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Bullshit. I live on roughly $18k a year net. buy a house, maybe doubles or PERHAPS triples my housing allowance. Have a wife and kids and things, in total, probably triple.

I don't think people understand how to not waste money any more.

Does this mean you're not going to be buying the new disposable laptops from Apple? How will you live with yourself?

I'd rather spend my time writing software then repairing my old socks. As a bonus, writing software makes me about 100x what repairing my old socks nets me per hour.

Where do you live? This is HUGELY dependent on geography. $18k a month in NYC, Seattle, SF, etc., is pretty painful. Add two kids, private school (unless you live in a great district), college educations, saving for retirement, summer camp, braces, health care for 4, housing for 4 in a good neighborhood, helping out your retired parents who might not have saved enough, etc., it stacks up pretty fast.

$18k/yr in NYC or SFBA with a mortgage and a family is untenable.

$18k/yr in most major US cities probably implies:

* Subsistence diet

* Dependence on small selection of rental properties

* Extremely poor access to health care

* Dependence on informal "gratis" child care

* Near perfect job attendance

I call these out not to make the boring "gnash our teeth about the lives of the poor" case, but rather the suggest that your ability to care for a family on 18k/yr in a US metro is counterfeit: you can do it until you:

* Are ever hospitalized

* Lose your free child care

* &c ...

... at which point bang you're bankrupt. I think a lot of people who think they are getting by with low incomes are actually playing a kind of sick inverted Martingale betting strategy against life.

Well my point is not that everyone should be able to live off $18k a year. My point is that You don't need $500k a year to live decently. I have a new car, a good apartment and amenities such as cable TV and xbox live. Certainly geography plays a large role in individual costs. But again, I'm not trying to say everyone should live on $18k a year. I'm saying I (a single fellow btw) do, and it's a satisfactory lifestyle complete with all the necessities and a few luxuries.

A modest house in the valley costs something like $500k. With a typical mortgage you can expect to pay about 1% of the total price ($5k). That's more than triple your total expenditures, let alone housing costs.

I assure you, it's quite possible to live an enjoyable life in a place that's much cheaper the valley.

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