This article just feels like a vector to drive traffic towards her sites, though.
I live way more frugally these days. I don’t intentionally scrimp and save, I just find it difficult to spend what I make without buying $5,000 purses that will get donated when they’re way out of fashion in 2 years.
I know, I know: first world problems. But it’s emblematic of the wealth inequality in the US: a lot of people are struggling to make ends meet while some people have to invest effort into finding ways to spend the money they make.
This is fascinating. I suspect 99% of people simply don't care and can't even tell a $50 purse from $5000 one, and this Gucci vs Hermes rivarvly is only relevant for a tiny minority of sad snobs. Like the other poster said, good for you for ditching this.
It’s kind of ironic: these days, within my private world, my job and the money I make cause people to distrust me at first. Most of my friends make less than a quarter of what I make, so I have to be careful about new purchases (e.g. a friend of mine had been saving for a $2500 guitar which I could easily have bought on a whim — but I got a way cheaper one so as to not make her feel like shit because she is far more dedicated to her music than I am). At the same time I can’t buy my friends things like that because it distances me and makes them feel they owe me. I don’t see it like that — I feel the amount of money I make is arbitrarily unfair because I blindly made a career decision 20 years ago that worked out from me. But they do, so I have to be sensitive.
I still wear the flashy clothes, purses and shoes in a work context because they make me feel like a confident bad bitch and I’m client-facing. But I do it for me rather than the external validation (ok, and maybe a bit of imposter syndrome).
Also it’s entirely the same with the men so this isn’t a sexist thing — it’s just bespoke suits, shoes and watches for the guys. And a class ring on your finger if it’s from an Ivy. And this is true regardless of the kind of “business” — go to the music world and it’s all streetwear with $500 Supreme t-shirts and $2500 limited-edition sneakers; and the tech world has hoodies, bicycles, cars and the latest bleeding-edge tech. It’s all peacocking.
She was walking down the sidewalk an a woman coming the other way had an even more expensive purse which she turned toward her.
The expensive purse woman took a subtlety diagonal path to gradually force her to the side until she had to step behind a light post to avoid a collision.
Quite the power move hahaha.
They make their money by telling people that owning them sends a signal to others.
To me the biggest luxury in the world is being able to live reasonably happily within one's means and not having to worry about it. To think about one's finances as little as reasonably possible while not overspending and still getting to have fun with it sometimes, with the confidence that a reasonable amount of it is being saved for retirement someday. It doesn't require being rich, just having a sense of the value of things and the value of one's own time and life and life experiences, and getting good at quick, rough estimates of one's financial situation.
The more I have to worry about money the less happy I am, even if it's tons of money and I'm just figuring out how to best utilize it. Obsessing over money leads to a person thinking about nickel-and-dime bullshit throughout the day, every day. That's fun for some people, I get it, but they need to realize they're wasting time thinking about nickel-and-dime bullshit because it's fun to them, not because it's practical or pragmatic to do so. And that's fine if they want to do that, but they just tend to be miserable people to spend time with who are always missing the forest for the trees when living life.
In my opinion spending money is usually more work than it is worth, even without considering the time it takes to earn said money. Like, you have to go to the store, keep track of another item in your home which you basically never use, throw it away etc. Or go to a restaurant, order things, wait for 30 minutes just to eat and then wait to pay and so on. Or going on trips to exotic places, which mostly entails wasting a day sitting on a plane just to visit a country with barely functioning infrastructure.
So to me it looks like people work hard to spend their money for no reason at all and that is what keeps them miserable.
Why pay $10 for a salad when $20 can pay for a week of salads customized exactly the way you want. (and organic)
Money doesn’t just buy a different grade of items. It also buys a whole slew of novel experiences, of which you only get so many in your life.
Yeah, some amount of spending can make you happier.
Live while you're alive. You don't know when the bus is going to come around that corner a little too fast.
I would honestly never live like this, regardless of my financial goals. I hope the husband is actually enjoying it...
> I would honestly never live like this, regardless of my financial goals.
Yes you would. If your financial goal was to have enough money to put food on your table, you'd care less where that table was located.
And I also disagree; I have lived in a studio before.
But in this context -- owning a 4 bedroom house yet deciding to rent out the remaining rooms to live in one of the bedrooms -- it is indeed extreme frugality.
> Yes you would. If your financial goal was to have enough money to put food on your table, you'd care less where that table was located.
