Really hard to avoid "Keeping up with the Joneses"!

Questions on how we spend our money and our time - consumer goods and services, home and vehicle, leisure and recreational activities

Re: Really hard to avoid "Keeping up with the Joneses"!

Postby VictoriaF » Thu Jul 25, 2013 7:02 pm

Here they are...
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Image
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However,
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Image
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Re: Really hard to avoid "Keeping up with the Joneses"!

Postby Whit » Thu Jul 25, 2013 7:14 pm

countofmc wrote:
Adding to this is my wife's side of the family, there are some obnoxious spenders there as well. One relative just purchased a luxury car and will not shut up about it.



Did they buy that luxury car, or lease it?

Having stuff is easy, just leverage yourself until your trapped. Some may find satisfaction in someone else gawking at their new purchase, but true happiness does not come from buying. Contentment is priceless.
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Re: Really hard to avoid "Keeping up with the Joneses"!

Postby Mister Whale » Thu Jul 25, 2013 7:37 pm

JoMoney wrote:My only suggestion would be to use the Internet, stay connected to like-minded savers.


That is precisely why I am here.

I enjoy learning about different kinds of investments and what kind of market forces make them tick, but ultimately I'll simply stay with my 3-fund plan (plus savings) -- and will tune in every day in order to reinforce the kind of ambitious saving habits that I am continuing to cultivate.
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Re: Really hard to avoid "Keeping up with the Joneses"!

Postby snyder66 » Thu Jul 25, 2013 7:43 pm

Joneses? I prefer The Bogleheads'
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Re: Really hard to avoid "Keeping up with the Joneses"!

Postby Gnirk » Thu Jul 25, 2013 10:03 pm

Often the Joneses are living far above their means, and are in hock to their eyebrows. We've found that It's usually those living on credit who are the braggers and who seek attention through their expensive cars, vacations, designer accessories, etc.

And if you do, in some way, envy them, ask yourself this: Would you trade your life for theirs, straight-across? I'd bet your answer would be "no".
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Re: Really hard to avoid "Keeping up with the Joneses"!

Postby mlebuf » Thu Jul 25, 2013 10:49 pm

Morgan Housel discusses the topic of consumption vs. wealth in an article entitled, "Wealth Is What You Don't See."

http://www.fool.com/investing/general/2 ... t-see.aspx
Best wishes, | Michael | | Invest your time actively and your money passively.
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Re: Really hard to avoid "Keeping up with the Joneses"!

Postby Greenie » Fri Jul 26, 2013 12:29 am

My wife (not so much me) are friends with a couple that spend way beyond there means. The woman is the widow of my best friend that died 13 years ago. My friend was a serious Boglehead and I am sure never heard the term. He provided and left his wife a house that was paid off, a thriving business, a large life insurance pay out, and plenty of investments/savings. She meets a guy that had a house paid off and the two of them got together and went nuts. Bought a four year old, million dollar house and complain about the property tax. Did hundreds of thousands of dollars of remodling that didn't need to be done. Endless fancy furniture, a $135,000 RV that they used three times. Three BMWs. They thought they were going to get rich from their house going up in value. The real estate crash came and they were up side on the home. They sold but took a big loss. They couldn't afford California any longer so they moved to Idaho to buy a less expensive but still over the top house. They don't know a soul in Idaho. The guy is 66 and is still working a 9 to 5 job. They would tell my wife and I about all these possessions and we did say much at all and just keep quiet.

They exactly who I don't want to keep up with. I grew up dirt poor. I value financial security and I sleep very well at night. I take pleasure looking at my investing statements not the car in my garage. (2010 Subaru Outback that I'll keep 10 years)
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Re: Really hard to avoid "Keeping up with the Joneses"!

