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Old 06-06-2016, 12:19 PM   #41
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A high percentage of those expensive MB's are leased for $500 - $800 per month.

Pretty easy to do, have good credit, put down $4K, drive it for 36,000 miles, then give it back and get another.
Sure. And THAT'S THE POINT!

The whispers of the billion dollar advertisers mentioned above get you to keep up with the Jone's. When you are done after 3 years, you have nothing. You just spent $40,000k (because after all, you drove 40k and they only allowed 30k miles).

You could have dropped the $40k down and gotten a loaded Acura TLX free and clear. But nevermind, an Acura is not an S-class, so I get it. It is about the "look at me" factor.

I'll stick with my $28K Chevy, thank you. Even Acura is too high brow for me. But nobody will notice me. (And I *did* notice that S-class, I have to admit.)
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Old 06-06-2016, 01:17 PM   #42
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The truth, of course, is somewhere in the middle.

There are people with plenty of income who have no control of their spending and thus don't save.

There are people with adequate/average incomes who could do better and save more by cutting exorbitant cable and mobile bills, buying cars long term instead of leasing every few years, etc.

There are people with below average incomes who prioritize the latest smartphone over a simple flip or free phone, and have to have the latest shoes, etc. instead of saving.

And then there are people with below average incomes who scrape by and don't have the means to save for a variety of reasons, even if they scrimped and cut back all that they could.

The truth is, our culture is one of consumerism. The expectation of what makes a "simple" life in the US vs. in Europe and other places is drastically different... this is caused by the constant bombardment of advertising that makes us all believe we have to have X, Y, and Z in order to be average or adequate, or that even "poverty" in this country still includes a cell phone plan and basic cable.

Our culture is a pretty big part of the problem, but we are not beholden to it. Choices factor in and everyone makes them. And some people are simply tied down by circumstances beyond their control.

A big part of the polarization in our country is that people see things only one way. I think we all need to do better to understand and internalize that there's not just one answer to this LBYM/adequate retirement savings question that suffices for every single person out there. Kind of like the "why do we get fat" question...

We get fat because we consume more calories than we burn, but there are myriad factors affecting individuals as to why we eat more and why we burn less.

We don't save because we spend more than we make, and there are myriad factors to why that is so.

I think the majority of people don't save because they don't control their spending and LBYM. Some majority spends what they make or even more than they make.

I think there is a sizable minority that simply doesn't have the means to save, even living responsibly. Not every INTJ makes $200K/yr. I'd guess there are quite a few long-term thinkers and planners out there that didn't have the same opportunities as us, didn't get the same education we did, etc., who try to LBYM, but truly can't because their means just aren't adequate.
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Old 06-06-2016, 01:20 PM   #43
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LOL Pawnwars and cigs. I call this my lost decade, where me and DH smoked, and partied quite a bit, and lived very unhealthy.

I still managed to save $ in my 401k in the lost decade, by paying myself first but it was never more than 7% withholdings...fast fwd and today I am at like 22% and maxing 401lk/roth.

I remember when I quit smoking, I went to a quitplan site where it showed big bold letters how much $$ I saved so far, and projected future savings, that inspired me to quit but most dont have the financial willpower to see the potential.

Those subscription services sure can get ya. GigInternet, HBO and all the sports packages for cable, the unlimited data and constant top of line phone upgrades, OnStar, XM, Netflix, CostCo/Sams, AmazonPrime, Hulu, and that's the nice-to-have's don't forget , dollarShaveClub, unlimited car-washes, Schwans/Grocery Delivery, Culligan water delivery, Spa membership, Golf Membership, etc etc.

As for the smokers, our friends still smoke and we basically almost ceased to do anything with them. They have their FI plan so I can't knock them.

They like to smoke cigs everyday @10/pack, we like to take trips to the Hawaiian islands, Florida, Tennessee, San Diego, the cabin etc. It's hard to compare the two experiences, smoke cigs, travel the world...tough one. BTW my annual travel budget is about $3,650 or what I would have used to spend on my pack of smokes habit for the day...
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Old 06-06-2016, 01:22 PM   #44
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A high percentage of those expensive MB's are leased for $500 - $800 per month.
uhhh...not quite. Maybe the lower end MB's. An S will still run you about $1400 a month. As a rule of thumb, you take the advertised price: "...for only $499 a month...!" and double it.

