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Old 02-16-2011, 06:23 AM   #201
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Old 02-16-2011, 07:57 AM   #202
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Like caninelover, I've had awkward experiences like that. The best one was a girl I've known a long time who suggested at the end of a happy hour with the girls that I should pick up the tab, you know, since I've got that sticker and all (my Dave Ramsey debt free sticker on the back of my POS car). I'm still chuckling over that. I did pick up the tab that night, but said the reason I could "afford" that sticker is because I didn't make a habit of same.

This same girl has made some appallingly bad financial decisions and I've remembered to bite my tongue about them, as she never asked my opinion.

But I've got that sticker! <snort>
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Old 02-16-2011, 09:06 AM   #203
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Like caninelover, I've had awkward experiences like that. The best one was a girl I've known a long time who suggested at the end of a happy hour with the girls that I should pick up the tab, you know, since I've got that sticker and all (my Dave Ramsey debt free sticker on the back of my POS car). I'm still chuckling over that. I did pick up the tab that night, but said the reason I could "afford" that sticker is because I didn't make a habit of same.

This same girl has made some appallingly bad financial decisions and I've remembered to bite my tongue about them, as she never asked my opinion.

But I've got that sticker! <snort>
This is why many FIRE'd people don't advertise the fact that they have significant assets. There are freeloaders masquerading as friends all around us.
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Old 02-16-2011, 09:10 AM   #204
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This is why many FIRE'd people don't advertise the fact that they have significant assets. There are freeloaders masquerading as friends all around us.
Yep. I/DW are happy being viewed as having much fewer assets than those around us. It keeps the "freeloaders" away ...
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Old 02-16-2011, 09:54 AM   #205
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Yep. I/DW are happy being viewed as having much fewer assets than those around us. It keeps the "freeloaders" away ...
I'm interested to see what happens if (or more likely, when - see other thread) I announce that I'm taking 9-12 months sabbatical to go back to college. My colleagues will know that I'm walking away from somewhere north of 120K in pay and benefits, and our friends will suspect that I'm walking away from perhaps half that.

Of course, I know that /a/ I have no debt and a million in the bank, and /b/ since I wasn't planning to work as long as I can, this is just a year of ER taken early. But if people say "oh, how will you ever manage financially?", we'll smile earnestly and say "needs must" and "we'll make do, somehow" and DW can say "Nick's following his dream". Maybe we'll get some food parcels out of it.
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Old 02-16-2011, 10:35 AM   #206
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Old friend, was my college roommate, went on to a bohemian bare-bones life, recently asked for $1,500. Very awkward. He seemed stunned when I said no. I suspected drugs. I gave him $100. He said he would pay me back. I don't expect it.
I have almost the same situation here. My college roommate, with whom I've been in fairly close contact over the years, followed a bare-bones lifestyle despite being extremely talented in his field. Instead of using his talent to work and accumulate a FIRE portfolio, he began a lifetime of part time and contract work because he hated working for "the man" and being "chained to a cubical." He lived frugally and was wise in his expenditures, but he adjusted the amount he was willing to work down as he learned to live more and more inexpensively.

At 62, he has a few thousand dollars in the bank and a mid-sized SS check coming in. For the first time, he can't find a contract job he can tolerate for a few months to bail himself out. His 20+ year old car just died and a mutual friend (who is housing him in his summer home at the moment) suggested we do something to help him with a new car.

Sorry...... no thanks. It's a tough decision because we're not talking about a "spender" here. We're talking about an intelligent, frugal liver who went too far in "work" avoidance and wound up being 62 with nothing but a few thousand bux of emergency money, a mid-sized SS check and a lot of knowledge about living on the cheap. But those things don't solve some issues like meeting a $5k deductible on your med ins or paying a few kilobux for a replacement car.