Postby MrMiyagi » Fri Jul 26, 2013 6:41 am

Greenie wrote:My wife (not so much me) are friends with a couple that spend way beyond there means. The woman is the widow of my best friend that died 13 years ago. My friend was a serious Boglehead and I am sure never heard the term. He provided and left his wife a house that was paid off, a thriving business, a large life insurance pay out, and plenty of investments/savings. She meets a guy that had a house paid off and the two of them got together and went nuts. Bought a four year old, million dollar house and complain about the property tax. Did hundreds of thousands of dollars of remodling that didn't need to be done. Endless fancy furniture, a $135,000 RV that they used three times. Three BMWs. They thought they were going to get rich from their house going up in value. The real estate crash came and they were up side on the home. They sold but took a big loss. They couldn't afford California any longer so they moved to Idaho to buy a less expensive but still over the top house. They don't know a soul in Idaho. The guy is 66 and is still working a 9 to 5 job. They would tell my wife and I about all these possessions and we did say much at all and just keep quiet.

They exactly who I don't want to keep up with. I grew up dirt poor. I value financial security and I sleep very well at night. I take pleasure looking at my investing statements not the car in my garage. (2010 Subaru Outback that I'll keep 10 years)


And this is exactly what I mean, to not deprive themselves completely. Sounds like your best friend's wife probably felt "deprived" during her first marriage. So as soon as your best friend passed away, she spent all his money because she got tired of feeling deprived.

The OP's wife's family are all big spenders. She is going to be under pressure the whole time living a frugal lifestyle. If she feels "deprived," she may end up doing the same thing.

Moderation is the way.
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Re: Really hard to avoid "Keeping up with the Joneses"!

Postby camaro327 » Fri Jul 26, 2013 6:46 am

Greenie wrote: I take pleasure looking at my investing statements not the car in my garage. (2010 Subaru Outback that I'll keep 10 years)


I disagree, I do take pleasure looking at my 2009 Civic in my garage and knowing it's paid off. :wink:
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Re: Really hard to avoid "Keeping up with the Joneses"!

Postby scrabbler1 » Fri Jul 26, 2013 7:15 am

I have always been an outlier so I never had any desire to "keep up with the Joneses." Furthermore, I don't know any people in my local circle of friends who live that way whether they have the money or not. Just being able to have gotten out of the rat race in 2008 and retire early is a daily reminder of what I have achieved.
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Re: Really hard to avoid "Keeping up with the Joneses"!

Postby TRC » Fri Jul 26, 2013 7:47 am

I think the key is to not judge or resent other people based on their spending or investing habits. Don't compare yourself to them and be secure that your strategy and purchasing habits match what YOU want. This doesn't mean they're wrong and your right or vice versa....it's just that everyone is different and everyone places a value on things differently.
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Re: Really hard to avoid "Keeping up with the Joneses"!

Postby reggiesimpson » Fri Jul 26, 2013 9:23 am

I have been very poor and now wealthy. I have friends and family who are in both categories at present. One close friend made $40 million last year while another just went off unemployment. My answer to these types of scenarios is simple. I have no idea what is actually going on behind your front door (even bedroom door). So if i can have an enjoyable time in your company then thats a wonderful way to spend some time. If i cant then its goodbye.
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Re: Really hard to avoid "Keeping up with the Joneses"!

Postby Dave76 » Fri Jul 26, 2013 9:55 am

You might be able to buy your way to happiness, but it usually doesn't last long. Your friends are shallow people with an unhealthy addiction.

Just be content with what you have. Most older things are more aesthetically appealing anyway (and often made better) -- furniture, cars, houses,
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Re: Really hard to avoid "Keeping up with the Joneses"!

Postby mrpotatoheadsays » Sat Jul 27, 2013 12:49 am

I suggest you read Dr. Stanley's Stop Acting Rich.

Also, you might want to look into the ideals of Minimalism.
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Re: Really hard to avoid "Keeping up with the Joneses"!