That's been my experience; my most recent E class lease is $929 a month; advertised at $599
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Old 06-06-2016, 01:29 PM   #45
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Why mess with an S-class when you can get a Bentley for just $2080 per month?
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Old 06-06-2016, 01:32 PM   #46
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The truth, of course, is somewhere in the middle.

There are people with plenty of income who have no control of their spending and thus don't save.

There are people with adequate/average incomes who could do better and save more by cutting exorbitant cable and mobile bills, buying cars long term instead of leasing every few years, etc.

There are people with below average incomes who prioritize the latest smartphone over a simple flip or free phone, and have to have the latest shoes, etc. instead of saving.

And then there are people with below average incomes who scrape by and don't have the means to save for a variety of reasons, even if they scrimped and cut back all that they could.

The truth is, our culture is one of consumerism. The expectation of what makes a "simple" life in the US vs. in Europe and other places is drastically different... this is caused by the constant bombardment of advertising that makes us all believe we have to have X, Y, and Z in order to be average or adequate, or that even "poverty" in this country still includes a cell phone plan and basic cable.

Our culture is a pretty big part of the problem, but we are not beholden to it. Choices factor in and everyone makes them. And some people are simply tied down by circumstances beyond their control.

A big part of the polarization in our country is that people see things only one way. I think we all need to do better to understand and internalize that there's not just one answer to this LBYM/adequate retirement savings question that suffices for every single person out there. Kind of like the "why do we get fat" question...

We get fat because we consume more calories than we burn, but there are myriad factors affecting individuals as to why we eat more and why we burn less.

We don't save because we spend more than we make, and there are myriad factors to why that is so.

I think the majority of people don't save because they don't control their spending and LBYM. Some majority spends what they make or even more than they make.

I think there is a sizable minority that simply doesn't have the means to save, even living responsibly. Not every INTJ makes $200K/yr. I'd guess there are quite a few long-term thinkers and planners out there that didn't have the same opportunities as us, didn't get the same education we did, etc., who try to LBYM, but truly can't because their means just aren't adequate.
Bravo, a very well written comment. I particularly like the comparison to weight control, telling someone who is struggling with money for whatever reason to"give up the lattes and the nail job" is about as useful as telling someone with a big weight problem,"What's the problem just eat less, it's easy." I find it interesting that money and weight are areas where a lot of people don't have much empathy for those who are struggling.
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Old 06-06-2016, 01:43 PM   #47
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You could have dropped the $40k down and gotten a loaded Acura TLX free and clear. But nevermind, an Acura is not an S-class, so I get it. It is about the "look at me" factor.

I'll stick with my $28K Chevy, thank you. Even Acura is too high brow for me. But nobody will notice me. (And I *did* notice that S-class, I have to admit.)
Or you could *lease* an Acura. Been there, done that.

And yet the wife's favorite car, from back when we both drove, was her much-beloved Hyundai Sonata w/ white leather interior. We took a dealer 'demo' model w/ maybe 5,000 miles on it. Solid car for many years and miles.

Now we have just the one, and it's a very used Scion XB which we affectionately refer to as 'salsa roja' - cost me $4200 and we'll sell it for at least $3k (I hope) when we move back out of country. My next car will be all electric!

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Old 06-06-2016, 01:52 PM   #48
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I take that retirement savings aren't a priority for a lot of people. Their choice.
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Old 06-06-2016, 01:54 PM   #49
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This subject comes up often. I think part of it is human brains are generally programmed for short term thinking. There are many INTJs with higher than average long term planning and strategic thinking skills here and the other ER forums, compared to the 2% supposedly in the general population.
Agree. This and other retirement sites are echo chambers for like thinkers.
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Old 06-06-2016, 02:22 PM   #50
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Sorry but the article is not very convincing. Below is simply not what I see around me. Not even close. Most people I know have far more than $3k in their 401k account. Others have IRA account, house equities, .... Not everything on internet is true, eh?


