When is enough enough?

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DoubleComma
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Re: When is enough enough?

Post by DoubleComma »

This community hasn't disappointed, I truly appreciate all the responses and perspectives. You have me thinking a lot on a variety of topics.

Allow me to clarify a couple of things.

1. I have no intention to stop making the max contribution to my 401(k) plan as long as I can. I wasn't real clear on this in my original post. Traditionally I set up 15% contribution to my 401k. When I made lesser amounts it would max out but very close to the end of the year. Now at higher incomes the max comes much quicker. Historically once I reached the 401k max I would shift those dollars originally to my mortgage, more recently to my taxable brokerage account and it would automatically get sucked into my asset allocation.

2. My goal isn't as much to go on a spending spree today, although the my initial post certainly sounded like that, but really try to slow down the intense focus on long term savings/house payoff in favor of more family focused and personal enrichment activities.

3. The biggest thing I am wresting with, and see another thread circulating on this topic, is simply when to get off the corp ladder. I'm beginning to realize I don't need to do this till I'm 65. Probably the hardest thing is to balance is time away from work. In July we spent 17 days weeks at our vacation home, it was my first two week vacation since leaving college and first time in my professional career that I didn't take a computer and 100% checked out from work. It was amazing.

4. A previous response talked about being present in their kids lives was the most valuable thing. Attending sporting events, coaching teams, attending school events, etc. I try really hard to do this, but honestly I travel a lot and probably miss 60% of mid-week events and beat myself up over it. For a long time I figured it was the price we paid as a family to have the resources we have, but with losing my FIL and my Mom's diagnosis has hit us like a ton of bricks...time is precious and you never can make it up once its gone.

What's becoming clear to me is this is less of spending/saving struggle I have as it is a quality time away from work.

I'm going to keep saving, maybe at a slightly lower level. I am also going to give myself the permission to splurge on the experiences we want and worry less about paying off homes. The next immediate focus might have to be on an intermediate savings goals that when I do step off the ladder (or forced off) I have liquidity to maintain a better than average lifestyle and not feel the pull jump back into the same high performance high stress roles that I have working for the past 20 years.

In the meantime I'm just going to get better at saying No to travel, if anything the Pandemic has proven we can still get a lot accomplished via virtual meetings and I don't need to live out of a suitcase several days a week.
Topic Author
DoubleComma
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Re: When is enough enough?

Post by DoubleComma »

delamer wrote: Sun Aug 23, 2020 9:39 pm
DoubleComma wrote: Sun Aug 23, 2020 5:58 pm
delamer wrote: Sun Aug 23, 2020 4:59 pm I sympathize with your desire to live life today, and wish we had done more of the activities that you describe with our kids.

However, what struck me about your post was the vagueness of the numbers.

You’d be well-served to come up with a list of specific trips, experiences, and other goals that you want to achieve. Then assign a timeline and cost to each item on the list. Once that’s done, figure out how much you need to set aside to cover those costs.

I admit that the idea of “just park it until something comes up we want to do or buy” mildly offends my sensibilities. :?
Thank you for your response.

Understand 100% what you are saying. It does feel selfish, and a bit of a waste, thinking about these things. Part of me says capitalize on this earning potential now it could be gone tomorrow, while the other part says I'll never get this time back and all the various jokes about what people don't say on their death bed.

What I'm going to type next is probably going to "seriously offend your sensibilities", admittedly I feel like a Veruca Salt typing this next bit....

Your suggestion about making a list and a budget is probably very good advice...but to be honest that is what I want to avoid. I don't want over engineer life anymore. I want to live in the moment, do what I want when I want. Maybe what I need to do is get more aggressive for 5-6 more years before unleashing my inner Veruca.
So ... I have no idea who Veruca Salt is.

Anyway, I appreciate your position on over planning. I’ll just leave you with this thought — with 3 kids and 2 working parents, spontaneity isn’t going to get you many significant, life-enhancing adventures. Planning is tiresome, for sure, but unavoidable at certain times in your life.

Good luck!
Veruca Salt is from Charlie and Chocolate Factory. Always saying "Daddy, I want...." and she would get it.
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Watty
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Re: When is enough enough?

Post by Watty »

DoubleComma wrote: Sun Aug 23, 2020 10:40 pm I am also going to give myself the permission to splurge on the experiences we want and worry less about paying off homes.
Just a nitpick. Don't consider things like that splurges or you may never do them, consider them a normal expense that you budget for.