Postby jccasey » Sat Jul 27, 2013 1:26 am

Calm Man wrote:OP, speaking from experience, this is not a financial issue. It is a "psychological" one and if it really bothers you a therapist will help. There will always be people with more than you and those with less. Frankly if you had more means when young and in the same situation you are in now, you would probably be more troubled. So I am trying to discount in your mind the relative lack of funds as a kid. It certainly didn't keep you from going to college or moving forward in life and believe me that there are plenty of people who had a lot less than you. I believe personally that a person is most successful when he/she does not rate their happiness or success compared to others. If somebody has a better or worse car than you, it should not have an iota of an effect on you. Maybe it takes somebody hard-nosed to feel that way and if so, I am guilty. But I don't give a hoot what anybody else has.


CM - Incredibly well articulated.
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Re: Really hard to avoid "Keeping up with the Joneses"!

Postby jccasey » Sat Jul 27, 2013 1:35 am

frugaltype wrote:People who spend a lot of time boasting about the money they spend or engaging in conspicuous consumption strike me as people who have no taste or sense. So, they are not interesting to me.

Then again, I come from New England, where old money wears its clothes until they pretty much fall apart.



+1 As a SoCal transplant to New England many years ago, I have admired the NE subtlety with wealth and frugality...but the provinciality is still frustrating.
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Re: Really hard to avoid "Keeping up with the Joneses"!

Postby 2stepsbehind » Sat Jul 27, 2013 9:23 am

TRC wrote:I think the key is to not judge or resent other people based on their spending or investing habits. Don't compare yourself to them and be secure that your strategy and purchasing habits match what YOU want. This doesn't mean they're wrong and your right or vice versa....it's just that everyone is different and everyone places a value on things differently.


+1
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Re: Really hard to avoid "Keeping up with the Joneses"!

Postby hicabob » Sat Jul 27, 2013 9:49 am

My neighbor just bought a new Maserati Gran Tourismo. He can afford it quite easily as could I. A beautiful car (as nice looking as any car I've seen) but I think I'll stick to my pickup. Recognizing and getting over the false pleasures of mass-consumerism is the way to go imo. I feel zero jealousy or desire to buy a very pretty but rather overpriced and a bit silly Italian supercar and definitely enjoy not having something that loses about $100 in value each day (my wag) in my garage.
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Re: Really hard to avoid "Keeping up with the Joneses"!

Postby Artsdoctor » Sat Jul 27, 2013 9:57 am

Counto,

There will always be people who have more than you and who have less. But it's up to you to be comfortable in your own skin.

You might want to broaden your perspective a bit. One of the most important periods of my life was when I worked in Kenya. Even though that was many years ago, it left a profound effect on how I practice medicine (I really don't order excessive tests), how much emphasis I put on "things" (BMWs might be really nice but they are so unimportant), and how much emphasis I put on experiences and human nature (how much a like we are and how resilient the human spirit is even against all odds).

Our hospital provides an outreach program to Central America where nearly everyone is able to go to help for 2-4 weeks. I have yet to meet anyone who has not come back affected in an extraordinary way.

If you find that you can't read your way out of it, try traveling and perhaps doing some volunteer work in a part of the world that is completely different from your own. I suspect that you will view your friends and family members differently, and you may hopefully gain a broader perspective in your world view. You will probably change the people you hang around with, or at least broaden your social circle.

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Re: Really hard to avoid "Keeping up with the Joneses"!

Postby SpaceCommander » Sat Jul 27, 2013 10:23 am

Keeping up with the Joneses is a form of coveting: being envious of what others have. Last time I checked that kind of behavior made the top ten list of moral prohibitions in certain religious circles. It's not a benign thing; it's actually quite serious. It will eat away at your joy and contentment, until you find that nothing satisfies because there's always someone out there who has more or better "stuff".

Instead we find real wealth in the things that money can't buy. If we are fortunate enough to have the worlds goods, then enjoy them within moderation. But if not, we should realize that we're not missing out on the stuff life is made of.

