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Old 10-29-2019, 10:31 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by Senator View Post
It doesn't matter how much people make, it takes discipline to save.
+1 I have lived this and it's true. No matter how much you make you really need to be disciplined as it's easy to have lifestyle creep. Too easy! I make a lot and spend a lot.


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When the bill did arrive, and every couple put their ~$250 in, they balked and got up and left, without paying a dime.
That's embarrassing. There are trashy scumbags in all walks of life. At least you have one less couple to invite next year!
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Old 10-29-2019, 10:50 AM   #22
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To me, the big lifestyle creep became a sprint when they had kids and then tried to live the way they had been living before they had kids.
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Old 10-29-2019, 11:17 AM   #23
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Not to throw too much sympathy their way, but often, don't those high-income jobs come with a lot of trappings?
Thank you! I was wondering at the lack of sympathy in this thread. I know when people make what sounds like a lot of money anything they say other than "I have a fantastic life" sounds like whining. But the fact is - making $250K a year in NYC or one of another 5 cities gives you a very different lifestyle than making that in the rest of the country.

Is it hand to mouth? No. Do you have to be paycheck to paycheck - again no. But it stands to reason that someone who has worked really hard to get to that income level expects to reap the benefits of a "good lifestyle" - and the fact is, expenses being what they are in those geographies, the opportunities for lavish living or saving are limited. Just 3 basic expenses - mortgage, childcare/schools and commuting takes up huge chunks of your income.

Again - see what I mean about sounding like whining? But I can tell you from personal experience - paying $40K/year for mediocre childcare really hurts. Are there cheaper options? Maybe - but not something you want for your child when you have worked so hard to get to a "good place". Add to that the fun of having to leave an important meeting because the daycare place closes at 6, and its going take you an hour or more to get home.

Or even better - buying a house. Making a decision to pay $900K for a dump that has never been updated for its 70 years of existence hurts - and it hurts even more when a multiple bid situation takes the price up to $1M and your agents tells you "You should stop hesitating!" - as if its their money! Your only options if you want a good school district is either the "fixer-upper" or an even longer commute.

Ok, I will stop ranting. The good news is it gets better once kids are not so little any more. The school district you are paying for actually kicks in, you get used to the commute, you actually start saving. But I remember those days and I can say I felt the pain! Yes, some people manage to get by on much less, but the circumstances are different - and just because their pain is bigger does not mean others feel less pain!

I always thought it was unfair that federal taxes focuses on hard dollar amounts with no consideration to cost of living in each zip code.
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Old 10-29-2019, 11:48 AM   #24
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Posts like these make me want to swear...
Look, we moved somewhere expensive and now we have less disposable income.
Look, my spouse stopped working and now we have less money.
Look we are living beyond our means and can't afford it.
Feel sorry for me!
If you don't do the research stop whining about the surprises.
I am moving to somewhere. OK, What is the COL? What are the taxes? What is the cost of childcare, medical, local taxes, food, etc.
If you don't know this before a move then piss off. Don't want to hear it.
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Old 10-29-2019, 12:11 PM   #25
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Originally Posted by Senator View Post
It doesn't matter how much people make, it takes discipline to save.
Well, discipline would help, but.......

I am spending 35% of what FIRECalc says I can spend (with 95% confidence, until age 95). I buy everything, or every experience, that appeals to me.

Yet I have ZERO discipline unless discipline involves a lot of thinking about what I really, really want, and what I don't actually want (but others expect me to buy or have).

At my age I can, and do, pretty much blow off the latter. I don't give a hoot what other people think of my lifestyle and spending choices.

I think the reason why many people seem to have an infinite craving for spending money, is that they want to buy esteem and acceptance from others that way. I believe that acceptance by others of our group is an inborn biological need. Since buying esteem and acceptance by others is impossible, any attempt to do so is a bottomless hole into which money is tossed. You buy a new Cadillac to impress people, and somebody sneers at you because they just bought a Lamborghini. Or whatever.

It's just dumb and a way to drive oneself crazy so I refuse to participate. I stay away from people who provide negativity and are mean to me, instead of thinking, "Well, I'll show them! I'll buy a Tesla that they could only wish they had!" or some such thing.