Since you have the means the financial aspects of doing something like taking a big trip is little different than when you need to buy a replacement car. Just like buying a car you have a general idea of what you will be spending and when you will spending that money so you just include that in your budget plans.

It also sounds like getting your time may be more of a limiting factor than money so you could be focusing on the wrong thing by looking at it mainly in financial terms.
majiaknight
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Re: When is enough enough?

Post by majiaknight »

DoubleComma wrote: Sun Aug 23, 2020 4:16 pm As we witness the demise of our parents, we are starting to dream of pulling the future vision to day. That is one of ski vacations in the winter, tropical vacations in the summer, travel domestically and abroad to expose our kids to the many amazing things and cultures that are out there. We have an older wake boat, but would love to upgrade to a new/newer boat just to have something nicer. On one hand all of these wants seem frivolous but on the other hand what good is money if you aren’t using it when you can.
I shared the same feeling after stressful months due to pandemic as my parents were living in one of the epicenters.
My family has similar HHI and networth as yours. IMO you've done well in investing but the travel portion you mentioned above may not cost that much to have a real impact to your retirement savings if you have good budgeting and trip planning skills. For example, in a 2018 4-day family travel (4 adults + 1 kid) to Honolulu I paid ~$9K worth of resort, flight and car rental expenses all using different CC points and I also maximized the value of Costco Go Oahu Card. I like family travels and also enjoy the travel planning process by researching different travel hacking websites/forums to get most of travel CC, membership points, free hotel nights, etc. My family has ~$20K annual budget for family travels which has been working well for the last several years.
Old Sage(brush)
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Re: When is enough enough?

Post by Old Sage(brush) »

Adding some balance is a good thing, in my opinion, given where you are. I decided enough is enough about 10 years ago, downshifted and left some money on the table. And by enough is enough I don’t just mean financially, I mean fed up with corporate “stuff”; I’ve been much happier since with the balance. And btw, a majority of households in the US do have a dog.
Wanderingwheelz
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Re: When is enough enough?

Post by Wanderingwheelz »

Men I was 44, that’s right about the time I seriously began to think about whether or not I wanted to retire early. I know I’m not the only person who started to have thoughts along those lines in my mid-40s, either. My mom died at 54 and my wife’s mom died at 44. The fact that life doesn’t go in forever is front-of-mind for both of us.

I am now happy that we contributed to aggressively save over the 5 years since I was your age becomes now I am heavily leaning to walking away from high-earning work to find something that I feel passionate about, again.

For what it’s worth, my net worth isn’t quite 2x OPs. Money and material possessions sometimes means less to you as you move through your 40s. They have for me. My new Jeep has roll up windows and no power locks and I could give a crap. I’ve owned and enjoyed three new Porsche sports cars and I have no desire to own another.
Wanderingwheelz
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Re: When is enough enough?

Post by Wanderingwheelz »

Wanderingwheelz wrote: Mon Aug 24, 2020 5:49 am Men I was 44, that’s right about the time I seriously began to think about whether or not I wanted to retire early. I know I’m not the only person who started to have thoughts along those lines in my mid-40s, either. My mom died at 54 and my wife’s mom died at 44. The fact that life doesn’t go in forever is front-of-mind for both of us.

I am now happy that we contributed to aggressively save over the 5 years since I was your age because now I am heavily leaning to walking away from high-earning work to find something that I feel passionate about, again. I’m encouraging my wife to do the same, though she enjoys her work a lot more than I do.

For what it’s worth, my net worth isn’t quite 2x OPs. Money and material possessions sometimes means less to you as you move through your 40s. They have for me. My new Jeep has roll up windows and no power locks and I could give a crap. I’ve owned and enjoyed three new Porsche sports cars and I have no desire to own another.

My point is you don’t know what the next few years are going to do to your outlook on life. The 40s are brutal for many- you’re already well on your way to finding that out.
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4nursebee
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Re: When is enough enough?

Post by 4nursebee »

Net worth is different to me than having real money in accounts. I can't picture an easy way to fund my retirement with reverse mortgages.

For me to answer this question in my life I had to start at the end game and work backwards. How much would be needed to fund life in the future? Lots of work went into this and it gets evaluated regularly. When the end goal was reached, not in sight, that is when we loosened up. But if it looks like you will reach the end goal, then by all means live life.

The nice thing about this is that we get to choose where we live on the savings vs consuming curve and most lives will still be decent.
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mc2
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Re: When is enough enough?

