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Old 02-03-2015, 10:48 AM   #101
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With all the gov't handouts safety net programs available, we have lost the "honest pay for honest work" mentality in this country. Or you can interpret this as entitlement expectation. Using my engineering problem solving, a root cause may be the loss of self-reliance and self-sufficiency.

Willers is completely right, schools have changed from teaching skills that enable a kid to get a job and support himself; to being only testing centers as a step to college. While more education, and therefore college over HS diploma, is a proven path for increased wages, not every kid has college as a path to successful work and career.
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Old 02-03-2015, 12:18 PM   #102
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It can be difficult to figure out just how much to have in emergency savings. Things like monthly baseline expenses and medical insurance annual out-of-pocket maximums need to be considered.

I'm not sure that large a portion of the population, no matter what their income, has the skills to do this sort of estimation. I'd really like to see better financial literacy in the population as a prerequisite to any action to promote better emergency savings.
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Old 02-03-2015, 02:04 PM   #103
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It can be difficult to figure out just how much to have in emergency savings.

<snip>

I'd really like to see better financial literacy in the population as a prerequisite to any action to promote better emergency savings.
I've sort of concluded that for some reason many people are simply inherently incapable of saving money, that even if they do save some it "burns a hole in their pocket". I've seen it with relatives and people I used to work with and the "savers" are far fewer than the "spenders".

While one hopes that better financial literacy would go a long way toward helping that I have to wonder if it really would. An ex-BIL is an example. He retired from the FAA as a GS-15, has a terrific retirement income, but is always flat broke and complains he doesn't have any money, at least according to my sister. He's not stupid, he's a smart guy with a great work ethic but can't hold on to a dime. Another SIL is the same way, recently retired GS-15 with a six-figure retirement income who is perennially flat broke. Others on the board have given similar examples.

I will never understand these people.
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Emergency savings dangerously thin even for upper-income earners according to...
Old 02-03-2015, 02:13 PM   #104
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Emergency savings dangerously thin even for upper-income earners according to...

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I've sort of concluded that for some reason many people are simply inherently incapable of saving money, that even if they do save some it "burns a hole in their pocket". I've seen it with relatives and people I used to work with and the "savers" are far fewer than the "spenders".

While one hopes that better financial literacy would go a long way toward helping that I have to wonder if it really would. An ex-BIL is an example. He retired from the FAA as a GS-15, has a terrific retirement income, but is always flat broke and complains he doesn't have any money, at least according to my sister. He's not stupid, he's a smart guy with a great work ethic but can't hold on to a dime. Another SIL is the same way, recently retired GS-15 with a six-figure retirement income who is perennially flat broke. Others on the board have given similar examples.

I will never understand these people.

I don't disagree with you at all Walt. But I am even more cynical. I do not believe financial education helps at all. It only helps if they are actively wanting it and willing to use it. Otherwise the temptations on immediate gratification and/or laziness will also trump any FL poured in their skull.
You can't help the alcoholic until he wants change.
A person this week wrote to Dear Abby about family members in financial trouble not listening to her advise on how to fix their problems. She basically said shut up it's none of your business and if they want help they will ask. I'm taking her advise too as my "projects" aren't listening to me either!


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Old 02-03-2015, 03:20 PM   #105
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I think you've missed what has actually changed. The schools and the people haven't changed. The job market has changed.

High School never "taught skills that enabled a kid to get a job and support himself". People out of high school simply had more low-skill, decent wage jobs available.

Janitors made a living wage working for the company that actually required their services, rather than $8/hr working for a 3rd party cleaning service. Factory workers had union jobs with benefits rather than the much lower wages they are getting today. Many, many low-skill jobs have been outsourced, offshored, or automated out of existence.

Wages for men without a college degree have gone down substantially over the last 40 years. It's not because there are more uneducated/unskilled workers. It's because jobs above $10/hr that can be done by the uneducated/unskilled have to a large degree disapeared.

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Originally Posted by 38Chevy454 View Post
With all the gov't handouts safety net programs available, we have lost the "honest pay for honest work" mentality in this country. Or you can interpret this as entitlement expectation. Using my engineering problem solving, a root cause may be the loss of self-reliance and self-sufficiency.

Willers is completely right, schools have changed from teaching skills that enable a kid to get a job and support himself; to being only testing centers as a step to college. While more education, and therefore college over HS diploma, is a proven path for increased wages, not every kid has college as a path to successful work and career.
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Old 02-03-2015, 03:38 PM   #106
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I think you've missed what has actually changed. The schools and the people haven't changed. The job market has changed.

