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Learning to spend after years of saving...
Old 04-20-2017, 01:58 PM   #1
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Learning to spend after years of saving...

I retired at 52 this year. We have saved and lived well below our means for decades. We have 2.7M of which half is untaxable...our house is paid off, cars paid off, no debt....but we are struggling learning how to actually start spending the money. All those years of being miserly have become ingrained. Anyone else have this problem??
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Old 04-20-2017, 02:24 PM   #2
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Uh, yes......

It's been a hard adjustment. I have 2 kids at home and there's a bit of anxiety of ensuring I have everything covered for them over the next 10 years.

My two challenges are changing the habit of not spending any more than necessary to get through the months, and getting over the fear that I may outlive my resources.

I'm slowly loosening up the purse strings on a few things like movies and restaurants without being extravagant. Have treated myself to a few toys like a nice bicycle and a better car than I really needed (a Honda, passed on the $50K Infiniti ).

I'm also finally accepting what I figured out 3 years ago -as long as I don't go down the "hookers and blow" road, I'll be fine.
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Old 04-20-2017, 02:27 PM   #3
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What would you be spending money on if you were to loosen the purse strings a bit?
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Old 04-20-2017, 02:36 PM   #4
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I, too, am curious about spending patterns once one FIREs. (Not quite there yet myself.) I'm certain we're not suddenly going to turn from sensible to prodigal, but it is unclear which of several factors will dominate.

Costs could go down, as RE will roughly coincide with paying off the accumulated debt from decades of child-rearing. Posters here often identify a whole range life-simplifying, cost-reducing changes enabled by a retired lifestyle.

OTOH, costs could go up, due to pursuing activities formerly verboten due to time constraints. Hobbies, travel, lifelong learning; these things typically entail some new expenditures. A few more doctor visits, the odd new Rx, changes in insurance... health spending will likely creep up.

The expense side of the financial plan appears to me a lot less predictable than the portfolio side.
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Old 04-20-2017, 02:38 PM   #5
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Yup...been retired a little over a year and still can't spend much. My one "extravagant" purchase was about $2000 on a nice bass...irrelevant in the grand scheme of things. I've also been researching 2-3 year old vehicles to replace my older car and have even taken a few test drives, but I just can't pull the trigger on anything.
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Old 04-20-2017, 02:50 PM   #6
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Yup...been retired a little over a year and still can't spend much.
We spent very, very little our first 18 months, then gradually opened the purse strings. I think this pattern is typical as almost all of us need to gain a comfort level with our income/spending once the regular paycheck stops.
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Old 04-20-2017, 02:52 PM   #7
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I retired at 52 this year. We have saved and lived well below our means for decades. We have 2.7M of which half is untaxable...our house is paid off, cars paid off, no debt....but we are struggling learning how to actually start spending the money. All those years of being miserly have become ingrained. Anyone else have this problem??
Yes, I am miserly because I will always be alone. The money I have will need to last me for the rest of my life - even though my health issues are supposed to trim 20+ years off my life expectancy on average - still worried about outliving money!
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Old 04-20-2017, 02:55 PM   #8
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I find I spend less freely in ER. I was in a high earning job and saved more than I spent every year. There was a lot of w*rk related travel and socializing (fundraising galas, etc), and gifts for staff members. As a high earner, I sometimes felt it necessary to foot the bill for more than my share of this, probably to avoid being thought of as a cheapskate. It was great to leave all that behind. I have bought very few clothes since ER and I am certainly not going to any $150 dinners. This was such a relief, as I am an introvert. I also have to be careful not to outspend my stash, being single with no pension.
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Old 04-20-2017, 02:56 PM   #9
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[QUOTE=FlaGator;1870562

<SNIP>

I'm also finally accepting what I figured out 3 years ago -as long as I don't go down the "hookers and blow" road, I'll be fine.[/QUOTE]

You forgot the "...and waste the rest."
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Old 04-20-2017, 03:10 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by NoOneGetsIt View Post
I retired at 52 this year. We have saved and lived well below our means for decades. We have 2.7M of which half is untaxable...our house is paid off, cars paid off, no debt....but we are struggling learning how to actually start spending the money. All those years of being miserly have become ingrained. Anyone else have this problem??
Will you get a pension eventually?
Or will you have to totally depend on the $2.7M?

