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The New Youth Normal - Your Parents' Basement

Tyler Durden's picture


Recent times have been particularly hard on young adults. As we look around the world at Europe and the Middle-East, it is all too often the youth that are leading the social unrest as they again and again are the hardest hit by the global deleveraging (and admittedly most socially connected). The US is not insulated from this (though perhaps more Xanax-subdued) as youth unemployment is around 20% (with 16-19 year-olds around 25%). As Pew Research Center notes though, that fully 55% of those aged 18-24 (and 4% of 25-34 year olds) say young adults are having the toughest time in today's economy. The day-to-day realities of economic hard times are somewhat shocking for a country supposedly so far up the developed spectrum as roughly a quarter of adults aged 18 to 34 (24%) say that, due to economic conditions, they have moved back in with their parents in recent years after living on their own. In the 25 to 29 age range a shocking 34% have moved back home with mom and pop (hardly likely to help with the huge shadow housing inventory overhang we discussed yesterday) Finding a job, saving for the future, paying for college, and buying a home are seen as dramatically harder for today's young adults compared to their parent's generation while Facebook saves the day as staying in touch with friends/family is the only stand out aspect of life that is 'easier' for today's youth. As these increasingly disenfranchised young adults make some of life's biggest transitions (or not as the case seems to be), we wonder just how long it will be before Al-Jazeera is reporting on the Yankee-Spring and showing video of young hoody-wearing Americans throwing their 'Vans' at 80 inch plasma TVs; or maybe the BLS will decide to redefine basement-dwelling (or rioting) as a full-time job.


24% of 18-34 year-olds have moved back in with their parents. Somewhat notably, doesn't everyone get a job to 'pay the bills'? Also notable is the 22% who have delayed procreation - that's hardly going to help as Boomers 'drop off' leaving lower demographics behind...


BLS-provided (propagandized) Youth Unemployment Rates (Seasonally Adjusted).


Thank goodness we have Facebook or there would be nothing better than our parent's generation


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Fri, 02/10/2012 - 12:29 | 2146126 Squishi
Squishi's picture

I am typing this from my dog's house 

Fri, 02/10/2012 - 12:32 | 2146138 francis_sawyer
francis_sawyer's picture

Better hope he paid the electric bill...

Fri, 02/10/2012 - 12:35 | 2146160 Squishi
Squishi's picture

he ate it along with my tax bill, University degree and my bernanke poster.

Fri, 02/10/2012 - 12:36 | 2146164 francis_sawyer
francis_sawyer's picture

I hope he at least left you with your Farrah poster...

Fri, 02/10/2012 - 12:37 | 2146166 Squishi
Squishi's picture

I ate that one...

Fri, 02/10/2012 - 12:59 | 2146264 TruthInSunshine
TruthInSunshine's picture

Parents' basements, with 5 friends in a shoebox apartment, on the streets and in tents in the woods, or:

Livin' In A Van Down By The River


What used to be comedy for entertainment is now increasingly reality for a huge subset of people who have skills and would work productive jobs if they could find one.

And that's not funny at all. It's tragic.

The Money Masters  have the pagan gods of money and power that they worship. In their means they deploy to obtain more money and power, they consider such things as necessary for the process.
Fri, 02/10/2012 - 13:12 | 2146372 smithcreek
smithcreek's picture

The economy back in the late 80's was not great, at all.  But I had a $7/hour job, lived with two friends and had no problem with bills.  My only bills were 1/3 of $350/month rent, 1/3 of the phone line, 1/3 of the electric, catastrophic health insurance and insurance for my POS car.  No cell phone, no internet, no netfilx account, no iphone, no computer, no other money gobbling monthly services.  I don't doubt things are different, but I'd like to know what has changed since then.  How much would it cost to live the same lifestyle I did 25 years ago?

Fri, 02/10/2012 - 13:17 | 2146398 Thomas
Thomas's picture

BTW-What's with that "taken a job just to pay the bills" category? Isn't that the idea?

Fri, 02/10/2012 - 13:48 | 2146566 TruthInSunshine
TruthInSunshine's picture

I think it's more like when college grads, some with masters in actually useful areas, take waitressing jobs so that they can live a subsistence lifestyle, which also means that the longer this goes on, the less useful their degree becomes to what could have been a potential employer requiring such a degree.

Fri, 02/10/2012 - 14:23 | 2146774 trav7777
trav7777's picture

my kids can move back in as long as they bring girls home for dad...tho, 29 is a bit old

Fri, 02/10/2012 - 14:28 | 2146791 RichardENixon
RichardENixon's picture

I'm sure that post got you on some kind of list.

Fri, 02/10/2012 - 15:23 | 2147083 trav7777
trav7777's picture

i think 18 is legal in every US state

Fri, 02/10/2012 - 15:30 | 2147125 francis_sawyer
francis_sawyer's picture

"Guess Who's Coming to Dinner?"

Fri, 02/10/2012 - 20:45 | 2148229 nmewn
nmewn's picture


Fri, 02/10/2012 - 20:48 | 2148240 smiler03
smiler03's picture

@ TruthInSunshie...


Living in a shoebox? You were lucky! Original Four Yorkshire Men Sketch...

Fri, 02/10/2012 - 14:24 | 2146778 AldousHuxley
AldousHuxley's picture

living with your parents IS NORMAL for rest of the world....and they don't even have homes but small apartments with public transit.


You do it because housing is expensive.

You do it because childcare is expensive and your grandparents can take of kids for free at home

You do it because dining out is expensive and grandma is an excellent cook.

You do it because nursing homes are expensive and your stay at home wife can take care of your parents/in laws.


Dumbass Americans are going to get what they deserve....lower standard of living. Thanks for selling out the middle class.


Fri, 02/10/2012 - 14:57 | 2146939 Sokhmate
Sokhmate's picture


Fri, 02/10/2012 - 16:24 | 2147412 MachoMan
MachoMan's picture

So you think our lifestyle was some permanent fixture?  That we could just walk the economic tightrope in perpetuity and ignore basic resource constraints?  I'll posit that regardless of how diligent we should have been, our fate was the same... 

Fri, 02/10/2012 - 18:10 | 2147701 Bicycle Repairman
Bicycle Repairman's picture

In my day our parents didn't even have a basement.  In my day we'd live in a lean-to out in back of the garage, AND WE LIKED IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Fri, 02/10/2012 - 20:52 | 2148253 smiler03
smiler03's picture

In my day our parents didn't even have a lean-to. We had to live in a large flowerpot and we were delirious.

Fri, 02/10/2012 - 16:02 | 2147297 mjk0259
mjk0259's picture

Job now pays $8/hour. Rent for a run down 2 bedroom apt is $1400/mo where I live. The health insurance probably costs 5 times more. Gas costs 3 times more. Food costs 2 times more. If you're trying to go to college, that's 5 times more.

Fri, 02/10/2012 - 19:29 | 2148048 soccerballtux
soccerballtux's picture

that's pretty expensive for rent but rent is definitely not $350/month total now that house prices are about 3x what they were back then.
I'm a fan of all the parents that kick their kids off into college and expect them to make it through with a part time job because back when they were young, they did it, so you should too. Forgetting the part that a year of school was $500 and now it's  $40,000 from a legitimate institution that can guarantee a job in this climate.

Fri, 02/10/2012 - 20:34 | 2148207 TruthInSunshine
TruthInSunshine's picture

No degree from any institution can "guarantee" a job in his climate.

Yes, a molecular biology Ph.D. getting a degree from MIT with decent grades is going to probably land a job quite easily, but there are A LOT of newly minted Harvard MBAs and Yale JD's who are actually having trouble finding employment.

Many large New York and Chicago law firms basically put a hiring freeze on for new associates, and aren't even doing campus interviews now.

I have a client with a son who graduated last year with a law degree from the University of Virginia, which isn't Yale Law, but it's in the top 10, and he has only been able to find internship work so far, and he had fairly good grades.

