A Choice Between Eating or Having a Roof Over Your HeadsteemCreated with Sketch.

in #money2 years ago

If you're a middle class South African, countries like the US, Canada, Australia, UK and some parts of Western Europe are held up as the shining cosmopolitan life we should be aspiring towards.

I mean we're part of the "shit hole" countries Donald Trump refers to and we'll we're not without our problems.

Having been plundered for resources, having to deal with systematic racial segregation and it's lasting after-effects many South Africans felt that a better life would be one in another country.

Migration liberation

By all means more power to you, in many cases for these people it was the right choice. They seemed more advanced, the safety measures were better, the standard of living higher, the promise of high paying jobs and more is very attractive.

But thats what Western Economies have lead us to believe, that they had all the answers and a debt-funded society was the way to push the world forward. In many ways it was, but greed has pushed these financial institutions and instruments further an further way from being constructive monetary policy.

Do I think SA's economic system is great? Absolutely not, it's a Western system that's already faultily layered with our own incompetence, greed and cronyism which makes it even worse, sadly. But since we're pretty much used to living in hardship it's really no biggy, on we march.


Image source: - abc.net.au

Things are starting to come apart at the seems

I've spoken about developed markets running out of suckers to milk and the market is going to collapse, that is a given. Those suckers were the next generation of people and we bank on their being more people more jobs and everything going up to keep this circus going.

We then see these developed nations attract educated and highly skilled immigrants to try and attract more suckers to prop up their broken systems. Which is why we see these anti-immigration calls from first world countries but people don't understand, if you kick these people out, your economy will collapse even faster.

One of the signs has to be telling people to choose between eating and keeping their home.

I read this article about Australian banks referring mortgage owners to Foodbanks and that really struck a chord with me.

What kind of so-called freedom we have in the modern world where people have to choose between having a roof over their head or covering their living expenses? While sure people can scale back and live a more modest life, how far will this go? How long before scaling back doesn't stop the problem?

Money was not lent for productivity

Banks got greedy and instead of offering capital to businesses who would slowly pay it back once they became profitable and created value in the market. Most loans went into property, property in large cities has skyrocketed in this boom and bust cycles as new suckers come in for the promise of always finding wealth.

To keep the demand for property going requirements were changed, deposit sums got smaller, repayment lengths got longer, interest rates got lower, and leverage got higher.

In the 80s you could borrow between 2-3 times your salary and now in places like London you're able to borrow up to 12 times your salary for property, its insane.

Bonds aren't used as sound financial instruments, its become a gamble and about pushing out the volume and making sure consumers are tied down to debt.

Greed and central planning have leveraged human capital to its limits and we're seeing more people reach a breaking point. Unemployment will rise, homelessness will rise, mental health will be at an all-time low and the developed world will need to seriously reconsider how they do business.

The last crisis clearly wasn't enough for us to change our ways, will the next one be the one that wakes us up from our economic slumber?

Let's connect

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When in my early 20's I had a bank type person tell me when buying or renting a house the total cost monthly should never be more than 28% of your gross salary. So for every $1000.00 you made before taxes, you could count $280.00 toward home rent or ownership, that meant the total cost of buying or renting, including utilities and upkeep.

People ignore that now. The 28% came from him because that was pretty much the same amount that the governments, (state, local and federal), would take in taxes. I have no idea what number the banks use now if any percentage, but if I was a young person, I would not spend more than 18% of gross pay for a home.

Everything has gotten a lot more expensive. I know people who's car payments are more than their house payment. Medical insurance rates have really blown up here in America. All insurance premiums have gone up. Utilities, electricity city water, sewer, and garbage pick-up, have risen more than pay checks.

I think the 28% rule seems fair, what happened was buying power decreased and like you say the things you used to be fine with paying your various living expenses, insurance etc started to take a bigger piece of the pie.

Then we add to that the constant flipping of homes and leveraging them as an income stream for banks and in turn, putting pressure on homeowners to rent out passing it on to the consumer sees prices inflate way higher than the actual value.

