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How wealthy do you feel?
Old 05-16-2007, 11:50 AM   #1
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How wealthy do you feel?

I'm not sure if a poll is the right choice, but something I wanted to share with the group. DW, Tori and I were shopping in the local Sprouts (kind of a farmers market, organic foods, Trader Joe's type store) and I was really enjoying going through the selections. Items from around the world, every kind of luxury food, and crops raised wonderful conditions few in the world get to experience. And I realized I could buy any of it. I thought about how we haven't lived paycheck to paycheck in years, and we are in want of nothing, and have a myriad of choices for wants. I just felt really wealthy, and still do. Oh, I know I can't quit work, and maybe I can't buy a house with an ocean view or have servants, but I really feel wealthy nonetheless. But I have friends and aquaintences who have a higher NW (ours is ~1/3 million) yet still feel poor. My mom insists shes just doing o.k., even though she's worth a couple million and spends little (drives a 12 year old Honda). How are you feeling about your financial picture, or life in general. Are some here driven by a little anxiousness no matter how much you have saved? My grandparents were children of the depression, very frugal, and worried about money even when they were extremely well set, even by Monte Carlo standards.
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Re: How wealthy do you feel?
Old 05-16-2007, 01:21 PM   #2
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Re: How wealthy do you feel?

I agree. Having lived in the 3rd World for 11 years (and Korea for 3), I appreciate the finer things in life like drinkable tap water and a roof over my head. I also agree that there is a such a wide choice of things that I can buy but don't need to.

I think that the point that you made that struck me the most is not so much how much we have but our expectations. As you noted, there are people who have a higher NW than us but expect more so they feel poor. I think that the same thing is true of your Mom and others of that generation. They have the expectation that they could be poor enough. Essentially both groups let their expectations decrease their quality of life.

I think that at the least, you (and I) have more optimistic expectations. We would not be so enamored of FIRE otherwise. We don't believe that our wealth will be taken away or the increasing wants for material things.
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Re: How wealthy do you feel?
Old 05-16-2007, 01:23 PM   #3
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Re: How wealthy do you feel?

Laurence,

I wholeheartedly agree with your post! Having been to financial and personal hell and back, where I am today financially and personally - is simply abundant! Still have to keep working (gotta hang in for another medical plan and pension) but am lucky that my "occupation" and avocation are closely related. I can afford to do the things I enjoy doing, and am saving so I can maintain this lifestyle in later years. Yes, I am blessed with wealth! ("rich" is another topic entirely - and not high on my priority list)

J
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Re: How wealthy do you feel?
Old 05-16-2007, 01:28 PM   #4
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Re: How wealthy do you feel?

We have all the money that we want. We are far, far from financial wealth, but that wealth is not what we ever wanted. We wanted "enough" and we have that. Pension, portfolio, employer paid health insurance in age 55 retirement, and no debt means we feel extremely blessed. Others look at our smaller home, older cars, and general lack of ostentatious stuff as though we are just getting by. Our income is lower, middle class, but we don't work! These retirement days are the happiest, most carefree days of my life, so far. How wealthy do you feel?
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Re: How wealthy do you feel?
Old 05-16-2007, 01:41 PM   #5
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Re: How wealthy do you feel?

Funny, I have been feeling similarly lately. We don't want for anything material and we don't fret the small stuff. Any expenditure under $100 I don't bother to rationalize, and any major expenditure or calamity quickly becomes a minor one when we realize that our portfolio moves more than that amount on any given day. I feel lucky, at least on the material side of things.
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Re: How wealthy do you feel?
Old 05-16-2007, 01:41 PM   #6
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Re: How wealthy do you feel?

Quote:
Originally Posted by heyyou
Pension, portfolio, employer paid health insurance in age 55 retirement, and no debt means we feel extremely blessed.
I think this is key. Someone without these things may have more money but be much less secure, and also much less able to spend what is coming in because he has to deal with more uncertainty. So in this sense, he is less wealthy- not because of any tendency to feel poor, but just because of reality.

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Re: How wealthy do you feel?
Old 05-16-2007, 01:50 PM   #7
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Re: How wealthy do you feel?

Very interesting topic for me.

I was pondering the concept of feeling wealthy regardless of your actual NW and I was struck with an interesting thought about my own personal journey to FIRE.

My first wife always wanted to be wealthy and tried to live that lifestyle without the financial means to do so. In fact, her out-of-control spending caused us to not be on a path to being wealthy (or even solvent) by spending more than we made. She was living in an illusion she has created. Her spending was in fact derailing our ability to ever live they way she wanted. Predictably, the relationship did not survive.