When I see someone with more or better stuff, I try not to think negatively of them. They may indeed be in deep debt to finance their lifestyle, but that is not necessarily the case. Instead, I assume that they've wisely and responsibly accumulated the things they have. Good for them! It's none of my business.

My wife and I started with nothing. No kidding: we received govt assistance at one point. I've always tried to LBYM and carefully plan/save for the future. Now, 25 years later, we are fairly well off. My attitude toward all the "stuff" is that I don't want to merely accumulate more and more money until I can die incredibly wealthy. I try to put aside well enough for the future, while balancing consumption today. What I've found is that after 25 years we've become the Joneses. What we have is well within our means, but I fear that others are now trying to keep up with US! :wink:
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Re: Really hard to avoid "Keeping up with the Joneses"!

Postby bandb4114 » Sat Jul 27, 2013 11:45 am

MrMiyagi wrote:I will play devil's advocate.

While it is silly to talk about the new car purchase you made, I would be careful not to deprive yourself too much. It can get to the point where people just feel socially awkward around you. What I mean is, if you are super frugal that you deprive yourself or limit social activities, it can become annoying for your friends to even invite you to anything. Sometimes it's ok to spend a lot of money on a "frivilous" but fun experience, pay more for convenience, etc... If you're constantly penny pinching, it can be annoying to your social circle too (just as annoying as them bragging about their 2nd cars).


I think this is good advice. I remember asking a friend to go to a $20 show with me and he said "he can't spend money like that". :shock: He told me once he saw me buy a bottle of soda and was thinking "WHAT ARE YOU DOING?" :oops: I told him we should take our families out to this cool bike path 1/2hour from our house. But paying for the gas was the issue. :annoyed Most things you do require SOME money.

As far as "Keeping up with the Joneses". The Joneses bore me. I think a lot of them topped out in life and never do or experience anything interesting. So they keep score with "stuff". I try to avoid them, but a lot of my high school friends are like that.
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Re: Really hard to avoid "Keeping up with the Joneses"!

Postby pteam » Sat Jul 27, 2013 12:37 pm

To be the contrarian, if you never buy yourself anything nice until your too old to enjoy most of these things then you will have missed out on a lot of fun things in life. There needs to be a fine line between saving too much and too little.
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Re: Really hard to avoid "Keeping up with the Joneses"!

Postby mojave » Sat Jul 27, 2013 12:37 pm

I grew up in an upper-middle class town right outside the big city with parents that didn't make a lot of money (compared to the average in our bubble). It sucked because I always had "less" than all the other kids, who came from wealthy families.

Now I'm 28 and newly(ish) married and live an hour away where my husband is from, out in the country in a middle class, some blue-collar, area. For a while I was thinking about how to get back into the towns I'm used to, with the large old houses, cute downtown main streets right off the highway.

But then I read something someone here wrote that literally changed my outlook - live somewhere where you are in the top 1/3 of the wealth in the town. You will never need to worry about "The Jonses" and you will never feel out-of-sorts or poor. It was such an eye opener - things are things and living in those towns would be great in theory but would it be attainable for us and would we be happy there? Probably not - I'd be looking at a constant flow of Range Rovers and kids with their nannies while mom is at yoga. My husband would be surrounded by Doctors with and CEOs with degrees from ivy league schools.

We'll probably one day move more towards what I grew up in but I don't need to live there. I'm happy with what we have now - and quite frankly, I like not having to worry about having an endless closet (I hate shopping) and expensive jewelry (can't afford it).
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Re: Really hard to avoid "Keeping up with the Joneses"!

Postby livesoft » Sat Jul 27, 2013 1:16 pm

mojave wrote:But then I read something someone here wrote that literally changed my outlook - live somewhere where you are in the top 1/3 of the wealth in the town. You will never need to worry about "The Jonses" and you will never feel out-of-sorts or poor.

Exactly. No need to KUWTJ, you become the "The Joneses". :) It is strangely satisfying.

