How to get over finance envy

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ResearchMed
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Re: How to get over finance envy

Post by ResearchMed »

We live in the smallest/most inexpensive house on the edge of a *very* affluent neighborhood - well known/recognizable "names" just around the corner, or several blocks over, etc., and several mega-mansions [not Mc-Mansions] have gone up right nearby recently.

We went to one open house, and the multi-level height main living room felt (and looked!) like an airplane hangar. To be fair, it had no furniture, but still...

We also watched the next-door mega-mansion get rented to an obnoxiously ostentatious family that made a point of parking their Bentley at the edge of the small hill, fender showing out, of course.
They were entrepreneurs new to the area, and needed a home while arranging financing.
Well... about a year later, they were apparently bankrupt, without ever arranging the financing, and then one day they were gone, Bentley and all.

We drive an older Volvo ("Volvo for Life", truly in our case), and are only considering a newer one because of some of the newer safety features, including the backup cam. It's getting difficult to turn around comfortably. We saw the screen when we had a loaner during servicing (Yup, they have "hooked us" on that little gadget!).
So we might not wait for this car to make its mid-teens like the last one, but not because we want to keep up with the Beemers and Benzes, and assorted other ultra-luxury cars we see driving by on occasion.

We feel we have "arrived" in our little piece of Heaven. Our home is beyond our wildest dreams not too many years ago. It looks very small from the outside, but is cute as a button (are buttons really "cute"??) every time we drive up... and smile. After >10 years we still feel this way.
NOTE TO OP: We reached this late in life, and appreciate it even more.

The ONLY reason we'd "want true uber-wealth" would be so we could fly in private jets and avoid the increasingly unbearable cattle car seating AND the security lines and hassles. THAT would be nice! Alas, even upgrading to Business or First Class... almost all commercial passengers still arrive at the same main entrance of the Airports.

And we wouldn't want to be "so recognizable" that we needed to be escorted to a separate entrance. The rest of life would be unbearable.

RM
SGM
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Re: How to get over finance envy

Post by SGM »

"Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,"

ŽIVELI, ( prononcer JIVELI ) - '' A la vie '' - :sharebeer
"Let us endeavor, so to live, that when we die, even the undertaker will be sorry." Mark Twain
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soaring
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Re: How to get over finance envy

Post by soaring »

If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter; for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
Take a minute and read this poem
http://allpoetry.com/poem/8574007-Desid ... ax_Ehrmann

You have your head square on your shoulders. Stay with your plan.
Desiderata
retirementandpf
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Re: How to get over finance envy

Post by retirementandpf »

We are in the process of renting our home for a few years since we plan to travel/live overseas. There is a strong interest in it and our Realtor has received many applications. But be warned: Looks can be DECEIVING! We had a showing the other day and a lady with her later model and fairly expensive SUV came in. She did put in an application to rent but she and her husband had multiple accounts in collections. I think your accountant is the one who knows what you are really worth. There will be always someone with more than what we have so we try to reach inner peace rather than compete with others.
Hikes_With_Dogs
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Re: How to get over finance envy

Post by Hikes_With_Dogs »

Many good thoughts have already been posted and I don't want to belabor them.

To add - I also live in a HCOL area and am a high income earner. I feel like I should be saving more, but quite frankly, the choices I've made are expensive.

I chose to live within a 15 minute commute of my work downtown. That is an expensive choice for housing. I chose to put my daughter in what I felt was a very good daycare. That is also an expensive choice. Most people's jaws slack when I tell them how much her daycare is (at least people that don't live in a HCOL area!). So while I have made many choices that seems to drain my savings account, I also know I save a lot and do the right thing in the long run. Stay the course, but comfortable in your choices, and don't worry about what the people next door are doing.

PS I drive an old Honda mom-mobile that I bought used for cash. LOL.
jridger2011
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Re: How to get over finance envy

Post by jridger2011 »

I am a firm believer that a lot of things in life are possible but I will not be able to have it all at once so picking and choosing the order of those things is what life is about to me. If I get a sports car now, I will forgo something else I need or want in the future. I will have to enjoy watching others drive theirs while I look toward the future that I will still want that car when I have the cash to buy it.
Perpetual
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Re: How to get over finance envy

Post by Perpetual »

ResearchMed wrote: We drive an older Volvo ("Volvo for Life", truly in our case), and are only considering a newer one because of some of the newer safety features, including the backup cam. It's getting difficult to turn around comfortably. We saw the screen when we had a loaner during servicing (Yup, they have "hooked us" on that little gadget!).
This is off-topic, but my dad used to drive a 98 Volvo S70 and had the same issue as you (turning around was getting difficult due to age). What he did was install a third-party nav system and a rear camera, and hook the latter up to the former... and voila. I asked him just now and he says it cost him under $1,000. He drove the car for another 5-6 years before handing it off to my cousin - who is very happy with it.

