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Old 10-24-2007, 12:55 PM   #81
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Plus you've got really hairy knuckles and short stubby little fingers.
What will those Google imaging geniuses think of next...
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Old 10-24-2007, 01:03 PM   #82
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Twaddle and CFB, I imagine you guys are just joshing each other, and I have no question that each of you can take care of yourself, but it does sound rather nasty.
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Old 10-24-2007, 01:07 PM   #83
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Twaddle...


I still don't get what the problem is... you seem to say you got plenty of money and you are living way below means... yet for some reason you want to stop your wife from buying some 'stuff' online because it is over some imaginary point that you came up with...

Since it is not you doing the buying, you can not control it.

And yes, as a business we have a budget, but that can change due to 'market forces'... seems you have some market forces working against your budget... so, raise the budget!!!

As I have said previously... I don't have a 'budget'... I just know if I am starting to spend to much and cut back... I don't care what it is being spent on, it is either to much, just right, or not enough... and I adjust.

But, then I don't have a leak that I can not control like you do (at least not right now)...
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Old 10-24-2007, 01:28 PM   #84
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I still don't get what the problem is... you seem to say you got plenty of money and you are living way below means... yet for some reason you want to stop your wife from buying some 'stuff' online because it is over some imaginary point that you came up with...

Since it is not you doing the buying, you can not control it.
As I said, increasing the budget is an option, but what's the point if we can't stick to whatever budget we establish?

The alternative is to have no control over spending at all, and simply let our whims and our conscience guide us. My concern isn't so much about the current level of our spending, but the potential future level as more and better stuff and services become more easily available.

So, we don't want to go cold turkey, but doesn't it make sense to put an upper limit to our indulgences?

In a sense, you're right, and I could just let this go and things would probably be fine. That's what we've been doing for a while now, and things have been fine. But I get a little freaked out by the increasing number of boxes arriving at the front door. So, I see a potential trend, and I want to head it off without a major police action.

And this applies to just about everything in our budget. With a small kid, you can imagine the slippery slope we'd be going down if we said "the sky's the limit: best private schools, and a pony too!" To me, probably the most important aspect of setting a budget is just thinking about it and deciding what parameters make sense for us.

Enforcement isn't the most important aspect, but I was curious how people handle the enforcement aspect. Got some pretty good ideas.
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Old 10-24-2007, 01:37 PM   #85
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I'm with you. Too much self indulgence becomes a moral issue.
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Old 10-24-2007, 01:42 PM   #86
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But, then I don't have a leak that I can not control like you do (at least not right now)...
Wait'll you hit 50...

Haven't been using a budget as a working stiff. Just throw money at the 401k and Vanguard, pay the bills, then don't worry about how the rest is spent. Will have to take a different tack when accumulation morphs into spend-down.

And I'm wifeless...
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Old 10-24-2007, 02:57 PM   #87
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The alternative is to have no control over spending at all, and simply let our whims and our conscience guide us. My concern isn't so much about the current level of our spending, but the potential future level as more and better stuff and services become more easily available.
I know there have been a lot of joking responses, including one from me. But this one is seriously meant. As I think about this you do have a problem, but it is within yourself. You have an opportunity to earn some serious points in gallantry, or to fall on your face. You said she spends mainly on clothes and shoes. Think about it-- you have a young attractive woman spending money on things which make her more attractive, more pleasing to your eyes. What could be better?

And, what do your electonics purchases do for her? Likely nothing.

She will never be younger, if I were in your place today I would do as I did when I was in your place (only not as well financed)- I would give thanks and take deep pleasure in the fact that I had a stylish, attractive feminine woman sharing my life.

Cut back on your purchases if necessary. If truly serious problems of overspending occur, the two of you will likely be able to tackle them.

Meanwhile, relax, enjoy, and reap the rewards!

Ha
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Old 10-24-2007, 03:10 PM   #88
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I have to admit -- I don't fully understand women and shoes. But I don't think it's just a beauty thing. Maybe it's more akin to collecting art?

Speaking only for myself, if I'm working against a budget for my indulgences, I'm going to make each indulgence count more. I'll derive more satisfaction from working within limits than working without limits.