The irony of all this is that I am now in a place financially where I can spend like she always wanted to; because I was able to get to this stage through living like I knew we needed to but she refused to. Because of how she chose to live she missed out on being able to actually afford to live the way she wanted to. She is remarried but her financial means are far less than what I now have. So, she never was able to live the way she wanted because of how she lived.

Everything in life has a price...we just need to understand the true cost of what we desire.
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Re: How wealthy do you feel?
Old 05-16-2007, 01:53 PM   #8
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Re: How wealthy do you feel?

I feel wealthy because:

1) We don't have to work (that's a BIGGIE!)
2) We don't have to budget our spending too very carefully to stay within our means.
3) If we really had to, we could help close relative with financial emergencies (medical expenses, etc.), without putting our own retirement at significant risk.

No, I can't afford a multi-million dollar mansion or a big fancy yacht or to buy my own island. But there is a whole lotta stuff I CAN afford, and that feels good!

Audrey
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Re: How wealthy do you feel?
Old 05-16-2007, 02:15 PM   #9
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Re: How wealthy do you feel?

We feel wealthy, and I guess actually we are, but the funny thing is that we felt wealthy when we had a small fraction of the financial net worth we have today.

About thirty years ago, I was having coffee with a friend who was in very straitened circumstances, some of which was from her own bad money management, but she said something to me that has stuck with me for this long time.

She said, "you know, you are putting WAY too much faith in having savings in the bank. You'd be much better served to spend more time and effort developing skills that are useful to you in life, investing in friendships and relationships and learning to feel secure whether you have money or not. One thing about me, I don't have money, but I know that no matter what happens, my survival skills, my ability to network, my circle of friends and my ability to live cheap if I need to will give me more security than you will have with a big bank balance."

And she was right. I got it right then, in a flash, and have looked at life her way ever since.

We felt abundance in our life when we had very little and we feel abundance in our life now that we have a lot. But that abundant feeling comes more from skills, friends, relationships and knowing how to live frugally than it does from money. Even though at this point, there is little we could not buy, (short of the oceanfront mansion (in this country at least), and hot and cold running servants, etc.)

Yet, I have a mother-in-law who is closing in on her second million in investments, but who buys lottery tickets almost every day, because "you can never have enough". Even when asked what she would do with the money if she won, she really can't come up with anything. She has everything she needs and most everything she wants, but she says, "oh, don't you worry, I'd find something to spend it on". She's 82 years old, in poor health, has no friends and few acquaintances, and kids who spend time with her out of obligation. She lives in poverty and doesn't even know it. And even if she won those many millions, she would still be poor. She is incapable of feeling secure and content with the almost two million she has already.

We could lose most of our money tomorrow, and it wouldn't make all that much difference to us. Sure, I'd rather not HAVE to work again, but it wouldn't be the end of the world if I did. I don't think that could happen at this point unless the entire economy shoots craps, but if it did, I'd put a lot more faith in our useful skills, many close friends, and ability to live on little when necessary. One thing we've always had in our lives is "enough", and that isn't going to change, no matter what our brokerage balance is.

Not that it isn't fun to walk around in stores and realize that we could buy pretty much anything we wanted. We walked by a nice little BMW displayed in a shopping mall recently. It was amusing to realize that we could just write a check and buy that car, if we wanted to, as we walked through the parking lot to our fifteen year old Mazda pickup truck, with over 180,000 miles on him, but still a loyal member of our "family".

How few people really feel "rich" enough to enjoy that?

LooseChickens
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Re: How wealthy do you feel?
Old 05-16-2007, 02:21 PM   #10
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Re: How wealthy do you feel?

I voted no - while we've more assets than most of our friends we also have between nada and diddly for pensions, paid healthcare, 401k, SS.... Not that I object to that, just that it makes me very concious of the future and how it's provided for.
I was raised in a series of places bought for the land rather than the house; Dad worked one or two jobs before coming home to work on the fences trying to keep the cattle in on our series of raggedy properties. We were moving every few years; Mom bought damaged goods food by the pallet from railroad auctions, got us dental care and haircuts from dental schools and barber colleges. The parents were focused on trying to create a cattle ranch to raise us kids on - we were land poor. I can remember my Dad hocking part of his gun collection several early Decembers - for Christmas presents I now know.
Don't work as hard as my folks did, aren't as smart, so even though I'm better off I don't feel like my rewards are deserved - makes me want to protect the assets against the time someone finds out and comes to take those unearned rewards away. Just purely lucky, which doesn't seem like it should fit with wealthy.
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Re: How wealthy do you feel?
Old 05-16-2007, 02:24 PM   #11
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Re: How wealthy do you feel?

