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A Grim Forecast For Younger People

My wife and I timed it pretty well. We moved here in December 2010 as the mortgage “crisis” was still winding down. At the time the place we live was still a bit outside of where most of the Amish were buying so we were able to get our decent sized home for a family of 10 with some acreage and barns for a very reasonable price.

Almost 13 years later, the Amish have been charging into our county in enormous numbers and prices have been driven up accordingly. If we could even find a place like ours today, it would be at least double what we paid for it and thus well outside of what we could afford. With literally hundreds of young Amish married couples living with one of their parents, the pressure on prices is only going to go up.

Our little neighborhood is somewhat unique because of the Amish community. It is impossible to overstate the impact of having thousands of people who almost all get married and mostly have large families of 5-6 or sometimes many more children can have on an area. Even still, what we are seeing on a micro level locally is happening all across the country on a macro level.

There was a promise we all were told in various ways growing up. Keep your nose clean, go to school, don’t get pregnant or get someone else pregnant, go to college. Do those things and your ticket to the middle class is punched. What did that mean?

Being middle-class meant children, having two cars, owning a decent sized home in a nice neighborhood with “good schools” (code for mostly White schools) and having enough money to set aside for your kids to go to college and taking the occasional family vacation. It wasn’t being wealthy or fancy, middle-class people liked to work in the yard and drink a few beers while watching the game. They didn’t ask much, or at least they didn’t think what they were asking was that big of a deal. Compared to how people lived for most of human history, it kinda was.

We are on the downward slide as a nation, in the final stages of the world most of us were born into post-World War II. It is a different country with a different people, and not just thanks to the hordes of black and brown people. My wife and I are watching The Pacific War In Color and in the first episode, speaking of the U.S. Army before Pearl Harbor, it was mentioned that 75% of the military hadn’t finished high school and 41% didn’t even start high school. Many young men of high school age, much like our local Amish boys, were working full-time more or less around school. It was a very different time. Even later when my father was accepted into college and then medical school, his family wondered why he would waste his time with college when he could get a job.

Today and for most of my life, the only people that didn’t finish high school were the losers (with some exceptions of course). The percentage of Americans that finished high school has risen significantly over the last century, as has the percentage of high school graduates that went on to college.


The reason for this is simple: finishing high school and then attending college was supposed to all but guarantee admittance to the middle class, or at the very least not doing so was a sure way to end up being barred from the middle class by angels with flaming swords.

That was the deal, but that deal has gone up in smoke. There are so many news stories I can’t even share a fraction of them.

Read that line in green again. Sure wages have gone up but so have interest rates. A $250,000 30-year mortgage at current rates is around $1,900 per month but a $350,000 mortgage? The payment goes to over $2,500 per month. An extra $600 per month is a lot but when you add in the rest of your household expenses also getting rapidly more expensive? It leads to this…

As a result, housing has become extraordinarily unaffordable.  In fact, a new report that was just released determined that homes are currently “unaffordable” in 99 percent of U.S. counties

The typical American cannot afford to buy a home in a growing number of communities across the nation, according to common lending standards.

That’s the main takeaway from a new report from real estate data provider ATTOM. Researchers examined the median home prices last year for roughly 575 U.S. counties and found that home prices in 99% of those areas are beyond the reach of the average income earner, who makes $71,214 a year, according to ATTOM.

That is hard for me to even fathom. It wasn’t that long ago that $71,000 a year was a pretty good salary. Not rich salary but still a solid middle class income. Now an income of $71,000 isn’t enough to afford a home in 99% of the counties in the U.S.? At $71,000 you are making just shy of $6000 per month. Figure at least 1/3 of that disappearing for taxes, and that is a low estimate, and you have under $4000 in disposable income.

So what to do with that $4000 per month? According to Forbes, the average monthly utility bill in America is $429.33 (that includes phone, internet, cable). That is more than 10% of your monthly after-tax income. You have to have a car, right? Lending Tree is reporting that the average new car monthly payment is over $700 per month and climbing.

The average car payment for new vehicles was a record-high $725 in the first quarter of 2023, an 11.5% increase from the first quarter of 2022. The average car payment for leased vehicles increased at a comparable 11.2%. However, the increase in the average car payment for used vehicles was just 2.2%.

That is a big nut to hit every month and that is for a single car. I suspect that the average two-income family is paying north of a grand per month just in car payments, an asset that starts to depreciate as soon as you drive it off the lot. Then you have to eat and according to the state, you have to feed those ungrateful kids as well. From U.S. News & World Report:

How does that work out? Here’s a breakdown looking at how the USDA recommends a family of four (with two kids between the ages of 6-8 and 9-11 and with parents between the ages of 19 and 50) have their monthly budget for groceries.

