Friday, November 13, 2015

Delta Man: 30

I met two former hipster couples this last week who are around 30 and starting to get serious about life. They still have some of the clothes and tats from the lifestyle, and a few of the attitudes, but the perpetual adolescence is fading. So what’s the big difference? After years of aimlessness they finally focused in on real jobs and careers, with one couple talking of children. It’s better late than never to grow up. I spent most of my 20s just screwing around, but at least I had enough sense to keep a career going.  If you are approaching 30 it’s time to grow up and be a man, and not a man-child.

If you need a checklist here you go:

  1. Steady work and a career with real goals
  2. Responsible with money (regular bill paying, paying off debts and reducing debt, saving money)
  3. Buying a home and not renting
  4. Starting a family

Boys don’t do these things, men do. It’s hard, mostly thankless work, but you’ll be better for it. 


Vincent Castrillo said...

Buying a home in many ways now a days is a sucker's game but I get your meaning. One could argue that the ability to move when needed is absolutely vital when having kids / family in this crazy landscape.

paworldandtimes said...

The dilemma is that while in many markets rent costs more per month than mortgage, buying a house is a Russian roulette investment because your next 30 years can be destroyed by a moving van.

There is an alternative that I would like to see emerge: direct the Baby Boomer wealth toward your children, their grandchildren. If your parents or your in-laws have a large house in a good neighborhood with the mortgage paid down, move in with them. Build a small addition for them if necessary.

- PA

Unknown said...

I agree with the above comments about not buying a home.

That obsession with home purchase is extremely blue pill. I know many, many men in the San Francisco area who are killing themselves and their marriages with commuting 90 to 150 minutes each way, in order to buy a small house. Which they then pay for over the next 30 years, never able to pay off early because they "bought what they could afford" and wages just aren't increasing in this millennia. This also forces their wives to work full time, and they dump their kids off at full time day care and after school programs as a "safe" place to park them while slaving away for the corporations.

JCclimber said...

The unknown above was me, JCclimber.
What happened to this commenting system?

Bruno B. L. said...

3) and 4) are negotiable. Buying a home is not always in your best interest (sometimes, rent is financially more sound), and having children, or even a spouse, may not be in your life goals.

1) and 2), on the other hand, are not.

Jack Amok said...

Buying a home may or may not be the least risky economic choice, and it may limit your mobility, but it is an important part of growing up and becoming a responsible member of a community. That's why it belongs on that list. If you're renting, you're just another drifter drifting on through. If you own a house, you have a stake in the community. Yeah, it's harder to up and move. That's the idea. It means you have an added incentive to invest in the community so you don't want to move. It's called "putting down roots" and it matter.

DSeidel said...

Of course it's good to be in a (relatively) stable State economy before buying (Texas comes to mind). Don't ever take a 30yr mortgage. Get a 15yr note and as soon as you're comfortable, pay additional couple hundred a month on the principal. Shocking how fast you can pay off a house that way. Everything is a risk. But a home in a stable market, especially one you add a bit of "sweat equity" to is the best investment a middle-class person can make.

S1AL said...

To echo the above: there's a reason home ownership is a hallmark of the middle class. If you buy early and in your price range, the long-term gains are incomparable. 30-year mortgages are a joke, however. If you're planning to take that long to pay off a house, you have much more serious issues to consider.

Jeff said...

With all of these comments against buying a home, I'm just going to have to play devil's advocate. What I'm about to say can't apply to everybody, and I hope that's understood.

If owning your own business is the #1 way to get rich in America, then investing in real estate is #2. I put stocks at #3 because it's much easier to leverage assets in real estate. Thus it's also easy to go broke in real estate. And please don't mention inheritance or marrying into it, that's not the point here.

I left CA 3 years ago. I sold my home for a net $200k profit and moved to MT after doing much research on places to live where: 1- the cost of living was low, 2- the city wasn't a boom/bust kind of town, 3- activities that I like were available, 4- property taxes aren't sky high, and 5- making a go of being a landlord/owner was feasible.

After working in the same profession for 15 years I had the leverage to be able to work from home. So I left CA, kept the same basic job, and got settled in MT.

I bought one duplex, built another, and am now finishing construction on two townhomes and have my own home. All of these places have mortgages. As they each roughly cost $400k, you need to have about $100k of your own money then get $300k from the bank.

