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Shiny Red Pickup Syndrome
Old 10-11-2015, 08:28 AM   #1
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Shiny Red Pickup Syndrome

In another post it seems fellow posters felt Americans inability to save had to do with immigration or evil corporations. I am not so sure I believe the problem is the constant battle against SHINY RED PICKUP SYNDROME. Oh I've got it but the Mrs helped me see the light years ago. Now I'm sure you can probably write this list better then I.

1. Buy a new shiny red pickup or buy a three year old ugly green Toyota (I called her Betsy - god she was reliable) in truth she was old.
2. Buy a budget stretching big house or a modest affordable cape cod (the upstairs was unfinished when we bought her)
3. Call the plumber, painter or lawn guy (god I love my used John Deere and the Mrs is an awesome painter) I love tools
4. Basic cable or the sports package I must admit no HBO but I am a geek for mountain men and the assorted Alaska shows..
5. Shop with coupons and look for sales (I never have the same cup of coffee week to week)
6. State College or private university. SUNY for me, State College for the daughter.
7. Ten thousand thermoses filled with cream of mushroom and a sandwich or eating out.
8. Some new toys with the bonus, tax return, inheritance, OT ....or some dividend stocks or ETFs.
9. Friday night pizza in or dinner and drinks out. (Did I ever tell you about the first time I spent more hen $20 on Chinese food.. The Mrs made a scene)
10 save first and spend the rest or spend and maybe save something
11 new heels or new shoes.. I actually met someone who didn't realize you can shine your shoes... "My husband will be happy because now I don't have to buy new ones..." Sweet Moses!
12. Not take advantage of a 401k match... Never leave money on the table...ever.
13. KEEP A BALANCE ON YOUR CREDIT CARDS .. oh brother don't get me started. The average person who carries a balance carries $15k - yikes that's what $ 3k in interest a year. Kill the debt and just save the interest for 30 years put it into ETFs and bam you'll have a big pile.

Obviously our list won't work for everyone - particularly if you have a very low salary. However I can't tell you how many 'educated professionals' I've met that are clueless when it comes to spending/saving money. But for many people follow the above list and retirement will be as easy as not going to work.

Ps I still like cream of mushroom...



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Old 10-11-2015, 08:50 AM   #2
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Preaching to the choir here, aren't you?
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Shinny Red Pickup Syndrome
Old 10-11-2015, 09:19 AM   #3
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Shinny Red Pickup Syndrome

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Preaching to the choir here, aren't you?

You right I am. apologies ... I work in the CC industry and see overspending everyday and it still shocks and saddens me. Still I get the sense from some our fellow posters that the deck is stacked against them.


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Old 10-11-2015, 09:20 AM   #4
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Deja vu
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Old 10-11-2015, 09:22 AM   #5
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Deja vu
Did I vu what? What did I miss?
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Old 10-11-2015, 09:24 AM   #6
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Did I vu what? What did I miss?
A red pickup doing the shinny
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Old 10-11-2015, 09:26 AM   #7
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I look at my in-laws for an example of LBYM to an extreme level. My FIL worked on industrial sewing machines - a union job - but not high wages. He had side gigs on weekends whenever he could find them. My MIL was a SAHM until the youngest of 6 kids went to grade school. They managed to purchase a row house and feed the 6 kids. Not to mention paying tuition for them at private Catholic school. Later, if we took them to dinner at a not-very-fancy place (eg Olive Garden) she'd look at the meal and tell us how she could make it for 5% of what they were charging. She was able to buy an entire cart of groceries for around $50... I was seriously impressed.

Of the 6 kids, my husband and one brother seemed to get the frugal gene. The one brother works as little as possible but can live on VERY little. His choice. Another sibling is on disability, so forced to have no saving and has very little income. The remainder have been sucked in a bit by the shiny new house/car/thing and are now, in their 50's and 60's, waking up and realizing that retirement is fast approaching.

I was raised a little different - but with some similarities. My dad, I now know, had a comfortably upper middle class income, but I always thought we were poor. He was busy saving and investing, and the my home-ec majored Mom was in charge of running the house on as little as possible. New clothes - not for me... I was the youngest. Except one or two outfits a year - my birthday presents (which coincided with the start of school. Hmmm.) We brought our lunches to school, dad brought his lunch to work. When I hit Jr. High, my mom went back to work with the sole intent of earning enough to pay tuition for state colleges for us kids.

Of us 3 kids - we had the range of spending styles. My brother always spent more than he earned - biggest new house, shiny cars, etc. He died with a close to zero net worth, despite receiving an inheritance from my parents a few months before he died. My sister is frugal, but her husband is less so... she'll need to work till mid 60's before retirement, but she enjoys her job, so that's not a big problem. My husband and I encouraged each other to save, and we were able to reach retirement.
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Old 10-11-2015, 09:42 AM   #8
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However I can't tell you how many 'educated professionals' I've met that are clueless when it comes to spending/saving money.
When I was working, my work group consisted of two or three dozen PhD scientists including me. These were extremely intelligent people, some quite brilliant in their specialty I thought. Most of them seemed to have very little interest in personal finance. I know I was the only one who was maxing out my TSP contributions. Maybe some of them were saving elsewhere but they claimed not. "Poor mouthing" seemed to be the cool attitude at the time, so maybe they were doing better than they would publicly admit.

I sometimes wonder if any of them were able to retire or not, but have not kept in touch.

As for your list, I would add one more:
14) Finding activities that are cheap/free but that add substantially to quality of life. No need to deprive oneself of fun and happiness just to save money.
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Old 10-11-2015, 09:42 AM   #9
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I use my CC for almost everything!
I was always teased that I could squeeze a nickel until the buffalo screamed (DW trained me). But I was the spend thrift.
BTW .. no cable TV... just internet.

