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View Poll Results: Everyone has a different view of what represents nominal wealth, but whatever your net worth is, do
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Old 05-24-2007, 03:39 PM   #81
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You know, I did feel wealthy. Then, I found this forum and now I am not so sure anymore. I mean, there are people posting messages who have millions in the bank and ask if they have enough to retire!. So, no, I don't think I am wealthy, just comfortable.

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Old 05-24-2007, 04:10 PM   #82
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I'm one of those with a high net worth, but don't feel "wealthy" due to the following:

* Thirty years of being a low wage earner.

* Paying $1000 a month for health insurance with 12 more years to go until Medicare.

* Growing up in a lower middle class home in a suburb where everyone else was much wealthier (or at least on the surface lived like they did---I had a friend whose parents lived in a much more expensive home in the "better" part of town but they had virtually no furniture in the big fancy home).

* Not living as a wealthy person---very simple lifestyle.

But that said, I am thankful for the money I have that has allowed me to retire at 52 and that so far I am living a comfortable lifestyle for my needs and wants. The one time I do feel wealthy is when I watch foreign films and see how the majority in the rest of the world live!
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Do you feel well Endowed !
Old 05-24-2007, 04:39 PM   #83
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Do you feel well Endowed !

Well sometimes I feel like I am well endowed. After all I have always been "popular"

But then after we had one of those drunken "I'll show you mine if you show yours" parties I realized that I didn't have all that much compared to "Big Jimbono".

Now I feel so inadequate and my life is miserable
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Old 05-24-2007, 05:58 PM   #84
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Well sometimes I feel like I am well endowed. After all I have always been "popular"

But then after we had one of those drunken "I'll show you mine if you show yours" parties I realized that I didn't have all that much compared to "Big Jimbono".

Now I feel so inadequate and my life is miserable
Are we talking money here?
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Old 05-25-2007, 09:43 AM   #85
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I don't think I will ever feel wealthy. My goal is to feel "extremely comfortable", rather than wealthy, if that makes any sense. I don't know what I would do with any more money than that, to tell you the truth. I don't have enough expensive hobbies or desires.

Due to many, many years of minimalist or LBYM lifestyle, I think I would feel extremely comfortable at a median retirement income and with enough of a nestegg that I could afford top quality care during my last years of life, from about age 85 or 90 to death.

My brother called last night to tell me that my dear, sweet, angelic 97 year old mother has gone downhill this week and now is no longer able to feed herself or to recognize him. It gives me great comfort to know that she is in the skilled nursing section of an expensive, luxurious, and extremely humane care facility. If I become unable to advocate for myself due to extreme old age, I do not want to be maltreated and it might help if I were able to afford such a place.
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Old 05-25-2007, 10:38 AM   #86
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the Cosmic Muffin ....
There is no Cosmic Muffin, heathen. He is the Flying Spaghetti Monster, as all good Pastafarians know.
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Old 05-27-2007, 02:13 PM   #87
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I am coming to the realization that I'm "doing quite well financially, Thank You Very Much !"

The house is paid for, kids are out of college and out of the home (let's hope it stays that way), I have a good pension, a good 401K, a few bucks in Roth IRA and other investment money and plenty in an emergency account, plus a working spouse !

This is getting dangerous ! After a life of scrimping and saving and going without, I have been indulging lately ! If I see something that I want, I buy it !

I bought a new computer (the 5 year old computer was working fine for what I use it for) and spent a about $1000 on tools that I may not use (no, I'm not setting up the ultimate wood working shop !)

This is something I have never done since I started working and saving at age 12 (lawn cutting, newspapers, gas station, etc. etc. etc). I shared expenses on the private high school I attended and paid all my college expenses including car and insurance and even some living expenses at my parents house (no, they were not broke, just products of the Depression)

This feels strange in a good sort of way !

My wife hasn't caught on. I wanted to take her to Hawaii for our 30th anniversary but it interfered with her work. I wanted to buy her a diamond ring, because she never got an engagement ring, but she didn't want that either. She says we have to watch our funds because my daughters wedding is coming up this fall.

I can't/won't spoil my children My son is still trying to prove that he can "make it on his own" (and he is ). My daughter, after graduating from 5 years of college on the Mom and Dad Scholarship program, needs to find out what life really costs !

I'm still pretty frugal. The new PC is a "home brew" with more horsepower than most of you plus I keeping my old monitor (for now) and I bought a non running (25+ year old) rototiller for $20 (so far parts have only been $30, but it is still not running ! )
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Old 05-27-2007, 05:24 PM   #88
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Isn't the old saying that most people feel they'd be well off if they had 15% more than they have right now?