Am I nuts? (CFB, you don't have to answer that.)
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Old 10-24-2007, 03:51 PM   #89
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Wait'll you hit 50...

Haven't been using a budget as a working stiff. Just throw money at the 401k and Vanguard, pay the bills, then don't worry about how the rest is spent. Will have to take a different tack when accumulation morphs into spend-down.

And I'm wifeless...
Uhhhh.. that is next month!!!
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Old 10-24-2007, 04:17 PM   #90
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As I said, increasing the budget is an option, but what's the point if we can't stick to whatever budget we establish?

The alternative is to have no control over spending at all, and simply let our whims and our conscience guide us. My concern isn't so much about the current level of our spending, but the potential future level as more and better stuff and services become more easily available.

So, we don't want to go cold turkey, but doesn't it make sense to put an upper limit to our indulgences?

In a sense, you're right, and I could just let this go and things would probably be fine. That's what we've been doing for a while now, and things have been fine. But I get a little freaked out by the increasing number of boxes arriving at the front door. So, I see a potential trend, and I want to head it off without a major police action.

And this applies to just about everything in our budget. With a small kid, you can imagine the slippery slope we'd be going down if we said "the sky's the limit: best private schools, and a pony too!" To me, probably the most important aspect of setting a budget is just thinking about it and deciding what parameters make sense for us.

Enforcement isn't the most important aspect, but I was curious how people handle the enforcement aspect. Got some pretty good ideas.
As much as I have enjoyed the sparring between CFB and you, DW and I went down this very path a few years ago, and it got very ugly.............

I think a compromise is in order,you both have to give a little. My DW grew up poor on a farm, and never knew what she missed because they didn't have much money anyway.

We have done well as a couple, and now all the things she never could own she can own, and for a time she ignored her frugal ways and went on a spending spree like a complulsive shopper. I think it was overcompensating for her younger days.

Anyway, we worked it out, and although we both stray from the BUDGET path at times, we have had a budget for 12 years, the entire 12 years of our marriage.

I put a Quicken category for her in the budget called DW's Miscellaneous Expense, which she got a kick out of. Also, we have a standing agreement that neither one can buy an expensive item without the other's knowledge.............
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Old 10-24-2007, 10:18 PM   #91
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Its okay Wab, I know you're just here to stir the pot. Another case for the "Can retiring early make you crazy?" board.
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Old 10-25-2007, 12:34 AM   #92
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I don't get the "artificial scarcity" thing.

We track our spending, and I "sort" of have a budget. But it's not there for "enforcement" but rather just to see how out of range we are in a given area - mainly for spotting deviations and adjusting future expectations.

Our annual total is still well below what we can currently afford, so I don't worry about it at all - less and less as each year goes by. DH occasionally brings up a new toy he's fantasizing over and it's great to say "go for it".

Sounds like your wife is getting enjoyment out of her spending. Is there something wrong with that if you all are staying within what your nest egg can support? Are you being deprived of something? That's really what it comes down to - we can't afford X because we spent it on Y. If you can afford both X and Y - then that's an entirely different matter.

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Old 10-25-2007, 01:24 AM   #93
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Audrey, I think you and I are probably in similar situations. ER'd. 40's. Withdrawing < 4%. Right?

So, if we were pushing right up against 4% -- right up against our "means" -- I assume you would agree that sticking to a budget becomes pretty important.

Part of the "artificial scarcity" bit comes from being relatively young. Given our potential lifespans, there simply isn't enough historical data to give any meaning to a 4% SWR. Honestly, I really don't know what a safe withdrawal rate is for a 50+ year retirement. I don't think many people have been retired for 50+ years living off their investments, do you? We're pioneers -- yeeha!

So rather than targeting a specific withdrawal rate, I prefer to target a "sane" lifestyle. I want the illusion of a steady income and a steady lifestyle.

The reality is that a young ER family with a young kid faces a *lot* of unknowns. But I want my family to share this illusion with me, and living within a budget helps a bit.

The other part of it is that I am a cheap bastard who doesn't understand women. How many shoes does one person need? What's the deal with women and shoes? Somebody clue me in!