I can't pretend to know what it's like to live in a first-world economy, from what I read and heard it seems fast-paced and frantic. I think here we're not really feeling the effects as badly but it is starting to become unattainable to keep up for some and the numbers grow each day.

I do also think there is an element of blame to be placed on the consumer for not educating themselves. Yes, some of these car loans and home loans and student loans are bordering on predatory lending, we also need to learn to say no. When the market says no the product either adapts or dies.

We're hooked on this system and only once it collapses do I think we get off and say hey we needed some better checks and balances in play


To me it is frantic and most of my Steem time is at the expense of sleep as I have more than one job. I live 20kms outside of Vancouver Canada and it is the high cost of living on top of Million dollar homes for a fixer upper house. The rapid appreciation of home values also raised Rental costs sky high with a vacancy rate of less than 1%. A professional working family could barely afford a fixer upper (40 to 5o+ year old house) taking 60 to 70% of their income and the bank still loans to them. Crazy.
I live frugally, don't own a car, and installed a rental suite for Passive monthly income added to my Nurse's salary and I can barely get by, recently an inheritance I got paid some debts off and kept my head above water. But it's those taxes, those property taxes that go up far faster than the official inflation rate, 2%, and that's the start. My gas heating bill, lol... 20% is the cost of the actual gas use and the other 80% are taxes; Carbon taxes, Value Added Tax, Distribution levies, User fees, rate rider levy and Public Bus Transportation levy.
A Steemian I know was homeless for quite a while, he now has a decent place away from the expensive coast. I'm thinking of selling and moving into the cheaper rural regions myself.

Wow reading your comment I had to read it twice and just like take it all in that’s mind blowing! I don’t know how the city is planned but in my mind 20kms like here you would be in the suburbs out of the main city and you could still find something affordable!

I’m actually fascinated by the situation you painting right now because this year I had two job offers in Canada one in Ottawa and one In Toronto and i looked at the salary and I was like x 10 compared to our money so it sounds like a lot of money

Then I started doing research on the tax, transport, food and living and stuff like gas, i didn’t know about we don’t have that because it’s not cold here and then when I was done adding it all up I was like it doesn’t leave much money for me to A explore Canada while I’m living there and B have something saved up to bring back home

It know a few friends that made the jump to Canada and I haven’t heard from them since, they paint quite the picture for immigrants I do admit but I was like the cold would already be hard for me you have to give me something to want to really leave

I think that’s crazy that a family can’t even afford a fixer upper like I don’t get who is owning all the property if so many people are renting? Is it foreigners? Large companies?

I don’t know if I’m crazy but I feel like a country should do enough to allow people to find a safe affordable place to stay and place to work and the rest the people can sort out for themselves

Seems we’ve lost sight of that it’s all about funneling profits! Humans are just factory farmed animal

I don't live in BC but from articles I've read there is a large number of the property there has been bought up by Asians. There have been fees applied to properties which are not occupied in an effort to force more rental space into the market. So, looks like the property is being bought up as an investment on the expectation the value will rise and then it can be flipped.

I'm just outside the Greater Toronto Area (GTA). Close enough that if I didn't mind a 90 minute commute I could work in TO but far enough away for a quiet way of life. I did the commute for ten years. Am quite happy that my commute is bed to desk by way of coffee pot now.

As for the cold. It can take a bit but you do adjust. For the most part winters these days are milder than when I was a kid. January is usually the most frigid month of the winter.

While Cape Town isn't to that extent a lot of the prime property in the city is owned by investors, firms and foreigners.

Some sit on it as swallows, so leave their winters in their own country to come here. Others rent to turn a profit because of the large tourism here (biggest in Africa). Very few average South Africans could afford to stay there, though the prices are starting to deflate rapidly in the high-end market.

What I wonder about say Toronto and Vancouver these highly-priced cities, flipping is based on there's always another sucker willing to take on that debt after you but surely there has to be a point where theres, not another investor or person willing to take that offer/risk?

I don't mind commuting really I used to do it when I had a job in the city the only problem as we don't really have reliable public transport, the trains and busses show up when they feel like it.

Happy I was able to work from home now and can't see giving it up unless theres some offer thats insane.

We just had our winter and the min temp is like 11 and to me thats already too cold lol!

