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Waste of Money
Old 02-07-2010, 02:57 AM   #1
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Waste of Money

As you reflect back in time what have been your areas of waste or inappropriate use of your money/funds both pre FI and during FI using the retrospectoscope ?
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Old 02-07-2010, 05:22 AM   #2
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That's easy! Diamond ring for wife #1. Without question the dumbest thing I ever did.
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Old 02-07-2010, 07:24 AM   #3
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Back about 1995, I bought a service contract for about $250 on a new computer system. The contract was clipped with the magnetic holder that I still have on my refrigerator. Needless to say, I never had a need to use the service contract.

That was the most expensive magnetic holder I ever paid for.
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Old 02-07-2010, 09:42 AM   #4
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Buying a home 3 years ago. I was a happy renter for years saving a ton of cash. My overall expenses of owning are $15,000 more per year owning versus renting. Granted my new place is nicer than the old place i rented but it really means nothing to me. I sit on the same couch and sleep in the same bed.
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Old 02-07-2010, 09:56 AM   #5
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Paying for kids' college. Maybe.
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Old 02-07-2010, 09:57 AM   #6
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Throughout the 90s I actively traded stocks, options, and futures. Doh!
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Old 02-07-2010, 11:33 AM   #7
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The only thing for me was I shouldn't have bought a car 5 years ago. Could have had at least an extra $15,000 now. Though my new husband uses the car now and it should last another 5- 10 years, so it worked out ok.

I should have just rented or taxied more often if I didn't feel like busing. I barely drove the car in the 4 years before I got married. I still bused to work in the winter as I didn't want to get stuck and deal with winter driving hassle. I walked to work a lot in the summer. I pretty much just used it in the evenings to visit my then boyfriend - so at least that was helpful.

If I wasn't married I'd go back to car-free in a second. I hate everything to do with vehicle ownership, and the cost doesn't help for FI.

Though admittedly, I still think about RV living in retirement. Though that is more a house than a car.
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Old 02-07-2010, 11:43 AM   #8
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There are too many things to recount here. Post-retirement, I would say clothes have been the worst investment, especially now that all I really need are sandals and shorts.
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Old 02-07-2010, 11:55 AM   #9
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As you reflect back in time what have been your areas of waste or inappropriate use of your money/funds both pre FI and during FI using the retrospectoscope ?
Doesn't this fall under the "if I knew then, what I know now" category....

Like accountants (purveyors of historical information) - can always tell you with great accuracy what went wrong, but not usually too good looking forward ;-)
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Old 02-07-2010, 12:56 PM   #10
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The biggest waste was things like the amounts wasted by not structuring car insurance or telephone charges properly. For years I wasted money on collision insurance even though the car was worth only a few thousand. I wasted over $20/month on AT&T instead of using a dialaround service.

Most recent waste: Cleaning the heating ducts.
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Old 02-07-2010, 01:15 PM   #11
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Boy, where do I begin? First thing that comes to mind has to be the (groan) fixed annuity.
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Old 02-07-2010, 01:20 PM   #12
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Furniture and house decorating. DW is very frugal for a DW, but she definitely changed the furniture far more often than I would have, and we only ever decorated when she said it needed it which was always way before I would have done it.

But then again, we've been living happily together for 36 years so maybe it was actually money well spent as separation would have cost a whole lot more
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Old 02-07-2010, 03:05 PM   #13
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I hate everything to do with vehicle ownership
That sums it up well, for me too. This might sound crazy, but when I had a car, and had to fork over yet more $$ to repair/register/insure/fill it, I couldn't shake this image of the demon-ghost of Henry Ford clinging to my back and sinking his fangs into my neck. I started walking & biking, and I haven't seen him since.
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Old 02-07-2010, 03:20 PM   #14
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Yeah, cars cost a lot. Got two of them one for me and one for the wife. Most I have ever paid for a car is $16K and that was for a new one. I would not be willing do do without a pickup truck much less a car.

I would not want to live in an downtown environment where a car is not necessary. Would rather live in the sticks. Although I am just in the suburbs for now.

But controlling car costs I think is key to retirement. How many ads I have heard about "smart leases" and such things encouraging buying cars for reasons other than transportation for more than they can afford.

Lets lease a fancy car to impress people we don't know on the way to work to pay for it.
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Old 02-07-2010, 03:20 PM   #15
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Though admittedly, I still think about RV living in retirement. Though that is more a house than a car.
When I mentioned to my friend about my recent discovery that I had about RV full-timing, that is it is possible to live cheaply in an RV, to have everything you really need with you, and being on travel at the same time, he said "yeah, like a turtle".

Sure sounded funny, but yes, there is a certain allure to being like a turtle.
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Old 02-07-2010, 03:53 PM   #16
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Cars, motorcycles, more cars, more motorcycles.
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Old 02-07-2010, 03:57 PM   #17
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This big fancy house we live in now. It's beautiful and we're really enjoying it, but it's much bigger than we need. I like having the rooms for guests and all, but basically each individual room could be significantly smaller and still fully functional. And since we built it at the height of the market we'll probably never get our money back on it. I know your home isn't usually considered an investment, but it sucks watching a paper value drop so far. At least with the stock market some of the pain went away pretty quick. Not so in the housing market.
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Old 02-07-2010, 04:32 PM   #18
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I hate everything to do with vehicle ownership, and the cost doesn't help for FI.
I agree and we've tried to limit our costs as best we can (Re'd 2 weeks ago and we sold DW's car 3 weeks ago )

DW and I were reminiscing about the 2 different cars in England we owned that used to suffer from sudden acceleration (as in, this latest scandal is not a new phenomena ). The first was one pre-electronic ignition and it only happened in the snow, which made it doubly dangerous. First time was when I was exiting one motorway to join another !! Whenever it happened the throttle was jammed opened and I had to turn off the engine, stop and slacken off the throttle cable. Later, when it warmed up the cable would slacken off so much it would drop to idle and the pedal go completely slack and I would have to tighten back up the cable. Tried changing cable to no avail and it only happened when snow was actually falling - cold temps didn't seem to have an affect. I used to keep the correct size wrench in the glove box as it happened every time we drove while it was snowing.

The other car we had like that was just before we came to the USA. It was only a few months old and it happened reasonably often except when we took it back to the dealer who could never replicate the problem. They changed everything - carburettor, computer, temperature sensor etc. After 6 months of this it was mis-behaving when I drove back from Scotland and I drove it straight to the big regional dealer, left the engine running at high revs, got the manager out so he could see the engine racing and the temperature gauge showing cold. We switched the engine off, started it back up - normal, gauge reading correctly. He then traced a wiring bundle to the firewall, unplugged it, tightened up some of the female pins with a pair of long nosed pliers, and we never had the problem again. - Cars
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Old 02-07-2010, 04:36 PM   #19
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Paying for my ex-husband's flying lessons for a year back in 1976.

I made twice what he made in the Navy, so we lived on his salary and 100% of mine went for his flying lessons.

My salary was only enough for one of us to take flying lessons. But we were young, and he smiled at me in his handsome, charming way, and I melted....
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Old 02-07-2010, 05:04 PM   #20
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Paying for my ex-husband's flying lessons for a year back in 1976.

I made twice what he made in the Navy, so we lived on his salary and 100% of mine went for his flying lessons.

My salary was only enough for one of us to take flying lessons. But we were young, and he smiled at me in his handsome, charming way, and I melted....
Thanks for reminding me. Easily the biggest waste was XDW's ballroom dancing lessons. Screw you Arthur Murray!
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