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Old 03-07-2008, 18:44   #106
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Originally Posted by Ex-Calif View Post
This is another untrue stereotype. My brother is a single income family. He put one kid into college and the other starts next year. He owns 2 houses in SoCal and rents one out. He has pinched every penny he's got. He finally broke down last year and bought a 27 inch crt tv to replace the 15 y/o 14 incher the family had.

Someone posted a link to a video on a previous thread. It was a female lecturer talking about costs of living. The primary differences IIR was that today's family has 2 cars and a much, much bigger house.

Food, clothing and the necessities are all cheaper today than in the 70s.

Who the hell needs a hummer and a 4,000 square foot house for Pete's sake? My brother's house is 3 BR and about 1600 sq ft. The house my parents raised 7 kids was about 1500 square feet.

We had no iPods, cell phones, one BW tv, no dvd/home theatre 52 inch lcd, blah, blah, blah...

We did play monopoly, charades, etc. etc. etc.
There are exceptions to every stereotype, of course... but broadly speaking, the percentage of single-income households has dropped, and continues to drop. I'm not claiming that EVERY household is now dual income, nor needs to be.

Otherwise, I don't think you disagree with me. It simply takes more to be considered middle class these days, and that is increasingly out of reach of the working class.

And remember, I'm not arguing at all about what ought to be, only what is.
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Old 03-07-2008, 18:48   #107
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Originally Posted by Ex-Calif View Post
We had no iPods, cell phones, one BW tv, no dvd/home theatre 52 inch lcd, blah, blah, blah...

We did play monopoly, charades, etc. etc. etc.
I also grew up similar (although am a bit younger than the poster above (Ex-Calif))

The most richest man I've personally met (as an old friend) to date, is very frugal. Has several freehold properties worth millions & the same with cash flow positive businesses. His biggest problem is the "sharks" that consistently circle him. Also, he has to keep a good eye on the bills from the lawyers & accountants (has been known to request itemized accounts from time to time). You wouldn't know on the street that this guy was rich, as he wears normal clothes & drives a second hand work van, & he didn't care if people on the street thought he wasn't rich. I've lost touch with him nowaday's, but what I do now (being frugal) is kinda based on what I learnt from him.
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Old 03-07-2008, 19:08   #108
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It simply takes more to be considered middle class these days
This is the problem. Define "middle class" (low, mid & high), define "rich" etc etc.

I personally couldn't give a rats arse what anyone thinks about my financial status (or myself personally). I'm also guilty of doing the yuppie lifestyle thing for a very short period, its all BS. You attract a lot of wrong people ("sharks") - when you think you're attracting the right people to make deals etc. Ironically, I'm a lot more happier being frugal & compounding the cash assets. As for a house, well there's a time to buy & a time not to buy. I've got my eye on some rural dirt (for a hobby farm) & designs of what can be done to recycle shipping containers as a large living space, I'm not paying some BS price to live in a city, especially when I'm going to build a boat & bugger off for a few years (or may not even come back ).
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Old 04-07-2008, 04:06   #109
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There are exceptions to every stereotype, of course... but broadly speaking, the percentage of single-income households has dropped, and continues to drop. I'm not claiming that EVERY household is now dual income, nor needs to be.

Otherwise, I don't think you disagree with me. It simply takes more to be considered middle class these days, and that is increasingly out of reach of the working class.

And remember, I'm not arguing at all about what ought to be, only what is.
I think the issue is defining Middle Class - It's a label no one should be chasing IMO.

If Middle Class is defined by how much crap you own then you'll never go cruising. If Middle Class is defined by a net worth, my brother is definitely middle class.

I am not arguing at all about whether there are more dual income families, of course there are.

The question is why? No one feels richer or more satisfied even though we have housefulls of crap. My brother's family is secure, debt free except for twin California mortgages (yikes) and they seem to have all they need as defined that which is important to them.

I also agree with you 100% that the Blue collar guy is having a harder time than ever in many instances. However the blue collar guy is as guilty as anyone regarding chasing the Joneses.