So you think that there are people out there who own a 4 bedroom house and have a 7 figure (?) household income and yet struggle to put food on the table??
Or do you just have trouble sticking to context?
To be fair you wrote "never", not "within this context".
I'll keep that to myself because I don't want to offend anyone and get downvoted, though a lot of it is drawn from what I was like when I dated someone like the author.
She only had to spend half of her post-China childhood in poverty before her mom started earning doctor money, but she still thought/behaved very much like the writer of this article. Though unlike the author, she hates her parents.
I see compulsive frugality as a boon in a capitalist society. Especially in the United States.
If you opt out of the growth is required mindset its perfectly possible there are other economic models which work just fine to live under despite the scary sounding descriptions.
The Japanese are committing suicide at higher rates than Americans, and a million of them have chosen to live as shut-ins rather than participate in society. They're also not having children. Maybe that's your utopia but it sure isn't mine.
Or amphetamines, which are very illegal in Japan.
I lived there for half a year when my wife was teaching english after college and I wouldn’t want to go back. The dirty looks I got, the salarymen sucking their teeth at me, the houses I was denied from renting, the list goes on and on.
And I look white and put together. God help you if you’re black or an ‘inferior’ darker asian.
I left Japan because I felt that the fabric of Japanese society was unraveling. Maybe that’s a bit dramatic, but at a minimum, the “social contract” was changing dramatically, and it was debatable whether the change was good or not. My opinion was that it was not.
Note, however, that I was not in Tokyo. Tokyo and the rest of Japan are basically different worlds. I may have a different opinion if I lived and worked there.
Things that made me sad:
- People with good, stable jobs were hyperconservative with their money, as though a crash had just happened or was imminent. This has killed the velocity of money in the country, and it’s terrible for the economy. Simple example, a group I used to be a member of used to have four big enkai (basically a party) at roughly between $100 and $250 a head (sometimes with hotel/onsen stayovers) as well as second, third, and fourth stops at additional bars. For folks with lesser means, the folks with greater means would pick up their share of the extra bars. Now that same group meets once a year at about $50-$60 a head and there is a 1-2 drink second bar. Incomes of the participants is the same or better than before. Note that I am not advocating one over the other, just that it’s indicative of the drastic slowing of the velocity of money in the economy.
- Once-proud towns are becoming villages (legal distinctions) and are having to merge into other towns. This has squashed a lot of the furusato identity, imo.
- Houses in provincial areas, some of them extremely nice, are either abandoned or only used during obon and maybe new year celebrations.
- Top students from top 20 universities are not guaranteed really good jobs any more. Decent ones, sure, but great ones? No. They are feeding much lower down on the food chain now.
- Ways for non-salarymen to have a good social/financial living have decreased dramatically. Far fewer OLs (love or hate the idea of them, they were a great way for men and women of a similar social status to meet/date/get married). For folks with no college, opening a little bar or snack is nothing like it used to be. It’s still possible, but the number of enterprising folks who can open a small bar and reasonably expect to make salaryman level of income or better (it the past, it was often much better) is far smaller than it used to be.
- Degree credentialing has become a thing. I think this was sort of brought over from the US, but the implementation has been terrible. For reference, in my department (I was a professor), the worst students and future professors were the only folks who applied to grad school. The worst students did so because they couldn’t get a job, and a masters degree would help them the next time around. The department took them for the money.
- My close friend and real estate agent and real estate manager actively discouraged me from buying a house. She said it was a bad investment unless you had access to privileged deal flow (like she did) or were going to die on that land (probably not that house).
I could go on. Needless to say, I did not think that my future in non-Tokyo Japan was going to be like living in some sort of utopia. Far from it.
I now live in California. It has its problems, too, but i much prefer it to where I was in Japan. Maybe Tokyo is different, but I wasn’t willing to make that bet over California.
Note that I love Japan, and there are certain aspects I miss about living there, but “great feelings about the current and future social fabric” is not one of them.
I thought about buying one in 2011-12, but there was a good chance I was going to leave the area, so I did not buy.
On a personal level, I’m not so concerned about buying a house in general. If I ever buy one, it will be as an investment at a rock bottom price.
Additionally, where I live, you can rent a place for much less than you can buy it. The only recent time that this was not true was after the crash, and that was only for a brief period of time (4 years tops).
