Social media is a bit like the news but on the opposite side of the spectrum. "Yes, yes, I get it. The world is ending." I care but I don't care to where I need to have it shoved in my face where I'm going to do things to make the world even worse. (What good is a world that survives if it is full of anxiety?)
I'm not reading the general news generally anymore when I can and maybe I'll transfer that to social media soon. (Today was a bad day - a peer of mine who is younger than me just bought a place in SF; I'm struggling to make it in a 400sqft in-law unit) I notice I feel better and it's not like anything I missed is of real substantial importance to my daily life. It's just filler. I know my core political philosophy - so it's not like it'll affect my voting decision much. Reminds me of the article someone posted in response to the 8 year old dying. Something about ignoring the bullshit in life because you don't have time for it. You don't have time for bullshit and most of social media and the news is full of bullshit. I think it could be really great but most of the time... it's just bullshit. Here it is - life is short: http://www.paulgraham.com/vb.html
I also wouldn't discount the number of people who might be house poor: banks will give you loans for far more than a financially savvy person would suggest taking (e.g, only borrow up to 2/3rd's of the maximum amount a bank will give), to keep flexibility in your budget.
To tie this to social media: what we see isn't reality. You're "competing" with their curated self versus your own. You may see the purchases, but certainly not the debt coming with it. The people with the best-looking lives on social media probably don't have the healthiest of finances, unless you're following truly wealthy people.
The means they were able to do it through were likely rich family (no one here of course will say their family is rich) and high paying job ($300k+/yr). Both of which I am not in (for my position in my region). I'm at a startup. Watching my peers, who are not in companies like mine, just skyrocket in wealth is rather discouraging. It's even more harsh because it's usually a couple who are sky rocketing and I'm just sitting here with a SO who will never make anything substantial. Love them to bits but the lack of financial contribution is practically suicide here.
I know everything isn't perfect. It's curated. But the point is that often their highs are way higher than mine. I already know their lows are nothing like mine because I know a lot of the people well enough to know that much.
Side note about home buying: a lot of statistics online about homes being bought for x and what kind and where and all that. But there's very little information on who is buying and what they're doing with the home!
I only recently discovered that all the homes being bought under $1m in the Bay area aren't being owner inhabited. They're all being converted into rentals and as investment property. It explains why East Palo Alto hasn't gentrified.
I also paid <$1500 a month for rent in SF for many years by living in converted rooms or having room-mates to keep costs low (relative to market rates). Many of my peers were paying >$2.5k-$3k to have their own spot. I was keeping expenses low and aggressively investing the difference in companies whose trajectories were all but inevitable in my opinion (+ some broad market index funds which have also done extremely well).
The weird thing about money is that once you get the flywheel turning (not easy), it compounds like magic given that you've made some good decisions.
My intent here isn't to boast. I figured you might appreciate a specific example of circumstances leading to building a modest level of wealth as a 20-something software engineer.
Involved was a lot of hard work, luck, timing, right place (SF), right company, good decisions, help from others, sacrifice, obsession, and a bunch of other things but I'll spare you the boring details. You could boil it _all_ down to luck if you'd like - but that's a bit too cynical for my tastes.
My story isn't far different from you. It just lacks the happier parts. Just want to show how similar we are and how much those happier parts matter. Which some could perceive as luck. I attended a "top college" (by program at least). I worked through college on top of having a full ride (government). After college, I slept on an air mattress to save $$$ (don't do it) and then a 25 year old one because I got it for free. I chose the cheapest possible everything forever. Drove my $4000 car into the ground until it was crashed into. Never paid more than $50 for a piece of furniture. I spent maybe $100/month on food. I lived very cheaply for 8+ years with minor splurges on things. (I still live in a 400sqft in-law unit that used to be a workshop ffs - I definitely don't live lavishly) But - in the end, I can't save enough because my income isn't high enough. I gave up on penny pinching because I realized it was futile for this area. No one is buying the <=$1m homes that I could afford with years of penny pinching and saving and then living in them. (It's all investment property) Therefore, the neighborhoods never gentrify and are crap. My SO says even if I buy one - she won't move into it because we'll get stabbed, robbed, or, worse, have to live there without it gentrifying. So, homes that are actually gentrifying or nice are closer to $1.5m+. Therefore - I'd have to save about $700k+ in order to be able to qualify for the mortgage (decade+ of penny pinching saving then). It doesn't take a rocket scientist to realize that's a terrible move financially. (Putting basically all of your money into a house - not a very diversified portfolio...)
But ya know what - I see my peers who are living lavishly (buying brand new Porsches - living in luxury 2-bedroom apartments by themselves - buying all the new things - going on ski trips and whatever vacations)... It doesn't affect them. They're still buying the damn house! It's cause they're at $400-500-600k+ and not the <$200k I'm making.
Gotta join FAANG or some startup that's about to go public. The income disparity is just massive.
I don't see what is the problem here. That you'll buy a house a couple years later than some of your peers? That's life. Some people have cancer at two - not THAT's shitty. Waiting a couple years more to buy a house is just hilariously insignificant in comparison to anything serious.
My point is more that - I will never be able to buy a house.
I've been questioning whether I should even buy my options when I quit. I really have no faith in my current company.