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Trapped By Her Lifestyle
Old 04-27-2008, 03:11 PM   #1
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Trapped By Her Lifestyle

Recently caught up with a former co-worker (we use to work in major account sales for a major telecom). We had similar salaries and monthly comp checks. She bought nice cars, nice townhome, designer clothes and jewelry - DH and I stayed in our modest home, saved and invested (made some errors along the way) and basically LBOM. I was leary of getting use to the nice income and getting trapped in the job. Meanwhile the company changed due to mergers, regulatory and economic changes. I moved on to other opportunities and she remained in major accounts but had to move into a service manager position (no comp checks and they froze her salary). Fast forward 5 years. I'm within 10 months of ER (at 51) and she is feeling trapped. Her job is 24x7, high stress, and not much opportunity to change positions due to her salary level (she can't take a cut in pay). She basically shared with me that she is not happy with how her life turned out. That comment broke my heart. I know we made our choices in life - but, I still feel weird that I have so much to look forward to and she feels so trapped.
Not sure why I posted this other than it supports the LBYM strategy.
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Old 04-27-2008, 03:17 PM   #2
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It's nice to be reassured that LBYM really pays off in the long run. And it's sad to see what happens to those who don't.

I'm still accumulating even though I'm retired. I live on 33-40% of my income and save the rest. I want to make sure I can stay retired.
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Old 04-27-2008, 03:20 PM   #3
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I'm afraid this situation is much more the norm than the exception. I know how you feel. My siblings spend up to and beyond their income and have no provision for retirement except SS (brother does have a company pension). As they live in Australia and England at least they don't have health insurance to worry about.
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Old 04-27-2008, 03:49 PM   #4
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I dread getting together with an old friend. She always has a story about a recent lunch with her financial planner. Friend did retire slightly early after recovering from the bad investment choices she made with her FP. She also seems embarrassed that she bought an annuity from the FP. I like to take myself to lunch alone after harvesting a small profit.
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Old 04-27-2008, 03:53 PM   #5
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I know we made our choices in life - but, I still feel weird that I have so much to look forward to and she feels so trapped.
Yea, I know the feeling. But that's life. Some folks land on their feet and some stumble. At the end of the day it all works out though.
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Old 04-27-2008, 07:14 PM   #6
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Yea, I know the feeling. But that's life. Some folks land on their feet and some stumble. At the end of the day it all works out though.
True enough. Sooner or later we are all fertilizer.

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Old 04-27-2008, 07:39 PM   #7
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Ha - As you point out, none of us get out of here alive!
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Old 04-27-2008, 09:34 PM   #8
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My siblings spend up to and beyond their income and have no provision for retirement except SS.....
My two siblings are in the same boat. Both have to work into their late 60's or early 70's. Both are counting on SS, and one will have a small pension. Other than that, they have very little or no retirement savings.

The three of us each made our own choices, and are living with the outcome of those choices. I'm the youngest, and ER'd at 50. They're 6 and 9 years older, and are still wage slaves.....and will be for many years to come.
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Old 04-27-2008, 10:08 PM   #9
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It seems that's all over. DW's sister & her hubby both want to retire but can't because of bills. When DW's 82-year-old father almost lost his paid-for house last month because he didn't pay the property taxes (a long story) we were the only ones who could come up with just under $3k on short notice even though they make almost four times our income. I will never understand how someone can live that close to the edge all the time.

The FIL will set it right, he was undergoing chemo and other treatments for prostrate cancer when the bill arrived so I guess he was a bit distracted....
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Old 04-28-2008, 12:34 AM   #10
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My in laws are in a pretty bad financial situation and they are completely trapped by their lavish lifestyle and bad financial decisions. My FIL just lost his high paying job (200K a year) at age 62. He is currently living off of his meager retirement savings (less than $150K left) while he is looking for another job. He has applied for SS, but it will barely cover half the mortgage on the new house he bought 2 years ago with 0% down (he is currently upside down on his house so he can't move). He hopes he can find another high paying job (at least $150K+ a year) in his area within the next few months. In the mean time he stopped all alimony payments to my MIL (age 63) who now has to live off of her SS and retirement savings, which at her current spending rate will be depleted in only 5-6 years. So we are all crossing our fingers that he finds another well paying job soon, very very soon... In the mean time, my wife is having nightmares about this situation which could really kill our FIRE dreams if we had to step in (we are not talking about $500 here and $500 there in financial assistance, we are talking about tens of thousands of dollars per year...).
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Old 04-28-2008, 02:38 AM   #11
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... In the mean time, my wife is having nightmares about this situation which could really kill our FIRE dreams if we had to step in (we are not talking about $500 here and $500 there in financial assistance, we are talking about tens of thousands of dollars per year...).
FD - been there. I hope your DW shakes off the nightmare and says "no". We have shelled out many many thousands over the years and just recently another $5k so they could move...MIL lives with SIL...who divorced yet again...neither have any savings, so we had to fork over some $$$ to dig them out of yet another hole.