My point: don't buy a new car just based on one feature, if you can have that feature installed in what you have rather inexpensively.
freebeer
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Re: How to get over finance envy

Post by freebeer »

meowcat wrote:
BW1985 wrote:Personally I"m enjoying the side bar conversation between you two and can see where each is coming from.
.. differing points of view... from "Millionaire"
"Most households with 6 figure incomes are not rich. They believe in spending tomorrows cash today"
FWIW I don't have a differing point of view, I just want to understand the truth. If the Dartmouth paper is accurate then Stanley was just plain wrong in his (unsourced) claim (on which a fair bit of his book's message rests). "6 figure incomes" imply the upper quintile of current household income in U.S., which per the 2004 study saves 23.6 cents on every dollar of income vs. the middle quintile saving only 11.1 cents on the dollar of their (much smaller) income. When the book was published in 1996 "6 figures" would have been higher than 80th percentile so saving even more. And since these are median numbers that means the correct statement would be "Most households with 6 figure incomes save more than 23 cents on every dollar of their income"... undermining rather than supporting Stanley's implication.

I have no issue with the obvious truth that "many" households with 6 figure incomes are debt-ridden hyper-consumers. It's the "most" conventional wisdom that seems to be erroneous. But again this is a question of fact not of point of view - and I welcome contrary data as I hate to make definitive conclusions based on only one study.
Caduceus
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Re: How to get over finance envy

Post by Caduceus »

It's easier said than done, but I would set personal goals and measure my progress based on those goals rather than what others have achieved/are achieving/seem to be achieving.
jeffmete
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Re: How to get over finance envy

Post by jeffmete »

I read all these views and still believe life is about moderation. I have never saved more than 10 percent, but I also knew that I would probably work till I was 62. So i have had nice cars and currently have a second home on a lake (paid off). Luckily I found a career I enjoy. The trouble with focusing too far in the future is life can really throw u curve balls. My daughter had brain cancer at 19, her life will never be the same, so we spend more than we should on her. When I complained about taking money out of savings for medical bills, my wife said we were saving for a rainy day and now it is raining. You have to make sure you know why your saving all this money. The other thing I find is that as you get older you lose some of the passion for doing things. So if you love water skiing, better buy that boat and do it when you have the love for it. You can't postpone your life in pursuit of financial independence.
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VictoriaF
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Re: How to get over finance envy

Post by VictoriaF »

Perpetual wrote:
ResearchMed wrote: We drive an older Volvo ("Volvo for Life", truly in our case), and are only considering a newer one because of some of the newer safety features, including the backup cam. It's getting difficult to turn around comfortably. We saw the screen when we had a loaner during servicing (Yup, they have "hooked us" on that little gadget!).
This is off-topic, but my dad used to drive a 98 Volvo S70 and had the same issue as you (turning around was getting difficult due to age). What he did was install a third-party nav system and a rear camera, and hook the latter up to the former... and voila. I asked him just now and he says it cost him under $1,000. He drove the car for another 5-6 years before handing it off to my cousin - who is very happy with it.

My point: don't buy a new car just based on one feature, if you can have that feature installed in what you have rather inexpensively.
Turning around is a very beneficial exercise. I perform it in my 16-year old car with pleasure and go farther than my cone of vision requires.

Victoria
WINNER of the 2015 Boglehead Contest. | Every joke has a bit of a joke. ... The rest is the truth. (Marat F)
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VictoriaF
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Re: How to get over finance envy

Post by VictoriaF »

ResearchMed wrote:The ONLY reason we'd "want true uber-wealth" would be so we could fly in private jets and avoid the increasingly unbearable cattle car seating AND the security lines and hassles. THAT would be nice! Alas, even upgrading to Business or First Class... almost all commercial passengers still arrive at the same main entrance of the Airports.
The drawbacks of flying, including in the Economy Class, are greatly exaggerated. I just had a round trip to DFW. In both directions I have experienced some inconveniences, but in both cases I also had some amusements that would never have happened in the Business Class, let alone a private jet.

When I was in Fort Worth, I visited the Water Park, where I was asked to help filming a wedding ceremony. The entire wedding party consisted of six people including the bride, the groom and the priest. After the official part was over I chatted with them for a while and responded to some inevitable questions related to my accent. All three women in the group mentioned that they would have loved to travel but admitted that they have never flown.

Victoria
WINNER of the 2015 Boglehead Contest. | Every joke has a bit of a joke. ... The rest is the truth. (Marat F)
bmelikia
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Re: How to get over finance envy

Post by bmelikia »

Boglenaut wrote:It takes time.

Time is on your side. It is against them.
Without knowing the finances of the other people. . .that's not necessarily true.

Everyone's financial situation is unique. . .
"I would rather die with money, than live without it...." - Bogleheads member Ron | | "The greatest enemy of a good plan, is the dream of a perfect plan." | -Bogle
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3CT_Paddler
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Re: How to get over finance envy

Post by 3CT_Paddler »

I am trying to figure out how to get over envy incurred from reading Boglehead's threads related to savings rates and incomes. I love the collective wisdom of the board, but I could go a lifetime without reading another Boglehead thread as it relates to how much people do or do not make.
menlo
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Re: How to get over finance envy

Post by menlo »

3CT_Paddler wrote:I am trying to figure out how to get over envy incurred from reading Boglehead's threads related to savings rates and incomes. I love the collective wisdom of the board, but I could go a lifetime without reading another Boglehead thread as it relates to how much people do or do not make.
Don't feel too bad. Bogleheads are the exception to the rule. Think of them as your eccentric Uncle Bert. He may be wealthy, but boy is he strange!
letsgobobby
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Re: How to get over finance envy

Post by letsgobobby »

VictoriaF wrote:
ResearchMed wrote:The ONLY reason we'd "want true uber-wealth" would be so we could fly in private jets and avoid the increasingly unbearable cattle car seating AND the security lines and hassles. THAT would be nice! Alas, even upgrading to Business or First Class... almost all commercial passengers still arrive at the same main entrance of the Airports.
The drawbacks of flying, including in the Economy Class, are greatly exaggerated. I just had a round trip to DFW. In both directions I have experienced some inconveniences, but in both cases I also had some amusements that would never have happened in the Business Class, let alone a private jet.