Whenever I think about what more I'd want than I have now, it all just seems like more of a hassle. Another house? Twice the work and maintenance headaches. Another car? Just fill up the driveway. More furniture? Where would we put it and we'd have to deal with getting rid of the old stuff.... I like the way things are. What we in ER were seeking, I think, is more time to pursue our interests, rather than more stuff. But I know plenty of people not on the ER/Semi-Retirement track who think otherwise...
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Old 05-27-2007, 05:34 PM   #89
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Don't think I feel wealthy - because if I were wealthy, I'd be FIRE'd, right?

I feel very blessed.

Jobs provide excellent resources. Good health. No debt. Just have one last kid in college. Gratitude and upbringing prompt attention to philanthropic giving. Just wish I'd found this forum earlier - I think I'd have kicked up the savings more and would have been closer to FIRE by now.
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Old 05-27-2007, 08:11 PM   #90
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I just re-read my post and a few others and am looking at "wealth" slightly different.

I believe a person is wealthy if they have their health (I watched both of my parents "deteriorate" before their death; I understand the Eskimo way of dieing) and they have the love and respect of their spouse, their children and a few people they can call their friends.

My health could be a lot better and I am still working on that love and respect thing with my children
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Old 05-27-2007, 08:26 PM   #91
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I feel not such much wealthy as feeling comfortable. I have been going to school for the last year, and I have been pretty much spending money as I want except for major vacations and big capital expenditures, and my NW has actually gone up. On the other hand, I know that the situation cannot be continued indefinitely unless I move to Mexico, so I still need to increase my NW by 80% to feel that I do what I do forever. Wait, what's wrong with living in Mexico?
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Old 05-27-2007, 09:34 PM   #92
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I grew up in a family of 4 children, lots of love and very little money. (6 of us in a 2 bedroom terrace house with no garden that Dad still lives in today after 46 years). No telephone, car, running hot water or central heating. I have felt wealthy in comparison to the rest of my family since leaving home at 18. First ever in the family to graduate from High School let alone go to college - including all the known branches of the family).

I'm still extremely close with my brothers and sisters and they don't know I'm a millionaire, they just know I have a very well paid job and am there to help should they need it. Over the past 23 years I have been in the very fortunate position to be able to give a helping hand to each of them from time to time. (all interest free loans which they have paid back in full and all necessary because of lay-offs and the like). I was also able to enrich my parents' experiences with several paid flights from England to the USA and also to Australia.

I really feel wealthy now that I don't worry about losing my job. I'd like to keep working for 33 more months just to be sure (get pension and helath insurance), but I am FI, which means that I can live the very nice lifestyle we have without earned income.
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Old 05-27-2007, 10:43 PM   #93
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Alan,
Nice breakthrough to FI-- and I understand the desire to put a few more months of padding into the calculation. I think you've put a finger on one important aspect of wealth and feeling wealthy which is the ability to help others and share it.
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Old 05-28-2007, 01:02 AM   #94
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No, I confess that I don't feel wealthy. If you look at my net worth, I probably have more than most of the people in the world. I should probably feel wealthy. It's not that I don't feel lucky. I do. I feel lucky to be healthy, to have grown up in a stable, loving family, to have a wonderful wife, to have been born in the wealthiest country on earth, to have been given the opportunities I've had, etc. I'm very happy that I was able to retire early. But I really don't feel wealthy. My idea of wealthy is a lot more than 15% more than what I have.
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Old 05-28-2007, 09:58 AM   #95
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Wait, what's wrong with living in Mexico?
According to Billy & Akeisha, nothing.

Seriously, in our first year of retirement, we did a side-by-side comparison with a former Vancouver resident who lives in Mazatlan fulltime.
Communications - same price
Transportation - 30% cheaper
Meat - 50% cheaper
Fresh fruit & vegetables - 80% cheaper
Dairy - 90% cheaper
Wine & Liquor - 50% cheaper
Medical & Dental - 70% cheaper
Lodging - 30% cheaper
5-star dining out - 30% cheaper
Mexican dining out - 70% cheaper
Overall - 35% cheaper

Since then we have felt rich because a permanent move to Mexico is our fallback plan should the markets go south on us. (Portfolio goes south and so do we!) One thing was clear. Processed foods were not practical in Mexico. Limited choice and ridiculous prices. Local wines were cheaper as were local liquors. It is possible to live much cheaper in Mexico than what we compared but we were doing it from a "feeling rich" perspective. The Mazatlan couple rent an apartment right on the beach as an example.

Since 2003, inflation in both places has kept pace. Beachfront properties have gone nuts but so did California. So far, Mexico is maintaining its beachfront prices better than California.
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Old 05-28-2007, 01:24 PM   #96
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Alan,
Nice breakthrough to FI-- and I understand the desire to put a few more months of padding into the calculation. I think you've put a finger on one important aspect of wealth and feeling wealthy which is the ability to help others and share it.

