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Old 02-10-2010, 02:30 PM   #41
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I'm with Audrey, I don't get this. In my mind, money is a stress reliever. I'm not really worried about retirement, or a major car or house repair or other unexpected expense, or which bills I'll pay and which I'll put off. There might be a high end where too much might be a burden, but you don't have to try to spend it all.
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Old 02-10-2010, 02:36 PM   #42
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Wow! - 40,000 Euros (~$55K US) annually is very comfortable, especially if you don't have to pay for medical care or long-term care insurance.

And if both spouses worked and contributed it could be quite a bit higher?

Audrey
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Old 02-10-2010, 03:05 PM   #43
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I have to say, I don't get this. Just because you have money it doesn't mean you have to spend it this way. Yes, you can go and stay at 5-star resorts, but you don't have to.
Audrey
Absolutely. Instead of going the 5-Star hotel route, this guy could have rented a small apartment on the island for a month and gotten to know some people. The money didn't cause his misery, it was his lack of imagination. Maybe he's just not capable of putting on scruffy shorts and mingling with the hoi polloi unless he gives away all his money and actually becomes one. But then, air fare to fun places will be out of reach.

Yep, it smells fishy.
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Old 02-10-2010, 03:30 PM   #44
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Wow! - 40,000 Euros (~$55K US) annually is very comfortable, especially if you don't have to pay for medical care or long-term care insurance.

And if both spouses worked and contributed it could be quite a bit higher?

Audrey
Actually, if you take into account the higher cost of living in Europe, 40,000 euros there would be equivalent to roughly $40,000 here in the US. Still a nice sum, and definitely much higher than the averages I have seen there (most people I know seem to get less than 20,000 euros in guaranteed government pensions - social security- after working all their lives). Spain seems to have a very generous retirement pension system.

In the 2 European Countries I am most familiar with, retirement savings consist of 3 tiers:
1) mandatory contributions to a system similar to social security (guaranteed by the government). The benefits are typically low, enough to cover the basics.
2) mandatory contributions to a private or public plan similar to an annuity or pension plan in the US.
3) voluntary savings.

Low income people typically get most of their retirement income from 1. Higher income people typically get most of their retirement income from 2 and possibly 3.
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Old 02-10-2010, 03:40 PM   #45
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I don't see what is so attractive about homesteading. Our ancestors spent a huge amount of time just subsisting. It wasn't simple when you had to do everything yourself with basic tools. Leisure time was almost non-existent.

You can definitely simplify your life by getting rid of a lot of assets like real estate and toys and by retiring from professional high-paying careers. You can even move to an area where you don't need a car and can walk/use public transport. Finances can be simplified to the level where they run almost on auto-pilot so you don't have to think about them much.

But you still have to live somewhere, so you can't really get rid of dealing with something to live in and some of the basic requirements of day-to-day living.

Simplifying your life to root out those things that are adding hassle but not value and enjoyment - that is definitely an excellent goal.

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I hear you; I am just musing but life can be really stressful with things and the only time you realize that is when you've already amassed too many things. Simplifying is not so easy for us; it's really hard to get rid of real estate assets right now. Frankly, I now hate the responsibility of owning anything although they do contribute to our financial success. I want a life with only four bills - electricity, water, cable and cellphone and I never want to receive another junk mail. Most people in the world does not have such complicated lives as we do here in US. Simply going to the doctor here, generates a boat load of paperwork.
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Old 02-10-2010, 03:59 PM   #46
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Spain seems to have a very generous retirement pension system.
For now. Soon Auntie Angela Merkel will be explaining " living within your means" to Greece, Spain, Portugal and Italy

Ha
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Old 02-10-2010, 07:14 PM   #47
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I hear you; I am just musing but life can be really stressful with things and the only time you realize that is when you've already amassed too many things. Simplifying is not so easy for us; it's really hard to get rid of real estate assets right now. Frankly, I now hate the responsibility of owning anything although they do contribute to our financial success. I want a life with only four bills - electricity, water, cable and cellphone and I never want to receive another junk mail. Most people in the world does not have such complicated lives as we do here in US. Simply going to the doctor here, generates a boat load of paperwork.
Yes, - the problem with things is that if you don't watch out, they start owning you. Not something that the US culture really talks about with all the glorification of consumption. But of course the advertisers doing all the glorifying have things they want to sell you!

I am very thankful that we did not get caught in upgrading our lifestyles while working. I stayed with my first small house, we didn't have kids, and as my career and salary took off I saved a lot of it rather than spending it on stuff. I had a strong fear of debt (pounded into me by my parents). And I was lucky to marry a man with strong LYBM instincts as well. As a consequence, when we found ourselves in a position where our assets had grown quite a bit, we weren't already funding an expensive lifestyle and we didn't have to get rid of that much to simplify further (which we did).

