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  1. #181
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    Quote Originally Posted by freeeekyyy View Post
    $7.5 million is pretty good money, but it's not as much as some people are making it sound like. That's basically enough for an upper-middle class lifestyle. Assume the average person lives another 30 years after retirement, that comes out to $250,000 a year. That's pretty good money, but not the ridiculously high amount some people are making it sound like. A person who lives on $40,000 a year, basically the average american, would need about $1.2 million to keep the same lifestyle they've had. They may technically be a millionaire, but are by no means rich. $250,000 a year is probably enough to qualify as rich, but not ridiculously so. A person making that kind of money still has to be concerned with finances just like anybody else, etc. It's not like we're talking about Warren Buffett or Bill Gates here.
    You'll forgive me if my perspective and life experience (and the perspective and life experience of almost everyone I know, with a few rare exceptions) cause me to think that anyone who is complaining about *having* to live over any amount exceeding $100,000 per year a completely annoying fucking whiner who isn't grateful for what they have, and should be probably put on that show where they send people to third world countries for a "vacation".

    Hell, they can just come and live in a coal mining town in West Virginia for a while...as one of the mining families, or the people who work in the surrounding lumber/chemical plants/retail shops/restaurants/other blue collar work...anyone who is complaining about living off of $250,000 grand a year will surely be traumatized by working class mountain living HAHAHAHAHA.

    Hoo boy. That makes me laugh just thinking about it.

  2. #182
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    Your perspective changes with the amount of money you make.

    You might be at the lower end of the income bracket and while all your friends ride the bus, you can't because the bus fair is too much for you. Your mates might have a good laugh at your misfortune.

    You might be at the upper end of the scale, yet unable to meet your friends for some equally nebulous activity, and (while in the privacy of their exclusive company) they enjoy some good natured ribbing at your expense. The costs of maintaining one's lifestyle (relative to that of one's socioeconomic peers) increases as one moves up the scale.

    The only real difference between those who live within their means, and those who don't, is that the thrifty ones are able to take a long term (enough) fiscal view with which they can see the systematic risk in investments where others can't get past the short term gains. The entire way frugal individuals approach the fiscal existence is different.

    The fiscally loose approach purchases and investments thinking, this is how much I can afford. The frugal approach investments thinking, I can only get buy this much, and still have enough left over to cover possible increases in over head costs should an economic emergency arise and prices go up, or should I need extra $ quickly. For instance one guy might make just enough to cover that house and car payment, but then Tommy gets sick, and the medical bills overburden that family. Whereas the other guy includes within his fiscal calculations the possibility of rising external costs, and therefore has to make no adjustments (aside from saving more to keep up his capital reserves) to meet the rising cost.

    I wouldn't be so quick to judge, when, if most of you were in the same fiscal position with the same responsibilities (mortgage, care payments, kids etc.) you would do the exact same God Damn thing.

    Those in glass houses shouldn't throw stones.

  3. #183
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    Quote Originally Posted by FDG View Post
    Err, sorry but you said scholastics, not stochastics. I wouldn't have risen so many objections otherwise, the meaning changes completely.
    You are right, this automagic Google Chrome spell checker sucks.

    Quote Originally Posted by DiscoBiscuit View Post
    Your perspective changes with the amount of money you make.

    You might be at the lower end of the income bracket and while all your friends ride the bus, you can't because the bus fair is too much for you. Your mates might have a good laugh at your misfortune.

    You might be at the upper end of the scale, yet unable to meet your friends for some equally nebulous activity, and (while in the privacy of their exclusive company) they enjoy some good natured ribbing at your expense. The costs of maintaining one's lifestyle (relative to that of one's socioeconomic peers) increases as one moves up the scale.

    I wouldn't be so quick to judge, when, if most of you were in the same fiscal position with the same responsibilities (mortgage, care payments, kids etc.) you would do the exact same God Damn thing.

    Those in glass houses shouldn't throw stones.
    People often fail to understand micro-economies. For example, if I sold everything I owned and moved to London tomorrow, I would be destitute. If I sold everything I owned and moved to Port-au-Prince I could live like a king. Why? There are relatively fewer people clamouring into Port-au-Prince compared to London. The advice I give everyone is: if what you do can't afford your 'aspirations' then earn more or accept that you simply can't do that.

    You are also stuck with a chicken/egg problem. If I moved to London I would only be able to afford a fraction of the normal things people might 'expect' who live in London; therefore my chances of success are low unless I can be paid 'London wages' otherwise I would never earn the contacts required to survive. Of course, those who have the contacts thus have instantaneously cracked the 'chicken/egg' problem.

    Note the Legions of flossies (mostly arts students) who are subsidised to live and work in major city centres in unpaid internships by wealthy parents until they have the contacts to break into the region of their choice.

