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Old 09-25-2012, 10:12 AM   #21
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You haven't factored in any "fun" in this whole journey! When hubby to be and I talked about our goals, we both had a couple of "must haves" in order to sock away money and live frugally. We both agreed on one nice vacation a year and paying extra towards our mortgage. We both fund our retirements and have a certain amount built in for eating out, toys, and other things. If we had to deprive ourselves, it would never work for us.
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Old 09-25-2012, 11:11 AM   #22
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I guess you have to clarify what you want out of life. You can never afford the nicest cars and nicest vacations. You buy a $50,000 car but there are $100,000 and $200,000 cars. You can buy a 4000 sf McMansion but there are 8000 and 10000 sf real mansions out there. You can vacation on an exotic island in the Pacific, but you would have a harder time vacationing at your own private exotic island in the Pacific.

Maybe focus on what value things and experiences bring you and your spouse. Is a $5000 vacation 10x better than a $500 vacation? Could you save a couple thousand a year on cell phone and cable bills to pay for a couple decent long weekends away?

Do you really want many thousands of extra dollars in expenses every year to pay for nicer cars? How does that fancy car bring value to you if you get from point A to point B in a similar fashion (albeit in a more aesthetically pleasing vessel). Is it a desire to show off your wealth and success? If so, that is a path to continued poverty.

Maybe your DW doesn't dislike her job at all and so she doesn't mind working forever? Sounds like you and your DW aren't on the same page as far as saving, spending, and retirement.

In my situation, DW doesn't like working and knows she is missing spending more time with the kids as they grow up, so that is a motivating factor to continue saving for ER. My answer to "can we afford it?" is "Yes, but we won't be able to save as much, and if it is a recurring expense then we will have to work even longer to save up more money to continue paying that expense indefinitely". It is all a trade off.
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Old 09-25-2012, 11:29 AM   #23
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There is always that tension between "plan ahead" and "live for today". What helps us is that a lot of the things that are apparently important to others are not important to us, and we're aware of the opportunity cost of spending on almost anything.

It's not that we're afraid to spend money (we do, sometimes gobs of it) but we do carefully consider all alternatives with the options we have.

And while the idea of "Skidding into my casket clutching my last dollar" is appealing the timing on that is hard to pull off.
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Old 09-25-2012, 11:37 AM   #24
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Do you run your numbers in the retirement calculators to see where you stand re your anticipated retirement age?

We always lived well below our means in our daily lives and in fact had all our $$ in untouchable retirement accounts. Maybe ten years before DH retired his company also offered a deferred compensation plan to save even more. We discussed and decided against it as we felt our future was already pretty secure and we felt we needed to enjoy the present at least a little--why tie up even more $$ for the future when we felt pretty sure we had enough already?

So I think you have to have a balance between being able to smell some of the roses today vs. tomorrow. And I do think that balance can shift back and forth--maybe you need to enjoy today a little more.
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Old 09-25-2012, 02:24 PM   #25
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We spent a lot of years with saving as our main goal, and living with cheap hand me down furniture and being a frugal as possible. DH and I both lost close friends who were under 40 about 2 years ago, and it has really reshaped our priorities. We took a trip that was on our "someday" list right away, even though DH didn't have a permanent job at the time.

We also decided recently that we wanted to live in a different neighborhood, so we bought a new house and are renting out our old one. It's increased our costs for now, but long term it should help our with our retirement budget to have a rental property.

We're spending a lot of money right now getting the house setup, but it should go down quite a bit soon. Balancing being happy now verses having enough to retire early is tough, but I'm glad we saved a lot when we were younger, and we don't feel guilty using some of our "fun" money now. (Still relatively young, 37/41, but hoping to retire in less than 10 years)
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Old 09-25-2012, 03:11 PM   #26
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What we do is pick a couple of categories of the budget that are much looser than the rest of the stuff. We've found if we sacrifice in some areas that don't mean a lot to us, then we can really save there, giving us some much-needed wiggle room in other parts. Every couple is different, but for us we found that we can save massively by driving older, really cheap (like under $5k) cars that we repair ourselves, not really caring much about clothes or home furnishings, and skipping having kids, we are able to splurge more on the stuff that DOES matter--going out with friends, traveling, boating, and enjoying our free time.

Maybe a look back through the budget might find some give and take that would help you both keep an eye on the future while enjoying the present.
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Old 09-25-2012, 03:32 PM   #27
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I could be out of line, but I wonder if the problem might be that you and your SO don't see eye to eye on what the priorities should be. It's one thing to think "gosh I'd really love to go to France this year...." And feel bummed about it. It's harder when it's the spouse that is feeling gipped out of France when you want to save.

If you're feeling too virtuous, find a little splurge. If you're arguing about money, work on that.