I have many Asian neighbors, and some of the homes are idle/empty. Yes our BC government set up an expensive bureaucracy that EVERY resident had to comply with to zero in on the absentee owners, frankly I don't know if they can collect enough to make it worthwhile.
Twelve years ago I could afford it comfortably but I saw the housing and living issues outpace my salary. I was fortunate to live close to a transportation hub and an opportunity to move my job to a location within 6 km from my home. A shopping center was located not to far from me now, and a Auto Coop was established nearby, I planned some of these such that most needs are a mere short bus trip away and I can finally disposed of my car that was the biggest after tax expense and put the savings into my home.

Gosh things really doo change at a rapid pace over there! 12 years is not a long time! It just seems like the government doesn’t actually know what these policies are doing to their citizens and setting things based on macro factors and not looking at their actual effects

You clearly did your research and even though you made sure you covered all your bases it still not as comfortable as you would like which to me is scary! What about the people who didn’t plan or have the foresight, or a lower income they would have to deal with it a lot harder

I know the feeling of having to live in areas that aren’t well supported with facilities it really sucks

So for me personally we’re still coming to terms with being part of the economy you see before 94 we (peeps of colour) couldn’t vote, work in certain places, work certain jobs, couldn’t study further except for a few roles and had our homes taken away and then once everything become a democracy and we started over it’s been quite the uphill battle to attain economic parity with those who were not discriminated against.

I don't think that the land speculation is as prevalent in Toronto as it is in Vancouver. I suspect in Vancouver it's proximity to the Asian markets makes it a place for them to move money offshore and into safe investments. So they are not necessarily incurring debt to buy the properties. Which is also why they can afford to let them sit idle and avoid the hassles of being a landlord.

As for the Toronto market, the first time home buyer struggles to find something affordable. Those who have managed to a few years ago are able to sell in TO and move to the suburbs or into the country and buy substantially more with their gains.

Public transportation where I am, which is very rural, is pretty much non-existent. I can catch a train into TO or other locations along the Windsor -- Montreal corridor by travelling into a community about 20 miles away.

I'm assuming you are talking about 11C? I may be Canadian but celsius means little to me. However I know enough to be able to chuckle at your idea of cold. As it happens it is currently about 11C outside. My windows are open and have been all night. It's a bit chilly in here but hardly what I'd call cold.

So if your major cities have become so inflated has their been a big migration to maybe your other cities or provinces with more reasonable pricing?

Are there any plans to build new cities that could house people more affordablely? Or is it just a fuckit let’s just ride this till the wheels fall off

Lol well this is Africa, cold is foreign to us our normal temp is around 25 and can go up to about 45 degrees Celsius in the summer!

I met a Candadian girl hiking on a trial last summer and we had to carry her down the mountain she collapsed from the heat and it was a pretty mild day.

I guess our bodies are just used to different elements! Not that I enjoy the extreme heat it’s unbearable at times and I’ll wish for cold or well my definition of it, lol

we needed some better checks and balances in play

I think it is to late for first world economies to fix, so collapse is likely to happen one day again. People do not remember the past the housing markets and bank boom and bust cycle still runs, the only way off that is for the governments to learn to just say no to bail-outs, there should be no such thing as "to big to fail".

I understand Renting, but how can 'buying' a house take only %28 of a monthly income?

I think thats more based on urban living in cities and suburbs, you could obviously get a better deal the further you move away from crowded metropolitan areas

When I was first starting out on life as an adult this was something that was taught to me by a bank/loan person. remember that 28% is from your pre-tax pay. After the taxes have been withheld from your paycheck, your take home pay is about 28% lower. So at $1000.00 pre-tax pay take home pay is $720.00. Now if you take $280.00 from that you are left with $440.00 to live on. That $440.00 is what you have left for a car payment, telephone, internet, entertainment, food, and any other insurances like medical, car and dental. So really not a lot out of that initial $1000.00 take home pay is going to be left to build a savings/retirement account or school account for kids.

Most people in the USA are living paycheck to paycheck, nothing left for savings, nothing left for rainy day funds, because they spent more than that 28% on a house or even worse they spent more on a vehicle.