FWIW, nobody is being deprived of anything. No shoes have been harmed in this thread. We will happily live together with a killer shoe budget, but it would be nice to track these shoes and keep them in check. You know, just in case there's a shoe shortage somewhere and we can help with shoe aid.
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Old 10-25-2007, 01:32 AM   #94
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No shoes have been harmed in this thread. We will happily live together with a killer shoe budget, but it would be nice to track these shoes and keep them in check. You know, just in case there's a shoe shortage somewhere and we can help with shoe aid.
Those Blahniks should come in handy to some mother in Burma, to protect her from nematodes.

You make a really good point. I think it is hard for most of us to take it completely seriously, because you are wealthy. But I agree there are perhaps a lot of unknown unknowns hanging around of an evening, just outside one's window.

Ha
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Old 10-25-2007, 02:18 AM   #95
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Martha, haha, and audrey all raise interesting psychological aspects of your "problem".

If the sum total of your yearly spending is not risking your retirement ("you can afford X and Y") it seems like there are other motivations for you to envision "police action." Is this moral? Puritanical? Do you resent your wife outspending you? It seems like the issue for you might be one of control.

Maybe your wife is BORED. Maybe you need to find some common activities that get her away from the shopping. Maybe you can lead by example in subtle ways. If my DH was a snappy dresser I'd probably shop to his level. Seeing as he is happy as a pig in mud in sweatpants, I don't find it difficult to resist the siren call of Pucci shoes any longer. Go out and volunteer with Meals on Wheels or Bikes not Bombs or something; they won't care how you are dressed. Go on a picnic, bike ride, apple-picking or to a movie or museum or concert.

When I was single I splurged on clothes as a form of self-love. I 'deserved' them and they filled a hole in my life. (Now I kind of feel like I have 'let myself go' by paying zero attention to how I look, but that's another thread.)

Is it possible that your wife could use another way to fill that existential vacuum? You said you could even raise the budget.. so it seems like the actual cash flow is not your #1 worry. Instead of restricting the supply, why not examine the source of the demand?


The lure of shoes (IMO) is that you can try them on fast and it doesn't matter if you've gained 20 pounds. Shoes are the apparel crack: a very quick intense high. Plus the new leather smells awesome! And I've had pairs that were definite works of art as well.

Another idea is that you could show some interest in her shopping.. go to NYC (or whatever big-city chic shopping area nearest you) for a weekend and tag along to a couple shoe places (hey, I went with DH to the boat show). You get: more exercise walking around, first-hand sociological examination of lady/shoe dynamics, plus you are limited to what you can carry and not the size of the UPS truck.

Sounds like you need to get away from the too-easy one-click shopping and into the non-virtual world. Encourage her in a positive way to pick out things that are luxurious but long-lasting: a cashmere sweater instead of a lamè jacket; classic rather than something that will quickly be "SO last-season!". Heck, spring for a 'personal shopper' or image consultant that can fine-tune her wardrobe.. (maybe give them the budget). Make a seasonal event out of it. Your wife will feel treated like a queen and the purchases will be strategic as opposed to random and whimsical.

Alternately, you could siphon off some of your egg into a secret account and lie say "honey, we lost big in the market; time to tighten the belt". Or put it all in a trust or annuity where neither of yiz kin git at it.


After you have addressed the demand issue ('cause otherwise this will just be an excuse to buy 'replacements'), help her weed out the shoe collection and donate them, along with other appropriate attire, to one of those places that help out poor women with "dressing for success". If you tally up the original cost of the cast-offs.. well.. whoa! (I've been there!)
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Old 10-25-2007, 02:33 AM   #96
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That actually sounds pretty good. But it's too late. I already had the neural wi-fi implant put in. My mind has melded with the net.

Seriously, this is not an addiction, and it's not out of control. I'm just looking for a simple negative feedback loop that doesn't involve nagging or guilt trips.
I've found myself in a similar situation in terms of enforcing a budget, albeit I'm still well within the accumulation stage.

I make well more than I need and invest far more than I spend, so it is hard to keep myself clamped down to a tight budget (especially with the constant influence of hearty spenders).