But I'm waiting for the meme "Keeping Up With The Bogleheads" to appear on the scene, let me google that ....
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Re: Really hard to avoid "Keeping up with the Joneses"!

Postby Mrs.Feeley » Sat Jul 27, 2013 10:54 pm

After a coworker of my husband's bought a new house they immediately swapped their eight-year-old Toyota for a new luxury sedan under the rational that they didn't want to move into a new neighborhood with an old car and suffer the embarrassment of having the new neighbors see an old Toyota in their driveway. All the coworkers thought this was a very sensible course of action. I think some even suggested it. When I mentioned this to a friend her response was "Oh, I understand completely. When I bought my new house I got rid of the Toyota and bought a Lexus because I didn't want my new neighbors to see some ratty old Toyota in the driveway." Am I the only one who thinks this is completely loony?
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Re: Really hard to avoid "Keeping up with the Joneses"!

Postby DouglasDoug » Sun Jul 28, 2013 12:24 am

Ah, keeping up with the Joneses has cost me a good deal. Self-reproach is constant. But what a relief not to have the need to compete for consummerism. I am slumming these days and rather enjoying it. I have an unrelenting urge to spend my years living in a hotel, like Carlos Slim prefers, though as a Bogleheard modert.
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Re: Really hard to avoid "Keeping up with the Joneses"!

Postby Gnirk » Sun Jul 28, 2013 12:33 am

Sometimes it's not that easy to know who has money, and who doesn't. My brother's net worth is about $3.5 million-mostly in conservative investments- yet he drives a 15 year old Subaru with nearly 200,000 miles on it, wears tee shirts and jeans, does his own yard work and house maintenance and lives well below his means.
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Re: Really hard to avoid "Keeping up with the Joneses"!

Postby Mudpuppy » Sun Jul 28, 2013 12:52 am

Mrs.Feeley wrote:After a coworker of my husband's bought a new house they immediately swapped their eight-year-old Toyota for a new luxury sedan under the rational that they didn't want to move into a new neighborhood with an old car and suffer the embarrassment of having the new neighbors see an old Toyota in their driveway. All the coworkers thought this was a very sensible course of action. I think some even suggested it. When I mentioned this to a friend her response was "Oh, I understand completely. When I bought my new house I got rid of the Toyota and bought a Lexus because I didn't want my new neighbors to see some ratty old Toyota in the driveway." Am I the only one who thinks this is completely loony?

I'd rather have the ratty old Honda in the driveway. I don't care what my neighbors think. Bonus point: thieves see ratty old Honda in driveway 1 and a truck, SUV, boat, RV, and sedan in driveway 2. Which house do you think they're going to rob?
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Re: Really hard to avoid "Keeping up with the Joneses"!

Postby Vittelx » Sun Jul 28, 2013 1:00 am

Reading all your posts had me thinking about something i read in the Alice Schroeder's book
"The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the business of life". Think what you want about the man, but there are some solid life lessons to take away from what he says.

"In teaching your kids, I think the lesson they're learning at a very, very early age is what their parents put the emphasis on. If all the emphasis is on what the world's going to think about you, forgetting about how you really behave, you'll wind up with an Outer Scorecard. Now my dad: He was a 100% Inner Scorecard guy. He was really a maverick. But he wasn't a maverick for the sake of being a maverick. He just didn't care what other people thought. My dad taught me how life should be lived. I've never seen anybody quite like him."

And from some interview:

"If the world couldn't see your results, would you rather be thought of as the world's greatest investor but in reality have the world's worst record? Or be thought of as the world's worst investor when you were actually the best?"

Anyways - this inner scorecard vs. outer scorecard idea relly hit home with me. Why on earth should i care about what other people think about me in regards to non important stuff like the value of the car in my driveway?
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Re: Really hard to avoid "Keeping up with the Joneses"!

