Wednesday, August 16, 2017
How "Good School Districts" Ruin Families
Out of boredom I found myself walking on a newly paved path in a newly constructed development of suburbanite bliss. The paving was perfect. The houses were perfect. The yards were perfect. It was just so perfectly perfect it couldn't be perfected anymore. And though this particular development wasn't one of the elite suburbs of the Twin Cities such as Edina or Wayzata, it was one of the up-and-coming where the starting price for a BASE house was $530,000.
I'm no longer in banking, so I'm no longer paid (nor bored at my desk enough) to study the housing market like I once did. But these type of "Perfectly Perfect to Perfection" suburbanite developments are popping up everywhere. And it is not uncommon for the starting price to be on the higher side of half a million. And since this has been going on for the better part of 5 years, my spidey senses have been tingling. There's something amiss because there just isn't enough "Doctor-Accountant" couples out there to afford all of these high-end homes.
Still, not really having any vested interest (professional or financial) in the outcome of the housing market, I contacted my Realty Agent in the Field to see what he thought was going on and he uttered just one phrase:
Good school districts.
Perplexed I looked at him, but my mind had already raced to the conclusion. So before I could speak my face went from one of being confused to that of "no way."
He looked back at me and said, "Yep, Precious Princesses' kids just "HAVE TO" be in a good school district."
I was then regaled with instances and explanations of the phenomenon I was seeing. There was one development where houses sold for an extra $50,000-$100,000 across the street from an identical development because one was in Wayzata while the other was in that filthy, no good "Plymouth" school district. The developments and trail systems I've been walking about are in Woodbury, Lakeville, Eagan, Lakeville, Lino Lakes, and far-flung Carver, all of which are far-flung, all of which make for hellish commutes, but all of which have "great school schools."
My Realty Agent in the Field and I know each other well enough, plus my finely honed cynicism skills are advanced enough I was easily able to figure out what was happening while my buddy just nodded his head.
"Gen X'ers and what modicum of older millennials who can afford kids need a bigger house."
"A lot of them bought during the depths of the housing crash, and some actually have seen gains on their starter homes."
"But they don't want their kid going to Fridley, St. Louis Park, Richfield, or other leftist-shitholes they voted for and ultimately created and are now jettisoning out for the suburbs."
"And now that wifey poo has kids of her own, all that leftist rah rah diversity bullshit is out the window and they have to move to these picturesque suburbs."
And then I looked at him and said, "But there just CAN'T be that many doctors and surgeons and electrical engineers. I know low interest rates help people afford more houses, but there's no way all these people can actually afford these homes."
And then he spilled the beans.
Half the purchases are a proto-wanna-be power couple where they need two incomes to afford these Neo-McMansions. The kid is dropped off at daycare. Wifey gets to work and pursue what's more important in her life. Hubby works the real job to help keep the lifestyle facade up. The other half is wifey poo is a stay at home mom, but hubby's income is juuuuust enough to pay for the car PAYMENT, house PAYMENT, and credit card PAYMENT. And bar 5-10% of genuine rich people who can actually afford these houses, 90%+ of these house are afforded by the same material used to build them - plastic.
And this is where good school districts ruin families.
Though sclerotic, economic growth has at least been consistent. And while most millennials and some Gen X'ers have dropped out of the labor force, those that remain are facing a pretty tight labor market and can make decent money. But as you know, I know, and any introductory student of economics knows, economies do and will go into recession. And since these people are leveraged to the hilt, living paycheck to paycheck, the slightest hiccup, the slightest bump in the economy can result in lay-offs, furloughs, or pay-cuts, any of which will through a monkey wrench into these perfectly-perfect-plastic suburbanite plans.
Wifey poos across the country, I doubt know this. I saw this in banking in the 00's where wives and girlfriends had NO CLUE their hubby or lover was technically insolvent. They simply didn't care. They also didn't know the difference between debt and equity spending. Long as their man was spending money on them, affording them this unsustainable lifestyle, wifey was happy. But whereas in the 00's it may have been luxury cars, McMansions in the suburbs, or downtown condos, it is now the insistence that wifey's precious little children have ONLY the BEST schools, which forces a bunch of pussy-addicted husbands to buy houses they can't afford in school districts that are really no better than the blue collar ones they left behind.
This then paints the picture anybody who's been divorced or seen their parents get divorced is all too familiar with. Tight finances.
Finances (in case you didn't know) is the number one reason cited for divorce and marital problems. And in case you didn't know, ALL financial problems are caused by debt - ie - spending more than you make. And whereas it may have been material things such as luxury cars, trips to Europe, McMansions, and fancy clothes, my abbreviated research is telling me its school districts that are disproportionately driving this particular bubble.
"Nothing's too good for my children" even if it means redlining your family finances, dramatically increasing the chances of divorce.
"But it's a good school district" even though it's not better than the burb next door.
"We need to get Jr. into the ABC School District!" even though the kid is doomed to bad grades because you're bad parents and never spent time with the kid and are stupid enough to think "Magic Dirt" theory will overcome your absentee parenting.
It's not that I'm cheering on the demise of these fake, picture-perfect Ken and Barbie doll families. It's not that I'm jealous of having car and mortgage payments eat up 98% of my take home pay.
It's my defeatedly-reluctant acceptance that you humans, even the presumably "smart ones" are truly idiotic sheep, incapable of independent thought, and will just do what you're told, even if it is at the expense of your family. That wifey-poos across America are seemingly incapable of GENUINE critical thinking (not the bullshit they told you in college) and hubbies across America are seemingly incapable of not letting pussy impair their thinking. And that your kids (which, again, you just love SOOOOO much) are going to end up suffering either because you get divorced, or your effectively absent anyway because you're always working to afford these stupid things in life.
You vice presidents in banking with your part-time assistant-reserve-deputy-director at the non-profit wives enjoy sending your kids to those "great school districts." The rest of us are going to enjoy the decline.
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