Sat, 02/11/2012 - 15:29 | 2149565 spinone
spinone's picture

Too many lawyers

Fri, 02/10/2012 - 20:59 | 2148280 Rottenclam
Rottenclam's picture

Great question(s).  I agree with your approach.  If you cut out all the extra stuff that you're *expected* to have, life does get a bit cheaper.  Kids returning home from college *should* be able to cut:

  • Cable
  • Cell Phone
  • Netflix / Sirius / etc

Still, the point of the article is well taken.  It is a true that in some cultures (Italy, for example) it is very common for men to live at home into their 30s (60 Minutes ran a story on that about 10 years ago), but in American culture, we're expected to be out on our own (and working) by at least our early 20s.

The problem nowadays is that even if you get out of college, and you're in your early 20s, you basically have to go work at the local mall's T-Mobile kiosk .  Which is fine...if you dont have your monthly bills + $60k-$80k in student debt that you also need to pay off.

Fri, 02/10/2012 - 13:15 | 2146386 JPM Hater001
JPM Hater001's picture

Does it have indoor plumbing?

Fri, 02/10/2012 - 14:43 | 2146862 Andy_Jackson_Jihad
Andy_Jackson_Jihad's picture

Yes.  Along with granite counter tops  and a pool table paid for by a 2006 HELOC loan.  Who cares if Rover had no income, thats his god given right as an American to have those things.

Fri, 02/10/2012 - 15:45 | 2147220 AldousHuxley
AldousHuxley's picture

come to California and you will see illegal aliens driving Caddillac SUVs living rent free in a home where they put in a brand new LUXURY swimming pool because their ghetto $150k home was valued at $400,000.


thank government and bankers for allowing stupids to prosper.

Fri, 02/10/2012 - 12:53 | 2146286 Odin
Odin's picture


Fri, 02/10/2012 - 13:37 | 2146498 The Big Ching-aso
The Big Ching-aso's picture



Economy in basement, people in basements, dollar debased, so now everything in deebasement.

Fri, 02/10/2012 - 12:44 | 2146202 MillionDollarBonus_
MillionDollarBonus_'s picture

This would in part explain the rise of libertarian populism among naive spotty youths. Socially inadept, zit-faced and unemployed youths are spending an increasing amount of time surfing the internet from their parents’ houses. This tragically and inevitably introduces impressionable youths to libertarian conspiracy sites, right-wing extremist blogs and other fringe material, which naturally appeals to their sense of dissociation with civilized society. We need to reach out to these disengaged youths and encourage them to integrate into society like respectable adults, or else they will continue to rot away on these hateful blogs.

Fri, 02/10/2012 - 12:44 | 2146217 WonderDawg
WonderDawg's picture

That's some good shit there, bro. A little over the top, even for you, but I laughed.

Fri, 02/10/2012 - 13:18 | 2146399 JPM Hater001
JPM Hater001's picture

Yeah, it took me a long time to get him but you know what...his shit keeps getting better and better.  I actually cried a little...

Fri, 02/10/2012 - 14:30 | 2146803 RichardENixon
RichardENixon's picture

It's a little disheartening that he gets so many thumbs down on here, people don't seem to get him. He's pretty funny.

Fri, 02/10/2012 - 15:41 | 2147199 JPM Hater001
JPM Hater001's picture

It comes from a society that doesnt want to question.  It always ruins the fun.
And most prefer not to re-listen to these things for then they will know the gig is up.

Fri, 02/10/2012 - 17:12 | 2147614 _ConanTheLibert...
_ConanTheLibertarian_'s picture

My first response was to vote him down but I changed it to up (yes you can do that! Amazing!) because I get it now that he's in default /sarc mode.

Sat, 02/11/2012 - 09:49 | 2149000 Badabing
Badabing's picture

MDB +1 Zit faced LOL

Fri, 02/10/2012 - 12:45 | 2146221 dick cheneys ghost
dick cheneys ghost's picture

I hear Foxconn is hiring....

Fri, 02/10/2012 - 13:10 | 2146366 Sabibaby
Sabibaby's picture


Yeah and they have dormitories to stay in and nets around the buildings in case the kids accidentally fall out the window. (thats why mom and dads basement is safe)


Fri, 02/10/2012 - 13:48 | 2146575 YC2
YC2's picture


Fri, 02/10/2012 - 14:29 | 2146799 AldousHuxley
AldousHuxley's picture

you can thank Steve Jobs and all the apple fanboys for FoxConn


btw, they actually do have jobs in Silicon Valley...

Fri, 02/10/2012 - 12:51 | 2146261 Dr. Engali
Dr. Engali's picture

Damn stright! We need these young kids to goose step with the rest of society. We must crush all creativity and free thought. They must be assimilated into the collective. Resistance is futile.

Fri, 02/10/2012 - 12:57 | 2146307 Odin
Odin's picture

stop wasting away on hateful blogs, but yeah in all seriousness that was a funny one, i see your still at the top of your game...

Fri, 02/10/2012 - 13:00 | 2146319 slaughterer
slaughterer's picture

MDB, I raise your bonus a little with each post.  

Fri, 02/10/2012 - 13:17 | 2146394 VyseLegendaire
VyseLegendaire's picture

Bravo, Braaavooo Sir!

Fri, 02/10/2012 - 13:51 | 2146592 RealFinney
RealFinney's picture

Presumably the best way to intergrate these misfits into society would be a government job and extending them more credit cards?

Fri, 02/10/2012 - 13:58 | 2146638 carbonmutant
carbonmutant's picture

Or bring back the draft... (cough, cough)

Fri, 02/10/2012 - 14:36 | 2146834 AldousHuxley
AldousHuxley's picture

young people would prefer the draft...


draft = free international travel and not living with your parents + free college education aftwards + veteran status for life with extra points when getting a  government job


today's draft = 5 years of corporate shit entry jobs to pay back student loans while "high" income doesn't qualify you for any government benefits + career burnout in your twenties + high taxes to pay for veterans in government jobs with generous pension


plus now educated women are getting "drafted" too.


Fri, 02/10/2012 - 15:48 | 2147231 ONO47
ONO47's picture

Then they can owe the souls to the government store.

Fri, 02/10/2012 - 14:19 | 2146758 Colombian Gringo
Colombian Gringo's picture

Million Dollar Bonus, gave you an up vote for funniest post on ZH so far today. Keep it up, your stuff is better than seinfeld.

Fri, 02/10/2012 - 14:58 | 2146941 Blotsky
Blotsky's picture

By God, sir! You hit the nail on the head!

Sat, 02/11/2012 - 00:13 | 2148695 Archon7
Archon7's picture

One thing that caught my eye was "took a job just to pay the bills"...  WTF is that, anyway?  Do young people feel like they have the luxury to be picky about jobs?  Are there really young people out there thinking, "Yeh, this job will pay the bills, but I dunno...  Maybe I'll wait for something else to happen...  awww, fuck, I got bills to pay, so I suppose I have to take it, though I really don't want to..."

Sat, 02/11/2012 - 23:33 | 2150160 ceilidh_trail
ceilidh_trail's picture

Hammy, is that you?

Sun, 02/12/2012 - 01:28 | 2150316 vipobviously
vipobviously's picture

I agree, someone needs to stop these kids from learning civics.

Fri, 02/10/2012 - 12:37 | 2146171 slaughterer
slaughterer's picture

Can some of the young viewers of ZH comment on this article? 

Fri, 02/10/2012 - 12:53 | 2146279 hack3434
hack3434's picture

All the g-damn subsidies are pushing everything up! A few years ago my school had the nerver to charge $1500/m for a crappy dorm. 

Fri, 02/10/2012 - 14:44 | 2146874 AldousHuxley
AldousHuxley's picture

just because they have non-profit status by IRS doesn't mean they don't care about money.

All organizations want to grow the human resource pyramid and acquire financial assets to control.


Colleges are turning education into branded service for consumers where they are basically buying status that come with credentials.


They even have marketing departments now.

Fri, 02/10/2012 - 12:59 | 2146316 Twiggles
Twiggles's picture

Hey there! I'm 23, 18 months outa college.  Been reading ZH for about 2 years yet never have commented!.


This is a problem entirely true; though I would have imagined the numbers to be higher.  I live at home despite not having to.  Id rather build up my bullion base.  The post college education I see has a huge problem.  throngs of my friends couldn't get a job and are going back to ___ school (law, B, social work etc).  

