A buddy of mine sent me the Instagram channel of a realtor who talks about the reality of the Millenial and Gen Z financial situation.

Three videos of his really hit me hard and and explain why the last year and a half has been increasing hopelessness and depression.




I was born in 1983, so I’m an elderly Millenial, but I don’t feel like one.

Here is why.

I finished college in 2006. I didn’t like being a chemical engineer in a refinery, so I went to grad school for metallurgy. I expected to get an MS, but fell in love with my school and research, and my grad advisor became my best friend, so I just stuck around to get my PhD.

I finished school in 2012 at the age of 29.

My first job was in consulting. Wasn’t a big fan so left to work in R&D for a manufacturing company.

Iived that job. I was laid off when they declared Chapter 13 bankruptcy.

I went to a small aerospace and defense sub contractor until an election and change of presidents resulted in me losing my SBIR funding.

I went to another consulting company, and hated it. They fired me after 14 months, just before I was going to turn in my two weeks notice.

I went to work for another manufacturer in R&D, which is where I am now, and I love my job.

My living situation is horrendous.

I never expected to be a job hopper. I would have loved to stay with my last factory job until I retired, had they not gone bankrupt.

The advise about job hopping leading to raises is true, but that only works if you job hop and stay in the same house.

Unfortunately, my specialty means that every job hop requires a move.

I’ve lived in nine states in my adult life.

Since I started working, I’ve done four cross country moves, and bought and sold three houses.

Every job hop costs me easily $20,000 out of pocket. Combined with a few stints of extended unemployment between jobs and that’s lost me virtually all of my savings. Each time I bought a house, it was more expensive than the previous one.

Every job hop, despite averaging a $10,000 raise, has been a financial step backwards.

That brings me to where I am today.

My first house was a town home I paid $147,000 for with a $7,000 down payment that was a graduation present from my grandmother.

I sold that for my next house, and it got mt $20,000 on a $237,000 house.

I benefited a little grom COVID housing price increases and that got me $60,000 on a $440,000 house.

Sold that house after 14 months and got fucked. I had to rebuild the septic to sell it. Along with sime other repairs, and closing costs, I lost money and walked away with $30,000.

In New Hampshire, closing costs can’t be put into escrow.

A 3 bed/2.5 bath, 2,000 sq-ft house, for my family of four, averages $650,000.

My proceeds from my last home will only cover closing costs. I have no down payment.

I’m trying to put money away, but rent is $4,000 per month. Water is $300, electricity is $300, heating oil is $500 in winter and $300 in summer (heating oil also heats my water).

That’s $5,000 per month in rent and utilities.

I’m making $150,000 and my wife makes $70,000.  Rent and utilities is 42% of our net take home pay.

We have two kids, two car payments, a couple of credit cards, and she has student loans.

I’m scripting and saving to put away $10,000 per year.

To do a mimum 3% down is two years of savings on top of what I have just for closing.

At current interest rates and New Hampshire property takes, mortgage alone will be $5,500.

That means that means rebt and utilities will be 54% of my net pay.

With all my other bills, that’s $2,000 per month for all consumables to break even, putting nothing into savings.

I’m working hard to pay off credit cards, but that will only buy me another $700 per month.

The reality is, I cannot afford a home unless prices and interest rates come down.

If I manage to buy and be stupidly house poor, I’ll get it paid off at 72.

So already, I’m looking at still paying a mortgage long into when I should be retired.

If housing costs continue to increase faster than I can save, that keeps pushing further and further out until I will die before my house is paid off.

I’ve looked at moving to where housing is more affordable, but that puts me back into the uncertainty and cost of another job hop and cross country moves.

My current employer loves me and my boss wants me to stay and have a long career here.

So I don’t know what to fucking do.

Stay with an employer that I love and loves me, but it’s becoming crystal clear that I’ll never own a house or retire.


Move again, lose the last of my savings doing that, and end up at another job that might force me to move again after that.

So what I am is a 40 year old man with two kids, making a combined income of $220,000, and the inability to be a homeowner or retire, with no light at the end of this tunnel.

The more I try and crunch the numbers, the more hopeless I become, and the depression is starting to sink in.

I never thought I’d be in this situation.

If my wife and I had our salaries now in our 2019 home, I’d be living like a fucking king.

Today, I turn the heat to 50°F and make everyone wear sweat shirts in the winter, and buy Aldi store brand groceries.

I don’t know what to fucking do.


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By J. Kb

25 thoughts on “Hopelessness setting in and leading to depression”
  1. The worst part? It’s intentional. Pages upon pages of digital ink have already been written on the how and why, but it can all be summarized into: the left is evil and wants to destroy America.

    1. Yes. Inflation is a choice, made by greedy politicians to enrich themselves by selling out the country.

      But this is also unsustainable. The whole system broke in the crash of 2008, and has never recovered. They’ve managed to delay the reckoning with financial trickery and old fashioned money printing. So change is coming, in a big way, and in an unknowable form. Work on your spiritual, physical, and emotional fitness. And keep your powder dry.

