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Old 04-25-2016, 03:02 PM   #121
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This "need to impress" is real, I have seen it with people I know and I'm glad I don't have it -
I've seen it too, especially with one BIL. He's a nice guy and I like him but he's either gotta get the tab by himself at a restaurant if a bunch of us go, or he won't go at all pleading "I can't afford it". We're working on him to let him know it's not embarrassing if you can't pick up the check for 15 other people at the same time all the time. All the rest of us are fine with split checks so I don't understand what the motivation is, but it is definitely there.
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Old 04-25-2016, 03:22 PM   #122
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I have a similar story. My son has been saving ever since he graduated from college. He could have saved 10 times more if he pursued a career using his degree. Instead, he decided to live happy and poor by being an artist, something we reluctantly accepted. Sometimes, poverty is a choice ...


You got one of those, too huh? My daughter is all into the "art thing". Her free time is consumed by drawings, paintings, and sculpture for personal consumption. I saw it coming years away and tried to steer her away from her poverty leanings...A fruitless endeavor...It is what it is, as they say.
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Old 04-25-2016, 03:30 PM   #123
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I've seen it too, especially with one BIL. He's a nice guy and I like him but he's either gotta get the tab by himself at a restaurant if a bunch of us go, or he won't go at all pleading "I can't afford it". We're working on him to let him know it's not embarrassing if you can't pick up the check for 15 other people at the same time all the time. All the rest of us are fine with split checks so I don't understand what the motivation is, but it is definitely there.
We have a number of retired friends with whom we go out to dinner frequently. The custom in our group is separate checks for each couple. Waitstaff don't seem to mind at all as I think that is quite typical. IMO fairer than just dividing the total bill by x couples... I feel better just ordering what I want no matter what it costs with separate checks... with just dividing by x I feel constrained to order something similar to others even if I want a more expensive dish or I might feel taken advantage of if everyone else is ordering a pricey dinner and I prefer a more modest dish.
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Old 04-25-2016, 03:37 PM   #124
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We have a number of retired friends with whom we go out to dinner frequently. The custom in our group is separate checks for each couple. Waitstaff don't seem to mind at all as I think that is quite typical. IMO fairer than just dividing the total bill by x couples... I feel better just ordering what I want no matter what it costs with separate checks... with just dividing by x I feel constrained to order something similar to others even if I want a more expensive dish or I might feel taken advantage of if everyone else is ordering a pricey dinner and I prefer a more modest dish.


We always have separate checks when we go out with couples. We always say up front it is before ordering, also. I think, they are getting a 20% tip for servicing us and managing the bill is part of that tip.
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Old 04-25-2016, 06:55 PM   #125
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No collar people, if they fit the right categories, have all these things too.

Ha
Exactly. So, are people (like the author) suffering an actual decline in material living standards or actually suffering a decline in self esteem due to their own insecure comparisons with others?
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Old 04-25-2016, 07:10 PM   #126
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It seems to me that people would be happier if they took pride in their abilities and accomplishments rather than their possessions. And by accomplishments, I mean almost anything that you can do or have done. If you can play the guitar or sculpt, you have my respect and admiration, as I can do neither. Did you raise your kids to be decent human beings and good citizens? Also something I admire. And there are many, many other skills that people have learned or perfected which no one can take away. Be proud of those things, not the shiny car in the driveway.
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Old 04-25-2016, 09:28 PM   #127
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You got one of those, too huh? My daughter is all into the "art thing". Her free time is consumed by drawings, paintings, and sculpture for personal consumption. I saw it coming years away and tried to steer her away from her poverty leanings...A fruitless endeavor...It is what it is, as they say.

I have one in the art field but she started her own company and is employing 3 people. Has an office near Silicon Beach. However she is not rich, but has been supporting herself. She turned down my offer to pay for a top notch MBA if she wants to go back to school, but she said maybe she'll think about the offer in a few years, but not now.


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Old 04-25-2016, 09:34 PM   #128
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I have one in the art field but she started her own company and is employing 3 people. Has an office near Silicon Beach. However she is not rich, but has been supporting herself. She turned down my offer to pay for a top notch MBA if she wants to go back to school, but she said maybe she'll think about the offer in a few years, but not now.


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Art with an entrepreneurial spirit isnt a bad combo. I can see why she would want to give that a go and see where it leads...My daughter just likes to draw pictures... ... Oh well she will get tired of being poor, or she wont.
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The Atlantic Article on Lack of Savings
Old 04-26-2016, 05:11 AM   #129
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The Atlantic Article on Lack of Savings

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His two daughters are well-prepared to become great contributors to the society and hopefully to his retirement if they were raised in an Asian family.

I have one word for you: balance.
1) Did his daughter need a Harvard education to be happy? Or successful?
2) had he sent the girls to big name state u and banked the 50% he'd save - wouldn't all 'on balance' be in a better position?
3) the girls didn't just appear over night.. He had 18 years (plus a few months) to get his savings act together.

I am not comfortable with the thought of being dependent on my children's charity... Are you?

The choices are simple -
The $4 cup of joe or the $.25 cup out of your kitchen.... I see bad choices made every day.
I wish I had figured it out sooner - you save first (of course with balance).


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The Atlantic Article on Lack of Savings
Old 04-26-2016, 05:12 AM   #130
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The Atlantic Article on Lack of Savings

I do not mean to be harsh but being financially irresponsible with a load of excuses makes my blood boil.
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Old 04-26-2016, 06:08 AM   #131
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Very interesting thread with some very thoughtful posts. I feel a little conflicted when I read the original article and the Bloomberg response. Clearly things are not going well for the middle class. Certainly there are ways to manage this but most people don't. The classic "American Dream" is a lifestyle that is increasingly out of reach for many. Income inequality is getting worse and the ideal of upward financial mobility is not present as much as we would like. This is not a good thing and will need to be addressed. [mod edit]

It's better not to be smug or self righteous (seems to be a fair bit of this on this site) but it's hard not to be if you have successfully saved for a well funded retirement as many here have done or are doing and read these stories.