Post by mc2 »

crazygrow wrote: Sun Aug 23, 2020 4:38 pm Similar income and age. We decided in the last few years that this time with the kids is more important than a lavish retirement. Both are probably possible but we now make decisions that show that we are willing to give up some retirement fun for fun today with the kids. Do it - you won’t regret it!
Not similar in assets/income, but yeah, take the time now. I'm in my 40's and already see how quickly time flies with my kids. Just don't wait.
onourway
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Re: When is enough enough?

Post by onourway »

My first impression is, that we are in a very similar place and thus I know where you are coming from.

After reading through your post and responses more carefully though, I'll say that I think you with two houses, a boat, and virtually no restrictions on your discretionary spending, you are already spending quite freely. Moreover, your desire to spend even more is extremely vague with a lot of wants that I don't personally think will make a significant difference in your long-term quality of life.
DoubleComma wrote: Sun Aug 23, 2020 5:58 pm Your suggestion about making a list and a budget is probably very good advice...but to be honest that is what I want to avoid. I don't want over engineer life anymore. I want to live in the moment, do what I want when I want. Maybe what I need to do is get more aggressive for 5-6 more years before unleashing my inner Veruca.
I will challenge you on this point as well. I spent much of my early working life with a big income and feeling like I didn't want to be shackled by a budget. When I finally altered my perception on this issue and really buckled down and made a budget my outlook changed 180 degrees. I was wrong. Developing a budget and really learning how we spend money was one of the best decisions we ever made. It put us in control of our destiny, and allows us to save more than we ever did before while simultaneously having more money to spend on life experiences, housing, etc. I suspect that if you did this exercise - even if you don't live strictly by a budget forever - you would find a similar experience.
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CyclingDuo
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Re: When is enough enough?

Post by CyclingDuo »

DoubleComma wrote: Sun Aug 23, 2020 4:16 pm
What I'm struggling with is the desire to "live in the moment" vs, having a secure retirement.

Our net worth today is ~$2M

Married Couple ... 44 y/o
Three Kids ... 14, 12, 8

Household Income - $375k+ AGI
t401k/t rollover IRA combined - $900k (80/20)
Roth401k - $75k (newly available)
529 - $90k
Taxable Brokerage - $90k (80/20)
Cash/CD - $150k

Primary Home $500k w/ zero mortgages
Second Vacation Home $550k w/$400k mortgage 30 year FRM @ 2.625 (recent refi thanks to what I learned here)

DW is a teacher w/ a pension that will provide 2% per year of service and 100% vested at age 50. We anticipate her working till 60, 25 years, which will provide ~$45k annual income +COLA adjustments (today’s $). This position will also provide lifetime health insurance for both of us.

What I’m considering is reducing my 401k to the minimum level to get full company match, which I estimate will still be $25k in annual contribution. As well I’ll continue to contribute $12k annually to 529s. This is a very low saving rate as a percentage, but $37k is still a lot of money…far more than most. Of course we will still have more money coming in each month that we could spend, but instead of routing that to pay off mortgages or buy more index funds, I think I would just park it until something comes up we want to do or buy.

This is a serious question, please do not respond with how much do I want saved in retirement. I kind of think I might have enough already but then I’m sure the wisdom of this community will show me what I’m missing.
You have some nice things going for you regarding preparing for retirement, and covering life "experiences" with the family. Due to your wife's teaching career, you will have as a dual income household the traditional three legged stool of retirement income streams with the pension (with COLA to boot), Social Security, and risk portfolio to fund retirement. The additional benefit of her health insurance covering you beyond her retirement is a really nice benefit!

Does her teaching job include SS, or do you live in one of the 12 states where she does not pay into it? Why no mention of retirement plans for her beyond the pension?

Obviously, use your vacation home as the main family experience getaway. Do you have any plans to Airbnb or Venmo it out when you are not using it as a means to provide some cash flow to help cover the expense of it?

Your wife's teaching job and the children's academic calendar allows the coordination of family getaway vacations. Even if it is only one nice 2 week summer vacation, and then during the time off in December/January a week long ski trip - that's something easily cash flowed from your salaries and well within reason to provide experiences for your children and as a family unit. We would highly suggest taking advantage of those two opportunities each and every year. Not sure you need to go beyond that with any more big trips, but smaller and closer to home getaway weekends peppered throughout the year is always an option as well since you have enough cash flow to create those. Again - the vacation home, since you are pouring money into it should be the main destination to get your money's worth.