  • Thrifty plan. For a thrifty budget for a family of four, you would spend $225.60 a week or $977.70 a month. The Thrifty Food Plan, incidentally, is used to decide the benefit amounts for the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program, or SNAP.
  • Low-cost plan. For a low-cost budget for a family of four, you can plan on spending $241.70 a week or about $1,047.10 a month.
  • Moderate-cost plan. For a moderate budget for a family of four, you would spend $301.20 a week for groceries or $1,304.70 a month.
  • Liberal budget. For a liberal budget for a family of four, you can plan on paying $363.70 a week or $1,910.60 a month.

Even at the “thrifty” plan, the USDA is talking about around $1000 per month.

Between utilities, food and car payments an average family of four doesn’t have much left over for a place to live. No wonder houses are priced out of reach for average families in 99% of U.S. counties.

That wasn’t supposed to be the deal. A two income family with just two kids, with both wage earners at least high school graduates and probably one or both college graduates was supposed to be able to have a decent middle-class life. Instead we see stuff like this:

I don’t have the data to examine so I am not sure what qualifies as a young adult, I assume people from 19-29? Regardless, as someone who was married at 20 and on my own ever since that is incomprehensible to me. It was a tough slog at times and we moved a lot for my work but we also bought our first home when I was 30. That age of first home-purchase is quickly sliding…..

Homeownership — the main driver of wealth for most Americans — is out of reach for large swaths of the population. But the pinch is most pronounced for millennials, who are buying homes at a slower pace than those before them. Baby boomers, in fact, represented the largest share of home buyers this year — a spot millennials had held since 2014 — according to research by the National Association of Realtors.

That sure helps the animosity between generations. The amount of wealth concentrated in the older generations is a cause for some anger to be sure. The older generations, more the Boomers than my Gen X but even us, were operating under different financial rules. That enabled those older generations to buy up property: homes with large yards, vacation homes, investment properties, recreational properties. There are also a lot of people in that generation that have accumulated lots of investment wealth via IRAs and 401k plans, and they are also the last generation to enjoy traditional defined benefit plans, known more commonly as pensions, that pay them a monthly income for life.

What is more, this gap is going to get worse. As life expectancies have increased, people are living in retirement for much longer while birthrates in the U.S. have collapsed, as is the case in most modern nations. From The Looming Retirement Crisis:

The system is teetering now, but as the Boomers all hit retirement age there will be 40 retirees for every 100 younger workers, workers that can’t afford a home but will be expected to pay into Social Security in order to provide that monthly income to old people who own their homes and cabins at the lake. Meanwhile thanks to the tendency to kick the can, the debt levels are at new heights every day meaning that the interest paid on that debt is going to eat up more and more of the budget. Sure, it is all make-believe “money” but the system will still farm regular shleps of their labor and productivity. I wrote about this at length here: Like The Matrix But Without The Cool Outfits.

The bitterest pill will they will have to swallow will be realizing that these younger generations will need to work to support older generations in a manner that the younger cohort will never realize. From: The Western World Is About To Deliver Some Very Bad News To Its Young Adults

What seems to be missing here is a dose of Huw Pill cod liver oil, whereby the West confronts the idea that we’re not as rich as we used to be, and that deteriorating demographics and higher spends on national security might necessitate a lowering of ambitions around what is possible in welfare economics. There are signs that the message is starting to get through. BOJ Governor Ueda nodded to the plight of the West when he suggested that the relocation of supply chains will result in lower productivity in the future, which ultimately means lower real incomes. Meanwhile, former French Ambassador to the United States Gerard Araud, echoes Michael Every’s assessment of Europe’s diminishing importance by writing in the UK Telegraph that “deluded Europe can’t see that it is finished.”

Nobody likes bad news, but telling young people that they need to pay a higher proportion of their stagnant incomes to fund the pensions of people who are wealthier than they are ever likely to be is sure to go down like a lead balloon, especially when pop culture is already communicating the sense that a Dollar doesn’t buy what it used to, and is taxed to the hilt.

There isn’t a way out of this short of cataclysmic collapse. We can reset the whole thing but not without setting the whole thing aflame.

It isn’t a pretty picture for younger people. Heritage American White young people are under assault at every turn by people telling them they are evil for existing, while at the same time those same young Whites are being told they must carry an increasing burden of a collapsing society that has an increasing percentage of new “Americans” with their hands out demanding more and more.

I feel terrible for them. I wish I had an answer. I don’t and neither does anyone else, most people don’t even care and certainly aren’t trying to fix anything. While I don’t like waking up with new aches and pains that I didn’t have in my 20s and 30s, I don’t envy younger people. I do take some solace in seeing that at least some percentage of younger Whites are waking up: The Indoctrination Of America’s Boys Is Not Working… Maybe there is some hope, not of voting our way out of this but of seeing something new rising up among young White men. Let’s hope so, old and angry men are great but we need some young people too and they have been told to eat a shit sammich and ask for seconds. May their rage increase and may it be directed at the right people.


