Posted by: The Tim

Tim Ellis is the founder of Seattle Bubble. His background in engineering and computer / internet technology, a fondness of data-based analysis of problems, and an addiction to spreadsheets all influence his perspective on the Seattle-area real estate market.

198 responses to “Comment of the Week: Impulsive Behavior Disorder”

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  1. ray pepper

    WOW..powerful and accurate quote!

    Anybody who thinks house prices are going up around here during a period of rising unemployment and foreclosures is dreaming. I’ll bide my time and continue to save. When the time is right, I’ll live comfortably in the same house that so many others will live in under extreme financial misery and duress. Living the good life starts with exercising a little bit of self-control.

    However, my friend Jonness these times are bringing some very interesting (and compelling) prices at local county auctions. I encourage you to go to the Friday foreclosure sales as a student. With time, education, and lots of leg work I believe you will find what you are looking for be it at the county level, http://www.auction.com, or in a short sale/foreclosed home. Just be patient and find your GEM! Maybe not this year or next but if you always look you will find. So many investors in the last 6 months have been buying and flipping at incredible profits. This may not be for you but finding a GEM is highly likely that you can live in for many years and withstand any further market declines!

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  2. Rack

    By Jeremy @ 94:

    I guess I’m one of those crazy younger people who actually want to pay off their house rather than buy and sell them like baseball cards. .

    It’s not crazy, but I bought my house when I was 21 and my needs, and income have changed since then (now 30).

    My wife wants bigger, I want better, I wish I didnt have to do it at such an uncertain time, but glad that I dodged the bullet that the last few years had brought us.

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  3. David Losh

    The difference between stocks and houses is that you can move money in a stock account which is exactly what the government wants. You pay taxes.

    The house, as a stable investment, works if you manage the property for return. I did a comparison with a stock manager and the difference was slight, but I had the potential of selling the property as a personal residence for a tax savings of 28%.

    That was in the past of course. Now there would be a constant stream of lost equity as the house value declines in the next three years.

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  4. Blurtman

    The message is that a nice, perhaps new, perhaps large, well appointed house containing all the modern gadgets and conveniences equals success and happiness. The same goes for being seen in a nice new expensive car.

    This message is constantly being beamed to consumers through every medium, constantly. Look at broadcast televsion, the internet, magazines, junk mail. Consuming more things and more expensive items equals success, prestige, admiration by your peers, happiness, achievement, violent love appeal, love for your children, etc.

    The homeless are losers – they have no possessions, no house! The winners are the investment bankers who have several mansions, private planes and expensive cars.

    So why wouldn’t someone try to gain the most possible prestige, the most admiration from peers, the most happiness, by buying the most expensive home possible? Don’t you deserve the most happiness, prestige, admiration possible?

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  5. softwarengineer

    RE: Nathan @ 3

    Don’t Make Generalizations Nathan

    My dad bought a home on one income for 15% of his net pay in the late 50s. $1500 today still isn’t cheap and can still be about 30% of a six figure income, after retirement, health, life, etc, etc….are taken out of the gross pay.

    If Americans all said Hades no to even 30% net pay mortgage payments, they’d have money for a life style too….like nice vacations, new cars, cash outside of retirement, etc, etc….and live debt free too. Home prices would all collapse and what’s wrong with that? I’m a home owner, but still like good sales prices on my rib eyes, electronics, etc, etc…..why are homes any different?

    All it takes is one stroke, one topple down the stairway, etc, etc….and even that $1500/mo will be like a hangman’s noose around your neck; especially in this current buyer’s market. Think about it.

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  6. Jonness

    By TJ_98370 @ 100:

    .
    It may or may not be more difficult starting out these days, but please don’t make it sound that it is / was all ice cream for all boomers. That just isn’t the case.
    .

    OK. Sorry for my accusational tone. The thing that burns me is the amount of money our government borrowed on the boomer’s watch. It’s difficult for anybody to take responsibility for that, but IMO, it has destroyed the strength and greatness of this country. I’m specifically targeting the $50+ trillion unfunded liability that the current generation is responsible for prior to even graduating from college.

    It’s easy to see how the younger generation might have a bit of bitterness toward the generation that took out massive loans in their names. But when you break it down, perhaps the boomers were just struggling along trying to survive. Suddenly Reagan decided to give the nation a tax break so that people could get a job and afford to buy a home during a very tough economic period. So he broke his campaign promise to reduce the debt and instead tripled it (wee, magical economic stimulation). It seemed to work, so the public voted in Bush Sr, who followed suit by borrowing a bunch more money. Clinton ended up with a surplus and decided to pay down some debt. But then Jr. got in and went berserk (thanks Bill, more for me). And now Obama is making Jr. look like the fiscal conservative Reagan claimed to be (you better spend your children’s money or else).

    We are a nation completely out of control, and the voting public must shoulder the blame for the part they have played. Otherwise, we are all doomed. Unfortunately, this requires the majority of people to admit the part they’ve played before significant changes are put into place. IMO, this won’t happen until it’s too late.

    A lot of people believe we can just inflate our way out of this mess. Unfortunately, this is not possible. The unfunded liabilities are for social security and medicare. Thus, the amount needed will rise in sync with inflation. Inflation cannot save the sinking ship. The only thing that can save it is to stop borrowing against the future and start living within our means. But we’ll never agree to do that as whole, because it will require enduring a significant amount of pain and going without many of the things we’d like to have. So we push it off on the next generation. The scary thing about this is the next generation awill make the decisions about our care when we are old, frail, and vulnerable.

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  7. Markor

    Reply: The Kid @ 95:

    Great post.

    What’s up with this 20% downpayment? I thought the good times were still rolling with 3.5% FHA downpayments. Did I miss something?

    It’s true that boomers have screwed future generations, including mine but not as badly as yours. The good news is that one day your group will be mostly calling the shots. I hope that you end all these crazy subsidies and giveaways that happen on the backs of others. Mostly I hope that you will make it a lot tougher for people to have more than 2 kids, since overpopulation is the root cause of most of the problems your generation faces. When I look around I see that less than half of people are working. A reporter did a survey, asking people lolling about on a weekday afternoon how they had the time off from work. Turned out that 10% of them were living on gov’t disability payments. These were people with no visible sign of being disabled.

    My first decade in Seattle I had no chance of owning a house here. I didn’t even consider it, unlike how it was recently common for early-20-somethings to buy. Then I got married and we both had graduated to good enough jobs, so it was doable. But it wasn’t doable on Queen Anne, and a lot of other nice areas that we were priced out of. A visit to San Francisco showed that that city was out of the question. Point is, as the human population grows some cities become more popular and are no longer reasonably available. Either you rent indefinitely in those cities, or you consider moving to another cheaper city and work with other folk there to make that city a great city. I have 20-something friends with average jobs who are well able to afford their house, in Syracuse NY. There are a lot of cheaper but still nice places to live in the US.

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  8. Markor

    RE: Jonness @ 107

    So [Reagan] broke his campaign promise to reduce the debt and instead tripled it (wee, magical economic stimulation).

    Yep. That things like airports are named after Reagan shows what a threat that party is to our futures. The people who were showered with that borrowed money love him.