I grew up poor, but not as poor as the lady in the article. And it was in Ireland, so there was a social security net, my college degree was paid for, etc. So I feel comfy enough once I have a year's take-home income in the bank. Past that point I feel good spending money on things my partner and I enjoy, things we may not have time for if we have kids or might not be able to do at all when we get old. Working hard is only good if the work in itself is rewarding, or the money buys you things that are rewarding. Money in itself doesn't really have that allure. A six or seven figure bank account wouldn't excite me - I've spent the best part of a million pounds since I started my career, and certainly don't regret not saving it.
The view of these proponents is usually that if you can max out savings for 10 years or so by living extremely frugally, the next 40 or 50 years of your life can be lived without having to seek employment, which seems reasonable if that’s what you care for.
OTOH many people find their careers soar with time, as they build experience, empathy and learn their way around how the corporate world works. The financial rewards get larger, but more interesting is the opportunity to solve tough technical problems (well, for me, as an engineer).
I also find it a little wasteful to not enjoy ones youth, which is not a time that will come back, and is likely the only time where you can experience life somewhat unattached and figure out what kind of partner would work best, what kind of personality works best, which city is a good one to lay roots etc.
This is a pretty restricted view of turn power of money. Charity and/or helping one's family is rewarding. Also rewarding, as the other commenter pointed out, is the freedom to not chopse between non-rewarding work and poverty.
The freedom to choose doesn't require enough income for a frugal lifetime without work. It just requires enough income to find a more rewarding job. The marginal benefit declines, the longer you look the more likely you are to find what you're searching for. That's why I only keep a year's worth of takehome on easy access (apart from my pension, house equity, etc.)
A life without a job is a life without purpose. People who retire early die early. Even outside a conventional job, money is proof that you create value; if there's no money in whatever activity you choose, it's probably a consumption good.
Do you have a link to the list of states?
“In 2012, the media reported the case of John Pittas, whose mother had received care in a skilled nursing facility in Pennsylvania after an accident and then moved to Greece. The nursing home sued her son directly, before even trying to collect from Medicaid. A court in Pennsylvania ruled that the son must pay, according to the Pennsylvania filial responsibility law.”
Also, my spouse's parents wouldn't necessarily require care, but honestly I'd really prefer if they came to live with us too.
I may be an outlier, but I see the nuclear suburban family lifestyle as a recipe for misery and loneliness. I look forward both to multigenerational living and to more dense walkable neighborhoods.
I married a woman with full knowledge we would have to support her mother who had cognitive issues due to a stroke.
I’m not sure where this idea came from that it is somehow an Eastern ideal to take care of your parents. It is common across many parts of Europe and the US.
Social Security is nice, but that’s just money. It doesn’t address the emotional and cultural aspects of keeping the elderly part of society.
I also budget about 10% toward educational purchases (equipment and services, mostly tech) for personal projects and learning, which I think will financially benefit me long term even if it means I save less now.
OP's $1.7M in investments? If I had that, yeah, I'd surely be saving 90% of it, too. Maybe 95%.
I've listened to enough financial independence podcasts to know that it's absolutely possible to hit a 90% savings rate. There are guests on the show who have done it on much less income than my family, and we'll be lucky if we hit 40%. It just depends on what assumptions of necessity you're willing to give up to do it.
Actually, to me, savings percentage isn't important as a bottom line number. It's just a helpful intermediate number for understanding cash flow. I'm much more interested in net wealth contribution and how that dials up to future plans involving large sums of money (e.g. moving or expanding house, education, letting go of wage income, major philanthropy, estate plans, risk management).
What makes you believe that? The overwhelming majority of savings are held in bonds, stocks and real estate, not in paper notes in a vault. You might quible over the usefulness of savings and investments vs other allocations, but assuming is useless is pretty extreme.
That is why banks are not evil. On the contrary: they are the basis of a healthy economy.
OTOH, it might be debated that banks which take your money leverage it out and get huge returns while giving you a fraction of a percent, banks that charge 2-4% transaction fees for basic transfers for merchants, or fee harvesting people for more than their net worth are more economic parasites than useful service providers.
Much of modern banking in countries like the US are basically shifting wealth from the economic value creators to a few vampires growing their own personal fortunes which dwarf that of the other 99.999% of the population. The idea that they might return some of that to their customers though interest bearing checking accounts, removing low balance fees or any of their other abusive practices never comes up.
And precisely because banking is so essential to economy, its corruption is one of the worst events in an economy.
