Struggling with "Live like a Resident" versus "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
soboggled
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Re: Struggling with "Live like a Resident" versus "Keeping up with the Joneses"

Post by soboggled » Wed Oct 19, 2016 2:57 pm

Bottom line: Screw the Joneses.

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Re: Struggling with "Live like a Resident" versus "Keeping up with the Joneses"

Post by alfaspider » Wed Oct 19, 2016 3:25 pm

soboggled wrote:Bottom line: Screw the Joneses.
OP's spouse might not be into that.

soboggled
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Re: Struggling with "Live like a Resident" versus "Keeping up with the Joneses"

Post by soboggled » Wed Oct 19, 2016 3:27 pm

alfaspider wrote:
soboggled wrote:Bottom line: Screw the Joneses.
OP's spouse might not be into that.
Then get a new spouse. Life is too short to live with superficial values.
PS: I get it, a joke. :oops:

fourkids
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Re: Struggling with "Live like a Resident" versus "Keeping up with the Joneses"

Post by fourkids » Wed Oct 19, 2016 3:33 pm

If someone is audacious enough to confront you about your non spendthrift habits, simply say "we have other family obligations we help with."
This should shut them up, because maybe they will think you support your aging or sick parents or relatives. It leaves them guessing.
They don't have to know "family obligations" are potentially retiring early, fully funding kids educations, or other personal preferences.

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Re: Struggling with "Live like a Resident" versus "Keeping up with the Joneses"

Post by Onion » Wed Oct 19, 2016 3:37 pm

perfin wrote:I know where you're coming from.

I work at one of the "big" tech companies, where a lot of employees have done well. In our parking garage you'll find a lot of $100k+ cars. Some of their drivers are in my org & periodically ask why I'm still driving my POS I got in the 90s. Likewise, some of my peers will talk about various expenses I consider extravagant and ask why I'm just hoarding.

I usually just agree & make a joke at my own expense. "Yeah, I'm cheap skate." Or "Oh, I do go crazy, just my vices are pretty cheap: books & movies, and two buck chuck. Good wine is wasted on me." We usually just move on to another topic.

The way I look at it is different things make different people happy. Cars, expensive dinners, wine clubs & other things may genuinely make other people happy, but they don't make *me* happy. Why waste my money if it doesn't make me happy?

<snip>
This.

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Toons
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Re: Struggling with "Live like a Resident" versus "Keeping up with the Joneses"

Post by Toons » Wed Oct 19, 2016 3:37 pm

I know there are a lot of Dave Ramsey naysayers out there,
but I used to listen to him years ago.
One of his mantras still comes to my mind and it does Work,
"Live Like No one else,So you can live like no one else"
Take care of Your business.
Believe Me,
Ignore others and how they spend.
:happy
"One does not accumulate but eliminate. It is not daily increase but daily decrease. The height of cultivation always runs to simplicity" –Bruce Lee

ThankYouJack
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Re: Struggling with "Live like a Resident" versus "Keeping up with the Joneses"

Post by ThankYouJack » Wed Oct 19, 2016 6:43 pm

Just be honest and genuine, and who cares about what others do, do what makes you happy.

helloeveryone wrote: I also tell them that my goal is to be able to retire when I'm 59 & 1/2. When they ask why I tell them it's because I'm cheap and I don't want to be penalized 10% for withdrawing from my 401k earlier than that.
There are a few good ways to avoid the early withdrawal penalty such as roth conversions and 72(t)

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Re: Struggling with "Live like a Resident" versus "Keeping up with the Joneses"

Post by helloeveryone » Fri Oct 21, 2016 10:11 pm

ThankYouJack wrote:Just be honest and genuine, and who cares about what others do, do what makes you happy.

helloeveryone wrote: I also tell them that my goal is to be able to retire when I'm 59 & 1/2. When they ask why I tell them it's because I'm cheap and I don't want to be penalized 10% for withdrawing from my 401k earlier than that.
There are a few good ways to avoid the early withdrawal penalty such as roth conversions and 72(t)
If in 2017 I do a roth conversion of $300,000 out of my 403b does that mean the $300,000 is taxed at whatever my tax rate for 2017 would be?
Or if I am 20 years away from retirement should I just leave all my balances in my 403b and just start maximizing my contributions to a roth403B?

thank you!