It's the same as it has always been. Spend less than you earn and stay out of debt.
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Old 04-07-2008, 06:15   #110
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The average size of a North American suburban home in 1950 was 800 sq ft,
in 1970 it was 1500 sq ft,
in 1976 it was 1,700 sq ft,
and in 2000 it was 2266 sq ft.
According to the US Census Bureau, the average size of a US home as of 2006 is 2,469 square feet.

Characteristics of New Housing (2006):
Highlights of Annual 2006 Characteristics of New Housing

By way of comparison, the average British house is about 1,000 square feet and the average Japanese home is about 700 square feet.
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Old 04-07-2008, 08:21   #111
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To consider;

1985 (census data)
median house price: 84,300
median household income: 23,618 (42,205 in 2006 dollars)

2004
median house price: 221,000
median household income: 44,334 (47,323 in 2006 dollars)

Household income in 85 was ~28% the price of a house
Household income in 04 was ~20% the price of a house

Look like a real loss in purchasing power. I doubt house prices scale linearly with square footage.

'Middle class' as perception, is definitely defined by how much stuff you possess (not own!). A heavily leveraged millionaire (maybe net worth < 0) still has use of a ferrari and megayacht. Who's the fool now?
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Old 04-07-2008, 08:32   #112
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... 'Middle class' as perception, is definitely defined by how much stuff you possess (not own!). A heavily leveraged millionaire (maybe net worth < 0) still has use of a ferrari and megayacht. Who's the fool now?
Maggie says that would be me.
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Old 04-07-2008, 08:40   #113
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Look like a real loss in purchasing power. I doubt house prices scale linearly with square footage.
Are the property prices based on the same suburbs? If so, then the figures are flawed. This sort of argument comes up all the time "downunder".

Quote:
'Middle class' as perception, is definitely defined by how much stuff you possess (not own!). A heavily leveraged millionaire (maybe net worth < 0) still has use of a ferrari and megayacht. Who's the fool now?
OK, a Ferrari can be had cheap or expensive (depending on year & model). If you're going to leverage (finance it) then you still don't own it, also the monetary payments are taken away from other investments. I've had flash sports cars, after the first couple of months they become a real PITA. I knew someone that had several expensive cars (Rolls Royce's, 1950's style Merc's & Corvette's & others), he always complained about the cost of maintenance etc etc.

A real megayacht (200'+) can also be had cheap or expensive (relative to other yachts). If you've noticed, most of them are purchased with the intent of chartering to offset their costs, of which there's now been an increase of them on the market.

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Who's the fool now?
When there's a downturn in his industry & he has to sell it cheap to someone else, does that make him the fool or the new owner the fool?
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Old 04-07-2008, 09:46   #114
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<snip>

A real megayacht (200'+) can also be had cheap or expensive (relative to other yachts). If you've noticed, most of them are purchased with the intent of chartering to offset their costs, of which there's now been an increase of them on the market.
<snip>
In the US, the very wealthy don't purchase a megayacht with the intention of chartering to offset their costs, exactly, although the income is nice to have. The reason for setting up the ownership of the yacht in a for-profit chartering operation is that all of the expenses associated with ownership become deductible business expenses. That the "chartering business" loses money is irrelevant; that the attendant costs of ownership create a business loss means that other income is offset by the loss, thus sheltering it from taxation.

To the very wealthy (both individuals and corporations), spending money on the best hired guns of accounting and taxation to manipulate the IRS Code to their decided benefit is de rigeur. It's almost a game to them. The US system of taxation is designed to be so complex that almost no one can understand it, with many provisions that defy common sense, and it makes the system in Singapore, which Dan described in some detail, seem positively enlightened.

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Old 04-07-2008, 10:02   #115
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In the US, the very wealthy don't purchase a megayacht with the intention of chartering to offset their costs, exactly, although the income is nice to have.
We would be talking what? $100m (mega millionaire) freehold assets?

Quote:
The reason for setting up the ownership of the yacht in a for-profit chartering operation is that all of the expenses associated with ownership become deductible business expenses. That the "chartering business" loses money is irrelevant; that the attendant costs of ownership create a business loss means that other income is offset by the loss, thus sheltering it from taxation.
OK, but wouldn't the flag have to be non US to shelter it from tax? Otherwise they may as well have the yacht owed by an associated corp & spread the loss (i.e. use of holding corp).