In Libya as well. Though our salary is already much lower than USA.

Most people in the USA are living paycheck to paycheck, nothing left for savings, nothing left for rainy day funds

Seems like the world is going downhill.

The sad thing is even those who save and played it safe suffer! Pensions are stripped apart by some governments we saw it in Greece and they want to do it here too where they force pension funds to invest in government bonds so they can access the funds to try and prop up the failing state and pretend to be solvent

Truely sad...

There used to be more choice when one went to the store, it did not matter if it was for groceries, or for music, or for electronics, now the choices are being made for us the consumer by the large mega companies. There towers of babel will fall apart one day.

Advertising sucks...

Choice in the modern world is all an illustrious these large corporates are all in cahoots in any case they just present as if they’re options but the money flows mostly to the same pockets!

It’s all a Fugazi,otherwise they wouldn’t be doing all they can to stamp out small business which actually offer people choices

I actually read something on I think it was the Kaiser Report on Russia today and they said 73% of Americans live pay Cheque to pay Cheque!

Like I can’t even get my head around it, like it’s supposed to be the land of abundance and wealth and milk and honey and opportunity or at least that’s what’s we’re sold here!

I mean if the US is in that state and UK is sitting with brexit and the Euro zone is going negative on interest rates is there any place that’s safe anymore

I don't know about safe any more. You have the hide behind a desk and steal everything from people type's, you have the two legged muggers and take everyone's candy baby or not, then there are all the other animals that may or may not get you, like lions and tigers and bears. If it was not for all the invisible tiny creep you out kind of killers in Africa, I think a lot of people would move there.

The so-called first world nations of America and Europe are not pleasant places at times. Still even with the problems, something must sit right with them; other nations and countries must have a lot more issues than them for there to be so many wanting to get to those locations. Me I don't get it, I keep waiting to hear about reverse migration/emigration from out of the first world countries.

I think all these practices will slowly change. It will take a lot of time until we can feel those changes. Right now I can see a lot of new businesses practicing conscious and green business. Sure fact, the big ones try to stay at the top.

I wonder how it works for you guys in South Africa. Heads up!

I think so too, but only once theres a way to opt-out of them, like with this HF people can still bid bot but they do it less because theres something to counter-balance it.

Nothing has been keeping these central banks in check, they are untouchable and deemed too big to fail so they take the risks or rather gambles and we all go along with it, thinking they have it all figured out.

I think that those like you say who are opting to be liquid and use sound business practices will survive and soon thrive once these leveraged entities go bust.

In South Africa, we have a bit of a hybrid economy so we have the western style banking which was set up and run from the previous regime (preapartheid), we have the informal economy which is all cash and trading, then we have the state-owned enterprised, the government is our biggest employer and prop up unprofitable businesses with tax revenue.

Money doesn't really flow well between the 3 and its sort of a trickle-up economy which is why we have one of the biggest income disparities in the world. Not to mention all the corruption and theft that goes along with it, blatant really.

Its a broken system thats ready to burst at the seams


Hardfork the first world! Been a day of heavy coffee shop revolutionary chat for me.. Off steem, I've been engaged in deeep talks with some Malaysians here that have tons of questions about how we got into this mess.. I was just asked on whatsapp what would I say to someone that thinks communism spreading in SE Asia would have been a good thing and it's too bad the Vietnamese movement didn't spread.. That's a fuiiyoo for someone that considers themselves a history buff of sorts... Anyway, I can't do this heavy stuff anymore its Virgo season and I got my tuxedo t shirt creased up, shit I might even wear shoes!

Reggae on blast enjoying my developing nation ambassadord role nobody asked for haha..

Oh, I think it's going to HF its self sooner or later, the cracks are starting to get bigger. Lol you've come to take their women, eat their food and give them shitty advice, how much more American can you get

That pretty much covers it! I just can't tell anyone "if u don't like it u can get out" or "they're taking our jobs"

Pretty accurate comparison with the hard fork.