I think he's just going to have to throw in his cards and admit he needs organized charity help (govt and/or private) even if it costs him some independence. A subsidized room in an area where he doesn't need a car, etc. I don't see how a few kilobux from me solves anything long term although he says if he had a running car again (lives in a rural area) he could go on fine.

It's an example of the other side of the coin: not saving due to not working enough as opposed to not saving due to spending too much.
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Old 02-16-2011, 11:05 AM   #207
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I have done several loans for people, and always got paid back. The hardest loan was to my best friend who got his girlfriend pregnant while in college. Her parents had told her she would be disowned if she had a child out of wedlock. They decided as a couple to get an abortion and he needed the money for it. It was very tough for me to borrow them it, since I was raised strict Catholic, and I felt a bit immoral about it. However, I relented and gave him the money. He paid me back, and it's now 20 years later, they have 4 great kids, they got married, he has a Phd and works at a lab, so it all worked out..........
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Old 02-16-2011, 11:14 AM   #208
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youbet, that is a compelling story. Thanks for sharing. I kept thinking of a dear friend who could accurately be described like that, except he was a truck driver, working for himself, who took big chunks of time off to hang out with us when we lived at the beach. We loved having him and did worry some about him not having any savings in retirement, even going so far as noting in our wills that he should receive some cash if we predeceased him.

Sadly, it seemed a good thing that he took retirement in chunks as he wanted (fellow John D. MacDonald fans will notice the Travis reference) as he died suddenly from a ruptured aorta 3 years ago. I gave his eulogy and thought how difficult the balancing act of living as we choose (as your friend has done) and living for a comfortable future (as we have chosen). For every dollar he spent that didn't go into his IRA, I am grateful.

Your position is reasonable, though, in light of your friend's conscious decision to live close to the edge.
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Old 02-16-2011, 12:38 PM   #209
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I gave his eulogy and thought how difficult the balancing act of living as we choose (as your friend has done) and living for a comfortable future (as we have chosen). For every dollar he spent that didn't go into his IRA, I am grateful.
It is tough to pick a path to follow and stick to it and always believe you're doing the right thing for yourself and people who depend on you. Perhaps that's why there is a tendency on this board to "jump on" stories about folks who don't participate in a life of frugal living or who don't maximize earned dollars, or both, in order to gain FIRE status ASAP. Of course, this forum is about FIRE, so I guess the tone should be expected.
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Your position is reasonable, though, in light of your friend's conscious decision to live close to the edge.
It wasn't an easy decision. I tried to make sure I was following the logical path and not the emotional. In the past, my friend has given several of us some flack for living conventional lives (jobs, families, houses; the whole catastrophe) while he was much more unconventional. I didn't want my decision to be based on a "get even" point of view. I think I'm doing the right thing. He needs to come to grips with being older and having eaten his dessert first which will probably involve moving to a no-car area and living in some kind of subsidized or shared housing. Helping him get a car now might enable him to stay put for a while but, more likely, something else will come up that can't be handled with a mid-teens income and the decision would have to be made again.
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Old 02-16-2011, 12:52 PM   #210
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It is tough to pick a path to follow and stick to it and always believe you're doing the right thing for yourself and people who depend on you. Perhaps that's why there is a tendency on this board to "jump on" stories about folks who don't participate in a life of frugal living or who don't maximize earned dollars, or both, in order to gain FIRE status ASAP. Of course, this forum is about FIRE, so I guess the tone should be expected. It wasn't an easy decision. I tried to make sure I was following the logical path and not the emotional. In the past, my friend has given several of us some flack for living conventional lives (jobs, families, houses; the whole catastrophe) while he was much more unconventional. I didn't want my decision to be based on a "get even" point of view. I think I'm doing the right thing. He needs to come to grips with being older and having eaten his dessert first which will probably involve moving to a no-car area and living in some kind of subsidized or shared housing. Helping him get a car now might enable him to stay put for a while but, more likely, something else will come up that can't be handled with a mid-teens income and the decision would have to be made again.
With a mid teens income, his main issue will be surviving until Medicare. Or, I guess I should pass on this and punt to Jacob to other champions of very cheap living.