Beyond that, you have three college educations to pay for, so I would be dumping money left and right into saving vehicles for that if I was going to lose sleep in your situation over anything with a 14 year old only 4 years away from starting college and a 12 year old starting in 6 years. Harder to predict annual college costs for the 8 year old, but I can at least guarantee you it's going to be at least a 4-5% annual inflation increase between now and then. :shock:

Max out your retirement plans! Your wife must have a voluntary 403b and or 457b in addition to her pension plan, why is nothing going into those plans? Filling all of those spaces lowers your current taxable income and builds the risk portfolio portion of your three legged stool. Contributing to the taxable account beyond that with money leftover after the budget after finding that balance of enjoying life now as a family and saving for the future would be the final step.

In other words, we are in support of enjoying some experiences with the family right now, but keep that foot on the gas pedal and sock away for three college educations, retirement plans to lower current taxes, and figure out a plan for making some cash flow on the vacation home when you are not using it. I would run a thorough analysis on what that vacation home is costing you plus the boat expenses compared to if you sold it all and every year did a family vacation experience to a new destination instead. It might be hard to do both - have a vacation home, and travel the world while accomplishing the other needs of funding college educations, and building up your retirement and taxable accounts for retirement, weddings, new cars, new roof on primary as well as vacation homes, repairs, maintenance, etc... .

CyclingDuo
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Topic Author
DoubleComma
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Re: When is enough enough?

Post by DoubleComma »

CyclingDuo wrote: Mon Aug 24, 2020 8:35 am
DoubleComma wrote: Sun Aug 23, 2020 4:16 pm
What I'm struggling with is the desire to "live in the moment" vs, having a secure retirement.

Our net worth today is ~$2M

Married Couple ... 44 y/o
Three Kids ... 14, 12, 8

Household Income - $375k+ AGI
t401k/t rollover IRA combined - $900k (80/20)
Roth401k - $75k (newly available)
529 - $90k
Taxable Brokerage - $90k (80/20)
Cash/CD - $150k

Primary Home $500k w/ zero mortgages
Second Vacation Home $550k w/$400k mortgage 30 year FRM @ 2.625 (recent refi thanks to what I learned here)

DW is a teacher w/ a pension that will provide 2% per year of service and 100% vested at age 50. We anticipate her working till 60, 25 years, which will provide ~$45k annual income +COLA adjustments (today’s $). This position will also provide lifetime health insurance for both of us.

What I’m considering is reducing my 401k to the minimum level to get full company match, which I estimate will still be $25k in annual contribution. As well I’ll continue to contribute $12k annually to 529s. This is a very low saving rate as a percentage, but $37k is still a lot of money…far more than most. Of course we will still have more money coming in each month that we could spend, but instead of routing that to pay off mortgages or buy more index funds, I think I would just park it until something comes up we want to do or buy.

This is a serious question, please do not respond with how much do I want saved in retirement. I kind of think I might have enough already but then I’m sure the wisdom of this community will show me what I’m missing.
You have some nice things going for you regarding preparing for retirement, and covering life "experiences" with the family. Due to your wife's teaching career, you will have as a dual income household the traditional three legged stool of retirement income streams with the pension (with COLA to boot), Social Security, and risk portfolio to fund retirement. The additional benefit of her health insurance covering you beyond her retirement is a really nice benefit!

Does her teaching job include SS, or do you live in one of the 12 states where she does not pay into it? Why no mention of retirement plans for her beyond the pension?

Obviously, use your vacation home as the main family experience getaway. Do you have any plans to Airbnb or Venmo it out when you are not using it as a means to provide some cash flow to help cover the expense of it?

Your wife's teaching job and the children's academic calendar allows the coordination of family getaway vacations. Even if it is only one nice 2 week summer vacation, and then during the time off in December/January a week long ski trip - that's something easily cash flowed from your salaries and well within reason to provide experiences for your children and as a family unit. We would highly suggest taking advantage of those two opportunities each and every year. Not sure you need to go beyond that with any more big trips, but smaller and closer to home getaway weekends peppered throughout the year is always an option as well since you have enough cash flow to create those. Again - the vacation home, since you are pouring money into it should be the main destination to get your money's worth.

Beyond that, you have three college educations to pay for, so I would be dumping money left and right into saving vehicles for that if I was going to lose sleep in your situation over anything with a 14 year old only 4 years away from starting college and a 12 year old starting in 6 years. Harder to predict annual college costs for the 8 year old, but I can at least guarantee you it's going to be at least a 4-5% annual inflation increase between now and then. :shock:

Max out your retirement plans! Your wife must have a voluntary 403b and or 457b in addition to her pension plan, why is nothing going into those plans? Filling all of those spaces lowers your current taxable income and builds the risk portfolio portion of your three legged stool. Contributing to the taxable account beyond that with money leftover after the budget after finding that balance of enjoying life now as a family and saving for the future would be the final step.

