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Old 01-04-2013, 11:19 AM   #61
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Since ERing, we spend less on some things and more on others. I am still a coupon-clipping and store-brand-buying shopper on everyday things, and am a frequent shopper at the neighborhood Goodwill. We just spent a lot on a custom-designed motorhome, but I outfitted the kitchen mostly from Goodwill. And although we can certainly afford to eat out often, I prefer cooking (and fortunately DH prefers my cooking as well!). DS (home from college) put it well - said "you're spending on the things where the money really makes a difference".

The big change for me is I no longer stress about "wasting" small amounts of money as I used to. For example, this week DH forgot to mail something with a deadline to the point that we needed to send it Express Mail ($18.95). Before ER, this would have set me off on a tirade about how this was such a waste. Now I just take a deep breath and realize that it isn't worth any rise in blood pressure. I've also taken DD's advice and become a more generous tipper.
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Old 01-04-2013, 11:28 AM   #62
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DS (home from college) put it well - said "you're spending on the things where the money really makes a difference".
Very well said
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Old 01-04-2013, 12:08 PM   #63
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Our income could support a lavish lifestyle, but our tastes are simple (we saved about 80% of our net income last year and could have saved more if our rent wasn't so darn high in SF). We do evolve in a high-consumption environment but so far we have resisted the siren song - the key to our ability to reach FI so early. I doubt this will ever change.
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Old 01-04-2013, 12:21 PM   #64
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Our income could support a lavish lifestyle, but our tastes are simple (we saved about 80% of our net income last year and could have saved more if our rent wasn't so darn high in SF)...
You lived on 20% net in SF?

At that income, how could your wife think about retiring? I would work till death if I got paid that much.

Time for a new thread: How do I resist working?
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Old 01-04-2013, 01:10 PM   #65
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At that income, how could your wife think about retiring? I would work till death if I got paid that much.
Walking away from that kind of income is not easy - for sure. But it's time to move on. We don't aspire to be the richest folks in the cemetery. With no heirs of our own, building wealth for the heck of it seems counter-productive.
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Old 01-04-2013, 01:24 PM   #66
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OK, I exaggerated. Not even a money-grubber like me would work till death.

But "just one more year", then surely I can do that.
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Old 01-04-2013, 01:25 PM   #67
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Walking away from that kind of income is not easy - for sure. But it's time to move on. We don't aspire to be the richest folks in the cemetery. With no heirs of our own, building wealth for the heck of it seems counter-productive.
Very wise. There is a sweet spot in the relationship between income and contentment/satisfaction/whatever you want to call it, but it takes a certain degree of control and self-awareness to know what that is for you. Sounds like you've found it.
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Old 01-04-2013, 01:34 PM   #68
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But just one more year, then surely I can do that.
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Old 01-04-2013, 01:38 PM   #69
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Seriously, one factor that I walked off a consulting job last year was that they did not offer me what I thought I should get. It was more than money, but the fact that people valued your work, in order to pay you a certain amount. In a free market, that's how it works.

The work was enjoyable, and my work could have brought in more work for them too, as I possessed certain knowledge, experience, and skills that they did not have in house. As they valued my time less than I did, I stopped work. Had they valued it more, I would have continued for "another year".

Yes, there's ego involved.
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Old 01-04-2013, 02:24 PM   #70
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Dunno, maybe I'll be able to work my point of view more towards that feller who said " I spent most of my money on women and whiskey - the rest I just wasted"
LOL I really don't think my DW would get the humor in that one

Thinking of the topic I feel that DW and I will have the same problem as pensions cover all expenses, are COLA'd and we will still will continue to invest about 15% each month. Nice problem to have but with a long history of being DINK's we really don't want to leave it to relatives that had their own time to accumulate but didn't. We have friends that I know will have a hard time flipping the switch from saving to spending. Nice problem to have when you consider the alternative.

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Old 01-04-2013, 03:13 PM   #71
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Very interesting thread.

I think in this regard I am different than most here. I am frugal, but it is completely by design and purpose-driven...that is to be able to retire earlier than most do...no later than age 60, and perhaps sooner (I know that seems late to some of you, but most people in the United States retire later than age 60; some much later if at all). I am not frugal just for the sake of being frugal, and when I put money away for a specific purpose, I don't mind one bit spending money on that thing.