Postby MrBrainwash » Sun Jul 28, 2013 3:24 am

I suggest reading "A Guide to the Good Life: The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy". Specifically, the chapter entitled "Personal Values: On Luxurious Living".

The Stoic philosophy is concerned with transforming yourself with the goal of achieving tranquility. I think it is a good match for most Bogleheads. You do not need to change your friends or relatives if you can change your patterns of thought to be immune to their disturbing influences.
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Re: Really hard to avoid "Keeping up with the Joneses"!

Postby wander » Sun Jul 28, 2013 7:38 am

countofmc wrote:Short of ditching our social lives, any suggestions on how to deal with this?

I don't even think about it. I just feel happy for them but I feel sorry for them too.
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Re: Really hard to avoid "Keeping up with the Joneses"!

Postby HongKonger » Sun Jul 28, 2013 9:16 am

If you don't enjoy being in the company of people - then don't. It's not rocket science.

As for family, even if I won the lottery 5 times over I would never have as much money as my sister. My whole apartment would fit in her bedroom. She just rewarded herself for losing weight with the cash purchase of a new Porsche. Am I envious? A little. Does it irk me? Sometimes. But it's all just stuff at the end of the day and it doesn't make her better/more content/more attractive than me. She works hard and I don't begrudge anyone the success that comes with hard work. But if I had her money, I would do completely different things with it.
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Re: Really hard to avoid "Keeping up with the Joneses"!

Postby Bacchus01 » Sun Jul 28, 2013 11:51 am

Find new friends. If they don't hold your values, why are you friends?

In our circles, we tend to brag more about the deals we got on something versus the excess we spend.
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Re: Really hard to avoid "Keeping up with the Joneses"!

Postby jlawrence01 » Sun Jul 28, 2013 1:57 pm

Mrs.Feeley wrote:After a coworker of my husband's bought a new house they immediately swapped their eight-year-old Toyota for a new luxury sedan under the rational that they didn't want to move into a new neighborhood with an old car and suffer the embarrassment of having the new neighbors see an old Toyota in their driveway. All the coworkers thought this was a very sensible course of action. I think some even suggested it. When I mentioned this to a friend her response was "Oh, I understand completely. When I bought my new house I got rid of the Toyota and bought a Lexus because I didn't want my new neighbors to see some ratty old Toyota in the driveway." Am I the only one who thinks this is completely loony?


That reminds me of an encounter with a Junior Achievement student ten years ago at one of the local Catholic high schools. I was driving a 10 year old Mercury Topaz. The kid stops me and asks me if I was successful. I said that "I guessed" so as it caught me as a surprise. Then, he said, "Why are you driving a beater? I have a new Ford Mustang and I am 17.

I had to wonder what values the kid was learning at the school.

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===============

As a friend in Malawi always reminds me, 40% of the people in the world subsist on less than US $1,000.
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Re: Really hard to avoid "Keeping up with the Joneses"!

Postby Fallible » Tue Jul 30, 2013 11:16 am

Mudpuppy wrote:
Mrs.Feeley wrote:After a coworker of my husband's bought a new house they immediately swapped their eight-year-old Toyota for a new luxury sedan under the rational that they didn't want to move into a new neighborhood with an old car and suffer the embarrassment of having the new neighbors see an old Toyota in their driveway. All the coworkers thought this was a very sensible course of action. I think some even suggested it. When I mentioned this to a friend her response was "Oh, I understand completely. When I bought my new house I got rid of the Toyota and bought a Lexus because I didn't want my new neighbors to see some ratty old Toyota in the driveway." Am I the only one who thinks this is completely loony?

I'd rather have the ratty old Honda in the driveway. I don't care what my neighbors think. Bonus point: thieves see ratty old Honda in driveway 1 and a truck, SUV, boat, RV, and sedan in driveway 2. Which house do you think they're going to rob?


Who knows? Some thieves are pretty smart. They may go for your house, figuring that's what you sunk your money into, then skip the neighbors' house and steal the stuff in their driveway, figuring that's what they sunk their money into.