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Re: Struggling with "Live like a Resident" versus "Keeping up with the Joneses"

Post by StevieG72 » Sat Oct 22, 2016 3:58 am

I get the same feedback from a friend of mine that knows my net worth. ( he is the only friend that knows because 1. He is very close friend and someone that has proven his loyalty 2. His net worth easily doubles mine.)

Anyway when he asks why I dont spend on various things such as cars, houses etc. I explain that I would like to retire before I am 90 and that stuff does not make me happy.

He gets it.... Most people dont get it....

I would recommend telling them to not ask about how you spend your money today, and you will return the favor by not asking why they are still working once you are retired!
Fools think their own way is right, but the wise listen to others.

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Re: Struggling with "Live like a Resident" versus "Keeping up with the Joneses"

Post by Duckie » Sat Oct 22, 2016 3:27 pm

helloeveryone wrote:If in 2017 I do a roth conversion of $300,000 out of my 403b does that mean the $300,000 is taxed at whatever my tax rate for 2017 would be?
Yes. And adding $300K to your taxable income will greatly increase your tax bracket that year. That's why many people convert a little at a time over several years.
Or if I am 20 years away from retirement should I just leave all my balances in my 403b and just start maximizing my contributions to a roth403B?
The choice of pre-tax or Roth depends on various factors. Here are two articles by tfb about this:

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Re: Struggling with "Live like a Resident" versus "Keeping up with the Joneses"

Post by cantos » Sun Aug 27, 2017 10:26 pm

Reviving this almost 1-yr old thread now, which is excellent. Thought I'd add my 2 cents - also looks like OP is still thinking about such issues based on another recent post.

The peer pressure is real. I worked at a firm where profits were extremely high. The lawyers' parking lot was filled with ALL beemers and porsches. No exceptions. I breathed a sigh of relief as I happened to own a beemer when I was hired. I actually wonder if part of the reason I was hired was BECAUSE I had a beemer - the culture was very tight and homogenous. As car repair costs mounted with each year of ownership, I came to hate my beemer. Sure, it drove great, but constantly replacing control arms, struts, brakes, etc., to maintain that performance was ridiculous. Everyone also dressed very nicely, had lavish vacations, etc. You name it, we did it. We also had big big wins, and everyone competed against each other -- who had the most recent big win, etc. I tell people it was, lifestyle wise, like the Wolf of Wall Street, but for lawyers. So I confess, as a percentage of earnings, I did not save very well. But we made so much that in absolute terms I did better than most in the population - maxxed out my tax advantaged savings, paid off my debts, had expensive suits, watches, shoes, vacations. So it is possible to do both - save what you should and spend enough to fit in.

When I ultimately moved in-house, I was sooooooo happy to let go of my beemer and pick up my Ford Fusion Energi which I just love. I ditched my luxury automatic watch for a G-shock. Of all the expensive stuff I bought, the suits didn't last, the watches I got bored of, the cars I hated to pay for, the vacations come and gone, the only thing I have left are the shoes. I must say, expensive shoes are worth it and nice to have. In any case, I guess my only point is I empathize. It is much easier to say forget about the Joneses - it is another thing, another thing entirely, to actually do it. The only way I was able to do it was to move away from the Joneses - just like the only way for me to avoid eating a bag of potato chips every night is to never buy potato chips. Avoid the situation and you avoid the temptations, pressures, symptoms and effects, of the situation.

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Re: Struggling with "Live like a Resident" versus "Keeping up with the Joneses"

Post by Flashes1 » Mon Aug 28, 2017 6:57 am

Specific to the OP's situation: it's all about fitting in with one's colleagues and looking the part. If you want to be a partner some day....then start looking and acting like a young partner. Not every partner drives a new S550, but I bet there aren't many driving 10 year old Corolla's either. Find something in the middle that doesn't cost a fortune, but portrays the right kind of image within your firm.

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Re: Struggling with "Live like a Resident" versus "Keeping up with the Joneses"

Post by sambb » Mon Aug 28, 2017 7:37 am

There are several ways to make it work and still save. Its not so extreme as some people say on this thread.
Of course, new Porsche + new mansion + private schools + lavish vacations = disaster

but

CPO BMW 3 series (keep until 75k-100k miles) + decent house maybe a little small + schooling in good public district + beach vacations with airbnb = totally ok with a decent income in biglaw or MD.

