We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
The NYT notes that, by living standards, a $50,000 income in Houston provides the same material comforts as $130,000 in the NY metropolitan area. Here's why it's difficult to lead a prosperous life on $500,000 in Manhattan.
I live in the suburbs of NYC. I own a home that cost me over $900k 3 years ago (50% down due to sale of previous home). My combined family income has never topped $190k.
Right now it's about 3/5 that.
I have always managed to save money, even when my income has dropped as precipitously as it has the last 2 years.
I am not saving alot, but I'm saving.
I have 2 kids in public school. I ride the train and the PATH. It's not humiliating. I've had jobs that provided me limos - I've turned them down (except when I broke my leg).
This concept of the "culture of spending" is something I see close to me. There are stockbrokers (now unemployed) on my street who live this way. I think they are foolish. I would love to mock them, but I actually feel sorry for them. Mostly, these guys would love to have a simpler life. But they've gotten caught up in a lifestyle that, once their wife and kids got into it...they can't let go. The wife (this isn't meant to be sexist, but in the examples that I've seen, it's true) sometimes becomes the driving force behind the income. I know one woman who gets a facial each week, has her golf and tennis lessons, insists on joining the private pool, has to have her new car every 3 years, has the kids in elite schools WITH tutors as well (by the way, her kids are smoking weed and drinking on the side...but she doesn't pay attention), etc.
The guy? He gets up at 4 to be at work by 6. He's home by 7. He has 1 hour at the gym. He has golf on Saturdays. He is impressed that I cut my own lawn and do my own repairs on my house - he's not that skilled, he says. He may be right. I can use a circular saw...he can't use a handsaw.
It's sad. I really feel bad for them. They will be divorced shortly, I'm sure, as she will seek her new sugar daddy.
But this article? It's crap. It's all made up stuff. Sure, it's got a grain of truth, but it's not real life stuff. These people are all plastic and couldn't really tell you what's meaningful. One example of what these people are like:
Sure, he's in SF....but he's a real person and he's just like these nitwits.
Still, I feel bad for my neighbor. He's never imagined life treating him this poorly and hasn't prepared for it. Me? I've been laid off 3 times and taken 2 jobs for less money just to work. I can deal.
My brother has one of those really high paying NYC jobs, he's got 4 kids, and like the rest of us, he's a regular guy, but a high achiever, lives outside of NYC in a wealthy suburb. He was power-washing his house last spring and his next door neighbor came over and asked how much would it cost for him to do hers next. She thought he was a hired worker, didn't realize he was doing his own house. Not every million dollar banker on wall st. who gets driven home by a limo is as down to earth as my brother I guess, but he sends his kids to Catholic school and comes from a family where lots of children are welcome, and family gatherings are important...my point is, don't stereotype.
Bird Dog ... As you know, I live in Houston, which blooms with a gorgeous riot of flowers for ten months of the year. It has first class opera, very good theatre, excellent restaurants and is close to the ocean for sailing. Costs us a little more than $50,000 a year, but it's lovely, most of the time, unless we have a hurricane come through. I had to live in New York City for two years while I finished college. It's incredibly noisy, crowded, quite full of unpleasant people and costs $500,000 a year to live a comparable life to mine. It does have the Met. Opera and other good music, but I decided back in the 1950s when I lived there that the only way I would enjoy living there is if I could live on Park Avenue and have servants to do the nasty stuff, so I left town as soon as I graduated and have never regretted it.
Last year I read a story about Mrs. Brooke Astor, one of the richer women in the world, who died in her Park Avenue apartment on a urine stained couch, with servants who neglected her and relatives who couldn't be bothered to monitor her welfare.
Frankly, I'd far rather be in Houston, which most New Yorkers scorn. More fools they.