Spending on myself, am I off base here?

Questions on how we spend our money and our time - consumer goods and services, home and vehicle, leisure and recreational activities
investingdad
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Spending on myself, am I off base here?

Post by investingdad » Mon Dec 18, 2017 10:28 am

I'm trying to figure out if I'm being unreasonable regarding a discretionary purchase as it has led to a disagreement with my wife.

Some background. Our gross income is about 240k base, bonus adds maybe 20k more, it varies. Income split is about 55/45 in her favor. This year, we saved 22% of gross. The rest went to taxes and expenses. Our current portfolio stands at 2.35 million, net is about 2.5 million with home equity. In our mid 40s with two children. The biggest expenditure was on vacation, about 20k this year.

My personal spending on myself is limited. About 1k a year for good beer, 1k for my violin and 1k total for music lessons, maybe a few hundred for cash purchases, and... that's it.

All other spending is house or family related.

Two years ago I spent 5k for a pinball machine just for myself. It took a year before my wife relented on that purchase. I'm now thinking of buying a second for about the same. The idea has not gone over well.

She doesn't have trouble spending money on our kids or for family related stuff. But spending on herself? Not so much. She seems incapable of spending money on purely personal items and goes as cheap as possible. She knows our financial situation but still won't spend on herself unless she has to.

This sounds good, but I think it has become problematic. Part of the reason we both work is to enjoy fruits of our labor. Sure, family related spending is wonderful, but I think spending on yourself is important as well, without having to feel guilty about it. Especially given our financial situation. Her position is that 5k is a lot of money (agreed) that could go for something else. True enough.

Ok, tell me if I'm off base here.

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greg24
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Re: Spending on myself, am I off base here?

Post by greg24 » Mon Dec 18, 2017 10:33 am

It is hard to judge from the outside. But, if you would get a great deal of joy out of it, $5k for years of enjoyment would be worth it. And it would have resale value.

sailaway
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Re: Spending on myself, am I off base here?

Post by sailaway » Mon Dec 18, 2017 10:36 am

greg24 wrote:
Mon Dec 18, 2017 10:33 am
It is hard to judge from the outside. But, if you would get a great deal of joy out of it, $5k for years of enjoyment would be worth it. And it would have resale value.
We are talking about $10k: he wants another.

investingdad
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Re: Spending on myself, am I off base here?

Post by investingdad » Mon Dec 18, 2017 10:37 am

sailaway wrote:
Mon Dec 18, 2017 10:36 am
greg24 wrote:
Mon Dec 18, 2017 10:33 am
It is hard to judge from the outside. But, if you would get a great deal of joy out of it, $5k for years of enjoyment would be worth it. And it would have resale value.
We are talking about $10k: he wants another.
Correct, the first was bought 2 years ago.

onourway
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Re: Spending on myself, am I off base here?

Post by onourway » Mon Dec 18, 2017 10:40 am

$5k is a lot of money, but that in and of itself should not be the most important factor.

The question I would ask is how would spending this $5k impact your other goals? If all other major financial goals are met, then I'd say you have a lot more leverage here. If it means cutting back or extending the timeline to another goal, then these conflicting wants should be balanced.

btenny
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Re: Spending on myself, am I off base here?

Post by btenny » Mon Dec 18, 2017 10:46 am

Do you let your kids play with the pinball machines? If so then it really is a family gift. Does your wife play on the machine? Have you taught your kids and wife to play and score high on your current machine? Is the current machine set out in your family room so it can be played and it is visible to your guests? Is part of your wife's issue with the machine where you keep it and how it looks? Just some thoughts.

Please advise.

letsgobobby
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Re: Spending on myself, am I off base here?

Post by letsgobobby » Mon Dec 18, 2017 10:49 am

This isn't about spending, it's about communication and some kind of a priori agreement about freedom of choice for some portion of your income.

I was likewise someone who never bought anything for myself, but a few years ago we started skiing as a family and I eventually spent around $1000 on some equipment. Then there are the ongoing costs of lift tickets, etc, but pretty sure my wife considers whatever we pay to be a great deal as it gives her 12 hours of blessed quiet and alone time whenever the kids and I hit the slopes (which is only a half dozen times a year).

So maybe you need to find a way to make the pinball a welcome trade-off for her.

investingdad
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Re: Spending on myself, am I off base here?

Post by investingdad » Mon Dec 18, 2017 10:52 am

btenny wrote:
Mon Dec 18, 2017 10:46 am
Do you let your kids play with the pinball machines? If so then it really is a family gift. Does your wife play on the machine? Have you taught your kids and wife to play and score high on your current machine? Is the current machine set out in your family room so it can be played and it is visible to your guests? Is part of your wife's issue with the machine where you keep it and how it looks? Just some thoughts.

