Tuesday, 19 March 2013

A crash course in discouragement.

It's been a while since I posted up any blogs, I would go into the many myriad reasons why but then I would lose myself down a hopeless tangent never to return. Instead I want to write about something else. You see, I knew that when I wanted to blog again that I would need something really interesting, really striking and really mind blowing to hook the masses to my musings. So what did I pick? Mortgages? Are you kidding me??? Why in the name of God's holy hand grenade would anybody want to read about that? Well please do read on anyway as I certainly wouldn't be writing about it if I didn't think there was anything worth sharing.

It wasn't so long ago that I has leafing through the sheets of the Metro Herald when I came across an advertisement for a free mortgage information evening, it was pretty damn hard to miss as the advertisement took up the entire page. I figured I might as well go along since I have done zero research into the prospect of buying anything. So before I knew it I found myself in a nicely decked out function room in the Stillorgan Park hotel surrounded by people from  all walks of life, young couples, old couples, entire families, some from around here, some from further afield and of course a creepy looking bearded man sitting on his own, oh wait, that was me.

There were three presentations, I'll spare you the details of them and mention only the things that struck me (no, they were not throwing things). There first was a man who did his utmost to pitch this idea that the economy was taking the first formative steps towards recovery. Where had I heard that one before? The one point he stressed over and over again was that Ireland was "open for business", the point of his presentation was to restore confidence in ourselves as consumers so that we would stop worrying about our job security and just buy already, kind of like those people who bought during the boom and are now in arrears.

Despite my cynicism I should at least give him credit inasmuch that he delivered his presentation with enough conviction that he was able to convince the audience that he at least believed his own words. Whatever optimism he was able to establish however was quickly shattered when the third presentation took the stage.

There stood at the podium a smartly dressed young woman looking out over the well attended boardroom surveying each and every person from all walks of life before stopping at me and throwing me a wink.

Okay that didn't happen.

"I realise" she began "that there are many people here with different circumstances, whether they are first time buyers or selling their existing homes or whatever the case, so I'll make this information as broad as possible"

Fair enough, I think to myself. By the way I'm paraphrasing, I can't be expected to remember every single word given all the beers that have passed through my system since this occasion.

So she went through the whole deal about mortgages and all that stuff and junk and now we are finally arriving at the reason why I wrote this blog. Are you still reading? Okay good.

She wanted to give a broad yet typical example of a fictional couple who wanted to buy a house, how much money they earned, how much they would have to pay and so on. Notice how screwed I am already given how they are only dealing with couples and not single folk such as myself, it's almost as if they were trying to say only couples could afford houses and that I should find a wife as soon as possible only for this purpose.

Anyway they came up with a fictional couple named Mark and Lisa.

"Mark makes 50,000 euro a year" she said ever so nonchalantly.

If attendees heard some sort of dull thud after that admission it was my jaw hitting the floor. This guy makes 50,000 a year? That's what they think men are typically earning? I would give my left nut to be making that much!

"Lisa makes 40,000"

Holy shit, they're both minted! Notice how this example automatically assumes that the woman will be making less than the man? That's right Feminists, I'm throwing you a bone here. While you're feasting on that meaty goodness let's continue with our example.

"Mark and Lisa, having paid the bills have a take home pay of 5,089 euro"

Fuck me in a handbasket, that's their spending money?

"They want to buy a house worth 390,000"

I reckon that would either get them a boxed room in Killiney with a lavatory they have to share with at least ten other homeowners or alternatively they could go to Cavan and use it to buy the Quinn estate.

So she went through what they would have to pay each month for the house at the end of which they had disposable income of 2,067 euro.

Isn't that just grand? I thought to myself, that's a perfectly sustainable way to live isn't it? Yeah maybe if you're a manager in one of the few businesses left in this country that can afford to pay you that much. Are the organisers of this event insane? Have they completely lost touch with reality? Granted, there are people in this day and age making that much but surely they must know they're the exception rather than the rule?

I left the evening utterly despondent. There is no way I could ever afford a mortgage being a single man earning a lot less than 50,000 a year, even less after taxes. The only way I can buy a house that is even remotely habitable is if I sell off my organs. As the old saying goes, misery loves company, the fact that income like this is considered normal by these people makes me think that somehow I'm the only one not cashing in.

I didn't have a chance to ask them questions after the presentations even though I could have. I had to rush to the Gresham Hotel for a series of speakers from unions who had walked out of the talks between the government and other trade unions as they hammered out the points of the Croke Park Agreement II "The troika strikes back". Why didn't I write a blog about that you ask? Well if you can figure out the kind of warped logic that lead me to make that decision, then you win a prize!


There is no prize.

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