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Why Not Spend More on Me Now than Later?
Old 01-26-2014, 10:09 PM   #1
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Why Not Spend More on Me Now than Later?

I've spent the past 30-some years saving more than I've spent, to be able to retire early.

Now, some four years into my own ER, I have gradually convinced myself to loosen my wallet and buy stuff that I wouldn't have otherwise in my early years. (Such as a $100 sub-woofer for my 1970s Sansui 7070 stereo.)

I am learning it's better to spend the $ I've saved on myself now rather than later--when my mind and health may not be able to appreciate what $ I may have remaining then. (Knew a 96-year-old in relatively good health and $ bank book, but mentally "out of it.")

What say you 'bout spending your savings on yourself today rather than during an uncertain tomorrow?
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Old 01-26-2014, 10:41 PM   #2
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I would spend everything I have today if I knew there was no tomorrow...but that is the in-deterministic problem. In lieu of knowing I plan on spending more in the early years of ER while I'm physically and mentally capable. As I slow down I'm sure I will be just as happy enjoying a cheap cup of coffee and watching time go by.
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Old 01-26-2014, 11:47 PM   #3
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The way I look at it, the knowledge that I will be secure in the future is the best thing I can give myself today.
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Old 01-27-2014, 12:39 AM   #4
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As long as you feel you have the coverage until you are 'outta here,' I would say go for it. Enjoy it now while you can.
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Old 01-27-2014, 01:29 AM   #5
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I like the idea of enjoying what I can now, while I'm better able to appreciate it. But I also want to be sure I'll have enough to spend later, when I might need a bit of extra help, but still enjoy life. It's all too fuzzy to me to be really sure when I should loosen the purse-strings and when I should tighten them. If you have a plan that works for you, then by all means enjoy your choices.
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Old 01-27-2014, 05:52 AM   #6
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I like the idea of enjoying what I can now, while I'm better able to appreciate it. But I also want to be sure I'll have enough to spend later, when I might need a bit of extra help, but still enjoy life. It's all too fuzzy to me to be really sure when I should loosen the purse-strings and when I should tighten them. If you have a plan that works for you, then by all means enjoy your choices.
+1. Answer fits me pretty well too.

Nothing wrong with splurging a little, but I would have just worked longer if I had wanted to spend significantly more in retirement. It's a balance with substantial uncertainty no matter who you are, I am more concerned about having enough at the end than more toys now. And I suspect when the inevitable market corrections are upon us, there will be more frugal posts. I hope to stick to our plan in good times and bad. YMMV
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Old 01-27-2014, 05:53 AM   #7
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While the idea of "skidding into your casket, worn out, used up and saying 'What a ride!' clutching your last dollar" has appeal, the timing on that is difficult to pull off.
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Old 01-27-2014, 08:32 AM   #8
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Sort of in that mode. Retired fully end of 2012 and have been gradually increasing the lifestyle. Still nowhere near what the FIDO calculator says we could be spending, but am becoming much less anal about splurging on larger ticket or even such things as what we buy for meals (sockeye salmon $14.99 a pound....oh well). Good example was recent upgrade in woodworking tools. $8k in a flash; looked like Santa crashed into my garage. In defense, I've built a lot of stuff over the years including 3 sets of kitchen cabinets and almost all our non-upholstered furniture. So I do use the stuff; problem now is do I replace stuff or what?!! Kids are overseas so jewelry boxes is about all I can get to them!
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Old 01-27-2014, 09:21 AM   #9
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While the idea of "skidding into your casket, worn out, used up and saying 'What a ride!' clutching your last dollar" has appeal, the timing on that is difficult to pull off.
That would be a great way to go. Unfortunately over the years I have become cranky and conservative.... What happened to me....
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Old 01-27-2014, 10:03 AM   #10
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While the idea of "skidding into your casket, worn out, used up and saying 'What a ride!' clutching your last dollar" has appeal, the timing on that is difficult to pull off.
Isn't that what ann*ities accomplish? (for a price)
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Old 01-27-2014, 10:09 AM   #11
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I see nothing wrong with splurging after a life long effort to conserve and put away for your future. For me personally, I find that the older I get, the less desire I have to purchase any material items. They just become stuff I have to take care of, and find a place to put in my house. I can't think of a single material item I have any desire to buy at this point.

Experiences, OTOH, are very enjoyable to me, and I do plan on taking some nice vacations this year. And I never watch how much I spend on groceries, because even if I buy all high end, organic products, it just doesn't end up being that much money. And we hardly ever eat out, so even the most expensive groceries always end up costing a lot less than a few nice meals in restaurants.
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Old 01-27-2014, 12:34 PM   #12
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For me, "why not spend more" encompasses a wide range. I'd spend the $100 or $1000 ONCE even if it would exceed my annual budget. It is small enough that it wouldn't jeopardize my long term plan. On the other hand, I wouldn't sign up for a subscription that would put me over the budget or exceed my budget by a large amount.

I tend to spend more freely on experiences or on something that would allow me to have a better experience - say a snow shoes, a new computer.
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Old 01-27-2014, 12:41 PM   #13
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It's your money, Birdie Num Nums, so I think you should do what you want with it!
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The way I look at it, the knowledge that I will be secure in the future is the best thing I can give myself today.
+1. This is how I wish to spend my money, as well. I am also spending plenty on myself at the moment, but if I got short on money I would cut back some on present spending to preserve a secure future.
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Old 01-27-2014, 12:46 PM   #14
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I like the idea of simple living, saving the planet, using less resources, etc. We are trying to declutter and downsize, and plan to do slow travel using frequent flyer miles for air fare to exotic but low cost of living vacation spots.