      “The last act of a government is to loot the treasury” – George Washington

  2. I do have a question… where in NH are you? We’re in a five bedroom house on an acre, an hour from big metropolis basically, and this house is worth half what you’re quoting. If that. Of course, our oil heating costs three times what yours does (part of why we use wood), but everything else is about the same. I can’t wait for the kids to be out of the house, because sooooo much of our money will be back to being ours again. 😉

      1. the nh seacoast and much of Maine where I live is fubar when it comes to houses and land. I blame greedy real estate agents and outtastaters moving here. also liberals in power ruining the business life. only thing I can say is have you looked WEST or North of Epping? the further away from the coast the more reasonable land becomes. Im with ya in spirit here and can tell ya hang tuff. you will win..

      2. What do you consider an acceptable commuting distance/time?

        You could be half-way to Lake Winnipesaukee and still have what I would consider a reasonable commute time. I’m sure that the real estate market in Rochester isn’t as insane as in Seabrook, Hampton, or Rye.

        I’m just saying there are options you may not have considered.

          1. I echo looking west. AWA and I are a bit outside your range (1 hr 20 min), but 20 minutes closer to you and there are still homes in the $200k range that are decent. If you can hit $300k, you can probably get some decent land, too. Wilton, Milford, Amherst come to mind, as well as more northerly of that, in New Boston, Goffstown, Dunbarton, or Hopkinton (which is a VERY nice area, I might add). Those are all within an hour of Epping.
            While I do understand wanting to be close to work, and that an hour isn’t necessarily “close to work,” I suppose it’s a matter of figuring out what’s most important. I couldn’t imagine being in a city, or even a less rural suburban area, anymore. I miss my farm, where my closest neighbor was a quarter mile away, and the next closest was OVER a mile away. Even that feels too close. I hate that we can see several neighbors from our yard.
            Good luck to you!

  3. I wish I had some good, or at least actionably useful, advice. Just spitballing on the below.
    If you’re comfortable doing so, maybe talk with your boss about this over a beer after work. If nothing else you’ll get the perspective of someone who’s lived in the area for a while and has also seen other folks in your situation.
    Re rates … Historically the present mortgage rates are about average, we’re coming off a long period of them being below average, and reversion to the mean seems to be a thing. However, if housing price increases flatten (admittedly a big if) then so long as you get half-decent raises, owning becomes more affordable over time, even if interest rates stay flat.
    Another option is to simply say, nope, gonna keep renting for now, and plan towards buying a smaller house in your preferred retirement area when you’re ready. (I know some folks who have done that purchase a decade or so early and are renting it out; that helps the cash flow but being a remote landlord can be a nightmare.)
    In the meantime, sounds like you’ve done the analysis and are doing what you can, as you can. Literally, that’s all any of us can do. The bright spot here – and it is a bright one – is you are net-positive cash flow. That’s huge. That means your situation is stable and tolerable, if not yet what you want it to be. And that should bring at least some peace of mind.

    1. There is an added complication. My lease only goes through October. We’re renting from people who are working overseas but will eventually want their house back to live in it. So if I don’t buy, I’ll spend the money to move into another rental, which only kicks the can down the road and costs me money.

      1. Bluntly, other than the hassle of moving (not to be trivialized, I know, and I speak from having moved twice in the past 3 years), if your new rental costs the same as the old, the situation net-net is unchanged. The same conditions would seem to apply, modulo your budget for ibuprofen.
        That said, there are some useful thoughts below regarding taking deep looks etc. Having to move sets a natural timeframe for such an exercise.

    2. Yes, rates are at “historically normal” levels, but against housing that is at all time highs it changes things. 7% on $250K is very different than 7% of $650K.

      1. Of course; this is why housing affordability is often scaled by average salary, e.g. “your house could cost up to N times your annual salary” where N depends on the mortgage rates. Higher rates = lower N.
        But that’s the thing. Higher housing prices tend to come from periods of extended low interest rates. They should stay flat as rates increase – nobody willingly sells at a nominal loss, right? – but over time, your salary is going to go up.
        In the meantime, if you are cash flow positive, you can afford to wait. Literally. It’s not what you want to do, I truly get that, but if it carries on for an extended time you will not be worse in the hole.

  4. That’s wicked expensive, in Oregon a modest 3 br is still only around $500,000, which is still more than I can afford. Fortunately I bought in 2018 and refinanced so even with property taxes going up I’m under $2000/month. Our son is screwed, he makes over $100k but lives near Portland so nothing is affordable except his rent because he shares a house. The only thing he could currently afford is a fixer in the sticks.
    In your case I think rent for now, the market is likely to correct or a job change will put you in a cheaper area.

  5. I feel your pain, J. Kb. I am an Occupational Safety and Operational Risk Management professional. Employment has never been a constant; balancing needs, wants and wow, I’d like to have that! against each other has become second nature. I did OK, not great, but OK.