Yeah - it can take a while to get out from under those things that you own, but if you keep at it, you'll eventually simplify if that is what you really want (and I recommend it!).

Audrey
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Old 02-11-2010, 06:21 AM   #48
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"Most people are about as happy as they make up their minds to be." A. Lincoln

It's a choice - he chose to not be happy while in Hawaii.....and he blames it on the wealth - perhaps. However, I've seen happy poor, middle-income and rich people. It's a mindset. Wealth makes it easier to not worry about the day-to-day stressors related to survival.

I do believe, though, there is a balance - I've always wondered why those uber rich do stupid things and take gargantuan risks - even in Roman times (I'm listening to a biography of Augustus). If one does not have to strive in some way or be challenged, then that extra energy or intellectual capacity (or whatever one wants to call it) can go off into odd territories due to possibly sheer boredom. The old saying "Idle hands are the devil's worskshop" comes to mind.
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Old 02-11-2010, 06:36 AM   #49
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Wow! - 40,000 Euros (~$55K US) annually is very comfortable, especially if you don't have to pay for medical care or long-term care insurance.

And if both spouses worked and contributed it could be quite a bit higher?

Audrey
Sorry, Audrey, I made a mistake in my calculation: maximmum pension would be something like 36.500 euros. If both spouses have contributed they draw separate and compatible pensions according to how much SS dues they have paid.
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Old 02-11-2010, 09:21 AM   #50
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"Most people are about as happy as they make up their minds to be." A. Lincoln

It's a choice - he chose to not be happy while in Hawaii.....and he blames it on the wealth - perhaps. However, I've seen happy poor, middle-income and rich people. It's a mindset. Wealth makes it easier to not worry about the day-to-day stressors related to survival.

I do believe, though, there is a balance - I've always wondered why those uber rich do stupid things and take gargantuan risks - even in Roman times (I'm listening to a biography of Augustus). If one does not have to strive in some way or be challenged, then that extra energy or intellectual capacity (or whatever one wants to call it) can go off into odd territories due to possibly sheer boredom. The old saying "Idle hands are the devil's worskshop" comes to mind.
There are lots of businesses set up to cater to the rich or those who aspire to be rich. Of course there are - that's where the money is! Part of what they do is make the customer "feel important" and they invest in a luxurious environment because, again, that's to help the customer feel "exclusive" or whatever. It's the same trap some folks get stuck in thinking that to get rich you have to "look rich" and conspicuously consume. I guess a lot of people really swallow this whole thing.

But it doesn't take much insight to figure out that it's all a crock. And these people aren't your "friends" - they are just being nice to you because there is money in it. And those luxurious surroundings - again, it's to make you feel important. No point in being mad at these people, either - they're in it to make money and apparently it works well enough.

Was I just born with a stronger BS meter? Because even when I was your average working person it was obvious that it was all an illusion and that the "trappings" didn't necessarily enhance your personal experience. I didn't usually have any more fun at a finer hotel than at a more modest one. In fact, it became pretty obvious right away not to spend money on a fancy hotel or room because you didn't spend much time there - not if you were really going out and doing stuff and enjoying yourself. Spend the money on the activities instead!

Whatever - when I think of all the fantastic trips I've taken to Hawaii - which I still think is one of the most beautiful places on earth and very unique and special - it just seems like such a pity that someone found his experience so soul-deadening that he concluded his money was ruining his life.

I mean, Hawaii can be very commercial and I've heard people complain about that, but it takes so very little effort to get away from the really commercial aspects and really connect with and enjoy the place. I'm about as anti-commercial as they come, yet that has never marred my Hawaii experience. OK - maybe a little the very first time but that just really clued me in on how to do things on subsequent visits which were all fantastic.

Hint - if you stay at a mega-hotel and sign up for a bunch of pre-packaged bus tour/activity things, you might find the experience disappointing because you are being carted around with a lot of other tourists and given the constant "spiel" and isolated from a lot of what is there. But if you rent a car and stay at a smaller hotel in an area a bit out of the way of the major commercial areas and use a good guide book or two to guide your activities, you'll probably have a great time.

A lot of the experienced travelers here know that there is an art to really experiencing a place - but it really doesn't take much effort at all.

Hmmmm - I must really have a hot button about this whole "fake rich experience" thing.

Audrey
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Old 02-11-2010, 09:52 AM   #51
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Well, Audrey, I think you've pretty much nailed it right.
Frankly, the guy sounds like a right-brain "romantic" to me who's bought into the "I have to be one of the 'little people' to live an authentic life." Delusional and idealistic at best. But that's just my opinion.
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