In other words, we are in support of enjoying some experiences with the family right now, but keep that foot on the gas pedal and sock away for three college educations, retirement plans to lower current taxes, and figure out a plan for making some cash flow on the vacation home when you are not using it. I would run a thorough analysis on what that vacation home is costing you plus the boat expenses compared to if you sold it all and every year did a family vacation experience to a new destination instead. It might be hard to do both - have a vacation home, and travel the world while accomplishing the other needs of funding college educations, and building up your retirement and taxable accounts for retirement, weddings, new cars, new roof on primary as well as vacation homes, repairs, maintenance, etc... .

CyclingDuo
Correct, we are in a state where teachers don’t pay into Social Security. It’s a little frustrating because my wife has 10 years post college non-teaching employment that paid into the system that she will never get to enjoy. As well she will not get spousal and/or survivor benefits from my social security.

She does have a 403b, however until just a couple years ago it was exclusively a choice from a variety of extremely expensive annuity plans. Since she returned to teaching in 2017, after taking a couple year hiatus to give being a SAHM a tryout, a more traditional low cost plan was made available. She has been contributing ~15% annually to this plan, about $10k annually. I forget this exists, but your right she has probably $25k and if she keeps it up it should grow nicely as well.

We do have a good life with lots of creature comforts. I really need to focus on what I have more than what I want...it just comes at a pretty high price to balance in my life.
KlangFool
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Re: When is enough enough?

Post by KlangFool »

DoubleComma wrote: Mon Aug 24, 2020 9:48 am

She does have a 403b, however until just a couple years ago it was exclusively a choice from a variety of extremely expensive annuity plans. Since she returned to teaching in 2017, after taking a couple year hiatus to give being a SAHM a tryout, a more traditional low cost plan was made available. She has been contributing ~15% annually to this plan, about $10k annually. I forget this exists, but your right she has probably $25k and if she keeps it up it should grow nicely as well.

We do have a good life with lots of creature comforts. I really need to focus on what I have more than what I want...it just comes at a pretty high price to balance in my life.
DoubleComma,

At your income/tax level, it may make sense to max up that 403B too.

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Devil's Advocate
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Re: When is enough enough?

Post by Devil's Advocate »

crazygrow wrote: Sun Aug 23, 2020 4:40 pm
Dottie57 wrote: Sun Aug 23, 2020 4:33 pm I do encourage experiences. But I would still max workplace retirement accounts. Additionally I would look at ALL expenses and work to reduce them so you can go on bigger vacations with family.

It looks to me like you are doing well, but don’t count your retirement nest eggs before they hatch. You don’t know what your future will bring.

P.S. i would sell the vacation home and spend the money on vacations.
Only on bogleheads is $2m in retirement accounts as still needing to worry about their retirement nest eggs still hatching - they’ve more than hatched and puts him in the top 1%!
2 mil net worth, not all in retirement investments
DA
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jabberwockOG
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Re: When is enough enough?

Post by jabberwockOG »

DoubleComma wrote: Sun Aug 23, 2020 5:35 pm
am wrote: Sun Aug 23, 2020 5:20 pm
Normchad wrote: Sun Aug 23, 2020 5:14 pm
am wrote: Sun Aug 23, 2020 5:00 pm
Normchad wrote: Sun Aug 23, 2020 4:44 pm You’re doing fantastic, in terms of net worth and age.

Take just what you have today, and project it out to see how much it will be when you retire. You might not need to save another penny ever.

Since you’ve done such a good job, you do have lots of flexibility here. I’m in a similar situation. And I’m definitely loosening up on spending.

For example, I had thought I’d been going on nice vacations. Then I learned via another thread that my annual vacation spending is very low compared to others. So maybe I will start taking “once in a lifetime” type vacations, annually.
Not saving another penny at 44 makes me nervous. Projections into the future make me uncomfortable as well. Who know what returns will be in the future?
A lot of people feel that same way. It’s mostly just an exercise to see where you are.

But, if 2.2M at 44 isn’t good enough, then it might also be true that saving any more is futile. That would suggest negative real returns over a long time.

If that’s the future, the best course of action might be to spend it now. After all, I go lots of funerals for people that didn’t make it to 60.