I think the huge problem is the allocation of resources.  For my parents generation; being a lawyer, I-banker, doctor etc was the percieved SEXY occupations.  They were successful etc, lots of my generation wishes to emulate the choices of their parents.  there should however be a massive bear market in these types of services (save doctors, we will likely need more of those).  Accordingly; not only are we over educating ourselves because of a poor economy: My generation has chosen to educate itself on matters for which there may not be a market in 20 years.  

I want to yell in their collective faces "so you are basically postponing the pain and making it that much worse".  


I consider this disposition and compare it to our current political debt etc... people putting off the pain despite the knowledge it will be worse later... Is it a human disposition?


I am (of course) prone to the bias of my university, I make no claims this is totally representative; simply what I have seen.


TLDR; being an engineer isn't sexy.  Everyone wants to be a lawyer.  Shit tons of unpaid paraleagls in 3 years, if I could short their wages;;; I would

Fri, 02/10/2012 - 13:16 | 2146389 pepperspray
pepperspray's picture

Re: sexy occupations going forward.. Thats why I dropped out of pharmacy school.  A robot can do that job.

Fri, 02/10/2012 - 13:19 | 2146405 Thomas
Thomas's picture

Law school: Now THERE's a way to get rich.

Fri, 02/10/2012 - 23:13 | 2148559 StychoKiller
StychoKiller's picture

You mean OWNING a Law School, right?

Fri, 02/10/2012 - 13:21 | 2146410 VyseLegendaire
VyseLegendaire's picture

I think the very idea of a 'profession' and a 'job' is evaporating as we speak.  Full speed ahead to pluralism and generalism, black market and 'grey market' etc.

Fri, 02/10/2012 - 13:21 | 2146411 JPM Hater001
JPM Hater001's picture

I wish I were a publisher...that needs printing.

Fri, 02/10/2012 - 13:28 | 2146441 Alienated Serf
Alienated Serf's picture

Listen up chief, law school has made me a debt slave!! DO NOT DO IT.  I was lucky enough to get out while the economy was still ok, and get some decent experience, and I am gainfullyt employed.  That being said, I have too much debt to just walk away  Recent grads though, NO WAY.

The profession of law is f*cked.  Firsts off, advanced AI is creating software that lets one attorney do the work of 50.  Secondly, what is left is being outsourced to India.

This is how bad it is: one of my friends is a somwhat senior attorney at a large DC firm.  He wanted to hire a clerk to file papers and deliver things.  He was bobarded with unemployed attorneys.  This is a job paying 40k (same pay I got for it in 1999, before law school!!) and is marketed towards recent college grads.  His recruiting office sent him an admitted attorney, with good grades from a good school.  This attorney BEGGED for the job, she couldn;t even get work doing doc review (mindless mouse clicking).

Garunteed fedgov money for loans made too many schools and too many lawyers.

Excuse me, I must puke now.

Fri, 02/10/2012 - 14:11 | 2146715 Freddie
Freddie's picture

Wow.  If the lawyer job market in DC is bad. Not to mention - a lot of people hate being attorneys.  Some of the contract, trust and tax stuff is not that bad.  The litigation and other stuff pretty much requires that you are or become a really nasty shit.   The ones who make the big money are PI attorneys aka slip and fall lawyers.  I know one who went to a fourth tier school and 15-20 years in they are cleaning up.

Being a dentist is another unpleasant job.  You are essentially a masonist doing cement jobs inside of toilets because unless you floss really well - our mouths are filled with food residue.  Yuck.  My dentist had nerve damage from women's perfume.  I guess patients came in all perfumed up and it was in his face for 15 + years.   Weird.

Fri, 02/10/2012 - 14:47 | 2146895 AldousHuxley
AldousHuxley's picture

lawyers = people are are basically useless (liberal arts who suck at STEM) but wanted the lifestyle and status with their English degree.


they deserve the misery they get except few in public service.



women wear perfume to dentist visits because they know that dentists make more money as small business owners than hospitalist generalist doctors. There is another profession protected by unions and credentialing.

Fri, 02/10/2012 - 16:37 | 2147469 MachoMan
MachoMan's picture

I'm a lawyer...  I can hunt, fish, garden, build computers and other electronics, assemble and disassemble firearms, do general construction and home repair/maintenance, change the oil in my own vehicles!, cook, clean, and play multiple musical instruments...

of course, in your defense, I got business degrees instead of libtard degrees...  so maybe I'm weird.

Fri, 02/10/2012 - 17:23 | 2147649 pods
pods's picture

I would say a damn good wrestler too! :)

With you on everything except music.  Cello in 4th grade, didn't end well.


Sat, 02/11/2012 - 02:09 | 2148797 MachoMan
MachoMan's picture

I've actually dabbled in that too...  I hope to get a few fights in before I'm too old.

Fri, 02/10/2012 - 17:53 | 2147726 xela2200
xela2200's picture

I also got an MBA, and I have gotten every penny out of my investment. Just like MachoMan, I can do many things, and I find my education is useful for many other areas. I went to school to learn a trade, and I approached it that way (How, why, etc). Many of my peers saw it as a never ending stream of tests that needed to be taken in order to get the keys to a corporate office with a 6 figure salary waiting behind the door. At the end of the 6 years, most of them couldn't do basic stuff. Many Marketing majors didn't even know the 4 Ps of marketing. I see some of the posts on top from resent college grads, and I can see the grammar is atrocious. The way you write is how you present yourself in the business world (emails, resumes, even Facebook is been checked).

What real value did you get out of your education when you can't write? a nice piece of paper?


Tons of my friends -- not --> thongs of my friends (capital letter after ever period and wrong word).

Sorry friend, but I am doing you a favor. It would be easier not to say anything.

Sat, 02/11/2012 - 15:21 | 2147849 xela2200
xela2200's picture


Fri, 02/10/2012 - 21:14 | 2148325 smiler03
smiler03's picture

@ xela2200. I'm not a fan of grammar Nazis but your post is begging for it.

No comma required after MBA, MachoMan, things, trade.

Misspelt recent as "resent".

"Facebook is been checked" I don't even understand what you are trying to say here.

"a nice piece of paper", "a" should be capitalised.

I'm quite happy if I have made mistakes here but I'm not the one claiming to be perfect. 

Regards :O)

Sat, 02/11/2012 - 01:55 | 2148783 xela2200
xela2200's picture

I was not making that claim either. I do allow others and myself some latitude because the medium that we are using is informal in nature. I am not a grammar Nazi either. However, twigles was conveying his experiences as a college graduate and what they mean in the current job market. The point that I was making is that I expect more from a college grad from his writing which, in this case, included run-on sentences, misspelling, incomplete thoughts and incorrect use of words (thongs instead of tons).

Did you actually read my post or just went on the white knight crusade out of some quixotic sense?

Let the kid fight his own battle. You already sheltered his generation enough.


Sat, 02/11/2012 - 10:49 | 2149064 memyselfiu
memyselfiu's picture

You are a walking chastise someone for improper grammatical structure and minor spelling errors and then when called on your own shit you 'allow others and yourself some latitude'?

Even your current post contains grammatical errors, btw.

Sat, 02/11/2012 - 00:21 | 2148702 Archon7
Archon7's picture

I knew a guy who was always bitching about how he couldn't get a job with h is MBA.  The other thing he liked to bitch about was capitalism.  He hated capitalists, and capitalism, and was always badmouthing conservatives.  I tried to talk to him once to get him to see the light, you know, "ya think there's a reason nobody wants to hire you?"   Poor guy - last I checked he had some human service job in retail or something like that...

Fri, 02/10/2012 - 16:41 | 2147494 Mudduckk
Mudduckk's picture

Funny you refer to dentist as doing masonry, because every time I do tile patchwork and repairs, I refer to it as dentisry work; all that cutting out the bad before putting in to good.

Make my day.  Oh ya, 43 with seven years college. MBA in Finance '09. Said f it to this job market as I make a better ROI with my hands. 

Living in mom's attic too. Don't laugh, got two kids to look out for and this is the best for them.  I too have committed to looking out for Moms when she gets too old to care for herself. Tis like the depression days.  Multi-gen households.