Hi @chekohler,
(You better light a bowl. Lol!)
Thought I should chime in too, since I live in Canada and am about a 2 hour (by auto) drive east of TO.
I’m 47.
Bought my first house when I was 19.
That was in 1991 and the interest rates were high. 18, 19 % high. I bought that house for $50,000 and it was 150 years old, then. Yeah, it was a “fixer upper”. Sold and repeated that process 3 times so far...but the most recent time (which was 4 years ago) instead of buying “up” which is what the bank and all my colleagues recommended, I bought “down”.

Approved for 1 million and spent $150,000 because I have paid those high interest rates in 1991. (I also saw what happened in 2008 and it’s about to happen again, but this time in Europe.)

Over time, media exposure convinces you that you’ll be happier “if” you acquire XYZ and it also convinces you to measure your worth, your success, your productivity, and your personal goals against what you are shown and told, other people are doing or achieving.

The XYZ things are called the trappings of life for a reason...read: whatever the golden carrot is, it’s an enslavement trap.

Why the hell do I need a 4,000 square foot monster of a house with 4 bathrooms, 2 kitchens and room for 3 cars in a garage?

Just because I can, wasn’t a good enough reason for me to sell my soul to compounding interest.

And now...and now negative interest rates? (Pardon my French but tabernack!!! Lol!)

My current house is 1 bathroom, 1 kitchen and 850 square feet. There’s 2 people in my household...

In my humble opinion, China now owns the USA and Canada. The Chinese have put their wealth into real estate and as their Yen is inflated, they’ll continue to do that, buy precious metals and crypto.
Trump’s USD will be the last fiat that people will trust. Fiat from around the world will pour in to the US along with the people themselves...the wall isn’t to keep people out, it’s to keep people in. It has the makings of a cage fight the likes of which, the world has yet to see.
My strategy is to keep my debt load either non-existent or as low as I can until the new financial blockchain system is unleashed and the dust settles...
This is a huge discussion topic!
Great conversation. Thanks for tabling it. ;)

This post is like the gift that keeps on giving, so many great responses it’s going to smash 50 comments easily I’m so take by it, love it!

Interest rates here for a home loan are 10-11% so you were really on the high end back in the day, wow how your economy has changed in a short period of time

I think buying down shouldn’t be seen as that buying responsibly. I get that people are aiming for opulence and think that will bring happiness and if that’s your shtick by all means but many like you’d say get court in the consuming debt trap, get more, debt more and continue on

If I look at the prices you mention and I Know the CAD is 10 to the Rand if you get even half or a 3rd of that 1 million you would be in a pretty fancy neighborhood here and basically live pretty well off!

My ideal situation would be to live here but earn more USD, GBP and EUR lol and then spend some time abroad I don’t really feel I need to put down major multi million dollar roots down

I laughed so hard at Tabernack

Another steemian also spoke about the Asian influence in BC! I don’t know much about it and if it’s the same as in Africa, China will offer to give you insane things like build new malls, ports, and all sorts of infrastructure and then when you pay back you default and they start setting up military bases or take charge of mines or state owned landed as collateral for the debt! They starting to own large parts of Africa now due to this method

It’s an interesting theory you have there, and I wouldn’t rule it out! I also think that this blockchain fueled economic reset will also bring about new migration patterns too!

I think (eventually) off planet too (migration patterns) and that’s one of the reasons why we need to move to a completely digital system and a one world government without boarders.

“Yeah, let’s invite the human representative to sit at the Galactic 2000 summit.” said no higher intelligence being diplomat ever...

Humans regularly war to their deaths and have divided up their natural environment so they can mark cultural territories. It’s just that they don’t understand the concept of being one, yet. We should include them. They’ll really be a fantastic addition and add to our collective experience.

Who’s going carry gold to another moon, planet or universe?

That's a good point, interplanetary travel can't rely on fiat money or physical money it needs to be something that can be tapped into anywhere which is what crypto offers us.

If I look at the advances in AI technology I can pretty much see that has the self-correcting species that make our way of life obsolute. In a way, all these technologies are a building block for something far greater than we can even imagine.


To me, there's nothing wrong with travelling in search for greener pastures. What I find wrong is believing that anywhere but home is better, even if it look like that most times. I'm from Nigeria and we tend to travel a lot, and sometimes I don't blame the emigrants. The system has failed them and they just want something that works.