Please advise.
It's in the basement which we finished into a family game area a couple of years ago. The kids lost interest after a month. I play regularly.

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Sandtrap
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Re: Spending on myself, am I off base here?

Post by Sandtrap » Mon Dec 18, 2017 10:52 am

If one doesn't spend on one's self, without thought, guilt, or remorse, and, after realizing the fruits of lifelong labor -- how is one going to bring moments of elation and joy to one's Self.
No one can judge your actions and motives, but your self. It's not about spending or money. It's about harmony.

Actionably: DW and I have never questioned a purchase made by the other for "self". We are both very frugal so am happy to see the other do things that bring happiness. . . . . . Especially as we are retired and facing mortality as everyone else is.

"All things in moderation. . . including moderation. . . "
j :D

Spewin
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Re: Spending on myself, am I off base here?

Post by Spewin » Mon Dec 18, 2017 10:56 am

OP, you counted approximately $3000 per year that you spend on yourself through beer, music lessons, and other cash. Add to that the $5000 every two years and it looks like your personal "selfish" spending is a bit above $5000 per year or over 2% of your gross.

Is that reasonable? That's something only you and your spouse can answer. But I suggest you answer it by building it into your budget. Get together and agree on a certain dollar amount that you each get equally on a monthly basis. Put it in separate accounts and then you aren't accountable to each other for purchases out of those accounts.

If your wife's "selfish" spending is all on the kids because that's what brings her joy, so be it. If you save your up for pinball machines, then that's fine (as long as you don't run out of rooms in the house!).

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greg24
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Re: Spending on myself, am I off base here?

Post by greg24 » Mon Dec 18, 2017 11:03 am

sailaway wrote:
Mon Dec 18, 2017 10:36 am
greg24 wrote:
Mon Dec 18, 2017 10:33 am
It is hard to judge from the outside. But, if you would get a great deal of joy out of it, $5k for years of enjoyment would be worth it. And it would have resale value.
We are talking about $10k: he wants another.
We are talking about $5k. The other $5k is already gone.

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Psyayeayeduck
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Re: Spending on myself, am I off base here?

Post by Psyayeayeduck » Mon Dec 18, 2017 11:06 am

I've always been in the camp of "as long as the important things are taken care of, go reasonably nuts!". Replace pinball with any other luxury. Vacation, a car, brand clothing, hobbies, etc. It doesn't really matter what. Does it bring happiness? Does it break the bank? Does it impair you financially?

If one is having problems of the other's purchases, then I suggest create spending accounts for no-questions asked purchases and put a little bit of your hard earned money into that account (after paying of necessary vehicles such as bills, food, and retirement/investments, of course).

investingdad
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Re: Spending on myself, am I off base here?

Post by investingdad » Mon Dec 18, 2017 11:07 am

Spewin wrote:
Mon Dec 18, 2017 10:56 am
OP, you counted approximately $3000 per year that you spend on yourself through beer, music lessons, and other cash. Add to that the $5000 every two years and it looks like your personal "selfish" spending is a bit above $5000 per year or over 2% of your gross.

Is that reasonable? That's something only you and your spouse can answer. But I suggest you answer it by building it into your budget. Get together and agree on a certain dollar amount that you each get equally on a monthly basis. Put it in separate accounts and then you aren't accountable to each other for purchases out of those accounts.

If your wife's "selfish" spending is all on the kids because that's what brings her joy, so be it. If you save your up for pinball machines, then that's fine (as long as you don't run out of rooms in the house!).
This is an interesting suggestion as we've never done anything but pool all money.

Spirit Rider
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Re: Spending on myself, am I off base here?

Post by Spirit Rider » Mon Dec 18, 2017 11:08 am

To put this in context.

That $10K over two years represents about 4%/year of your share of the marital gross income. Add to this your other 3%, your total personal spending/year is 7%/year. This is probably close to 12%/year of your share of the marital net income.

12%/year is not an insignificant amount. Whether it is two much is not really the question. Is your wife unreasonable in her perception that it is too much?

nick evets
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Re: Spending on myself, am I off base here?

Post by nick evets » Mon Dec 18, 2017 11:09 am

btenny wrote:
Mon Dec 18, 2017 10:46 am
Is part of your wife's issue with the machine where you keep it and how it looks? Just some thoughts.
That's an excellent question -- is *what* the present-to-yourself is, significant? Or is it strictly the notion of spending a significant amount of money on yourself?