My DW finally told her sister and mother no more! I won't let them go hungry, but they certainly won't be eating filet mignon and caviar (they used to be pretty rich, but blew thru it all), nor will I be providing pre-cooked, prepared foods. It will be more like a bag of beans and a bag of rice...cook it yourself. Sounds pretty harsh, but when they have enough money to by a plasma or LCD TV, enough to go bowling and drinking, but not enough for food, it seems like I'm the one paying for the toys and partying by helping them out.

We regularly wait years to buy a new toy, and both DWs sis and my siblings always have these things before we do...we can afford them, they can't but buy them anyway, and they will be working until the day they are buried while I am sitting around the FIRE enjoying life.

I hope your DW is able to put her foot down when she must. I don't see any reason the two of you should support their extravagent lifestyle to the detriment of your own.

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Old 04-28-2008, 06:29 AM   #12
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We regularly wait years to buy a new toy, and both DWs sis and my siblings always have these things before we do...we can afford them, they can't but buy them anyway, and they will be working until the day they are buried while I am sitting around the FIRE enjoying life.

I hope your DW is able to put her foot down when she must. I don't see any reason the two of you should support their extravagent lifestyle to the detriment of your own.

R
Glad to hear we're not the only ones. I have one distant relative (by marriage only) who still doesn't "get it" that she can't have her cake and eat it too. She'll buy trinkets on Ebay but sometimes doesn't have money to buy propane to heat her house with. She has borrowed from two other relatives (including my mother) in the past and never paid it back. So my position is that if she's cold she can go out back and cut some firewood.

DW and I have only each other to count on, no kids. No way, no how, am I going to jeopardize our future because someone else could not or would not live within their means. We bailed out FIL this time but I'll be very reluctant to do it again. He has a paid-for home worth between $350 - $400k on 3 acres, beautiful view, as his major asset. He could sell that, buy a two bed/one bath home on a slab (how much room does one person need?) and have $150k in cash left over, more if he was willing to move ten miles north or west. Given his admittedly limited income and generally conservative lifestyle that would last him 15 year or so. But he's got it stuck in his head that he is going to stay in that house forever.

I signed up to be there for DW "for better or for worse..." but I don't think that means her entire family! Fortunately, she doesn't think so either.
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Old 04-28-2008, 07:06 AM   #13
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Funny how those who let the Joneses win wind up overtaking them in the end.
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Old 04-28-2008, 08:38 AM   #14
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Old 04-28-2008, 09:08 AM   #15
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Life is full of choices all along the way. Sometimes people make bad choices and then blame everyone else but themselves.

Personal responsibility should be a buzz word / catch phrase heard more.
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Old 04-28-2008, 10:17 AM   #16
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My husband's company has basically told 1600 employees who qualify for ER in the next 18 months that they better go now before the pension and health insurance plan changes the end of 2009. I am hearing the stories of those who cannot take advantage of this because of debt and having kids later in life. (mostly debt).