None of this accounts for school loans however. This is an added problem.
Consider not skimping too much on clothes, get decent suits if you are a professional. Conservative and long lasting.
You can save them from wearing out by not wearing them on certain days (like when you are in the office all day, and have no client meetings)
Last edited by sambb on Mon Aug 28, 2017 7:45 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Struggling with "Live like a Resident" versus "Keeping up with the Joneses"

Post by mouses » Mon Aug 28, 2017 7:42 am

bigred77 wrote:
Sat Oct 08, 2016 1:41 pm
Its not a bad thing to spend some money on clothes. If your just starting out in your career you probably will need to drop some money to build a professional wardrobe. 4-5 nice suits (plus tailoring), 8 dress shirts, a couple of dress shoes, belts, slacks, ties, etc... It can easily creep over 5k+ for a man (this is all I have personal experience with). Just spend the money and then replace when things wear out. It's not lifestyle creep and its not that big of a deal.
$5K is practically a new roof for my house.

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Re: Struggling with "Live like a Resident" versus "Keeping up with the Joneses"

Post by Nestegg_User » Mon Aug 28, 2017 12:28 pm

mouses wrote:
Mon Aug 28, 2017 7:42 am
bigred77 wrote:
Sat Oct 08, 2016 1:41 pm
Its not a bad thing to spend some money on clothes. If your just starting out in your career you probably will need to drop some money to build a professional wardrobe. 4-5 nice suits (plus tailoring), 8 dress shirts, a couple of dress shoes, belts, slacks, ties, etc... It can easily creep over 5k+ for a man (this is all I have personal experience with). Just spend the money and then replace when things wear out. It's not lifestyle creep and its not that big of a deal.
$5K is practically a new roof for my house.
My last house's roof cost over $13k (tear off and replaced with architectural), but it was 43 squares

AFA the OP (on this old thread), one can also park in the hinterlands of the parking area :wink:
Or get a more modest but nicely designed domestic-- I had bought an Oldsmobile Intrique in black with leather interior. It was stylish but not that expensive. I'm sure something comparable is around today; it's not just Corrola/Civic versus BMW/Lexus.

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Re: Struggling with "Live like a Resident" versus "Keeping up with the Joneses"

Post by knpstr » Mon Aug 28, 2017 12:38 pm

Philip_Marlowe wrote:
Sat Oct 08, 2016 11:51 am
I'm wondering how others resist lifestyle creep when everyone around them is spending.
...
We know we need to keep spending down but it's difficult sometimes not to let the comments and the visual differences in lifestyle get to us. How have others kept their eyes on the prize and resisted the urge to spend when surrounded by those who push spending?
First, realize they are all in debt.
Second, stop caring about what other people think.
:beer
Very little is needed to make a happy life; it is all within yourself, in your way of thinking. -Marcus Aurelius

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Re: Struggling with "Live like a Resident" versus "Keeping up with the Joneses"

Post by MichaelRpdx » Mon Aug 28, 2017 12:51 pm

Philip_Marlowe wrote:
Sat Oct 08, 2016 11:51 am
I'm wondering how others resist lifestyle creep when everyone around them is spending.

I'm a junior associate at a large law firm and my DW is a teacher at a (ritzy) private school. We're both pretty naturally frugal and are driven to be even more so at the moment as we push to pay off my law school loans and build up a nest egg.
You Are A Lawyer. Your profession involves, to a great extent, creating persuasive arguments for a position. Put your skills and training to work to create the persuasive argument in favor of your choices.

Or just drop hints about the major investment you're making that cannot be disclosed but well, the future payoff is fantastic.
Be Appropriate && Follow Your Curiosity

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Re: Struggling with "Live like a Resident" versus "Keeping up with the Joneses"

Post by Philip_Marlowe » Mon Aug 28, 2017 3:02 pm

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Re: Struggling with "Live like a Resident" versus "Keeping up with the Joneses"

Post by iamlucky13 » Mon Aug 28, 2017 7:49 pm

Philip_Marlowe wrote:
Mon Aug 28, 2017 3:02 pm
By largely staying focused and not upping our lifestyle much we've managed to improve our net worth by approximately $100k since last Oct.
It sounds like another response, if not out loud and least to yourself might be, "In the last year, I got 2 years closer to retirement."