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  9. Lilypad

    RE: The Kid @ 95 – There’s a great book on this topic by Nan Mooney called “(Not) Keeping Up with our Parents: The Decline of the Professional Middle Class” http://www.amazon.com/Not-Keeping-Our-Parents-Professional/dp/0807011398/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1251569879&sr=1-1
    which came out about a year ago in hardcover. (I read it from the library for free, of course, because I can’t afford to buy hardcovers.) She addresses many of the issues you brought up and how many Boomer parents have no idea how hard it is for their kids. I am older than you (42) and my parents are older than Boomers (74 and 72) but still clueless. I have struggled all my adult life to get by on a non-tech salary, non-tech, non-science college degree. (Heck, no salary for the past 6 or 7 years as a stay at home mom. And of course, some will say I could go out and get a job, but I’d earn less than I’d need to pay for the kid’s care and that’s just after school care, not full time.) Yes, Boomers have their own set of difficulties. But Mooney makes the case that Generation X and younger will never catch up to that level of affluence previously enjoyed (whether on credit or not) by the generation before us. That’s probably a good thing for the health of the dying planet, but hard to swallow for those of us caught in this trap.

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  10. BillE

    “Young? Can’t afford a house? You’re getting shafted by the government.”

    It’s from the UK, but some here might find some of the points appropriate.
    http://monevator.com/2008/12/10/young-cant-afford-a-house-youre-getting-shafted-by-the-government/?ref=patrick.net

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  11. Chris C.

    I think the only way out of this cycle is through debt-deflation and I don’t believe we will have much of an ability to control or manage it. There is obviously a point in time for both an individual and a society where simply servicing their debt becomes unmanageable. The levels of combined private and public debt are historically high and while this debt has fueled growth for the past 30 years it’s also put us in a very untenable situation. In short, our debt will be our downfall.

    I think we’re presently very close to a point of no return, a breaking point in the credit markets. If you include the unfunded liabilities that Jonness has been talking about then this scenario is unavoidable. We will be unable to afford our own personal debt, let alone any public entitlement programs.

    Here is a quote from Irving Fisher’s Debt-Deflation Theory which he wrote about 3 years into the Great Depression when it became clear to him that his earlier ideas could not fully explain the crisis-

    “Each dollar of debt still unpaid becomes a bigger dollar, and if the over-indebtedness with which we started was great enough, the liquidation of debts cannot keep up with the fall of prices which it causes. In that case, the liquidation defeats itself. While it diminishes the number of dollars owed, it may not do so as fast as it increases the value of each dollar owed. Then, the very effort of individuals to lessen their burden of debts increases it, because of the mass effect of the stampede to liquidate in swelling each dollar owed. Then we have the great paradox which, I submit, is the chief secret of most, if not all, great depressions: The more the debtors pay, the more they owe. “

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  12. softwarengineer

    RE: Jonness @ 107

    I agree with most of what you said, except the part about we voted for the overpopulation debt.

    We have a two party lobbyist controlled government, let’s face it. Do we really get to pick the presidential, senate, congressional candidates; or does the lobbyist corporate powers pick them for us?

    I know, we get all hot and bothered about my ugly sister candidate is prettier than your party’s ugly sister….but in the end, they’re both similar ugly sisters and both choices aren’t really looking after the environment, growth management, etc, etc….hence massive debt and degradation of America’s wages.

    And its all the Baby Boomers’ fault or the corporate lobbyists funding our only choices?

    If you don’t believe me, try running for US Senate on like $50K or even $500K; Hades, that won’t even pay for a couple weeks to set up a campaign office, let alone TV ads, posters, etc,etc….nope, you got to sign the pack with the corporate power cheap labor lobbyist devil to be a candidate and then tow to their line, once elected too.

    The real answer is $5 campaign limits from any source for all candidates…LOL

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  13. Markor

    RE: softwarengineer @ 111

    And its all the Baby Boomers’ fault or the corporate lobbyists funding our only choices?

    I believe about half the voters support anything that gives them something at the expense of someone else, fair or not. The corporate lobbyists just make things worse.

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  14. Ira Sacharoff

    RE: Markor @ 112
    I think the corporate lobbyists have a way of making you think you’re getting something at the expense of others, when in fact it’s you who’s getting screwed.

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  15. The Kid

    The issue I’m running headlong into isn’t an issue of living within my means. It’s what living within your means actually gets you. I’m not talking about a smaller house, or no granite countertops, or an older car. What is “within the means” of the vast majority of the US population is shared housing and a car with a transmission that is about to fall out, if any car at all. As I said, my one bedroom apartment is 50% of my take home pay, and it’s no luxury apartment, of that I can assure you. That, I would consider, is living beyond my means but the alternative is moving into a shared living situation with two other people outside myself and my wife. Even then it’s still pushing it. We eat on ~$50 a week for the both of us, we eat out of bulk bins mostly. I don’t own a cell phone, and we have one vehicle between the two of us. I manage to save a few hundered dollars a month but that can get wiped out in a hearbeat. My wife has no insurance and she got a UTI that wouldn’t go away. To visit the doctor, get tested, and get a bottle of antibiotics it ran us $400 once all was said and done.

    What “within my means” options do I have left?

    I have one credit card. I do not carry it with me and it has no balance. Every month, at least once, I look at it and say to myself not “that’s a new stereo” or “that could be a vacation” but instead I say “I really need new socks” and “It would sure be nice to be able to take my wife out to dinner”

    We’re moving back into a roommate situation with a friend this spring, maybe find a rental house at around $1400 a month for the three of us. That should save us a couple hundred dollars a month. We hope.

    Regarding “did the boomers have it easier” the answer is “yes” not easy, but a hell of alot easier. I checked the census data, cross referenced average house cost with average income, and calculated the ratios (they are rough) in 1963 the average home is the US cost 2.2 times the median income. Now it costs 4.1. The housing was flat cheaper. Food was cheaper. Medical care was cheaper. Education was cheaper. Gas was cheaper. Cars were cheaper. All in realistic inflation adjusted terms. Does that mean everything went right for every boomer out there? No. But you did have it way WAY easier.Accept that. Please. Just do the math for yourself if you don’t believe me.

    Two years ago, we begged, BEGGED my wife’s parents to help pay for my wife’s last quarter of community college, so she could at least have her AA, for whatever that was worth. The gave us sad faces and told us how tight money was right now and they just couldn’t afford to help. Fair. Understood. You’re not obligated to help us.

    Then they went out and spent $2k on their DOG’S knee surgery. Oookay, well, the dog was suffering, I understand…..

    Then they bought a Mini Cooper.

    I wish I could say that my story was unique, but I hear similar stories every day. You want to talk about about impulsive behavior disorder, there it is.

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  16. The Kid

    On a side note, I just (like one minute ago) had a gentleman from Skyline Properties bang on my door, and ask if I wanted to buy a house.

    I had a hard time not laughing my head off.

    They’re going door to door now?

    What a recovery.

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  17. softwarengineer

    RE: The Kid @ 116

    You’re Right, and all People are all different on the fairness issue(s) though, irrespective of age, which is fine too

    I got help with my college, so I help my daughter [fair is fair] and keep her out of debt….but no dorm room and a free car, ya need two six figure incomes to give your college kid(s) that. I got her working FT since she was 18 and she’s saved a bundle for her age to date [she spends it too...LOL], plus when she gets college finished, she’ll also have work experience. My plan, get her with a good savings account and out on her own…debt free. Imagine 6 figure double income parents getting their kids through college, then junior can’t find work with no experience….don’t clean out their old bedroom too fast…LOL…

    Once you marry though, the cards change [so does the tax deductions on college tuition and exemptions for the parent(s)], so putting marriage off until you’re 30 isn’t a bad idea anyway, Hades, I didn’t know what I wanted in a mate until I was divorced and 40 anyway…LOL….once the little bambinos come, granny bar the door, so does the bills….ask the blogger dad that stays at home to save daycare costs [I think the kids get better quality care with a stay at home parent anyway].

