Let's talk about that almost certainly fake but possibly real "millennial couple can't make ends meet" budget that's going around

To cleanse the palate, this started at reddit, migrated over to MarketWatch, and ended up fluttering around on Twitter today, where it distracted me more than once with its inanity.

It can’t be real.

I mean, this description certainly isn’t real: “My wife and I are in our early thirties. We live in Kansas. I’m a CTO of well known startup, and she’s a model. As you can see, each year we have a large deficit. Currently, we add that to our mortgage each year. We’ve been doing this for 2 years. I’d appreciate any advice on how to reign [sic] our situation in.”

A CTO of a well-known start-up who lives in … Kansas? Please.

There are no computers in Kansas.

But assuming for the sake of argument that there are, no one would have a personal household budget like this:

There may be computers in Kansas but there are surely no homes that require a $10,000 monthly mortgage payment.

Unless this guy and his wife are morbidly obese and/or dining out for every meal, they’re not spending $3,000 a month on food. I think I could feed, like, eight people reasonably well on three large.

Even married to a model, he’s not spending $2,000 on clothes. And he certainly isn’t spending $3,000 on flights — per month — unless this guy’s start-up is in San Francisco and he’s commuting from Kansas.

And … what the hell is “Vanguard contribution” doing there as an expense? Finance is complicated, I know, but let me try to explain: When you park money in investments, you’re not really spending that money. Assuming you can cash out at any time, which is par for the course at Vanguard, you’re saving money by making that contribution rather than consuming it. If you subtract the Vanguard contribution and the $1,000 monthly contribution to his unborn child’s college fund (which feels kind of spare for someone earning $500,000), this person’s actually coming out ahead each month. He can simply scale back the monthly Vanguard buy and all bills are covered.

I think the smoking gun that this is a goof is “party supplies.” The Bitcoin line is silly. The $40 monthly phone bill is very silly. (Two people, one of them a techie by trade, and neither one has a mobile bill?) But $400 a month for “party supplies” that could be going to savings or to junior’s college fund instead?

I mean, the “party supplies” are obviously cocaine, right?

That’s the joke here — I think. The “party supplies” line is supposed to make you stop, laugh, and go, “Oh, I get it. They’re cokeheads!” But I don’t know. It’s subtle. And plenty of redditors seem to have taken this at face value, as the comments suggest. Also, if it’s all a set-up for a laugh about cocaine, why even use a euphemism? Why not just have a “cocaine” line in the budget?

Or is the joke here that there are so many obvious places for this guy to tighten his belt that no sane person would seek advice for it? All he’d have to do is downsize from a 10-bedroom mansion or whatever the hell he’s supposedly living in to a five-bedroom and he’d be golden. Then he and his wife could stop being so stingy on their food spending and really splurge. Caviar at every meal, baby.

Exit question: Totally fake, right?

Trending on Hotair Video
David Strom 12:31 PM on December 08, 2022