I haven't fully thought this through so please poke holes in the argument if you can :)
Also, the two websites she runs, as linked at the bottom of the page - one of them is a blog/content site about living frugally, one is about making money any way you can. They're part of the same problem that the article (probably inadvertently?) illustrates.
Its an ugly cycle, people who check out of it are definitely not mentally ill IMHO. Average US consumerism is an addiction.
> He doesn’t mind the way I want to live — he just goes along with it.
> I once had a conversation with my husband about how if I died, he’d have to keep taking care of my parents. It’s a dark topic, I know, and he wasn’t thrilled about the idea. But he wouldn’t kick them out.
> My dad is now retired, and when my mom retires she’ll move in with us too. The plan is to give them this house eventually, and get our own nearby.
She says her parents aren't pleasant people. Imagine how her husband feels about dedicating all his future earnings towards their happiness. She thinks this is normal.
Getting married basically means that if you haven't already discussed this there is a strong possibility that might end up living with your spouses parents during their last few years simply because its more convenient driving them to the doctor and generally taking care of them as they go downhill. About the only way you get out of this is if some other sibling is better off or has more free time, lives closer or any number of other situations.
Chinese poverty, I suspect, gets far worse than that.
Just seems like straightforward frugality, and she probably did far better than her ancestors going back a thousand years (or ever). Chinese premodern poverty was always worse than European.
I live frugally, and I feel like my accumulating wealth is a laser cannon strapped to my back, ready to deploy as I see fit. The freedom is exhilarating.
Just a word of advice that you may already do. Please have very good communication with your wife about financial matters. This situation is very stressful for the frugal person, and it has caused all of our biggest arguments. The only thing we've found to help is very clear communication.
> I’m keenly aware that I’ll be left penniless once I can no longer work, but I have a plan for that.
What's the plan?
The post sounded to me like the Smith and Wesson retirement plan.
I have a morbid, but sneaking suspicion that that it's the latter half of "live fast, die young." Maybe I'm just projecting, though ;)
His frugal wife's savings maybe...? I hope not.
And as I've put in the effort to be more mindful of my spending, it's felt more liberating than anything else. All this to say, you might also find it can actually feel better to do other things with money than spending it.
What's your plan?
I don't like these headlines. Why does everything have to be clickbait these days?
I wouldn’t normally think calling this out is so important, but she’s using struggle porn as advertising for her businesses linked at the bottom of the article. She’s lying for profit.
She rents the house she lives in for more than the cost of her mortgage. She makes income from that there. They don't own a car. Her husband gets a free bus pass from work. No housing or transportation expenses. So what's left? Food?
Her husband works in tech (first Amazon, and now Google!) and saves 100% of his income. And they live off hers. They have like $1.7 million saved from his Amazon stock which should be a nice investment income too.
Their expenses are around $1000 per month.
Not that hard to imagine the math.
Being able to buy a house and rent it out for more than you pay is /hard/ because it's based on luck. No one in a major tech hub could start and do that right now. Houses in the bay regularly sell for $10k/month in total cost but rent for $5-6k. And then immediately say goodbye to 40%+ of your rental income to taxes. It's just not hard - it's luck.
They rent out the rest of the house including the living areas and kitchen.
That's some massive sacrifice. That's not luck. That's the willingness to give up massive amounts of comfort in exchange for money.
Not many are willing to do that.
I would also think that "90% of my income" is really "90% of our income", since they're married.
Marrying a rich man was the deus ex machina.
I thought the talk about breaking the "cycle of poverty" was pointing towards a heroic use of frugality to overcome, but no, solution was marriage.
And then the extremely/uncomfortable frugality, as opposed to healthy frugality, after becoming rich points to pathology more than anything else.
I'm disappointed and feel slightly bait and switched. Her husband's income enables her take on ephemeral gigs and run a blog full-time instead of working at a regular 9-5 job. Also, her extreme frugality is just a fun thought experiment, blog topic and hobby for her. It is impractical and an ineffective use of time for non-hobbyists --- if she had to work a full-time job, she would be better off spending more time developing her career and less time being extremely frugal.
Additionally, I like reading about 1st/2nd generation immigrant stories but she appears to also solve the integration and cultural challenges of her immigrant background by marrying an all-american rich white guy.
What if it's an important part of the equation? Stable marriages have rather strong inverse correlations to poverty levels. Maybe finding someone rich in this case was especially fortunate, but even marrying someone of similar economic means tends to be a boon (on average at least).
And pathology... most people are "pathological" in some way. It's hard for me to tut about personal inclinations too much.