But when I see posts like yours, I ask, "what is the way out?"

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I agree it’s a personal decision and if you feel you’re going to get a better deal somewhere else for you or your family by all means do it

Africa has always been a region that has had hardship and some grow tired of it! It’s just sad to see our best and brightest leave for better futures and not stay to try and make things better, the brain drain is a real issue and I don’t have an idea on how to stop it not with these propped up economies yet

Until the curtain is dropped and we see every countries hand and what they playing with how badly leveraged they are, from there can we say where the actual value is and rebuild from there

Nigeria is an interesting situation as it has so many tribes and sub cultures and overtime they will merge but at the moment!

I see it in South Africa too lots of División and tribalism and it’s really Holding is back as we don’t see each other us another person we can collaborate with to better society!

We want to achieve personal success and then tribal success first before we look at helping others! It’s a pretty interesting dynamic

Australia is going down the drain and I think we will have a big financial downturn.

Posted using Partiko Android

I've been reading more and more about the Aussie economy with the prices of homes becoming insane, the demand for construction so high that people are cutting corners and lots of buildings are not up to code. Also, all the immigration issues and people wanting to leave the rural towns for the big city and farmers are struggling to find Aussies wanting to stay and work in these areas.


Our Health insurance premiums are by far our biggest expense, even more then our mortgage. that seem just wrong and doesn't even cover when we have to go in the the hospitable.

That is insane, I can't even imagine how they expect people to survive it's like they are hell-bent on leaving nothing left for people to save or retire on.

yup, and that is WILL my company paying for part of it. Health care and the greed within it is by far one of the largest issues in America right now.

Is this because of Obama care? I read somewhere there’s a subset of people that fall through Tehran cracks of coverage and medical has gone up to subsidize the entire scheme and also greed from pharmaceutical companies!

Seems like a lot of corporate greed that American politics simply panders to and the people suffer! I admit I only know as much as what I’ve read so getting a real experience and opinion is facinating like I said I have no idea what it’s like to live in a first world country lol

It could be partly due to Obama care but honestly My insurance premiums have went up every single year even before Obama care.

Plain an simple greed is what drives up the cost.

where about do you live?

We don’t have public medical care, we have public hospitals but you’re better off dying at home to be honest!

I have no medical whatsoever and pay anything I have to with cash!

There are people with private medical cover but most of those who have it only because their job subsidizes it!

I personally believe it’s too much money, thought I’d take my chances and life well just as the last 1000 years of Africans lived!

If I were single I would be right there with you, but with a family I need that safety net.

So the family man sort of gets disincentivised to have a family or have a smaller family? Probably why these countries have such low birth rates and require immigration to keep new people coming in to prop up the system.

Greed really is non-sensical but we've kept pushing the boundaries of this insanity further.

I'm so super stoked at how well this post was received so many amazing responses. learning so much

I feel you. I live in Libya (and ignoring the problems with politics) it's getting really hard to live financially these days.

I'm going, to be honest, I don't know anything about what's going down in Libya but it's scary that you mention that everywhere everyone is starting to feel the pinch of this economic shrinkage. Hopefully, now that we have private money in crypto we'll be able to mitigate some of the effects. I remember when Zimbabwe hit hyperinflation the people were basically stranded in a dead economy. Many just moved to neighbouring countries. I can't imagine what it would be like if that happens to multiple countries and there's nowhere to hide

Well, when you live hardships you always find ways to handle yourself. Libya's current state is terrible but it definitely could be worse. I mean I could still earn some crypto on the internet. I'm sure some places have it harder...

Lol I know I’m laughing but it’s so true as Africans we somehow find a way to make any situation tolerable I don’t know if it’s a gift our a curse but we always tend to find the silver lining

Yes it could be much worse, I think if you in Africa and you have water, electricity and internet you basically winning

Totally agree, and thank God we have those. There are many people in worse situations.

Yes it could be much worse, I think if you in Africa and you have water, electricity and internet you basically winning

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Oh wow that was unexpected thank you so much for the support