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  18. ray pepper

    This may help some of you understand……………….Then again it may not…………. Obama Impulsive behavior?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P5yxFtTwDcc

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  19. Urban Artist

    Thank you “the KID” Finally someone that gets it. My husband and I are older than you but we also feel we were lied to. We went to college did what we were supposed to do, saved as much as we could stayed out of debt. Every time we start to get ahead some bubble bursts and we have to deal with a layoff. We waited to have kids until we thought finally we can afford it, then 2001 tech bubble burst , well there went my job. We still did okay but I had to settle for contract work and that’s how it’s been for me. My husband avoided the layoffs until this year now he is down to contract work and now we are faced with finding a new place to live. Despite all that we did put some aside for a house. But the rents are insane so I fear are savings will be eaten up by rents. I feel like we are being made to pay for other peoples mistakes. We don’t want to have to change our kids school but we may have to. And yes I’m so mad at the whole situation. I feel that we are being forced to leave Seattle because apparently you have to make at least 150K to live here. My parents didn’t really understand how hard it is. My father was a school teacher and my mother worked part time and they could buy a house. How did things get so messed up? The best I can come up with is Greed. Thank you again “KID” and “Lilypad”

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  20. Ira Sacharoff

    RE: Urban Artist @ 120
    I completely agree with you, Urban Artist. Greed on steroids have hurt an awful of people.
    I clearly know that it’s harder for younger folks to buy a home and to save, and I feel lucky to have been able to buy homes when they were cheap.

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  21. peckhammer

    RE: The Kid @ 116
    “The issue I’m running headlong into isn’t an issue of living within my means. What is “within the means” of the vast majority of the US population is shared housing and a car with a transmission that is about to fall out, if any car at all..”

    Then you need a second or third job. There’s nothing in your story that is any different than mine at your age. When I was thirty, my net worth was about $2000. Seventeen years later things are different and I no longer work three jobs. But being a poor smuck taught me some things. We live in a 600 square foot place, despite being able to afford something on Mercer Island. We take the bus mostly, and drive a $14,000 car when we need to. No kids, no debt, and we save 50% of our gross income each year.

    You need to lower your expectations, because frankly, you should expect nothing, The world owes you squat. If you are not sleeping in Denny Park, you are already ahead of the game.

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  22. The Kid

    RE: peckhammer @ 122

    I WAS sleeping in Denny Park, once upon a time. I AM working full time, I used to work two, three jobs, I have worked those 90 hour weeks. I have scars from hot grease and molten metal. I did all that to CLAW MY WAY OUT of Denny park. I know golly well how bad it could get, I HAVE BEEN THERE. What, you thought I was some spoiled little rich kid who didn’t want to do any real work? Now I ask you, how does it feel to eat food out of a garbage can? Do you know?

    But get this, after years of working those jobs, you got what you wanted, and the capacity to have alot more. Me? I’m doing it not to get ahead, but just to get by.

    If you really think it is just fine, totally normal, no problems, expect nothing for people to work their fingers to the bone and starve anyway, then it’s gonna be real funny when all those whiny people who just don’t want to work hard break into your modest responsible home to take all your stuff because that is the only avenue they have left to get ahead. This is not a threat this is the weight of history speaking.

    It is way too easy to tell other people to lower their standards when you don’t have to.

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  23. peckhammer

    RE: The Kid @ 123
    “It is way too easy to tell other people to lower their standards when you don’t have to. “

    It is easier to suggest that other people raise their standards — obviously you missed something in the message here — when I’ve already walked a 1000 miles in your shoes. And I pity the poor soul that “breaks into my modest responsible home.” You need to redirect your anger towards more productive activities. I don’t buy your story; you need help, and you won’t find the type you need on this blog.

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  24. TJ_98370

    .
    Reply: The Kid @ 123
    .
    No disrespect intended, but you are very articulate for a former street person. It is easy to do “pretend” characters on the internet. Your persona’s credibility is suspect. So what is your story, really?
    .

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  25. The Kid

    RE: TJ_98370 @ 125
    Sure, I would be happy to relate my story, though I’m not about to blast my life story out on a public forum. If either of you would like to hear it, either in person, on the phone, or related via e-mail I can do that. When and how would you like to hear it?

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  26. TJ_98370

    The Kid @ 126

    Sure, I would be happy to relate my story, though I’m not about to blast my life story out on a public forum. If either of you would like to hear it, either in person, on the phone, or related via e-mail I can do that. When and how would you like to hear it?
    .
    I understand. I would like to hear from you. However, like you, I do not want to broadcast private info on a public forum. How do we get there from here? Excuse my ignorance.

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  27. The Kid

    Crud, excellent point. Well, I’ll just have to trust that the people on this forum won’t be d-bags about it. Here’s my e-mail address ktcrisalli[at]hotmail

    I’m on the eastside. I would be happy to meet for coffee somewhere. It’s a long story and it may take some time.

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  28. Kary L. Krismer

    By The Tim @ 86:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 85 – Okay so my hypothetical situation of a potential July 2007 homebuyer who has $85k to use as either a down payment or a stock investment is admittedly unrealistic. But buying a $400k house with cash is even more ridiculous compared to what most people were really doing.

    If we want to look at something more like what people were really doing in 2007, a much more realistic scenario to run the numbers for would be buying maybe a $250,000 house with 3.5% down ($8,750) vs. putting that $8,750 into the stock market.

    No, it’s apples and oranges. You’re comparing a leveraged investment to a cash investment. The leveraged will do horribly when prices go down and fantastic when prices go up, and you know that prior to even running the numbers or making a graph. That’s what happens when you make a leveraged investment.

    If you want to make it apples to apples it has to be either cash to cash or leveraged to leveraged. But the thing is with stocks it would be virtually impossible to know the result because you wouldn’t be able to easily determine when the margin calls would come, and when any forced sales would occur. They could owe money conceivably.

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  29. Kary L. Krismer

    By peckhammer @ 87:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 85
    If you made it apples and apples, with both cash, the homeowner would still be at $344,000 and the stock investor at one point would have been down 50%.

    This is a seroiusly flawed example, IMO. The stock investor can change thier allocation on a dime. The housing “investor” cannot.

    True, but that probably means they got out when they were 50% down. ;-)

    Seriously, you’re right that stocks are much more liquid. I was just trying to make the comparison a bit more fair. Comparing leveraged stock investing to cash stock investing during a declining market would show the leveraged investor doing worse, and doing better during a rising market.

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  30. The Kid

    RE: peckhammer @ 124
    “when I’ve already walked a 1000 miles in your shoes”

    No sir you have not sir. You were my age once, and had to work. That is where the similarities end.

    That’s the point I’m trying to get across, and the astounding arrogance you are displaying reflects poorly on you and is a syndrome of your entire generation. “Screw you Jack, I got mine” or even better “If you don’t have the things I have you obviously simply didn’t work as hard as I did”. You think you have been there when you were doing all of this at a time of amazing plenty in this country. That time is long past. Don’t buy my story? That dosen’t surprise me, and nothing, nothing I could do, no amount of research, no amount of credible sources could convince you of anything other than you already believe. Say something you don’t like and can’t refute? Guess I must be a liar or crazy.

    But we have long since drifted off topic. If you wish to continue this discussion, my e-mail address is posted a few posts up. E-mail me if you want.

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  31. jimmythev

    Hey Tim… not sure if you had seen this, it’s from last month, but I thought it was an interesting tidbit on how are friends at the Escala are doing…

    http://www.seattlewacondos.com/blog/2009/07/28/escala

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  32. truthtold

    peckhammer
    this is tiresome. Can’t imagine my or your bean counting lifestyle is impressive advice to the powerful perspectives voiced here.
    Deeply appreciate the candid posts – been waiting to hear these views and wondering. Began to wonder if this generation was groovy with debacle. Thanks for insight and perspectives.