Like I said, I’m in a similar boat. And truthfully, I still do save a lot. But saving isn’t my motivation, it’s just that my spending doesn’t consume all'of my income. I would be fine mentally if I never saved another penny.
I am about that age with similar savings. I work hard and it’s stressful. I always wonder if it’d be better to just work as little as possible to maybe save a fraction and cover expenses.

I have a feeling that when I’m 60+ looking back, I’ll say that I wish I had done that. But I have an uneasy feeling about giving up so much income and benefits. I really like having more than we need and building wealth, Maybe it’s because I grew up poor. Don’t know. I will probably regret it later on (assuming I make it).

@ AM - you have exactly summarized where these thoughts are coming from. I tell everyone my next job will be seasonal work at the ski resort loading lifts in the winter and at the marina pumping fuel in the summer. They always laugh, but I'm serious. I "think" I would love to get off corp ladder and simply trade hours for dollars in a job that is 100% left behind at the end of the shift.

My wife thinks I couldn't do it. She thinks after so many years of running various businesses and teams I would drive myself crazy doing the same simple task each day.

My own experience in retirement, doing volunteer work that I love, is that I most enjoy plain and simple manual labor (requires basic skill and concentration) but little to no decision making. I managed teams/people for 30+ years and in retirement, I found that I really prefer other folks deciding exactly where and what I should work on.
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KingRiggs
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Re: When is enough enough?

Post by KingRiggs »

Don't think of it as a budget as in "we can only spend $x on this category per month".

Instead, use a simple tool like Mint to track your expenses for 6-12 months just to see where the money goes. This isn't really restrictive, takes little time and effort, and can be pretty instructive. Taking this approach pointed out lots of different areas where we were spending without realizing it.

Just having a knowledge of where the cash is going each month helps both in planning for retirement (you'll see which categories will disappear or dramatically decrease once kids leave), and spurs you to cut back on spending that you realize is not optimal.
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CascadiaSoonish
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Re: When is enough enough?

Post by CascadiaSoonish »

Lots of good thoughts in this thread about the financial decisionmaking process, budgeting, and priorities. I'll just add a +1 on the personal side regarding family travel. Our kids are roughly the same age as yours. We prioritized "easy" trips when they were young (Hawaii, visiting family) and started taking bigger international trips with them when they reached late elementary school age. We have all loved these trips and they've been great experiences individually and for all of us together as a family. The kids also learn a lot without realizing it. :) They develop autonomy skills, they get exposed to languages, they even have to do math when figuring out exchange rates. Made me super-proud as a parent when my then-9 year old wanted to go pick up a souvenir on his own, he just asked for a reminder on "please" and "thank you" in the local language and a confirmation on the exchange rate before heading out the door. Awesome.

And these trips haven't been cheap, even with using points and not spending extravagantly on hotels we can easily be out $10K/wk for a family of four. But I have no regrets. This is what the 'today' money is for, as far as I'm concerned.
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CyclingDuo
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Re: When is enough enough?

Post by CyclingDuo »

DoubleComma wrote: Mon Aug 24, 2020 9:48 amCorrect, we are in a state where teachers don’t pay into Social Security. It’s a little frustrating because my wife has 10 years post college non-teaching employment that paid into the system that she will never get to enjoy. As well she will not get spousal and/or survivor benefits from my social security.
However, her pension amount is going to be higher and includes a COLA which those of us who live in states where teachers do pay into SS will get a lower pension amount and many do not have a COLA. So the trade off is pretty fair. Actually, more than fair since her plan includes continued health insurance beyond taking retirement. :beer
DoubleComma wrote: Mon Aug 24, 2020 9:48 amShe does have a 403b, however until just a couple years ago it was exclusively a choice from a variety of extremely expensive annuity plans. Since she returned to teaching in 2017, after taking a couple year hiatus to give being a SAHM a tryout, a more traditional low cost plan was made available. She has been contributing ~15% annually to this plan, about $10k annually. I forget this exists, but your right she has probably $25k and if she keeps it up it should grow nicely as well.

At your income levels, I would max that 403b out instead of just a straight 15%. It will lower your current taxes and with the RMD's now not required until age 72, it will be nice to have that additional tax deferred plan growing until then.
DoubleComma wrote: Mon Aug 24, 2020 9:48 amWe do have a good life with lots of creature comforts. I really need to focus on what I have more than what I want...it just comes at a pretty high price to balance in my life.
It's the journey that keeps us all motivated and going. Balance is the key for all of us. Those of us who are older than you and have been through the child rearing years, family experience(s) years, funding college educations, etc... can only chime in with hang in there and make it all work.