Thanks Bob. Not having to worry about needing a job has made going to work a whole lot less stressful. I still have a tendency to count down the weeks to when I get those "80 points" (age plus service) but with less than 3 years to go I try not to wish my life away and try to look forward to some shorter milestanes like a big family re-union in England in September when my brother and wife are coming over from Oz for the first time since they emigrated in 1994.

With the "extra padding" of these next 33 months we'll be able to do more things like bringing over my sisters and their husbands to the USA for a visit.
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Old 05-28-2007, 01:41 PM   #97
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i dont feel wealthy...i am not.


i feel very fortunate though. i have enough $$ savedvto pay the bills for as long as a year or 2 i suppose....i have some SMALL retirement accts....a few rental properties....2 successful businesses....4 paid off vehicles...


Much better than most my age....but still striving for more day in and day out...i am in the 'get more $$,make more opportunities' phase 24/7...ER is my goal.... of course. i guess then i will feel wealthy
I can related to this. We feel very lucky and fortunate given our ages and our net worth but we're always looking out for the next big thing that will make our net worth skyrocket and let us FIRE tomorrow if we could (how can you tell we love our jobs :). On other days, I'm pretty content knowing that if anything happened to our jobs, we'd be okay for 2 or 3 years.
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Old 05-29-2007, 02:17 PM   #98
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so far I am living a comfortable lifestyle for my needs and wants. The one time I do feel wealthy is when I watch foreign films and see how the majority in the rest of the world live!
Tangomonster: arguably living on the edge between the First and Second world, I can attest to this, even though it affects me to a most minor degree. The "rich" people here mostly either do not or cannot concede themselves the space and "luxuries" that even a middle- or lower-middle class family would enjoy in the US. A clothes dryer? I have not yet seen a family here that has one. A GAS clothes dryer is inconceivable/unavailable, despite a 6-8 month cold/wet/rainy season; I could drive many hours to the US base near Vicenzo or further North in hope of snagging one (it's one of the conceded "perks" of foreign assignment here that dryers are made available, from what I understand; non-military folks can hope to get them second-hand at the end of someone else's tour -same with American model cars- or contact the 1 or 2 re-sellers in that area for new merch.). One can go into the home of a millionaire in the area where I live now and see clothes drying on a rack in the LR. It's just the way things are done. It's cold/rainy right now, and my clothes are hanging in the LR.

It's quite interesting to go to the h/w store and see just as many new models of wood-burning cookstoves as there are electric or gas models.

Particularly disconcerting is that we've bought what, to an American, would be almost a "normal" house, yet (naively) I have come to learn that it is "the best house in town X"! That puts us socially out-of-kilter and out-of-whack.. When people come to learn where we live (a house that has ONE electrical outlet for the kitchen not occupied by the stove or fridge)... we are the "rich folks". And they metaphorically tug their forelock and move on. I am not the "lady of the manor" they expect. When the mailman comes, I am in my faded and pilled flower-patterned stretch-pants circa 1985 from the Limited Express!!! At the same time, I do see frequently Porsche Cayennes and big Mercedes pass by-- we don't travel in those circles, either. (It's entirely possible, as in a ghetto, that the Porsche owner actually lives in some "buco" (hole), and/or his automobilistic wealth is ill-gotten).

But the point is, I don't feel rich. I feel as much excluded as empowered by any material wealth I possess. I am neither fish nor fowl. I can't spend with abandon on restructuring, re-upholstering, artwork, spa treatments, yachts, and summers in Sardegna.. nor can I commiserate with the working stiffs. I've been getting the raised-eyebrow Italian version of "what do you do all day?". [Much more severe here: the constitution begins: "Italy is a republic founded on work". And we are in the most-red heart of Communist territory: the 'ex'-communists are the "majority"; there is no "opposition" in the local politics, only the "minority" who are the other sect of 'ex'-communists. In the eyes of many here, "rich" = undeserving slackers who suck the blood of the proletariat.. when they are not fawning over the exploits of warmed-over royalty like the exiled Savoias and any number of minor princes and princesses hanging around from the Medici/Borgia period.]. My BIL is a marquis from Caserta, the ex-House of Savoy seat [rivals Versailles, I am told]. He's broke, but he puts the family crest on his business card. Ferdinando de Natale Sifola Galiani. Three last names! The more the better. The Italian gov't. axed multiple last names in an effort to quash the nobility. At some point they relented, and he had to go through a legal proce$$ to get them rein$tated.