"the median retirement account balance is $3,000 for all working-age households and $12,000 for near-retirement households."
You live in the Bay area. That's San Francisco, right? One of the richest, most expensive areas in the US. I'm going to go guess you might not be seeing a representative sample.
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Old 06-06-2016, 02:25 PM   #51
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uhhh...not quite. Maybe the lower end MB's. An S will still run you about $1400 a month. As a rule of thumb, you take the advertised price: "...for only $499 a month...!" and double it.

That's been my experience; my most recent E class lease is $929 a month; advertised at $599
Thanks for the correction, I just threw a guess out there based on the ads on TV.
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Old 06-06-2016, 02:29 PM   #52
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....But some some of you guys are really "tough" love. I live in rural MN where there is not a lot of money. A lot of farmers are "rich on paper" but have cash flow problems. I know many people who are "working poor". Mainly young men who didn't really want city life but don't have high value skills. They might work for a local livestock or crop farmer, or at a local body shop,or even at the Menards in town. They marry local girls and have families and are chronically short of money.

These people buy their beer at the store and drink it at home.If they buy coffee it would be a .89 cup at Super America. Their kids wear family hand me downs. Mom doesn't go near a nail salon. I know these people, I've been in their homes and they are not full of stuff.

The kids b-day parties are cake and ice cream for the family, they might go to the local Pizza Ranch on Tuesday nite when kids eat free for a special occasion..their TV is the local UHF which is free. Are people supposed to have no fun in their lives or spend any money on something they think would be fun.

Throwing these people under the bus with someone who has a 175 dollar cable bill, seems a bit unfeeling and kind of smug.
I don't think anyone would throw the people that you describe under the bus for foolish spending even though they are not living below their means... the mystery is why.

You can have a lot of fun in life for things that don't cost much. We did a lot of fishing when I was a kid and had a lot of fun.... kids didn't need a fishing license, we got poles for birthdays or Christmas or hand-me-downs, we dug our own worms in the garden, a pack of hooks and a bobber or two would last us a summer, you get the idea.

You say they didn't want city life... I guess their choice was stay where they were comfortable and accept that they might live in poverty or move outside their comfort zone (be it city or a different part of the country where jobs were more plentiful) for the possibility of prosperity. No matter how you cut it a choice that they made that unfortunately didn't work out for them. If rural MN is anything like rural VT they probably have some carpentry or electrical or plumbing skills that would fetch a good living in other parts of the country if they were willing to move and take some training to get licensed.
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Old 06-06-2016, 02:30 PM   #53
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That and the BILLIONS of dollars that are spent on psychological warfare to get you to part with your money what is often a false need.
Exactly. One of the more enlightening classes I took in college was one in marketing. The object is to "create value" in the eyes of the customer by any means possible, via packaging, mood lighting, scent, and getting the customer to look at it. A lot of very smart people have spent their entire careers thinking of ways to get people to buy stuff they didn't know they needed.

Everyone knows why the milk and eggs are always at the back of the store - just stand and watch for five minutes (retirees have time to do this) and you'll see that a lot of buying is done on impulse.

More recently books like "Predictably Irrational", Your Money & Your Brain", and "Thinking, Fast and Slow" describe well why most people can't save money. With the exception of the malformed INTJ (I'm one so I can say that) most people simply cannot plan that far ahead. Their brains aren't built for it.
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Old 06-06-2016, 02:33 PM   #54
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Or you could *lease* an Acura. Been there, done that.

And yet the wife's favorite car, from back when we both drove, was her much-beloved Hyundai Sonata w/ white leather interior. We took a dealer 'demo' model w/ maybe 5,000 miles on it. Solid car for many years and miles.

Now we have just the one, and it's a very used Scion XB which we affectionately refer to as 'salsa roja' - cost me $4200 and we'll sell it for at least $3k (I hope) when we move back out of country. My next car will be all electric!

And I will notice you just as much as the S-class.
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Old 06-06-2016, 02:40 PM   #55
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First, I will completely agree - Living below your means is necessary and saving is mandatory in the new economy. Now what I really feel.


