Annual Vacation Budget

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Stormbringer
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Re: Annual Vacation Budget

Postby Stormbringer » Sun Jan 08, 2017 1:41 pm

rgs92 wrote:Zero dollars. I'd rather spend it on a nice car; at least it doesn't depreciate as quickly as a vacation (which goes to zero as soon as you get home).
I notice here that spending a lot on a car is often disparaged, but vacation spending seems more popular. Why is one more wasteful than the other?

Experiences > things. When you are old and grey you will treasure your memories, particularly if they involved family and friends.

Stormbringer
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Re: Annual Vacation Budget

Postby Stormbringer » Sun Jan 08, 2017 1:44 pm

pop77 wrote:What is your average annual budget/spending for vacations (Family of 2-4)?
I am trying to step up a little bit on my vacation spending (live a little!) but do want to spend too much. Currently I am thinking 8-10k for three people.

Typically $20-30K for three of us. We try to do one first-class vacation per year, plus an assortment of smaller getaways.

nimo956
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Re: Annual Vacation Budget

Postby nimo956 » Sun Jan 08, 2017 1:54 pm

I have trouble enjoying vacations at times because it seems the entire travel industry is designed to separate me from my money. Some observations:

1. Travel is far more expensive for families. You have to pay for multiple airline tickets, hotel rooms, etc., and are restricted to traveling during school vacations, when prices go through the roof. As a single man with no kids, I have the flexibility to choose the cheapest flights and time of year to travel.

2. Fancy hotels are overpriced in general. First, you really shouldn't be spending any time in the hotel. You're traveling to explore a new environment, so all a hotel needs in my mind is a clean bed/bathroom. Also, hotels don't really give you good local restaurant recommendations. It seems that many receive kickbacks to send tourists to specific restaurants.

3. Eating out is overpriced, unhealthy, and often of mediocre quailty. It's very expensive if you do it 3 times a day for your entire trip. I can make far better meals that are healthier and far cheaper on my own.

4. This is why I like Airbnb. I get a local's perspective on the best things to do. I get the use of a kitchen to save on food expenses. I often get the use of their laundry. All of this for a price that's cheaper than a hotel.

My budget for travel is about 5% of gross income per year.
50% VTI / 50% VXUS

bungalow10
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Re: Annual Vacation Budget

Postby bungalow10 » Sun Jan 08, 2017 2:11 pm

I love reading this thread!

I thought I'd drop my mom-of-three (ages 9, 7, 4) thoughts here on family vacations...

We love road trip + VRBO. They work incredibly well for us, it keeps us all interested and gives us a lot of flexibility in our activities. We typically go with friends that have kids of similar ages and caravan at least part of the trip, letting us switch up the kid-to-vehicle assignments (ie - my daughter gets some time away from her brothers). We drive a max of 8-10 hours day, stopping at either a water park over night, or if we can't make that work we at least hit up a hotel with a pool.

The benefit of renting a house on VBRO is that we have kitchen and laundry facilities, yard, and often there are toys left by the owners for use by occupants - boogie boards, games, kid bikes, etc. We also share the house with friends, so we can split up childcare and cooking, and the kids keep each other entertained - this also cuts the dollars spent dramatically.

Some vacations we have taken recently were to Niagara Falls and Seaside, FL. We just planned a Bar Harbor, ME (Acadia National Park) vacation with our friends this summer.

I just asked my kids their favorite vacation memories and their responses are below...

- My nine year old son loved when we were at Niagara and hiked down into the gorge. We had been in an Aero car the day previous and he saw from above some hikers way down on the rocks by the water. We both decided at that minute that our goal the next day was to get down there and the entire family made it down.

- My daughter said her favorite was two different things - one was playing Monopoly on the dock at the lake house we were in at Niagara. The other was roller skating in Florida - we just skated in the streets of the little community we rented a house in.

- My four year old loved the ocean. One of my favorite memories was him seeing the ocean in Florida, it wasn't a terribly warm day, it was windy and overcast, and he just yelled, stripped off all his clothes and ran buck-naked splashing into the water. He had just turned three and was uninhibited in his joy at seeing the ocean.

