scouter wrote:I found that we naturally loosened up our spending as we gotten closer and closer to "our number". There were years where we had to tighten up to stay on track, and other years where we could splurge a little. But what we've always told our kids is: "The best thing money can buy is not stuff. It's not even experiences, like great trips. It's the freedom to spend your time doing what you really want to do, and to be able to give when you want to help." (of course, "doing what you really want to do" may involve a Ferrari and world travel, so never mind...)
My immediate thoughts in reading the OP was to figure that "the number" would be helpful in making objective those spiritual worries expressed. A dutiful personal finance plan intended to protect spouse and children (and self) would assist further in resolving concerns.
Like others, I can understand some of the inherited concerns. I grew up in a family of seven kids, five of whom were all Irish twins, all born either during the War (one child) or four more before 1953, and then, two to round things out, 8 and 10 years after the last of the first group. For those final two, it was like they had different parents. In some sense, my parents had reached their number (although there were great complications later on), and my father was no longer working a sixth day as had been his norm all his life, and my mother was able to dabble in this or that to bring in some pin money. However, the struggle for bathroom time resonates well for me, and I also saw that my mother's spending was not frugal, at all, while my father's instincts were for frugality.
I inherited this conflict. Recently, following my mother's death, we read the existing letters that survived the war, from my father to my mother. My father was not able to retain what must have been a large volume of notes. From this one sided view of their early days of marriage, during the war, my father is trying to convince my mother that the purchase of a fur coat was not the way to go to use the funds she had saved from his allotments. She was living with her parents, even as a young mother, and they covered a great deal of her personal costs. She was even able to continue a post graduate education for a teachers' license, and somehow, that fur coat was important. Eventually, she spent as much on that coat as they were to spend as a down payment on the home in which we grew up, and from which both my parents died. So, we lived with a good deal of financial conflict growing up. I have seen the resolution play out with how my siblings have lived.
The personal story is to highlight the nature of the attitudes we inherit, and in establishing our number, and in balancing our actions as we proceed towards that number, these psychological or spiritual attitudes need to be examined and similarly quantified so we know why we are following such and such regimen in attempting to achieve this balance between being the attitude of being frugal, and knowing that we are living with enough.
It is that enough moment, which is an "ah-ha" moment, that permits many to go on ahead and reset that comfort clock which is the internal attitude that I think that Victoria is describing. It isn't a license to spend indiscriminately, but it is a license to know that one's comfort zone now includes a broader set of advantages, like travel, and the ability to appreciate them for their worth.
This quantification of both the math of investing and the principles of accumulating a sum to invest, and a manner of investing it wisely, plus this understanding of psychology and spirituality, which seems to be behind what I see described as "bogleheadism" in this thread.