The View From the Top

Before Eli was born, I looked at how much we were spending and how much Eli was likely to cost us. I then took a moment to breathe slowly and deeply into a paper bag while red numbers danced in my vision. It’s a natural reaction, and I always figured most parents-to-be experienced it regardless of how much they made.

It looks like I was right, if this post is any indication. The would-be parents are making $200,000 in Silicon Valley, and aren’t sure how to make ends meet. I’ll leave it as an exercise for the readers to determine how reasonable the poster’s proposed budget is. Note that he’s in the top 5 percent of US earners, views his monthly budget as “austere,” and has come up with similar budgets for living somewhere other than Silicon Valley.

13 thoughts on “The View From the Top

  1. Maybe my comment needs to be…what? Are Russ and I idiots? According to this we never should have had a child much less 3. We make roughly $35,000 per year and everything gets paid. We spend about $100 per week on groceries, but maybe that is the local economy here in small town PA. Entertainment is watching my kiddos. I don’t know… college is something I do still worry about….

  2. Here’s where the logic breaks down for me:

    “We can’t afford everything we want — house, kids, Netflix — because Silicon Valley is so expensive.”

    …but at the same time there’s this assumption, “If we don’t live in Silicon Valley we won’t make this crazy amount of money!”

    $200K for a well-educated couple in the Valley is not a lot. Their choice of location is literally costing them money, not earning it. Their real income would be higher making half that in small, still-hip cities.

  3. I have five children and I have a teachers salary. I have a mortgage, credit card bills, both cars are almost paid off. My wife and I make almost 100K a year.

    We wish we have more but we are not in the poor house.

    I think learning how to cut out some expenses and comforts can definitely help.

    It’s also a matter of standards.

  4. Out of $200K, they don’t even have a category for “charitable giving.” Maybe if they add that one, things will work out better for them.

  5. After taking the afternoon to ponder this, and reading Missy K’s statement above, I’ve decided that I think what is missing here is the ability to see God’s blessings. They are immeasureable. I know that it may not always be what I want, my kids know that McDonald’s is not always in the budget, but I know that God will supply all of my NEEDS. And right now, I don’t need an $1100 food budget.

  6. Agreed, Missy and Stephanie! I don’t want to impose my faith based view of charitable giving on anyone, but giving back to the community is appropriate (and helps keep life in perspective), no matter what your faith background.

    Needs v. wants is a huge issue for most of us to wrap our heads around. I’ve seen the half century mark and still struggle with it. (Wants still win much too often! LOL!)

    Coming to the realization that lifestyle *needs* to change in order to have the things you truly *want* is part of maturing.

    In this case, the big thing that pops out to me is the debt. If they’ve got $500K equity in their home, they should be able to buy a roughly $400K home (perhaps in a less swank local… are there suburbs to Silicon Valley?? LOL!) and be mortgage free. Eliminating the school debt should be a piece of cake after that.

    I think Geof summed up the situation well!

  7. Geof, I didn’t say God was going to buy them a Cadillac or anything . . .

  8. Oh, I know. I just worry about the modern American church’s tendencies towards seeing God’s Work as how it’ll happen for them [as a motivation for giving and such things] rather than being a part of the making right of all things. I see too many folks on what I find to be the wrong side of that line, and unfortunately it makes me fear that everyone who talks about such things is. You know, that’s not a good thing. 😐

  9. LOL!! Amen, Geof. I often wonder at how easily that tendency spreads in faith communities. *sigh* Giving as a response to God’s love gets lost so easily. And I know many folks with no faith background who give simply, as you say, as being a part of making things right.

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