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Old 05-12-2011, 11:30 AM   #61
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Key word is should. I'm a grasshopper in a world full of ants, some of whom are friends. I'm not worried about offending them. But I do take care how I talk about money because I don't want them to think I think I'm better than them. So I don't give advice, criticize, or comment on their financial situation and keep mine to myself unless someone asks for investment advice.
Like you, I don't initiate money discussions, but I do believe that I'm "better" than people who squander their money. Yes, I know that one man's squander is another man's necessity, choice, etc.... However, the bottom line is that when you spend your money on one thing, you no longer have it to spend on something else. "Better" people save their money (i.e., pay themselves first) before spending what's left. "Lesser" people do the opposite.
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Old 05-12-2011, 11:33 AM   #62
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Had something similar in court a few months back. Other lawyer kept asking what money I was using to pay for the car and what the payments were. She couldn't understand I had no car payments. It was going round and round so I funally had to stand up and and say "I don't owe any money other than my mortgage." Glad the judge didn't yell at me.
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Old 05-12-2011, 11:58 AM   #63
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I'd distinguish between different types of "money" discussions.

Investments. Now that lots of people have 401Ks, it's acceptable to talk about stocks vs. bonds, etc. Lots of people make these decisions and I can discuss them without putting dollar signs on my balance. It might be that Brewer's neighbors know he's an investment professional, so many of his money discussions were in this category.

Loan rates. Does the local CU have better rates than the banks? Is a fixed rate mortgage better than a variable rate? This is a little more sensitive. I can talk about these things theoretically without hitting people with the fact the I don't borrow. If I get the "you must be filthy rich" look when I say I haven't been following loan rates carefully, I'll mention that I borrowed money for my first new car ($1,850 for a 1970 Ford Maverick, the cheapest car on the market at the time) then we drove it as our only car for 8 years until we could afford to buy a new Chevy for cash. i.e. I have no trouble talking about an LBYM lifestyle, but I try not to bring it up unless it's relevant.

Anybody's annual income. This is the one that bothers lots of people. It's funny because when I worked hourly jobs, people were pretty open about hourly wages to the penny. But many salaried workers have a big "performance" component in their income, so it's not just about money, it's also about somebody's evaluation of you as an individual. That's touchy.

Of course, saying I've got savings and I don't borrow makes some people assume I must have a very high income. That's when I bring out the relevant LBYM stories.

(Here's a local story. I'm living in Iowa. The farmers all know who owns which land, and therefore who has millions of dollars in land wealth. They don't know how much of that is supported by borrowing. Regardless of net worth, they drive muddy pickups and wear jeans and flannel shirts.)
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Old 05-12-2011, 03:00 PM   #64
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This thread reminds me of a couple observations made by people I respect:

I was a member of a Camp Fire Girls as a kid. Our meetings rotated among the members. One meeting was held at a mansion and I came home to report all the splender I observed. Mom said, "They don't have that money by giving it away."

The other was from a business owner in Manhattan. I worked for US DOL at the time and because pay is such a sensitive issue in many offices I discussed my need for a private place to examine payroll. He said, "Don't worry about that. I pay for performance and really want staff to know what others earn. In a perfect word I would post the pay of everyone, including mine, with a notice that if they thought they should earn more to come see me." He was great to work with.
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Old 05-12-2011, 05:47 PM   #65
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Like you, I don't initiate money discussions, but I do believe that I'm "better" than people who squander their money. Yes, I know that one man's squander is another man's necessity, choice, etc.... However, the bottom line is that when you spend your money on one thing, you no longer have it to spend on something else. "Better" people save their money (i.e., pay themselves first) before spending what's left. "Lesser" people do the opposite.
Slippery slope there Jay. Am I better because I saved more than you? I don't think you meant that?
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Old 05-12-2011, 05:56 PM   #66
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Had something similar in court a few months back. Other lawyer kept asking what money I was using to pay for the car and what the payments were. She couldn't understand I had no car payments. It was going round and round so I funally had to stand up and and say "I don't owe any money other than my mortgage." Glad the judge didn't yell at me.
Maybe the lawyer was trying to provoke instability and hostility... the judge probably thought the lawyer deserved the response.
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Old 05-12-2011, 06:08 PM   #67
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Like you, I don't initiate money discussions, but I do believe that I'm "better" than people who squander their money.
I'd say that the person who decides to save for likely obligations has made a better choice than someone who spends irresponsibly, but I'd stop short of saying he's "better." I know lots of people who make dumb decisions, but they are good folks.
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Old 05-12-2011, 09:14 PM   #68
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Religion...
Politics...
Sex...
In-laws...