I also realize you may have simply been venting, not looking for fixes. If that is the case, let me just agree that it can be hard once in a while. We find a lot of happiness in our "save like mad and get outta the rat race ASAP" life, but most of the people we know would find our choices to be a burden.

Cheers,

SIS

PS: We kept our college furniture for 14 years. I still ooh and aah at our "new stuff" which is several years old!
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Old 09-25-2012, 09:52 PM   #28
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Thanks Tim. Yes, family of 4, wife stays at home. Our kids have an idealic childhood which is important to us.

We are definitely building wealth - and the option to retire at 55. I regularly play a loop of Dave Ramsey's quote in my head - " live like nobody else today so you can live like nobody else tomorrow".

Don't feel sorry for me - I just wanna know what script everyone keeps playing in their heads. Telling the boss to shove it doesn't quite do it for me since I typically enjoy the work I do (not that I want to keep doing it forever).
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Old 09-25-2012, 10:02 PM   #29
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Thanks everyone for your responses. You all may be onto something that my wife and I may not be on the same page with our saving rate. In truth, she is a little fatalistic and probably believes we prob will not be alive after 60! (joke, partly)
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Old 09-26-2012, 09:20 AM   #30
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Discuss with her what is her benefit of saving.
Soon the kids will leave the house. If there are not sufficient savings she might have to take every crazy job that is available to fund college cost + her + your retirement as you both have lost the early years.

The David Ramsey quote is not for me. I would not want to sacrifice today completely so that I can live the high life in some distant future. For me it is good enough to live a small but good life today and tomorrow. No comparison to others necessary.
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Old 09-26-2012, 09:52 AM   #31
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First thing I thought was, it's okay if you cuss a bit, at least you are talking about money!!! It's worse if you don't talk about it.

I also think you need to reward yourselves, add that into the budget. We LBYM but the one category that is important to us is vacationing. We get away 2 or 3 weeks every year, and we stay within the vacation budget to do so!

My reaction to your use of the term "idyllic childhood" is when you aim for perfection you set your self up for failure. Is your approach to your budget a perfectionist approach? You may need to allow for some flexibility...?

Best wishes.
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Old 09-26-2012, 10:13 AM   #32
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Ahhh, I see! Your wife probably has no problem with you working forever! So why not spend the money now and live better. After all, all the other stay at home moms in her circles probably take nicer vacations and have nicer cars (paid for with HELOCs and credit cards).

I have to admit if I was a stay at home dad and my wife was working to support the whole family, I would be feeling in a pretty sweet position. No need to scrimp and save if you have a relatively cush "job" of stay at home parent. Especially once the kids are in school. Maybe that is cynical, but that could be the disconnect between your desire to save save save and her desire to spend more and save less.

Maybe focus on longer term - once the kids are in college or at least out of the house, what kind of career is she going to pursue to help accelerate the retirement savings at that point if you spend more right now for present enjoyment? Or are her ER plans to be retired as soon as the last kid is out of the house? Maybe she is on track for her early retirement...
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Old 09-26-2012, 01:24 PM   #33
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There can be compromise in budget constraints.
For us - we like to go to Europe... but don't do it every year... more like every five years. In the alternate years we do more local (cheaper) vacations to national parks.

Our furniture is a combo of hand me downs and very old furniture. It may not be fancy - but it functions well and friends mention often that our house is comfortable.

We DIY on home improvements, yard maintenance, etc. Why pay for labor. We both work - but on weekends we (and the kids) are getting stuff done.

Like you we focus on the kids having a good upbringing. Our spending priorities are things like funding their 529's and contributing to the (phenomenal) non-profit foundation at their school.
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Old 09-26-2012, 09:19 PM   #34
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I suggest that you and your wife have a heart-to-heart discussion about which of the following options are most important to you as a couple:

(1) providing an idyllic childhood for your offspring, including a stay-at-home mom;

(2) fancy cars, nice vacations, and frequent eating out;

(3) you having the option of retiring at age 55.

You can afford two of the above, but not all three. There's nothing unusual about that, and no point in worrying - or arguing - about it. Pretending otherwise will just lead to undue stress.
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Old 09-26-2012, 09:21 PM   #35
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I suggest that you and your wife have a heart-to-heart discussion about which of the following options are most important to you as a couple:

(1) providing an idyllic childhood for your offspring, including a stay-at-home mom;

(2) fancy cars, nice vacations, and frequent eating out;

(3) you having the option of retiring at age 55.

You can afford two of the above, but not all three. There's nothing unusual about that, and no point in worrying - or arguing - about it. Pretending otherwise will just lead to undue stress.
Same thing I faced. We chose 1 and 3.
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Old 09-26-2012, 10:04 PM   #36
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Milton, thanks for the perspective. I guess we are choosing 1 and 3 as well.