Bizarre disconnects for a democratic American: we were invited to a cocktail party hosted by our previous landlady, who was "of the nobility" in some way, and lived in a (smallish) castle. I didn't know anyone at the event but her and her son/DIL and was trying to "mingle". Some (hereditary) lawyer was droning on about how "we (his family) have been here since the 14th century" [American response -witheld: "Who's 'we'?"] and, quite interesting, a defense of the Napoleonic code of justice... when I spy a lady I met from working on the town sagra (food festival.. think tourist-oriented church supper). "Ciao, Rossella!" Rossella freezes. I want to talk to her, but she is the "servant", doling out the tepid mini-pizzas for the Castle reception; she cannot speak to me. She and the other guests are highly discomfited that I have broken the unspoken barrier between master and servant. Gulp!

Some here really do live a "Miss Haversham" kind of life. In castles (or apartments) without central heat, but surrounded by tapestries and exquisite artifacts and most of all second-/third-/fourth-hand memories of previous eras.

---

"Rich" in monetary terms, as I said in one of my other posts, would be flying first class and not thinking 2x about it. Rich in societal terms would be having lots of similar friends here as I did in the US (v. difficult here given the politics and the reality). Rich in intellectual terms means lots of cultural events/bookstores/cinemas/libraries, etc., but since there's a paucity of those I find myself ever more immersed in the "home country" Internet offerings for sustenance on that score.

What IS "rich" here is the connection to their traditions/family and to the food/agriculture/earth. I appreciate that very much, despite the many lacunae (lack of sensibilty about things like water/waste/recycling; being told not to bother with Round-Up for an errant fig tree-- just douse it with gasoline!, etc.).

We are most definitely lucky and fortunate and for the most part comfortable. I will withold judgment on "rich/wealthy". In monetary terms, "rich" I would define as " I can do what *I* want". Truly wealthy = "I can do what *I* want, and so can my kids, three ex-wives, our/their kids, grandkids, etc." ad infinitum.
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Old 05-29-2007, 10:44 PM   #99
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Tangomonster:

Some here really do live a "Miss Haversham" kind of life. In castles (or apartments) without central heat, but surrounded by tapestries and exquisite artifacts and most of all second-/third-/fourth-hand memories of previous eras.

-
Ladelfina,
great post -- thanks for the peek into life of the expat in (Tuscany?). You're in the land where semi-retirement has been practiced by at least a minority for a long time -- they may call it aristocracy but we can recognize it ER, don't you think? They may get it through inheritance rather than our american methods, but the results and how they spend their days should be familiar to people here.

I liked your Dickensian reference -- it reminded me of a story told by one of my buddies who worked at Sotheby's -- he told of ERs our age in Italy who just sell a painting every 5 years or so when they need to raise cash to support their lifestyles. I guess Sotheby's kinda depends on this trade, so I assume he knew what he was talking about. But I guess some wouldn't want to admit they'd slid that far and try to hang onto it all and live really modestly while trying to keep the place from falling apart-- good for them!

Your post also made me think about what quality of life is, here in semi-retirement. A lot of the fabric of daily life has become important to me and I would take a serious lifestyle cut if I were to give it up -- things like friends, community institutions, local shops, access to media/culture etc of my culture (not just the one I'm living in...) So much as I love Italy, I know these things would start to be missed if I were to live there.

Enjoy the olive oil, the scenery, and keep getting those invitations to the castles and pretty soon you'll have a whole new circle of friends, with nice houses. They may even tell you how to deal with the Communists!
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Old 05-30-2007, 08:54 AM   #100
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A clothes dryer? I have not yet seen a family here that has one.

People here don't use them, either, nor do we have one. They're available, and not particularly considered luxuries, but are thought inferior to drying in the sun if possible. For the rainy season, we have a shower-room air dryer that gets the job done without all that nasty tumbling (the shower room has a laundry rod built in to hang clothes from).

But... perhaps we are sort of in the opposite situation from you. We live in a "nice" neighborhood, surrounded by single-earner families (mostly doctors and such), many of whom bought during the bubble. We are a two-income family, who could only buy here after the bubble finished deflating. We probably got in at just about the bottom, purely by luck. We also built a slightly smaller-than-average house for the neighborhood, preferring a larger-than-average yard (postage-stamp size by US standards, but it is a whole world for us, and more importantly for our kid, who loves spending endless hours digging holes, planting flowers, etc. there). So we kind of feel like we are the riff-raff of the neighborhood, who got here the hard way (though that is relative -- we are probably doing better than most folks I grew up with in the US, for example).

Personally, I have felt "rich" ever since I pulled my net worth non-negative a few years ago, and having grown up in somewhat tight circumstances. I am not even planning to retire early, but am merely shooting for a comfortable retirement. I do feel lucky to be where I am, with the opportunity to earn a reasonable living at work that I more or less enjoy.
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