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One of the things that strikes me at work is the number of folks in the cohort just older than me [1] who have second homes in the mountains – Big Bear, Yosemite, Arrowhead, etc. Not too many ocean, that was always unaffordable for working joes.

In my cohort [2], the unmarried of us own small houses, and the married and divorced own a slightly bigger house. Slightly younger are buying houses in gentrifying areas, not close, but not super far. Prior to the 2008 bust, a number were trying to be slumlords or buying multiple homes for rentals/ABNB, but all those that I know have slimmed down to one.

I’m not hearing about second homes in the mountains.

In the cohort that I’m hiring, none of them can even begin to afford the houses close to work, nor even think about having a family. They’re making about 30% more starting than I made 25 years earlier [4], and home prices have more than tripled since then.

Not to mention interest rates based on non-existent inflation. Can’t have full-employment and workers regaining some leverage!

I’ll also point out that the first cohort went to college basically for free (especially in California); the second (me) had thousands of dollars of loans to pay off higher tuition, but those were forgivable in bankrupcty; the third cohort has tens if not hundreds of thousands of dollars of loans which are not dischargeable short of death.


[1] I started to type bosses, but it’s many of my older colleagues not in management too
[2] technically the long tail of the boomers, but Douglas Coupland is the same age as me so I will die thinking and feeling like a Gen X’er. RATM/NIN is my jam, not the Beatles. The first cohort mentioned above with two homes are definitely boomers.
[3] Thanks, NIND loans! At least something good happened to me from the housing bullshit. I’ll pay for that by making house payments until I die, and having no retirement saved. But there’s a roof over my head. Until the next time I have to replace it and can’t afford the 30k it will cost.
[4] FWIW, I also made $15/hour building houses 35 years ago. I’d be surprised if the guys I see down the street are making much more than that now.