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Comment Re:Save 30%, retire early (Score 1) 525

Buying too much house is like betting large on two pair or even 3 of a kind.

You may win. But you may lose.

Buying less house is like only betting on a full house or even a straight flush.


So you buy too much house- then you lose your job. Ruined.
So you buy too much house- then you get sick. Ruined.
So you buy too much house- then the housing market drops (as it does every recession)- and your pay is cut or taxes go up. Ruined or in a lot of pain.
The OLD game was to buy a house- let it appreciate and leverage up.
Then they got more aggressive and said it was a "no lose" proposal and you should leverage to the max.

You MIGHT win. You might turn $30,000 into $270,000 in 5 years. But you may also be wiped out.


So say you buy a more reasonable house.

In the above cases, you make it thru without much pain (because it's easy to save up a couple years living expenses really quickly when your expenses are low).

Your winnings are not as great (in my case $20,000 would have been about $150,000 if I'd flipped it but instead I stayed and it's $350,000 but that might have been 600,000 to 700,000 if I'd flipped it.).

The case where you lose in both cases a major employer in the region leaves or ceases to exist- housing in the area becomes worthless- taxes remain high longer than you can stand- you go bankrupt and can't sell the house.

In both cases, if you make it- the winning case compared to renting is very nice. Over 90% of investors ACTUAL return is 2-3% over 10, 20, and 30 years (forbes magazine). Rent goes up as fast as inflation but housing payments don't. At the start of a 30 year mortgage you are paying as much for a 3/2 house as a 2/2 rental. At the end of a 30 year mortage, you are often paying under half as much as renters are paying. In retirement, you are paying a quarter what renters are paying (for comparable properties- so in the too much house case, you'd also be renting "too much apartment/luxury condo".

As you point out- everything changes.

Nothing is certain. It's all a percentage game. Real estate only has value when people want to live on it.

And to be honest, the limits to growth scenarios look to turn very, very nasty in 30 years. I'll be hoping I'm dead because a billion to two billion people could die and global wars over resources are likely.

For example- we are using more chromium every year than we did from 1901 to 2000. We are on track to use all of it- with recycling considered and that's whats estimated to be in the entire planet- not just known resources. And that's true for almost every industrial metal outside of iron. And no chromium will mean no more stainless steel. Maybe we'll figure out a replacement for it. But we'll have to find a replacement for so many things so quickly that disruption is more likely. In the mean time- we aren't doing ANYTHING to mitigate the problem. So the likely case is that it will hit hard when it hits.

Who knows-- maybe we can make new elements with fusion.

Anyway... I guess I'm painting a little more of a "buy guns and ammo and join a group" scenario than a "should I have a star bucks or save for the future" scenario. But if it happens, it's going to suck. And if it doesn't happen -well better to own a house than be renting.

I'm almost certainly dead by then (87 and my expected mortality is 78).

Submission + - Spying on Students in the Classroom (

schwit1 writes: It seems a day doesn’t go by without another report of a company monitoring what we do on the Internet and selling that data to generate more revenue. And now the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has examined what happens to the data that's collected from students using technology in the classroom. They released the results of an extensive survey covering students in grades K-12.

What they found was that little work has been done to protect the privacy of the student information that is collected from both the classroom and from using the online software the schools issue for use at home on the students' own devices. They found that while many school districts have embraced technology and all of the benefits it can bring to the schools and students, often little thought has been given to one of the unintended consequences of this: the students' privacy.

The study was very extensive and took two years to complete. Virtually everything was examined, including what's being done along each point from the suppliers of hardware and software and the cloud services, to the schools and the students. They found that lots of data is being collected without permission and that it's easy for outside companies to access the data. They also discovered that there's little to prevent suppliers from sharing data with others, including advertisers.

Comment Re:The Widow (Score 1) 186

I'm still trying to figure out how I didn't know about it until just recently.

Oh, I'll tell you why. Because season one only recently came to Netflix. It's the same as with Preacher, and Hap & Leonard and other cool shows. The target demographic (idiots like me) don't watch cable TV, but when it comes to Netflix, we're all over it.

Comment Re:Save 30%, retire early (Score 1) 525

That's just luck. Mainly, you just want to save equivalent purchasing power. So by saving half my income until 51, I had enough to retire until 81 (assuming I can keep getting something close to inflation over the next 24 years). My expected mortality is 78. But, if I get "lucky", I have a paid for house (which I could downsize from to free up about $200k or reverse mortgage for an income stream) and I could reign in spending some so I should be in okay til I die. At least no eating pet food.

In my case, so far my investments have covered or slightly exceeded inflation. I'm getting 5.38% thru 2022, for example. We'll, see what things are like then.

Comment Re:The view fails to account getting &*#@ed (Score 1) 525

Or buy an affordable car (too many of my peers had $50,000 to $60,000 cars) and an affordable house (too many of my peers had houses that cost 2x to 3x what mine cost) and do a lot of fun cheap stuff with friends while taking a 2-3 weeks of nice vacations per year (but nothing too expensive too often). I took cruises, ski trips, and gaming trips.

Americans seem obsessed with status spending. By saving hard, I retired at 51.

Could I be screwed by social security being gutted? Sure. But that was where I drew the line you drew at a younger age.

And yea- our vacations suck. And we really don't get anything in trade for terrible vacation time compared to the rest of the world.

Comment Re:The view fails to account getting &*#@ed (Score 1) 525

Sorry dude, but I game (pathfinder with one group, boardgames with two other groups) with millenials. I'm well aware of their vices. I speak from personal experience. Sample size is small (about 30) but the behavior is clear. They talk about getting their "free" starbucks using their affinity cards (which is something like buy 10 to get 1 free). And they often eat out because its "too hard" to shop and cook after work or they don't know how to cook. And they eat out at lunch instead of brownbagging it.


Comment Re:The view fails to account getting &*#@ed (Score 1) 525

Fair point and I like data driven counter arguments.

I thought it was due to bankruptcy changes but it may not be.

It's still a fact that as a late boomer, we could afford to go to college on minimum wage without debt.
And it was even easier for the early boomers.

And we did go to brick and mortar schools and today the schools are marble and granite palaces.

Comment Re:The view fails to account getting &*#@ed (Score 1) 525

And you have just rediscovered the classic fable, "The grasshopper and the ant".

Your life experiences are most likely going to require that you work until the day you die.

As for the rest..

You are playing the odds in a situation where the odds are against you. You MAY be right. But I'd put the odds at under 10%. And the upside if you are right is that you live a better life now but suffer when you are old. But a lot of that better life, you won't remember when you are old. Regular luxury means that the luxury becomes unmemorable. If you are not going to remember it in 6 months, then it's a wasted luxury.

Increasingly- many people who took your side of the bet are committing suicide as they reach old age.

Saving hard, diversifying, owning your own *reasonable* sized (or even small) home is on the 90% side of the bet. Focusing on free activities with friends and family (games, dinner parties, etc.) and the occasional luxuries (I still took ski trips. i still ate out really nice once per quarter and I can still recall many of those meals).

But it is harder for millennials and that can be discouraging. And they may not make it before automation sweeps in. But my daughter and her friends are doing okay so far and about 10 years in to paying off their houses and doing okay at balancing fun and responsibility/savings.

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Journal Journal: Gone Again!

As always, if slashdot has borked the text, just go here.
She was gone again, shortly before my elderly cat died. I refer to my muse, of course.
I looked everywhere I could think of, to no avail. Stolen again? I went for a walk, on the lookout for that aged black aged Lincoln with that blonde and that brun

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