Obviously a car is out, as is self paid medical care, and a full load apartment. Or at least this seems obvious to me. Senior housing can be pretty nice in many cities. I occasionally talk to folks who live in neighborhoods similar to or better than mine, but pay less than half the rent. These can be rough if all ages, but senior only should be fine. 62 is usually old enough. At the very low end all sorts of help shows up for medical and rent, and of course he may qualify for food stamps, and there are plenty soup kitchens in churches and other institutions. Most cities have low cost bus and train passes for seniors. There are still $1 matinees around, as well as free concerts at universities and downtown old line churches. As long as he shaves and bathes, he should even be able to score a woman if he learns nice.

This will sound pretty bad to a free spirit, but it really beats living on the street.

Ha
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Old 02-17-2011, 09:52 PM   #211
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It's an example of the other side of the coin: not saving due to not working enough as opposed to not saving due to spending too much.
We also have a friend like this, and when we retired at age 52 and 55 he made some noise over how lucky we were. I told him he had already taken his retirement in the times he had been out of work while we never had more than a week or two off since we were mid teens.

We also resemble the Nords way of presenting ourselves. If our family or neighbors ever knew how much money we had they would faint. We drive old cars, dress casually and never eat out. We can't wait for the bicycle season to start again as we barely touch a car in the summer- of course it is 75% for our health and 25% for environmental and money saving reasons but they don't know that. They think we are too cheap to pay for gas.
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Old 02-18-2011, 12:24 AM   #212
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We also have a friend like this, and when we retired at age 52 and 55 he made some noise over how lucky we were. I told him he had already taken his retirement in the times he had been out of work while we never had more than a week or two off since we were mid teens.
Your reply was brilliant! I surely need to remember this one for use myself.
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Old 02-18-2011, 08:59 AM   #213
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Good Answer! The same logic applies to replying to the overspenders.

"You spent your retirement savings on cruises, cars, and toys; we chose to spend ours on retirement."
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Old 02-18-2011, 09:16 AM   #214
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Interesting. 2 points: 1) I am never appalled when I learn of people who made bad financial choices and end up with very little because it takes all kinds to make a world and the fact that we have done so well in comparison just makes me feel more proud (some would say smug but whatever) 2) Our lifestyle makes it difficult to have friends who are in this unfortunate position. Now family- that is another question. We try to be generous to them by paying for trips, dinners, etc. Small price to pay I guess.
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Old 02-18-2011, 10:19 AM   #215
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Interesting. 2 points: 1) I am never appalled when I learn of people who made bad financial choices and end up with very little because it takes all kinds to make a world and the fact that we have done so well in comparison just makes me feel more proud (some would say smug but whatever) 2) Our lifestyle makes it difficult to have friends who are in this unfortunate position. Now family- that is another question. We try to be generous to them by paying for trips, dinners, etc. Small price to pay I guess.
You are entitled to feel proud of your LBYM lifestyle. The key point is not to be proud at the expense of someone else's self-esteem (i.e. schadenfreude). When you learn of others' financial mistakes, all you should do is offer to help them learn from such mistakes. If they refuse your advice - and simply ask for money - you're completely justified in refusing to enable their bad financial habits.

If your "friends" with poor financial habits only spend time with you because you'll pay the bar tab, then they're not really your friends. Family, as you say, is a different story. Your relatives are entitled to a bit more leeway, but the outcome should be the same. They must also learn from their financial mistakes, but you may be inclined to pick up the tab more often.
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Old 02-18-2011, 12:20 PM   #216
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You are entitled to feel proud of your LBYM lifestyle. The key point is not to be proud at the expense of someone else's self-esteem (i.e. schadenfreude). When you learn of others' financial mistakes, all you should do is offer to help them learn from such mistakes. If they refuse your advice - and simply ask for money - you're completely justified in refusing to enable their bad financial habits.

