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View Poll Results: $300k And You
I'm Doing Just Fine 8 6.56%
A Quarter Or Less 27 22.13%
Less Than Half 15 12.30%
Half 16 13.11%
More Than Half 6 4.92%
More Than Three Quarters 4 3.28%
All That Plus A Bag Of Chips 46 37.70%
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Old 03-17-2011, 04:43 PM   #101
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Old 03-17-2011, 05:40 PM   #102
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i am sure that now you will tell me how hard you worked to get to the position you are in today and how smart you were to make the right decisions to get to the position you are in today. dont get me wrong, i am sure you earned it but you couldnt have done any of that if you werent in a country that provided the envirnment to allow you to capitalize on all your hard work and smart decisions. so since you have prospered so in said country it is up to you to pay some amount of that prosperity back to keep that country running. i am also sure you think that you pay a very large amout in taxes but look at how much you have left after paying said taxes (if necessary, reread above para)
And that, ladies and gentlemen, is why Atlas shrugged. And probably said a few choice words!
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Old 03-17-2011, 06:57 PM   #103
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This is too harsh. There was no complaining or whining in Loop Lawyer posts. There's also nothing wrong with earning that kind of money, and certainly not using it to pay for university. People that pay full tuition are actually paying their share and someone else's as well...
+10
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Old 03-17-2011, 07:25 PM   #104
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i think you have lost touch with what really is a necessity of life when you can call a degree from a school that 98% of people cant get into "pretty close to being "a necessity of life" ". in fact in that very sentance you show that it isnt when you say "if you want to make a career in a firm like mine", the operative word being "want". you yourself state that it is a want, a desire, which is not a "necessity of life". again i say, get a grip.
My, such intense resentment and even hostility....

Obviously elite schooling is not a "necessity of life" for you or yours. But it is for me and mine. Put another way, for this purchase your want would appear to be my need. Or maybe you will say you "wouldn't want to go to one of those fancy-pants, sissified colleges anyway," which would say nothing about MY wants or needs, or about how hard I will work to provide for my children (and their children).



I hate to disappoint you, but here are some other things that I need:
  • an endless supply of red Chateauneuf-du-Pape ('00, '05 and '07 vintages)
  • one red "SL" class Mercedes-Benz convertible (any old vintage will do)
  • one city club devoid of people with class-based resentment and hostility
  • one comfortable apartment less than one mile from my one comfortable office
  • one tennis court at one country house adjoining one country club
  • 15-20 Brioni suits
I didn't need any these things in the distant past. Came to enjoy all of them immensely and do need them now.

Will be able to dispense with the Brioni suits once retired. As explained elsewhere, they are needless then. Will continue to need the rest.

Some won't "approve" of all this, but thankfully I don't need them to OK it. My hunch is that Danmar will "get it" and approve.

P.S. That's why people like me need a city club such as described above: so as to socialize with others who get it, out of sight of the resentment and hostility of those who don't.

Happy St. Patrick's Day to all from downtown Chicago! Slainte!
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Old 03-17-2011, 07:26 PM   #105
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We have joined the simpler lifestyle bunch. We had the sportscar but it was a pita when we needed to carry groceries. Ditto the house. I largely built (over built) our house. I do a better job than the people that I've hired and like doing quality work. Real pride comes when you DIY.
We enjoy walks, hikes, reading, cooking, camping and other cheaper entertainments. Family time is even better. We LBOurM enough to be able to use SS and a small pension for all our needs when it's finally time and still have a ball. Thus, most of our current take home pay gets invested.
I don't care for shopping. $300k would just continue with what we are doing, only $270k faster.
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Old 03-17-2011, 07:47 PM   #106
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My, such intense resentment and even hostility....
+1

I was thinking the exact same thing.

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Old 03-17-2011, 07:47 PM   #107
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<<If you're a teacher or an engineer, no one is really expecting you to "look rich", while if you are a lawyer, there is an expectation that you drive a nicer car and dress well.

So from a wealth-generating aspect, a lawyer's salary is really worth less than it looks like on paper, because they must spend a fair amount of money on "useless" stuff to maintain that salary.>>

Correct!

I have thought about this a lot and would add two or three points to your excellent observations:

1. Lawyers who do very, very well can dress as they please, drive whatever they please, live wherever they please. The best corporate litigator in the U.S. famously buys his suits at Sears. My favorite corporate lawyer, whose ancestors were on the Mayflower, wears rumpled seersucker suits (in the summer) and red socks. But it takes DECADES of success to get to that point and, frankly, very few lawyers ever achieve the degree of known success that frees them up to become "eccentric." Almost all stay on the consumption track, which, as you note, means they wind up buying a lot of stuff that a government school teacher or engineer would not be expected to have. Also, litigators can get by with lesser displays of UMC style than corporate lawyers can because litigators aren't in the boardroom much. Put simply, judges (who hope to earn $150K a year) and jurors (who earn, on average, less than $50K) feel comfortable with litigators who are dressed by Sears. CEOs and board chairmen don't. Some might wish it were otherwise, but what I've described is the reality.