I am amazed how different the workers are (even my Kids and other relatives) then when I started out. They do not want to move to where the work is, but want to stay close to friends and family. They do not want anything getting in the way of there work/life balance. When my boss would say, here is your airplane ticket to SE Asia for tomorrow, I would say YES SIR.. Kids now will say, sorry, but my wife birthday is next week. I have lived all over the world going were the work and the money is. When I needed a new skill, I learn it. These kid, will not take the time, to move, to spend 6 months to learn a new skill, leave there wife for 6-9 months to do a job. You get paid well for these jobs, and get rewarded over the years.


The new generations want the good paying jobs, without the sacrifices that me other others had to do. My feeling is that they can stay home, have a good work / life balance - do not have work interfere with the lives and go work every day at the $15 an hour job and complain about they have no opportunities.


There are lots of opportunities, they are just not will to grab them and do the job.
My Dad was like that. Anything the company wanted got priority in his life.

I'm the opposite.

I attribute the difference to the change in loyalty companies have for their staff. My Dad could reasonably expect (and in fact achieved) a career with his company, including a plumb retirement. Pretty sweet golden handcuffs.

I get none of that. One company career? Right... Pension? Ha! The good news is I also have no hand cuffs. I'm a great employee, but family life comes first. They're a helluva lot more loyal than the company.
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Old 06-06-2016, 02:50 PM   #56
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I don't know the answers but I feel really virtuous after reading this discussion.
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Old 06-06-2016, 03:21 PM   #57
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I don't think anyone would throw the people that you describe under the bus for foolish spending even though they are not living below their means... the mystery is why.

You can have a lot of fun in life for things that don't cost much. We did a lot of fishing when I was a kid and had a lot of fun.... kids didn't need a fishing license, we got poles for birthdays or Christmas or hand-me-downs, we dug our own worms in the garden, a pack of hooks and a bobber or two would last us a summer, you get the idea.

You say they didn't want city life... I guess their choice was stay where they were comfortable and accept that they might live in poverty or move outside their comfort zone (be it city or a different part of the country where jobs were more plentiful) for the possibility of prosperity. No matter how you cut it a choice that they made that unfortunately didn't work out for them. If rural MN is anything like rural VT they probably have some carpentry or electrical or plumbing skills that would fetch a good living in other parts of the country if they were willing to move and take some training to get licensed.
Many of the families have been living here for a hundred or more years, our church is having a 160th anniver this summer and some families trace back to the founders. I think the real issue is when they were 18-20 they didn't think they would live with a shortage of money, I wouldn't classify it a poverty , every penny is spoken for but they don't go without. They are not miserable by any means. When I say chronic shortage of money I mean discretionary income and retirement savings.

However, they don't seen to have the same standard of living as their parents did, with the same type of jobs and expenses. Basically they need to work as long as they can and keep a tight lid on their expenses. And yes, many of them could go to a different area and make more money but they are very place bound. They are wonderful caring people for the most part and would give you the shirt off their back.
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Old 06-06-2016, 03:34 PM   #58
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I read a study a while back that stated that 80% of people are born, live and die in a 100 mile radius. Only 20% have "wanderlust" and followed the old slogan "go west young man"

All of my friends back in Michigan are yup, still back in Michigan.
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Old 06-06-2016, 03:46 PM   #59
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I read a study a while back that stated that 80% of people are born, live and die in a 100 mile radius. Only 20% have "wanderlust" and followed the old slogan "go west young man"

All of my friends back in Michigan are yup, still back in Michigan.
I went West!

All of my friends and family are still in Connecticut, even though the industrial job base is totally gone from the area where they all live. We (myself and most of them) all worked for decades in the manufacturing plants along the Naugatuck River and now those factories are empty or have been knocked down and the land used for shopping malls or low rent, subsidized apartments. Sad.

In Waterbury, CT, which at one time was known as the Brass Center of the World, the largest employer now is the city.
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Old 06-06-2016, 03:47 PM   #60
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So that's wonderful that you have saved up and are so close to ER, now if we knew you income, we'd have some idea of where you sit on the scale of savings.

If you make 250K a year, you can save, still has some money for extras and do fine.

If you make 50K or less suddenly that % doesn't seem so doable..even if you practice LBYM..

I'm not asking for your income level I'm just saying you didn't give us the whole picture. if you make 500K a year and save 30% some here would say you spend too much money
I'm proportionally between the two.
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