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  33. TJ_98370

    By The Tim @ 106:

    RE: TJ_98370 @ 100 – The buttons are working for me in IE and Firefox. What browser are you using? Do you have javascript disabled?

    Hi Tim,

    I found the problem. Apparently the Google Chrome browser is incompatible with your “Reply-Quote” soft keys. This is the second time I have had problems with Google Chrome and soft keys.

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  34. Urban Artist

    I wish to respect the “KID: for being so candid about his situation. I think many are missing the point he is trying to get across. I believe he is trying to point out that because of massive greed and nobody minding the ship for the past 8 plus years; people that work hard do not have an equal shot at making it as you did a generation or so ago. I’ve even noticed that my ability to save has shrunk and my spending habits have not really changed, and my husband and I are very frugal. I do wonder about why other posters are now questioning his truthfulness because he does not sound like a street person. That to me shows a very narrow minded take on the situation out there. There are many well educated people out there that are now living in tents. There are as many stories as there are people and yes I agree that many did not think things through and got in over their heads. I personally feel for my family we did not take part in the game but we are now paying the price. It makes me very mad. If one needs to blame others to feel better we should direct it further up the food chain and not at people trying to work hard to make it.

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  35. bob

    Aside question – there was apparently an auction for the remaining Gallery condo’s. Has anyone seen a report?

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  36. TJ_98370

    By Urban Artist @ 135:

    ….. I do wonder about why other posters are now questioning his truthfulness because he does not sound like a street person. That to me shows a very narrow minded take on the situation out there. There are many well educated people out there that are now living in tents……..

    .
    I admit that I have very limited experience interacting with people who are “on the street”. I do not live in a large urban environment. If it is true that there are many well educated people living in tents right now, that is a disturbing trend. I’ve long held the opinion that other than physical / mental disability, most of those living on the street are there because of self-inflicted damage. Perhaps I need to rethink that position.
    .

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  37. Dave0

    RE: The Tim @ 45 – Tim, I’d be curious how your analysis would change if you changed the start date to Oct. 2007, when the S&P 500 peaked.

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  38. Dave0

    RE: The Kid @ 95 – Amen. I make a higher salary than a lot of my friends, put 40% – 50% of that after taxes into savings, and have been doing so for the past 4 years and I still don’t have enough of a down payment in my opinion. Every once in a while I get inquiries from baby boomers, who see how good I am with my finances, asking why I can’t afford a home. I then ask when they bought their first home how much they made, around $5/hour they say, and then I ask around how much their home cost, they say around $30,000. You have to point out to them that wages have increased around 4 times, while home prices have increased around 10 times. Only then do they realize why people my age can’t afford a home, when they could at our age.

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  39. Bubble Watcher

    RE: Dave0 @ 141 — Amen again. I could cut-and-paste your comment, and it would also reflect my situation and experience. Thanks also to The Kid for the detailed story and willingness to engage in the conversation.

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  40. softwarengineer

    RE: Dave0 @ 141

    Add to your logic the fact that safe 0.75% money markets make $70/mo after taxes on a $100K and its clear to me….the Baby Boomers aren’t going to be retiring soon, if ever, IMO. Is this recent 2009 spike in the stock market hope, or just another popped balloon by year’s end, just like the Great Depression’s phony stock market surge after the 1929 collapse? I just got back from Vegas, if you gamble there, IMO, your odds are better at winning there, than stock funds today.

    Hardly none of today’s Boomers can save $1-2M in an safe interest bearing account to assist the bankrupt social security cuts; thus allowing them enough for property tax, utilities, uninsured medical and food, etc, etc….

    They can retire by reverse mortgaging their wealth…LOL…would if they live too long? What wealth in their homes in the future?

    Nope, The Kid and my daughter’s generation are shafted…the jobs are scarce and the older ones can’t retire. One thing is for certain: “death and taxes”. Another certainty, without Seattle depopulation, wages will continue spiralling downward and so will RE prices….while unemployment/poverty will get worse and worse….but the rich elite corporations will have plenty of low wage employees to “pick and choose” from and they’re smiling.

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  41. Ira Sacharoff

    “If one needs to blame others to feel better we should direct it further up the food chain and not at people trying to work hard to make it. ”

    …And the folks at the top of the food chain take great pains and pleasure in making sure that the rage is misdirected toward other poor suckers instead of at themselves.

    A couple of things that were posted recently are stilll lingering. One is the importance of taking personal responsibility, the other blaming everything on the baby boomers.
    Just as I’m not going to defend my fellow real estate agents, I’m not going to defend my fellow baby boomers. I don’t blame the baby boomers for all of our society’s faults, but I will acknowledge that many of my fellow baby boomers haven’t a clue about the economic difficulties facing younger generations.
    While salaries may be up, there’s a lot more contracting out there. It was promised as offering more flexibility and more freedom, but ultimately is offering more insecurity and poverty. And prices, especially housing costs, are way up.
    Well, I take it back. I’ll accept some blame, personally.
    In the fall of 2007, my son and his wife bought a house. I was their agent. I tried over and over to talk them out of it. I insisted that the housing market was due to see a significant fall, and soon, that their purchase was frought with risk, I tried to talk sense into them, but I failed. They thought I was being paranoid. Yes, I did the best I could, and they did buy a house that was a relative “deal” but now they’re down 75000 dollars in equity.They have steady jobs and are not planning on selling anytime soon, but I wish they’d have held off. I’m not sure I could have done anything differently. I suppose I could have left them to their own devices, and let them find their own agent, but then I’d feel really bad now, especially if they’d run into a less honest, hungrier agent.

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  42. The Kid

    The only real thing I have to add to this discussion is actually an exerpt from the wikipedia entry on the causes of the French Revolution. You know, the one where people dragged the wealthy, innocent and guilty alike, and murdered them in the streets? That one?

    “Another cause was the fact that Louis XV fought many wars, bringing France to the verge of bankruptcy, and Louis XVI supported the colonists during the American Revolution, exacerbating the precarious financial condition of the government. The national debt amounted to almost two billion livres. The social burdens caused by war included the huge war debt, made worse by the monarchy’s military failures and ineptitude, and the lack of social services for war veterans. The inefficient and antiquated financial system was unable to manage the national debt, something which was both caused and exacerbated by the burden of a grossly inequitable system of taxation. Another cause was the continued conspicuous consumption of the noble class, especially the court of Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette at Versailles, despite the financial burden on the populace. High unemployment and high bread prices caused more money to be spent on food and less in other areas of the economy.”

    Sound familiar? That was the weight of history I was referring to. The French revolution was neither the first, nor will it be the last time that something like that has occured. I encourage everyone to read up on it in it’s entirety.

    What was that old saying “Those who fail to learn their history are doomed to repeat it.”?

    Just food for thought.

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  43. peckhammer

    RE: Dave0 @ 141

    ” I make a higher salary than a lot of my friends, put 40% – 50% of that after taxes into savings, and have been doing so for the past 4 years and I still don’t have enough of a down payment in my opinion”

    Then stay out of the market. First off, your retirement fund should be your priority, IMO, not owning a home.

    This whole pitiful “I am young, your generation screwed me” nonsense is tiring. If you’ve got a problem with prices in the consumer or real estate market, stay out of it. Houses aren’t oxygen; you don’t have to buy one.

    When people refuse to buy some crappy house in Ballard that in a lot of other cities would be considered a tear down, then prices will come down to some sane level and you can afford your piece of the American Illusion. But as far as I can tell — especially in the last five years — there were a whole lot of lemmings jumping off a cliff and into a real estate market that was completely diconnected from any sense of value.

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  44. peckhammer

    The only real thing I have to add to this discussion is actually an exerpt from the wikipedia entry on the causes of the French Revolution.

