I moderate comments and have been doing so for some time. IMO comment sections on a relatively popular (ie read by other than immediate family, friends, etc) open blog often regularly turn into a huge mess of flame wars with spam and extremist hate speech in between. I really tried and it just doesn't work. I don't know a blogger who has had success with it. At the end of the day I am Captain of this ship so I sail it the best I can, or at least the way I want. One of the biggest downsides of moderating comments is that they slow down the flow of ideas and make those great sideline discussions which either nail down a point or move in an otherwise interesting direction harder. However you take what you can get.
I do like that I get to see all the comments. Usually if it is about a fairly recent post I know what is going on. Sometimes I go back and comment. Other times something jumps out at me, maybe it is interesting or brings us in a new direction or whatever. This is one of those times. Here was a comment from my recent post on Savings and Debt.
5:59 said "Chris: It's easy to say, "they made their bed", but it's not that simple. When an 18 year old is leaving high school, everyone in the world in telling them "you should go to college"; they don't know any better. They go and get a piece of paper and end up with 50k in loans and an entry level job and realize by about age 30 that they should have taken up a trade. It is a problem with our society, and you can't blame an 18 year old for listening to "older, wiser" people.
It is damn near impossible for a family to pay off 50k in student loans, have a decent used car, a house that is out of the city enough to be somewhat safe, and still put away a 3 month emergency fund.
That is not an accident, it is all by design of the government to keep everybody underfoot, and I realize that, but it still pisses me off. We make decent money and are not living above our means, but I can barely afford to buy a little extra food to put back every month let alone put back 3 months savings."
TOR here: Well now it is time for my thoughts. This comment reeks of a lack of accepting responsibility. It is full of they and them and everybody and society in an effort to somehow pass on responsibility to everyone else. We will revisit this theme in a minute.
Educational costs, debt and career prospects/ income are an interesting discussion. Our society seems to want people to do hard jobs (education and social work come to mind) for modest pay and require expensive degrees. We can't seem to understand why these jobs often (certainly not saying it is all of them but if you work in either you know there are some) attract lazy or not particularly capable people and that the turn over is high. Don't know what the answer is but I imagine either things will keep slogging along dysfunction-ally as usual or something in the equation will change. In any case getting back to the point.
On average a college graduate (BA/BS) earns a heck of a lot more in their lifetime (think it is a million dollars) on average than non college graduates. I do think those statistics are somewhat skewed for two reasons. First in general (remember we are talking about millions of kids, not onesies and twosies) the young adults who graduate from college are far more motivated, smart and hard working then their non college peers. They could be locked in a closet for 4 years and still demolish the other kids in earnings. Secondly I think we are talking about one fairly narrowly defined group and a very poorly defined one. We are comparing adults who went to and graduated from a university or 4 year college with all other adults. Those other adults include highly skilled craftsmen, union workers, various professionals, laborers, small business owners, service employees and shiftless layabouts. The stats would probably not be so skewed if we compared say college graduates and highly skilled craftsmen.
Revisiting my first point. I have a suspicion you were talking about yourself but that doesn't really matter. I do not know you and am going to make some generalizations. Maybe they apply to you and maybe not but they likely apply to some other people. Certainly I do not want to make you or anyone else feel bad. Well except when I obviously bash somebody for being a jerk which is rare these days. I have never heard of Tony Soprano and his friends coming to anyone's house to force them to go to a certain college or take out a bunch of loans or go into a certain career field afterwords. Eighteen year old kids can get married, sign legally binding documents, buy firearms and fight in wars. They certainly do not make perfect decisions and often don't even make good ones but that is called life. For heavens sake take some personal responsibility.
Far too often people box themselves into a corner and then complain that they are trapped in a corner. Every individual decision they make might be reasonable on its own merit but together they are not reasonable. Lets break this down with commentary. 5:59's words are in italics and mine are not.
...It is damn near impossible for a family. Consider your financial situation before getting married, let alone having kids. Like many things in life it is not romantic or feel good but inherently practical.
...to pay off 50k in student loans, have a decent used car, a house that is out of the city enough to be somewhat safe, Here is where many people box themselves in. They say they 'have to have' a certain sort of car and live in a certain type of place and then turn around and blame society and "the system" for their choices. They got those loans to get that degree from that school. They also chose that car and decided they just had to live in a certain place. Nobody put a gun to their head and said to drive a 3 year old shiny SUV instead of a 10 year old Honda Civic with a dented fender or forced them to live in a nice house in the burbs instead of a trailer park or a little apartment.
I really hate when people talk about how there is some sort of a system by our government to keep them down in terms of life expenses, bills, housing, etc. To be blunt that is a very unsuccessful attempt to somehow pass ownership for ones decisions to anyone but their own self. I can get how people back themselves into a corner or stay in a less than ideal situation because of work/ family/ etc. I do have empathy but that doesn't mean they didn't make and aren't still making those choices. Don't get me wrong there are all sorts of legitimate criticisms such as inflation and zoning but that is a different discussion. Pretty much everywhere Americans can make broad and diverse choices about lifestyles and housing. You can go all Dakin and shred your monthly expenses with the purchase of a travel trailer and a bit of land. If that isn't practical because of your urban setting or zoning you can get a tiny apartment and have room mates. Yeah, neither of those options are any fun but that is a reoccurring theme of most practical decisions.
...and still put away a 3 month emergency fund. Lets revisit the last point. Of course you can't save up 3 months of household expenses when you spend almost everything that comes in. In order to be able to save real money or aggressively pay down debt you are going to have to earn more money or go crazy slashing expenses. [Not saying this applies to you but it is a thought I have right now. It amazes me how people don't understand how they stay stuck just barely getting by but haven't changed anything like say; increased their income or slashed their expenses. Somehow the same pay and the same bills come out more or less the same every month. Isn't a definition of insanity continuing to do the same thing and expecting a different result?] I agree that with what was laid out as your/ the above situation the math on an emergency fund just doesn't work. If one diligently saved the surplus 2-4% of their income towards an emergency fund it would take a really, really long time (not willing to do the math) to save 3 months of income.
Do whatever you want, it is your life. I would like to leave you with two questions to mull over. First, are you willing to take some responsibility for where you are? Second, are you willing to do some unpleasant things in the short term to make your life better in the long term?
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