It's unfortunate: your partner is clearly choosing to climb the moral high ground, where you can't logically defend an indulgent purchase (despite it being emotionally satisfying to you, and perfectly reasonably to treat yourself, given the good job you've done providing.....).
Last edited by nick evets on Mon Dec 18, 2017 11:09 am, edited 1 time in total.

mak1277
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Re: Spending on myself, am I off base here?

Post by mak1277 » Mon Dec 18, 2017 11:09 am

Psyayeayeduck wrote:
Mon Dec 18, 2017 11:06 am
If one is having problems of the other's purchases, then I suggest create spending accounts for no-questions asked purchases and put a little bit of your hard earned money into that account (after paying of necessary vehicles such as bills, food, and retirement/investments, of course).
It's not that easy though. If your spouse never spends on themself, it's unlikely they'll feel the need for a "discretionary" account that is very big. So ever though this is a seemingly straightforward solution, it's still something that might cause disagreement.

Jags4186
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Re: Spending on myself, am I off base here?

Post by Jags4186 » Mon Dec 18, 2017 11:09 am

I'm not going to judge whether or not a second $5000 pinball machine is a wise choice, but you admittedly make $260,000 a year and spend 78% of that on taxes/life. That suggests to me you have about a $11,000-$12,000/mo lifestyle depending on your tax situation. That's a lot of lifestyle and she may feel that you collectively already spend a lot of money on luxuries. After all, you've spent $20,000 on vacations and $3000+ on stuff just for yourself this year.

Or perhaps she just doesn't want a second giant pinball machine in the house because she hates it like my wife hates my autographed 16"x24" Lawrence Taylor picture.

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jharkin
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Re: Spending on myself, am I off base here?

Post by jharkin » Mon Dec 18, 2017 11:12 am

A one time $5k personal expenditure on $250k gross income really isn't worth worrying about IMHO. Families who make FAR less than you do blow FAR more on frivolous items and entertainment.

Honestly I think the both of you are extremely frugal and that 2.5MM savings has bought you the chance to enjoy life a little. In this household we make about 20% less than you guys do and you are already 80% to my target retirement net worth number.

The only thing that would give me pause in the above statement is your 22% savings rate... that tells me you have VERY high ongoing living expenses and might need a much larger retirement nest egg than I do ...

investingdad
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Re: Spending on myself, am I off base here?

Post by investingdad » Mon Dec 18, 2017 11:17 am

Jags4186 wrote:
Mon Dec 18, 2017 11:09 am
I'm not going to judge whether or not a second $5000 pinball machine is a wise choice, but you admittedly make $260,000 a year and spend 78% of that on taxes/life. That suggests to me you have about a $11,000-$12,000/mo lifestyle depending on your tax situation. That's a lot of lifestyle and she may feel that you collectively already spend a lot of money on luxuries. After all, you've spent $20,000 on vacations and $3000+ on stuff just for yourself this year.

Or perhaps she just doesn't want a second giant pinball machine in the house because she hates it like my wife hates my autographed 16"x24" Lawrence Taylor picture.
Your math is correct, total yearly spending is between 110k and 135k a year on a gross of 260k-ish income.

stoptothink
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Re: Spending on myself, am I off base here?

Post by stoptothink » Mon Dec 18, 2017 11:19 am

OP, I am just like your wife. It literally hurts me to spend on myself. I'll go entire years without spending a penny on myself for things that are not literal necessities to live and I spend months mulling over every consumer purchase. My wife is much the opposite and it is a perpetual series of compromises. At some point you have to realize that even if a purchase is totally frivolous, that you can afford it and it won't hurt your goals at all; this is my wife's go-to argument every time she wants to buy something, and she's right. IMO, spending $5k on a pinball machine is absurd, but you can absolutely afford it and should buy it if it makes you happy.

TSR
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Re: Spending on myself, am I off base here?

Post by TSR » Mon Dec 18, 2017 11:21 am

If this is the whole story, then she is being unreasonable, largely because of her hang-ups with money. You both make a lot of money and you rarely spend it. Now you would like to enjoy the fruits of your labor. On the other hand, she may see something in you that is a legitimate (or illegitimate) threat: you've recently bought a pinball machine, a violin, some music lessons, etc., and perhaps this is out of character. Perhaps she is afraid you are going full mid-life crisis. Note that neither of the above scenarios has to be objectively true in order to cause friction in a relationship. I don't have any advice, just confirmation that if this is all there is, then it sounds unreasonable to me.

Now please tell us what pinball machine you have, and what you would like to purchase.