    The “me” generation doesn’t have the organizational skills, or the attention span that a revolution requires. And they’re too busy poking friends in Facebook.

    >–
    Peckhammer

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  45. Jonness

    By TJ_98370 @ 137:

    I’ve long held the opinion that other than physical / mental disability, most of those living on the street are there because of self-inflicted damage. Perhaps I need to rethink that position.
    .

    I’ve been homeless before. It was by choice and represents one of the most fulfilling periods in my life. I’m far from being the only one though.

    http://www.angelfire.com/stars4/lists/homeless.html

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  46. Markor

    RE: peckhammer @ 146

    You tell ‘em. Let them eat cake!

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  47. The Kid

    RE: Markor @ 149
    Hehe. Well, at least someone got it.

    Peckhammer, you DO realize that you’re a walking stereotype now, right?
    Out of touch, arrogant, dismissive, and clueless.
    That’s right, you have nothing to fear from a bunch of filthy peasants.
    Peckhammer failed to learn his history.

    Or maybe you’re just a troll. Please tell me you’re just a troll. Because if you’re not, I think “peckhammer” just became the boomer version of a golliwog. Votes?

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  48. Dave0

    By peckhammer @ 146:

    RE: Dave0 @ 141

    Then stay out of the market. First off, your retirement fund should be your priority, IMO, not owning a home.

    This whole pitiful “I am young, your generation screwed me” nonsense is tiring. If you’ve got a problem with prices in the consumer or real estate market, stay out of it. Houses aren’t oxygen; you don’t have to buy one.

    BTW, funding my retirement was the first thing I did. My 401(k), pension and Roth IRA are to the point that I can pretty much let them grow for the next 34 years when I’m 60 and I’ll have enough without any more contributions. The only part of my retirement fund that I’m including as a possible down payment is my Roth IRA since I can take that out to buy my first house without any penalties.

    Also, yes there is a reason I haven’t bought a house yet, because after doing the math, I can get a nicer place by renting for the same price. When that changes, then I’ll buy.

    Finally, I wasn’t saying your generation screwed me, I was just agreeing that times are harder than they were in my parent’s generation. But, I do agree with all of the comments of those who have blamed the previous generations. That generation did screw us over, even if they did unknowingly. It wasn’t intentional, it was more related to using up all of the earth’s resources for short-term pleasure, namely oil, but that’s a whole other topic…

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  49. Dave0

    By peckhammer @ 147:

    The only real thing I have to add to this discussion is actually an exerpt from the wikipedia entry on the causes of the French Revolution.

    The “me” generation doesn’t have the organizational skills, or the attention span that a revolution requires. And they’re too busy poking friends in Facebook.

    >–
    Peckhammer

    That “me” generation was able to elect Barak Obama, who without facebook would have never been able to connect with all of them. I wouldn’t count them out.

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  50. Kary L. Krismer

    By The Tim @ 138:

    The problem is that while it may be obvious to you and I without a graph, every day real people somehow manage to convince themselves of that tired nonsense cliché that buying a home is “a forced savings plan.”

    Buying a home might be a forced savings account if people forced themselves to pay extra every month on their mortgage. But I don’t know that they’re any more likely to do that than to put money in the stock market like in your hypothetical in the graph. If people need a forced savings account, what’s wrong with just having a savings account?

    The problem is when people get an extra $100 a month of income, many tend to spend an extra $75-150 a month. And the ratio is probably the same for many people who save $1,000 a month by renting rather than buying.

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  51. Markor

    RE: Dave0 @ 151

    It wasn’t intentional, it was more related to using up all of the earth’s resources for short-term pleasure, namely oil, but that’s a whole other topic…

    It was intentional. How many of that generation had lots of kids so they’d have lots of people to take care of them in their old age? Much of the excess is still happening today– e.g. see the natural gas fires used for decoration in restaurants.

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  52. cherilynn

    Thank you kid!
    I share a very similar story to yours and want to thank you for speaking up for our hardworking generation! I am 32 and have been reading this site for a year now. I now have 2 jobs. I walk to work (both of them) and am able to tuck some $$ away. But I share your frustrations! Until outrageous asking prices of $700,000 or higher homes (in central seattle) we are doomed to never have a chance to own our own homes! I can’t even afford the $400,000 that jonness was using for an example.

    I have also been comparing asking home prices to the king county assessor property report regarding what individual houses have been assessed at. I find it interesting that sellers are still asking for twice as much as the house is assessed at!!
    It seems sellers are still thinking that a 2 bedroom house with one bathroom on capitol hill is worth $800,000!

    Ridiculous!!

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  53. TJ_98370

    RE: Jonness @ 148

    Interesting list, mostly artsy / entertainer / rebel right brain hemisphere dominant types. Great subject for a sociology major to investigate —— “What is the correlation between right brain dominance and homelessness” :-).

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  54. cherilynn

    dave0 151

    You hit the nail on the head!!

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  55. TJ_98370

    .
    Serious question to cherilyn, Dave O, Markor, The Kid, Jonness, etc.
    .
    I’m not being sarcastic. I just want to know. If it is so difficult to make ends meet in the Seattle area, why do you stay there?
    .
    Last I checked, median home prices are around 35% less in Pierce and Kitsap than what is currently occurring in King and I’m sure rent differences are comparable. Is living in King that much more special?
    .

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  56. Peckhammer

    RE: TJ_98370 @ 158
    “If it is so difficult to make ends meet in the Seattle area, why do you stay there?”

    Newton’s 1st Law – an object at rest will stay at rest. If you can’t move it with your game thumb, then it’s staying put.

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  57. Dave0

    By TJ_98370 @ 158:

    .
    Serious question to cherilyn, Dave O, Markor, The Kid, Jonness, etc.
    .
    I’m not being sarcastic. I just want to know. If it is so difficult to make ends meet in the Seattle area, why do you stay there?
    .
    Last I checked, median home prices are around 35% less in Pierce and Kitsap than what is currently occurring in King and I’m sure rent differences are comparable. Is living in King that much more special?
    .

    All of my family is in Seattle, so staying in the Seattle area means saving money on flight tickets. I also would like to avoid any place with hurricanes, tornadoes, extreme cold with ice and snow for months, or extreme heat during the summer, which pretty much only leaves the northwest.

    I live in Seattle because of my current comfortable desk job in Bellevue. If that jobs ends for whatever reason, I’d consider moving outside of King County, but I’d probably stay in Western Washington or the Portland area.

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  58. Peckhammer

    RE: Dave0 @ 160

    “I also would like to avoid any place with hurricanes, tornadoes, extreme cold with ice and snow for months, or extreme heat during the summer, which pretty much only leaves the northwest.”

    The Northwest, which is known for the largest earthquakes in the contiguous United States. Yeah, that risk assessment makes sense to me… ;)

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  59. Rack

    By Peckhammer @ 161:

    RE: Dave0 @ 160

    The Northwest, which is known for the largest earthquakes in the contiguous United States. Yeah, that risk assessment makes sense to me… ;)

    That would be the entire west coast, but how often have earthquakes done damage like Katrina did?

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  60. Peckhammer

    RE: Rack @ 162

    “how often have earthquakes done damage like Katrina did? “

    Every 300 years?

    Facts:

    Cascadia Subduction Zone, The Cascadia Subduction zone, which does not encompass the entire west coast.
    1700 01 26
    Magnitude ~9

    This earthquake, the largest known to have occurred in the “lower 48″ United States, rocked Cascadia, a region 600 miles long that includes northern California, Oregon, Washington, and southern British Columbia. The earthquake set off a tsunami that not only struck Cascadia’s Pacific coast, but also crossed the Pacific Ocean to Japan, where it damaged coastal villages.

