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Old 09-25-2010, 12:49 PM   #81
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And regarding where he decided to live, how many children he decided to have, the type of education that he decided to get for them, we should be grateful that there are still intelligent, productive people willing to take on the expense and difficulty of child rearing, and educating those children to take over the responsible roles in society.

Who will be your surgeon when you are old? Someone's child I would wager, unless you imagine that we will fill our empty surgeon slots with illegals, as we do our empty fruit picker slots.

I don't expect any understanding of this, as there aren't many systems thinkers around here, but try to think about it. Do you know that it takes 2.2 births per woman to replace population? If the middle class and upper middle class drops out of this responsibility, can you say where the replacements will come from?

Ha
Its amusing to me to see all the FIREd people in their 40s who do not have kids wondering why those of us with a family have a much harder time geting by or getting ahead. Walk a mile...
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Old 09-25-2010, 12:52 PM   #82
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haha, the next time there is a "more frugal than thou" thread, please jump in and nip it in the bud.

And I have found that kids do not cost much nor slow early retirement unless you let them, so for me it doesn't really matter whether they have kids or not. Nor whether anybody else has kids or not. I have kids. Just don't use your kids as an excuse around me, cuz it ain't gonna work.
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Old 09-25-2010, 12:54 PM   #83
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Its amusing to me to see all the FIREd people in their 40s who do not have kids wondering why those of us with a family have a much harder time geting by or getting ahead. Walk a mile...
I have kids, live in a more expensive area than Chicago and I realize those were the choices I made in life and don't whine about any of my expenses.

I find lots of other things to whine about.
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Old 09-25-2010, 01:10 PM   #84
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About him being over his head, perhaps it is true. But in this he is no different from many, in fact he is more responsible than the huge numbers of Americans who are trying to get out from under their debts.

And regarding where he decided to live, how many children he decided to have, the type of education that he decided to get for them, we should be grateful that there are still intelligent, productive people willing to take on the expense and difficulty of child rearing, and educating those children to take over the responsible roles in society.

Who will be your surgeon when you are old? Someone's child I would wager, unless you imagine that we will fill our empty surgeon slots with illegals, as we do our empty fruit picker slots.

I don't expect any understanding of this, as there aren't many systems thinkers around here, but try to think about it. Do you know that it takes 2.2 births per woman to replace population? If the middle class and upper middle class drops out of this responsibility, can you say where the replacements will come from?

Does an intelliegent society really want its law professors and doctors on a path to early retirement? What social goal is accompished by that? Work has to be done by trained people, these individuals as well as the society have made a large investment in training. Do we really want that to be prematurely scrapped ? It is an absurd social goal.

Ha

Talk about know-it-alls...
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Old 09-25-2010, 01:55 PM   #85
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[QUOTE=Emeritus;981700]OFCS The Saudi Arabian ruling class makes all the same arguments.
I don't buy it from them either.

1) The rich get their opportunities from the government and are protected by it. The government provides the entire infrastructure that lets people make money. If you think you made it on your own go to Afghanistan and show us.

2) contempt for the poor is class warfare
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Old 09-25-2010, 02:01 PM   #86
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Your argument about the government misses the point. I grew up poor and maybe the government provided the environment for me to get rich if I worked my ass off, true. But it also offers that opportunity to all and everyone must make their own choices.

If your goal in this country is to get rich, you can do that if you work hard and make it a priority. If you make poor choices and always take the easy route, that is your prerogative and you will reap the consequences. I don't feel sorry for you. Just as I'm not asking for your sympathy because of higher taxes. I'll pay them until I decide to FIRE and then I'll get out.

Also, I don't have contempt for the poor. The contempt I'm reading on this board is for those who are well off, as if they have done something wrong. You lose alot of tax breaks as your income climbs. Apparently you lose many of your rights as well: right to complain, right to whine, right to feel stressed and overwhelmed, right to gripe about taxes or Robin Hood politics, etc.

HaHa is right, without these people the poor would have much, much more to complain about. I was one of those poor people, all through growing up and through college. Thank god for the rich people who gave me my first job and the opportunity to become rich one day. I never held contempt for these people. I saw what they had, wanted it and strove for it, rather than harboring a dark jealousy that I justified through contempt.
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Old 09-25-2010, 02:08 PM   #87
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Whoops guess I screwed up how to do the quote thing.
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Old 09-25-2010, 02:16 PM   #88
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Screw the rich - how dare they bitch about high taxes when I'm drinking Keystone Light, and screw the poor - those lazy slobs.

Some truth to both...
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Old 09-25-2010, 03:52 PM   #89
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I think it is very, very easy to read a blog post like that guys and immediately jump all over the guy. And, yes, there is a lot to jump on. And I do think he would be way better living a different lifestyle.