If your "friends" with poor financial habits only spend time with you because you'll pay the bar tab, then they're not really your friends. Family, as you say, is a different story. Your relatives are entitled to a bit more leeway, but the outcome should be the same. They must also learn from their financial mistakes, but you may be inclined to pick up the tab more often.
Thanks for the advice. I totally agree. I don't think my pride comes at the expense of others. When asked (seldom) I give generously of my advice. When I said our lifestyle doesn't easily allow for "such" friends , it is because we travel so much ,both out of country and to our vacation properties. We like to entertain our friends at these places. When we see our friends who are not as well off, I usually insist on picking up the cost or in some way reducing their costs. I assure you this is not why they are our friends. We have no deadbeat friends. Family-well as I said.
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Old 02-18-2011, 12:50 PM   #217
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You are a fly on the wall, and privy to all the feelings and attitudes of all the people involved?

WOW!
Don't quite know how to take your response.

I was speaking more generally and wasn't pretending to know the depths of a particular individual's psyche. A spendthrift may have a small part of his/her personality that knows such behavior is wrong, but lacks the ability to know where to begin. Change can be a very daunting task, and it's easier to ask for money or to consider others who are financially better-off to be lucky.

My wife and I have very wealthy friends who, like you, ask us to join them at their beach houses or ski lodges. All we would need to come up with is the airfare and some money for incidentals. Not a bad deal when a hotel can be half or more of a vacation bill. The only reason we haven't taken them up on their "standing" offers is beacause we have a 16-month old who vacuums up virtually every moment of free time we have (and we only have ONE right now, I can't imagine how bad it will be with two kids). When we do finally take them up on their offers, I'd like our kids to be a bit older and able to spend a weekend at grandma's house while mom & dad enjoy a little bit of adult time.
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Old 02-18-2011, 12:50 PM   #218
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I think he's just going to have to throw in his cards and admit he needs organized charity help (govt and/or private) even if it costs him some independence. A subsidized room in an area where he doesn't need a car, etc. I don't see how a few kilobux from me solves anything long term although he says if he had a running car again (lives in a rural area) he could go on fine.
I was thinking about this and just having a running car is not the answer. Insurance, repairs etc need money input. A band-aid on a larger wound.

I shudder to think of someone who needs government help now and isn't able or willing to work. Food stamps, subsidized housing, medicaid, medicare, SS- everything is on the chopping block per the states and the feds.
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Old 02-18-2011, 01:05 PM   #219
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I would not doubt way more people handle their money poorly than they handle it well. Their are a myraid of reasons, but the bottom line is they cant or wont. Pensioners like myself had the benefit of forced paying and matching funds without active involvement. I'm not a big government person, but I sure wouldnt be opposed to the government forcing people to put a portion of their money in some type of 401k in their own names drawable at retirement (in addition to SS). The gov't currently offers a low income $1000 tax credit for people who put $1000 away, and yet I bet few do this. Even if they "loan sharked" their money for a few weeks until the refund came to pay it off, they would be hundreds of dollars ahead each year.
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Old 02-18-2011, 01:10 PM   #220
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I would not doubt way more people handle their money poorly than they handle it well. Their are a myraid of reasons, but the bottom line is they cant or wont. Pensioners like myself had the benefit of forced paying and matching funds without active involvement. I'm not a big government person, but I sure wouldnt be opposed to the government forcing people to put a portion of their money in some type of 401k in their own names drawable at retirement (in addition to SS). The gov't currently offers a low income $1000 tax credit for people who put $1000 away, and yet I bet few do this. Even if they "loan sharked" their money for a few weeks until the refund came to pay it off, they would be hundreds of dollars ahead each year.
This is why so many people are opposed to cutting Social Security. For many people, this was their forced savings plan on which they're planning to rely in retirement.
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