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  61. Dave0

    By Peckhammer @ 161:

    RE: Dave0 @ 160

    “I also would like to avoid any place with hurricanes, tornadoes, extreme cold with ice and snow for months, or extreme heat during the summer, which pretty much only leaves the northwest.”

    The Northwest, which is known for the largest earthquakes in the contiguous United States. Yeah, that risk assessment makes sense to me… ;)

    I’m fully aware of the earthquake threat in the northwest. In the 26 years that I’ve grown up here there was 1 earthquake that I felt (in 2001). The things I listed out occur usually on an annual basis. Significant earthquakes happen maybe once a decade, I can live with that threat. All of the building codes around here require buildings to be built to withstand one of those “once every 300 years” earthquakes. As long as your not on hwy 520 or the viaduct when it happens, you will probably survive.

    Regarding tsunamis, I don’t think they are much of a threat to Seattle considering 1) We are not on the open ocean, but instead the Puget Sound so large tsunamis are less likely to occur and 2) Seattle is hilly, if a tsunami is coming, it won’t be too hard to get to a high enough elevation to avoid it.

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  62. Peckhammer

    RE: Dave0 @ 164

    “All of the building codes around here require buildings to be built to withstand one of those “once every 300 years” earthquakes.”

    Which have never been tested by an actual magnitude 9, 3+ minute duration.

    The fequency of magnitude 9 earthquakes is about every 20 years in the world. The earthquake here in 2001 was like a kiddy ride compared to the Cascadia Subduction zone quakes that occur, on average, every 300 years. I doubt there would be anything left standing here in Seattle, since these quakes have a typical duration of 3 minutes or more.

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  63. Markor

    RE: TJ_98370 @ 158

    Serious question to cherilyn, Dave O, Markor, The Kid, Jonness, etc.
    .
    I’m not being sarcastic. I just want to know. If it is so difficult to make ends meet in the Seattle area, why do you stay there?

    Have I given the impression that I’m struggling? I’m not. As a liberal I support fairness (including to future generations) and sustainability. I do think King County is superior to surrounding counties.

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  64. Kary L. Krismer

    I like it here, but I’d prefer a natural disaster more in the form of a hurricane. One that gives you about 5 days notice that it might show up.

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  65. The Kid

    RE: TJ_98370 @ 158
    First off, Seattle is home. It’s full of memories, friends, and family.

    Second, regardless of the cost of living, this is where the jobs are. With the cost of transportation, commuting from, say, south Tacoma every day, or paying higher prices here is a null sum financial equation increase in tansportation expenditures cancels out any savings in cost of housing, combined with a tremendous waste of time in commute. You could ask yourself the same question about Manhttan. Why does ANYONE live there if it’s so expensive?

    Many of the people I know have packed up and moved back to where they came from, Oklahoma, Texas, Kansas, Nebraska. Now they’re living with their parents in some tiny town out in the middle of nowhere. Sure, the living is cheap, but only one of the four people I know who moved back out to the sticks has managed to find a job of any kind, and that one is working as a clerk at a convinience store part time. That’s why they left and came out here in the first place.

    Third, most places in the US are just as overpriced. Sure, if I moved out to, say, Yelm, or Prosser I could get a house, a big nice house on acreage for say, 200k. That still means that I find a job that makes me 50k a year to afford it, and that’s not going to happen out there.

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  66. Peckhammer

    RE: The Kid @ 168

    “Third, most places in the US are just as overpriced. Sure, if I moved out to, say, Yelm, or Prosser I could get a house, a big nice house on acreage for say, 200k. That still means that I find a job that makes me 50k a year to afford it, and that’s not going to happen out there. “

    Try Denver. Nice place, and it’s affordable. I am certain that there are $50K/year jobs there too.

    You’ve come into this discussion speaking on behalf of your generation, but really it’s all about you, your personal situation, and a dozen people you know who’ve crawled back to the dusty corners of their genesis.

    I happen to work around thousands of people that are thirty and younger, who seem to be making a decent living. Some of them have even purchased homes — achieving the impossible, apparently. So, I’d suggest broadening the scope of your sampling before thinking that your personal experience is the experience of everyone in their 30s — or that it differs from many peoples’ experiences in my generation.

    And as far as your French revolution BS is concerned, have you been there lately? With the exception of a better healthcare system, they live about the same way we do. So their revolution got them absolutely nothing in the long run. The current generation of French have no more stamina, no more experience, and no more stomach for a revolution than Americans do — because like us, they are preoccupied sending text messages and buying flat screen TVs while their deficit grows.

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  67. Costco Mike

    By Kary L. Krismer @ 4:

    I’ve said this before, but this is just a case of some of you not valuing houses as highly as others.

    Me I don’t value $40,000+ cars as highly as others, so I drive a 20 year old pickup truck, and when we do shop for new vehicles the price limit is around $20,000 (our other car is a 2005 Rav4 bought new). But do you see me going around the web complaining that the prices of cars are too high because I don’t value them as much as others? No. I accept that the market is what is is, and other people are what they are.

    And I’d add that historically car purchases have probably put far more people into bankruptcy than house purchases. Years ago one trustee I know mentioned that the average debtor has a car (or cars) that are less than two years old. After hearing him say that, I started noticing, and it was amazingly true. And also, for the most part, cars only depreciate.

    This got me thinking… What exactly is different about a house as compared to a car?

    Similarities
    – Regular maintenance
    – Options to modify or improve performance, comfort, luxury.
    – Both need repairs during their lifespan.
    – Both are used as a status symbol by society.
    – In high school you are a “loser” if you don’t have a car, in middle age you are a “loser” if you don’t own a home.
    – Both serve a purpose to the owner transport, shelter.
    – Both are ever changing with social wants/needs.
    – Both are items that society looks at as acceptable to be in debt to own one.
    – Both are susceptible to fads/fashion.

    I bought a 1960 Chevy pickup when I was 16 for $500. My dad and I have been working on restoring it since. It is worth a lot more than what I paid for and put into it. Kary would not be interested in it because it is above his interest level for market value. But I see it the same as houses I see extra value in a house that is historically significant to the area. But I see no value in a 1980’s rambler for 400k because a bunch of “sheeple” got in line because everyone was doing it and it turned out it was a line for the chopping block.

    So how does a car differ from a house in terms of value?

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  68. Kary L. Krismer

    RE: Costco Mike @ 170 – Well first, I wouldn’t have any interest in your truck because it’s a Chevy! ;-)

    Seriously, I’d put your pickup truck in a different category than a car in the way we’ve been discussing it, because it doesn’t sound like something you’d buy for a daily driver. Although I actually do know someone who bought an old classic pickup and did just that with it. I thought that was nuts, and I suspect whoever sold it to them would have said no if they’d known.

    But the other major difference is cars depreciate much faster, both in real and nominal terms. There was a time when German cars actually appreciated due to exchange rates, but other than that or the collector car, they will go down in value.

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  69. Markor

    RE: Peckhammer @ 169

    And as far as your French revolution BS is concerned, have you been there lately? With the exception of a better healthcare system, they live about the same way we do. So their revolution got them absolutely nothing in the long run.

    Have you been there lately? Can I drop some coins into a vending machine to get to Portland in an hour, with lots of leg room? And healthcare is huge; it can easily mean the difference between living in poverty or living middle class. Even house calls are free there. Most Americans have a significantly lower standard of living than most of the French do.

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  70. Lake Hills Renter

    Just wanted to post some words of support for The Kid. Thank you for sharing your story and problems. I am not in your situation or age group, but neither am I a Baby Boomer. I’m always interested in the experiences of people in situations different than my own so I can understand, not dismiss.