At the same time I think some of what he was saying has been misinterpreted. He makes the point that he doesn't have a lot of disposable income that isn't already committed. And, I suspect that is true.

Before DH retired and I ESR'ed we were in the over $250k range. And for a variety of reasons (some bad, some good) we had debt that we wanted to pay off. There were people who had much lower income who said that well, if they suddenly had our income, they could pay off $X debt in 6 months or whatever.

Well, that was true for them...but it wasn't true for us. That is, we had a lot of committed expenses that we just couldn't turn off immediately. We couldn't just decide to start paying half our mortgage or to not pay school tuition (we had a full year's contract) or to not buy the kind of clothes that were considered appropriate for my work environment, etc.

Now, we did unwind all of that. We paid off the debt we had and over a period of about 4 years were able to reduce most of those committed expenses. But, we couldn't do it immediately.

What I found was that we were very, very good on the small things. I always read these articles about how to reduce expenses. Don't go to Starbucks every day (we didn't) and so on. Generally we didn't do any of that. The big drain was the big expenses -- mortgage, cars, vacation, school tuition and so on. And those types of expenses tend to (1) not be things you can turn off immediately and (2) changing them is a huge lifestyle change.

I'm glad we changed most of those things (some of them our kids aged out of them). But doing it was a lot more time consuming than many might realize.
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Old 09-25-2010, 04:02 PM   #90
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But I think what stirred up such a hornet's nest is that he cried poor when they are obviously leading a privileged life compared to over 99% of the people in the world.
Do you hold people in the lowest income quintile to this standard as well?
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Old 09-25-2010, 04:07 PM   #91
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At the time of the Bush tax cuts we were way above $250K and profited significantly from the cuts. Nevertheless, we both ranted against the cuts at the time.
Curious if you put your money where your mouth was: Did you continue to pay the taxes at the rate prior to the Bush tax cut? If not, why rail against a cut only to run off with the money? Why not just continue to pay what you believe is your fair share?
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Old 09-25-2010, 04:11 PM   #92
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Isn't it interesting that

Quote:
His research interests include corporations, securities regulation, bankruptcy, law and economics, and intellectual property.
and he's working on this paper

Quote:
"Bankruptcy for Competitive Advantage." (with Todd Zywicki).
I think the Hendersons' millstone around their neck is their student debt. They may not have any family who can contribute to child care in Chicago and both parents work long hours. If I were in their circumstances my expenses would be high too. But instead of whining about it, they need some basic financial counselling.

Paging Gail Van Oxlade.....
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Old 09-25-2010, 04:24 PM   #93
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I think it is very, very easy to read a blog post like that guys and immediately jump all over the guy. And, yes, there is a lot to jump on. And I do think he would be way better living a different lifestyle.

At the same time I think some of what he was saying has been misinterpreted. He makes the point that he doesn't have a lot of disposable income that isn't already committed. And, I suspect that is true.

Before DH retired and I ESR'ed we were in the over $250k range. And for a variety of reasons (some bad, some good) we had debt that we wanted to pay off. There were people who had much lower income who said that well, if they suddenly had our income, they could pay off $X debt in 6 months or whatever.

Well, that was true for them...but it wasn't true for us. That is, we had a lot of committed expenses that we just couldn't turn off immediately. We couldn't just decide to start paying half our mortgage or to not pay school tuition (we had a full year's contract) or to not buy the kind of clothes that were considered appropriate for my work environment, etc.

Now, we did unwind all of that. We paid off the debt we had and over a period of about 4 years were able to reduce most of those committed expenses. But, we couldn't do it immediately.

What I found was that we were very, very good on the small things. I always read these articles about how to reduce expenses. Don't go to Starbucks every day (we didn't) and so on. Generally we didn't do any of that. The big drain was the big expenses -- mortgage, cars, vacation, school tuition and so on. And those types of expenses tend to (1) not be things you can turn off immediately and (2) changing them is a huge lifestyle change.

I'm glad we changed most of those things (some of them our kids aged out of them). But doing it was a lot more time consuming than many might realize.
Thus underscoring the wisdom of one of UncleMick's salty sayings: always remain agile, mobile and hostile.