At present 'success' in practice is basically synonymous with 'resource consumption'. At a guess that is going to be a very sticky connection that might even be wired in at the biological level; it seems to be quite consistent across the different cultures I know of.
It is not possible to liberate people to pursue success by improving the social safety nets. People who use their free time to advance society are as rare as hens teeth; even most of the productive people use their free time to advance their own interests or their immediate families interests.
I think there is a good argument for making sure everyone has few-questions-asked access to ~9,000 kJ/day of food and some sort of safe housing to live in. We live in wealthy times. But a social safety net isn't going to set people up for success in any way that is meaningful to most people.
I find that a very sad view. Many people I know can't start a business or do risky things because of food, shelter, medical insurance/premiums. I know I'd jump if I knew that if/when I failed, I wouldn't be destitute.
Right now, doing such is primarily relegated to inheritance, familial money, or miraculously winning it 'big' (Horatio Alger stories). They have the cushion. They can fall back to safety within family money. They have connections.
We don't have any of those things going for us. But then again, people also think we're just too lazy or unmeaningful. No, we just know what's being risked, and we can't make that choice with the threat of destitution.
The bottom goes pretty deep in the US.
I believe that's a personal thing, some people would, but most wouldn't. Some people would get hyper productive if everything was taken care off, others would barely leave their flat.
> I know I'd jump if I knew that if/when I failed, I wouldn't be destitute.
You wouldn't be in Western Europe. Yet, very few people jump and take a chance. I don't think that the effect is that large, if it exists at all - don't forget that social safety nets come at a price: (very) high taxes, lots of regulation, entrepreneurship isn't looked at the same way, the systems are rather static.
This reminded me of one of my favourite quotes from Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri:
"Resources exist to be consumed. And consumed they will be, if not by this generation then by some future. By what right does this forgotten future seek to deny us our birthright? None I say! Let us take what is ours, chew and eat our fill."
-- CEO Nwabudike Morgan "The Ethics of Greed"
In a macro sense, biological life/evolution, economics, and production of goods points to innovation and efficiency gains being made by risking one’s time/enengy/resources in hope of creating a new local efficient outcome.
Free time has nothing do with that.
We also know that stress and poverty actually reduce the brain's capacity to think, and even moreso, a child who suffers from stress/hunger/general poverty has a stunted brain development due to exposure to stress in their formative years. So, naturally, we can say that not having systematic stressors like hunger, economic insecurity, health concerns, etc. would lead people to have greater capacity for wonderful things.
With that narrative, many scientists in history were not people that didn't have to do some of these boring things. They were people that filled their free time with experimentation and other observations.
Of course, that is just one narrative to fit to the data. I'm sure there are others. But it is not just incumbent on one side to give evidence. Can you point to evidence that free time is not beneficial? Observationally, as a parent, forcing my kids to have boring free time has led to them doing/learning as much as forcing them to productive learning time. (Indeed, I've grown sympathetic to the argument that productive learning time often isn't either of its claims. )
I'm not sure there's a linear relationship between free time and scientific progress, but people need free time to scratch their itches, and sometimes this itches progress our understanding of the world.
I like our world isn't wonderful as is.
Imagine what a peasant from 300 years ago would think seeing what their work would be value at today.
Its peanuts in our perspective, but not starving is a start, eating meat would be a luxury, being able to see a doctor.
Hating ourselves is trending right now, sad.
Do you think our world isn't incredible, and by far the best a human could ever hope for so far?
Wow. I am without words.
All I can say is, some people have bigger imaginations than others and being a slave to capital is not always paradise.
The bit about the king completely misses the point. Again, I would hope that in 300 years, technological progress UNDER ANY SYSYTEM would afford "miracles" in the eyes of kings or peasants. jfc.
I’m not sure I see a case where the economic machine speeds up by giving people limitless free time.
I like the idea of a safety net for healthcare btw, bc even privately we pay too much, and the current system sucks to use, pay for, experience, etc. A world where the basics are given sounds nice, but there are a seriously concerning amount of people that are wildly lazy (I wish there was a dataset to measure this I was aware of, but I’m going off of the towns I grew up in and people I knew.)
Just with the arithmetic of 5ish% of unemployment. People who start working under a net can only be 5% of population. People who stop working or work much less could be up to 95% of population. Much bigger percentage has possibility to work less under that system.