:beer

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Re: Struggling with "Live like a Resident" versus "Keeping up with the Joneses"

Post by Kencufc » Mon Aug 28, 2017 8:21 pm

I live more frugally as an attending physician than as a resident. Had the beemer, ditched it. Country club membership, dropped it. Nice slacks and dress shirts, now I just wear scrubs about everyday. I bike to work about 75% of the time, scrubs fit better in my bike panniers.

I basically faked it till I "maked" it! I guess I feel I don't have to prove anything anymore.

Country club did help me make a few good business connections and some good opportunities ities arose from that.

On eBay, you can get used shell cordovan Allen Edmonds for $150 or less. Retail about $6-700. They will. Last forever with proper care.

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Re: Struggling with "Live like a Resident" versus "Keeping up with the Joneses"

Post by staythecourse » Mon Aug 28, 2017 8:30 pm

I take a different view on this whole discussion. You worked hard for your money and as long as you are cognizant of your financial responsibilities going forward (kids education, retirement, etc...) spend your money how you want. Don't spend it the bogleheads way. Don't spend it the high life way. Spend it how YOU WANT. Spend it in ways that make you happy. Just don't spend it on stuff just to show off as that is a waste of time as you will never be fulfilled.

There is nothing that is ingrained to think that living a boglehead's austere life makes one happier and/ or lavish life miserable. Life is not that easy to figure out. As long as you are spending money on stuff that really makes you happy that can't be wrong. Just don't do it trying to impress others.

Good luck.
"The stock market [fluctuation], therefore, is noise. A giant distraction from the business of investing.” | -Jack Bogle

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Re: Struggling with "Live like a Resident" versus "Keeping up with the Joneses"

Post by JBTX » Mon Aug 28, 2017 8:36 pm

Our case is a bit different. Apart from a recent home remodel and a few "upscale" purchases, we don't buy high falutin' stuff. We just spend way too much on day to day stuff, including dining, fast food, etc. I'm not working at the moment and trying to bring the spending down to one income (DW) is a struggle. Just getting out of bad habits.

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Re: Struggling with "Live like a Resident" versus "Keeping up with the Joneses"

Post by cantos » Mon Aug 28, 2017 9:21 pm

Philip_Marlowe wrote:
Mon Aug 28, 2017 3:02 pm
By largely staying focused and not upping our lifestyle much we've managed to improve our net worth by approximately $100k since last Oct.
Bravo! And yes - getting to know people at the firm/building relationships is a huge key to happiness. The other ones, by the way, are having high autonomy and feeling competent in what you do.

For lawyers, this article on happiness is amazing: http://ir.law.fsu.edu/cgi/viewcontent.c ... t=articles

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Re: Struggling with "Live like a Resident" versus "Keeping up with the Joneses"

Post by MiddleOfTheRoad » Mon Aug 28, 2017 9:51 pm

staythecourse wrote:
Mon Aug 28, 2017 8:30 pm
I take a different view on this whole discussion. You worked hard for your money and as long as you are cognizant of your financial responsibilities going forward (kids education, retirement, etc...) spend your money how you want. Don't spend it the bogleheads way. Don't spend it the high life way. Spend it how YOU WANT. Spend it in ways that make you happy. Just don't spend it on stuff just to show off as that is a waste of time as you will never be fulfilled.

There is nothing that is ingrained to think that living a boglehead's austere life makes one happier and/ or lavish life miserable. Life is not that easy to figure out. As long as you are spending money on stuff that really makes you happy that can't be wrong. Just don't do it trying to impress others.

Good luck.
+1. The only way money has any value is if you use it to get what you truly want. Be it FI, RE, a nice car, a dream house it needs to be what YOU want. Make plans to achieve it responsibly and you should get make you happy. If you live the Boglehead way in misery because you don't want to be judged, you also wasted your life, albeit in a different way.

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Re: Struggling with "Live like a Resident" versus "Keeping up with the Joneses"

Post by Acealthebes » Mon Aug 28, 2017 11:58 pm

Not the boglehead way but food for thought as a counter argument:

Many of my relatives are in the legal field.

Often times, in particular fields, you first must look the part in order to play the part.

Appearances are often our most important attribute in life.

Perhaps a "nice car" is simply part of playing the game, part of the cost of "doing business". If this is the case please don't hinder your career advancement with frugality. An upgrade to partner will easily pay for the cost of a new luxury car many times over.

You know your field and practice better than any of us could.