Many of us who are Baby Boomers come from a generation than can literally attest to and share our stories of a parent or parents not coming to many, let alone all of our activities when we were kids. For example, my Dad came to see me play in only one baseball game (a sport I played rather religiously for nearly a decade, although Mom came to some of the games mainly because she drove me to and from them in the younger days). The game my Dad did come to see, I stepped on an old board with a nail sticking up out of it that went all the way through my foot and when I bent over to pull my foot off of the rusty nail, another rusty nail I didn't see went right through my hand. That was next to the on deck circle near the fence of an old ball park on my way to my first at bat of the game. Needless to say, he never ever saw me hit a baseball as I was immediately rushed to the hospital for a tetanus shot. It was the only game he ever attended as his work and travel kept him from being able to come to things. He did get to see all of his grandson's hit the baseball when he was in retirement.

That was more the norm for most of us back then and many of us grew up that way back in the 60's and 70's. We all probably went overboard when we became parents to attend nearly everything our own children did - whether we needed to or not - in an attempt to make up for what our parents did not do. Somewhere between those two extremes is probably a better balance, but each generation tries to figure out the balance. Your kids and you as parents will be fine no matter what balance you manage to strike as a family.

CyclingDuo
"Save like a pessimist, invest like an optimist." - Morgan Housel
EnjoyIt
Posts: 4963
Joined: Sun Dec 29, 2013 8:06 pm

Re: When is enough enough?

Post by EnjoyIt »

DoubleComma wrote: Sun Aug 23, 2020 10:40 pm This community hasn't disappointed, I truly appreciate all the responses and perspectives. You have me thinking a lot on a variety of topics.

Allow me to clarify a couple of things.

1. I have no intention to stop making the max contribution to my 401(k) plan as long as I can. I wasn't real clear on this in my original post. Traditionally I set up 15% contribution to my 401k. When I made lesser amounts it would max out but very close to the end of the year. Now at higher incomes the max comes much quicker. Historically once I reached the 401k max I would shift those dollars originally to my mortgage, more recently to my taxable brokerage account and it would automatically get sucked into my asset allocation.

2. My goal isn't as much to go on a spending spree today, although the my initial post certainly sounded like that, but really try to slow down the intense focus on long term savings/house payoff in favor of more family focused and personal enrichment activities.

3. The biggest thing I am wresting with, and see another thread circulating on this topic, is simply when to get off the corp ladder. I'm beginning to realize I don't need to do this till I'm 65. Probably the hardest thing is to balance is time away from work. In July we spent 17 days weeks at our vacation home, it was my first two week vacation since leaving college and first time in my professional career that I didn't take a computer and 100% checked out from work. It was amazing.

4. A previous response talked about being present in their kids lives was the most valuable thing. Attending sporting events, coaching teams, attending school events, etc. I try really hard to do this, but honestly I travel a lot and probably miss 60% of mid-week events and beat myself up over it. For a long time I figured it was the price we paid as a family to have the resources we have, but with losing my FIL and my Mom's diagnosis has hit us like a ton of bricks...time is precious and you never can make it up once its gone.

What's becoming clear to me is this is less of spending/saving struggle I have as it is a quality time away from work.

I'm going to keep saving, maybe at a slightly lower level. I am also going to give myself the permission to splurge on the experiences we want and worry less about paying off homes. The next immediate focus might have to be on an intermediate savings goals that when I do step off the ladder (or forced off) I have liquidity to maintain a better than average lifestyle and not feel the pull jump back into the same high performance high stress roles that I have working for the past 20 years.

In the meantime I'm just going to get better at saying No to travel, if anything the Pandemic has proven we can still get a lot accomplished via virtual meetings and I don't need to live out of a suitcase several days a week.
2 more thoughts to add:

1) I fully agree with the poster above regarding tracking spending. This is not necessarily setting a budget, but understanding where your money is going. As described, it will allow you more thorough understanding of your entire financial picture, find waste if there is any, and divert capital to things that purchase you those most value.

2) I think you realize that you spend a good amount already on fun things, but time away from family is what is bothering you the most. If that is the case, consider spending money on things that keep you away from family. Outsource some of your responsibilities if at all possible. Some simple things would be yard work or maid service. Maybe even outsource some things at work to purchase more time for yourself.
A time to EVALUATE your jitters: | https://www.bogleheads.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=10&t=79939&start=400#p5275418
friar1610
Posts: 1820
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Location: MA South Shore

Re: When is enough enough?