Of course more people would take advantage of the system, but Americans overall as a society don’t like excessive laziness and put pride in some amount of work being done. Not working and being poor is frowned upon generally. To keep things loose, this is true for at least greater than 50% of the country.
Western Europe has vast social safety nets going way beyond "the basics". Yet you don't see an explosion of innovation, culture, art, philosophy or what have you. They may not be related, or a full belly isn't hungry and doesn't look for ways to fill itself.
And sure, you could argue that they don't cover the basics, but you'd have to expand the understanding of basics, tbh. Germany gives you shelter, food, health insurance, money to spend on culture, public transportation, free education including university, a TV etc pp. That's beyond basics in my book. Sure, a car isn't included, but you don't need one either.
Spend a year in France (or Germany for that matter), you’ll realize that the social safety net isn’t as good as it is, but also that a lot of things you wouldn’t notice. France has a shit-ton of food innovations you’ve never heard of, great universities, the world record on rail speed, vibrant local theater life in almost every town. You just can’t know about those things if you’re not there, just like people outside the US have no idea what life is like in the US.
After a certain point it's a language and population thing, and France has a language barrier compared to english.
That's not to say that it couldn't be random that a lot of the recent advancements happened in the US, I just don't find it likely.
In other words, the film makers are not subject to the market forces, they don't need to make something that the audience actually wants. The official stats of the PISF (polish state institute which funds movies) say that only 4 out of hundreds funded movies have recouped the state investment via tickets and other sales. The rests are flops, which is not a problem for anyone involved. That's how you get bad art.
I'm not attacking European universities and companies, I'm not arguing that there isn't any great research, I'm saying it's not a multiple of the US, which it really should be if "have a strong social safety net and the possibilities are endless" was true.
I don't that social safety nets play a large role - for most academics, researchers, engineers, artists, there's a de facto social safety net (via tenure, high income, patents, equity, stock options, grants, strong job security etc), so a general safety net doesn't improve their situation and output. And having a general safety net also doesn't by itself increase the amount of people of exceptional skill and/or ability.
I'm not against safety nets (though I do believe that we've gone too far and have created strong negative incentives), but I do believe that "our society will be like Star Trek" doesn't hold water. We have them, and our societies aren't like Star Trek.
Sadly, the way the universe works, any such system is open to free riders who take more than their share.
Tragedy of the commons.
The only solutions we've found so far are:
1. Assign people control of what they create, so they can benefit from their own efforts, and are thus incentivized to make those efforts. Side effect: People who didn't/can't create much have a really hard time (this is what you're concerned about).
2. Assign control of what people create to a central authority that redistributes it evenly, and also have that central authority kill anyone who tries to change or exploit the system. This hasn't tended to work out well.
2. All people should have the right of food. I don't care how much you make, who you are, or whatever. You live, and that's your right. We should be working on automated farms so we can grow this locally.
3. Same, for water.
4. If you don't have a place to sleep, we provide you one. May not be big, but a place to sleep and call home is essential in solving homelessness. And it provides a way out of the poverty trap.
5. Communication should be inexpensive. I would prefer free for lower bandwidth. Its an essential for jobs and so much more. An internet connection is one of the biggest ways into self sufficiency.
Even this humble level of safety net that you propose is incredibly expensive. Who does the hard work of building the small apartments? Who comes out and works on the plumbing when it clogs? And who picks up the trash every week and takes it to the dump? Who runs the water plant, the electrical plant, and who runs the fiber out for even the free, slow tier of internet? Who makes the base model of phone or laptop that everyone would be entitled to? Who tends the robots at the automated farm? Who polices the buildings and neighborhoods full of all these otherwise-indisposed inhabitants? Who provides medical care?
Answer: The Government. The Government offers decent pay for all these dirty jobs, to keep these resources available even to those who pay nothing. Where does the Government get the money to pay all these people? Answer: Taxes. Taxes on whom? It can't be taxes on the general populace, because they don't have any money, which is why you propose these things be free. So it must be taxes on the upper tiers, people who are working more than the baseline. They could settle for the free stuff, but they choose to work to earn more and get more.
But my objections are twofold.
1. It just doesn't seem fair. All these people that are rich and supposedly could share their wealth with the rest of us, like Larry Page and Sergey Brin, who are billionaires, they didn't have to do the things that made them rich. They chose to work at the things that made them so. If instead they chose not to do those things, then they wouldn't be billionaires, and that would be two fewer people you could tax the dickens out of.