We definitely feel wealthy. We are retired and can meet our expenses just fine. We can't afford a lot of stuff, but we don't want anything more than we already have. Its wonderful to feel so satisfied.
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Re: How wealthy do you feel?
Old 05-16-2007, 02:37 PM   #12
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Re: How wealthy do you feel?

i definitely feel wealthy on pay day .

enuff
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Re: How wealthy do you feel?
Old 05-16-2007, 02:47 PM   #13
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Re: How wealthy do you feel?

I have a pension, a nice plump brokerage account and partially funded health insurance. I live modestly but very comfortably. I feel wealthy most of the time with occasional anxiety thrown in. I feel more secure than wealthy. Security means more to me than wealth.
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Re: How wealthy do you feel?
Old 05-16-2007, 02:50 PM   #14
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Re: How wealthy do you feel?

I voted no. We are currently staying in a $1 million property in San Diego on a 3-week home swap. We spend 2 months in PV every winter. We have two cars that are paid for. We eat out once a week at a fine restaurant.

I consider that we are financially independent. Everyone here might consider themselves to be there or on the way there. But wealthy? Maybe comfortable is the right word.

Just how rich is rich, really?
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Re: How wealthy do you feel?
Old 05-16-2007, 03:12 PM   #15
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Re: How wealthy do you feel?

I feel fortunate and comfortable, but not wealthy.

I give myself a false sense of not having a lot of money by saving 30% of my paycheck before I even see it (goes to 401(K), savings account and brokerage account automatically). Even that gives me a cushion for some play money, but in months where I travel or splurge on things, my checking account can get pretty low!

With 14 years to ER (I'm shooting for 52), I think I'll feel wealthy when I pull the plug, but I'm not there yet.

Karen
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Re: How wealthy do you feel?
Old 05-16-2007, 03:52 PM   #16
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Re: How wealthy do you feel?

Knowing how poor the vast majority of people are, I am wealthy. Wealthy enough not to have to work, wealthy enough not to worry, but not wealthy enough for a dream life where money is no longer a consideration. But I am feeling (and getting) wealthier everyday.
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Re: How wealthy do you feel?
Old 05-16-2007, 04:18 PM   #17
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Re: How wealthy do you feel?

Wealthy means not having to worry about having enough. Enough what you might ask? Enough to not having to say I can't buy that at the grocery store, I can't afford to go to the Dr or Dentist or get a prescription, I can't afford my air conditioning bill, I can't spot one of my kids $20 or $500 if needed.

Enough doesn't mean that I can shop till I drop or travel non-stop. Enough means that I do not have to work unless I want to. Enough means I can have all of the basic necessities covered and still have money in my pocket for some of the fun things in life.

Enough and wealth are all about choices. I have enough money to afford time spent as I choose, I have health and loved ones to enjoy it with. Because of the assets which allow this... I have wealth and choose to be thankful each day. My goal is to prudently stay within my means and be a steward of my finances to never feel poor again.
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Re: How wealthy do you feel?
Old 05-16-2007, 04:27 PM   #18
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Re: How wealthy do you feel?

Quote:
Originally Posted by crazy connie
Wealthy means not having to worry about having enough. Enough what you might ask? Enough to not having to say I can't buy that at the grocery store, I can't afford to go to the Dr or Dentist or get a prescription, I can't afford my air conditioning bill, I can't spot one of my kids $20 or $500 if needed.
Exactly what I was thinking. Means I can bail out my older sister if her (hopefully concurrent) ale of the old house and purchase of the new condo runs into problems.
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Re: How wealthy do you feel?
Old 05-16-2007, 04:38 PM   #19
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Re: How wealthy do you feel?

You guys are making some great points, and I agree with them despite the fact that I wonder if I will ever truly feel "wealthy." My parents were both so scarred by the Depression that I seem to have been left with a lot of their attitudes about money. I fight that in myself all the time but it is so deeply ingrained that I seldom can spend money without feeling a certain sense of guilt or anxiety about maybe needing the money for something else later. It's one of those things about myself that I would most like to change, but it's hard to do. It's not that we don't have enough money for everything that we want so I know that I'm causing myself a lot of unnecessary grief.
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Re: How wealthy do you feel?
Old 05-16-2007, 04:45 PM   #20
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Re: How wealthy do you feel?

Amen

Depression legacy from my parents - how dare I buy something as fun and frivolous as that - let alone permit myself to enjoy it.

Cheap bastardhood is a hard bugger to kill sometimes.

heh heh heh :
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