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Old 04-03-2011, 06:31 PM   #46
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I should also add that in Canada, the recession just didn't hit us the same way and we didn't have all the foreclosures and our housing market is still incredibly elevated. So there is nothing comparable in this country to large chunks of the US where you can buy nice houses for $100-$200K and live quite well on way less money.

Even out in the 'burbs where my parents live, in a nice but average middle class house, the prices are completely insane and I have no idea how they expect young people to buy a house for $650K which 10 years ago you bought for $300K.
I live in Ontario in a smaller town, and my house is worth about $250 000. It is a 3 bedroom, 3 bath home in a great neighbourhood. So again, all of this is relative. We can live comfortably on $68 K, but I sympathize with those in larger markets that struggle to make ends meet.
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Old 04-03-2011, 06:32 PM   #47
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Exactly, I see most of these things as "trade off" type choices, not really being "poor".

oh, i agree, and i think at least in terms of where we live we represent rather extreme points of the country, and the $68K needs to be adjusted regionally, and at the end of the day you're only as poor as your expenses. i can pull in $10K a month and if my expenses are $9,999, then i'm SOL. but it's still stunning to think that you can't even save, let alone go on a vacation, (at least on average), unless you are making $70K a year.
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Old 04-03-2011, 07:14 PM   #48
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i adored my time in Australia.

but i really, really missed American waiters.

/random
We went to dinner in San Diego one night (I'm in Aus too) and we had an awesome waiter. He was maybe 24, 25, and he ended up sitting down with us and talking shit/chewing the fat/shooting the breeze for about half an hour. Whether he was just working for a good tip I don't know, but it was really cool. Here they just aren't remotely interested, even if you've got an accent as cool as David Lloyd.
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Old 04-03-2011, 10:43 PM   #49
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Here they just aren't remotely interested

no, they really weren't.

still, indifferent waiters were a small price to pay for the weather, the reef, the rock, the Road, and Sydney.

(Melbourne too)
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Old 04-03-2011, 10:49 PM   #50
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no, they really weren't.

still, indifferent waiters were a small price to pay for the weather, the reef, the rock, the Road, and Sydney.

(Melbourne too)
I was gonna say, you can't leave Melbourne off that list, it is the greatest city in the universe
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Old 04-04-2011, 06:02 AM   #51
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French waiters have got to be the worst
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Old 04-04-2011, 06:17 AM   #52
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flippin heck though... these data are pretty scary indeed... $68k (roughly 47,000 euros) would be considered a pretty decent wage here, even in Paris, but wages are incredibly low here in France... although personal debt is still pretty limited here, there hasn't been a credit card explosion like in the UK/US, and authorised overdrafts are still relatively new... borrowing is hard here and strictly regulated - you are only allowed to borrow up to a third of your income after tax - all loan repayments, mortgages etc have to come out of that amount...

our lifestyle here in rural France is pretty frugal and living can be cheap, many people here seem get by on little, and we grow our own fruit and veggies and keep chickens for eggs, and my only guilty and extravagant pleasure is my horses (and they weren't too expensive to buy as they were babies and i trained them myself), i can't really afford to keep them but scrimp by as they keep me sane lol and counterbalance the stresses of my work... and they bring me and my daughter so much happiness... plus there's nice foodie treats and a bit of wine, keeping up with two growing kids, sloooooooowly doing up the house, the odd bit of travel, and a concert or two here and there... and savings? what's that?! lol! but yeah i am always skint even though i regularly work 50+ hour weeks lol! i do not know where it all goes*! it's insane!

*actually i do... i think Sarkozy knows the answer to that... grrrr @ french tax!
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Old 04-04-2011, 09:25 AM   #53
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This.

Problem is that if I win the lottery, I'm fucking out of here. You still can find affordable islands to buy.
fuck that... i'll still live here but i'll set up a corporation based in zurich to handle all my business... like doing laundry. those fucking machines are pricey.


what i really want to know is where the guy who wrote the 2nd article in the original post found an apartment for $1,000 a month in new york city.

it really is obscene... one of my best friend's moved to maine. he lives in a nice area right on the water in a fairly large two bedroom apartment with a full kitchen, washer/dryer, dish washer, large bathroom... and he's paying $800 a month for the place. he's a county cop so he's making a good salary.. he's got all the money in the world to burn. the downfall, of course, is that he's in maine... far far away from his friends and family. not too far from portland, which is a pretty fun time and all, but still... not exactly manhattan, or DC or LA or wherever. but he's a cop... he can do his job anywhere.

then there's myself and my fiancée'... we rent a small one bedroom apartment with just the basics. a small kitchen attached to the living room, very small bathroom (i hit my head in the shower).. no washer/dryer/dishwasher in the building, which is a walk up. $1,500 a month. i gave up my car when the lease was up because it's too expensive to have in the city. we live at trader joe's because we can stock up on food for the week at half the price of the local food emporium or what have you. things are extra tight right now because as of april 1st she's on an indefinite furlough/pay reduction brought on by a disagreement between millionaires and billionaires. we have an okay social life, but more often than not are paying attention to which bars have specials on the nights we want to go out in order to save some cash.

our combined salaries (not counting the 10% current reduction) are about $110,000.