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Re: Spending on myself, am I off base here?

Post by letsgobobby » Mon Dec 18, 2017 11:28 am

TSR wrote:
Mon Dec 18, 2017 11:21 am
If this is the whole story, then she is being unreasonable, largely because of her hang-ups with money. You both make a lot of money and you rarely spend it. Now you would like to enjoy the fruits of your labor. On the other hand, she may see something in you that is a legitimate (or illegitimate) threat: you've recently bought a pinball machine, a violin, some music lessons, etc., and perhaps this is out of character. Perhaps she is afraid you are going full mid-life crisis. Note that neither of the above scenarios has to be objectively true in order to cause friction in a relationship. I don't have any advice, just confirmation that if this is all there is, then it sounds unreasonable to me.

Now please tell us what pinball machine you have, and what you would like to purchase.
of course this is not the whole story.

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Re: Spending on myself, am I off base here?

Post by EddyB » Mon Dec 18, 2017 11:29 am

investingdad wrote:
Mon Dec 18, 2017 11:17 am
Jags4186 wrote:
Mon Dec 18, 2017 11:09 am
I'm not going to judge whether or not a second $5000 pinball machine is a wise choice, but you admittedly make $260,000 a year and spend 78% of that on taxes/life. That suggests to me you have about a $11,000-$12,000/mo lifestyle depending on your tax situation. That's a lot of lifestyle and she may feel that you collectively already spend a lot of money on luxuries. After all, you've spent $20,000 on vacations and $3000+ on stuff just for yourself this year.

Or perhaps she just doesn't want a second giant pinball machine in the house because she hates it like my wife hates my autographed 16"x24" Lawrence Taylor picture.
Your math is correct, total yearly spending is between 110k and 135k a year on a gross of 260k-ish income.
While you have a lot saved, and it’s within the realm of reason that you could spend some money on a treat, you mentioned that your wife doesn’t spend money on herself, either. Do you have clear financial goals? Just going out on a limb, but does the net worth figure not feel “real” to your wife? E.g., does it reflect some extraordinary event or is there some other reason your wife may not expect that you’ll reach your financial goals going forward?

bloom2708
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Re: Spending on myself, am I off base here?

Post by bloom2708 » Mon Dec 18, 2017 11:30 am

From a different perspective, what joy will a second $5k pinball machine provide?

This is a classic problem I have learned about myself. I buy something. I love it. I then want a second (or a third). The second does not bring more joy/happiness. It actually reduces the happiness from the first item because now you can't dedicate enough time to either. The second takes up more space. It occupies more of your precious time. If you don't use it, then you get guilt.

If you were talking about a $500 pinball machine, I would maybe understand. $5k is a pretty big spend. This is truly a toy. It likely takes up space. Is hard to move. Takes your time away from family.

Replace pinball machine with a number of large/expensive options and you might have the same result.

If pinball number 1 is no longer giving you joy/happiness, then maybe trading for a new/different one is a better approach. I do this with bicycles. I don't keep the old one. I sell/trade for the new one. That softens the financial blow and your wife might not care as much if the net spend is under $1,000.
Last edited by bloom2708 on Mon Dec 18, 2017 11:34 am, edited 1 time in total.
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MikeWillRetire
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Re: Spending on myself, am I off base here?

Post by MikeWillRetire » Mon Dec 18, 2017 11:32 am

Your investments probably earned more than $5k just this morning.

TSR
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Re: Spending on myself, am I off base here?

Post by TSR » Mon Dec 18, 2017 11:35 am

One way I justify purchases like these is that you are buying a fairly solid-state thing that has legitimate collector value and doesn't get too much wear and tear. In other words, unlike a really fancy suit or a highly depreciating car, you can sell this thing later and only lose transaction costs plus any changes in the market for pinball machines (plus opportunity costs of the $5,000 over the course of your ownership). In other words, you're practically investing, right? :wink:

investingdad
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Re: Spending on myself, am I off base here?

Post by investingdad » Mon Dec 18, 2017 11:39 am

MikeWillRetire wrote:
Mon Dec 18, 2017 11:32 am
Your investments probably earned more than $5k just this morning.
I just checked the market, and yes... that's true. Until they go down tomorrow. :happy

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Watty
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Re: Spending on myself, am I off base here?

Post by Watty » Mon Dec 18, 2017 11:42 am

investingdad wrote:
Mon Dec 18, 2017 10:28 am
Her position is that 5k is a lot of money (agreed) that could go for something else.
A lot of spending decisions boil down to what economists call "Opportunity Cost" which basically means that you don't look at the cost as $5k, but instead look at it as what you have to give up if you had spent the $5K on something else.

https://www.investopedia.com/terms/o/op ... tycost.asp

You might try talking with her about what she thinks you are giving up by spending the $5K so see if there is some specific tradeoff that she is not comfortable with.