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Re: Struggling with "Live like a Resident" versus "Keeping up with the Joneses"

Post by SQRT » Tue Aug 29, 2017 7:50 am

jabberwockOG wrote:
Sat Oct 08, 2016 1:23 pm
Wherever you are in life, no matter what your job is, there are always folks that look like they have more and certainly seem to have way more to spend. Some have huge income and still save a lot but most can't help but spend every penny they have and more going into debt despite a helfty salary.

You have to be comfortable in your own life and your own skin. People at work that question or make suggestions about your spending should be taken in stride. As someone else posted, be honest, smile, and admit that you are just naturally frugal.

In terms of the rampant conspicuous consumption going on these days - it is difficult to tell, and a waste of energy (and bad karma) to attempt to judge other folk's spending habits or decisions. Some people that buy new BMW/Mercedes/etc every 3 years do so primarily to seek to impress others. Others do so because they have a life long love of well engineered performance luxury cars and they love BMW/Mercedes/etc. There is no sense in trying to figure it out.

I always valued creating financial security way over owning fancy toys and other expensive items, but I always drove a high end car because I have always loved great cars. Even at lower salary levels early in my career, my coworkers and neighbors always saw me driving a beautifully maintained, high end car. Maybe more than a few some thought I was looking to impress when in actuality the opposite is true, I have always preferred to move through life completely unnoticed.
Well said. Not everybody that buys nice things is in debt to their ears or trying to impress others. Undoubtedly some are. Trying to figure out which is which is too judgemental in my view. People will make their own decisions as to what they spend their money on. Nobody else's business.

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Re: Struggling with "Live like a Resident" versus "Keeping up with the Joneses"

Post by retire57 » Tue Aug 29, 2017 9:18 am

wolf359 wrote:
Sat Oct 08, 2016 6:08 pm
dodecahedron wrote:More discreet/less confrontational approach than asking "What's your net worth?": maybe just anonymously leaving a copy of the Millionaire Next Door book in the employee lounge/breakroom? Or suggesting to your state bar association that they book the author as a speaker at their next meeting?
Unfortunately, Dr. Thomas Stanley, the author of "The Millionaire Next Door," passed away in 2015 in a car accident.
Just want to suggest Dr. Stanley's follow-up book "Stop Acting Rich". Another research-based exploration of lifestyle creep that is even more illuminating than TMND.

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Re: Struggling with "Live like a Resident" versus "Keeping up with the Joneses"

Post by 10YearPlan » Tue Aug 29, 2017 9:29 am

staythecourse wrote:
Sun Oct 09, 2016 8:34 am
I once read a short book that really changed how I viewed spending. It said folks make decisions based on one of three reasons: Utilitarian, expressive, and emotional. Utilitarian decisions are like, "I need a new pair of shoes since mine are worn out" or "I need a new house because don't have enough room in the current". Expressive decisions are like, "I want the rolex for others to know I am doing well" or "I want the beemer so folks I work with think I am successful". Emotional decisions are like, "I don't want to get rid of my car as I have had that since college and through law school" or "Don't want to buy a new house even though I need it because we started our family in the current one".

What is important is figuring out WHY you make the decisions in life you do up to this point AND reflecting back and seeing if they added to your happiness or not. For me, I don't remember EVER buying one thing out of expressive reasons that brought me extended happiness (out of the usual 2 weeks of happiness). If they do no big deal go for it.

For me the things that have brought be the MOST happiness have to do with spending time with wife and children. So every decision I make is really based on maximizing that time. The only true answer is life is short and one day you will be dead so figure out what makes you happy and start doing it. One should not be saving "x" amount for no reason. That money is for future spending and happiness so the question is "What makes you happy?".

Good luck.
Good food for thought, I think I am a combination of all three types of decisions, depending on the purchase and circumstances/timing.
OP, I am not an attorney or physician--my comp is modest comparatively. But between the two of us, we do well. We happen to live in a fairly affluent area, and I am surrounded by two lawyer, lawyer/doctor, doctor/doctor households, so keeping up with the Joneses could be a full time job if I wanted it to be.

That said, I have always been an aspirer. I like nice things. Now that I can afford them, I buy myself some nice things and we take several nice vacations a year. My husband and I are aligned-we take care of retirement, other saving/investing and 529s first and then we spend most of the rest. Sometimes, at least by this board's standards, rather frivolously. Yes, we have experienced lifestyle creep, but it has been mostly intentional. We strive for balance wherever possible.

