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  • Interesting budget article

    https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/...43902735120063

  • #2
    fatlittlepig skimmed the figures, looks like another example of people spending beyond their means. Right?

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    • #3
      Yes, it is a good example of how people usually feel like earning another 20-30% will fix everything not realizing people already earning 20-30% more are thinking the same thing about needing a little bit more money to be more comfortable. Happens to physicians too but probably not as often as the high salary allows a degree of sloppiness in budgeting that you can’t afford when you are making 50k. It’s easy to see how the car payments/interest payments really do prevent the middle class from getting ahead when you write out a budget.

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      • #4
        In short, they all live above their means (although the couple from Iowa City still have money left over at the end of the month, they could easily save more). Many of them have made bad decisions regarding school and investing in their future. The first couple has student loan debt while she works part time at a CBD shop and he's a line cook. Another couple has a loan on an 11 year old Honda. As nephron alluded to, earning more isn't their problem because they'll find themselves in a similar situation but with different numbers. It's a mindset problem and it is getting any better.

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        • #5
          For the follow-up article I'd like to see NYT offer them some real help and have MMM go through their budgets with tooth/comb He'll quickly find thousands they are wasting away (hello --couple spending $1000/mo on cars)

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          • #6
            The point of the article is that the middle-class lifestyle is being challenged by college, childcare, healthcare, and housing costs that are growing faster than income. Yes, the families in the article aren't making 100% perfect financial decisions, but that's not the point of the exercise.

            I would have also seriously struggled at 27 or 28 with two kids 4 and 2. I didn't get kid #2 until 31 when DW was an attending.

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            • #7
              Needs vs Wants.

              Cell phones, Cable, And vacations are luxuries.

              People tend to forget that a new car and a 2000 sq foot home are luxuries.

              Living in HCOL areas is a Luxury.


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              • #8
                I'd argue that a cell phone is a need more than a want now. a lot of people don't have land lines and cheap mobile plans with a paid off phone provides a lot of utility. the latest generation phone with an unlimited plan is definitely a want

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                • Lordosis
                  Lordosis commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Need is a strong word but I will accept that access to some form of telecommunication is needed.
                  I think 95% of people have way more phone then they need or can afford.

              • #9
                They’re bringing in 10K a month and manage to spend it all. No sympathy from Fatlittlepig. I cut my own hair and spend maybe 500 over the past two years on clothes and I would be surprised if it were that much.
                from the article:
                800 month on groceries and dining out
                500 / month on haircuts and clothes
                400 on baby purchases

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                • #10
                  Crazy Personal Finance isn't taught in schools.
                  Took Home Ec in middle school - imagine if instead of sewing a stuffed surf board or baking a cake, they actually taught budgeting?

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                  • #11
                    I enjoyed home ec classes and still remember it after all of these years. They should teach both. My kids learn about personal finance at their school.

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                    • #12
                      A chooses to have 3 cats. They have an 800 dollar surplus/ month. I don't see how that is poor. If they use that to pay off their credit card debt they won't be in bad shape.
                      B chooses to spend 1200 dollars/month on education for 3 and 2 year olds?
                      C chooses to spend 3500 dollars/month of rent
                      D is saving 30k/yr for retirement, have some college savings and 1500/month surplus. how are they poor again?

                      Dumb article

                      Comment


                      • #13
                        Originally posted by fatlittlepig View Post
                        They’re bringing in 10K a month and manage to spend it all. No sympathy from Fatlittlepig. I cut my own hair and spend maybe 500 over the past two years on clothes and I would be surprised if it were that much.
                        from the article:
                        800 month on groceries and dining out
                        500 / month on haircuts and clothes
                        400 on baby purchases
                        Is that why we've only seen pics of your wrist?

                        Comment


                        • #14
                          The Sheboygan family is unbelievable. Didn't bother finishing their degrees? Had kids before getting ANY kind of stable job? Had kids without bothering to figure out health insurance? They could have waited five years to get themselves together. Their poor kids, and not fair on the taxpayer, either.
                          Last edited by snowcanyon; 11-19-2019, 10:36 PM.

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                          • #15
                            Originally posted by SLC OB View Post

                            Is that why we've only seen pics of your wrist?
                            I think I do a pretty serviceable job. How does it look to you?
                            Last edited by fatlittlepig; 11-20-2019, 06:00 AM.

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