I write down all discretionary expenses (with running total) on a notepad sitting on my desk. Every time I think about purchasing a new toy, I have to glance down at that pad. That glance tells me two important things: 1) just how much I've spent and 2) whether I have really gained much utility out of those recent purchases. Every month or two, I'll go back through previous pages of the notepad and see just how many of my purchases I have really used.

After only a few months of implementing this, my purchasing became a bit more picky - finding you spent $xxx on a new toy that has been sitting in the closet for three months gets old real quick.

It doesn't sound like you want to go into this much detail, but the notepad is an excellent feedback mechanism. For me, merely having a limit on the credit card would remove the association of money with purchases far enough where I don't think the budget would stick.
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Old 10-25-2007, 02:47 AM   #97
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Ladelfina gives an excellent analysis. I have a somewhat different viewpoint, not conflicting, but different. I sold women's shoes part time and summers, for several years. It was a wonderful job. It kept me in the air conditioned comfort of a store, allowed me to make very good money, and let me observe interesting subjects- women in their own milieu.

I don't think one needs to decide why women like shoes, any more than why men like 60 inch HD TVs. Many but not all men love huge TVs, many but not all women love attractive shoes. It might be in the DNA. I know I tend to like women who like shoes. Who could not be enthralled by their intense delight in a few ounces of leather atop 4 inches of heel! And make no mistake; high heels really do improve a woman's appearance. Not to mention that it is an athletic feat to wear these things.

I don't know but I would guess that a man's toys generally cost far more than a woman's. How may pairs of shoes or Nordstrom party dresses would a 35' boat get you? How about a 911, or even a Corvette? How about that useless ugly mal-handling gas guzzling muscle car that looks so appealing?

I think women’s clothing is just like any other budget item. Unless both members of the couple enjoy deprivation for its own sake (does anyone?), then they both have to understand and buy into the reasoning behind restraining spending when to many observers it might appear that there is more than enough money lying around. (And these observers will emphatically include her girlfriends!)

Ha
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Old 10-25-2007, 03:10 AM   #98
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I write down all discretionary expenses (with running total) on a notepad sitting on my desk. Every time I think about purchasing a new toy, I have to glance down at that pad.
Cho, I can't tell you how refreshing I found your post. It seems like forever since somebody directly addressed the original question.

I thought a bit about this while I was considering the "cash as tracking token" scheme. All I really need is a simple count-down mechanism. I was originally thinking about a running tally in reverse -- subtracting each purchase from the budget in real-time. But I think I like your idea better. Rather than an actual budget, a simple reminder of the running total should do the trick.

I'll try this myself first. I think it'll work better than something like Quicken, for example, that requires processing credit card data and then reviewing purchases after the fact.

Now, back to our regularly scheduled program of Psychoanalyzing The Too-Rich Guy. (BTW, ladelfina, I loved your post -- especially the insights on shoe-love.)
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Old 10-25-2007, 03:46 AM   #99
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Society for Barefoot Living: Key Articles

High heels look slick, but are pretty bad for your feet. My mom's feet are really messed up from the pointy-toed stiletto-y things that were de rigueur even for hausfraus in the '50s/'60s (think June Cleaver). It's a less-severe form of Chinese foot-binding (which had a similar erotic allure in addition to similarly desireable disabling qualities). That said, I actually feel similarly to haha.. and find "well"-shod (high-heeled) women's feet and legs attractive and fascinating myself.





I just (yesterday, before this thread and so coincidentally) placed an order for some of these, which shall guarantee that I never fit into my old "fancy" shoes ever again:
Yoga Toes Toe Stretchers: Fix Foot Problems Naturally with YogaToes! Bunions, Hammer Toes, Arches, DVT. Wholesale, quantity discounts, retail foot care products Toe Trainers.
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Old 10-25-2007, 06:27 AM   #100
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Given our potential lifespans, there simply isn't enough historical data to give any meaning to a 4% SWR. Honestly, I really don't know what a safe withdrawal rate is for a 50+ year retirement. I don't think many people have been retired for 50+ years living off their investments, do you? We're pioneers -- yeeha!
Whew, you DO like playing with fire, don't you? If I were in your shoes (as numerous as they may be) and facing 50+ more years of retirement, I would not withdraw more than 3%. I think that 4% is definitely too much.
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