There might not be anything specific. It could just be her personality sort of like how people who went through the great depression in the 1930's were often overly frugal. It could also be that she resents the time that you spend playing pinball.

A reasonable compromise might be to set up a monthly amount that you can each spend on whatever you want and you could then save up enough to buy for the pinball machine.

You might try family counselling to see if you can work through the spending issues so that things like this are not a battle.

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DaftInvestor
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Re: Spending on myself, am I off base here?

Post by DaftInvestor » Mon Dec 18, 2017 11:44 am

It represents ~2% of your gross household yearly income and approximately 5% of your personal gross yearly income.
Is it just for you or something you will spend years of family time enjoying with the kids?

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Re: Spending on myself, am I off base here?

Post by abner kravitz » Mon Dec 18, 2017 11:55 am

I'm with the wife on this. Buying another $5K pinball machine for yourself seems excessive, particularly when the first one caused some friction. Maybe consider selling the first one if you need a new experience. Just my opinion, good luck.

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PaddyMac
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Re: Spending on myself, am I off base here?

Post by PaddyMac » Mon Dec 18, 2017 12:03 pm

I see a couple of issues that you might consider: I suggest you set aside a certain amount in the budget for your "fun fund". We did this when we merged our accounts after marriage. Our fun fund is ours to spend on with no questions asked. Of course, we use it mostly for clothing and personal purchases that are a bit frivolous; if we buy art, we decide who pays for it or whether it's split half & half. But I also use it to buy sheet music and music lessons. It sounds like you sort of have a fun fund, but you are assigning it to stuff. Keep it "general" - $X for the year. If you run a deficit with a large purchase, then carry it over to the following years. Maybe the $5K pinball machine could be spread out over 2-3 years?

The second comment is that you say you play the machine "regularly". If you had two machines, would you play twice as much? Is the wife worried that you will spend less time with the kids and her? Maybe it's time to also spend on something you can do regularly together as well. You say you play violin. I play classical music on piano so I bought season tickets to the philharmonic. We both enjoy the date nights and having the season tickets means we know the evenings are on our calendars to look forward to. We go to dinner beforehand too. Just a thought.
Last edited by PaddyMac on Mon Dec 18, 2017 12:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.

an_asker
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Re: Spending on myself, am I off base here?

Post by an_asker » Mon Dec 18, 2017 12:04 pm

bloom2708 wrote:
Mon Dec 18, 2017 11:30 am
From a different perspective, what joy will a second $5k pinball machine provide?

This is a classic problem I have learned about myself. I buy something. I love it. I then want a second (or a third). The second does not bring more joy/happiness. It actually reduces the happiness from the first item because now you can't dedicate enough time to either. The second takes up more space. It occupies more of your precious time. If you don't use it, then you get guilt.

If you were talking about a $500 pinball machine, I would maybe understand. $5k is a pretty big spend. This is truly a toy. It likely takes up space. Is hard to move. Takes your time away from family.

Replace pinball machine with a number of large/expensive options and you might have the same result.

If pinball number 1 is no longer giving you joy/happiness, then maybe trading for a new/different one is a better approach. I do this with bicycles. I don't keep the old one. I sell/trade for the new one. That softens the financial blow and your wife might not care as much if the net spend is under $1,000.
I don't understand a pinball machine and am too lazy to google. What is it? Does one play against oneself? Or is it a bigger version of "bagatelle"? Why does OP need two pinball machines? Are they different from one another? If not, can the first one be gotten rid of before getting the second one?

mouses
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Re: Spending on myself, am I off base here?

Post by mouses » Mon Dec 18, 2017 12:08 pm

Do you actually need two? What about selling the first one and then buying the new one? That would also reduce the giant obvious probably noisy thing in the house problem.

I don't have a feel for whether this is affordable or fair to your wife. I guess some of that ignorance is I don't know how to classify what she spends on the kids and house. Socks? Field trips to Tahiti? But if you together set aside a pot of money for each of you to do what you want with each year, what you both agree is a reasonable amount, then I guess you could buy the machine although you might have to accumulate money for 2-3 years.

If your wife doesn't want to spend that much on her interests, she can put it in her savings, although I am not sure how that works in a community property state.

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lthenderson
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Re: Spending on myself, am I off base here?