High School never "taught skills that enabled a kid to get a job and support himself". People out of high school simply had more low-skill, decent wage jobs available.

Janitors made a living wage working for the company that actually required their services, rather than $8/hr working for a 3rd party cleaning service. Factory workers had union jobs with benefits rather than the much lower wages they are getting today. Many, many low-skill jobs have been outsourced, offshored, or automated out of existence.

Wages for men without a college degree have gone down substantially over the last 40 years. It's not because there are more uneducated/unskilled workers. It's because jobs above $10/hr that can be done by the uneducated/unskilled have to a large degree disapeared.
I disagree, vocational tech has been taken out of the schools for the most part. "Shop" classes and the teachers for them are almost non-existent. No more wood shop, metal shop, auto shop, etc. These classes are where a lot of kids learned and kindled some interest in the trades. Sure they need to get more specialized training, but at least they had a chance to discover their interest.

I will also say that many of these skills training are learned at home and school is not the only place for kids to learn skills. A kid that has parents that can't teach these skills has slim chance to develop them at school as an alternative.

I will agree that the job market is different now, especially the factory jobs in manufacturing sector. However there is still a big demand for service sector jobs for plumbers, electricians, welders, HVAC techs, auto mechanics and similar. Might not be working in pure manufacturing as much as they used to, but offices full of white collar jobs still need the toilets to flush, lights to go on, building frames to be constructed, the air conditioning to work, and that white collar job employee needs his car to get to work.
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Old 02-03-2015, 03:40 PM   #107
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High School never "taught skills that enabled a kid to get a job and support himself". People out of high school simply had more low-skill, decent wage jobs available.
My old high school had vocational training programs that included agriculture/horticulture, welding, masonry, auto mechanics, carpentry and metal working programs that provided entry level employment skills. Those have mostly been cut over the years as budgets got tighter and the community demanded more college prep courses, but art seems to have survived.
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Old 02-03-2015, 03:44 PM   #108
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High school I went to in Connecticut was a technical one. Many trades were offered. The state had several of them and still does. I took Drafting for 4 years and went to work in industry right out of school. Here is the current list of trades offered:

Kaynor Tech Technologies

More on the state's tech schools:

http://www.cttech.org/
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Old 02-03-2015, 04:00 PM   #109
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I disagree, vocational tech has been taken out of the schools for the most part. "Shop" classes and the teachers for them are almost non-existent. No more wood shop, metal shop, auto shop, etc. These classes are where a lot of kids learned and kindled some interest in the trades. Sure they need to get more specialized training, but at least they had a chance to discover their interest.

I will also say that many of these skills training are learned at home and school is not the only place for kids to learn skills. A kid that has parents that can't teach these skills has slim chance to develop them at school as an alternative.

I will agree that the job market is different now, especially the factory jobs in manufacturing sector. However there is still a big demand for service sector jobs for plumbers, electricians, welders, HVAC techs, auto mechanics and similar. Might not be working in pure manufacturing as much as they used to, but offices full of white collar jobs still need the toilets to flush, lights to go on, building frames to be constructed, the air conditioning to work, and that white collar job employee needs his car to get to work.
Thanks 38Chevy454 for your comment. You summed it up better than I did. "Discovering the interest" seems much less likely to happen now. I do finish carpentry on the side. I likely wouldn't if I hadn't been "forced" to take shop in HS and really enjoyed woodworking.
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Old 02-03-2015, 04:41 PM   #110
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I don't disagree with you at all Walt. But I am even more cynical. I do not believe financial education helps at all. It only helps if they are actively wanting it and willing to use it. Otherwise the temptations on immediate gratification and/or laziness will also trump any FL poured in their skull.
You can't help the alcoholic until he wants change.
A person this week wrote to Dear Abby about family members in financial trouble not listening to her advise on how to fix their problems. She basically said shut up it's none of your business and if they want help they will ask. I'm taking her advise too as my "projects" aren't listening to me either!


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Agreed. You have to stop "feeling sorry" for such people. They are sleeping in a bed of their own making. If they're not going to listen to your advice, why should you have to listen to them complain?