    These sorts of studies regarding retirement wealth say little about the problems of social mobility, or indeed that what it might suggest is that if you only have $100k when you retire, you can live a slightly more dangerous but luxurious existence in a different part of the world from which you are used to.

    Of course we can just keep pretending that anyone with more than $2 to rub together is some kind of pseudo Captain Planet villain and that they hire full oil tankers to crash into beaches in the name of thumb nosing at the poor.

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    different part of the world from which you are used to.
    Unfortunately, the costs, and family consequences of such a move render it an unrealistic option. (that argument works much better in theory than in practice)

    Also, the present location in the posh neighborhood, is one of the most central aspects of what the well to do consider their quality of life. That shift would diminish quality of life in their eyes, in so far as, they aren't able to see perfectly manicured lawns as far as the eye can see when they pull out of the driveway anymore.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DiscoBiscuit View Post
    Unfortunately, the costs, and family consequences of such a move render it an unrealistic option. (that argument works much better in theory than in practice)

    Also, the present location in the posh neighborhood, is one of the most central aspects of what the well to do consider their quality of life. That shift would diminish quality of life in their eyes, in so far as, they aren't able to see perfectly manicured lawns as far as the eye can see when they pull out of the driveway anymore.
    Oh, I agree, that's why whether you are earning $100,000 ; $50,000; $15,000 or $5 you want to at least maintain that lifestyle in perpetuity if you choose to retire.

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    This discussion is taking me back to the day in family law where we were discussing damages and remedies. Specifically the definition and real world applications of standard of living maintenance.

  7. #187
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    Quote Originally Posted by shortnsweet View Post
    Well I don't know about that. I have trouble believing that a millionaire wouldn't feel well off after having climbed from bottom (or middle) to top, and still wouldn't have the perspective to think about how bad it could be and all the strife that they've seen on their journey to the top. That would just be extremely deluded and forgetful. I understand with having to pay more taxes, they are going to lose some things that they enjoy and have become accustomed to, (since they probably spend up to their means), but to say that "I'm not well off" at that point seems like it would have to come from someone who has always been rich.
    The neuveau riche can be real dicks. You might assume as a matter of principle that poor people would act differently in wealth, but there's no guarantee. It seems to me that a lot of the people that move on up rationalize it with a sense of entitlement. They watched their dad work to the bone for nothing, they suffered through poverty in youth, and they are convinced they have now worked exceptionally themselves. They believe they are owed extra. Resentment convinces them that they are entitled to ever more.

    No economic class is a different breed. They are all the same people, and as such, will behave similar ways in the same economic strata. Marx's hope that proletariats would behave differently in power was quite misguided (and oddly, being the virtual father of conflict theory, he should have known that).

    This is why the institutions themselves need to be changed. There's never going to be a generation of people who are intrinsically the right people to manage wealth.

    Quote Originally Posted by DiscoBiscuit View Post
    From the New York Times



    http://www.nytimes.com/roomfordebate...el-rich-enough



    Maybe the level of frustration present in this thread is more reflective of how tough it is for young people in the present economy, and more specifically how much less young people earn than their elders, than it is of any vast injustice being committed.
    Several thoughts on this...

    One is that I wouldn't try to figure out what is or isn't a problem, or what does or doesn't need to be done, strictly based on what popular opinion shows. After all, popular opinion is also that we should cut taxes, not cut spending on anything, reduce the deficit, and create jobs, which is obviously impossible. The average American doesn't know shit about the economic situation or what does or doesn't work.

    An intriguing question, however, may be how people perceive the current situation vs how it actually is.
    Do Most Americans Favor Radical Wealth Redistribution?
    If this article can be believed (and let's suppose it's no less believable than yours) then perhaps Americans have as comfy an outlook about wealth inequality as they do because they have a far nicer impression of where it's at than it really is.

    I'm not sure about the details of a number of that pew poll, because it was buried somewhere in a rather large PDF file, but I emphasize that it said "three in four Americans who had reached midlife either said they were rich enough to lead the kind of life they wanted or believed they would be in the future.". I emphasize the last part because I find lots of people that are driven by totally unrealistic hopes about their future wealth. You throw that factor into the poll and it changes everything.

    The economic mobility project figure didn't seem to specify what it meant by exceeding the income of their parents. It did not, for example, mention how it handled inflation, nor the details of how they earned this income, or make any comparisons to price inceases, etc. It also did not mention how this may have been distributed among income brackets. In other words, there are so many different things it could mean without those details that it's currently a non-figure to me.

    The very local perception of human beings, combined with their comparative and competitive attitudes, makes me doubt the fact that the USA's median wealth surpasses 95% of the world's is the reason for peoples' comfort with income inequality here.

