The AARP is a powerful engine--and old people loveeee their senior discounts. Then again, while we may not have as many seniors living in poverty, we do have plenty of seniors on a fixed income or living off savings, so I sort of feel like it does make sense. Millenials have decades of potential and lots of energy with which to make money to allow them to enjoy luxuries. Senior citizens have limited time, limited income, and limited abilities. Is it ludicrous that Mitt Romney gets a discount at the movies and I don't? Yes, of course. But by and large, I'm pretty cool with this. I can schlep myself to Kip's Bay on a Sunday morning for cheap matinees if I want a cheaper option; my grandma has to go to the only theater that her retirement community buses people to that has a hearing loop. Frankly, she and many other elderly people enjoy a vastly less enjoyable experience than I and other young people do in the theaters, museums, and public transit where these discounts are common. I actually think she deserves to pay less.
@notfromvenus If she's like the moms I babysat for growing up, she has a tennis game in the morning, gets some shopping and household necessities done, picks up the baby from half-day pre-k around noon, goes to lunch, has meetings in the afternoon for various events and committees, maybe does a little freelance work from home, picks up the older kids at 3, schleps them all around town to various activities until dinner, has dinner with whoever is home, starts the kids on homework, picks up around the house, says hi to her husband who will work the kids into a frenzy in the hour he's home before they go to bed, gets the kids through bathtime, book-reading, and bedtime, comes downstairs for a few hours of being an adult before bed. Add in multiple loads of laundry throughout the day, as well as doctor visits, volunteering at school, and various social events. My mother worked when I was growing up, as an attorney, and I plan to keep working as well. I think it's important, both for mental health and to set an example for your children. But schedule-wise, these ladies certainly fill their days.
@AuntAgatha You've never met anyone who hates to cook? I'm not a stay at home parent, but I certainly know plenty of young, single, responsibility-free peers who avoid their kitchens entirely, and I imagine not all of them will grow out of it. Being the primary cook for a household requires a number of skills ancillary to actually putting things in the oven--shopping, ingredient prep, meal planning, timing the dishes, reusing leftovers, even just adapting when something goes wrong--and those take time to learn and require an inclination to learn them, they're not that intuitive though they feel that way when you've been doing it for a while. If she's never learned or never cared to learn, planning three meals a day every day would of course be very stressful. Also, anecdote time--my best friend's mom when I was growing up was a stay-at-home mom who hated cooking, but they weren't the kind of people to hire a chef. Guess who was always eating at friends' houses avoiding yet another meal of grocery-store rotisserie chicken, pasta, and limp steamed veggies? Just because you're forced to do something doesn't automatically mean you'll get better at it or enjoy it any more than you otherwise would.
@aetataureate It reminds me a little of the story published here a while back by someone who was afraid to pay off their credit cards, because it would mean actually confronting the future. This guy feels to me like he loves drama (as the kids say)--he's making high-risk investments rather than pay off his loans (which it seems like he could pretty much do in one fell swoop if he really wanted to) or get the main chunk of his money somewhere stable because the pressure of that debt and instability drives him forward to earn. To you, Mr. Smith, I say the same thing I say to all my students who claim to do their best work on deadline--you don't do your best work on deadline, you just do your only work on deadline. You have three kids, don't be afraid to act like a boring adult--and if you choose to continue with your current path, you don't get to complain about the stress.
@3jane NYC has the law cited above--an illegal hotel law--prohibiting short-term rentals. Actual subletting (renting your apartment for a period of 30 days or long when you are NOT living in the space) is legal unless otherwise specified in your lease.
@E$ I've been super interested in this issue for a while now, and I think it's just that Air BnB is SO much easier to track. All the things that make it a more appealing option than Craigslist for users--verified photos, verified contacts, real contact information--make it that much easier for landlords to confirm that it is in fact their leaseholders who are illegally renting out their apartments. As anyone who's been burned by a Craigslist posting can attest, the listing pictured is quite often not the actual listing being offered on that site.
I mean, sort of? The law was already in place, so it was always illegal. This just means that more landlords will probably go after people for it, since there's now a precedent for it being enforced.
@sunflowernut I've interviewed a couple of personal chefs for various things--it doesn't include the cost of groceries, but it does include the time spent on shopping, prep, and cooking. Assuming that this family of 5 would have to spend that money on groceries anyway (when I was growing up in an affluent town as a family of four, our grocery bill was around $350 a week) they're paying for someone to take over the hassle of planning a week's worth of menus, going to the grocery store (ever taken young kids grocery shopping? Prepare to tear your hair directly out of your head upon entering), prepping those meals, and cooking them. While it is absolutely, definitively a luxury, I think it's a worthwhile expenditure if they both hate to cook and can afford the expense--if the chef spends 2 hours shopping, 2 hours prepping ingredients, 6 hours cooking, and then packages up all the food with serving instructions, puts everything away, and cleans up for 1 hour, she's making a good rate, but they're definitely saving themselves a lot of time and hassle. If the parents had to do all that, my guess is it would take them at least 50% longer if not more, so opportunity cost, blah blah blah. Also, I kind of see this as one of those situations where rich people spend more money upfront to create incidental savings and good because they can afford it, such as purchasing a Prius. This makes their food budget very, very predictable--they probably have less food waste than most people who don't spend all that time planning out a week of meals, they won't fall into the trap of ordering takeout or going out because no one can get it together to cook, and my guess is that they are eating better meals because someone skilled is preparing them--anyone who's ever had restaurant brussels sprouts after a lifetime of Mom's steamed monstrosities, can you imagine growing up eating vegetables that actually tasted good? What a bonus that would be for your kids. It's definitely a luxury, and personal chefs make a nice hourly rate, but as they go this is actually one luxury expenditure that has a lot of added value. Much more so than a Lexus.
Logan and Mike are Goofus and Gallant from Highlights Magazine. Amazing.
@Laura I felt like I was missing out, a little, but I also read a lot more, which I enjoyed. And then, though this is a little grifter-y, they came out with HBO Go, and since my parents get HBO as part of their giant satellite package (not optional where they live, satellite service only) I use that. And now that I can watch Game of Thrones and True Blood and everything the same night it airs, I'm not missing out on anything at all! So moral of the story, find someone who has HBO Go and ask them nicely to use their login. Preferably someone you share genes with.