    Peckhammer — I love ya, but you’re sounding like a grumpy old man. I’m expecting you tell The Kid to get off your lawn next. =P

    Disclaimer: I’m 38 and have a good job with a good salary — I’ve been very lucky in my life this far. But because I’m on a single income, I haven’t been able to find a house I’m willing to pay for in the 3+ years I’ve been watching the market. So I rent, save, and fund my retirement.

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  71. Costco Mike

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 171

    I guess I was asking more for where and why society put appreciation on houses as they are a structure or entity with a lifespan, allbeit longer than a car, but still a product for consumers that will decay with out work and repairs at a cost.

    What would be the average term of ownership vs cost for a car compared to a house? Is it similar?

    Oh and I respect both Ford and Chevy in terms of historic automobiles. I just wouldn’t buy anything from them today. ;-)

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  72. Peckhammer

    RE: Markor @ 172

    Have you been there lately?

    Why yes I have, to visit family. And as some of you may know native French is spoken in my household. I have a pretty clear idea of what contemporary French society is like.

    RE: Lake Hills Renter @ 173

    I have no issue with The Kid’s individual story. I do take issue with trying to pass off that experience as the experience of a generation, and implying that the boomers were somehow consiring against them.

    Grumpy? You bet. “Stay out of those rose bushes! You won’t be laughing when I let this dog off this chain!”

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  73. explorer

    “So what’s the cure for impulsive behavior disorder?”

    It’s the “Amercian Dream” emotion saying to them: “I know it looks bad, but it will work out…” Famous last words. I still overhear people occassionally angsting over their upcoming purchases. They know they should not, but “it will work out somehow.” It’s pure wishful thinking. It’s also weak minded and improperly researched decision making based upon misplaced trust and marketing. Makes one wonder what they do to earn those 6 figures (those that do), and how they keep their jobs

    What sucks is that those who are more clear headed are taking it in the shorts too. I’m not about to toss in the towel of fiscal sanity, but I think the resentment is well earned. We have been well trained to live beyond our means as a society. Nothing short of disaster is going to reset that mindset.

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  74. explorer

    “That “me” generation was able to elect Barak Obama, who without facebook would have never been able to connect with all of them. I wouldn’t count them out. ”

    Trouble is, you can’t really count them “in” for the long haul either. As is proved with Health Care in particualr. With attention spans of gnats, they can be as weak minded as anyone else. Some of that is lack of expereince and wisdom, but some is also from a dumbed down educational system. That’s why there can still be support for old failed polices with new names and new targets.

    Everyone from every generation has a share of the “blame” for the malase.

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  75. explorer

    One of the things the under 40 set does not realize, is that the boomer generation is so large, they have had to cannaiblize themsleves when necessary. All this contrived blame is often due to too easy overgeneralizations to making up for a lack of context.

    Many Boomers are actually WORSE off now than the younger generations, and they don’t have the time to make it back up. Yes, Ira’s comment on gleeful misdirection is on the mark.

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  76. cherilynn

    TJ @ 158

    “I’m not being sarcastic. I just want to know. If it is so difficult to make ends meet in the Seattle area, why do you stay there?
    Last I checked, median home prices are around 35% less in Pierce and Kitsap than what is currently occurring in King and I’m sure rent differences are comparable. Is living in King that much more special?”

    to answer your question
    I am an artist directly in seattle… I have two good paying jobs. I can walk or bike to work! I love seattle. It’s where my friends, family, jobs, and artistic life, and social life is centered! I would rather be close to my jobs than buy a car and commute an hour or more a day in order to buy some cheap home in tacoma!

    The point is that houses in seattle are still OVERPRICED! Meaning people are asking TOO MUCH for their homes still! I make make more than my peers and put my leftover cash into my 401k and into a retirement fund! But i do not make a 6 figure salary… I don’t know anyone my age who does!!

    I personally do not blame any generation for anything. The point is that the flock of house flippers, a greedy market, fat cat bank CEO”S, and wall street have made housing prices unreachable for the average hardworking young american trying to build a life. Maybe prices are dropping in the other counties, but I’m not seeing in in seattle. Some houses on the market have the same asking price it did a year ago…

    And the frusterating thing is that I keep hearing from real estate agents and the market that “NOW IS THE TIME TO BUY” Just because those who make $$ off a bad sale say so… doesn’t make it so.

    I’m doing my research for my area… My conclusion… In Seattle it is still not the right time to buy!

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  77. The Kid

    RE: Peckhammer @ 169

    “And as far as your French revolution BS is concerned, have you been there lately? With the exception of a better healthcare system, they live about the same way we do. So their revolution got them absolutely nothing in the long run. The current generation of French have no more stamina, no more experience, and no more stomach for a revolution than Americans do — because like us, they are preoccupied sending text messages and buying flat screen TVs while their deficit grows.”

    Once again, you’ve missed the point. You seem to think I’m saying that there will be some glorious revolution and everything will become hunky-dory. I’m not. I’m saying that the environment that produced a popular revolt against an overprivileged class occured in an environement very similar to the one we are in right now. This resulted in alot of people dying, both those that deserved it and those who didn’t. Dismissing the entirety or even the majority of current society as hopelessly consumer driven and brain dead is short sighted and narrow minded.
    If you have been reading this thread carefully you will note that there has been a great deal of support for, and agreement with what I have said. This would indicate that I am not alone. People are angry and frustrated out there, and getting angrier by the day. No amount of dismissal, ignorance or excuses that you make will change that fact. Something has to give, and it will. I hope it happens peacefully and within the rules of our system of government, but it may happen violently. If it does happen violently, then god help us all.
    No, my experience is not representative of the entirety my generation, but it does seem to be an awfully large percentage of us. Yes, many people from your generation worked very hard to get what they have, I’m not saying they didn’t. But as a whole, you did have it whole lot easier. As a whole, we do have it a whole lot harder. However, if you admit this, you would be admitting that maybe, just maybe luck and privilege had as much to do with your success as hard work and perserverance. I don’t think you could emotionally handle that.

    We agree on one thing, the price of housing (not houses, housing, rent it outrageous too) is out of control, driven by a frenzy of easy money lending. Where we disagree is apparently you don’t think this is significant to people not looking for an investment, or a life of luxury, but just looking for a home, to sleep in, to keep their stuff in, and to raise a family in.

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  78. ananda

    The continued high cost of living in Seattle is due largely to the demand. The free money is now gone and you still have people willing to buy crappy houses built in 1916 for 400k. The demand to live in Seattle has been strong for a long time. I don’t think it’s some “impulsive disorder” to pay a lot to live in Seattle – it’s been happening for many years with many, many people buying in (demanding).

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  79. mukoh

    RE: The Kid @ 150 – The Kid, stop with the cry stories of generations that are lost because of these dumb, rich people that just plotted to keep the people down. Its a joke. I finished school in the lower income range of all my classmates, started business one week later, last time I went to the reunion I was top 10% and was the only one in that bracket, everyone was whiner with how little they accomplished, and how the man is keeping them down with these low paying jobs that are not enough, and how they have to work oh so much to stay ahead.

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  80. wreckingbull

    RE: mukoh @ 182 – Huh? How does this sort of reunion work? You submit the prior year 1040A along with your $50 reunion fee to cover the roast chicken dinner and two drink tickets?

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  81. The Kid

    RE: mukoh @ 182
    They didn’t plot to keep the people down. I don’t think that the cost of housing was inflated just to screw me over, that’s paranoid and delusional. It’s was a combination of cluelessness and disregard that brought us to the situation we are in now. I never said I have accomplished little, I’ve accomplished quite a bit actually. I’m not blaming the previous generation for the mess we are in, though I will say that there are some individuals who happen to be part of that generation that have alot to answer for. I am just asserting that they had it easier. That’s all.

