The Costs of the Floods; The State of Hotels in Houston


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12 Comment

  • $61K to ‘Live Comfortably’? Maybe if you’re a single guy living in a non-“luxury” apartment. $61K a year doesn’t even pay for a decent car. I know I sound like a douche but I”m being sincere. To live in Houston as it’s meant to be lived in, you need a townhouse (love it or hate it) inside the loop, or a home in the White Arrow, you need a brand new german or british car that you get rid of once warranty runs out, you need at least one good watch, a patek is nice but a cartier will do in a pinch, you need to be able to frequent local steak houses and rub elbows with local business elites on weekly basis. But most importantly you should be able to afford these tings without a hesitation and a fast growing brokerage account as long term reserve. Now, that’s what I consider Living Comfortably in Houston.

  • Agree with commonsense!

    Where do these studies come from and what demographic are they talking about? As a BLACK HOUSTONIAN, who knows a plethora of people from all kinds of backgrounds I’d say this is crazy. 61K to be comfortable. 🙄

    Get you a decent apartment between the loop and the beltway for about 600-800/mo, Get a decent economic car maybe 400/mo total if not a cash car! Food cost for one person shouldn’t hit over $250 a month with eating out. Other living expenses and bills at most will be $1000 more that’s at most $2500/mo! So I can live comfortably for half that price!

    But as most people forget most BLACKS AND POCs live well below what is considered “Comfortable” and somehow we seem to manage just fine!

    Once again only in Fascist Capitalist AMERIKKKA.

  • @Commonsense – Let me revise your plan

    – Foriegn Car – Volkwagens will be cheap after the emmissions fix
    – Dinners and Drinks – Expense, all companies are looking for new business.
    – Watch – Is this 2014????? Trendy over pricey, get a smart watch $400
    – Townhome – No way, Myerland homes will be on the cheap, steal a deal.

    All this and you have $30k in savings left over a year….. /sarcasm

  • The “live comfortably” phrase does not mean the same thing to people that it used to. When I was a squarely middle class kid in Houston, almost every household up and down our street had a used car, had no cable TV, kept the AC on 82 degrees at night (90 during the day), had 1 landline phone, and ate out at a restaurant maybe once a month. And we thought we had it good, and our parents scoffed at our luxurious comfort (the experienced a tier down from that). As the wealth effect continues to ripple through America, perceptions about needs change.

  • McCaslin says that the only luxury hotels in Houston are the St. Regis and Four Seasons? Then I suppose Omni, ZaZa, Hilton Americas, Derek, the Houstonian, La Colombe d’Or etc are just chopped liver.

  • Without getting into too many details, I have to agree with Superdave’s comment that the benchmarks of “living comfortably” change over time. I had a similar background growing up that he described. One really doesn’t “need” cable TV or fancy watches and cars to be “comfortable”.
    Seriously, after the basics are covered, the rest is just showing off. I prefer to not keep up with the Joneses: they probably have sleepless nights worrying about how to make their house/car/credit card payments. Meanwhile, I’m sleeping just fine and building up a retirement nest egg.

  • @ Gisgo: By hotel industry experts, the St. Regis, Four Seasons, and Granduca are considered to truly be a level above the others you mention – though some might group The Houstonian and Colombe d’Or with them. But compared to (less globalized) peer cities such as Dallas and Atlanta, and even Austin (when comparing hotels to size of metro), Houston notably lacks true high-end luxury hotels – the Ritz Carltons, Park Hyatts, Mandarin Orientals, Peninsulas, etc. etc. From what I understand, this has to do with the low performance of our first class hotels on Friday through Sunday nights, which is a result of corporate demand being our overwhelming driver of occupancy at the more expensive end of the market, without a corresponding leisure traveler demand. Why fancy leisure travelers would prefer Dallas and Atlanta to Houston, I don’t know, but that’s historically been the situation. Not sure if this is still the case, but one used to be able to get really nice hotel rooms in Houston at outrageously low prices on weekends.

  • There was a point after the Great Recession where I was renting a three-bedroom place close-in, had roommates, had furnishings, had a crappy car, and was living comfortably on about $800 per month for personal expenses in Houston. I was surprised at how comfortable that was. I ate crappy food and switched to King Cobra Malt liquor in 40oz servings — but I also got lots of exercise walking and biking around town and was actually in very good physical shape.
    Once things improved financially (initially with a $9 per hour job, which was lower than I’d suffered since the age of 19) I actually had difficulty finding stuff to spend money on because I just didn’t want or need very much stuff. In retrospect, I consider that to be a kind of wealth; but at the time, I sure didn’t. As things got better I kept trying locking myself into purchases and a car note, I moved into very nice and very well-located digs, all of which was manageable…but it was all also totally unnecessary. I didn’t really come to realize that until after I’d had a major medical issue come up which prompted me to re-evaluate my priorities.
    Now…about that, you could say that it was a blessing that that didn’t happen when I was in the rough patch, and that’s true(!), but also it only happened because I was working way too much for no good reason because I had more money than I knew what to do with, and was really quite poor as a consequence of that.
    Anyhow, I found a happy medium. Its not always easy, but its always interesting. And if life ever seems too easy then you ought to examine it because perhaps you’re doing it wrong.

  • Whoa, whoa, whoa, a smartwatch vs. a Patek World Time? What is this Chuck E Cheese instead of a boardroom?

  • Most folks really don’t want to keep up with the Jones’ necessarily as it is now, but everyone wants their kids to be able to compete with the Jones’s kids (understood considering that a larger share of our GDP will be going to a smaller well-educated elite in the future). That has a lot of knock-on effects that causes many families to mis-prioritize or cause parents to do unfortunate thinks like fund a childs exorbitant college ride or summer camp at the expense of their retirement.
    Also of note, this is quite a different world than many folks here are referencing. I don’t know how it was back in the day, but presently you can afford a good new car, cable TV (21st centuy folks, split this across multiple utilities/subscriptions) and the electric bill for about what your health care will cost you.

  • I know commonsense is exaggerating for effort, but I will never understand people who spend so much money on watches. Buy a Seiko. They’re well made watches with proper triple clasps and Hardlex/Sapphlex faces that are less prone to shatter than the expensive sapphire fronts. They also have japanese movements which are perfectly fine (swiss may be superior but not “50k” superior), and generally superior luminant. Sure, the Patek may be superior, but not 1000x better.
    If you can’t think of something better to do with 50k then you lack imagination.

  • @MrEction, it obviously not about the time telling, it a whole watch culture in the board rooms, country clubs, and private banking institutions in America. It’s like a secret handshake to let you into the club. As men we have very little to express ourselves, it’s hard to tell if your suit cost 1k or 10k but the distinguishing part is always the watch. It tells others that you have achieved level of financial success and sophistication and you should be paid attention to. If you’re ever in a high level meeting like that you will always notice eyes scanning people’s wrists, it’s almost secret societal.

    PS, never buy a Rolex, it’s a sign you have money but no sophistication, it’s like you’re a lottery winner and still live in the trailer park.