Post by lthenderson » Mon Dec 18, 2017 12:14 pm

letsgobobby wrote:
Mon Dec 18, 2017 10:49 am
This isn't about spending, it's about communication
BIngo!

If my wife went out and spent $5k on herself without consulting me first, my first thought would be how much would she want to spend tomorrow without consulting me. Marriage is all about great communication. I'm in a situation like you where I could afford to spend that much and not miss it, but I always mention it to my wife before I go out and spent even $500 on something. It isn't even the price limit that is important but the fact that I included her in the knowledge before buying it.

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Re: Spending on myself, am I off base here?

Post by stoptothink » Mon Dec 18, 2017 12:17 pm

lthenderson wrote:
Mon Dec 18, 2017 12:14 pm
letsgobobby wrote:
Mon Dec 18, 2017 10:49 am
This isn't about spending, it's about communication
BIngo!

If my wife went out and spent $5k on herself without consulting me first, my first thought would be how much would she want to spend tomorrow without consulting me. Marriage is all about great communication. I'm in a situation like you where I could afford to spend that much and not miss it, but I always mention it to my wife before I go out and spent even $500 on something. It isn't even the price limit that is important but the fact that I included her in the knowledge before buying it.
I'm not seeing the communication angle. It certainly sounds like the OP has communicated his want for another pinball machine to his wife, to the point where he mentions that discussing it has caused contention.

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Re: Spending on myself, am I off base here?

Post by onourway » Mon Dec 18, 2017 12:23 pm

stoptothink wrote:
Mon Dec 18, 2017 12:17 pm
I'm not seeing the communication angle. It certainly sounds like the OP has communicated his want for another pinball machine to his wife, to the point where he mentions that discussing it has caused contention.
He doesn't seem to understand why she isn't on-board. That means there is probably something going unsaid in the communication loop. Others have pointed out some likely candidates - she doesn't feel that other goals are being met, or that it takes up useful space, or takes dad away from the family, etc. etc. It might just be that she doesn't agree to this kind of spending regardless. In that case the communication should be around setting acceptable limits of individual spending, at which point there becomes much more leeway so long as you stick to those rules (ie. the 'monthly budget' option suggested which would require saving to fund this purchase).

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Re: Spending on myself, am I off base here?

Post by RollTide31457 » Mon Dec 18, 2017 12:29 pm

investingdad wrote:
Mon Dec 18, 2017 10:28 am
I'm trying to figure out if I'm being unreasonable regarding a discretionary purchase as it has led to a disagreement with my wife.

Some background. Our gross income is about 240k base, bonus adds maybe 20k more, it varies. Income split is about 55/45 in her favor. This year, we saved 22% of gross. The rest went to taxes and expenses. Our current portfolio stands at 2.35 million, net is about 2.5 million with home equity. In our mid 40s with two children. The biggest expenditure was on vacation, about 20k this year.

My personal spending on myself is limited. About 1k a year for good beer, 1k for my violin and 1k total for music lessons, maybe a few hundred for cash purchases, and... that's it.

All other spending is house or family related.

Two years ago I spent 5k for a pinball machine just for myself. It took a year before my wife relented on that purchase. I'm now thinking of buying a second for about the same. The idea has not gone over well.

She doesn't have trouble spending money on our kids or for family related stuff. But spending on herself? Not so much. She seems incapable of spending money on purely personal items and goes as cheap as possible. She knows our financial situation but still won't spend on herself unless she has to.

This sounds good, but I think it has become problematic. Part of the reason we both work is to enjoy fruits of our labor. Sure, family related spending is wonderful, but I think spending on yourself is important as well, without having to feel guilty about it. Especially given our financial situation. Her position is that 5k is a lot of money (agreed) that could go for something else. True enough.

Ok, tell me if I'm off base here.
Enjoy your pinball machines! Do you have any of classic arcade games like Ms. Pac-Man or Galaga?

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lthenderson
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Re: Spending on myself, am I off base here?

Post by lthenderson » Mon Dec 18, 2017 12:29 pm

stoptothink wrote:
Mon Dec 18, 2017 12:17 pm
I'm not seeing the communication angle. It certainly sounds like the OP has communicated his want for another pinball machine to his wife, to the point where he mentions that discussing it has caused contention.
I did misread the OP and see now that spouse knows about the purchase but from the wording, I still think there are communication issues involved. I don't know the OP, but have seen others in similar situations that consider casually mentioning a desire for an expensive item as discussing it and then don't understand when the spouse flips off the handle the following week when they buy it. Even if that isn't the case here, he is not communicating to his spouse how much purchasing a second pinball machine would mean to him or his enjoyment of life. He needs to justify his purchase in a way his spouse understands.