2. It just doesn't seem like it will all add up in the end, at least not forever. Even though there are lots of rich people, I don't think there are enough rich people to keep society going forever off their taxes. First of all you would have to tax them so hard that it would be demoralizing to them. And it would be demoralizing to others who also would consider doing something to become rich.
A dream I have that might work is that every able-bodied person is required to work, but the standard work week is halved. If I only had to work 20 hours a week at my day job, I would be ecstatic, and I think I would have enough time for my hobbies, art, open-source contributions, and other things that people are talking about benefit the rest of society, if only people were given a breath to work on them.
I still think 40 hours a week is pretty hard, especially when you consider that people who work only 40 hours a week don't work only 40 hours a week. Add in commutes, runs to the grocery store, chores, home repairs, and other the other work you must do, unpaid, it adds up easily to 50% more. And I have not even mentioned parenting.
If people could live comfortably working 10-20 hours at an official job (not counting the other work I mentioned), that would be paradise. I don't think I would even want to work 0 hours a week. I would start to go stir-crazy.
I don't see any good alternatives to having children take care of their parents. Abuse is common at even the most expensive nursing homes. You can't always blame the caretakers either because being constantly surrounded by grumpy, dying people has a huge psychological toll.
What? There is absolutely no excuse for elder abuse. Are you kidding with this?
Realistically? Probably better than 99% of people would play video games and watch TV their whole lives. Not everybody is oriented to be an artist/author, an inventor, a scientist, or some other creative type.
More people than you'd think, not saying they'd be good at it but they'd do more than play video games all the time. Nowadays you have people streaming, making podcasts, making tf2 hats, youtube videos, cosplay, fan-fiction, dancing, playing non-professional sports, graffiti, etc, etc.
The percentage of people who take full advantage of being freed from working to survive isn't terribly important; it's the number.
More people probably are naturally oriented in a way compatible with that (perhaps not to be commercially successful at it, but that's expressly not an issue) before they are aggressively socialized out of it by people who want to prepare them for the economic necessities of surviving in the world we actually live in, where indulging such an orientation without the particular combination of skill and luck needed for commercial success is often a recipe for misery.
I think you're confusing what you would like to happen with what is likely to happen.
Is it simply better public schools where they're doing poorly, or something else I am missing?
I'm curious, when you start getting into how to educate children in a way to have them fulfill their potential, how we measure whether or not we're succeeding. I definitely do not think we are (in the US). I also perceive a "will" to succeed, but everyone disagrees on how to make that reality, and I don't believe that this sort of list, while reasonable, does much to help in the way of solving the problem. I'm not saying it's a bad list or I disagree with it, it's just not prescriptive in terms of, "This is how you help children reach their full potential."
(And then we start getting into questions about what is full potential? If we're thinking in a short-sighted way, full potential is probably limited to their usefulness to the economic system balanced with their own relative mental health.)
People would probably go crazy from the boredom and start killing themselves. Work and struggle are good and inspire more creativity and inventiveness than doing nothing
Of course, today, suicide is less of a taboo, and indeed suicide rates are higher in richer neighborhoods, as one would expect: https://www.businessinsider.com/link-between-wealth-and-suic...
What exactly do you mean by that? State raising children? No families? That sounds dystopian to me.
They likely mean what is the more obvious assumption. We take taking care of all children as a serious problem and try to have certain benefits happen for all children. IE they shouldn’t be going hungry or not going to school.
The social safety net may provide some degree of safety, but it often doesn't offer freedom to choose.
Freedom means being able to take the time to care for yourself or your loved ones if something happens.
That day came for my family several years ago, and my wife and I are constantly reminded how much worse things would have been (even here in enlightened Canada) if we didn't have that kind of freedom.
Btw, the woman's blog "Merry for Money" that's linked at the end of the article has a few extreme methods such as how to make money from PornHub:
As near as I can tell, luxury (think 50k+ $ cars, huge mansions, expensive clothing, jewelry) exists for one and one reason only: impressing others, and in particular, males impressing females in hopes of sexually attracting them.
Either that, or people just "going with the flow" without thinking. I cannot come to any other logical conclusion.
I've noticed that people buying expensive things don't really want to admit that they are buying it just to show others that they can afford it.
If you can afford food, shelter and some medical/dental care, and you can pay your bills (electric, gas, internet, whatever) without worrying about them, I don't think money will improve your happiness. Especially if you need to endure additional stress for it.