    What about this? "The Economic Mobility Project recently asked people what was more important, reducing inequality or ensuring that everyone has a fair chance at improving their economic standing. More than 60 percent "strongly" felt opportunity was more important, while just 16 percent felt strongly about reducing inequality." I think most people underestimate how much economic inequality affects once's chances at improving their economic standing. They are not entirely separate issues. And as I mentioned before, it isn't even possible for every poor person to simultaneously work their way into wealth, so that expectation is baseless.

    The analysis cited about our current income inequality being strikingly low is far more complex than the article implies. For one thing, fairly early in the document it mentions this.

    "Therefore, we focus on a relatively narrow definition wealth, which includes only the marketable
    or accumulated wealth that remains upon the owner’s death. This point is particularly
    important for owners of closely held businesses: in many instances, a large part of the value of
    their business reflects their personal human capital and future labor, which vanishes at their
    death. Both the narrow definition of wealth (on which we focus by necessity because of our
    estate data source), and broader wealth definitions including future human wealth are interesting
    and important to study. The narrow definition is more suited to examine problems of
    wealth accumulation and transmission, while the broader definition is more suited to study the
    distribution of welfare.9

    9 The analysis of income distribution captures both labor and capital income and is thus closer to an analysis
    of distribution of the broader wealth concept."
    Isn't distribution of welfare a concern here? Or if you talk strictly of inequality of income, specifically, which definitely is a different picture. As it says in the CIA World Factbook: "Since 1975, practically all the gains in household income have gone to the top 20% of households."

    The last thing I will note on it is that the main arc of the analysis is over the span of 100 years. That is, back to the time of the robber barons. Are we not under-achieving by setting our standard back then? The study does note a sharp incline in inequality in the 80s and a near steady but slightly rising trend after them. And I will note that this study's definition of wealth is the first time I have seen any report using any measure that implies a decline in inequality from the 1970s to now, which is curious. It also makes an interesting comparison, that the USA's decline in wealth inequality "pales in comparison" to that of the UK, France, and the like. Perhaps another example of what I mean by the USA under-achieving.

    There is more I wanted to say on the study, but I've found so many things of note in it that I've decided it's too much. Read the thing. http://www.econ.berkeley.edu/~saez/estatelong.pdf

    There's another thing that I find dubious about any statement regarding wealth inequality decline, and that's ignoring the impact of technological advancement. In, say, Spain c.1500, there was no physical way for even a king to be as much more powerful than a vagabond as there currently is for the super-wealthy to be over a modern bum. The advancement of technology always has more impact on wealthier people who are more capable of procuring it, and in that sense it spreads the gap between rich and poor further.

    All that being said, I cannot speak for others, but my anger definitely is toward a vast injustice. I incidentally noted in an unrelated thread I made that I'm not a materially ambitious person. I am not gnashing my teeth over the trouble in making a fortune. I am disturbed by the problems created by too much income inequality on a macro-economic scale.

    Quote Originally Posted by DiscoBiscuit View Post
    I feel like those most likely to succeed in this economy are those too busy to complain about it, and consequently those that are least likely to succeed are too focused on some external injustice to see the opportunities available.
    That's a dangerous way of thinking because it automatically marginalizes those who have a complaint. If there were an injustice taking place you'd be predisposed to side against the victim. I assure you every society's establishmentarians have fitted that reasoning to whatever the popular socio-economic model was. It reminds me of Herbert Spencer, and he sucks.

    Quote Originally Posted by DiscoBiscuit View Post
    Your perspective changes with the amount of money you make.

    You might be at the lower end of the income bracket and while all your friends ride the bus, you can't because the bus fair is too much for you. Your mates might have a good laugh at your misfortune.

    You might be at the upper end of the scale, yet unable to meet your friends for some equally nebulous activity, and (while in the privacy of their exclusive company) they enjoy some good natured ribbing at your expense. The costs of maintaining one's lifestyle (relative to that of one's socioeconomic peers) increases as one moves up the scale.

    The only real difference between those who live within their means, and those who don't, is that the thrifty ones are able to take a long term (enough) fiscal view with which they can see the systematic risk in investments where others can't get past the short term gains. The entire way frugal individuals approach the fiscal existence is different.

    The fiscally loose approach purchases and investments thinking, this is how much I can afford. The frugal approach investments thinking, I can only get buy this much, and still have enough left over to cover possible increases in over head costs should an economic emergency arise and prices go up, or should I need extra $ quickly. For instance one guy might make just enough to cover that house and car payment, but then Tommy gets sick, and the medical bills overburden that family. Whereas the other guy includes within his fiscal calculations the possibility of rising external costs, and therefore has to make no adjustments (aside from saving more to keep up his capital reserves) to meet the rising cost.

    I wouldn't be so quick to judge, when, if most of you were in the same fiscal position with the same responsibilities (mortgage, care payments, kids etc.) you would do the exact same God Damn thing.