Oh, and also, there's the psychological trickery of Madison Avenue! I make a distinct effort to expose myself to as little advertising as possible. I'd rather mute when an ad comes on and look away, and perhaps accidentally miss the first few seconds of a show or youtube, than to subject myself to advertising. In my case I think that consciously avoiding ads helps me to avoid those infinite cravings to spend, as well, which can become nearly pathological for some people.
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Old 10-29-2019, 12:48 PM   #26
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Cravings to spend, often come from your neighbors, social life, community. Ads don't influence me, at all. We lived in an affluent suburb of Chicago for @ 9 years. Anything social, going out to eat, a sports event, going over to a friends spurs judgement. I listened to women brag about their $300 haircut, watched the clothes change with every season and new designer fad, witnessed children learning these behaviors. The cars, sq. footage of a house, landscaping, decorating OMG. I firmly believe these people were in debt. I confess, there were many times I felt "lower class" b/c I didn't follow that crowd. I had to be around them since we lived in the community. Our house on the lower end of the spectrum, a small ranch. Builders knocked down existing homes (nice ones) and built McMansions on a tiny postage stamp lot.


I'm happy we lived the way we did.
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Old 10-29-2019, 12:50 PM   #27
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Originally Posted by dg001 View Post
I always thought it was unfair that federal taxes focuses on hard dollar amounts with no consideration to cost of living in each zip code.
I dunno. Having a uniform tax policy might be the only brake that keeps high rent districts from becoming super- or hyper- or ultra-high rent.

From my observations, there's a self-reinforcing cycle that goes on in places like NYC and SF. Ignore for a moment such handsomely-compensated professions as doctors and lawyers and ER.org Moderators. It's so expensive to live in Manhattan or the Bay Area that employers have to pay radically more for even bottom-tier jobs, which raises the cost of everything. Taxes rise endlessly to pay for public services which in LCOL areas would cost much less. Once a place reaches some HCOL critical mass, "school's out".

I predict that if you restructured the tax code to reflect local prices, it would simply enable those pricey zip codes to become even pricier.
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Old 10-29-2019, 01:06 PM   #28
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Originally Posted by justlikebike View Post
Posts like these make me want to swear...
Look, we moved somewhere expensive and now we have less disposable income.
Look, my spouse stopped working and now we have less money.
Look we are living beyond our means and can't afford it.
Feel sorry for me!
If you don't do the research stop whining about the surprises.
I am moving to somewhere. OK, What is the COL? What are the taxes? What is the cost of childcare, medical, local taxes, food, etc.
If you don't know this before a move then piss off. Don't want to hear it.

+ 1

This reminds me of students who complain about being hundreds of thousands of dollars in college debt

Um, didnít you know that before you went into massive debt? Donít cry about it afterwards when you should have know about it a long time ago
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Old 10-29-2019, 01:12 PM   #29
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We used to be a two income tech worker household n the SF Bay Area. We were always kind of shocked at how much many of our co-workers spent and how many were in financial difficulty despite good incomes. I get a kick out of retiring early and living well here on a modest budget. I'm also pretty happy our kids have followed in our frugal footsteps and are good savers despite living in HCOL cities. If I had to do it over I would have saved even more and retired in our 40s instead of our 50s.
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Old 10-29-2019, 02:52 PM   #30
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I think there are two different discussions here. One is spending beyond your means or spending when you don't have to. Fine, that is wrong, and we are a self-selecting group of frugalites - so of course that behavior will be dissed.

However, there are reasons why younger two-income couples in big cities, who in fact make a lot of money, feel stressed and hard up. There are legitimate issues there, and the purpose of web sites like this should be to help them recognize what expenses can be deferred or controlled, and what cannot.

Not all those $ are being borrowed and wasted away on champagne lifestyles. There are expenses like housing and childcare that are a extreme burden - and Mdlerth is absolutely right that it is a self-fulfilling cycle of increasing costs due to increasing costs, but individually there is little one can do to change that. Dismissing all those complaints as "bad decisions on your part" is wrong.