$68,000? with kids? please...

the rent... too damn high.
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Old 04-04-2011, 04:59 PM   #54
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fuck that... i'll still live here but i'll set up a corporation based in zurich to handle all my business... like doing laundry. those fucking machines are pricey.


what i really want to know is where the guy who wrote the 2nd article in the original post found an apartment for $1,000 a month in new york city.

it really is obscene... one of my best friend's moved to maine. he lives in a nice area right on the water in a fairly large two bedroom apartment with a full kitchen, washer/dryer, dish washer, large bathroom... and he's paying $800 a month for the place. he's a county cop so he's making a good salary.. he's got all the money in the world to burn. the downfall, of course, is that he's in maine... far far away from his friends and family. not too far from portland, which is a pretty fun time and all, but still... not exactly manhattan, or DC or LA or wherever. but he's a cop... he can do his job anywhere.

then there's myself and my fiancée'... we rent a small one bedroom apartment with just the basics. a small kitchen attached to the living room, very small bathroom (i hit my head in the shower).. no washer/dryer/dishwasher in the building, which is a walk up. $1,500 a month. i gave up my car when the lease was up because it's too expensive to have in the city. we live at trader joe's because we can stock up on food for the week at half the price of the local food emporium or what have you. things are extra tight right now because as of april 1st she's on an indefinite furlough/pay reduction brought on by a disagreement between millionaires and billionaires. we have an okay social life, but more often than not are paying attention to which bars have specials on the nights we want to go out in order to save some cash.

our combined salaries (not counting the 10% current reduction) are about $110,000.

$68,000? with kids? please...

the rent... too damn high.
Many have much less...sounds like you're doing ok. I pay around that on my mortgage in crappy old Dublin, and it's only a modest 1 bed apartment also....ok, I do have a washer/dryer in the apartment, the development is well-constructed so I rarely need to use the heating except for the recent coldsnap, and the bathroom is a decent size but it's not exactly luxury either. I have one bookcase for my books as there's not point in buying a second one owing to lack of space. I bought in 2002 and after the best part of a decade's mortgage payments I now find I'm in negative equity to the tune of €50k due to the property crash here. You're living in one of the greatest cities on earth with cultural and social opportunities you could only get in very few other cities on the planet, most of them equally expensive...actually, in a way you already won the lottery of life!
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Old 04-04-2011, 06:53 PM   #55
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yeah i guess it depends on where you live... when we lived in Paris, before we had kids, a third to half of our income went on rent, for the tiniest little studio flat with a mini kitchen and shower room, 6 floors up and no lift lol!! was a great way to keep fit though lugging the shopping up those steps ha... those were some of the best days of my life... we had very few outgoings aside from rent, we didn't have a car then, there was no point, we could walk/metro/bus it everywhere, plus parking would've been impossible... everything was on our doorstep or within very easy reach, shops, bars, clubs, cinemas, rarely a quiet night in there was always so much going on... we didn't even have a tv as we were never home, it was really just a place to lay our heads... so it didn't matter it was tiny... we were skint as usual, but living life to the max with great friends, and we knew all the cheapest bars and places to eat lol, happy times indeed... i think it would've been pretty tough staying in Paris with kids though, but i'm sure we would've managed, we've got many friends in similar situations who do, just a completely different lifestyle that's all, although space and tiny flats would've been a problem... i do miss city life a lot but we're not tied to a particular location for our work, so it seemed a good lifestyle choice for us to up sticks and move out to the countryside... but that has its downsides too... guess nowhere is perfect lol!
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Old 04-04-2011, 07:19 PM   #56
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our lifestyle here in rural France is pretty frugal and living can be cheap, many people here seem get by on little, and we grow our own fruit and veggies and keep chickens for eggs, and my only guilty and extravagant pleasure is my horses (and they weren't too expensive to buy as they were babies and i trained them myself), i can't really afford to keep them but scrimp by as they keep me sane lol and counterbalance the stresses of my work... and they bring me and my daughter so much happiness... plus there's nice foodie treats and a bit of wine, keeping up with two growing kids, sloooooooowly doing up the house, the odd bit of travel, and a concert or two here and there...