The Western civilization has it extremely good. If only people read history and truly understood and appreciated what this world consisted of not a century ago, they'd celebrate each day on the streets. Voltaire says that the perfect is the enemy of good, and that's a deep message.
I salute these two! If it doesn't bother them, I see no issue with the way they live whatsoever.
In my country the generation that survived German occupation in WWII (and huge poverty, starvation, etc), had what's casually called "occupation syndrome" -- which we use to describe more or less the same kind of behavior.
This seems like life insurance could come in handy. For someone in good health and relatively young it can be pretty cheap too.
The one thing about personal finance blogs that consistently bother me is that they always feel incredibly selfish. How much do they donate to charity every year? Given the attitude of scrimping every penny I’m guessing very little to none.
Believe it or not, some people see through this rather obvious scam.
Life has a way of making a mockery of all your best laid plans.
What’s the point of suffering like this? She has escaped poverty from a financial perspective but not a mental one.
Although my mother was an excellent saver (to a fault?), she was not interested in learning how to amass/raise capital, nor in any type of investing, other than older, traditional CDs, etc. that are not financially viable in this age of debt and funny money in the US.
My father is a spendthrift, so there is always a hole in his pocket.
I see in them the reluctance (or refusal?) to shift from the "American Dream" (go to school, get a good job, save for retirement, your employer/the government will take care of you) to what it more realistically takes to grow any sort of wealth in the current US financial climate.
Consumption was the biggest negative factor, I think, as well as the inability to sacrifice some of the present for the future. It seemed necessary as a kid growing up, if we were going to keep up with the Jones'. I remember being envious of having an "Ocean Pacific" jacket as a kid, and the only pair of "Britannia" jeans I had came from a second hand store. I was very caught up in the whole name-brand thing... That was the 80's, for me.
Now I save up and invest in Real Estate, effectively short the US dollar, as that seems to be the vehicle I am most comfortable with. My wife and I are accelerating the process as much as possible, without scrimping too much, as her mother, likewise, has little to live on. And being at the mercy of governmental healthcare is the pits, as I watch both sets of our parents attempting to navigate those hoops.
So I understand the author's motivation from my own point of view, and I think she has adopted practices that will serve her well, as long as she also has enough consideration for taking care of herself, her husband, and any kids they may choose to have, as well as her parents.
It is definitely possible, although I find I have to ignore all of the "consume this now" messaging I perceive blasting at me from all angles in media.
Side benefit: Ignoring that media helps on the political front, though, as well. I used to become (still sometimes become?) the raving lunatic when I pay attention to what higher politicians (non-local) and larger government employees get up to, technically on my behalf.
I feel much more calm ignoring that and focusing only on what I have a chance of affecting: My home, family, friends, and immediate neighborhood. I have even served in local government, and although I did not enjoy it (the waste! the pettiness!) it helped me make more social contacts locally that have positively affected my life and immediate living environment.
I now volunteer more often, as well, as there is much need in the community, and few obvious answers (to others' points of view).
It seems to be working for me... YMMV.
Mad props to them for sure!
What decade was this actually written in?
A lot of every people know this. It's called "the American dream". You may have heard of it.
Plus you don't work in a vacuum by yourself; mutual success is more likely if you have close relationships with friends and family.
Here some news stories about it:
There are some complex questions of whether it causes more or less resources to be allocated to the poor. It isn't a simple as branding someone a hoarder.
Indeed, a complex experiment has been running since the monetary systems moved off the gold standard that suggest the less people save, the more unequal society becomes to the benefit of the wealthy. There is a reasonable argument that when the middle class 'hoards' money it increases the access of the poor to things they need.
If the money is parked in property or some other rivalrous asset, then you're more correct. But not for money.
A lot of middle class Americans could take this path if they did without and the kids worked as soon as able for extra money for the family (you know like you have to when you have no other choice) but we have to have the nice home, white picket fence, big SUV, expensive sports, iPads and android phones, and as soon as the kids turn 16 they must have a car of their own, etc...
Modern life by design now (it is designed) requires more and more to get by. You need a car to get to work because of the awful thing called suburbia. You need a expensive cell to make sure you get the call for that job offer. Where you had to submit a PDF copy of your resume which you had to type on a computer somewhere and have access to Internet to send it.
The downside is you miss out on this fabled childhood luxury that has only been a thing for the last 80 years of human existence.
Fairly soon everyone will have a smartphone and you can get service for one hour of work a month.