When I was in Fort Worth, I visited the Water Park, where I was asked to help filming a wedding ceremony. The entire wedding party consisted of six people including the bride, the groom and the priest. After the official part was over I chatted with them for a while and responded to some inevitable questions related to my accent. All three women in the group mentioned that they would have loved to travel but admitted that they have never flown.

Victoria
domestic is fine. Long haul overnight in economy really is pretty miserable now. I remember ten or twenty years ago when the planes were often half empty, so you could lay down in an entire row and get some rest.

we've flown overseas in business class twice, to TLV and NRT. Lie-flat, multiple meals, a nice glass of wine, service when you need it: tt is infinitely better. Too bad it costs five times as much (I used miles).
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VictoriaF
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Re: How to get over finance envy

Post by VictoriaF »

letsgobobby wrote:domestic is fine. Long haul overnight in economy really is pretty miserable now. I remember ten or twenty years ago when the planes were often half empty, so you could lay down in an entire row and get some rest.

we've flown overseas in business class twice, to TLV and NRT. Lie-flat, multiple meals, a nice glass of wine, service when you need it: tt is infinitely better. Too bad it costs five times as much (I used miles).
I have been flying Economy to Europe for many years. Economy seats don't bother me, but the lack of sleep does. This year, I selected a flight that leaves at 11pm in a hope that I will be able to sleep on it for 5-6 hours.

Victoria
WINNER of the 2015 Boglehead Contest. | Every joke has a bit of a joke. ... The rest is the truth. (Marat F)
investor1
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Re: How to get over finance envy

Post by investor1 »

Paddington79 wrote:My husband and I are cautious people. We try to save faithfully, no credit card debt, no car debt, nothing. We save 22 percent per year in a 401k and contribute faithfully to our kids' college fund.
Meanwhile we are faithfully waiting til we have 20 percent down on a house plus extra savings of 30k. I guess the one area where we "indulge" is with eating out, but even then we're trying to cut back. We live pretty modestly and track our expenses.
However. We live in a HCOL. Everywhere I look people our age are buying new homes in these fancy locations, new cars, etc. Our gently used Toyota is one of the shabbier ones at our kids' school parking lot. And we live in a rental!

Either we are in the wrong line of work (we make almost 180k combined) or we are doing something wrong, I can't help but feel. At our age (33) I wonder why we aren't owning a home yet -- and the homes we're looking at are not fancy!
Sometimes it gets depressing. Our two strikes against us, if any, are (a) not being born to money or (b) having grad school debt (which we pay extra on monthly!).

At times I want to yell, What are we doing wrong and what are "THEY" doing right!? Anyone else feel this way - and anyone know how to snap out of it!!? I am not sure if I'm justly aggravated or misperceiving what is out there.
:beer
Yes, I feel the same way.

I am currently saving for a down payment on my first house. I am putting 30% of my gross income toward housing (current + savings for the down payment). I earn more than the average family in the US, but still don't think I can afford a decent home on my salary. Once I factor in principle, interest, property taxes, home owners insurance, utilities/HOA, and maintenance/repairs/renovations, I can barely afford an $850/month mortgage payment. I plan on putting down at least 20% to avoid PMI, but even with that I can't buy a house where I live for any amount that would even come close to fitting into a 15 year loan with an $850 monthly payment. If I go with a 30 year loan, I end up paying about twice the amount of the loan due to interest at 5% (I'm not ready to buy yet) which is about $100k more than a 15 year loan. Yes, I realize I can get renters, and that is my plan. However, I don't think the housing market should be in a state where an above average income household can only even dream of owning a home without over extending themselves with after a 30 year loan unless they seek other sources of income.

I chalk it up to two groups of people:
1. Those who are very financially irresponsible. These people are house poor. The banking industry is suppose to weed out some of these, but LOL @ that.
2. Those who are attempting to use the housing market as their retirement vehicle. These people are willing and able to put more into their house because they aren't putting money into a 401k, IRA, or other retirement investments. IMO, this is the main group of people who are driving up prices beyond my reach. Realtors, banks, and sellers love these people.

Both of these groups of people are willing to extend themselves further than I am when purchasing. Good for them, they can have their home, and I shouldn't compare myself to them, blah, blah, blah. The problem is that the market DOES compare them to me. Sellers would rather sell to them since they are offering more. Bankers would rather lend to them since they are talking loans that are more profitable (larger/longer), and realtors would rather work with them since they will pull a higher commission with less work. All I want is a decent home.
jaqenhghar
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Re: How to get over finance envy

Post by jaqenhghar »

Realizing this thread is several years old, I thought I'd share a recent experience.