Fri, 02/10/2012 - 14:24 | 2146777 blunderdog
blunderdog's picture

Sucks for you, I understand, but I thank all the fucking gods in the multiverse that something's reducing the number of lawyers working hard to make life more complex and unpleasant for the untrained.

Fri, 02/10/2012 - 14:26 | 2146783 trav7777
trav7777's picture

my law degree is paid off, thank you Wachovia.  No, I didn't borrow from them, I SHORTED THEM TO 0

Fri, 02/10/2012 - 17:17 | 2147624 Dr. Engali
Dr. Engali's picture

That fuckin bank bought my firm then  they went sunny side up. Wachovia always seemed to buy at the top. They were a bunch of crooks. Now they are Well Fargo's problem. I would have shorted them if I was allowed, but I couldn't so I shorted Merrill instead.

Fri, 02/10/2012 - 18:30 | 2147858 xela2200
xela2200's picture

I went to open a commercial checking account with them, and they still make you feel like you are buying an used car.

Fri, 02/10/2012 - 21:19 | 2148333 smiler03
smiler03's picture

Grammar nazi continued: you really must, stop, using commas, where they, are not required.

Sat, 02/11/2012 - 10:53 | 2149067 memyselfiu
memyselfiu's picture

alright smiler, stop it now, be, nice.

Sat, 02/11/2012 - 15:20 | 2149133 xela2200
xela2200's picture


Fri, 02/10/2012 - 15:49 | 2147225 mick_richfield
mick_richfield's picture


I'm about 2.3 times your age, and you're right -- being an engineer isn't sexy.   I haven't been out of work yet, though.  And that's been -- at least a little sexy.  Sort of...  :-)

Here's some Free Advice:  for the world that is coming (fast) -- the closer you can get to basics the better.  Consider farming, and selling organic food locally.   Think of it as a moonlighting job.  Are you software?  Find an engineering job that lets you work remotely. 

Hypnotize your friends and tell them to become farmers, miners.  I wonder if a group of such people could pool their resources and start a machine shop?   Hmmm....

Look for ways you can help your local community to better feed itself (with real food), keep itself warm, get its own water, etc.   The growth industries of the future.

Learn how to store food: canning, curing, drying, root cellars, etc.  Then, teach.


Fri, 02/10/2012 - 16:26 | 2147421 Twiggles
Twiggles's picture

Good advice.  I was speaking more to what my idiot friends think.  The economic turmoil that comes from the debt unwind will provide economic opportunity for those willing to do anything.  

My dad owns real estate and I grew up shoveling shit (litterally).  I have no such delusions that going "up" in the world means pushing paper.  

I find this meantality behind professions interesting and causes me pause; it is so similar to the ideas behind  grahm and dodd investing.  Perhaps the pendulum of excessive optimism in theses fields will revert back; at the excact moment my fellow 23 year olds graduate with another piece of paper... I plan to be shoveling shit; or have a shit shovelling buisiness or better yet! monopoly.

Fri, 02/10/2012 - 13:03 | 2146331 taniquetil
taniquetil's picture

I'm 22 here, just out of college.


Of the kids in my graduating class, it's still looked down as "taboo" to move in with your parents after college (ar at the very least uncool, which might be worse in today's post-Facebook world). But the kids out of my University who don't have steady jobs are extremely out of touch with personal finance. It's almost like personal finance doesn't mean anything to them because it's more important that they show to the world (and to whatever girl they're trying to bang) that they live independently, in a cool apartment, and drive cool cars, and have lots of stuff.


I have a pretty good job, and I make it an effort to save money, save retirement, pay off credit cards, and so-on, but there are definitely people in my graduating class who don't have jobs or have low-paying jobs who are out-of-touch with their finances. For example, they want to live in the "coolest" neighborhoods, and buy cars because, as everyone is aware, you "can't survive in the city without a car" (his words not mine). Almost as if not owning a car or not living with your parents makes you less of a person? Or at the very least, is admitting that you couldn't get a good job that pays you enough money? Furthermore, they don't exactly keep a lot of cash lying around for an emergency. I can't confrim this because I haven't seen their bank account balances, but these are the people who, 3 days before pay day, will say "I can't go to the bar because I don't have money", or say things like "I always save for emergencies, I have one months rent and bills in cash just in case I lost my job". Let's be honest here, one month of cash reserves is nowhere near enough to survive if you lose your job.


Many of them tend to be pampered green house plants and I would be willing to bet no small amount of money that they're being bankrolld by their parents. I understand that they grew up in "better times" where money and credit was cheaper, and everyone and their kid had a $1500 Macbook Pro for college, and now they're trying to maintain that lifestyle, but that's supremely stupid.


Just as another example, a whole shit-ton of people from my class went on "post-graduation trips" to Europe or Asia or wherever in celebration of graduation. Which when you think about it is absolutely absurd. How can someone, out of college, even if they have a job (for sure, they aren't getting paid yet), afford to drop $1500-$2000 on a trip to Europe? It's absolutely mind-boggling. Again, being cool and having Facebook photos of themselves getting sloshed in a German bar (and for the love of God, these people go to Germany and don't drink the beer) is more important than, for example, not having $2000 in credit card debt, which I think everyone on ZH at least knows is a killer.

Fri, 02/10/2012 - 13:29 | 2146447 VyseLegendaire
VyseLegendaire's picture

You should stop worrying what your peers think.  To be honest, the traditional idea of finance is going to be a moot point soon, and you should focus on skills, mental preparation, community relationships, and sustainable lifestyle choices, etc. in order to survive the coming times. If you know of Dmitry Orlov, think back to the 'gift' economy – what you can do and offer are more valuable than credits in a time when the commercial economy ceases to function. 

Fri, 02/10/2012 - 14:54 | 2146919 AldousHuxley
AldousHuxley's picture

they look down on you because you are not playing the stupid game of getting into the debt trap misery. you are not wanting to be average with the dumb masses but attempting to be better than them.


nothing like telling people who used to look down on you that with all the money you saved, you paid for a house in cash with no mortgage bondage.



good things take looooooong time....but it is sweet once you achieve it.

Fri, 02/10/2012 - 13:33 | 2146474 The Alarmist
The Alarmist's picture

In the "good old days" (for me, the '80s), you took a low-paying, shit entry level job that might involve typing, answering phones, or fetching coffee for the higher ups ... Not a secretarial job ... This was college grad stuff in NYC ... You did this for six months to a year, and if you displayed some aptitude and personality, a higher-up would help you make next move.

30+ years later, I'm getting college grads who want to write my marketing or strategic plans and can't be bothered to type, answer phones, and not even fetch coffee even if a pre-paid latte is in it for them. They wonder why we won't hire them.

But you are very right ... In addition to having no humility whatsoever on the career front, they expect to be able to afford a place
Iike mine and have a lifestyle like mine even though they have little to no experience and earning power. My first apartment in NYC was a shitty walk-up on one of the avenues, and the only reason I did not have a roommate was that I had a low rent. As for going to the bar, that was in part social and in part a survival tactic ... Buy cheap drinks and get free happy hour food.

So stick with what you are doing, because following the example of the lower 98% in your age group is, as always, a losing strategy. We had people like that in my days, and they ended up going back to a cheap apartment back in podunkville ... Main difference between then and now is that in addition to having no humility, they also have few values, little pride, and no shame.

Fri, 02/10/2012 - 15:05 | 2146981 AldousHuxley
AldousHuxley's picture

30+ years later things cost shit tons more so college grads MUST have higher value add jobs even to have the same status and living standard as you did.


They have no humility because they realize that's for suckers. Their parents worked their asses off to get layed off in their 50s. Their careers are outsourced, offshored, de-unionized, by the owners. You are a fool if they have loyalty to an employer these days.

Corporations betrayed the social contract, now it is every man for himself...employers are the ones who treated everyone as a human resource and now independent contractors.


No pension = employees get a job with your competitor as soon as they can

No job protection = employees play politics rather than being productive

No merit increases or unequal sharing of company profit  = employees do the minimum they can get away with

No overtime or weekend work = employees put in facetime and probably burn out in 5 years and go work for the government instead of being productive for 20.