I am glad we always LBOM and saved like crazy. We are set to retire even if hubby doesn't want to. He was hoping to do it on his schedule and not on the company's.
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Old 04-28-2008, 10:24 AM   #17
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I'm glad for this thread as I too have a soap opera on my hands. My mother who is 72 years old(still working...because she wants to)...pretty much maintains my two brothers ...ages 43, 47. One lives with her(43 year old) and the other one lives in an apartment that belongs to my mother(he doesn't pay her rent or even the maintenance fee). My mother is very well off financially as she has lived below her means all of her life. The thing is she is always angry about it and unloading all her fustrations on me. When my dad died in 1999, she went to her attorney and had a revocable living trust drawn up naming me the executor. I have learned from my parents how to live frugaly and my husband and I are very well on our way to being able to early retire in our 50's. My mother's idea is that if she becomes sick, that I will take over her care and the management of all her money. What will I do if/when that day comes with my two brothers. You have no idea how much this weighs on my soul....it seems so unfair because I lived all my life never bringing my parent's a single problem. Now I may have to face a war with my two brothers at some point in time. I have discussed this(not in depth) with my mother...my fears, and frustrations...she seems to take it into account momentarily and then goes back to living life. The living trust states that I will use the money to take care of my mother in any sickness/old age and whatever is left over it will be divided equally between the three siblings. I don't know if she thinks that she will pass on her enabling behavior to me to continue.
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Old 04-28-2008, 10:45 AM   #18
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I'm glad for this thread as I too have a soap opera on my hands. My mother who is 72 years old(still working...because she wants to)...pretty much maintains my two brothers ...ages 43, 47. One lives with her(43 year old) and the other one lives in an apartment that belongs to my mother(he doesn't pay her rent or even the maintenance fee). My mother is very well off financially as she has lived below her means all of her life. The thing is she is always angry about it and unloading all her fustrations on me. When my dad died in 1999, she went to her attorney and had a revocable living trust drawn up naming me the executor. I have learned from my parents how to live frugaly and my husband and I are very well on our way to being able to early retire in our 50's. My mother's idea is that if she becomes sick, that I will take over her care and the management of all her money. What will I do if/when that day comes with my two brothers. You have no idea how much this weighs on my soul....it seems so unfair because I lived all my life never bringing my parent's a single problem. Now I may have to face a war with my two brothers at some point in time. I have discussed this(not in depth) with my mother...my fears, and frustrations...she seems to take it into account momentarily and then goes back to living life. The living trust states that I will use the money to take care of my mother in any sickness/old age and whatever is left over it will be divided equally between the three siblings. I don't know if she thinks that she will pass on her enabling behavior to me to continue.
That's a tough one. I think we both know what you should do: Use the $$ to take care of Mom, and as soon as she passes away, split the money with your brothers and be done with it. Entirely. (In fact, maybe there are vehicles by which your Mom could set things up so none of you gets a lump sum--it goes into trust and the checks come out monthly. The smart legal folks here will probably chime in with good ideas). Your behavior now toward them should be intended to make it clear that this is what the future holds. Your mom hasn't done them any favors, and it will be their sis who helps them gain the dignity that comes from being self-sufficient. When the time comes, if asked, you might offer them advice on how to make their inheritance go farther.
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Old 04-28-2008, 10:46 AM   #19
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... My FIL just lost his high paying job (200K a year) at age 62. He is currently living off of his meager retirement savings (less than $150K left) while he is looking for another job....

Seriously, I'd hide the guns

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Old 04-28-2008, 10:53 AM   #20
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FD - been there. I hope your DW shakes off the nightmare and says "no". We have shelled out many many thousands over the years and just recently another $5k so they could move...MIL lives with SIL...who divorced yet again...neither have any savings, so we had to fork over some $$$ to dig them out of yet another hole.

My DW finally told her sister and mother no more! I won't let them go hungry, but they certainly won't be eating filet mignon and caviar (they used to be pretty rich, but blew thru it all), nor will I be providing pre-cooked, prepared foods. It will be more like a bag of beans and a bag of rice...cook it yourself. Sounds pretty harsh, but when they have enough money to by a plasma or LCD TV, enough to go bowling and drinking, but not enough for food, it seems like I'm the one paying for the toys and partying by helping them out.

We regularly wait years to buy a new toy, and both DWs sis and my siblings always have these things before we do...we can afford them, they can't but buy them anyway, and they will be working until the day they are buried while I am sitting around the FIRE enjoying life.

I hope your DW is able to put her foot down when she must. I don't see any reason the two of you should support their extravagent lifestyle to the detriment of your own.

R
Rambler,

I hope my wife will have the strength to say no when the time comes, but it won't be easy. I hope that the irresponsible behavior displayed by her parents will make it easier to say no. Even though my MIL's income stream has dried up completely (her only source of income was her alimony) she has simply refused to go back to work or to cut back on her expenses, including eating out 5 times a week and the maid. She keeps blaming her ex-husband for their current financial predicament, but it is so obvious to me that she is equally responsible for it. My FIL had always planned to work 'til he crooked (always ridiculing retired people) but lately he has started to have second thoughts about that. He can't take the stress anymore, he can't take the BS and the politics. But it's too late for him to change his course. Since he saved very little for retirement, he has no option but to find another job and keep working for as long as he is able to.

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DW and I have only each other to count on, no kids. No way, no how, am I going to jeopardize our future because someone else could not or would not live within their means.
Walt, we too can only count on ourselves, no kids. I keep reminding my wife that if we don't take care of ourselves first, nobody else will and we might end up worse off than her parents (because at least they have some decent SS benefits to fall back onto). It's a powerful argument. But we have already saved enough as it is to retire at age 60 so everything we save right now goes toward early retirement. So it's harder for my wife to justify not to help her parents when we already know we will be able to retire earlier than most people. But at the same time my wife can't imagine herself work until she's 60 just because her parents have behaved all their lives like spoiled brats.
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