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Pajamas
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Re: Spending on myself, am I off base here?

Post by Pajamas » Mon Dec 18, 2017 12:45 pm

$5k sounds like a lot for a pinball machine, but it does sound like you can easily afford it, so it's not a lot to spend on something, in context.

Is the problem really your desire to buy a pinball machine or is that just what causes the real issue to surface and become a source of tension? Probably the latter.

So define and focus on the real issue, whether it is your wife's inability to spend money on things she wants or the fact that you spend too much time playing pinball.

Is there really nothing she would like to spend money on for herself that she would enjoy having or doing but doesn't actually need?

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fishandgolf
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Re: Spending on myself, am I off base here?

Post by fishandgolf » Mon Dec 18, 2017 1:06 pm

letsgobobby wrote:
Mon Dec 18, 2017 11:28 am
TSR wrote:
Mon Dec 18, 2017 11:21 am
If this is the whole story, then she is being unreasonable, largely because of her hang-ups with money. You both make a lot of money and you rarely spend it. Now you would like to enjoy the fruits of your labor. On the other hand, she may see something in you that is a legitimate (or illegitimate) threat: you've recently bought a pinball machine, a violin, some music lessons, etc., and perhaps this is out of character. Perhaps she is afraid you are going full mid-life crisis. Note that neither of the above scenarios has to be objectively true in order to cause friction in a relationship. I don't have any advice, just confirmation that if this is all there is, then it sounds unreasonable to me.

Now please tell us what pinball machine you have, and what you would like to purchase.
of course this is not the whole story.
Agreed............somthing missing.... :?:

annielouise
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Re: Spending on myself, am I off base here?

Post by annielouise » Mon Dec 18, 2017 1:33 pm

My advice:

Don't buy the pinball machine at this time. Apologize to your wife for upsetting her/stressing her out. This is a very stressful time of year.

A few months from now, initiate some conversations about her (likely) money worries. Maybe something needs to be changed to help her feel more comfortable with spending. More savings? An outside evaluation?

Later, you can suggest separate small accounts for giving gifts to each other and having money that can be spent on yourself if desired. She is welcome to spend or save hers as she chooses.

For reference: we are celebrating our 31st anniversary this week and we have never had a money fight.

btenny
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Re: Spending on myself, am I off base here?

Post by btenny » Mon Dec 18, 2017 1:42 pm

I really think it is more than just the money for your wife. I think she has other issues as well and is not being totally clear or able to express her issues. Here is my two cents.

What kind of games do your wife and kids like to play? Are there any games they like that you like as well? Do you have some game boys and maybe a XBox with several games? Do you have some MLB or NFL games? How about some world building games? I know my son in law and my daughter and and my son and his kids (my grand kids) all play games a lot and have that setup in their family rooms. Whenever we visit they are always playing stuff in pairs or in groups or against some people over the internet. Maybe this is part of the issue your wife is objecting about. Maybe she wants you to spend time playing games that everyone can and will play together. Maybe she sees another pin ball machine as a space user that only you will play by your self. Plus as others have pointed out maybe she is not happy already with the time you spend playing by your self with your current machine and she sees a second as more time away. Plus the money issues added on to these points makes it just too much in her mind. So maybe buy a XBox game or something like that.

Just an alternative. Good Luck.

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bottlecap
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Re: Spending on myself, am I off base here?

Post by bottlecap » Mon Dec 18, 2017 1:46 pm

The fact that your wife gave you grief for a year after agreeing to the first purchase suggests y’all have some deeper issues. Explore them. They are the cause.

As far as treating the present symptom is concerned, there are a few options. Separate “fun” accounts might work. Selling the other machine might work. Or perhaps reminding her that you are likely to get your money back when you sell. And perhaps promising that this will be the last one.

I could be that she doesn’t want a basement full of what she views as man-boy toys. It could be that she resents the spending. You guys make a good bit of money, but not so much that $5,000 every couple years for a toy is insignificant.

But us telling you you can afford it won’t fly with your wife. Nor will I save you from her giving you grief. Find out the deeper issues and discuss them with her.

Good luck,

JT

NotWhoYouThink
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Re: Spending on myself, am I off base here?

Post by NotWhoYouThink » Mon Dec 18, 2017 1:49 pm

Are you meeting your savings goals?

Do you save what's left after you spend agreed amounts, or do you spend what's left after you save agreed amounts?