Money is an easy topic compared to the above.

I have long been treated as a "have" by the "have-nots". Oh well.

Mum's the word - keep it under yer arm.
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Old 05-12-2011, 09:16 PM   #69
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If you are here, it's more likely you are the ant than the grasshopper.
D'oh! You're right, I got it backwards.
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Old 05-12-2011, 09:30 PM   #70
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Which is now easily done for most houses by a few mouseclicks and key strokes...
Totally off topic ... got curious about the house my dad sold it in '86 before the Southern California real estate bubble burst. Zillow shows it sold last year for a little over double the '86 price. I'm glad I treated Cali real estate as a spectator sport when I lived there.
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Old 05-12-2011, 10:27 PM   #71
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I can't speak for Denver.. but here in the Springs things are very laid back. Dave Ramsey comes through every 12-16 months to set everyone straight.

I chat with my Co-Workers about investments & retirement.. It was interesting that one-day, not so long ago, one let loose with the fact that having a "$250k 401(k) and $100k in cash/savings" really meant that he has a huge loan on his 401(k), he owes $50k on two cars, $100k+ in CC Debt, $10k on a Boat, $60k on a Kitchen remodel (on a $175k house). Another Co-Worker and I just kinda looked at each other.. but it clicked. The poor sap is out every night eating & throwing money out the window - he won't give up his lifestyle, but that lifestyle is going to drain him.

I have nothing against him or his lifestyle.. he can live however he likes. BUT I (and the other guy) do feel sorry for him, and it has had an affect our relationship.
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Old 05-12-2011, 11:28 PM   #72
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Totally off topic ... got curious about the house my dad sold it in '86 before the Southern California real estate bubble burst. Zillow shows it sold last year for a little over double the '86 price. I'm glad I treated Cali real estate as a spectator sport when I lived there.
$1 in 1986 would be worth $2.04 in 2011, so the price of that house just about kept up inflation. US stocks did much better, even with some "unfortunate periods" during that timeframe.

I just "zillowed" the house in which I grew up in SoCal. My parents paid about $25K for it in 1965. It's now worth (according to zillow) $416K. That sounds like tremendous appreciation, but it's just 6.3% annually.
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Old 05-13-2011, 08:29 AM   #73
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Slippery slope there Jay. Am I better because I saved more than you? I don't think you meant that?
To give a lawyer's answer - it depends. I could get into hard numbers, but to your point, it's a slippery slope as to where one draws the line. That said, Samclem got it right but I'd disagree with him that saving for one's likely obligations isn't a sign of being "better" than someone who doesn't (I equate making "better choices" with being "better"). The latter individual, perhaps having many other redeeming qualities, is being irresponsible in a major life area. It's no different than someone who earns a great deal of money, but neglects his or her family in the process. Balance is the key.
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Old 05-13-2011, 11:42 AM   #74
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Some of my multi-millionaire friends hate to pay more than their share of a meal out, and hate to overpay for wine or drinks. To hear them talk, you would think they were poor. Life has to bring a balance of enjoyment through both saving and spending.

Joy is about being happy with what you have!
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Old 05-13-2011, 12:01 PM   #75
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Some of my multi-millionaire friends hate to pay more than their share of a meal out, and hate to overpay for wine or drinks. To hear them talk, you would think they were poor. Life has to bring a balance of enjoyment through both saving and spending.

Joy is about being happy with what you have!
I don't think any of us likes to pay more than our fair share of a meal out, or overpay for wine/drinks - just because we can afford it. Perhaps this is why your multi-millionaire friends have as much as they do. Generosity is and should be a voluntary act.