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Re: Struggling with "Live like a Resident" versus "Keeping up with the Joneses"

Post by bantam222 » Tue Aug 29, 2017 10:31 am

If you don't like playing the frugal / like to save card, you could mention something along the lines of having to spend most your money on family member's health condition or provide for your family back home or something along those lines.

This may make other people feel bad they asked / awkward and stop following up with you. It also gives off the impression that "you would be just like them and spend if you could" but have other commitments.

Obviously you need to be careful what groups you tell this too / how much details you provide if you are lying. That can get you into some bad spots, but this popped into my head as an easy way to deflect the question with a reasonable answer that is not the frugal card.

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Re: Struggling with "Live like a Resident" versus "Keeping up with the Joneses"

Post by SQRT » Tue Aug 29, 2017 10:33 am

10YearPlan wrote:
Tue Aug 29, 2017 9:29 am


For me the things that have brought be the MOST happiness have to do with spending time with wife and children. So every decision I make is really based on maximizing that time. The only true answer is life is short and one day you will be dead so figure out what makes you happy and start doing it. One should not be saving "x" amount for no reason.

That said, I have always been an aspirer. I like nice things. Now that I can afford them, I buy myself some nice things and we take several nice vacations a year. My husband and I are aligned-we take care of retirement, other saving/investing and 529s first and then we spend most of the rest. Sometimes, at least by this board's standards, rather frivolously. Yes, we have experienced lifestyle creep, but it has been mostly intentional. We strive for balance wherever possible.
This resonates with me, I try to create great memories, both my own and my family /friends, because after all, once we are gone that's all that's left, other people's memories of you. By most objective standards we spend a lot, but so what? It makes us happy, creates great memories and we can afford it. Don't care what other people think. Leaving for a very expensive trip next week with daughter and SIL (our treat). QM2/Paris/Private canal barge in Burgundy.

Lifestyle creep? You betcha. That's why I worked so hard and saved so much. So we could have a very well funded retirement.

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Re: Struggling with "Live like a Resident" versus "Keeping up with the Joneses"

Post by MiddleOfTheRoad » Tue Aug 29, 2017 11:14 am

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Re: Struggling with "Live like a Resident" versus "Keeping up with the Joneses"

Post by DCChak » Tue Aug 29, 2017 11:16 am

Interesting thread. Just came across it for the 1st time. Two points stand out for me: 1) your colleagues are your frenemies, and 2) partners like it when they see conspicuous consumption, because they recognize the associates/colleagues exit costs have also increased.

While I'm certain that a self-justifying and affirming myopia is behind some of the peer pressure to spend, I also suspect many in a highly profitable law firm might see their fellow partners less as people and more as assets they own that can increase their own wealth. As they see evidence of high consumption, they gain reassurance that the fellow partner is confident that his/her business is growing and stable. This could be seen as a leading indicator that a steady flow of profits will continue for the firm. Why wouldn't partners want to stoke competition to spend more and work harder to make more when that can further line the partner's own pocket?

Such a culture is not the most humane, but we are talking about Biglaw firms after all.

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Re: Struggling with "Live like a Resident" versus "Keeping up with the Joneses"

Post by deltaneutral83 » Tue Aug 29, 2017 2:51 pm

The only thing that is hard to negotiate down on price is the car. You probably need a nice car. But you can get a 3-4 year old luxury car for 50% MSRP. Suits, watches, other clothing/accessories are easy to spend 10% of what the high rollers are to "look" the part. I have no idea what vacations and houses have to do with it unless clients and partners are coming over, those are squarely up to you unless I'm missing something. The firm should pick up the country club membership if you're that important.

2) partners like it when they see conspicuous consumption, because they recognize the associates/colleagues exit costs have also increased.
I think this is very true. They get the sense you are buying into the culture, but you can meet this requirement at about 10% of the actual cost the big boys are spending as mentioned.

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Re: Struggling with "Live like a Resident" versus "Keeping up with the Joneses"

Post by sunny_socal » Tue Aug 29, 2017 3:04 pm

OP you're doing the right thing. Just keep paying off those student loans, you have no room for fancy things until those are paid off.