2. It's not entirely "useless" stuff, and I can see you understand what I mean because you used parentheses to indicate irony. Useless, no -- but situationally-dependent, suboptimal, relatively wasteful, not what one might choose but for the need to fit in. Example: I "need" Brioni suits because the executives whose companies are my clients expect to see me in them. Once I retire I won't need them any more and won't buy any more.

3. Using expensive stuff can upgrade one's expectations. Example: I began to drive Cadillacs because someone in my position basically can't be seen in anything "less" than that. That's how it started.... But then I came to enjoy the comfort of that soft leather and quiet ride, and now Cadillac sedans are a "need" of mine. Could I do with less in retirement? Yes. Will I? No.
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Old 03-17-2011, 08:42 PM   #108
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<<Maybe you should recruit a couple of the top students from SR state. They could show some of your 300K boys how to get by in life without over-paying for everything, getting by on less, chasing status and maybe end up with a few bucks in savings at the end of the year.>>

Those of us who own the firm don't hire anyone to show us how to "get by in life" or "get by on less." We don't care to "get by" at all. We live very well, thank you. Could say more but will decline.

<<Besides any school you or your family attends [sic], does this also apply to your neighborhood, gym, country club, church, clothing store, and circle of friends. Just wondering when it would be appropriate for me to use.>>

No comment (here).
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Old 03-17-2011, 09:28 PM   #109
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<<i dont know you or your brother but do you really think that last year you worked 3 times as hard/much as your brother did the whole 1st 15 yrs of his career....?>>

No. I think I chose to work in a field as to which I knew that, if I exceeded expectations, the market would value my contribution in one year at about 3 times as much as the market would value my brother's contribution for the first 15 years of his career. It was a choice I made. And my brother, who could not have succeeded nearly as well in this field had he tried, chose instead to work in a field as to which he knew that, no matter how skilled he might become and no matter how hard he might work, his government employer would never pay him more in a year than someone like his brother might earn in a week. It was a choice he made, informed by his limitations. He could have done better, but he's lazy, and I have found that ambition can't be "taught."

I will add that Oprah Winfrey has chosen to work in a field where, when she exceeds expectations, the market values her contribution in a single morning higher than the market values mine for an entire year. I live on Oprah's block (one of them, anyway) and have never watched her on TV. I don't know whether she works 365 times as hard as I do, but that's irrelevant because it's what the market values that counts, not "how hard" she works. The market values the best talk show hosts much higher than it values even the best of lawyers, and I knew that from the beginning. So, even if Oprah is "lazy" (and I rather doubt it), I don't resent her market success, picket her city apartment or prod policitians to transfer her wealth to me.
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Old 03-17-2011, 09:32 PM   #110
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Can I just laugh at you?
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Old 03-17-2011, 09:48 PM   #111
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Sorry about your SATs....
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Old 03-17-2011, 09:51 PM   #112
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Sorry you need to wear a Brioni, too bad you can't afford better. Try a Richard Jewels if you can afford it, and learn about European suit makers, it would help you a bunch, yeah, bunches, eh. Loved Chicago when I visited, I must have missed you.
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Old 03-17-2011, 10:01 PM   #113
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I think I'll stick with not understanding how I could personally be able to spend $300k a year than becoming cynical and spiteful towards those who are able.

Any which way, the personal attacks are childish.
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Old 03-17-2011, 10:23 PM   #114
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This thread has taken an unfortunate turn for the worse; it almost feels like the professor is back...
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Old 03-17-2011, 11:27 PM   #115
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No, I don't think I could spend that much. In fact, my fiancée and I have been working out long term budgets/finances recently. We must be anomalies. I am a resident physician who in 2-3 years will be in the 400k-700k range. She is a lawyer who by that time frame is all but guaranteed to be in the 300k-400k range (possibly more). We have a hard time bringing yearly non-charity spending to above 70k. Things we are weird about.

1) Neither of us desire a large house. We think it would feel awkward to bring less fortunate friends/family over and don't even like living around "affluent" people. In fact, I much prefer interacting with our current "blue-collar" neighbors over most of the physicians in my hospital or lawyers at her firm...much less pretense and much more beer. If we did ever spend more money, it would be on land.
2) We couldn't care less about cars.
3) We are in agreement about not sending future kids to expensive schools. You can't "buy" smart children. We both went to public grade schools and had parents who were nice enough to pay the equivalent of in-state tuition for undergrad...anything beyond that was up to us. We both worked hard, excelled, and were of course blessed with intelligent, caring parents.

