Too many people in this world think you have to spend your way to happiness. *Personally, I don't subscribe to that philosophy.
Amen! But a lot of retired people have very good pensions, with health care and all. These people have a totally different outlook from one such as myself who will have modest SS plus my savings to live from. Now my savings are considerable, but still I must be much more careful say than my 52 year old brother, who just retired from a large school system after teaching a little over 30 years. He is planning to spend his savings on a horse breeding operation. And why not? Very little bad is likely to happen to his retirement income, that wouldn't obliterate mine. (Nuclear war, etc.)
It's true that walking on the beach is fun and free, but most of us have to spend a little to get there. Also, social life costs money. If you are a retired farmer in your hometown, you can get together with your buddies every day for $2 worth of coffee and donuts. But golf, bowling, even fishing can run up.
I like to read about the occasional guy who was a file clerk his whole life, and retired with a portfolio worth $5million. Invariably he wore old clothes, ate whatever he found in the day old bin, and applied for whatever benefits he could get for free. Often he was a loner too. In our culture, it must be quite hard to live like that. We are coached to define ourselves by our tastes, by the consumption discriminations we make.
As I started to prepare for early retirement, I found I had to create some positive image to replace the image of a solid middle class person with middle class tastes, spending habits, etc. I started to define myself as a "low roller"; a Wal-Mart kind of guy. It wasn't and it still isn't always easy. However I am contrary by nature, so I get some pleasure from doing this when so many people are trying to qualify for the Country Club.
In some ways, living on less than you maybe could is like being on a diet. Most of us could monetarily afford to eat as much as we wanted. That is why poor people are often not thin. But still, most people must struggle to eat reasonably. I attacked that problem by developing a positive goal of health and fitness. So when I eat, I am carrying out a positve plan for body maintenance and good food, not struggling to do without.
I admit it is harder to be tight with my other spending, but I am trying to follow the same plan. Trying to remind myself how secure I will feel, knowing that I am not taking foolish risks with my future.
Like the professor said, it's hard to live cheap when you have some money. It's like being "land poor". Lot's of net worth, but less to spend than a factory worker getting some overtime.
Well, I guess that should be enough for a while!