Last year, a senior executive and her almost C-suite-level husband invited me to a housewarming to their new, multimillion dollar home. She is a mentor of mine, and I was excited for her and her husband. When I drove up to their driveway, it was full of six-figure vehicles, two of which belonged to them, and the rest belonged to their guests who had been invited that evening. Needless to say, my tiny Japanese vehicle looked sorely out of place in the face of such opulence.

That evening, while she played the gracious hostess and spent time with each of her guests, she made sure I was comfortable and offered a personalized tour of their 7,000 sq ft home.

Fast forward to this week. I haven't seen her, much less spoken to her a lot this year, so I was surprised when she called me to chat. She announced that her husband had been offered a C-level job on the other side of the country, was calling to say goodbye, and requested that I stay in touch with her.

I only provide this story as an anecdotal data point for this thread. She and her husband are without a doubt multi-millionaires and spend to their executive levels. She casually mentioned offhand that because of the pandemic, their realtor had dropped the asking price of their home by several hundred thousand dollars.

Yet, during our conversation, the only thing I was thinking about wasn't their finances -- or how the difference between their original asking price and current asking price was greater than the value of my own home -- but rather, how grateful I was that this person, who is several levels above me, had personally called me to say goodbye and to stay in touch. Later in my career, if I'm ever in her shoes, I hope to do the same.

I only share because it's a reminder to myself of how there is something to learn from everyone, regardless of the difference in finances between the people involved.
Dontwasteit
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Re: How to get over finance envy

Post by Dontwasteit »

My wife and I are the only one of all the friends/acquaintances we know not able to seem to get ahead. They all have wonderful houses with huge backyards, take vacations all the time, eat out all the time, etc. It's not like they are making a fortune and have great jobs. I was a MTA bus operator for 31 years (Retired) and my wife a school secretary. I'm not the jealous type. I'm sure some are heavy in debt, others have inherited nice amounts of money. We won't go with "The group" to eat out because they always go overboard going to expensive restaurants, ordering surf and turf, 4-6 drinks each, the last time someone ordered 2 shrimp cocktails appetizers for their 7 year old. Then they want to split the bill. I can't take it anymore. I'm not jealous but wonder what the hell they are doing. Then they wonder why we don't go with them. Don't get me wrong, we live ok. We have a co-op although we really wanted a house for many years. My daughters college and now law school have been killing us financially but we do what we can. Sometimes it does bother me but I understand that's the way it is for us. All I can say is 'Keep calm and carry on". Maybe growing up poor hardened me somewhat. I didn't have my own clothes till I went to high school. So like I said, I'm doing ok. Funny that when my sweet cat fell off our terrace and broke her pelvis in 2 places we paid $8,000 to save her. When my friends found out all of them said they would have put her down. They piss $ away on everything but would kill their pet to save money. Go figure.
telsa11
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Re: How to get over finance envy

Post by telsa11 »

You are still young. Our HHI was similar at that age and we were saving for our first house. Fast forward 5 years and our HHI has increased and we were able to buy a great house in a great neighborhood and it has gone up significantly in value. You will get there! I suggest looking for homes that may need a little work and are on the smaller size in your ideal neighborhood, as long as it's more cosmetic updates and not real issues.
Grt2bOutdoors
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Re: How to get over finance envy

Post by Grt2bOutdoors »

Dontwasteit wrote: Sun Aug 30, 2020 10:06 pm My wife and I are the only one of all the friends/acquaintances we know not able to seem to get ahead. They all have wonderful houses with huge backyards, take vacations all the time, eat out all the time, etc. It's not like they are making a fortune and have great jobs. I was a MTA bus operator for 31 years (Retired) and my wife a school secretary. I'm not the jealous type. I'm sure some are heavy in debt, others have inherited nice amounts of money. We won't go with "The group" to eat out because they always go overboard going to expensive restaurants, ordering surf and turf, 4-6 drinks each, the last time someone ordered 2 shrimp cocktails appetizers for their 7 year old. Then they want to split the bill. I can't take it anymore. I'm not jealous but wonder what the hell they are doing. Then they wonder why we don't go with them. Don't get me wrong, we live ok. We have a co-op although we really wanted a house for many years. My daughters college and now law school have been killing us financially but we do what we can. Sometimes it does bother me but I understand that's the way it is for us. All I can say is 'Keep calm and carry on". Maybe growing up poor hardened me somewhat. I didn't have my own clothes till I went to high school. So like I said, I'm doing ok. Funny that when my sweet cat fell off our terrace and broke her pelvis in 2 places we paid $8,000 to save her. When my friends found out all of them said they would have put her down. They piss $ away on everything but would kill their pet to save money. Go figure.
Why are you paying for your daughter's law school? At some point you need to cut the cord. I can see wanting to help out with college, but grad school is advanced training for an advanced degree that may or may not pay off depending on the market for attorney's in the practice being pursued. Splitting the bill when they are eating 2/3's of the food is tacky on their part, in other words they are "moochers". They are likely loaded in debt or will leave their kids with nothing, they are living for today, but you don't need to follow the lemmings off the cliff either.
"One should invest based on their need, ability and willingness to take risk - Larry Swedroe" Asking Portfolio Questions
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unclescrooge
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Re: How to get over finance envy

Post by unclescrooge »

Grt2bOutdoors wrote: Mon Jul 08, 2013 8:29 pm It's amazing how a lease or a series of monthly payments in perpetuity can make the poorest person look rich. What is the difference between you and your neighbors? You are on you way to being rich, they will never be rich because they are beholden to the banks, finance companies and employers - without them they have nothing.