As soon as these last two units are finished, rented, and have long term mortgages on them, I'll be quitting my regular job. Property maintenance is a day a month in the winter and 1 day/wk in the summer when I'm mowing lawns.

Now this can't be done in the SF bay area as rents aren't high enough relative to purchase prices plus property taxes. So one has to do their research and be able to work while entering the landlord game. Plenty of people are getting rich doing this - keep that in mind before just discounting it.

I lived in South San Francisco for 1 1/2 years back in 2010/2011. At $3k/month I spent $50,000 on rent and had nothing to show for it. I'll never do that again.

If your job doesn't allow you to live somewhere where housing is reasonably priced, I'd suggest figuring out a way so that in the future you'll be able to live where you choose. If you don't do that, it's nobody's fault but your own.

Delta Man said...

Jeff is correct that if housing is eating up too much of your income you need to plan to move. I don't think there's anything wrong with renting in your twenties and single, even in a high rent district if it makes sense financially. Things dramatically change when you are talking about marriage and raising children. It's hard on children to apartment hop besides just living in an apartment.

If you don't want to get married and have children then nobody cares where you live besides yourself.

Laguna Beach Fogey said...

What Jeff said.

As someone who's worked in the capital markets for most of my working life, I have
to say: real estate is where it's at.

Most successful people I meet either started their own business, or invested in real estate.

Tommy Hass said...

It's hilarious to see the amount of pride some people have for being a beast of burden.

Seriously, "manchild" should be an instawhippable offence.

Jack Amok said...

It's hilarious to see the amount of pride some people have for being a beast of burden.

It's also hilarious to see the amount of confidence some people have thinking nobody else notices when they aren't pulling their weight.

Rex Little said...

Nothing wrong with remaining a boy for life, as long as you're self-supporting. Of my 66 years, the only ones I regret are those I spent married and owning houses.

tonsplace said...

TradCons need a better marketing plan.

It is difficult to sell "hard, mostly thankless work," with "but you’ll be better for it."

While that is true for a lot of trails and tribulations its difficult to see where suffering in marriage does anything but beat down decent men

Aeoli Pera said...

Fundamentals. Excellent post.

Sokrates said...

The boy must die first, than the man can arise.

Hammerli280 said...

Thirty? I'm sorry, by thirty an adult is well into his career. I graduated from high school one week after my 17th birthday, went into a co-op work/college program a week after that. Wrote my first test plan at 20. Graduated with a BS in aerospace engineering at 22. Went to work full time. Graduated from Test Pilot School at 29.

If you have to wait until you're thirty to get your act together, you'll be a good decade behind the power curve.

Hammerli280 said...

Oh, BTW, tonsplace is right. The benefit of keeping your nose to the grindstone is that you get to play with the good toys. And get paid for it.

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SirHamster said...

If you have to wait until you're thirty to get your act together, you'll be a good decade behind the power curve.

"Approaching 30".

Also, this is targeted at those who do not have their act together. Yes, they're behind. No, it's not too late to start.

Cristo said...

Yeah, man up and marry those sluts! But please make sure to DNA test the children that they spawn.

RHJunior said...

All four of those points would have been great advice. In the 1950s.

Reality: in the 50s, a steady job was one that lasted 20 years. In the 2000s, a "steady job" is one that will last maybe 2 years with an option to renew. The longest lasting employment today is self-employment.

Reality: 'responsibility with money' is a good bumper sticker slogan, but most of the associated advice-- invest, save, spend frugally-- are all but infeasible. We are a society deep in hock, every day is a struggle to throw enough shrinking american dollars at the tax and bill collectors to stave the wolves off till tomorrow, and we are literally OVERdue for a massive fiat currency collapse.

reality: the "buy a house" mantra is good advice when the housing market is climbing, not when it is imploding-- and that bubble burst ages ago. The people who advocated it to our fathers thought that the housing market would keep rising forever... and anyone who thinks ANY market will keep rising forever is an economic simpleton.

Reality: between economic instability, societal disruption and a biased, legal system, starting a family is a prospect with countless penalties and almost nonexistent incentives for the man. Starting a family "to be a man" makes you a man, all right-- a really STUPID man.

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