Those seem to be the biggest expenses most people have. I don't at all begrudge people who value those things. My significant other and I just aren't programmed that way and I am willing to guess many on this site aren't either. We just want to be financially independent ASAP so we can concentrate on family and our favorite causes. Sure, our feelings may change in the future, but I doubt it.
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Old 03-18-2011, 01:19 AM   #116
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I don't resent her success, but I think that she should probably pay a higher rate of taxes than us mere mortals do.

I certainly don't think that she should pay a lower rate. I find it stunning that the hedge fund industry has managed to weasle themselves a lower rate of tax than the rest of us (via the carried interest loophole) for making a ridiculous amount of money gambling with other peoples' money. I find it amazing that their customers are willing to play the heads I win, tales you lose game with them.

I'm stunned that people think a 15% cap gains/dividend rate makes sense when compared to the marginal earned income rate of someone making $100k/year.

The wealthy pay a lower rate of taxes than they have since before WWII, and yet there is more complaining about taxes now than I ever remember.

You seem to be very focused on the danger politicians pose to the wealthy, but a dangerously large portion of the wealthy in this country get their money more by using political influence than by any great innovative brilliance.

If you're a fan of Atlas Shrugged, I contend that for every Hank Rearden in our country there is an Orren Boyle or two working to shift more and more of the tax burden to the lower thru upper-middle classes by cutting the progressive taxes (income, estate, cap gains), and raising the regressive ones (payroll, sales tax, gas tax, sin taxes, property tax, etc). Note that payroll taxes now make up 36% of the federal revenue ( the income tax is 45%).

The people who pay the highest percentage of their income in tax in this country aren't the very wealthy, they are the people making $106,800/year who are single and rent. For the very wealthy, FICA is negligible, but it is 14% (including the "employer's half") or so of the $107k guy's wages.

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So, even if Oprah is "lazy" (and I rather doubt it), I don't resent her market success, picket her city apartment or prod policitians to transfer her wealth to me.
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Old 03-18-2011, 01:40 AM   #117
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Yes, I think the key to living below your means is making sure that your upgrades in expectations never outstrip your upgrades in income. It can get especially ugly for people who face declining earnings power after a lifetime of affluent living.

I'm confident that my expectations will never outstrip my income because I've avoided cultivating any real high-end tastes or desires.

The people who I interact with that have developed them seem a little goofy to me.

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3. Using expensive stuff can upgrade one's expectations. Example: I began to drive Cadillacs because someone in my position basically can't be seen in anything "less" than that. That's how it started.... But then I came to enjoy the comfort of that soft leather and quiet ride, and now Cadillac sedans are a "need" of mine. Could I do with less in retirement? Yes. Will I? No.
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Old 03-18-2011, 06:02 AM   #118
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I am satisfied with my present lifestyle, but would have no problems running through this amount in various ways, including large charitable donations.
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Old 03-18-2011, 07:23 AM   #119
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For example, no amount of money would buy back the real molar I lost 3 years ago due to periodontal disease. Or it would not allow me to hire someone else to sit in the dentist chair to suffer the dental work in my place. It would not buy back my youth. It would not allow me to eat or drink more than I do now, without having to pay the consequences of such indulgence.
These sentiments are very frequently expressed in song. "Money can't buy back... your youth when you're old....or a friend when you're lonely...or a love that's grown cold..."



IMO quite possibly at least partially untrue, and definitely a non-sequiter. It's like saying beauty doesn't make you smart. So? At least you are dumb and beautiful rather than both dumb and ugly.

I can't think of one problem that is made worse by having money, and lots of it.

Ha
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Old 03-18-2011, 09:14 AM   #120
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Loop lawyer's list of needs demonstrate the problem of peering perfectly. I have no idea what a single thing on his list of needs costs. A few of them (the brand of wine, the brand of suit, the city club), I've never even heard of before.

I like to think I could be happy for him that he has something he enjoys, but I might struggle with being at a meal where he spends $XXX on a bottle of wine. I'd be thinking "man, he just drank my new tv..."

Radiohead - It's hard to belong to one class at work and another at home. A book that outlines this problem really well is Empowering Yourself, by Harvey Coleman:

Coleman Management Consultants, Inc.

This was a real eye opener for me. I used to follow my simple lifestyle and earnestly believe I could go as far as I wanted in my career. After running headlong into a brick wall, watching someone far less competent than me be put in charge, I had no idea what happened. This book explains it.

I changed companies, followed the rules and found doors opening. It turns out, I don't like what's behind them. Spending all my time around people that don't share my lifestyle is unpleasant. I changed companies again and this time I'm leaving the doors shut.
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