I do not think spending more money would make me happier. I like saving money and the life we have planned.
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Old 01-27-2014, 12:52 PM   #15
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I try to balance my present and future spending. I have a fairly generous budget and I'm happy to spend it all rather than save "extra". Though we pretty much underspend, we just leave the excess in the budget. for later spending.

We sort of have something like the OP going on with one of our cars. It needs the driver's window lift repaired. We get along without the repair by opening the door instead of rolling down the window, at a drive through or parking pay booth. I expect if we really want to sell it for a decent price we'll have to fix the window. We could fix it now, improve the resale price, and enjoy a working window until we sell it. Or we could fix it just before we sell it. So far, we're doing the latter. Probably a little too cheap in this case.
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Old 01-27-2014, 02:53 PM   #16
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We sort of have something like the OP going on with one of our cars. It needs the driver's window lift repaired. We get along without the repair by opening the door instead of rolling down the window, at a drive through or parking pay booth... Probably a little too cheap in this case.
Hi Animorph/Birdie,

I recently spent a fair while fixing bits like this on our cars... because I like doing this kind of stuff and hope it models LBYM for my kids.

I think this stage in my life (FI) is about indulgence and happiness but LBYM for life means that I find my indulgence value in lower absolute $ cost stuff. e.g easier to indulge on a relative luxury $20-$200 purchase than a $2000- $20000 one :-)

I still enjoy really optimizing value in some expenditure (recent laptop replacement) but if I can't be bothered, I know I don't have to.

As others have said, this all assumes long term FI with a safety margin. I don't feel a sizable inheritance is good for my kids or that I owe them one... however my conservative planning and spending will hopefully ensure they get one - despite my indulgences!
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Old 01-27-2014, 03:58 PM   #17
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It's all a crap shoot we won't know we've won or lost until it's over. Anyone that thinks they know how it will all end financially is kidding himself.

Having said that, I recognize the difference between allowing yourself to enjoy an activity you really, really crave vs going out and looking for something to spend money on. If I wanted to do something very much and that activity, say some special trip, would be above and beyond our normal planned budget, I'd look at it like this:

If it was a large expenditure and I would have to dip into our FIRE portfolio reducing our FireCalc portfolio survival probability from 100% to 99% but doing this activity would be a wonderful, likely life changing experience, I'd do it. The odds of running out of money are still very small. My life's enjoyment has increased greatly both during the activity and with memories I'll take to the grave. A large reward is worth a small risk.

OTOH, I have no desire to go out and look for something to spend money on just to reduce the odds of croaking with megabux still in the pot which is my most likely outcome.

Everyone has to do their own evaluation of the trade-offs. A tiny reduction in portfolio survivability vs a life changing, memory creating, wonderful experience? A reduction in portfolio survivability vs a new boat? Etc.

There's another thread running about doing things while you can at age appropriate times running concurrently with this one and I think there are many common issues.
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Old 01-27-2014, 04:22 PM   #18
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Sort of in that mode. Retired fully end of 2012 and have been gradually increasing the lifestyle. Still nowhere near what the FIDO calculator says we could be spending, but am becoming much less anal about splurging on larger ticket or even such things as what we buy for meals (sockeye salmon $14.99 a pound....oh well). Good example was recent upgrade in woodworking tools. $8k in a flash; looked like Santa crashed into my garage. In defense, I've built a lot of stuff over the years including 3 sets of kitchen cabinets and almost all our non-upholstered furniture. So I do use the stuff; problem now is do I replace stuff or what?!! Kids are overseas so jewelry boxes is about all I can get to them!
Gee... That's not splurging. That's Essential!
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Old 01-27-2014, 04:31 PM   #19
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Hi Animorph/Birdie,

I recently spent a fair while fixing bits like this on our cars... because I like doing this kind of stuff and hope it models LBYM for my kids.

I think this stage in my life (FI) is about indulgence and happiness but LBYM for life means that I find my indulgence value in lower absolute $ cost stuff. e.g easier to indulge on a relative luxury $20-$200 purchase than a $2000- $20000 one :-)

I still enjoy really optimizing value in some expenditure (recent laptop replacement) but if I can't be bothered, I know I don't have to.

As others have said, this all assumes long term FI with a safety margin. I don't feel a sizable inheritance is good for my kids or that I owe them one... however my conservative planning and spending will hopefully ensure they get one - despite my indulgences!
+1

One concern of mine is a fear that if I start to spend freely now, I may develop a taste for the "high life" that many in America fall victim too throughout their life. Madison Avenue can be very influential.

I spent my whole working life developing LBYM / value proposition types of habits that I hope will easily get me through the next 50 years.


-gauss
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Old 01-27-2014, 05:09 PM   #20
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I have gradually convinced myself to loosen my wallet and buy stuff that I wouldn't have otherwise in my early years. (Such as a $100 sub-woofer for my 1970s Sansui 7070 stereo.)
If spending $100 to buy a sub-woofer for a 1970's stereo is your idea loose spending, then I doubt if you will succumb to a profligate lifestyle. Now, spending thousands of dollars on a VPI turn table is a different story.

Enjoy your sound system. All to many of the modern systems are just compressed mp3's playing on tinny speakers.
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