"few values, little pride, and no shame"....can be said for employers too.

Unless you share the glory, nobody is going to sacrifice for you. That's the law for all relationships.


Fri, 02/10/2012 - 18:26 | 2147845 Bicycle Repairman
Bicycle Repairman's picture

Very well stated.

Sat, 02/11/2012 - 01:27 | 2148766 Bananamerican
Bananamerican's picture

logged in just to uprate Aldous....

Sat, 02/11/2012 - 12:57 | 2149243 Blankman
Blankman's picture

AH - I approx. 1 month ago offered a guy an ownership stake in a branch office.  He told me he just wanted more money on his paycheck to do the job.  He did not get the job.  Where we are coming from is similar to what you are saying however most people are wearing blinders when they truly get offered a chance to step out side their comfort zone.  People are too damn afraid to do anything outside of the ordinary now.

Fri, 02/10/2012 - 14:05 | 2146571 tekhneek
tekhneek's picture

Good to hear someone near my age that's not a jackass!

I'm 23 and I dropped out of college (like a month into the first semester) because it was overpriced and the education was horrible (I was paying out of pocket from my summer jobs...). I immediately went on to look for work (as a self-taught programmer) anywhere I could get hired. I worked my ever loving ass off and supported myself since the month before my 17th birthday. Everyone ridiculed me. Told me I was making a huge mistake dropping out of college, told me I was being drastic and that "you'll make the money back that you borrow and more with a degree" I just chose to ignore them.

The majority of the people that "gave me their advice" on college and life are now living with their parents or are so indebted they will have to work for another 30 years to pay off that awesome education that unfortunately for them is really just a piece of paper with absolutely zero skilled attached to it. I understand there are people who, without college, would have absolutely zero guidance in life but this is also a part of the problem. Before all of this crap their was an era of apprenticeship and skill, or experience. You learned your fathers task, and his grandfathers task. If several generations can make it on a trade then clearly it's going to be around (for the most part) for awhile. People have completely lost touch with reality in my generation. It's the entitlement society. Mommy and Daddy are also a huge part of the problem. I have a friend who's had 3 jobs in his entire life -- all of them working for his Dad running "errands" and making more than the office manager.

I chose the "experience" route and while a piece of paper saying I went to an awesome college and graduated would make things easier, lucky enough for me it doesn't matter when most people sit down and we discuss the job and they notice my amount of experience. Sometimes it backfires, sometimes it doesn't. I've been able to stay employed for the last 7 years though with 0 problems in between. Yes, I realize I'm fortunate to have a job still. I've never forgotten what it was like to be between jobs and have very little money. No one gave me a cent. I had to work my ass off to get where I am and I make no apologies for that.

1 month of bills saved up is better than nothing, but woefully insufficient. Murphy's law has a way of reminding you that the money you think you had saved is miniscule in comparison to what you needed shold the "unforeseen" happen (which it does, and frequently). I made it my goal starting in 2010 to have at least 1 year of food, water, and cash on hand. If you don't have a high paying job or it's hard to afford, just start little by little. The only way to make money is to save it (in gold and silver, of course). If all you do is spend you could make a million dollars a year and it wouldn't matter considering you spent 1.5 million. You'd never really have any sort of wealth. But all that matters is getting the new iPhone or the new iPad and having enough money left over to buy a $150 pair of jeans so you can post pictures of your ass on Facebook for fake chicks to look at who are jealous because theirs were $125 -- No, I'm not a girl, but I recently met a girl who was late on her rent and just purchased a pair of jeans for $150, clearly the right choice. It makes me sick but all the more wealth for me to accumulate while an entire generation blames all of their problems on their predecessors and the government.

Get out of debt, it's a prison. Save in silver and gold bullion to combat inflation and maintain your purchasing power while accumulating wealth as the transfer continues from fiat to tangibles. Prepare yourself for any sort of emergency or disaster (not even financial... shit just happens sometimes, hurricanes, tornadoes, food shortage, power outage, solar flare, whatever the hell...)

Last but not least get a job! (not saying you don't have one, just in general) If you can't get a job ask yourself why would someone hire me? What can I really do for them? Remind and ask yourself if the job you're doing is automatable via robotics/software because if it is I can almost guarantee you it's only a matter of time before it is either automated, or shored off to another person who will do it for 1/4th of what you will. For example: I'm aware that I can't continue to make my level of salary in my industry forever, there will come a time when India and China get organized enough to handle the majority of IT/software development and that will leave a handful of lucky people in our country who (have the experience) to maintain their jobs while the majority of low/entry level work is shipped off so... if you're in my industry adapt or die in this decade.

Last but not least start some fucking businesses! Find a niche! Fail some! Make some fucking mistakes! Live a little and go outside! Talk to business owners, see if you can arrange some sort of asset that they need and don't have. It's the same as it ever was and the longer you look around and le the sentiment get to you the sooner you will become that exact sentiment locked in your own cage of self-pity or hopelessness. Again, not directed at you, but people near my age in general.

Cheers man, keep on keepin' on. We're the ones that will inherit this shit storm in a few decades if our peers don't manage to blow the fucking thing up with all the nukes they have.

Fingers crossed.

Fri, 02/10/2012 - 14:06 | 2146688 Twiggles
Twiggles's picture

^^ THIS.  I have been trying to learning programming after work.  What do you think is the best way to learn?

So far I'm just banging through some open course ware but have yet to really built anything larger.

What programming language(s) do you think I should focus on?

Fri, 02/10/2012 - 14:18 | 2146751 tekhneek
tekhneek's picture

Best way to learn is by diving in and focusing. It is not easy to learn from scratch. It will take time. It will frustrate the shit out of you but once you get past a certain point, it's all the same and languages just begin to make sense as do data structures and more abstract concepts. There's a "lightbulb" in most peoples heads who try to learn how to program. It either goes off, or it doesn't. I personally have apprenticed 3 guys and seen them all have the lightbulb go off at different times with different problems and languages/concepts.

I wouldn't recommend system-level languages like C or C++ right off the bat, while these are awesome and eventually you should be familiar with them as they are king, I'm a web application kind of guy. I think web applications and API's are where the future's going -- that and E-commerce obviously.

I know a lot of languages but most clients need either Python, Ruby or Java but my current job pays me to code in PHP. There's a saying in the PHP community that, no one ever starved programming PHP and this is very true. The vast majority of software written online has what's called a "LAMP" stack. Linux, Apache, MySQL and PHP. Also you should get familiar with Database normalization and become comfortable with SQL or NoSQL databases and know how to write queries using regular selects, group bys, and joins left/right/equi etc. There's pros and cons to both types of databases but I'd start with MySQL first as it's the most widely used online currently.

How much time have you spent learning? I can definitely help you get going in the right direction, I started learning this skill when I was still 14 so I have plenty of experience and a wide range of resources.

As an encouragement though -- there's no shortage of programmers, but there is a shortage of good programmers. 

An entry level PHP programmer can make up to 45-60k/year ... and once you have good amounts of experience it's not uncommon to hit the 80-100k range then after you've been around and contributed a lot to a company you can get 120-150k/year.

You might have to start working at a software/app farm but do not stay there. Get your experience and get out. The only difference between a PHP job that pays you 45k/year and 80k/year is where you work. I guarantee you htat you'll make hte least money in your career if you work at a place that actually develops software. Find a law firm, a financial firm, an art company, a coffee company, an e-commerce company, anything and work there. The majority of peopel have no fucking idea what you do at these companies so your salary is "based on experience" 9 times out of 10. Find a company like that and negotiate tough style. If you want to make 80, ask for 100. So on and so forth and if they say no, just move on. This could be overkill though, I'm not sure how much you've learned so far but I'm assuming not much from your question which is OK!

Discretely write out your email and I'll email you with my information and I'll send you some good resources.

Fri, 02/10/2012 - 14:55 | 2146926 Twiggles
Twiggles's picture


I'm still very new and only a couple months in, I typically give it ~10 hours a week.  I figured I would learn python first, since the syntax is so freaking easy.

