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I know the Joneses!!
Old 03-21-2014, 04:35 PM   #1
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I know the Joneses!!

I don't get it.. Friends of mine and DW just bought a perfectly nice house about a year ago in an upscale suburb of Chicago. It's plenty big for their family of 4. However, they've recently told us that they sold their house and just bought a 4000 square foot house in the same suburb. We looked up the listing price and it was $979,000.

What I find amusing about this is that they were thinking about moving to an even more upscale suburb but then decided that they'd have to spend too much money to keep up with the Joneses if they moved to this other more upscale suburb. So, I guess that they decided to become the Joneses instead. He's an investment banker and she doesn't work. I'm sure he makes good money but during a conversation with DW, Mrs. Jones dropped this on her. "Well, at least you guys have a savings account so you must be doing something right." WTF!! These are perfectly intelligent people and I just don't get it at all. DW held back that we not only have a healthy savings account, but a healthy brokerage account as well as IRA's, 401k's etc. How do you not have any savings at all and decide it's a good idea to buy a million dollar house? We're assuming that they used the proceeds of their sale (they made a profit) and his bonus for the down payment but they could've stayed in their current house, banked the bonus and been way better off. I just don't get it at all.

I humored them a bit by saying how nice the house was and that I was jealous of their nice new home but all I was thinking was this is stupid, stupid, stupid. Thanks for listening to my rant.
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Old 03-21-2014, 05:03 PM   #2
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I hear you.
I live next door to the Joneses. The mind boggles.
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Old 03-21-2014, 05:04 PM   #3
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I stopped socializing with the Joneses a long time ago.
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Old 03-21-2014, 05:11 PM   #4
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I don't get it either. That's what makes us outliers I suppose.
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Old 03-21-2014, 05:14 PM   #5
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Who knows. They may have a personality disorder of some sort - an obsessive need to feel envied, respected, etc..
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Old 03-21-2014, 05:21 PM   #6
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These people need our active support. After all, their spending funds the dividends and equity investment growth we rely on!
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Old 03-21-2014, 05:45 PM   #7
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Perfectly intelligent people are not always rational human beings.
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Old 03-21-2014, 05:51 PM   #8
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Perfectly intelligent people are not always rational human beings.
Which is one of the "great mysteries of life" to me. We were just wondering today - again - why a gifted math teacher whose student's parents fought over getting their kids into her classes would be $500k in debt.

It just doesn't compute. But lots about human behavior doesn't.
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Old 03-21-2014, 05:58 PM   #9
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I think people have different criteria for happiness.

One of the first things I learned in Optimal Control Theory was that there were infinitely many different "optimal" control strategies. First, one has to define what optimal is. Then, the theory will help one find the way to achieve that. For example, when driving a car from point A to point B, one may define "optimal' as minimum time to get there, while another driver may define "optimal" as minimum expended fuel. And there are infinite variations in between.

Some people want to maximize their pleasure now at the expense of tomorrow. That's OK as it is their choice, but I wonder if they know the ramifications of their decision.
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Old 03-21-2014, 06:07 PM   #10
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Maybe they just want you to think all their money is tied up in their house.
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Old 03-21-2014, 06:07 PM   #11
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My BIL and his wife, who live in a very upscale neighborhood in this town, just spent $125K on upgrading their downstairs, just a few years after they previously had done it the first time.

They are both 75 years old and he needs a heart transplant (currently on the list). He is not allowed to drive his BMW anymore.
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Old 03-21-2014, 06:12 PM   #12
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These people need our active support. After all, their spending funds the dividends and equity investment growth we rely on!
You hit the nail on the head. If even 25% of the population of the US lived as most of us here do, the economy would crater. Consumerism is great for us, but for those who get sucked into it, ummm not so much. God bless these fools.
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Old 03-21-2014, 06:20 PM   #13
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You hit the nail on the head. If even 25% of the population of the US lived as most of us here do, the economy would crater. Consumerism is great for us, but for those who get sucked into it, ummm not so much. God bless these fools.
100% right on. Yes, cheers to the spenders! Without them, economy will shrink, equity won't go anywhere (refer to Japan in the last 20 - 25 years).

Whatever makes them happy ....
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Old 03-21-2014, 06:32 PM   #14
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As long as they are comfortable with their choices, and willing to accept the consequences of their actions, it's fine with me.
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Old 03-21-2014, 06:51 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by aja8888 View Post
My BIL and his wife, who live in a very upscale neighborhood in this town, just spent $125K on upgrading their downstairs, just a few years after they previously had done it the first time.

They are both 75 years old and he needs a heart transplant (currently on the list). He is not allowed to drive his BMW anymore.

Are they still able to go up and down the stairs (at 75yo)?
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Old 03-21-2014, 06:52 PM   #16
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I think people have different criteria for happiness. <snip>
For example, when driving a car from point A to point B, one may define "optimal' as minimum time to get there, while another driver may define "optimal" as minimum expended fuel. And there are infinite variations in between.

Some people want to maximize their pleasure now at the expense of tomorrow. That's OK as it is their choice, but I wonder if they know the ramifications of their decision.
I have never thought about minimum expended fuel. And, I hardly ever think about minimum time to get there. I do think about the simplest, most relaxed and most pleasant route. Makes me happy.
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Old 03-21-2014, 06:58 PM   #17
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As long as they are comfortable with their choices, and willing to accept the consequences of their actions, it's fine with me.
Actually, it's fine with me whether or not they are comfortable with their choices and I don't really care if they are willing or not willing to accept the consequences of their actions.
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Old 03-21-2014, 07:11 PM   #18
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Thomas Stanley (The Millionaire Next Door co-author) has a good blog post on the subject -

"There are nearly three times more millionaire households (1,138,070 versus 403,211) living in homes valued at $300,000 or less than there are millionaires living in homes valued at $1 million or more. The data strongly indicate that this ratio of "wealth-building productivity" is inversely related to the market value of one's own home as well as those of one's neighbors. Once the market value begins to move up beyond the $500,000 level, wealth-building productivity moves into the unproductive range (i.e., less than 1.00)."

Avoiding The Money Pit
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Old 03-21-2014, 07:14 PM   #19
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I stopped socializing with the Joneses a long time ago.
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Old 03-21-2014, 08:17 PM   #20
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Are they still able to go up and down the stairs (at 75yo)?
Yes, she is pretty spry, but with his failing heart, he can go up and down, but has to take it slow. Once he gets the transplant, we are hoping for the "new" guy!

They actually live downstairs and the upstairs rooms are for the visiting kids and grandkids when they show up.
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