TV, advertising and now internet all work to make us feel like we need everything now! These are not wants, but needs (based on the media). We (as a society)reinforce consumption, not savings or smart use of money. And the CC companies don't really push financial responsibility.
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Old 10-11-2015, 09:56 AM   #10
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Did I vu what? What did I miss?
I just have this spooky sensation that I've read this post before!
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Old 10-11-2015, 10:59 AM   #11
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. "Poor mouthing" seemed to be the cool attitude at the time, so maybe they were doing better than they would publicly admit.
I think "poor mouthing" is very common. Look at how even folks with household income triple the median household income claim to be "middle class". I saw it at work, I see it on tv, I see it in polling data. Folks who are wealthy won't admit to themselves they are better than average.
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Old 10-11-2015, 11:16 AM   #12
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Poor-mouthing is standard behavior where I work, as is bragging about saving money. The only large expenses to which the govvies will admit, are: Daughter's wedding; Kitchen remodel; Trips to Disney facilities. Oh, and you should definitely brag about having made A Killing on the House, or your kid having a "full ride" to college.

OTOH, the retired O-6's with the second career as defense contractors have started swanning around in new Teslas. Used to be Mercedes or BMW; Tesla is now "in."
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Old 10-11-2015, 11:26 AM   #13
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OTOH, the retired O-6's with the second career as defense contractors have started swanning around in new Teslas. Used to be Mercedes or BMW; Tesla is now "in."
I think I saw a Tesla but just once. I just looked at Edmunds.com, and they are jaw-droppingly expensive! I guess I could afford one (trying not to poor-mouth! ). But honestly I just don't think that any vehicle could possibly be worth that much to me. They apparently have different opinions from mine about where to spend their money.
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Old 10-11-2015, 11:30 AM   #14
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The T's are popping up all over the parking lots, amongst the sober Toyotas, Hondas and Fords driven by the GS-ratings. Considering the retired-officer-turned-contractor's likely minimum yearly take from all sources will be $300K-$400K, plus health care is virtually free for them, I guess they can be forgiven for buying the newest/shiniest toys.

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I think I saw a Tesla but just once. I just looked at Edmunds.com, and they are jaw-droppingly expensive! I just don't think that any vehicle could possibly be worth that much to me, but then they may have different opinions than mine about where to spend their money.
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Old 10-11-2015, 11:36 AM   #15
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The T's are popping up all over the parking lots, amongst the sober Toyotas, Hondas and Fords driven by the GS-ratings. Considering the retired-officer-turned-contractor's likely minimum yearly take from all sources will be $300K-$400K, plus health care is virtually free for them, I guess they can be forgiven for buying the newest/shiniest toys.
That's a lot of income, about 7x my income I suppose.

Honestly I don't think there is a vehicle in existence that is worth that much. Well, to me, anyway. This is a dilemma for the one percenters; how to actually spend all that money and still get value for the dollar. At some point, a person has all he/she really needs and beyond that things seem to be priced according to prestige more than actual value.
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Old 10-11-2015, 11:58 AM   #16
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Tesla's seem to be the only expensive luxury car that tempts me. I'm very happy with my basic vehicle, and don't understand the desire of many of my co-workers to aspire to Lexus, BMW or Mercedes or anything with the extra cost gold trim package. But if I had enough cash that Tesla could be arguably within my means, I would want one. Maybe the mass market model in 2019.

Otherwise thanks to LBYM I'm nearing FI, and want that much more than I want any consumer item, even a high tech dream car.
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Old 10-11-2015, 12:10 PM   #17
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Tesla's seem to be the only expensive luxury car that tempts me. I'm very happy with my basic vehicle, and don't understand the desire of many of my co-workers to aspire to Lexus, BMW or Mercedes or anything with the extra cost gold trim package. But if I had enough cash that Tesla could be arguably within my means, I would want one. Maybe the mass market model in 2019.

Otherwise thanks to LBYM I'm nearing FI, and want that much more than I want any consumer item, even a high tech dream car.
When I was working, I went through a phase of wanting the Lexus, BMW, Mercedes, huge mansion with ornate columns, and so on. But part of that was because I was working; I wanted to show off an extravagant lifestyle to my co-workers. Why? I haven't a clue, but I did. Maybe I was feeling a bit like "The Little Match Girl" in comparison with how they lived. I couldn't afford that stuff so I didn't buy it.

Now that I am retired, I don't really hang out with that crowd any more and honestly, I couldn't care less about what anybody other than me thinks of my car or home. I wish I had known back then that I would feel that way in retirement.
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Old 10-11-2015, 12:39 PM   #18
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I have noticed that my coworkers do talk money sometimes. Invariably the topics are loans, getting the maximum equity loan for their houses based on appreciation since the last loan they took, car loans and "investments" where the investment is always a rental house with maximum leverage such as using a 401k loan for the downpayment and finance the rest for 100% financing. They have been thoroughly uninterested in any of my approaches to LBYM and invest in mutual funds, preferably low cost index funds. Maybe they will hit it big with leverage and have the last laugh, but I'm happier with my slow and steady approach. I sleep better and there are almost no scenarios where I get wiped out.
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Old 10-11-2015, 01:57 PM   #19
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I will bet ya that a Tesla wouldn't make it up to su casa 10 times before it broke. lol
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Old 10-11-2015, 02:00 PM   #20
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We've probably all seen the fancy new ride sitting on the dirt patch in front of the single wide, or in the drive of the big house. My guess is it's more of an addiction than a rational choice. Anybody who has kicked a serious, damaging habit would see the pattern and understand.
Status...gimmee some on credit if possible. That's the dopamine in this case.
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