yes. A thousand times yes.

I'm genuinely surprised to see the people on this forum defending private schools this much. This all seems completely opposed to everything this forum stands for.

There's a lot of radical education theory that holds that virtually any standard school (whether ranked "good" or "bad") undermines the emotional and physical health of children. The factory model of child-as-widget is very hard to escape in almost North American public school setting, so parents seek alternatives, be they expensive "elite" private schools, less pricey parochial schools, Montessori, free democratic schools, home schools, et al. What I'm trying to say is that sending your kids to private school looks like classism, but you could also view it through a countercultural lens if you were interested in a somewhat more forgiving perspective.

nereo

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Re: Guardian article on even the rich living paycheck to paycheck...
« Reply #38 on: January 05, 2016, 02:48:59 PM »
I'm having problems getting past the second paragraph...

Guy claims his ~$0.5MM paycheck barely covers living expenses and blames alimony and private-school tuition x2.
let's see how it breaks down...
$96k/yr alimony = $96k
private high school ($35k/year x 2 kids) = $75k
federal taxes (assumes all is taxable income) = $149k
state taxes (assume 11% - among the highest) = $55k

remaining post-tax income = $125k.
conclusion: he's burning through $10k/month not including alimony or tuition. 


charis

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Re: Guardian article on even the rich living paycheck to paycheck...
« Reply #39 on: January 05, 2016, 03:08:21 PM »
Yes, there's such a thing as a terrible school, don't get me wrong, it's just that probably no one who's on this forum is living in an area that their children would go to one.

I guess by most accounts, I do.  We live in the worst district in the state (by standard measurements) - the average graduation rate after 4 years has been hovering around 43% for years.  I think all of the public high schools have metal detectors at this point.   However, we still have a few decent elementary options and one or two possible secondary options.

MgoSam

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Re: Guardian article on even the rich living paycheck to paycheck...
« Reply #40 on: January 05, 2016, 03:16:25 PM »

conclusion: he's burning through $10k/month not including alimony or tuition.

Well a man's got to live.

aasdfadsf

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Re: Guardian article on even the rich living paycheck to paycheck...
« Reply #41 on: January 05, 2016, 08:55:29 PM »
Someone beat me to it, but a common theme in these woes of the not-quite-rich-enough articles is that the numbers don't add up. Even after alimony, tuition, and taxes, the guy still has 2.5-times the median family income. And yet he spends every last bit of it.

I also loved how people who are spending $2600 a month on dining out aren't being "flashy", this is apparently a necessity. The excuse for this behavior is that they're extremely busy. If this were really the problem, they should be eating $5-10 per meal take-out, not sitting down for a 3-hour tasting menu.


elaine amj

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Re: Guardian article on even the rich living paycheck to paycheck...
« Reply #42 on: January 05, 2016, 09:29:13 PM »
Note: I was a private school kid, 1st in Malaysia because the public schools would mean studying in Malay, and 2nd in New Zealand because I had a full scholarship awarded.

Here in Australia and New Zealand, private school is not just an education thing, but is also a networking tool for the kids' parents. If you're an attorney / accountant looking for high net worth individuals, you can probably find them spending $20k+ per child in these schools. If $20k of school fees can help you make the connections to high-powered senior executives, it may be a decent return on investment (but can't be considered a business expense!).

Education-wise, since private schools have smaller class sizes you get low student:teacher ratios (something that even universities proudly advertise). The increased focus does help with learning, but one weakness it builds is it doesn't give you a place where you have to fight for yourself (I think that's the biggest thing I missed due to not going to a public school).

Hello fellow Malaysian :)

I find the focus on the importance of private schools a little funny. I grew up in Malaysia and spent elementary in a fancy private school. It was fine - some good teachers, some bad teachers. I switched to the public system in high school.

Public high school was fine. Some good teachers, some bad teachers. Maybe more bad teachers? We still got a decent education overall. And we're talking public school in a 3rd world country - there were plenty of poor kids. And teaching there is a grossly underpaid profession - not well regarded at all.

I was educated well enough that even though I graduated high school with a B average, when I came to Canada for university, I had the highest marks in the school in my first year.

I guess I never saw the value of private school other than networking. Involved parents and the child's own personality makes more of a difference IMO.

urbanista

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Re: Guardian article on even the rich living paycheck to paycheck...
« Reply #43 on: January 05, 2016, 09:43:16 PM »
I don't agree. I was a teacher and I know for my son I am seriously considering selling the current home and renting in a good school zone for the next 12 years. A school in the outer western suburbs with a high numbers of refugees and non english speakers verse a public school in Carlton... yeah there's a big difference. We aren't that different to the US or the UK.