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Re: Struggling with "Live like a Resident" versus "Keeping up with the Joneses"

Post by Dottie57 » Tue Aug 29, 2017 3:59 pm

squirm wrote:
Sat Oct 08, 2016 12:15 pm
Spend money on things that matter in life, experiences like enjoying a nice vacation with your wife, doing good or spending money to help others etc. Nobody on their deathbed wished they bought better luxury cars.
+1

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Re: Struggling with "Live like a Resident" versus "Keeping up with the Joneses"

Post by runner540 » Tue Aug 29, 2017 4:28 pm

deltaneutral83 wrote:
Tue Aug 29, 2017 2:51 pm
The only thing that is hard to negotiate down on price is the car. You probably need a nice car. But you can get a 3-4 year old luxury car for 50% MSRP. Suits, watches, other clothing/accessories are easy to spend 10% of what the high rollers are to "look" the part. I have no idea what vacations and houses have to do with it unless clients and partners are coming over, those are squarely up to you unless I'm missing something. The firm should pick up the country club membership if you're that important.

2) partners like it when they see conspicuous consumption, because they recognize the associates/colleagues exit costs have also increased.
I think this is very true. They get the sense you are buying into the culture, but you can meet this requirement at about 10% of the actual cost the big boys are spending as mentioned.
Another couple other ideas to imply a high spending lifestyle are:
Pick one visible accessory (watch, jewelry, shoes, bag) and spend on something you'd like. You don't need to replace it often, just allow it to be visible often. You may even be able to get a Tumi bag with airline miles.
Go to one of your city's fanciest restaurants for a special occasion. Then casually drop it into conversation without mentioning the occaision, as if it's a regular thing. Bonus points if you play it cool and find something to criticize that wasn't quite up to your refined tastes.

This type of thing could be enjoyable and if on a one-time basis, won't bust your budget on a lawyer/banker/doctor salary.

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Re: Struggling with "Live like a Resident" versus "Keeping up with the Joneses"

Post by harrington » Tue Aug 29, 2017 6:47 pm

I watch "The Joneses" leave for work every morning while I'm drinking my coffee on the front porch having retired 7 years ago at age 49......

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Re: Struggling with "Live like a Resident" versus "Keeping up with the Joneses"

Post by lostdog » Tue Aug 29, 2017 7:28 pm

DaftInvestor wrote:
Tue Oct 11, 2016 6:06 pm
I pulled up at a restaurant to have lunch with some old colleagues for dinner from an old company I used to work for. One of them saw me getting out of my Toyota and said "gee - with your title of xxxx over at company-yyyy I thought you'd be driving a Mercedes or something."
I just said "I'm going for financial independence and high net-worth versus financial status with no financial independence and lower net=worth."
I got a puzzled look at first and then a smile and then he asked me how my kids were doing.

We'll said. I'll remember this. Another version could be "I'm going for financial independence, zero debt and high networth versus keeping up with the jonses with no financial independence, debt and lower networth."
VTWAX and chill.

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Re: Struggling with "Live like a Resident" versus "Keeping up with the Joneses"

Post by SQRT » Wed Aug 30, 2017 7:54 am

lostdog wrote:
Tue Aug 29, 2017 7:28 pm
DaftInvestor wrote:
Tue Oct 11, 2016 6:06 pm
I pulled up at a restaurant to have lunch with some old colleagues for dinner from an old company I used to work for. One of them saw me getting out of my Toyota and said "gee - with your title of xxxx over at company-yyyy I thought you'd be driving a Mercedes or something."
I just said "I'm going for financial independence and high net-worth versus financial status with no financial independence and lower net=worth."
I got a puzzled look at first and then a smile and then he asked me how my kids were doing.

We'll said. I'll remember this. Another version could be "I'm going for financial independence, zero debt and high networth versus keeping up with the jonses with no financial independence, debt and lower networth."
Right, no one would disagree. Just keep in mind that many (most?) people in the US who have such luxuries can afford them. They may very well be debt free and have a high net worth. Many people seem to assume that nice possessions (usually cars) implies financial irresponsibility. Often it does, I think, but certainly not always. Might make you feel better to think so though.

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Re: Struggling with "Live like a Resident" versus "Keeping up with the Joneses"

Post by protagonist » Wed Aug 30, 2017 2:54 pm

For me, the solution is to avoid living in communities where it is important to "Keep up with the Joneses" in order to be liked and respected.

Those are not the values I would want my children to grow up with.

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