I'm learning simple stuff.  and solving relativly easy to implement algorithms. is a fun place to learn.  I've done the first 70 or so of those.  Its really simple stuff but I'm starting to learn how to think with a purely logical mindset.  Ideas like computation complexity , storing previously computed values in dictionaries, lists, lists of lists etc.  Simple stuff but I'm making progress.  I would like a list (no matter how brief) of how you taught yourself how to program.  I find your past incredibly interesting; since having graduated with  biochemistry (interesting but I don't wanna work in it) and economics (fucking keynsians) degrees; I want something more technical!.


Much obliged.

Fri, 02/10/2012 - 15:56 | 2147262 mick_richfield
mick_richfield's picture

It might be a good idea to do Python / Java / C in parallel.  Do hello_world in each, then work up gradually in all 3 together.

I think those 3 would make any employer happy.

Fri, 02/10/2012 - 16:30 | 2147444 Twiggles
Twiggles's picture

Interesting.  I thought about that dynamic quite a bit and decided not to learn in parallel.  I reasoned that since this will be part time; It would be best not to further divide my focus.  At this point I am simply trying to learn how to think like a programmer.  Once that conceptual basis is established; I reason learning syntax will be easy.

I suppose I should spend this weekend investigating the differences between python and C/Java, based on what limited exposure I have had so far... the idiosyncratic differences are subtle but quite important.  Fucking syntatical differences; computer should know what I mean!!

Sat, 02/11/2012 - 00:08 | 2148680 StychoKiller
StychoKiller's picture

Most software programming is involved in maintenance (unfortunately!).  Sooner or later, you're gonna have to study Software Engineering.  Here's a good place to start:

"Refactoring, Improving the Design of Existing Code", Martin Fowler, ISBN:  0-201-48567-2

"Design Patterns:  Elements of Reusable Object-Oriented Software", Erich Gamma et. al, Addison-Wesley,  ISBN-10:0-201-63361-2, ISBN-13:978-0-201-63361-0

"The Art of Computer Programming", Vols. 1 through 3, Donald Knuth, Addison-Wesley, ISBN:  0-201-89683-4, etc.

"The C Programming Language", 2nd Ed., Brian W. Kernighan & Dennis M. Ritchie, Prentice-Hall, ISBN:  0-13-110362-8 (Essential!)

"The C Companion", Allen I. Holub, Prentice-Hall, ISBN: 0-13-109786-5

"C, A Reference Manual", Samuel P. Harbison & Guy L. Steel Jr., Prentice-Hall, ISBN:  0-13-109802-0

"Python in a Nutshell", 2nd Ed., Alex Martelli, O'Reilly, ISBN:  0-596-10046-9

"Python Phrasebook, Essential Code and Commands", Brad Dayley, ISBN:  0-672-32910-7 (

"The C Programmer's Handbook", AT&T Bell Labs, Prentice-Hall, ISBN:  0-13-110073-4 (Good reference handbook!)

There's this really neat invention called a Library (in case you're not rich enough to buy all these books outright!)

If you're programming under the Linux platform, a huge amount of information about the gcc compiler and gdb the debugger, as well as all the other programs that make development easier, is available online.

Fri, 02/10/2012 - 15:02 | 2146962 The Alarmist
The Alarmist's picture

My mother is still pulling in quite a few bucks in her retirement doing the legacy COBOL programming that the new kids are too proud to consider ... Just saying. Good advice you gave there.

Fri, 02/10/2012 - 18:06 | 2147775 _ConanTheLibert...
_ConanTheLibertarian_'s picture

Find a law firm, a financial firm, an art company, a coffee company, an e-commerce company, anything and work there.

How likely is it to be hired as a full-time programmer by a company (which doesn't develop software)? Such a company must be pretty big.

An art or coffee company seem a bit odd examples. Am I missing something here?

Disclosure: I'm a Coldfusion programmer in Europe since 11 years (at the same company which does develop software).

Sat, 02/11/2012 - 02:28 | 2148809 xela2200
xela2200's picture

I did a gig with a company that was using Coldfusion. I was surprised how fast that server spit out those pages. The company was mid sized in the optical industry. I would say that companies out number software development shops. I am a .net developer, so it might be different for me. I think that most medium to large companies have an IS department cranking code like there is no tomorrow.

If you are interested in coming to North America, You might want to look at Canada. They have a point system residency visa based on age, language, education, experience, etc. They also give you a great deal of points if you are in one of their desired fields. I think technology is one of those fields. If you have a masters, less than 30, can read and write English with 11 years of work experience, start packing. Unless, their economy is tanking, I really haven't checked in a while. Check it out. They have web page with a wizard that calculates if you can get the residency.

Sat, 02/11/2012 - 04:12 | 2148849 _ConanTheLibert...
_ConanTheLibertarian_'s picture

I did take a look at Canada last year. Basicly I would need to find a company that would be willing to sponsor me because I don't believe software developer is a skilled profession (anymore). So I would need to find an employer first (who would need to proof he can't find a Canadian) before I'm allowed to move in. Quite daunting, if not next to impossible.

Note: I'm 36 with a BSc degree.

Sat, 02/11/2012 - 12:37 | 2149201 xela2200
xela2200's picture

It seems to me that You are at a good point and have some skills to offer. Why don't you visit your local Canadian embassy and see if there is somebody that you can talk to? Also, I am sure that there most be some type of business that offers this migratory service. I think Canada is probably the easiest Residency visa to get in North America. If you speak Spanish, there are other options in South America.

Sat, 02/11/2012 - 02:38 | 2148804 xela2200
xela2200's picture

It also depends on you. The money that you want to make, and the lifestyle that you want to have.

Assuming that you want to be a business web developer your choices are:

- PHP, MySql, Apache --> It is free, so it is used very widely by small business. You can find work anywhere. However, very little money in it.

- Microsoft (C#, .net, MsSql) --> It is not free. It is widely used by medium and large corporations, so you can find work on any city and good money.

- Sun (Java, Oracle) --> Very expensive technology. Used mostly by large corporations. You go where the work is, and You might have to live out of your suit case. Six figure salary potential.

Let me warn you that this work is not for the faint of heart. It is very demanding, frustrating and you will be constantly training to keep up with the changes. I have worked as .net developer for 12 years with the last five been independent, and I am ready for a change. The market for experience developers is ok or maybe even good. It is odd that when I would become free for a contract, the phone would start ringing at 8:00 AM, and it wouldn't stop until 10:00 at night. Now, I might get 3 calls a week for my marketing efforts and MAYBE 1 is worth perusing as a good match.

Good luck.




Fri, 02/10/2012 - 15:05 | 2146976 YC2
YC2's picture

Not to take away from what youve said, and you didnt say differntly than I am about to, but I would like to clarify that your emergency fund should be in the medium of payment of your bills.  Savings beyond that feel free to get creative.  Id hate to lose my job and be hawking PMs or selling paper assets, esp because job misfortune tends to correlate with lower prices!

Fri, 02/10/2012 - 15:29 | 2147117 seek
seek's picture

You pretty much described by exact career path. I dropped out of the first year, never took on any debt outside of a mortgage.

I'm in my mid-40s now and a multimillionaire. I don't think I could replicate my success in this environment, but I'm damn sure you could replicate my avoidance of failure, which is exactly what you're doing.

Sat, 02/11/2012 - 02:31 | 2148811 xela2200
xela2200's picture

I am in my mid 40s, and I have to agree. There is a lot of uncertainty in the business environment. Capital is not getting any respect right now.

Sat, 02/11/2012 - 04:15 | 2148853 _ConanTheLibert...
_ConanTheLibertarian_'s picture

Just curious, what was your biggest win?

Sat, 02/11/2012 - 17:53 | 2149746 seek
seek's picture

Biggest win was actually a failure, a friend and I were funded as a startup by a very large corporate entity that suddenly changed their mind six months into the project. We were fucked but we had a great business plan -- and the corporate entity had paid for a two year lease, phone systems, furniture basically 100% of the costs any startup would face and couldn't recover any of it. So they basically said if we deal with the mess and take over obligations so they can walk free, they'd give it to us.