    One advantage I had was my work took me away from home on the road where living (food, shelter, transportation) costs were somewhat covered. I managed to save a few nickles and got a perspective from others in the blue collar world (there are blue collar professionals) across the USA. It was: No matter where you live, the “cost of living” is about the same when you factor in taxes, goods and a bit of life on a percentage basis.

    I had locations in NH where I was obligated to do on-site audits. I kinda like the State, mountains, change of seasons, great outdoor opportunities, state firearms regulations that I have little issue with. The notion of buying a handgun, passing a background check, and walking out the door with it loaded and holstered is amazing compared to NY. No State income tax? To a New York State resident, that’s incomprehensible!

    Then my NH friends told me about NH property taxes, vehicle registration fees, utility costs, etc. Nope, I’d be right back to even if I moved; only advantage is I’d have less 2A rights infringement.

    About 15 years ago, a bunch of us in the local chapter of my professional organization were having a conversation over beers about what you were discussing above. We came to the conclusion that moving around for work was a losing proposition unless you had a substantial increase in wages AND housing costs covered. Otherwise ride out unemployment as best as you can where you are at, if at all feasible.

  6. Where there’s life, there’s hope.
    Sometimes I struggle with that idea, but it’s true, and we should all keep it in mind. Despair is a sin for a reason.

  7. Lots of good and bad advice there. Someone I very much respected gave me a good piece of advice, and I never forgot it.
    “Advice is only worth what you pay for it. And, you have paid nothing for this advice.”
    No matter who you are talking to, they do not know your situation as well as you do, and their advice may be useful, or garbage to you. Does not matter how well it worked for them.
    Where am I going with this?
    You need to ask yourself some hard questions. Especially the “what is most important to me…” type. They are extremely difficult to answer.
    What is really most important to you? A job you like/love? Or a job that pays well?
    What is more important to you? Having a job you are happy to go to, which will affect how the rest of your life works, or being able to own a home and provide some luxuries to your family? (No good owning a home, if you want to call in sick every day.)
    New car/truck with five to seven years of payments, or an OK used car/truck you can pay cash for, but will have to do some work on to keep it running for 10 years?
    Short commute (which translates into more time with family) but rent, or longer commute but family owns home?
    Life is full of choices. Make the hard ones. The easier ones will fall into place. Choosing to go for the low hanging fruit is not a good way to approach life/family/home decisions.
    Personally, I chose a job with near guaranteed stability/income instead of a job I wanted to do. It was more important to me to have a good home, financial stability, and control over my life than to work in the whizz-bang stuff I was working in. (And, naval weapons systems rank on the whizz-bang scale.) More desk/screen time, way too much paperwork, and crappy bosses way too often, but I know when the next paycheck.
    Your choices will vary.

  8. Must reading: Dave Ramsey’s Total Money Makeover.
    DO NOT DESPAIR! Between you and your wife you have a decent sized shovel: this is a hole you can absolutely dig yourself out of.

    SP RN

  9. You need to evaluate where and when you want to sacrifice.

    Do you move into a $2000/mo apartment, which is not going to be nearly as nice as what you’re used to, but are then able to buy a house in 2 years? Five minutes of time on Apartments.com says that’s an option.

    Do you get rid of those car payments and find some $3500 vehicles? To this day I still drive stupid cheap cars.

    Or do you continue down the path you’re on and never be able to afford your own home?

    It’s in your power to make different choices.

  10. Look for a cheaper house. You’re looking at houses you can just barely afford. Look at ones you can easily afford. They are out there. Until then, consider moving somewhere with cheaper rent.

    I’m being serious. Just because you make $220k a year doesn’t mean you have to spend it all.

    Yes, it won’t be as nice as that which you may have become accustomed. Living well within your means is rarely as nice as living barely within your means. But that’s how you build up savings.

    1. There is literally no cheaper rent before the sacrifices are too much. To end up in $2,000/mo, I will have to move my family of 4 into a studio apartment and share one room with my kids.

      It’s the sane with the car payments. I’m doing two cars at $350/mo. Yes, I could sell and buy a old beater for $3,500. But then I worry about something so old with so many miles that it just won’t crank on a winter day in New Hampshire at 10 below.

      I’ve managed my best but there are minimums like not sharing one room with two kids and have a car that is reliable that I can’t compromise on.

  11. When I moved to my current place, I borrowed most of my down payment from my 401K. My reasoning was that it made more sense to pay $2500/mo on my mortgage than $3000/mo rent. I’d rather be “house poor” than “rent poor.” It took me 4 years to pay back my 401K loan, though if I’d defaulted, it would have just been an early withdrawal.
    The trick that almost got me was that you can’t borrow from a 401K if you have already separated. I didn’t know that, but fortunately found a house and borrowed the money during the period of my terminal leave. Had I waited another two weeks, I couldn’t have done it.

  12. Not sure if this helps or not, but I’ve found dealing with credit unions to be much easier than regular banks, and the rates are usually a bit less.

    Some will underwrite mortgages, some won’t…

Only one rule: Don't be a dick.

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