What is the good school you are looking at ? :-)  We need to make the same decision next year. Looking at Rosanna/Viewbank. Apparently public schools are excellent there.

StetsTerhune

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Re: Guardian article on even the rich living paycheck to paycheck...
« Reply #44 on: January 06, 2016, 08:25:23 AM »
There's a lot of radical education theory that holds that virtually any standard school (whether ranked "good" or "bad") undermines the emotional and physical health of children. The factory model of child-as-widget is very hard to escape in almost North American public school setting, so parents seek alternatives, be they expensive "elite" private schools, less pricey parochial schools, Montessori, free democratic schools, home schools, et al. What I'm trying to say is that sending your kids to private school looks like classism, but you could also view it through a countercultural lens if you were interested in a somewhat more forgiving perspective.

I'm actually very sympathetic to a lot of the radical education theories. I don't think that's what people are talking about though. I think people are talking about elite private schools that are actually more standard than public schools. Private schools that are "better" by making kids work harder in the standard school sense.

If someone had said they were paying for a Montessori school because their child thrives better in that environment, I have absolutely no problem with that. Instead people are talking like their kid has to go to a great elementary school so they can go to a great high school, so they can go to a great college, so they can get a good job, so they can pay for their own child to go to a great elementary school, and so on forever. People on this site seem to eschew consumerism for themselves, but the moment children are mentioned they revert to the exact same consumerist nonsense as the people in the article. Insisting that they give their children all the "advantages" in life, even as we know for ourselves that these "advantages" aren't worth the cost of admission.

charis

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Re: Guardian article on even the rich living paycheck to paycheck...
« Reply #45 on: January 06, 2016, 09:19:44 AM »
I completely agree with choosing the best environment for one's child.  I can't understand, however, people who refuse to consider a specific environment out of hand.  Most of my friends move to the suburbs as a default, or go private, when they start having kids.  I mean, why stay in the worst district in the state when you can easily move 5 min to one of the best districts in the country.  I suppose it's a no brainer in their minds.   

In my mind, I feel my child and the district is much better served by not contributing to rampant socioeconomic and racial segregation.   

MacBury

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Re: Guardian article on even the rich living paycheck to paycheck...
« Reply #46 on: January 06, 2016, 09:28:46 AM »
I have two children to retire I need all three of following

1. £1000k house freehold close town
2. £1000k in savings (buys £40k income forever)
3. £1000k private school and university two kids


So £3mio net savings across lifetime. Take away 3. I need £2mio.

Simple as this really.


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onlykelsey

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Re: Guardian article on even the rich living paycheck to paycheck...
« Reply #47 on: January 06, 2016, 09:37:34 AM »
Well a man's got to live.

+1.  I'm guilty of a bit of this myself, and am constantly reminding myself that NO, I actually don't need or deserve another dinner out on the town, just because my colleagues are doing it.

I think there is real merit to the idea of surrounding yourself with people who are slightly less wealthy than you, especially in your 20s.  It keeps lifestyle creep to a minimum.

nereo

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Re: Guardian article on even the rich living paycheck to paycheck...
« Reply #48 on: January 06, 2016, 10:01:29 AM »
I have two children to retire I need all three of following

1. £1000k house freehold close town
2. £1000k in savings (buys £40k income forever)
3. £1000k private school and university two kids


So £3mio net savings across lifetime. Take away 3. I need £2mio.


Holy cow - you estimate that you need £1,000,000 ($1.46MM) for the education of two kids?  That blows me away - even the US Ivy-league schools list for $50k/year if you don't get a cent of aid.  Your two kids could both go to Harvard and you're still budgeting $1MM for their private schools?  I'm sure you can spend that much on just tuition, but... wow...
« Last Edit: January 06, 2016, 10:06:01 AM by nereo »

frugalnacho

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Re: Guardian article on even the rich living paycheck to paycheck...
« Reply #49 on: January 06, 2016, 10:14:01 AM »
I lived in a shitty school district and my parents were poor so I went to a shitty public school.  Because of that I was barely able to learn anything, barely able to attend college nearly free based on merit, and barely able to get a job as an engineer.  Now I am barely be able to live a happy and successful life and won't be able to retire until about 40, or maybe even 45.  Thanks mom and dad for ruining my life by not sending me to an over priced and elite private school.