this makes me swoon with longing for the French countryside. le sigh.
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Old 04-04-2011, 08:28 PM   #57
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this makes me swoon with longing for the French countryside. le sigh.
heh it's not all it's cracked up to be... i only mentioned the nice bits

we really are out in the arse-end of the back and beyond here and lately i've been finding myself longing for some culture and "civilisation" and the buzz of the city... it can be idyllic sometimes, but sometimes it drives me nuts...

i think the worst thing has been the complete lack of anonymity... it still does my head in when people, complete strangers, shop assistants, etc. seem to think they know more about us than we do lol

i'm quite a private person, so that does tend to freak me out a bit... but mostly people have been warm and kind, and we have made some really lovely friends here, although it did take a long time to feel "at home"...

generally, i do love it really, most of the time lol
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Old 04-05-2011, 10:10 AM   #58
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Many have much less...sounds like you're doing ok. I pay around that on my mortgage in crappy old Dublin, and it's only a modest 1 bed apartment also....ok, I do have a washer/dryer in the apartment, the development is well-constructed so I rarely need to use the heating except for the recent coldsnap, and the bathroom is a decent size but it's not exactly luxury either. I have one bookcase for my books as there's not point in buying a second one owing to lack of space. I bought in 2002 and after the best part of a decade's mortgage payments I now find I'm in negative equity to the tune of €50k due to the property crash here. You're living in one of the greatest cities on earth with cultural and social opportunities you could only get in very few other cities on the planet, most of them equally expensive...actually, in a way you already won the lottery of life!
first, the lottery of life bit... yea, no.

i'm not complaining, even if it might sound like it. sure i'd love to have a bigger apartment, but i love living in new york more than having the big apartment. was just adding to the conversation about cost of living in metropolitan areas.... and how the idea that $67,000 for two parents and two kids is livable is simply ridiculous, especially if you live in or near a major metropolitan area. and if you work in the corporate world, which my fiancée does, you need to live in or near a major metropolitan area.


on a semi-related but sorta not subject... i find the reverse class exodus in new york and other major metropolitan cities in the US fascinating... once upon a time it was the dream to become successful and move out to the suburbs, while large portions of the major metropolitan areas became slums. now that seems to be reversing, as once terrible neighborhoods are fast becoming gentrified "hip" locations, and the crime rate in the suburbs is soaring.

10-15 years ago long island city was a factory neighborhood that bordered the violent queensbridge projects. now LIC is filled with luxury apartment buildings that start at $2,000 a month for a studio. crazy.
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Old 04-05-2011, 11:57 AM   #59
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the same thing is happening in DC. once known as "Chocolate City," the african-american population is now just about 50%, and will continue to drop, as does crime, as housing prices continue to rise. i haven't been here nearly long enough to really bear witness to something that's been happening for decades, but even i can tell you that the city is noticeably different. and the crime rate in Prince George's County has absolutely gone up.

there's also the total absence of a middle class in DC. you're either a yuppie living downtown (and could be of any background), a Blue Blood in Georgetown, a member of the ultra power elite in Northwest sending your kids to private school, or living in poverty. i spent a weekend a few weeks ago in Philadelphia and was stunned at the very visible presence of white, middle class, cityfolk, hipsters who actually are cashiers or own a vinyl record store, not people who just dress like they do. they'd be totally priced out of the good parts of DC, and wouldn't live in the other parts for fear of crime. i'm sure the same is true of not just Manhattan, but Brooklyn and parts of Queens as well.

if you made $68K a year here and had two kids, well, have fun living in Manassass, VA or Laurel, MD, and battling 2 hours of traffic in and out of the city each day. or riding the MARC, which isn't so bad.

anyway ...
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Old 04-05-2011, 12:15 PM   #60
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let's put it this way... my sister and her husband used to live in rocky point, long island... which is about 75 miles east of midtown manhattan. at least a 2 hour drive in rush hour traffic, and about 20 minutes from the nearest train station, which is in port jefferson. a monthly train ticket to penn station from port jeff is $334 bucks, and the trip averages around 2 hours. tack on a $104 monthly metrocard on top of that. $448 a month just to get to and from work every day (and that's still cheaper than if you drove with gas prices the way they are).

their modest 3 bed, 2 bath, one story house on a small piece of land sold for $550,000. they bought a house about 20 minutes east of hartford that is three times the size, on 5 times the land, for $185,000.
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