My only caveat to the foregoing is effect such poor choices have on kids. Children should not have to suffer for the sins of their parents. They also shouldn't be in a situation where they can't help but model such poor behavior. My SIL is recently divorced. Ex-BIL has moved on, new girlfriend, new apartment, etc.... SIL hasn't. All she wants to do is complain to DW about her ex, how he's not paying the bills, giving her money pursuant to the divorce decree, etc... Having peeked behind the curtain, most of what she's saying is BS. DW and I have tried talking to our nephews (SIL's kids) about college costs, how they can afford to pursue their dreams and similar topics. Our words also fall on deaf ears.

I just hate seeing poor decision-making by people so young....
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Old 02-03-2015, 04:53 PM   #111
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You can't help the alcoholic until he wants change.
A person this week wrote to Dear Abby about family members in financial trouble not listening to her advise on how to fix their problems. She basically said shut up it's none of your business and if they want help they will ask. I'm taking her advise too as my "projects" aren't listening to me either!
I saw that article too, and numerous others like it posted here by members. Reminds by of that old saying of trying to teach a pig to dance. You both just get dirty and it annoys the pig.
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Old 02-03-2015, 05:18 PM   #112
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Rarely happens for a few reasons.

First, LBYM'ers keep a low profile, since their relative "wealth" would only engender extreme jealously from those "less fortunate" (and maybe a few loan requests or more expensive gifts). As an aside, I dislike the phrase "less fortunate," as it implies that one's economic state is a matter of fate/fortune, rather than primarily one of choice.

Second, articles about LBYM'ers won't sell newspapers - people want to read about people like themselves (i.e., that they're "normal" - everyone's in debt). They do not want to read about people who are more "fortunate" (there's that word again) than themselves, which would only force them to confront their bad decisions and accept responsibility.

Third, even articles about LBYM'ers that explain "how I did it - and you can too!" won't sell newspapers. The "sacrifices" described in such articles are too much for many people to contemplate. What? You saved 40% of your income? No new car every 3-5 years? Cheap vacations? No new iPhone, TV, latest gizmo? No new clothes for a year? All are hard for people living above their means to accept.
+1 Well said, though you're preaching the party line around here. :-)

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Old 02-03-2015, 06:02 PM   #113
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+1 Well said, though you're preaching the party line around here. :-)

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Sometimes the party (or the choir, depending on your metaphor) needs to hear it - so we feel "normal" to think the way we do.

On a related note, I've found that the "wealthy" folks around here don't look down on people the same way that "wealthy" folks in other venues have a tendency to do. We actually try to help people.
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Old 02-03-2015, 06:27 PM   #114
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... I do not believe financial education helps at all. It only helps if they are actively wanting it and willing to use it. Otherwise the temptations on immediate gratification and/or laziness will also trump any FL poured in their skull.
Agreed. Knowing what you should do and actually doing it are two very different things. It has been a problem from time immemorial. As Paul the Apostle wrote nearly 2000 years ago:

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For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. Romans 7:18b-19 (NIV)
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Old 02-03-2015, 06:50 PM   #115
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The actual quote was "It is a shame to make that a life sentence of unemployment for any job, no matter what the crime, no matter how long ago, especially those actively looking for work."

He did not say that every criminal should be able to work at every job. I read it to say that "no matter what your crime, not matter how long ago it was, it is a shame that you have a lifeltime of unemployment."

It was never said that a convict should be eligible "for any job, no matter what the crime"

Exactly how I interpreted it.
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Old 02-03-2015, 07:59 PM   #116
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I agree that vocational tech has been neglected in our public schools.

I also agree that the jobs you listed are good jobs (maybe not framing) that have solid demand. I'm just not sure that that demand isn't mostly being met currently. Last time I called a plumber I had a guy at my house within a couple of hours. Likewise with the garage door repairman (there is a good gig for the non-college bound).

I don't think there are huge swaths of jobs going unfilled because people don't want to get their hands dirty, for the most part. There are certain specialized skill jobs that are not being filled because no one available has those skills, or the people who have them don't want to live in South Dakota. Typically these jobs pay decent wages, but also have pretty decent barriers to entry. There may be a great job market for experienced welders, but how is the market for someone who would like to become a welder but isn't one now?



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Originally Posted by 38Chevy454 View Post
I disagree, vocational tech has been taken out of the schools for the most part. "Shop" classes and the teachers for them are almost non-existent. No more wood shop, metal shop, auto shop, etc. These classes are where a lot of kids learned and kindled some interest in the trades. Sure they need to get more specialized training, but at least they had a chance to discover their interest.

I will also say that many of these skills training are learned at home and school is not the only place for kids to learn skills. A kid that has parents that can't teach these skills has slim chance to develop them at school as an alternative.