We have always for 30 years done the latter, and never had a budget. Savings are automatically deducted from paychecks, or agreed percentages of bonuses/incentive comp have gone to savings. What's left, we can spend. Sometimes it piles up and gets shuttled off into a savings account (higher interest and not accessible with debit card) until we decide whether to vacation or remodel or what.

If you have agreements on what to save, and can demonstrate you are meeting your goals, it might be easier to spend. And if she's really not spending on herself at all, that's a problem. Being a martyr is really annoying to others.

investingdad
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Re: Spending on myself, am I off base here?

Post by investingdad » Mon Dec 18, 2017 1:57 pm

bottlecap wrote:
Mon Dec 18, 2017 1:46 pm
The fact that your wife gave you grief for a year after agreeing to the first purchase suggests y’all have some deeper issues. Explore them. They are the cause.

As far as treating the present symptom is concerned, there are a few options. Separate “fun” accounts might work. Selling the other machine might work. Or perhaps reminding her that you are likely to get your money back when you sell. And perhaps promising that this will be the last one.

I could be that she doesn’t want a basement full of what she views as man-boy toys. It could be that she resents the spending. You guys make a good bit of money, but not so much that $5,000 every couple years for a toy is insignificant.

But us telling you you can afford it won’t fly with your wife. Nor will I save you from her giving you grief. Find out the deeper issues and discuss them with her.

Good luck,

JT
To clarify, it took a year for my wife to agree to purchasing the first one. I didn't until she was ok with it and it hasn't been a problem since then.

We do family games regularly. Neither one of us go out with friends, we prefer to be at home with each other and the kids.

What I do see as an issue is her inability to simply do nothing. On vacation, I'm happy to veg out and read and simply relaxe. She gets antsy if she's not productive. At home, I make time for leisure. She can't go more than 15 minutes before needing to check work email or find productive work at home. Workaholic, probably. She does not have any hobbies. My dad was the same... simply taking time to engage in truly leisure activities is wasting time in her mind because "There's always something that needs to be done". I think this ties in with not being able to spend on herself.

stoptothink
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Re: Spending on myself, am I off base here?

Post by stoptothink » Mon Dec 18, 2017 2:14 pm

investingdad wrote:
Mon Dec 18, 2017 1:57 pm
What I do see as an issue is her inability to simply do nothing. On vacation, I'm happy to veg out and read and simply relaxe. She gets antsy if she's not productive. At home, I make time for leisure. She can't go more than 15 minutes before needing to check work email or find productive work at home. Workaholic, probably. She does not have any hobbies. My dad was the same... simply taking time to engage in truly leisure activities is wasting time in her mind because "There's always something that needs to be done". I think this ties in with not being able to spend on herself.
I think your wife is my female doppelganger. I am home sick, at a time of the year when my office is 90% empty anyways, and I have been working since 6am. Vacations? Yeah, I work more on vacations than most people do in the office...and then I go and workout. My hobby is getting things done and retirement worries me because I go nuts if I go more than a few minutes without doing something productive. It's a legit problem, one I accept but can't seem to shake.

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Re: Spending on myself, am I off base here?

Post by thangngo » Mon Dec 18, 2017 2:24 pm

investingdad wrote:
Mon Dec 18, 2017 10:28 am
I'm trying to figure out if I'm being unreasonable regarding a discretionary purchase as it has led to a disagreement with my wife.
Ok, tell me if I'm off base here.
I can see reasons from both sides. But I would lean towards your wife's reasoning. You are not being unreasonable, but spending $5k on a pinball machine for yourself is ridiculous. I'm all for family spending and family vacations. Marriage is a partnership, you'll have to get your wife on board with the decision. It's not easy.

WalterMitty
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Re: Spending on myself, am I off base here?

Post by WalterMitty » Mon Dec 18, 2017 2:26 pm

Maybe get a divorce...1/2 of all the assets will probably let you buy as many pinball machines as you want.

I mean seems like she's the one calling the shots on the discretionary spending, and then there's the total disconnect between you and her in terms of downtime and vacations. Not to mention that she absolutely hates your constant violin playing.*


* okay...I made that last one up. but she might. oh, and I'm not totally serious about the divorce thingy...but there does seem to be some issues here...only you know if they are big enough to make it a big issue or if you just needed to vent on these boards.

investingdad
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Re: Spending on myself, am I off base here?

Post by investingdad » Mon Dec 18, 2017 2:33 pm

Oh no worries, we match well but there are some fundamental differences between us personality wise.

quantAndHold
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Re: Spending on myself, am I off base here?

Post by quantAndHold » Mon Dec 18, 2017 2:34 pm

This seems like a relationship problem, not a money problem. You have differing views on the utility of money that you need to resolve.

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