  1. Bear in Indy

    Sad, but true. Been thinking about the same things, as I watch young people I know struggling. Great writing, spot on. They are so screwed.
    Bear in Indy

  2. dc

    I did not notice ‘luck’ factored in to a life plan. I was born in late ’61, was supposed to graduate H.S. in 1980. In January of ’79 I went into the service with a plan to do 20. I was not really successful but retired with half pay in ’99. Wife and I had no real assets or plans but turned to (found jobs!) when we returned home to the U.S. and became regular people. Wife started a career at age 34 and was/is very successful, twenty four years later. I guess what I’m trying to say is that because of the twenty years being enlisted enabled us to work our way into some lucky situations. We are definitely worried today about the younger folks, I have no idea how they are able to feed their families at any income level. We will be donating to the local food banks this year instead of to other charities.

    My take from the troubles of the past fifteen years is that it has been all planned by the government to make Americans dependent on government handouts to survive.

    Thanks for all of your great writing, it is a pleasure to read every morning.

  3. Otis D.

    it’s by design.

    I work in a grocery store.
    several observations:

    eating “healthy” is waaaay more expensive than cheap carbs. and everything is loaded with sugar.

    people have been brainwashed as to what a “healthy” diet actually is

    the subsidized “poor” are the rudest, most entitled group of wastes of oxygen. (captain obvious , sorry).

    I too live in a high density amish area, housing is unaffordable except to them, and now they are capitalizing on the rental market.

  4. SirLawrence

    Solid summary of the head-on collision with reality that is being largely ignored.

    “Get out of the cities” is a battle cry of the prepper-dissident-noticer class. But mobility is one of the dirty secrets along with housing that is rapidly becoming zero-sum.

    The illusion of work from home and other portable income opportunities is burning off.

    The “most affordable” lists are almost useless as the Covid migration and wealth migration coupled with asset inflation has rendered most rural counties unattainable – or targets of clever and opportunistic locals who are harvesting profits from dirt inflation and yankee/refugee capital.

    Those McMansions sprouting in farm fields are as expensive as city burbs but without the benefit of proximity to urban incomes.

    You prepared to drive 3 hours a day for that office job? You prepared to take a 50% pay cut to enter the local economy? Plenty of “jobs” in dirt county if you want or are able to physically work hard or punch metal in the local factory for $20/hr plus mandatory overtime.

    There’s a reason the housing was “affordable” at one point. Your neighbor in that singlewide who was cooking meth? Don’t worry he’s gone and now it’s a nice gay couple from jersey.

    The capital required to build, repair, and invest in durable goods necessary to sustain any kind of economic base and land utility are just as inflated, scarce, and unreliable.

    Same goes for “skilled” labor and trades who are all making hay on the inflation, relocation, and new development.

    If you can find them. If they call you back. Or show up when they say, they will hang a huge number on you. If you aren’t prepared to do it all yourself you are in a bind. And guarantee if you find a “house” to buy you will find one with all kinds of busted ass issues and not-exactly-to-code sketchy issues that will need fixing.

    Alls fair in the decline. But building up communities as a relocation refugee is an economic problem as well as a social-cultural problem that has a long tail of troubles from all the reasons rural guys like me left dirt to go to college and chase that middle class corporate slave trade.

    So get out of the cities. Grow your own food. Just keep in mind that the hydraulic pump for the old tractor you paid 3x for from that nice Christian neighbor making his own hay, well it’s not available anywhere for four months and so get diggin.

    The young folks should just start preparing to live as pioneers and nomads unless they have access to real wealth.

    The storm is gonna break a lot, which needs to happen, but until then the economics are all versions of catching a falling knife. There will be opportunities but it is impossible to know what they will look like.

    The Amish are an interesting lens. We may very will end up looking a lot like them in terms of lifestyle, except whites are everyone for themselves and so there will be a lot of wreckage to get there.

  5. KDOG

    Your content is amazing and very much appreciated, Arthur. My stepson, who is in his early 20s, recently married, and continues to live with his bride’s parents.

    He has had a stable, decent-paying ($30/hr) job the past few years. His new wife recently graduated with a bachelor’s degree and found a decent job fast.

    Supposedly, his in-laws have let them live with them, rent-free, the past two years or so, to help them toward getting their own house.

    Despite all these advantages, I still think it’s a long shot. The cheapest habitable houses in my A.O. go for around $350,000 , and there is low inventory.

    I was fortunate to buy my house for a little over $150,000 eight years ago.

  6. anonymous

    In Monterey County, CA, a crappy two-bed apartment is $2100/mo. In Pacific Grove, there is an older two-bedroom home for rent at $5100/month. That is almost $62,000 per year!! PG is a nice area, quiet, but lacks a lot to make it worthwhile. This can’t go on.

    As far as the retirement problem goes, we’re all f’d, but most especially the single, feminist women who-don’t-need-no-man. The ones that buy purses and have ridiculous car payments rather than any savings. There is a whole shitload of post-wall ladies that are about to get real experience why patriarchy was a good deal for them before they destroyed it and wasted the nuclear family paradigm.

    Ain’t much career prospects in 50+ year old Only Fans models.

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