If it is the former, I would definitely feel a lot more comfortable loosening the purse strings if I was in your shoes.
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Old 04-20-2017, 03:16 PM   #11
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What would you be spending money on if you were to loosen the purse strings a bit?
Travel! Eating out
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Old 04-20-2017, 03:18 PM   #12
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Yes, I am miserly because I will always be alone. The money I have will need to last me for the rest of my life - even though my health issues are supposed to trim 20+ years off my life expectancy on average - still worried about outliving money!
Ok..do tell ...what is lengthening your life 20 years!!
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yup u sound like us
Old 04-20-2017, 03:19 PM   #13
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yup u sound like us

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Originally Posted by NoOneGetsIt View Post
I retired at 52 this year. We have saved and lived well below our means for decades. We have 2.7M of which half is untaxable...our house is paid off, cars paid off, no debt....but we are struggling learning how to actually start spending the money. All those years of being miserly have become ingrained. Anyone else have this problem??
same scenario, except we have most of it in taxed accounts, well we recently discovered real maple syrup which i have denied my self for 54 years, i buy and drink champagne way more often instead of just anniversary and new years eve . we did a caviar and champagne tasting with family and found out for us the more it costs the better it was, the bride liked the crystal($217 with tax) i liked the dom perrigion($174 with tax), we were $40 Moet drinkers before that , i would label that as a "best Buy", not worth 5 times as much for us . but its better and thats what i will buy going foward, the caviar was fun to sample i kept the lids of the best ones, but life is the same, i have a 14 year old car with 38K miles, i wanted a fire engine red Cadillac, i just couldn't pull the trigger, old habits die hard, im sure my only son will have zero problem blowing thru it in no time, thus i feel the need to spend some on some stuff , we dont know what that is yet, BTW im 6'6" 312 pounds, im probably going to drop dead very soon anyway , so the bride tells me just buy it stop worrying, live long enjoy ur money u worked for it
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Old 04-20-2017, 03:23 PM   #14
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I'm also finally accepting what I figured out 3 years ago -as long as I don't go down the "hookers and blow" road, I'll be fine.
HEE larious!
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Old 04-20-2017, 03:34 PM   #15
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We have the same problem. Upon retirement in 2013 I finalized the budget at $32k. We barely spent that in 2014 in spite of having a $9000 major exterior renovation project on the house (deferred maintenance). Then in 2015 we only spent $24,000. Way below what we could spend based on a reasonable withdrawal rate for a 30-something AND I was starting to get some pretty decent side hustle income flowing into the checking account.

So for 2016, I raised the budget to $40,000 per year because, hey, you only live once, right? Might as well try to make sure you're doing it right. We spent $39,000 but $8000 of that was a used vehicle purchase to replace our 16 year old cars. So far 2017 doesn't look like we'll hit $40,000 but we'll try We're spending 9 weeks in Europe however half of the trip expenses were already paid during 2016 (lodging, flights, lots of airline points spent).

Through March 2017 we are running $3,000 under budget (just under $7000 spent vs budget of $10,000 for Q1). So 2017 might be another low spending year too.

Things I'm doing to try to spend more money:
-tell myself "yes, we can afford it" whenever it's a purchase or expenditure that will be highly rewarding (travel, gadgets, outsourcing not fun home maintenance tasks)
-be looser with replacing things (kid stuff, clothes, shoes, electronics, etc)
-gift more generously
-host more parties to treat friends nice (kind of failed in this regard; life gets busy )
-don't worry about the $1-10 expenditures as much. Driving 20-40 miles for something kind of frivolous used to bother me but now it's no big deal. If the grocery store overcharges me by a buck I'll no longer go back in the store to get my $1 back.
-occasionally go out to eat or get takeout even when there's perfectly acceptable food inside the fridge.
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Old 04-20-2017, 03:40 PM   #16
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I just RE'd 3 weeks ago. DW and I are definitely planning to spend more than we were, especially on travel. This week I started to take down a large spruce tree that was slowly dying. I figured I had the time. DW wanted me to have the tree service take it down, but I though it was a good way to save $500. After seeing how far I got in a week I'm letting them do it.

Last week we learned about a pretty state park about 5 hrs away, and contrary to our usual practice, DW said "Let's just go!", and I said OK, so we are going to spend a few days. Our bigger travel plans are set for this year (2 trips to western national parks), but for next year we are looking at guided, international trips, which we would never have spent the money on before.

I spent nearly 36 years working, we saved and invested well, and now it is time to enjoy it.
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Old 04-20-2017, 03:45 PM   #17
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I've been retired for 10 years and still have trouble spending money. I buy on sale and go to the matinee movies........
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this is probably how it will go for us
Old 04-20-2017, 03:52 PM   #18
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this is probably how it will go for us

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I've been retired for 10 years and still have trouble spending money. I buy on sale and go to the matinee movies........
old habits die hard, we just dont deny ourselves things, but we were happy doing it for so long that its second nature now
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Old 04-20-2017, 04:29 PM   #19
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This week I started to take down a large spruce tree that was slowly dying. I figured I had the time. DW wanted me to have the tree service take it down, but I though it was a good way to save $500. After seeing how far I got in a week I'm letting them do it.
Smart move!
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Old 04-20-2017, 04:33 PM   #20
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No problem spending in retirement for me. I saved my entire life so I could retire early. I now spend almost twice as much on discretionary items than I did during my working years. I know what my income is during ER and as long as I don't go over that there are no worries.
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