That was an awesome break. But ultimately starting our own business, working hard and being nimble were the keys. The issue today is I can't think of good business ideas for someone new. I do occasional mentoring, and I can't say "do this and you'll be rich." The best I can come up with is "do this and you won't be (very) poor." along with a long lists of don'ts.

I am totally convinced that just a couple years after the collapse will be the biggest opportunity to come along in many generations to get wealthy. I've told many teens/early 20s to be prepared to jump on things and work hard around 2020-2025, when they'll be in the mid 20s to mid 30s.

Mon, 02/13/2012 - 17:15 | 2155132 _ConanTheLibert...
_ConanTheLibertarian_'s picture

Interesting. I'm convinced too that the 20's and/or 30's will be very opportunate.

Fri, 02/10/2012 - 13:54 | 2146607 pods
pods's picture

Look on the bright side.  You and all the other recent grads are being chased by a bear.  They are fat and slothful.  You are fit and trim.

There are benefits to being surrounded by idiots.


Fri, 02/10/2012 - 14:21 | 2146768 Freddie
Freddie's picture

Hang in there.  You are on the right path.  The elites/banksters want them to be stupid about their finances.  Debt is slavery especially credit card debt. 

Hopey Changey them comes along and decrees some law to reward people who are not responsible.  You are doing the right thing.  Eventually these other youngsters parents are gonna get sick of helping out their kid.  When that money gets shut off - your peers will be in for a rude awakening. 

Fri, 02/10/2012 - 18:38 | 2147885 xela2200
xela2200's picture

I don't understand what is the stigma about living with your parent. Maybe, you don't get laid as often. When I finished school, I stayed home for a few years. I managed to pay off my student loan and saved enough for the down payment on a starter home (25% down).  Having 3 generations living in the same house is very common in many cultures like Italians, Indians, Latins and Greeks.

Fri, 02/10/2012 - 21:13 | 2148326 barroter
barroter's picture

Right car, right apartment and the right clothing to catch that adorable girl?  SHE isn't worth it.

If you catch her, marry her and settle down blowing money out the wazoo to impress her and your friends, then enjoy a life of working your ass off paying it back. Also, enjoy the montly fights over money with your hot girl.

Want freedom? One way is to have as little as debt as possible.  Spend within your means and you'll be able to sleep at night. 




Sat, 02/11/2012 - 02:40 | 2148818 xela2200
xela2200's picture

And whose fault is that? Stop chasing bimbos.

Sat, 02/11/2012 - 04:25 | 2148859 _ConanTheLibert...
_ConanTheLibertarian_'s picture

I made a clear decision not to get married and not to have children. I'll stick with that no matter what. This saves you a lot of freedom and money.

Children cost shitloads of money. So not having children is financially very prudent. Think about that for a moment.

Sat, 02/11/2012 - 00:29 | 2148712 Archon7
Archon7's picture

Some friendly advice, friend... in the current economic climate, someone your age has no business saving for retirement.  Think about how hard you work for the money you earn right now, and think of how little that money will be worth in 40 y ears.  It's better to just spend it all now, maybe some short-term savings for big-ticket items, don't go into debt, and start socking it all away with 15 - 20 years to retire.  "True" inflation's about 10% - 12% right now, and it's going to get worse.  That means every dollar you save now is worth 90 cents next year, and 81 cents the year after that, 73 cents, etc...  by the time you're retirement age that dollar will be worth pennies, and you'll wish you'd saved that dollar at a much later time in your life when you're in the peak of your earning, and inflation would eat less of it.

Fri, 02/10/2012 - 13:49 | 2146510 Council of Econ...
Council of Economic Terrorists's picture

I'm 24 graduated in Spring 2010 with an engineering degree.  Been working at a job in my field for about 1 year and a few months.  Moved in with the 'rents to save up, planning to move out within the next year since I have a pretty hefty stack (including PMs), health insurance, and no debt.  I also have saved a bit for retirement in a 403b, company matches as well (I know, I know, I'm playing with fire, but damn I'm only 24. If it crashes, long time for it to recover. I'm playing the elites will keep it together card and announce currency revaluation.)  Also, I have individually bought some shares in a few utility companies with some play money.  They are stable and yield 5-6%.  I did this mostly because that yield is 100x what I'm getting out of my savings account. Been reading ZH since summer 2010.  I would suggest that I am very lucky, but as they say luck is preparation meeting opportunity or whatever.  

I would say it was harder for me to find a job than my parents.  It took me about 6 months, dozens of resumes/applications and around 15 interviews to nail it down. Saving up money is obviously easier.  Getting into college and buying a home (however that seems like not a good thing to do in the near future) were/will be about the same for me I think.  Meeting someone is harder because of the stigma of living with the 'rents plus I think alot of bitches love the credit card a little too much and are clueless about money to begin with.        

Fri, 02/10/2012 - 14:10 | 2146710 SolidSnake961
SolidSnake961's picture

I might be the youngest one here and have been reading ZH for 1 year now. I am a junior in college studying finance right now. It's internship interview season so I have been interviewing with different firms and still have more to go. Hopefully I get an offer so it can turn into a fulltime position at the end of summer. I am fortunate enough that I will graduate with no debt thanks to my parents who actually want me to live at home while I work but I'll be avoiding that at all cost. Seeing as they are paying my tution (by far the best graduation gift one could get), I do not own a car on campus nor do I own a smartphone or any apple product for that matter like everyone else but I'm not complaining.

Fri, 02/10/2012 - 14:34 | 2146826 RichardENixon
RichardENixon's picture

I recommend that you get enough accounting credits to take the CPA exam. No matter what job you are looking for anywhere in finance, for better or worse those 3 letters after your name will help you.

Fri, 02/10/2012 - 14:48 | 2146906 SolidSnake961
SolidSnake961's picture

Well I'll have taken 6 accounting classes by graduation as a Finance major but I won't have enough total cr. hrs. to sit for the CPA unless i stay an extra year. I really don't want to study any more accounting nor get an accounting job. I plan to stick w/ Finance jobs in investments or corporate finance at a bank or orther financial institutions.

Fri, 02/10/2012 - 14:52 | 2146912 RichardENixon
RichardENixon's picture

You would need 24 more accounting hours to sit for the exam, so maybe it wouldn't be worth it in your case. I'm sure you will remember everything you are learning here on ZH when you get your first job, although you will have to play the politics carefully, corporate finance and banking are snakepits. Good luck to you.

Fri, 02/10/2012 - 14:56 | 2146930 SolidSnake961
SolidSnake961's picture

Thanks and you are definitely right. I had a jpm interviewer that was telling me how he thought ron paul (I was part of an organization that hosted him on campus) was kooky and that banks need bailouts so the s&p doesn't drop to 200. He moved right on to another topic saving me from responding haha. I didn't get the job.

Fri, 02/10/2012 - 15:18 | 2147046 unnamed enemy
unnamed enemy's picture

early 30s here - moved out of the house and started working when i was 17. never looked back, posting on zh from work, as usual - lol. 

hated being dependend on my parents, now i hate being dependent on employers, hopefully in about 10-15 years i will have saved enough to be free.

problem is most parents just can't say no to their kids, and most kids are spoiled brats that simply prefer to mooch of their parents than be treated like shit by their bosses.






Sat, 02/11/2012 - 02:37 | 2148816 xela2200
xela2200's picture

Tough love is dead, but I think that it is making a comeback with this depression.

I was watching a documentary. The HR person was saying that more mothers are calling the HR department to see how their kids did in the interview. They need constant praising. The "everybody gets a trophy" generation.

Fri, 02/10/2012 - 15:33 | 2147102 kalm
kalm's picture

25 here, found ZH about 3 months ago (better late than never I guess) Lets just say that I was idiotic in my choice of education. I went to a private school, mostly on loans. I was working through school as well, but that did not garner near enough to cover tuition costs. I now have roughly 70k in student loan debt left, after paying above and beyond minimum payments for the last 2 years.  I graduated in 09 with a undergrad biz degree. Had 2 job offers appear 1 month after grad through connections from close friends who had graduated prior to me. Both paid at 45k and both were in the aviation field (even more strange!)  