You've seen my posts I'm sure - I drive a 17 year old car and live in a HCOL, I park in a commuter lot filled with cars - Bimmers, Benz, Acuras, Range Rovers and cars that are mostly no older than 7 or eight years old - all of the bling names, they are "all" leased. How do I know this? I've struck up conversations with my fellow commuters when they pull in for the first time with the "new" car, congratulating them on their purchase. Their reaction is "oh, it's leased, I could never afford to buy it, it so affordable at $369, $469 or $513 a month with a $2,500 deposit." :shock: :oops: Like my neighbor down the block who upgraded from a jeep to a RangeRover (leased!).

Until you've seen their balance sheet and credit report, believe me when I say 7 out of 10 of your neighbors are running on "fumes".

As far as the homes - have you actually been inside of them? I know of neighbors who are house poor - what I mean is when you enter the home, the rooms are not furnished, not because they don't use those rooms (well that's partially true, but read on why) but because they lacked the money to pay for furniture, sofas, couches, window treatments, etc. They are so leveraged to the hilt, they can't borrow another penny.

Just stay the course, you'll own your own home soon - I didn't buy until I was into my late 30's.
+1

I know a physician who is 40, single, no kids, makes $330k, rents $6,500 penthouse apartment in downtown and doesn't have ANY assets apart from a $75k 4plex in upstate New York.

Many of my wife's high school friends have trust funds that allows them to pursue non lucrative professions while living in million dollar homes.
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willthrill81
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Re: How to get over finance envy

Post by willthrill81 »

Paddington79 wrote: Mon Jul 08, 2013 7:57 pm My husband and I are cautious people. We try to save faithfully, no credit card debt, no car debt, nothing. We save 22 percent per year in a 401k and contribute faithfully to our kids' college fund.
Meanwhile we are faithfully waiting til we have 20 percent down on a house plus extra savings of 30k. I guess the one area where we "indulge" is with eating out, but even then we're trying to cut back. We live pretty modestly and track our expenses.
However. We live in a HCOL. Everywhere I look people our age are buying new homes in these fancy locations, new cars, etc. Our gently used Toyota is one of the shabbier ones at our kids' school parking lot. And we live in a rental!

Either we are in the wrong line of work (we make almost 180k combined) or we are doing something wrong, I can't help but feel. At our age (33) I wonder why we aren't owning a home yet -- and the homes we're looking at are not fancy!
Sometimes it gets depressing. Our two strikes against us, if any, are (a) not being born to money or (b) having grad school debt (which we pay extra on monthly!).

At times I want to yell, What are we doing wrong and what are "THEY" doing right!? Anyone else feel this way - and anyone know how to snap out of it!!? I am not sure if I'm justly aggravated or misperceiving what is out there.
:beer
Our household income is far above the median level of our area, yet we live a comfortable but seemingly modest lifestyle due to our 50% gross saving rate. Our home is 1,200 sq. ft. We own one vehicle, a sub-compact SUV (my DW is a SAHM, which is why we can do this easily). We don't shop for expensive clothing. We don't own any pricey 'toys' (e.g. no boats, quads, etc.) and don't have any pricey hobbies; I ski but typically spend no more than about $500/year doing so. Our one indulgence is travel, but even then we're careful to not go overboard, at least by American standards.

By contrast, most of neighbor friends of ours are constantly buying new stuff. Three have 'upgraded' to larger homes (with bigger mortgages, tax bills, utility expenses, and maintenance), two have bought new trucks in the last year or so, one is planning on buying a $50k boat next year, etc. I don't have to guess what their financial situation is; they're all up to their eyeballs in debt. When I've mentioned that I plan to retire in my early 50s, they look at me like I'm a Martian. It's simply beyond their comprehension.

While I'm not a Dave Ramsey fan, his saying 'live like no one else so later on you can live like no one else' has a lot of truth behind it.
“It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don't keep your feet, there's no knowing where you might be swept off to.” J.R.R. Tolkien,The Lord of the Rings
Grt2bOutdoors
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Re: How to get over finance envy

Post by Grt2bOutdoors »

willthrill81 wrote: Sun Aug 30, 2020 11:22 pm
Paddington79 wrote: Mon Jul 08, 2013 7:57 pm My husband and I are cautious people. We try to save faithfully, no credit card debt, no car debt, nothing. We save 22 percent per year in a 401k and contribute faithfully to our kids' college fund.
Meanwhile we are faithfully waiting til we have 20 percent down on a house plus extra savings of 30k. I guess the one area where we "indulge" is with eating out, but even then we're trying to cut back. We live pretty modestly and track our expenses.
However. We live in a HCOL. Everywhere I look people our age are buying new homes in these fancy locations, new cars, etc. Our gently used Toyota is one of the shabbier ones at our kids' school parking lot. And we live in a rental!

Either we are in the wrong line of work (we make almost 180k combined) or we are doing something wrong, I can't help but feel. At our age (33) I wonder why we aren't owning a home yet -- and the homes we're looking at are not fancy!
Sometimes it gets depressing. Our two strikes against us, if any, are (a) not being born to money or (b) having grad school debt (which we pay extra on monthly!).

