My realtor made the statement to me in an email that she “feels badly” for buyers who haven’t been getting accurate advice, while still kind of pushing for me to get into a contract with them and the bad advice they’ve been given. No. I won’t do it, sorry. Yes, they’re naive. No, I won’t contribute to getting them into debt that they cannot manage.
Not my problem? Well, yes, it is.
But apparently this is the way the world works, and I’m supposed to just go with it. No.
My next door neighbor told me all about the mess they were in trying to buy that house, the one that they’re in. They’d had to short sale their last house, were playing hell with the loan, ended up doing a 401K loan (actually they’ve got all kinds of money they don’t know how to manage, Daddy was a famous baseball player, they’ve got 401Ks they can take out loans against), because they had like, zero cash.
Just like the people trying to buy this place. All kinds of income, scads of it. Zero savings.
Thing is, one can say, ah, but you don’t understand just how expensive it is to raise children, you who did not, but then, I never had a big income, ever, yet I always managed to pay all my bills and even save a little bit. The secret is not spending a bunch of money you don’t have on crap you don’t need.
The next door neighbors just keep spending and spending and spending. They build this structure to keep Romeo penned in, and that one over there for the pretty flower bed, and now a fence over here, and a new swing set, only a grand at Costco, and now a trampoline, and the inflatable pool that lasted a week, and yeah, they really understand how hard it is to be broke and to have a hard time getting into a house and all.
For me, with my not very much income, it wasn’t that hard at all. I picked a house I could afford, had the appropriate down payment saved up, and made a deal I could make, reasonably. The “inaccurate advice” folks seem to be getting from the lenders and realtors and such is to stretch your finances to their absolute limit, nay, beyond their limits, because you deserve the best.
Or some such. I don’t get it.
What I do get is money management, and what’s really funny about that is that I so loathed the economics course, accounting was easy enough, that was balancing books, but what I have always gotten and gotten in ways that so many folks don’t seem to get is how to live within my financial means. And my financial means have never been grand.
What never fails to blow me away is just how oblivious to the realities of limited means for those who've never really had them. Not means, limitations. Folks who can take out 401K loans, while not the most fiscally astute to my thinking, aren't really worried about going hungry. Neither are those trying to take out 300K loans on houses.
But thing is, the thing about the 1%, those not very many people on earth who control so much of its “wealth” that folks like to rant about, is that they are so easy to point fingers at, and yes, strip them of that artificial wealth, please, now, but it’s also like 99% of the people I know and interact with in my life, including me, who live beyond our means on planet earth.
People living beyond our means. We’re living beyond the means of the earth, pure and simply. Most of the folks I know are living in freaking luxury, temperature controlled environments, rapid transport via internal combustion engine, more clothes than a body could ever hope to have occasion to wear very much. Over the top wealth, when it comes down to it.
Money is a myth, its management a game. Living within one’s means is something quite different, indeed.