I have cut my living expenses down to an absolute minimum, and then have pared even more. I have started working a second job that is an extra $500 a month(straight into savings).  I am now focusing on building up my savings, but it is slow, way too slow for my tastes. I have been putting what I can away and have used some of those savings to invest in silver. Gold is a bit out of the price range at this time.

Graduates in my class have moved back in with their parents for lack of jobs.  Some have gone oversees to work in volunteer internships (to gain experience of some sort). But all have postponed buying a house, save a couple of my engineering friends, who are employed in well paying jobs, 80+ k, but these are in the minority. Most of the my other engineerings friends have been jobless. Recently, there seems to have been some hiring activity for entry level engineers though. (According to facebook updates) 

My questions to all ZHers;

1. Is it possible to find employment, with similar pay structure as I have now, in the NY/MA/CT/NJ area these days?  

2. Would it be worth it to ransack my 401k, and take the hit in penalties, to invest in PM or other assets?

3. Would it be wise contemplating going back to school for an engineering degree?

Thanks in advance,


(Stay) kalm


edit: forgot to mention that lots of peers have gone the military route since graduation.

Sat, 02/11/2012 - 16:06 | 2149620 MarketWatchTerrorist
MarketWatchTerrorist's picture

Even trying to pay back $70K of student loan debt is straight retarded.  Especially on an extremely low $40K salary.  $70K is the price of a home that someone on your salary should aspire to (no doubt you want the $300K+ McMansion though).  You'll be making payments into your 40's on that student loan debt.


Fuck that.


Refuse to pay.  Leave the country.  Work overseas.  By the time you pay down this massive debt and you're in your 40's this won't be a country you want to live in anyway.  For those of us a little more sensitive to what's going on, the U.S. already isn't a country we want to live in.


Either live as a low wage debt slave for the next 25 years or exercise your right as a free man to seek your fortunes overseas.  The choice isn't a hard one.


Where?  Anywhere.  Try somewhere that you have family.  If that won't work out, try any of the other Anglo countries (all are just as bad as the U.S., but at your age you probably have no other options...for now).  Probably Australia as a first choice.

Fri, 02/10/2012 - 15:34 | 2147158 seek
seek's picture

Not one of the younger viewers, but I thought I'd drop this link since it was passed on to me recently. I know a 23 year old that went this route, it's definitely a sign on the times:

I have a step daughter that will be headed off to college in another year. I told her a couple years ago it'd be a community college so there wouldn't be any debt involved, at least for the first couple years. Tuition costs are insane, it's to the point that an entry-level job can't even cover community college tuition. Our youth are being set up to fail and be debt slaves for life (remember, student debt is NOT discharged in a bankruptcy thanks to changes made a few years ago.)

Don't fall for this scam, young ones.

Fri, 02/10/2012 - 18:11 | 2147806 SilverRhino
SilverRhino's picture

Damn.  I love how the interviewer says it's not prostitution.    (It actually is, just indirect)

What I cant believe is that there are men in their 40's - 50's paying several thousand a month for cheap looking whores like the one at the end of that video.   Disgusting.


Fri, 02/10/2012 - 22:13 | 2148454 seek
seek's picture

Well, lol, that pretty much describes every GF/wife I've had so I'll be a bit less judgemental.

But sad if that's not what they actually want to be doing.

Fri, 02/10/2012 - 12:39 | 2146179 Ruffcut
Ruffcut's picture

Fuck that! The basement is my office and man cave. Fridge full of beer, computers, tv, stereo, dog, cat and a nice chair for my butt,only.

My oldest is moving back for a short stint,(hopefully) new job and going to china for a month or more. I don't mind, but remember even guest get stale after 3 days.  My youngest is with G ma in florida and she is starting to bitch about him and his dizzy girlfriend. I could help but laugh with my fingers crossed that he stays there longer.

Fri, 02/10/2012 - 12:52 | 2146273 Pool Shark
Pool Shark's picture



You forgot 'fallout shelter.'


Fri, 02/10/2012 - 14:42 | 2146856 trav7777
trav7777's picture

your wife's vagina is also a "man cave"

Fri, 02/10/2012 - 13:20 | 2146409 Freddie
Freddie's picture

Well a majority young people voted for the muslim.  Hope & Change bitchez.  Sadly the old guy married to brew masters rodeo daughter was Soros plan B. 

Ron Paul 2012 

Fri, 02/10/2012 - 14:13 | 2146728 algol_dog
algol_dog's picture

Move to Greece ...

Heard on Bloomberg last night that state pensions are guaranteed to be forwarded to the spouse upon the death of the pensioner, as well in the majority of cases to the children after the spouse passes on.

Fri, 02/10/2012 - 14:42 | 2146853 besodemuerte
besodemuerte's picture

On your Ipad I bet.

Fri, 02/10/2012 - 14:43 | 2146871 CrashisOptimistic
CrashisOptimistic's picture

This, btw, is why gasoline consumption is down.

Only one car per household has to go to the grocery store or to any other store.  Not 3 cars for 3 households.  That one household can stock up with one car trip.

Your dog can trade in his SUV.

Fri, 02/10/2012 - 12:31 | 2146130 lolmao500
lolmao500's picture

I am typing this from Azeroth.

No seriously, I'm 25 and I don't know what I'm gonna do. Might have to go back to my parents because rent has become too expensive... but that would suck...

Maybe I ought to find a new roomate.

Fri, 02/10/2012 - 12:38 | 2146177 Alcoholic Nativ...
Alcoholic Native American's picture

Make sure your room mate isn't a bum that will be unable to pay his rent. 

Fri, 02/10/2012 - 12:41 | 2146194 lolmao500
lolmao500's picture

Yeah... but that is hard to find these days...

Fri, 02/10/2012 - 13:23 | 2146421 Thomas
Thomas's picture

Domestic homicide rates must be climbing. I am quite sure they would soar in my house if my youngest moved home.

Fri, 02/10/2012 - 13:32 | 2146466 Willzyx
Willzyx's picture

I'm 29 and have a rather non traditional living situation.  I found my roommate on craigslist, and moved in with her and her boyfriend.  Shortly there after, she got pregnant and had the baby 9 months later.  To help with the baby and also because of her own marital problems, my roommate's mother moved in as well.  The household has 3 generations, a boyfriend, and a renter living under the same roof.  In addition, the building has several professional suites on the first floor.  Talk about mixed use.

My monthly rent is very reasonable and also pays for heat, electricity, water, laundry and cable/internet/phone.  I barely use the phone, and if it was up to me, I'd drop the cable charge.  My room is basically a studio apartment/man cave.

McMansions suddenly become economical when they are occupied by 10-15 indiviudals instead of a family of 4.  My ex gf had a pipe dream to live on and operate a farm, but wanted to live alone.  I suggested a boarding house type arrangement for her help to live and work on the farm, but she wanted no part.

Fri, 02/10/2012 - 13:36 | 2146486 lolmao500
lolmao500's picture

This is indeed real weird.

And your ex-gf had real issues to want to live and operate a farm alone...

Fri, 02/10/2012 - 13:48 | 2146573 Willzyx
Willzyx's picture

Having her mother around has been fucking awesome.  All the benefits of living with your mother, but none of the emotional responsabilities.  As soon as she moved in, she started paying to fix broken things in the house; sockets that blow the circuit breaker, woobly steps, leaky drains, etc.  She cooked me steaks on my birthday.

As far as the ex, she didn't necessarily want to be alone.  She wanted me there with her, which wasn't gonna happen.  Her vision of self sustainability was based hugs, rainbows, kittens, and being good to the earth.  I want to be self sufficient out of necessity, incase we do end up like Mad Max.  I told her if I lived on the farm, it would be heavily armed.

Fri, 02/10/2012 - 12:55 | 2146294 dracos_ghost
dracos_ghost's picture

Make sure your room mate isn't a bum that will be unable to pay his rent.


You mean a Greek?

Fri, 02/10/2012 - 13:58 | 2146640 pods
pods's picture

Greeks are merely further down the same road that we are all on.


Fri, 02/10/2012 - 13:25 | 2146433 JPM Hater001
JPM Hater001's picture

I would avoid Goblins.  Although most are engineers and creative and mechanically inclined and in the end they reall just smell bad.

/cast Deathgate

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