13 votes

The Affluent Homeless: A Sleeping Pod, A Hired Desk And A Handful Of Clothes

12 comments

  1. [9]
    moocow1452 Link
    Huh... Regardless, the article doesn't really say much of anything. People who are short on cash are renting things that people would previously buy, and the internet allows more things to be...

    (Note: REI and WeWork are among NPR's financial sponsors.)

    Huh...

    Regardless, the article doesn't really say much of anything. People who are short on cash are renting things that people would previously buy, and the internet allows more things to be rentable. Some people are comfortable with this arrangement, and some are not.

    8 votes
    1. [2]
      NaraVara Link Parent
      Also worth noting that this is, apparently, just how rich people have lived forever. My cousin used to be part of a concierge service for high net worth individuals and apparently tons of them...

      Also worth noting that this is, apparently, just how rich people have lived forever.

      My cousin used to be part of a concierge service for high net worth individuals and apparently tons of them basically just live out of hotels, just buy things as they need them, and when they're done they bequeath them to their assistants or other random folks. Just as an example, while normal people might rent a pair of shitty skis or own a pair of nice skis when they go skiing, a really rich person would probably have someone buy them whatever the best skis on the market are and then pass them on after their ski trip.

      It actually sounds fairly liberating to not feel tied down to your stuff. It's also basically impossible to live that way unless you're a gazillionaire.

      10 votes
      1. moocow1452 Link Parent
        I've been monkeying around with Firefox Focus, where all browser history is wiped and trackers are blocked to the best of their ability, and I'd imagine the experience would be something familiar,...

        I've been monkeying around with Firefox Focus, where all browser history is wiped and trackers are blocked to the best of their ability, and I'd imagine the experience would be something familiar, where you are a liminal being not really affixed to anything, but in meat space.

        2 votes
    2. [6]
      retiredrugger Link Parent
      Yeah I definitely see the appeal in this lifestyle but I'm a proponent of ownership as I want to have full control over what I purchase.

      Yeah I definitely see the appeal in this lifestyle but I'm a proponent of ownership as I want to have full control over what I purchase.

      1 vote
      1. [5]
        NaraVara (edited ) Link Parent
        Do you really have control though? I live in a rental apartment and, to be quite honest, the maintenance staff does a much better job of keeping things in good working order than I would. Even the...

        Do you really have control though? I live in a rental apartment and, to be quite honest, the maintenance staff does a much better job of keeping things in good working order than I would. Even the task of hiring specialists to fix problems gets done faster than when I had to hire plumbers or electricians myself. There is so much less hassle involved when I just email "maintenance@management.com" and have the guy do all the legwork of scheduling appointments and whatnot.

        You only ever have as much "control" over the things you own as you have time and energy to exert control. The whole point of renting is to offload the cognitive burden of exercising that control to someone else and just trust that they can handle it. In the case of my apartment, I trust the maintenance guy to handle things more than I trust myself. Hire the right people to take care of things you don't like spending your brainpower on, and it frees up your brain space to handle the things you do enjoy.

        4 votes
        1. [4]
          emdash Link Parent
          This may be the case for a slim few, but I'd wager the vast majority of people renting would prefer to own their own home, but currently don't have the financial means of doing so. There's also a...

          The whole point of renting is to offload the cognitive burden of exercising that control to someone else and just trust that they can handle it.

          This may be the case for a slim few, but I'd wager the vast majority of people renting would prefer to own their own home, but currently don't have the financial means of doing so. There's also a significant cognitive burden & risk associated with outsourcing the risk of being evicted, or any of the number of external factors that can affect rental properties.

          2 votes
          1. [3]
            NaraVara Link Parent
            This all exists for "owned" properties as well. People get foreclosed on, deed restrictions and HOAs put rules on them, their property values fluctuate based on all kinds of random stuff beyond...

            There's also a significant cognitive burden & risk associated with outsourcing the risk of being evicted, or any of the number of external factors that can affect rental properties.

            This all exists for "owned" properties as well. People get foreclosed on, deed restrictions and HOAs put rules on them, their property values fluctuate based on all kinds of random stuff beyond their control, etc.

            The problems we're talking about are problems of poverty and cost of living rather than immutable facts of renting property. Plenty of jurisdictions have tenants' rights laws that prevent arbitrary changes of terms on rental contracts.

            3 votes
            1. [2]
              emdash Link Parent
              Well yeah, but that's just another part of the issue that housing prices are unsustainable and people don't have the financial means of easily reaching their goal. I'm not trying to tell you that...

              People get foreclosed on

              Well yeah, but that's just another part of the issue that housing prices are unsustainable and people don't have the financial means of easily reaching their goal. I'm not trying to tell you that I think renting is inferior to home ownership, but what I am saying is that a lot of people would prefer the latter, or even the potential for the latter with a mortgage in the interim.