At times I want to yell, What are we doing wrong and what are "THEY" doing right!? Anyone else feel this way - and anyone know how to snap out of it!!? I am not sure if I'm justly aggravated or misperceiving what is out there.
:beer
Our household income is far above the median level of our area, yet we live a comfortable but seemingly modest lifestyle due to our 50% gross saving rate. Our home is 1,200 sq. ft. We own one vehicle, a sub-compact SUV (my DW is a SAHM, which is why we can do this easily). We don't shop for expensive clothing. We don't own any pricey 'toys' (e.g. no boats, quads, etc.) and don't have any pricey hobbies; I ski but typically spend no more than about $500/year doing so. Our one indulgence is travel, but even then we're careful to not go overboard, at least by American standards.

By contrast, most of neighbor friends of ours are constantly buying new stuff. Three have 'upgraded' to larger homes (with bigger mortgages, tax bills, utility expenses, and maintenance), two have bought new trucks in the last year or so, one is planning on buying a $50k boat next year, etc. I don't have to guess what their financial situation is; they're all up to their eyeballs in debt. When I've mentioned that I plan to retire in my early 50s, they look at me like I'm a Martian. It's simply beyond their comprehension.

While I'm not a Dave Ramsey fan, his saying 'live like no one else so later on you can live like no one else' has a lot of truth behind it.
You realize this post was made 7 years ago. :wink: It's amazing though that people's behaviors have not changed in the time since the OP originally posted.
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Re: How to get over finance envy

Post by flaccidsteele »

In the face of wealth, many people try to make themselves feel better by pointing how they’re more fiscally responsible

This forum is no different

Others have more debt, inheritance, or some other thing, but they’re oh so responsible with a high savings rate 🙄

Some people are a lot wealthier. Stop with the transparent rationalizing and just accept it 🤣
The US market always recovers. It’s never different this time. Retired in my 40s. Investing is a simple game of rinse and repeat
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Re: How to get over finance envy

Post by surfstar »

'mo money, 'mo problems
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rob
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Re: How to get over finance envy

Post by rob »

Meh.... Most here like to assume it's because people are living beyond their means and that is somewhat true and a great justification to make us feel better BUT there are a lot of people with a LOT of money kicking around.... whether that be luck of birth, luck of profession or something else.... You just have to deal with it and stop comparing.
| Rob | Its a dangerous business going out your front door. - J.R.R.Tolkien
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Re: How to get over finance envy

Post by Mr.BB »

I hope the OP sees this and updates their current status. It would be interesting to see where they are financially and mentally after seven years.
"We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit."
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Re: How to get over finance envy

Post by SQRT »

The US is a very unequal country when it comes to wealth. There are many very wealthy people. If they want to be happy, less wealthy people just need to get over it.

If it makes less wealthy people feel better by thinking the wealthy are living beyond their means, OK. But most people who are wealthy can afford their lifestyle.
Last edited by SQRT on Mon Aug 31, 2020 6:52 am, edited 1 time in total.
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wander
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Re: How to get over finance envy

Post by wander »

SQRT wrote: Mon Aug 31, 2020 6:43 am The US is a very unequal country when it comes to wealth. There are many very wealthy people. If they want to be happy, less wealthy people just need to get over it.
I don't see the connection between happniness and less wealthy. Unless if you are so poor and suffering for daily needs. Too rich doesn't mean they are happinest people on earth. They may feel lonely. :D
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Re: How to get over finance envy

Post by SQRT »

wander wrote: Mon Aug 31, 2020 6:50 am
SQRT wrote: Mon Aug 31, 2020 6:43 am The US is a very unequal country when it comes to wealth. There are many very wealthy people. If they want to be happy, less wealthy people just need to get over it.
I don't see the connection between happniness and less wealthy. Unless if you are so poor and suffer for daily needs. Too rich doesn't mean they are happinest people on earth. They may feel lonely. :D
Agree but the title of this thread implied the OP was envious of wealthy people? Feeling too much envy can make one unhappy, I think.
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Re: How to get over finance envy

Post by TomatoTomahto »

SQRT wrote: Mon Aug 31, 2020 6:54 am
wander wrote: Mon Aug 31, 2020 6:50 am
SQRT wrote: Mon Aug 31, 2020 6:43 am The US is a very unequal country when it comes to wealth. There are many very wealthy people. If they want to be happy, less wealthy people just need to get over it.
I don't see the connection between happniness and less wealthy. Unless if you are so poor and suffer for daily needs. Too rich doesn't mean they are happinest people on earth. They may feel lonely. :D
Agree but the title of this thread implied the OP was envious of wealthy people? Feeling too much envy can make one unhappy, I think.
+1
Some billionaires might envy Besos. To a great degree, it depends on what your nature is.
Okay, I get it; I won't be political or controversial. The Earth is flat.
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Re: How to get over finance envy

Post by austin757 »

There are varying levels of financial success out there. I would consider someone with $20 million very successful. I would also, however, consider someone with $5 million to be doing pretty well too. There will always be people with more than you. But just because someone has more or makes more than you, it doesn't mean that you're not also doing well financially too.
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Re: How to get over finance envy

Post by Chuck107 »

Deleted
Last edited by Chuck107 on Mon Aug 31, 2020 10:30 am, edited 1 time in total.
Alas, I find moderation of this forum too restrictive for my tastes, farewell.
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Re: How to get over finance envy

Post by 4nursebee »

SQRT wrote: Mon Aug 31, 2020 6:43 am The US is a very unequal country when it comes to wealth. There are many very wealthy people. If they want to be happy, less wealthy people just need to get over it.