I've long based my retirement age (60) just by looking at my own salary, but in the last 2+ years, my wife has stopped being a stay at home mom and returned to work, so that is GREATLY helping and may enable me to retire as early as age 55 depending on the stock market, how much we pay for college for the kids, and if my wife and I both make the same or more for 9 more years.

I think what you need to do, Alex in Virginia, is to make a plan. Decide in a VERY SPECIFIC SENSE what it is you want to spend money on in the coming year, and arrange your finances to do that. You say you don't want to just die and give all your money away, so make a plan to spend it.

Seems you have the budgeting part down, so there's no need for me to spell that out here, but you do need help with the spending.

What is it you want? Travel? Book those trips! Maid service? Buy it. You can do a lot with an extra $25,000. Book those trips no more than 2 years ahead, and if for some reason your income lessens (down stock market, whatever), then rein in the spending a tad later on to catch back up to where you want to be.

We're only on this planet for so long which for me is the main reason I want to retire as soon as possible. Your frugality has opened up possibilities for you...now is the time to spend some money to fulfill those possibilities, and no guilt needs to be attached. You've EARNED it.
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Old 01-04-2013, 05:19 PM   #72
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I have always said that the saving was easy, its the spending that's hard.
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Old 01-04-2013, 05:29 PM   #73
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Very interesting thread; much wisdom about how it's hard to change how you are/how you think about money. At 61, we're living well (about same as pre-retirement) on half pension (partially cola'd) and half WR of something less than 2%. Travel is a big part of expense as daughter and grandkids are in London and son in Tanzania. We make two overseas trips a year, would likely do more if BIL would take our live in MIL more often. When she passes or goes into nursing home we will kick up travel; it sounds ugly but I hope that doesn't happen in the too distant future so we are still healthy enough to enjoy our time.

I'm attempting to kick up the spend rate by moving more from investments to spending accounts (local credit union checking and savings account) each month but it seems the local savings account is growing. When you've been frugal, saving your money all your life, it's hard to just spend it on stuff that doesn't have all that much meaning when a buck still has a value to you. I've been helping my son out as he finally moved his stuff into storage from his house so he can rent it. Which means I drive 1-1/2 hours to spend 7-8 painting, fixing up, all the stuff that it takes to clean up a house that's not been lived in for two years. My friends make fun of me because "that's what you pay other people to do!" I certainly could, but pay someone to do stuff I'm perfectly capable of doing (and truth be told I enjoy doing stuff that has tangible results, unlike most work-meetings, email, conversations, yuk!). I pay for the materials since it helps increase my spend rate, and he's actually making as much overseas as I did when retired. Sort of like yard work, it takes me 30 minutes to mow and blow; pay someone $40 for that? You gotta be kidding!

So I'm a prisoner of frugality, but I'm working on it. More travel will certainly help, and we enjoy that. More "stuff" isn't the answer for us. I'm even selling my Porsche because I didn't use it that much and needed the garage space. Waking up one day realizing you've over saved/underspent is way better than the reverse, and trying to address it is way more fun than the other situation I'm sure.
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Old 01-04-2013, 05:50 PM   #74
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[QUOTE=Tree-dweller;1265745"He Who Dies With The Most Toys Wins." [/QUOTE]

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It's NOT about the toys, but what you do WITH the toys you have.
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Old 01-04-2013, 11:42 PM   #75
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The only other suggestion I have is give some though to finding a cause greater than yourself - a group or an individual with needs you could help meet, pain and suffering you could help alleviate - and see how giving them a few bucks works for you. Might be just the thing.
Good advice.
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Old 01-05-2013, 01:12 AM   #76
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I've been debating about sharing my feelings here as they will probably seem different than most who have responded. Not that I'm ashamed, but rather, I'm not sure they will be productive - given that they are outside the mainstream.

I've related elsewhere that our cash burn has been higher (much higher) than during w*rking years. I've also related that our cash burn is higher than I thought (did the old to-the-penny spending spread sheet in 2011). So, I've stopped thinking of myself as a tightwad. So, it may come as a surprise that I related to Alex in Virginia. Why am I concerned about our "profligate" spending since we are still on plan?