So in the end I am just thankful how lucky, smart, goal oriented, focused, I am and call it a day. Sorry everyone can't be these things but if they were it would be a different and tougher world for us lucky smart guys. I try to help friends and family that are less fortunate but there is only so much you can do.
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Old 04-26-2016, 06:30 AM   #132
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[T]here is still the occasional article about some [person] who lives simply and leaves a multi-million bequest to a charity. Stupid people don't do that.
Debatable!

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This is what struck me the most from the article. "In a 2010 report titled 'Middle Class in America', the U.S. Commerce Department defined that class less by its position on the economic scale than by its aspirations".
What kind of fantasy logic is that? People (and organizations and nations) aspire to lots of things, but it doesn't make it so.
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Old 04-26-2016, 06:34 AM   #133
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Call me a self-righteous prick or whatever, but I have no sympathy for self-inflicted problems. Yes it takes some financial ducation and the ability to have a career that can support your given lifestyle. However, making the poor choices is not my problem.

The sad part is all these self-inflicted problem people will vote and select the person that gives them the most gov't handout. That leads to my wallet being tapped by gov't because I am responsible and make good choices.

+1.


And. The problem will come home to roost. About the time the first generation of pensionless people hit retirement age a decade or so from now. We will all pay for it one way or the other.
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Old 04-26-2016, 06:39 AM   #134
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I have a similar story. My son has been saving ever since he graduated from college. He could have saved 10 times more if he pursued a career using his degree. Instead, he decided to live happy and poor by being an artist, something we reluctantly accepted. Sometimes, poverty is a choice ...

Indeed. Did he choose that knowing it is his passion and temporary --in that his parents will provide a nice backstop by way of fat inheritance some day to shore up the savings ... ?

I've seen that happen - choices are made my looking at the total environment.
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Old 04-26-2016, 06:54 AM   #135
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This is actually the thing that made me cringe the most. It's one thing to endanger your own finances but his parents', too? And he's not in a position to to help his parents in case they encounter sudden financial difficulties (e.g. long-term care).
I don't think he's worried about that. His only concern seems to be that his parents are now unable to provide him with a financial legacy:

Quote:
In the end, my parents wound up covering most of the cost of the girls’ educations…. Although I don’t have any regrets about that choice … paying that tariff meant there would be no inheritance when my parents passed on. It meant that we had depleted not only our own small savings, but my parents’ as well.
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An interesting follow-up article in Slate
Old 04-26-2016, 07:39 AM   #136
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An interesting follow-up article in Slate

"All the Sad, Broke, Literary men". Excerpt below.

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Gabler’s essay is the latest example of the long-standing genre that I like to call all the sad, broke, literary men. It almost always presents a personal anecdote as an emblem of broader woes, holding up the author as a symbol of our seemingly forever-contracting middle-income economy. But all too often, it is simply a disguised narrative of privilege….

Rather than cleaning up their financial messes, these men seem to wallow in them. Gabler claims financial ignorance and illiteracy, but it’s more than that. He’s all too aware of the money going out, and even works with a financial counselor. Like most examples of the form, his essay is a mix of bravado, self-abnegation, and regret, with a heavy dose of economic analysis tossed in. “What so many of us have been suffering for so many years may just seem like a rough patch,” he writes. “But it is far more likely to be our lives.”

True! But for our sad, broke, literary men, it doesn’t have to be that way. This is, for the most part, an extremely privileged crowd. The writers, almost despite themselves, still can’t quite stop boasting—about their status, about their buys. Private schools and high-end suburban school districts almost always feature. So do homes in exclusive neighborhoods. Almost no one is writing these tales from Dubuque, Iowa.
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Old 04-26-2016, 08:18 AM   #137
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I do not mean to be harsh but being financially irresponsible with a load of excuses makes my blood boil.
+1. Short and sweet.
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Old 04-26-2016, 09:51 AM   #138
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Art with an entrepreneurial spirit isnt a bad combo. I can see why she would want to give that a go and see where it leads..
Yeah, in addition to an entrepreneurial spirit, Art is a great guy all around and quite rich. If I had a daughter I'd encourage her forget about that other guy she's going out with and try to hook up with Art.



Sorry...waiting for my noon martini.
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Old 04-26-2016, 09:57 AM   #139
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So what would you all do going forward if you were the article author to get back on track financially?
Same thing my bff did when she got into debt in her early 20's (from taking cash advances on her CCs to pay her parents rent because they were an even bigger financial mess.)
- Get a second job.
- Cut all expenses that can be cut

In this case the wife doesn't work. If she goes back to work - even at Minimum wage she'll be bringing in at least 10k net to pay down the debt.
The author can hustle up side gigs and 2nd jobs.

They can move to a lower cost of living place, downsize to a smaller place (presumably the house is big enough to have raised their kids - they don't need as much space now that their kids are launched.).

There ARE choices the author can make now. They're not easy/fun/enjoyable choices... but they are there.
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Old 04-26-2016, 10:30 AM   #140
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There ARE choices the author can make now. They're not easy/fun/enjoyable choices... but they are there.
I'm betting he doesn't take any of those choices except maybe to write another article in a few months and try to sell it.

He's an "auteur" after all; don't see him in an orange apron at Home Depot any time soon.
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