In 2005 I landed a bigtime job at a hedge fund with otential for big bucks. Problem is that I live in central NJ and the job was in downtown Greenwich, CT. Greenwich is the kind of place where my boss gave me directions to get somewhere on the outskirts and part of the directions were "if you aren't passing houses the size of szable hotels, you are going the wrong way." I looked at the extremely ugly commute vs. the absurd cost of living anywhere near the job and decided that since no job lasts forever, I would commute from my present home rather tan having to roughly triple my fixed costs. Man did that commute suck for 3 and a half years! It took its toll and cost me quite a bit personally, but when the sht hit the fan I was not committed to a mortgage the size of the trade deficit. But a lot of people would not have made the same choice.
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Old 09-25-2010, 04:52 PM   #94
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I guess we need to add to the list of things not to argue (Religion and Politics) the definition of "RICH". I don't recall a thread as spirited (contentious?) as this one for quite some time. In the old days, it would have been suggested to move it to the SOAPBOX.

I'm guessing most of the arguments have already been made, so I'm not sure I can add much. Still, it amazes me to hear the vitriol (on all sides) within a group who, for the most part, have figured out how to live within their means - whether that be a little or a lot (please don't ask me to define those terms.)
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Old 09-25-2010, 05:08 PM   #95
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If Mr. H were to post here instead of his blog, folks would quickly point out that they were quite well off but they were living above their means, they shouldn’t complain, their real problem is not an impending tax rate increase but their own spending, and their desired financial well being is still achievable – but they need to shift their priorities.

If they were to ask advice, folks here would immediately recommend a less expensive combination of schools / mortgage / cars. Pay off the student debt as quickly as possible, even if that meant giving up other pleasures.

Many of us have been there and went about it differently. I suspect this family is in a bit of a mess, got there without thinking and now are looking hard at their finances for the first time. They can still make it, but need to stop ranting and start acting with better financial sense.
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Old 09-25-2010, 05:24 PM   #96
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The way some of you post, you'd confuse a couple of working professionals for billionaires.

Sure they have a little more disposable income, but on the right and left coast they pay very high taxes and housing costs. And someone has to watch the kids while they work. Childcare ain't cheap on the coasts. There just isn't as much left over as you would think after the costs of working are deducted.

So in my book $250k isn't rich by a long shot. Maybe in Peoria that's "the good life". But on the coasts they are still squarely middle class.

For those of you who want to "Tax the Rich" I would say that you are next to be taxed. Be careful what you ask for.
Once again, MB turns out to be one of the lone voices of sanity.

I have to laugh whenever politicians [Moderator Edit] refer to people making $250k (pre tax) as "Rich" and taxable in the same category as billionaires.

Sure, making $250k might be legendary for a spinster living in a 150 year-old mud-and-alligator-bone shack in the backwaters of the Bayou, but families with children living in places like NYC or Los Angeles are barely able to make ends meet in decent neighborhoods on $250k.

Of course, some people may question whether American families are entitled to have children or send those children to get a better-than-public education, or raise them in decent neighborhoods. I say thank God that there are such families. We all need them in one way or the other. They drive our economy, provide jobs, and pay a hugely disproportionate (and unfair) amount of the taxes in this country.

The bigger question IMO, is why society has allowed good neighborhoods and good schools to become so rare and expensive as to exclude most Americans who earn far less than $250k/year.
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Old 09-25-2010, 05:26 PM   #97
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Curious if you put your money where your mouth was: Did you continue to pay the taxes at the rate prior to the Bush tax cut? If not, why rail against a cut only to run off with the money? Why not just continue to pay what you believe is your fair share?
That suggestion comes up all the time around here but it makes no sense. It is like asking a 65 YO Tea Partier why he doesn't refuse Medicare. My "fair share" isn't fair if only I pay it. My few dollars by themselves would make no dent in the debt. The tax policy I espoused and was willing to continue paying a little extra for had, at the time, put us on a path to solvency. In light of the tax cut, and the debt disaster that followed, the only prudent course is to sock away a small fortune to survive the eventual reckoning.
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Old 09-25-2010, 05:32 PM   #98
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The Hendersons need to hang out somewhere like this forum, or Squawkfox...

The real reason you’re broke | Squawkfox
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Old 09-25-2010, 05:54 PM   #99
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Just to be clear (to quote a certain president):

There is absolutely no evidence that the Bush tax cuts led to or In any way contributed to the housing meltdown despite what liberals would like to believe. It was actually liberal policies allowing those who could never afford homes to purchase them and also those predatory businesses that were happy to write loans they knew would never be recovered. Do your research before making statements that are soundbites with no reality or basis in fact.

And if you want to see the positive effects of the more reasonable tax rates (let's stop calling them tax cuts because the government taking less of what I am earning is not the government giving me something as some would have us believe), wait until this Administration reverses them. I predict this will cause higher unemployment and actually fewer tax revenues will be realized from the so called "rich".
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Old 09-25-2010, 06:02 PM   #100
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Interesting that a thread supposedly about the whining of a very well-off couple being unable to make it on a combined income most only dream of turns into another mud-slinging political pissing match. Sheesh...
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