I will agree that the job market is different now, especially the factory jobs in manufacturing sector. However there is still a big demand for service sector jobs for plumbers, electricians, welders, HVAC techs, auto mechanics and similar. Might not be working in pure manufacturing as much as they used to, but offices full of white collar jobs still need the toilets to flush, lights to go on, building frames to be constructed, the air conditioning to work, and that white collar job employee needs his car to get to work.
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Old 02-04-2015, 08:27 AM   #117
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I agree that vocational tech has been neglected in our public schools.

I also agree that the jobs you listed are good jobs (maybe not framing) that have solid demand. I'm just not sure that that demand isn't mostly being met currently. Last time I called a plumber I had a guy at my house within a couple of hours. Likewise with the garage door repairman (there is a good gig for the non-college bound).

I don't think there are huge swaths of jobs going unfilled because people don't want to get their hands dirty, for the most part. There are certain specialized skill jobs that are not being filled because no one available has those skills, or the people who have them don't want to live in South Dakota. Typically these jobs pay decent wages, but also have pretty decent barriers to entry. There may be a great job market for experienced welders, but how is the market for someone who would like to become a welder but isn't one now?
Those with the skills seem to have their choice of locales in which to use those skills. Most likely, they will go where the work is plentiful (and where wages are high(est)). As for becoming a welder, there are numerous programs available, with many companies willing to take on someone as an apprentice (for low starting wages and long hours, of course). Apprenticeship is a practice that is thousands of years old. Unfortunately, many of today's youth (and their parents) look down on it as a way to a solid career. It really is an issue of PR/Branding for the trades. Perhaps the trades should admit openly that yes, the work is physically demanding, but then tell any number of success stories. One of those stories should be how a lowly apprentice worked his/her way up to the CEO/President slot of a company by knowing the business from the ground up. I've always believed that you can teach a "line guy" how to read a spreadsheet, but you can't always teach an MBA how to work the line.
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Old 02-04-2015, 08:37 AM   #118
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Those with the skills seem to have their choice of locales in which to use those skills. Most likely, they will go where the work is plentiful (and where wages are high(est)). As for becoming a welder, there are numerous programs available, with many companies willing to take on someone as an apprentice (for low starting wages and long hours, of course). Apprenticeship is a practice that is thousands of years old. Unfortunately, many of today's youth (and their parents) look down on it as a way to a solid career. It really is an issue of PR/Branding for the trades. Perhaps the trades should admit openly that yes, the work is physically demanding, but then tell any number of success stories. One of those stories should be how a lowly apprentice worked his/her way up to the CEO/President slot of a company by knowing the business from the ground up. I've always believed that you can teach a "line guy" how to read a spreadsheet, but you can't always teach an MBA how to work the line.

It's funny how things have went full circle for me being one of those management/white collar professions. Now that I am retired I wish I had the hands on mechanical skills for various house projects. Many I would enjoy in retirement doing myself. Instead I muddle through determinedly on basic ones and hire out ones I wish I could do.


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Old 02-04-2015, 10:04 AM   #119
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It's funny how things have went full circle for me being one of those management/white collar professions. Now that I am retired I wish I had the hands on mechanical skills for various house projects. Many I would enjoy in retirement doing myself. Instead I muddle through determinedly on basic ones and hire out ones I wish I could do.


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White collar here too (corporate lawyer). However, my father taught me a fair amount about using tools, fixing cars, etc... which is kind of ironic since he was a doctor! Just this week I was faced with a dilemma - two plumbing problems. Being a married guy with a demanding job, (demanding) wife (), and two little kids, I toyed with the idea of calling a plumber (and did do so just to get a ballpark quote). I ultimately decided to try tackling the problems myself - and succeeded! Like you, I would like to tackle more of my home maintenance issues rather than pay someone to do them, but there are several factors militating against doing so:

1. Time
2. Expertise
3. Truck/Hauling capability
4. Workshop

I just hate paying someone to do something I know that I could do myself (given the foregoing resources). Perhaps I need to put my ego aside and recognize that by outsourcing home maintenance, I'm putting food on someone else's table.
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Old 02-04-2015, 03:52 PM   #120
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I just hate paying someone to do something I know that I could do myself (given the foregoing resources). Perhaps I need to put my ego aside and recognize that by outsourcing home maintenance, I'm putting food on someone else's table.
Aha, that's the ticket! And here I thought I was just being lazy. Instead I'm contributing to a stable society.
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