But I'm with you on the ratty car in the driveway. It might even be fun, and certainly contrarian, to own a very expensive house and park an old car in the driveway. Even more fun, if your neighbor with the stuff in the driveway asks why you drive a ratty old car, you could say, "I don't like debt and after buying this house, I can't afford to buy a car with cash." :)
"Common sense and a sense of humor are the same thing, moving at different speeds. A sense of humor is just common sense, dancing." -William James
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Re: Really hard to avoid "Keeping up with the Joneses"!

Postby AnimalCrackers » Tue Jul 30, 2013 2:37 pm

My "Joneses" don't have their own "Joneses" and retired early with modest expenses . . . probably near the creek path in east Boulder County.
"Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the face." -- philosopher Mike Tyson
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Re: Really hard to avoid "Keeping up with the Joneses"!

Postby investingdad » Tue Jul 30, 2013 2:40 pm

First, let me say that I don't watch any of these shows...The Real Housewives of Where Ever They Come From.

But I understand the premise...cameras follow around a bunch of middle-aged snobs that supposively have a bunch of money and are better than everyone else. Oh, and they have to find new ways to dramatize all the mundane details of their lives.

Right, so I just saw an article talking about how two of women on one of the shows are now accused of fraud for falsifying documents and lying about their incomes. I skimmed it and saw disclosed figures of 16K take home a month...with 10K coming from 'family support'. Also, sporadic income of 300K one year and 26K another year.

I took away that my wife and I in our mundane lives could very possible be outearning *some* of these fools that are on TV acting rich and important for the world to see.

Point is simply this...don't be fooled by appearances.
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Re: Really hard to avoid "Keeping up with the Joneses"!

Postby stemikger » Tue Jul 30, 2013 3:50 pm

countofmc wrote:My wife and I both grew up in a similar socioeconomic background. Through a variety of reasons, we were always the "poor" kids in the wealthy neighborhood or school. "The Janitor's kid" at a private school, if you will. For me, this has been the case pretty much from elementary school all the way through grad school.

As such, our social circle now is full of friends that like to, and can, spend more than us. Some of them just flat out make more money, but even the ones that don't are having their lives partially subsidized by their parents through the purchase of a home, car, whatever.

Adding to this is my wife's side of the family, there are some obnoxious spenders there as well. One relative just purchased a luxury car and will not shut up about it.

There's the constant comment about stuff purchased or vacation taken whenever we meet up with these people. And it's kinda hard to avoid, since we'd have to make all new friends (which may be an option) or stop hanging out with family (not an option).

My wife and I try really hard to adhere to the boglehead formula, and we try to LBOM. But I have to admit it's a bit tough when our social circles act like this and have such attitudes towards spending. Short of ditching our social lives, any suggestions on how to deal with this?


Wow. I could have easily written this. Something might happen that will turn you off so much, you will probably make excuses to not want to be around them. That is what happened to me. Actually, this last weekend was the straw that broke the camel's back. My friends have become so obnoxious and greedy that although we have been friends for close to 30 years, I just don't like being around them any longer. I'm 49 and my wife is 53 and at this point of our lives I don't want to be around people that will make us feel alone even when we are in their company. However, none of them really seem happy. They all have so much money and they are all trying to out do each other. My wife and I are the poor kids in the group and it got to the point where my wife and I both feel like the uncool kids in high school trying so hard to fit in but we just can't do it. One of my friends has so much wealth but all is against any social program that will help the disadvantaged. This to me is unforgivable and shameful.

As far as family goes, just play cheerful and stupid and know that your values are the only ones that will matter at the end.

Someone once asked Warren Buffett why he doesn't own a yacht or a big mansion or belong to a fancy Country Club (he is still in the same house he bought for $37,000 in 1957). His answer was if having a bigger house made him happy he would do it but he said it wouldn't. He is happy in his home and it makes him feel comfortable, he is warm in the winter and cool in the summer. He also said why would he want to join a Country Club to be around people he would probably not like.
Stay the Course!
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Re: Really hard to avoid "Keeping up with the Joneses"!