Post by friar1610 »

jabberwockOG wrote: Mon Aug 24, 2020 10:05 am
My own experience in retirement, doing volunteer work that I love, is that I most enjoy plain and simple manual labor (requires basic skill and concentration) but little to no decision making. I managed teams/people for 30+ years and in retirement, I found that I really prefer other folks deciding exactly where and what I should work on.
Amen. I also like being able to refuse to attend meetings in volunteer organizations. Just tell me what happened in the meeting if and only if it affects me.
Friar1610
delamer
Posts: 10590
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Re: When is enough enough?

Post by delamer »

Old Sage(brush) wrote: Mon Aug 24, 2020 5:41 am And btw, a majority of households in the US do have a dog.
Not according to this: https://www.washingtonpost.com/science/ ... tatistics/.
Scooter57
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Re: When is enough enough?

Post by Scooter57 »

visualguy wrote: Sun Aug 23, 2020 6:56 pm
You're describing a possible, but unlikely scenario. It is rare for people with no history of health issues in their 50s to die of illness in their late 50s/early 60s. It happens, but it's rare. They are much more likely to live for at least another couple of decades. Similarly, it is rare to possess a talent for writing or music or some other art that one can focus on after retirement from a corporate job. Sure, if you have that, it changes the picture, but most of us don't, unfortunately.

My daily paper covers a small region and there are rarely more than 4 or 5 obituaries each morning. Out of those 4 or 5 there is one for someone under 60 at least every other day. So no, it is not rare for people to exit this lifetime early. Cancer and accidents take their toll, as do untreated depression and substance abuse, both illegal and legal (i.e. alcohol.) The less happy a person is with their life, no matter how much money they have saved, the more likely they are to have an accident, abuse substances, or commit suicide. Independent of that, cancer rates among younger people are rising along with body weight, which has a lot to do with the overwhelming exposure younger people have had all their lives to biologically active plastic hormone mimics. Covid has made a lot of us realize how quickly things can change health-wise. In my region it is killing quite a few people in their younger years and it is making previously well-employed older people into heart cripples.

As to your other point: Most people will never know what talents they have that might have led to a far more satisfying life because they have been good little boys and girls, done well on tests, gone to "good" colleges as they were told to, got "good", if soul-destroying, jobs and spend their most productive years working at something they just tolerate.The prevailing attitude of many younger Bogleheads posters seems to be that people have to work at things they hate for decades so that they will be comfortable in their older years, apparently living in some low tax state and congratulating themselves on how much they saved on their property taxes. The retired people who could challenge the assumption that that is what financial life is about don't post here, because they aren't obsessing about wealth and, if retired on modest amounts, are living fulfilling lives on what they have. The retirees who post here (some obsessively) appear to be people whose main interest is in investing theory and practice, so they are doing what they love, but they are not representative of the 97% of other retirees who do not spend their twilight years posting charts and graphs and debating fine points of portfolio composition while bragging about how they got another 12,000 miles out of their 18 year old car.

There is a middle way and the OP seems to be fully aware of it. I hope he doesn't get talked into selling a second home he loves and continues working himself to death based on something some invisible stranger posted here.
GMT-8
Posts: 190
Joined: Fri Mar 26, 2010 5:11 pm

Re: When is enough enough?

Post by GMT-8 »

Correct, we are in a state where teachers don’t pay into Social Security. It’s a little frustrating because my wife has 10 years post college non-teaching employment that paid into the system that she will never get to enjoy. As well she will not get spousal and/or survivor benefits from my social security. She does have a 403b, however until just a couple years ago it was exclusively a choice from a variety of extremely expensive annuity plans. Since she returned to teaching in 2017, after taking a couple year hiatus to give being a SAHM a tryout, a more traditional low cost plan was made available. She has been contributing ~15% annually to this plan, about $10k annually. I forget this exists, but you're right she has probably $25k and if she keeps it up it should grow nicely as well.
She will get to enjoy that 10 years paying into SS. My wife did the same thing - with jobs in the 70's - 80's then teaching in public schools with no SS. However even deducting the Windfall Elimination it still gives her $800 = $650/mo after Medicare.

BTW - if you make a budget, figure on 2,000-3,000 per dog.

Cheers,

GMT
RJC
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Re: When is enough enough?

Post by RJC »

I had a similar question a few months ago on this forum. At what point do you pull back on the gas? I think if you are close to your number, you should be able to pull back a little and spend as you like preferably on experiences and single purchases (not new homes w/ more debt, etc.). It's great to have a lot of money in retirement but a good balance is key.

Life can be short...
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