If it makes less wealthy people feel better by thinking the wealthy are living beyond their means, OK. But most people who are wealthy can afford their lifestyle.
I am uncomfortable with using the words unequal when referring to wealth.
I am uncomfortable with (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wealth_in ... ted_States) using phrases like "distribution of assets".
Wealth is a measure of value provided to society, not a measure of what was GIVEN to you or distributed to.

The wealth I have came from sacrificing, LBYM, saving, investing, doing some things that were very timely, learning from my elders.
My life was messed up until mid 20's. Lots of bad negative things against me. I took food stamps, had a medical card for a while in the city I lived in, slept on the floor, worked temp agency jobs doing manual labor, walked. Bought a scooter before buying a car. Worked many jobs, many hours. Started school, financing most of it. Worked 35 hours a week in school, some semesters taking 18 or 22 credits, got all A's. Got a career, worked hard. Married well (because I was a more attractive mate). No kids as a financial choice. Minimized bad habits, including saying no to lots of things that other people said yes to. Set long term goals, focused on them, revisited them, kept them written down. I inherited nothing. Some lessons early in life might have helped but if I told you my life story you would be amazed I am where I am at now.

America is the land of opportunity. There might be societal problems, but they are not because of assets not being distributed properly.

So, how to get over financial envy? Go work harder, smarter, faster. Time spent being envious should be spent on productive endeavors instead.
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Re: How to get over finance envy

Post by MBB_Boy »

SQRT wrote: Mon Aug 31, 2020 6:43 am The US is a very unequal country when it comes to wealth. There are many very wealthy people. If they want to be happy, less wealthy people just need to get over it.

If it makes less wealthy people feel better by thinking the wealthy are living beyond their means, OK. But most people who are wealthy can afford their lifestyle.
I think you mean the WORLD is a very unequal place when it comes to wealth. US is slightly better than average - little worse than Ukraine, little better than Sweden.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of ... h_equality
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Re: How to get over finance envy

Post by fourwheelcycle »

Paddington79 wrote: Mon Jul 08, 2013 7:57 pm ... What are we doing wrong and what are "THEY" doing right!?
There are only four possible answers: they have family money; they make more money than you do; they save more than you do, but not in the areas where you see them spending money (maybe they eat cereal three meals a day and never go to restaurants); they finance everything with debt, including credit card debt, they are over extended, and it will catch up with them some day.

Bottom line, you are not doing anything wrong.

You will never know how they do it, and it really does not matter for your family finances. Keep doing what you are doing and have a happy life.
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Re: How to get over finance envy

Post by SQRT »

MBB_Boy wrote: Mon Aug 31, 2020 8:35 am
SQRT wrote: Mon Aug 31, 2020 6:43 am The US is a very unequal country when it comes to wealth. There are many very wealthy people. If they want to be happy, less wealthy people just need to get over it.

If it makes less wealthy people feel better by thinking the wealthy are living beyond their means, OK. But most people who are wealthy can afford their lifestyle.
I think you mean the WORLD is a very unequal place when it comes to wealth. US is slightly better than average - little worse than Ukraine, little better than Sweden.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of ... h_equality
Yes, for sure. But US less “equal” than most OECD countries (certainly Canada where I live) and getting more so over time. Map makes this pretty clear. Sweden seems to be a bit of an anomaly? Ukraine? Virtually all of western Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Japan have GINI scores less than US.

Good thing? Bad thing? Up to you, but either way better lose the “envy”.
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Re: How to get over finance envy

Post by wander »

jaqenhghar wrote: Sat Aug 29, 2020 4:49 pm I only provide this story as an anecdotal data point for this thread. She and her husband are without a doubt multi-millionaires and spend to their executive levels. She casually mentioned offhand that because of the pandemic, their realtor had dropped the asking price of their home by several hundred thousand dollars.
You never know. Their finance may not be 100% better than you. How do I know? There are many professional atheletes, who earned more than your friends during their best years, get broke not long after they no longer receive their million dollar salaries. There is an idiom: Empty vessels make the most noise.
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Re: How to get over finance envy

Post by Cooper62 »

I used to be envious of the neighbors two houses down. They made a lot of upgrades to their house we didn't have the money for. Found out that they had a second mortgage and lots of credit card debt. A young family lives next door. They said their parents gave them the 20% down payment. Their parents also pick up the bill for nice family vacations, most recently Hawaii before Covid hit. You never know someone's financial situation. They may be in a lot of debt or getting help from parents.
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Re: How to get over finance envy

Post by austin757 »

wander wrote: Mon Aug 31, 2020 9:13 am
jaqenhghar wrote: Sat Aug 29, 2020 4:49 pm I only provide this story as an anecdotal data point for this thread. She and her husband are without a doubt multi-millionaires and spend to their executive levels. She casually mentioned offhand that because of the pandemic, their realtor had dropped the asking price of their home by several hundred thousand dollars.
You never know. Their finance may not be 100% better than you. How do I know? There are many professional atheletes, who earned more than your friends during their best years, get broke not long after they no longer receive their million dollar salaries. There is an idiom: Empty vessels make the most noise.
Mike Tyson
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Re: How to get over finance envy

Post by Robdac »

At the risk of contributing to a stale thread....