Quote:
To the very wealthy (both individuals and corporations), spending money on the best hired guns of accounting and taxation to manipulate the IRS Code to their decided benefit is de rigeur. It's almost a game to them.
I think this is the same as most western nations. However, the big guns don't always get it right. Also, you'll always be a target for the tax man

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and it makes the system in Singapore, which Dan described in some detail, seem positively enlightened.
Am aware of SG (have an NID# myself).
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Old 04-07-2008, 10:21   #116
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We would be talking what? $100m (mega millionaire) freehold assets?
Well, I don't know, pick a number. The point is that anyone (or any corporation) contemplating the purchase of a "mega-yacht" with a price tag of many million$ of dollar$ is sufficiently comfortable financially that that individual or corporation will not be cutting it so close to the margin that the loss of a few charters could ever threaten financial viability.

If someone is contemplating a chartering operation in which a certain cash flow is necessary to maintain the operation, I would maintain that such a person is not going to be shopping for a mega-yacht (unless, that is, he's a certain 16-year-old member of CF, and it's daddy's money. )

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Old 04-07-2008, 10:30   #117
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Well, I don't know, pick a number.
If we're talking several hundreds of millions then I agree.

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(unless, that is, he's a certain 16-year-old member of CF, and it's daddy's money.
Or maybe an ugly woman from China?

Btw: Have you noticed the increase of super/mega yacht sales on yachtworld?

PS. If you can afford an entrepreneur or investors visa then SG is worth considering as a financial base. I'm hoping to next visit there in Jan.
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Old 04-07-2008, 11:10   #118
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Opportunities exist, and we often encounter them when we least expect it. If you stretch yourself beyond your comfort zone, you will surprise yourself. And you will likely discover, when you look back on your life, that it was the unexpected curveballs that life threw at you, and how you dealt with them, that produced some of your fondest memories.

And who knows, that may well be as captain of your own ship - in every sense.

TaoJones
I can't help not agreeing with many of your post Tao.

To the young man that made this post, all I can say is that your destiny is all your own, and you can't live your life for others. Planning is important as you know, but sometimes the most well planned things don't work out as planned. My father planned almost all his life for retirement, and when he retired it didn't work out as planned. In my case I didn't plan that well for retirement, but with a little stroke of luck it is going to work out pretty good...go figure.

When I was a younger man than you, I had an adventure that stays alive in my thoughts even today, and if I had never done it, I would have never had those memories. Now that I'm close to retirement, and have a plan to pick up from where I left off as a young man, my main concern is that I will run out of time because of age to fulfill my plan. No matter what age we are, and no matter how well we try to manage our lives, there is just no way to tell what life has in store for us. The big plus you have is your youth and time to recover from a set back, and that window gets smaller as you age. I think living a little bit of a dream is better than not living it at all...or as the saying goes...Better to be a has been, than a never was.
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Old 04-07-2008, 11:26   #119
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It's kind of a catch-22 huh? Build a career, and retire 30 years later with a nice amount of funds. Or play while working and never retire.
If you decide the work and never retire route, then pick a career that you will love. Don't resist the idea of working until your dead, but embrace the idea as a good thing. Just because a person retires, it doesn't mean that they have to retire from what they love to do.
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Old 04-07-2008, 11:31   #120
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TaoJones,

I just remembered of a mega yacht being built for personal & charter use & then being sold shortly afterwards due to not getting enough charters for the operational costs. It was the Australian golfer "Greg Norman". "Aussie Rules" was the name of the yacht, she was an alloy built in Perth around 2003, approx 230' for approx $80m. I remember reading a boating article about him going off at the charterers etc for breaking contracts etc (blaming everyone (incl crew) except himself).

Having said that, I do agree that if someone has several hundreds of millions in cash, then chartering is not likely to be an issue.

FYI: This 200' is a charter boat (with heli pad) for the Vancouver, Alaska & Mexico area's. She's been for sale for about a year or so now: Astilleros y Talleres

Appears to be a number of cheap yachts around the 200' mark (even under $1m) on that site.
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