Someone suggested "if you don't like it, stop yer whining and move!" In the end its a valuation decision everyone makes, and moving is certainly an option many people make - but that is not the only option. And not everyone has that option - careers, family, business interests all have a say in a decision like that.

I recognize the feeling behind the complaints in that website - but I was able to overcome them, and I recognize others might have a harder time doing so. Not all of it is whining.
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Old 10-29-2019, 04:10 PM   #31
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Originally Posted by Rianne View Post
Cravings to spend, often come from your neighbors, social life, community.
+1

The Temptations sang it best years ago when I was a kid. I am glad this song stuck with me as I grew older.

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Old 10-29-2019, 04:46 PM   #32
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Great song, but I don't remember that one at all.



I checked and it peaked at 20 so maybe didn't get that much playtime.
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Old 10-29-2019, 05:01 PM   #33
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At least some of the pressure on upscale young couples in the big metro areas comes from the way they were raised. They grew accustomed to living in the bubble that envelopes the upper classes in this country - the house in the good neighborhood, the nanny, the proper private school for the children, the country club, the vacation homes and trips to the destinations appropriate for people of their group, the appropriate Ivy League college education. For them, that is just the way life is lived. And when they can't immediately duplicate the life their parents gave them, they are confused and depressed.

I recall being dumbfounded back in about 2005-2006, when the first year associates at my NYC law firm (a pack of single 25 year-olds who could not yet do anything useful) were complaining vociferously that while my firm had just raised starting salaries to $160k per year, Skadden had set theirs at $165k. How could they possibly live on what we were paying them? Their angst was real enough, even if divorced from the reality of the rest of the world.

By contrast, my expectations for what constitutes an adequate lifestyle are and were far different. I grew up poor, living in a series of crappy neighborhoods in trailer parks and cheap apartments. We moved a lot and I went to whatever the local public school was. They were usually pretty bad. "Vacation" was not a word in our vocabulary, and I never knew anyone who ever went to college (well, I suppose my school teachers did, but not any real people). For me, living large is being able to buy anything I want at the grocery store, without knowing or caring how much it costs. Throw in a house and a car and I'm as happy as a clam at high tide.

A lot of the "must haves" that drive these expensive lifestyles look far less necessary when you come from the other side of the tracks.
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Old 10-29-2019, 06:46 PM   #34
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We were in that group for eight or so years prior to retirement. Our lifestyle did not change. No one knew until we pulled the plug and retired early. Left money on the table but so what. It was a case of money or time. We took the latter. Such a good feeling when you realize that you are not beholden to a company or to a job. Very liberating.

A number of my colleagues in the same income range could not even think of retiring. Their respective lifestyles, spending, and financial commitments rose to the the level, and in some cases, above their income level. Not certain how it happens but it does. I think ego comes into play a little bit.
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Old 10-29-2019, 07:04 PM   #35
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I think it all comes down to where and how you want to spend your money. I know a guy who makes under $100K, lives very modestly, but always has a new, well maintained, expensive Mercedes.

Every time I see a new Tesla going down the road, I think it would be awesome to have one....then I consider that I would rather spend the $100K on my retirement.
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Old 10-29-2019, 07:22 PM   #36
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I predict that if you restructured the tax code to reflect local prices, it would simply enable those pricey zip codes to become even pricier.
Kind of like the price of college increasing with the amount of loans and grants available?

It is amazing how expensive "free" can be.
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Old 10-29-2019, 07:26 PM   #37
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I worked with someone that came from a modest background and they were careful when young to live within their means. Eventually he rose to a high position with the university and they were expected to entertain large groups of people. It was only then that they bought a big nice house. They ended up in a great financial situation because they didn’t go crazy buying a ton of stuff as their situation improved.
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Old 10-30-2019, 05:35 AM   #38
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I don't buy into all the excuses and whining especially the ones about "they worked so hard". So who doesn't work hard for a living? It's all about choices, expectations, and lifestyle.



Cheers!
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Old 10-30-2019, 06:27 AM   #39
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^+1
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Old 11-01-2019, 08:17 PM   #40
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I saw that article referenced in a lot of the online financial press. Just click bait for the Financial Samurai to get his name out.
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