@ronswansonluva I'm not sure if what I did was the "smart" thing to do, but here's how/why I bought a home before beefing up my retirement. I am good with money in one sense (I can be frugal and save), but bad with money in the other sense (I don't understand how to invest, I'm not sure what to do with money beyond emergency funds). So I thought I would never own a home and also might not ever manage to retire -- I am self-employed so I have never had the opportunity for a 401k through work or matching programs. I managed to save up an "emergency" fund of about 30K by the time I was 30, but had no retirement. I was saving mostly to save. I was paying $1400 a month for a 1BR, and my landlord was jacking up my rent by $200, so I started looking at alternatives and tried out mortgage calculators for the fun of it and was shocked that a mortgage might be feasibly cheaper than my rent. I had enough for a down payment, had no debt and excellent credit, and started condo shopping. Two months later I bought. For me, buying was part of my answer to the problem "I have some money but I don't know what to do with it other than put it into a savings account with 0.01% interest." I do now have a Roth IRA so I'm putting money toward retirement, but I don't regret for a second that I bought, especially since rents in my city have since skyrocketed even more. I appreciate not having to fear how much my landlord will raise my rent every year, that's for sure.
@HelloTheFuture Oh god, I have never thought of it that way but it is positively depressing. You must pay to exist anywhere! *cries into drink*
@Mike Dang Yes, I know you do write about locations other than New York! However, the sensibility and perspective of the writing seems very skewed toward New York, millenial, and writer/media voices. I don't know if this is an unfair criticism, as you can't help who you are. I just really enjoy the intention of this site and wish that the execution of it could be more... more. Perhaps I'm asking too much, sorry!
I don't know if this makes me feel better (hey, maybe I'm not so behind the curve!) or worse (...then why don't I have more moneeeeeey?). I realize savings and retirement are important, but on the most basic level I just don't know what we're supposed to do with money other than spend it.
@aetataureate I do wonder, as an honest-to-goodness serious question: Is this site actually targeted toward 20-something New Yorkers, or is that just because of the identity of the writers? I'm actually confused. Because if that is actually the goal, that maybe explains why I find a lot of the content alienating and I will respectfully withdraw myself from the site.
You make some very good points and the real estate market sounds insane and untenable. (It's bad where I am too, but nobody beats NYC. Except I guess San Francisco.) I will, however, take a little bit of issue with the assumptions and math going into your calculations, in that I don't think a twentysomething living on a $50,000 salary is necessarily *entitled* to owning an apartment in New York. Having cash at the ready? It's hard, but by no means an impossible thing to do, and coming up with a 20% down payment is not a "magical" feat -- it's one you work your butt off to achieve because homeownership is an important goal for you. I don't that disagree owning a home on a middle-income salary *should* be more affordable all across the board, and that's certainly the American Dream. But I also chafe when people make comments that, to my ear, sound rather entitled, like the world owes them a great apartment on a lower salary with no competition and fewer restrictions.
This article makes me sad, because it's not even about money. It's about somebody forgetting to fulfill an obligation and then acting like the victim about it. Some of the comments above may be stated in an incendiary way but I agree with the heart of the complaints; this site has done better but does feel like it's phoning in a lot of its posts lately. It's not cute to be irresponsible with money, neither is it cute to frame it in an everything's-so-ironic-I-can't-be-bothered-to-actually-care hipster way. At least understand that being irresponsible is what caused the problem, not the "evil" company that made you act irresponsibly.
No no no no NOOOOOOOOO! I enjoyed the other fictional money profiles but Harry Potter must remain canon! La la la I can't hear you.
I find this series fascinating in a morbid way, but I just do not understand it at all.
Gaaaack! Oscar gives me stress. Pay off your credit carrrrrds! Though I suppose if he's already living in a trash can, maybe he doesn't have much farther to fall...