FUEGO, you are going to get me in trouble!

For those of you ER'rs who manage to amass the kinds of dollars needed while still spending money on furniture, extended vacations, etc...more power to you. I guess I was hoping that magically I could do the same. I have to assume your salary shovels are quite a bit larger than mine.

We talked yesterday about putting our saving on hold for 6-9 months so we could have a "financial vacation" ....but then decided not to out of fear we could not get ourselves back on course. We might really like the dark side! Ever done it?
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Old 09-26-2012, 11:03 PM   #37
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For those of you ER'rs who manage to amass the kinds of dollars needed while still spending money on furniture, extended vacations, etc...more power to you.

I guess I was hoping that magically I could do the same. I have to assume your salary shovels are quite a bit larger than mine.
Unless you can increase your income by working harder or changing careers, unfortunately I don't think there are any shortcuts that are realistically open to you, given the - perfectly legitimate - decisions you've already committed to. I.e., a dual-earning, child-free couple will almost certainly be able to save and invest more than you and your wife ... even if that couple spends more on luxuries. But we all make choices, and presumably your children are a source of happiness and comfort.

I don't like the idea of a 6-9 month "financial vacation". I doubt that know if it would present much of a real risk of permanently derailing your LBYM / saving strategy (hopefully you have a reasonable amount of self-disciple), but it just seems rather pointless and unnecessarily self-indulgent.

I do think that it would be a good idea to allow yourself (and your wife) the occasional luxury from time to time; we all need that, otherwise life can be mere drudgery. And suspending your savings for a fixed period to allow you to put the money towards a worthwhile project - e.g., meeting medical bills, paying off a mortgage, etc. - might be necessary from time to time. But that seems quite different from saying "let's just have fun and spend everything, que sera sera"; at least in my opinion.

P.S. As much as possible, try to focus on and appreciate the free things in life. This morning I saw two bluejays up close: magic, and didn't cost a cent!
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Old 09-27-2012, 05:13 AM   #38
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One more thing to consider. Who says you will be able to work after 55? I have seen a lot of people laid off. Some have lost their health. A few have passed on.

As someone who has completed items 1 and 3. Item 2 doesn't seem very important.
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Intro and thoughts on retirement
Old 09-27-2012, 11:22 AM   #39
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Intro and thoughts on retirement

We are Bill and Alice, she's 53 and I'm 56. I resigned in March 2012 and she retired in May 2012. Retirement at our age was not planned, it just occurred through downsizing and our organizations restructuring pains during this current economy.

I tripped across this website, joined and believe I have hit the best thread of all and after reading everyone's take on retirement (however you got here or there) and I agree with many views about what becomes important or logical once you arrive at a certain age. The early years of work are spent struggling and you wonder if you'll ever drive something other than a crummy car, eat cheap food, drink cheap beer and liquor, live in lesser home's, and the list of standards goes on and on. Miracle's occur suddenly one day when most of us realize how much "STUFF" we have acquired.

On downsizing, my advice at this point is to keep the really good quality stuff that you treasure and utilize daily or often then enjoy it until you no longer need it. As a result our home is furnished with a lot of good quality auction items, a few antiques, and mostly inherited or passed on items from friends and family.

As for saving, I lost in a 401K repeatedly, she never participated in her 401K, therefore we never managed to save as we should have, however we did save a little salary and have a couple of CD's, some savings in the bank, some nearly worthless stocks, some United States Savings Bonds that are still earning at 4 percent interest. I've got an old 403b annuity that continues to earn 6 percent. The only other retirement income I can look forward to is my wife's retirement, our collective social security retirement if it continues to exist, and then my own annuity when eligible at 59.50. There may be an inheritance from parents but I'm not counting on that.

We recall saying that we would never be able to retire and that it was a worrysome thought about how it would be for us. Again, it came too early but in spite of ourselves and our decisions, we feel we will be alright and have the bases covered as far as monthly living expenses, health care (who knows about that) food, fun and travel. I've dropped out, could care less about the new iphone, or shopping to keep up. From this point forward it's all about what you must have to live, not what you think you have to have to live. Life becomes very simple and so far we are loving it!!
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Old 09-28-2012, 04:48 PM   #40
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This thread brought several thoughts to mind for me...first of all furniture. I used to call our style "early yard sale.". I remember feeling that we had reached a real milestone when I could say that we no longer had any furniture that was picked up from the side of the road on garbage day. Hey, I can no longer say that...old habits die hard and I now have a wicker table on my porch that a neighbor was discarding. Second, it is amazing how quickly you can go from not having much to "too much stuff.". I am now in a get rid of clutter phase.

Also, I second the idea of finding some little treats along the way.
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