Yeah this is pretty damn depressing. I read it before – I think like 10 people shared it on Facebook – but just reread it again and am like, “What’s the point.”
The older I get, the more… I don’t know if ‘conflicted’ is the right word – in-between I feel. Obviously my parents could help me if shit ever hit the fan, but there’s this general unease I have about living in general. Even with the assets they’ve accumulated over the years, even if they were to give me like all the money they have now, I’d still worry about my kids and sending them to college and buying a decent house and planning for further disasters and staying on top of everything because who knows what is going to happen.
The thing is, Tom is good with money, makes good money, and has been saving for a long time, but we probably still wouldn’t be able to buy a house within the next two or three years anywhere in this damn city unless my parents help us out.
I used to judge people who have worked longer than I have (which is basically everyone), and just wonder what they were doing with their lives that they couldn’t afford to put 20 percent down on a house. But I’m learning more about the housing crises all around the world, observing how rich people just get richer and pass property down to their kids, and I’m just like, wow. It’s not that these people aren’t saving money, it’s that there’s almost no point, when houses in the areas you’re likely to work are routinely over a million dollars.
I would love for us to be able to buy the house on our own. And sure, it’s possible – you’ve done it, a ton of my cousins have done it, but is Tom really that behind? I don’t think so. This part of the article really got to me:
In one of the most infuriating conversations I had for this article, my father breezily informed me that he bought his first house at 29. It was 1973, he had just moved to Seattle and his job as a university professor paid him (adjusted for inflation) around $76,000 a year. The house cost $124,000 — again, in today’s dollars. I am six years older now than my dad was then. I earn less than he did and the median home price in Seattle is around $730,000. My father’s first house cost him 20 months of his salary. My first house will cost more than 10 years of mine.
Also, you make enough money to support a full-on family, have been saving for years, but even you only bought a one bedroom condo. Why should it be so expensive?!?
The feeling around our group of friends is kind of all the same as me, even though a lot of them haven’t had the help from their parents that I’ve had. We’ve had a few dinners in a row with different couples, all with great jobs and stable relationships – the next obvious thing is getting married and having kids in a nice house – and it’s alarming how out of reach that seems, even with robust resumes and bank accounts.
Also alarming is how jaded a bunch of us feel about New York, but also not happy about where else we could move.
It seems the only people who seem to want to stay, who see New York as a place they could totally have a family and a comfortable future, are those I read about in the papers. They’re starting or have started their own companies and either have or are looking for investors. Aka other people’s money. The rest of us – the ones that still work for other people – are slowly saying goodbye to both the city and the dream of building a sustainable lifestyle here.
Even at my own company, which i’m fairly happy about, I’m seeing a ton of that contractor bullshit (myself included). Most of the people above me don’t seem to live anywhere close to Manhattan, except of course the CEO who made roughly $7 million dollars last year. When I read that and knew they were unlikely to give me a full-time job I was like, “Is that really necessary?”
Sure, I’m a well-paid contractor, but at the end of the day, if I wasn’t married I’d still be royally screwed if I needed urgent medical care or my rent suddenly went up and I wanted to do take care of things on my own.
All of us are one life event away from losing everything,” says Ashley Lauber, a bankruptcy lawyer in Seattle and an Old Millennial like me. For most of her clients under 35, she says, the slide toward bankruptcy starts with a car accident or a medical bill. “You can’t afford your deductible, so you go to Moneytree and take out a loan for a few hundred bucks. Then you miss your payments and the collectors start calling you at work, telling your boss you can’t pay. Then he gets sick of it and he fires you and it all gets worse.” For a lot of her millennial clients, Lauber says, the difference between escaping debt and going bankrupt comes down to the only safety net they have—their parents.
Thinking about moving to another country is nice, but the truth is you see it happening everywhere, from Asia to Australia. I think I just have higher expectations for Americans not to put up with stuff like this. And this: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/06/03/business/economy/high-end-medical-care.html?_r=0
At the end of the day I know I’m lucky. But after writing this email I’m realizing why I feel so angsty about it, and why that article resonates so much. Basically, if I did want to make it on my own, with just Tom, we should forget about things like owning property (at least where we’d want to own). We should forget about leaving anything to our kids.
I get why millennials travel and eat out and “YOLO” and don’t think about marriage or kids, because WHY? Even if you have a good job, you can’t afford to even buy a one bedroom in the city where you have said job. If you don’t have parents like mine who are willing to help you out with a house, your only hope is to just dream super big, think about starting your own company, get that investor money, and get out/sell.
Wow that was really depressing. It’s also a rainy ass day here. I actually do appreciate this article though. I’m not taking it as a sign to just give up/do nothing, but just be more aware of how everything ties together.
Anyway, rant over. Thanks for listening.