              HOAs put rules on them

              Yeah that's a "USA is wacky" problem, not a home ownership one—but I will admit it's relevant for those that are owning a home under an HOA. Most other countries don't even have the concept of HOAs or gated communities, or at least not to the extent that the USA implements them.

              1 vote
              1. NaraVara Link Parent
                Housing prices being high and ever increasing is one of the primary drivers behind people wanting to buy a house. Once homes became people’s primary investment vehicles, we gave up on keeping...

                Well yeah, but that's just another part of the issue that housing prices are unsustainable and people don't have the financial means of easily reaching their goal.

                Housing prices being high and ever increasing is one of the primary drivers behind people wanting to buy a house. Once homes became people’s primary investment vehicles, we gave up on keeping prices low and reasonable.

                If housing prices were lower, rents would also be lower. And if rents were lower, people wouldn’t feel as strongly about the need to hold onto the money they’re pouring into housing in the form of equity.

                In China, for example, you can’t really “own” a house you sort of buy a 99 year “lease” instead. I’m told Singapore has a similar arrangement for much of its housing stock except they give strong tax incentives to vacate property that’s bigger than what you need. (E.G. if you’re not a family of four they encourage you to sell your multi-bedroom flat and downsize.)

                2 votes
  2. [4]
    Comment deleted by author
    Link
    1. [3]
      NaraVara Link Parent
      Same. Although even before I got married I highly valued my friendships and the community I build for myself in my town. I wouldn't like to leave them for very long, so I think my version of a...

      I feel kind of stuck with the life I have because of the responsibilities I have to others. I love my spouse and cats dearly, but I also long to pack a bag and travel/work like a digital nomad. Sometimes life and love can be a very hard compromise.

      Same. Although even before I got married I highly valued my friendships and the community I build for myself in my town. I wouldn't like to leave them for very long, so I think my version of a "digital nomad" lifestyle would be more like taking frequent trips with a home base rather than road tripping through the countryside.

      3 votes
      1. [3]
        Comment deleted by author
        Link Parent
        1. NaraVara Link Parent
          Most of my friends have started having kids so it's been pretty hard, but we all expect we'll reclaim the time once they're school aged and the handful of the earliest parents have basically...

          At our age, everybody is off in their own world and it's hard to get together.

          Most of my friends have started having kids so it's been pretty hard, but we all expect we'll reclaim the time once they're school aged and the handful of the earliest parents have basically confirmed this.

          Having organized standing events tends to help too as long as people make it a priority to plan around them. This involves stuff like board game nights, movie nights, D&D, and communal cooking parties. The parents in the group also do "nanny sharing" where they all just rotate each others' houses as daycares and hire a few sitters for the workday. I think they actually wind up seeing each other pretty often as a result, though they see us non-parents less.

          The main problem for us has been that people are moving into the burbs to get more space. Once they're outside of transit range suddenly we're either spending a bunch of cabs or driving and that all adds up to a bit of hassle and friction that just makes things hard. In this case, the issue is high cost of living more than anything else.

          But I don't think my spouse feels that same way, and they also haven't been able to develop the internet income that I've built.

          Ha. My wife and I had both planned on joining the Foreign Service specifically to scratch this itch. But then 2016 happened. . .

          We also feel like raising kids is just objectively a better experience in Asia than here just because of the expectations around communal child-rearing and the availability of domestic help.

          1 vote
        2. patience_limited Link Parent
          Spouse and I are about to perform that same jump - it's difficult to leave behind the community we've built over the past 12 years, and relocate to both a smaller city and smaller quarters. It's...

          Spouse and I are about to perform that same jump - it's difficult to leave behind the community we've built over the past 12 years, and relocate to both a smaller city and smaller quarters. It's apartment life for at least a year to decide whether we're happy in the new life and ready to settle or uproot again.

          And yet I look at all the stuff we've accumulated, and have some regrets about how much sooner we could have made that move if we hadn't spent money on things we don't need. We're giving away or selling a huge volume of items, not because we'd never use them again, but simply because it's not worth the effort/cost to move and find storage space for them.

          I suspect it would be easier for everyone to make better consumer decisions if they remembered that the square footage an item occupies, and its cost to relocate, is part of its total cost of ownership.

          I'd say, encourage your spouse, take short exploratory trips with them to partially scratch your own travel itch, and let them gain comfort with the idea of a less rooted lifestyle. I've wanted to travel outside the U.S. for a long time and could never reliably make it happen without quitting my current job. It took a while to get there, but the spouse is on board, and we're doing it.

          1 vote