    Those in glass houses shouldn't throw stones.
    No, actually, I don't think I'd do the same thing, probably because I'm not someone who'd get myself into that possible bind in the first place. *throws a volley of stones*

    Quote Originally Posted by InvisibleJim View Post
    People often fail to understand micro-economies. For example, if I sold everything I owned and moved to London tomorrow, I would be destitute. If I sold everything I owned and moved to Port-au-Prince I could live like a king. Why? There are relatively fewer people clamouring into Port-au-Prince compared to London. The advice I give everyone is: if what you do can't afford your 'aspirations' then earn more or accept that you simply can't do that.
    I mostly agree, with the note that earning more is easier said than done. Indeed, though, people insisting on living beyond their means is a problem from top to bottom.

    Quote Originally Posted by InvisibleJim View Post
    You are also stuck with a chicken/egg problem. If I moved to London I would only be able to afford a fraction of the normal things people might 'expect' who live in London; therefore my chances of success are low unless I can be paid 'London wages' otherwise I would never earn the contacts required to survive. Of course, those who have the contacts thus have instantaneously cracked the 'chicken/egg' problem.
    In the context of topic here, though, is it not fair to say there's a huge difference between transferring wealth or one's person between the USA and Ethiopia, and doing the same between one part of the USA and another? If an American just getting by refused to give money to poor Africans by saying "that may be a lot over there, but I'd be homeless here if I gave this money", I could see that. If a rich American expressed the same concerns about giving money to poor Americans, I'd find that absurd.

    Quote Originally Posted by DiscoBiscuit View Post
    Unfortunately, the costs, and family consequences of such a move render it an unrealistic option. (that argument works much better in theory than in practice)

    Also, the present location in the posh neighborhood, is one of the most central aspects of what the well to do consider their quality of life. That shift would diminish quality of life in their eyes, in so far as, they aren't able to see perfectly manicured lawns as far as the eye can see when they pull out of the driveway anymore.
    Well, my concern tends to be with the the higher echelons of the rich themselves, rather than anyone described by the OP article. To that end, I do have a hypothesis that wealth has a declining relationship to perceived quality of life. That is, the richer you get, the more money it takes for you to notice your life getting better, and eventually, there's a threshold where it just stops happening at all. I do believe you could slash Bill Gates down to a tiny fraction of what he currently has, and if no one gave him the data, he wouldn't be able to tell.

    Quote Originally Posted by InvisibleJim View Post
    Oh, I agree, that's why whether you are earning $100,000 ; $50,000; $15,000 or $5 you want to at least maintain that lifestyle in perpetuity if you choose to retire.
    That is probably the typical motivation. It is not necessarily a healthy one, though, especially when combined with people being competitive with their peers. People try to keep up with the Joneses and refuse to go back to any less in the future, and it causes a lot of very foolish things. This is possibly an argument for taking pro-active measures to curb wealth concentration i.e.. escalation of wealth within narrow groups.
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  8. #188
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marmie Dearest View Post
    You'll forgive me if my perspective and life experience (and the perspective and life experience of almost everyone I know, with a few rare exceptions) cause me to think that anyone who is complaining about *having* to live over any amount exceeding $100,000 per year a completely annoying fucking whiner who isn't grateful for what they have, and should be probably put on that show where they send people to third world countries for a "vacation".
    I agree with you. However, the thing to think about is how much 100K a year will be worth 30 years from now. The answer is that it will be worth a whole lot less than today because of the impact of compounding interest. That's the issue and that's why 1M isn't very much money for someone who is getting ready to retire.

    It has nothing to do with typology but what an awesome thread

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  9. #189
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    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Moore
    Today just 400 Americans have the same wealth as half of all Americans combined.
    Actual comparisons here:
    http://blogs.wsj.com/wealth/2011/03/...-of-americans/

  10. #190
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    Quote Originally Posted by Savage Idealist View Post
    So what, your telling me that 4 out of 10 rich people feel that they don't have enough fincical security? Oh boo-hoo them. Greedy bastards like that have no idea how difficult it is to make a living in the middle class alone, nevermind how hard it is to live a decent life in poverty. But their seriously going to admit that they feel they aren't well off and bitch about having to pay more taxes, even though thier the ones who should pay more taxes in the first place . . . :steam:
    I'm afraid that's a grave misunderstanding. most rich people start from very humble backgrounds. being rich requires large amounts of discipline, will and motivation. many times it was exactly the poor conditions of their childhood that caused them to look at themselves and say "I'm going to get better than this!". rich people want the best, and the best can cost a lot money. big dreams require a big budget. as such, they have little sympathy for those whom they see as wishing to do nothing with their lives yet still being angry at having to reap the consequences of their actions. they are angry because they feel that all the burden is placed on them as responsible citizens to finance the entire country, the rest of whom appear to just want free handouts. I cannot say if their perception of the majority of americans is correct or not, but it's certainly understandable that they want more.
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