    This is the last post I will be making on this subject, I’ve said my piece, but I want to leave with this one last statement.

    To all those out there of my parents generation. I have met many of you who understand the situation that I, and many like me are in. I know you worked hard for the things that you have, and I know you have accomplished a great deal in your lives. You raised us and fed us and took us to school, and I thank you for that. You fought through racism, sexism, and one of the most terrible “police actions” this country has ever participated in. You lived daily with the looming threat of nuclear war. I am not, and will never say that your contributions to this nation were not valuable. Those were your fights, and you came through them standing tall. You fought your fights, and you have your own problems now. I understand that.
    Now we have our own fights. We face a crumbling infrastructure, a monumental national debt and matching tax burden, a social security system that has dried up, and wages that have not even come close to pacing inflation. Our housing is priced beyond anything any reasonable person could be expected to afford, the health care sytem bankrupts as many people as it treats, fuel costs have risen to levels never before seen, fallen, and then have resumed their climb. An education is so expensive that most people end up spending a lifetime trying to pay it back. Our environment is badly damaged,and our fuel supplies are runing low. We have blood in our shoes and blisters on our hands. We are out there, every day, busting our asses just to get by. We are exausted, frustrated, and angry. These are real problems we face and I have no idea how we’re going to fix them. Please don’t forget us, and please don’t dismiss us, and if you can find it in your hearts, please have a little sympathy, I don’t think that’s too much to ask. Good luck everybody, we’re all in this together.

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  82. truthtold

    182. Sounds like a very dull party indeed for one so accomplished. I am tired.

    Thanks again Kid.

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  83. David Losh

    RE: The Kid @ 184

    You see kid, you don’t get it about how easy this is because you’re all caught up in the game.

    I know you all want to do the right thing. You want things to be better and maybe the easy way is harder than you think. You keep your head down, go to school, get a job, or career, save your money, buy a house, maybe get married, have kids, and start the cycle again. You go to the bank with your money, invest well, buy well, and some day you may be able to retire.

    Is that it? Maybe if you are really good, and special, you can go to your class reunion and be in the top 10%, because that’s what it’s all about.

    We fought. This is war. You are either with us or you are the enemy. There are millions, if not billions, of people in the world who are in the same war against oppression.

    There are no rules in war. There is win and lose, fight or die.

    You’re right it was easier to be on the winning side in the last generation. Everything was free after World War II. Jobs, houses, and education were in such huge supply any one could have anything. Now you have to take from some one else to have yours.

    The question is: is it right? That depends on you and your moral compass. Is it right to take from a thief if it benefits others? Is it right to get the best of some low life, like your land lord, or a bank? That depends on you and your moral compass.

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  84. Yilin Wu

    RE: The Kid @ 95

    Hey, I feel your pain. I’m slightly older than you and I’ve experienced the same obstacles in my quest for decent living. After over 30 years of renting (parents never owned a home) I broke down and decided that I had to get a house to fit the wife and two kids.

    Having never lived in a house before, I’d say it’s pretty nice. The lure to buy a home is so seductive.

    I hope things improve for all of us in the future.

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  85. Jonness

    By TJ_98370 @ 156:

    RE: Jonness @ 148

    Interesting list, mostly artsy / entertainer / rebel right brain hemisphere dominant types. Great subject for a sociology major to investigate —— “What is the correlation between right brain dominance and homelessness” :-).

    Apparently, I used to create and invent music at a high level. In those days, pretty much everything paled in comparison to the euphoria I felt when I discovered even a tiny new piece of the puzzle I was attempting to construct. Money cannot replace that feeling, so it was way down on my list of priorities. Also, every other field of endeavor I considered seemed as though it restricted my thoughts to only a small portion of my mind. Music was the only thing that allowed me to use my complete brain, and that was very freeing to me.

    I suspect a lot of artists are homeless because they believe art is the highest form of revelation. I know the passion for living I felt while exploring, creating, and inventing the future was beyond any other experience I ever had. Yes, many people believed I was the dreg of society, but that meant very little in the grand scope of things. For the most part, all I cared about was breaking new ground, and I went to great lengths in my attempts to do so.

    These days, I’m a mindless robot who solves logic problems and follows orders. It’s not very fulfilling, but the pay is OK. I like to think of it as having a day job. However, the nights seem awfully short, so I can’t guarantee you won’t see me out on the street again.

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  86. mikal

    RE: mukoh @ 182 – Yup…

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  87. mukoh

    RE: wreckingbull @ 183 – Well people started pulling professions and blah blah blah who was where doing what, geesus its like two guys ended up in IT and for 4 years moved all the way to a whopping $60k and were not happy and always complaining. One was complaining about taking only one two week vacation a year. I stayed quiet about 7 or 8 at least that I do a year.

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  88. mukoh

    RE: The Kid @ 184 – Kid its not just you but software engineer and scotsman always blanter about the same, how generations are wiped out since they will have to work for so little and not get enough money. And it all sounds more like washed up guys who never accomplished anything period…

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  89. truthtold

    mukoh – I marvel at the smallness.
    period.

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  90. TJ_98370

    RE: Jonness @ 188

    Society needs it’s aritists. Life without art would be unbearably dull. I am truly envious of those that have the courage to follow their passion in the pursuit of perfecting their art. It seems that you have to be the best of the best to make a decent living in that world.

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  91. Jonness

    By TJ_98370 @ 193:

    It seems that you have to be the best of the best to make a decent living in that world.

    It can be worse than that, because there is an element of selling out that can happen when you make it. Have you ever listened to a record and at first not liked it, but after several listens became hooked on it? That happens because your brain has to form new neural connections to be able to hear the music in the way it was intended. Another example would be parents who hate the music their kids listen to because of a generational difference in the way their brains wired to hear music.

    Now imagine studying music for many thousands of hours in order to wire your brain up to hear music in a way that the mainstream population hasn’t been wired to be able to hear. At that point you have a choice between continuing to invent the music you love or backtracking in order to feed and clothe yourself. The purist among us will choose to stay hungry and remain unknown.

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  92. voight-kampff

    RE: Jonness @ 194
    Im way late to this party but,
    I too am a slightly-working-musician , Ive had to make the bulk of my money in other more mundane ways like running a business, but your post hit home with me ie: remaining hungry! Nothing fulfills me like writing music that I like ( avante-garde and virtually un-marketable), and never mind the bollocks.

    anyway cheers

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  93. voight-kampff

    respectfully, when someone posts about how very very successful they are, is it only me that finds it incredibly suspect? I know alot of successful people, but they dont ussualy post their salary or ytd earnings online.

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  94. Jonness

    By voight-kampff @ 195:

    I too am a slightly-working-musician , Ive had to make the bulk of my money in other more mundane ways like running a business, but your post hit home with me ie: remaining hungry! Nothing fulfills me like writing music that I like ( avante-garde and virtually un-marketable), and never mind the bollocks.

    anyway cheers

    Excellent!

    Best wishes :)

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  95. David Losh

    RE: Jonness @ 197

    Staying hungry pushes you to do more, in my opinion to take more chances. When you have nothing you have nothing to lose.

    Music, more than art, is a very selective field for what is popular, or profitable. Art can reach a small segment of the population much easier than music.

    There are many people who play music, compose, and collaborate that never make it out of a basement or garage. One of the things about Seattle is that it had a lively set of music venues.

    I’m thinking that one of the things that Seattle has lost is it’s ability to have diverse clubs, bars, and cocktail lounges. The other thing is the amount of basement sound studios that I see. It seems to me we have also lost the professional recording ability that we once enjoyed here.

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