Don't get me wrong, being a miser is no way to go through life, but expecting that wealthier people should pay more just because they can isn't any better. Not to turn this into a political thread, but I've never liked the idea of just increasing taxes on high-earners as a way to close budget shortfalls. It is especially disconcerting when 50%+ of the population pays no taxes at all. This is simply wealth redistribution.
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Old 05-13-2011, 03:25 PM   #76
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Actually I regularly pay more than my "fair share" for dinners. And probably "overpay" for many things. This does not bother me as I can well afford it and often am with people who can't. There is nothing that ruins a good meal faster than people who try to split the bill based on consumption or who complain about the food, service, prices, or whatever. They often use this as a reason to go cheap on the tip. Life is too short. If an extra $50 bucks makes things good-well worth it as far as I'm concerned.
Keith: your millionaire friends give a bad name to the group.
Jay: I can assure you most wealth is not the result of checking the restaurant bills closely. Certainly wasn't for me.
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Old 05-13-2011, 03:35 PM   #77
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Some of my multi-millionaire friends hate to pay more than their share of a meal out, and hate to overpay for wine or drinks. To hear them talk, you would think they were poor. Life has to bring a balance of enjoyment through both saving and spending.

Joy is about being happy with what you have!
Agree. Well put.
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Old 05-13-2011, 03:39 PM   #78
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Old 05-13-2011, 03:45 PM   #79
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Actually I regularly pay more than my "fair share" for dinners. And probably "overpay" for many things. This does not bother me as I can well afford it and often am with people who can't. There is nothing that ruins a good meal faster than people who try to split the bill based on consumption or who complain about the food, service, prices, or whatever. Life is too short. If an extra $50 bucks makes things good-well worth it as far as I'm concerned.
Keith: your millionaire friends give a bad name to the group.
Jay: I can assure you most wealth is not the result of checking the restaurant bills closely. Certainly wasn't for me.
I wish I were also rich, as I like your attitude and I would behave the same way. In any case, I am not tight and I am glad to have grown up in and maintained an atmosphere of hospitality and interpersonal generosity. I try to avoid places where I would feel stressed to carry my share or more, although I would have to pass on many events if I picked up too many checks. Having an adequate but not very large sum to sustain you through who knows what is a sobering reality.

Often the most comfortable is separate checks. I think waitstaff should routinely offer separate checks when the diners are not a couple.

I can remember as a boy hearing adults grouse about people who were always very slow to get to their wallets, or who always forgot to handle their part of the tax and tip. It is clearly a loaded topic for many people.

Ha
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Old 05-13-2011, 04:03 PM   #80
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Hello new neighbor! I've lived many places in the USA but CO is my home state and I'm glad I returned several years ago. Most people who move here never want to leave.

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People seem stunned to hear we can buy a house before we sell the existing one.
I've done exactly the same thing 3 times. Twice was here in CO. My parents (also here in CO) did it several times. From my perspective, it is not all that rare. Realtors are usually concerned because having another home sometimes adds wrinkles to obtaining a new mortgage -- even when you are able to purchase with cash. For example, when I bought my existing home, I had to document that it would be my primary home and not an investment. I didn't have that problem when I moved from state to state.

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Yesterday I was quizzing my sister in law about aspect of CO real estate I know nothing about (she is a residential property manager and analyst) and she told me that the 20 to 30k cost of a new roof could be rolled into some kinds of mortgages. "I would just pay cash," I blurted out without thinking. Stunned silence from the other end of the line.
Are you sure she was "stunned"? When people blurt out things, I often get silent to ensure they are done speaking. That might also be a Colorado-thing. If she was stunned, she might have wondered why you didn't want to hear her out -- there may have been a financial benefit for you.

Case in point: I'm a "cash-only" person too (actually credit cards that never carry balances but get rewards). Businesses are always offering credit or payment plans. If they work to my financial advantage, I'll agree. For example, last July I bought a car but financed $5K so I could get another $1K taken off the price. I paid it off in the minimum time allowed (60 days) so it was a win-win.

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Do I need to develop the money taboo that is so pervasive in US society? I don't run around disclosing our net worth, but I work in the financial industry where compensation is relatively high and people talk about finance/money all the time. I also am a bit blind to the fact that we are way above our age group in net worth because I hang out here with the wealthy and live a lifestyle pretty similar to friends with one tenth (or less) our net worth. Time to become more close-mouthed? I get the feeling the culture in CO is more reserved about this sort of thing and I would prefer not to offend.
You've probably noticed that Coloradoans are very friendly and open -- I love that about us. However, we don't openly discuss our own net worth unless there is a "need to know". One of my best friends for over 15 years recently disclosed that her retirement fund was $1.3M. She was thinking also about ER and wasn't sure she had enough saved up. I then disclosed a bit about my finances and gave her spreadsheets to help her through hers.

My experience is that we do like to talk about money but we don't get too personal about it. We love talk about unnamed people and anecdotes as we share our financial philosophies. HTH
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