While I would consider myself (and DW) frugal in most regards, we have been willing to pay the price to live in Paradise - and the price isn't cheap if you live anyplace but under a blue tarp on the beach (as do a surprising number of the working poor.)

Here is my take on holding the purse strings a bit closer to the vest than would otherwise seem prudent: I lived through the '70s.

There were the multiple oil-shocks, "stagflation", "WIN" buttons, Nixon price controls, dollars valued in, well, dollars instead of gold or other non-fiat based "money". With a doubling of the national debt in the past (help me here, 8 years?), a couple of wars, "free health care and drugs for all", spending out of control (my opinion), it's beginning to look like we're setting up for another '70s type scenario - on steroids. I may be wrong and I hope I am. But if a similar (or worse) economic situation returns, those of us no longer w*rking (and in my case, probably incapable of w*rking) will find it difficult to keep up with possible hyperinflation. I know we've discussed this particular subject before, so rather than debate, let's just leave it at "I think it's possible". With that in mind, loosening the purse strings is more about "what ifs?" than about just being my usual frugal self.

I have no idea whether such feelings could be affecting Alex (and other tightwads) at the subliminal level. But, if you've ever seen prices going up at the rate they did at the height of the 70s inflation, it will give you pause about using up your seed corn too fast. Alternately, it may make one want to get "rid" of dollars and actually "own" something of some value. In any case, this would be my take on why it's more difficult to spend than I thought it would be when I know the end is much closer than the beginning.

Not trying to be the party pooper (and clearly, not claiming to be the "voice of reason"). I'm simply suggesting that frugality comes from SOMEPLACE. I don't believe it is totally genetic. I'm just guessing that some of us (maybe more than would admit it) are frugal for reasons beyond w*rking toward FIRE. Again, not suggesting another "inflation debate" because YMMV.
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Old 01-05-2013, 08:49 AM   #77
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I've been debating about sharing my feelings here as they will probably seem different than most who have responded. Not that I'm ashamed, but rather, I'm not sure they will be productive - given that they are outside the mainstream.... Not trying to be the party pooper (and clearly, not claiming to be the "voice of reason").
I didn't see anything potentially offensive (or indeed, all that controversial) in your post.

In any event, we should all do our best to embrace dissent - sometimes easier said than done - rather than fall in the trap of 'groupthink' that unfortunately is too common on much of the Internet. Please feel free to challenge mainstream opinion without fear of rebuke.
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Old 01-05-2013, 10:46 AM   #78
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During the 70s and very early 80s we graduated from college, DH chose to go back to school rather than his guaranteed job after his Army tour ended, got married, got jobs, quit jobs, got new jobs, bought a house, had kids. Completely oblivious to the economy (so glad the interwebs and all news all the time weren't invented yet!).

DD gave me a list of 60 things about me when I turned 60. Items 17 and 18 probably apply to most of us:

You know when to save money.
You know when to spend money.
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Old 01-05-2013, 11:11 AM   #79
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I didn't see anything potentially offensive (or indeed, all that controversial) in your post...
+1

In fact, growing up in the 70's as a child of depression area parents, I completely understand these fears and probably share many of them on an emotional level.

But, personally, I am trying not to let my own fears about what might happen prevent me from enjoying my life now. (I say trying since I am definitely still looking for the efficient frontier which will maximize my enjoyment while minimizing my fear/concern/worry.)
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Old 01-05-2013, 01:28 PM   #80
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The 'nature' vs 'nurture' has been discussed many times. I think the 'nature' aspect is more important since in many cases (including mine) siblings who got exactly the same education in exactly the same environment could end up being very different money-wise. I have always been a saver for as long as I can remember while my brother keeps spending every dime he makes. Case in point, he just installed an in door pool (and a huge one too!) which I would never do although I can afford it.


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+1

In fact, growing up in the 70's as a child of depression area parents, I completely understand these fears and probably share many of them on an emotional level.

But, personally, I am trying not to let my own fears about what might happen prevent me from enjoying my life now. (I say trying since I am definitely still looking for the efficient frontier which will maximize my enjoyment while minimizing my fear/concern/worry.)
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