Postby hazlitt777 » Tue Jul 30, 2013 7:54 pm

jwa wrote:Start by reading "The Millionaire Next Door." You will find through the research of two university professors what the lifestyle issues you describe are really all about. The millionaire next door does not lead the lifestyle you describe and the authors even address the issue of parents subsidizing the lifestyle of grown married adult children. (never could figure out why in the English language adult offspring are still referred to as children.)

As they say in Texas, "big hat and no cattle."


I love that quote from that book. I really think one should pride themselves in their net worth and brag about, if one has to brag, rather than about the toys.

Perhaps one could say to ones vocal friends and family that buy lots of toys, "So what is your net worth now after that purchase? Is it going to increase thanks to that purchase or decrease? I like the freedom my wife and I have because of living beneath our means. We prefer the security and freedom we have thanks to keeping expenditures modest. But if it makes you happy, all the more power to you."
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Re: Really hard to avoid "Keeping up with the Joneses"!

Postby VgSince1982 » Wed Jul 31, 2013 11:38 am

For family, which is a different situation than friends, perhaps they are in a conversation rut.

You could make attempts to get out of the rut. If this conversation happen after the 'big family dinner', then invite others to head out for a long walk with you. Or start up a card game so that there is some other focus for conversation and new shared experiences for the next get-together.

Maybe others have good ideas...
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Re: Really hard to avoid "Keeping up with the Joneses"!

Postby Abe » Wed Jul 31, 2013 11:43 am

I thought this was a pretty good article regarding your post. "Life is a series of trade-offs."
http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/hea ... trade-offs

Someone told me one time that the difference between a rich man and a poor man was that a rich man thinks in longer time spans. I know it's not as simple as that. There are some who can't do anything about their plight in life, but there are many who do have a choice. They can have what they want now (instant gratification) or they can wait and have financial freedom and peace of mind later, at least to some degree. So, what is more valuable to you, toys now or financial freedom and peace of mind later. Life is a series of trade-offs.
Slow and steady wins the race.
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Re: Really hard to avoid "Keeping up with the Joneses"!

Postby Go Blue 99 » Thu Aug 01, 2013 12:27 pm

Just remember that their material purchases may not be giving them any additional happiness in their lives. Or if it does, the happiness does not last.

Now, if they are huge travelers- that might be something to be jealous of. Vacations always bring me the most happiness.
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Re: Really hard to avoid "Keeping up with the Joneses"!

Postby MathWizard » Thu Aug 01, 2013 1:35 pm

Rent the movie "The Joneses"

I liked the not-so-far-fetched take on how far advertizing will go towards getting you to buy things you
don't need.
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Re: Really hard to avoid "Keeping up with the Joneses"!

Postby Fallible » Thu Aug 01, 2013 2:05 pm

Abe wrote:I thought this was a pretty good article regarding your post. "Life is a series of trade-offs."
http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/hea ... trade-offs

Someone told me one time that the difference between a rich man and a poor man was that a rich man thinks in longer time spans. I know it's not as simple as that. There are some who can't do anything about their plight in life, but there are many who do have a choice. They can have what they want now (instant gratification) or they can wait and have financial freedom and peace of mind later, at least to some degree. So, what is more valuable to you, toys now or financial freedom and peace of mind later. Life is a series of trade-offs.


Interesting article, but I was surprised anyone would seriously think you could "have it all." I think the first time I began to suspect we can't have it all was in grade school in the '50s: One classmate was paralyzed from the waste down with polio; another had cerebral palsy; a third was killed in a car accident. This may be why I've always had the feeling that I was lucky to have anything.
"Common sense and a sense of humor are the same thing, moving at different speeds. A sense of humor is just common sense, dancing." -William James
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