I live in an upper middle class area. According to the interwebs, our household net worth is above the 95th percentile. We save what I consider to be a lot of our income and live a comfortably "non-flashy" life while spending carefully on the things that we find important to us. When I drive around in my Honda Accord about every 3rd car I see is a luxury vehicle or sports car. How can they all afford it? Do they all have more money than me? Statistics say it's unlikely. Still, I like cars so I'm a little bit envious.

Pulled into the dry cleaners months ago and a gal pulled in next to me driving a lovely newer BMW 535i. Turns out she was the clerk at the dry cleaners. She doesn't own the cleaners, she just works there. Maybe she's loaded, maybe she's broke. Maybe she does it to get out of the house. I don't know. All I know is that a BMW no longer means anything to me as far as a financial status symbol goes. There are tons of people running around here with "big hats and no cattle."

Somebody told me once that life is a decimal point. Think you're wealthy? There's somebody out there that has 10X what you have. Well, not you Jeff Bezos. Think you're broke? There is somebody out there that has 10X less than you or is 10X further in debt.

I choose to let go of envy. I'm happy for the people that are lucky, born well, successful, or all of them at the same time. There's plenty of pie to go around. But there are also a lot who are borrowing from their future to try to impress people they don't even know today. I feel bad for them.
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Re: How to get over finance envy

Post by 4nursebee »

Comparison is the thief of joy.
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Re: How to get over finance envy

Post by CyclingDuo »

Mr.BB wrote: Mon Aug 31, 2020 4:59 amI hope the OP sees this and updates their current status. It would be interesting to see where they are financially and mentally after seven years.
They haven't posted since February of 2019, but at that time they were age 40 and making $300K a year between the two of them. $300K equity in their home, $250K in retirement accounts, seemingly living comfortably and wondering where to invest $160K they had sitting in a low interest bearing cash savings account.

viewtopic.php?f=1&t=271739&p=4359528#p4359528
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Re: How to get over finance envy

Post by Mr.BB »

CyclingDuo wrote: Mon Aug 31, 2020 11:21 am
Mr.BB wrote: Mon Aug 31, 2020 4:59 amI hope the OP sees this and updates their current status. It would be interesting to see where they are financially and mentally after seven years.
They haven't posted since February of 2019, but at that time they were age 40 and making $300K a year between the two of them. $300K equity in their home, $250K in retirement accounts, seemingly living comfortably and wondering where to invest $160K they had sitting in a low interest bearing cash savings account.

viewtopic.php?f=1&t=271739&p=4359528#p4359528
Thanks for the update! :sharebeer
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Re: How to get over finance envy

Post by Dottie57 »

Sit down and list all of the good things in your life. Tangible and intangible.

I am still in my starter home. I have a lovely kitchen and beautiful comfortable furniture. My home cost less than all of my friends. Now retired, I can afford a different home. Good things come to people who wait and persevere.
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Re: How to get over finance envy

Post by SQRT »

Dottie57 wrote: Mon Aug 31, 2020 12:39 pm Sit down and list all of the good things in your life. Tangible and intangible.

I am still in my starter home. I have a lovely kitchen and beautiful comfortable furniture. My home cost less than all of my friends. Now retired, I can afford a different home. Good things come to people who wait and persevere.
Agree. Really important that one is satisfied with their financials. Otherwise just makes you unhappy.
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Re: How to get over finance envy

Post by Mr. Rumples »

Financial envy is nothing new; I've always lived below my means. I was surprised when a friend died who had a huge house, two fancy vehicles, lavish vacations and so on. He died in debt, his husband had to sell the house, one of the cars and rent a room for a year before getting it all together for the purchase of a nice small house.

George Washington wrote to George Mason on 5 April 1769 on the topic of financial envy and what will people think. Of course the context was a bit different since they were discussing a boycott of British goods, but living above one's means was nothing new. I provide the link to the entire letter below, but the part below addresses how people live above their means in part to impress until they go bankrupt:


"...—prudence dictated economy to him before, but his resolution was too weak to put it in practice; for how can I, says he, who have lived in such & such a manner change my method? I am ashamed to do it: and besides, such an alteration in the System of my living, will create suspicions of a decay in my fortune, & such a thought the world must not harbour; I will e’en continue my course: till at last the course discontinues the Estate, a sale of it being the consequence of his perseverance in error. This I am satisfied is the way that many who have set out in the wrong tract, have reasoned, till ruin stares them in the face. And in respect to the poor & needy man, he is only left in the same situation he was found; better I might say, because as he judges from comparison, his condition is amended in proportion as it approaches nearer to those above him..."

https://founders.archives.gov/documents ... 08-02-0132
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"What are we doing wrong and what are "THEY" doing right!?"

Post by Dontridetheindexdown »

The answer to your question is obvious to anyone who has worked toward some level of financial security.

You are doing nothing wrong, "THEY" are doing nothing right.

The reality is that you are indeed doing everything right, including living in a rental, for now.

If you can "stay the course," you and your family are headed toward a successful future, including home ownership and a comfortable retirement.

You earn a significant income, and you have established excellent investing habits.

My advice is to spend more time reading this forum, and less time watching people around you who are squandering their future.
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