I think we spend about $2k, maybe $2.5k for a week. We still have enough in there to be able to spontaneously splurge on local food or activities.
An elephant for a dime is only a good deal if you need an elephant and have a dime.

Exterous
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Re: Annual Vacation Budget

Postby Exterous » Mon Jan 09, 2017 2:12 pm

It varies by year and 2017 is shaping up to be an expensive year. With what we typically spend we're at around a projected 12% of income. (We save around 33%) That will go up if more ~$350 RT airfare deals to Europe keep popping up. I'm going to go broke saving money on these absurdly low airfares!

leonard
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Re: Annual Vacation Budget

Postby leonard » Mon Jan 09, 2017 2:23 pm

Stormbringer wrote:
rgs92 wrote:Zero dollars. I'd rather spend it on a nice car; at least it doesn't depreciate as quickly as a vacation (which goes to zero as soon as you get home).
I notice here that spending a lot on a car is often disparaged, but vacation spending seems more popular. Why is one more wasteful than the other?

Experiences > things. When you are old and grey you will treasure your memories, particularly if they involved family and friends.


I don't know. I nice guitar I get to play for hundreds of hours or a Sea Kayak I've paddled a lot would greatly outweigh a trip that begins and ends in a cramped plane full of germs. But, those trips give us the benefit of filling up those FB pages with pictures.
Leonard | | Market Timing: Do you seriously think you can predict the future? What else do the voices tell you? | | If employees weren't taking jobs with bad 401k's, bad 401k's wouldn't exist.

leonard
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Re: Annual Vacation Budget

Postby leonard » Mon Jan 09, 2017 2:25 pm

Unless folks are independently wealthy and have already won the game and retired - for the most part - these are ridiculous numbers to spend on vacations.
Leonard | | | | Market Timing: Do you seriously think you can predict the future? What else do the voices tell you? | | | | If employees weren't taking jobs with bad 401k's, bad 401k's wouldn't exist.

stoptothink
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Re: Annual Vacation Budget

Postby stoptothink » Mon Jan 09, 2017 2:29 pm

leonard wrote:
Stormbringer wrote:
rgs92 wrote:Zero dollars. I'd rather spend it on a nice car; at least it doesn't depreciate as quickly as a vacation (which goes to zero as soon as you get home).
I notice here that spending a lot on a car is often disparaged, but vacation spending seems more popular. Why is one more wasteful than the other?

Experiences > things. When you are old and grey you will treasure your memories, particularly if they involved family and friends.


I don't know. I nice guitar I get to play for hundreds of hours or a Sea Kayak I've paddled a lot would greatly outweigh a trip that begins and ends in a cramped plane full of germs. But, those trips give us the benefit of filling up those FB pages with pictures.


Enough with that very vague statement. The hundreds of hours spent playing your guitar isn't an experience? Pretty much the one and only vice my wife and I have is exercise equipment; we have a pretty high-end garage gym. Do the experiences exercising with my wife and showing my kids how to bring less to my life and provide less of a memory than our vacations?

leonard
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Re: Annual Vacation Budget

Postby leonard » Mon Jan 09, 2017 2:32 pm

stoptothink wrote:
leonard wrote:
Stormbringer wrote:
rgs92 wrote:Zero dollars. I'd rather spend it on a nice car; at least it doesn't depreciate as quickly as a vacation (which goes to zero as soon as you get home).
I notice here that spending a lot on a car is often disparaged, but vacation spending seems more popular. Why is one more wasteful than the other?

Experiences > things. When you are old and grey you will treasure your memories, particularly if they involved family and friends.


I don't know. I nice guitar I get to play for hundreds of hours or a Sea Kayak I've paddled a lot would greatly outweigh a trip that begins and ends in a cramped plane full of germs. But, those trips give us the benefit of filling up those FB pages with pictures.


Enough with that very vague statement. The hundreds of hours spent playing your guitar isn't an experience? Pretty much the one and only vice my wife and I have is exercise equipment; we have a pretty high-end garage gym. Do the experiences exercising with my wife and showing my kids how to bring less to my life and provide less of a memory than our vacations?


Enough? Huh, no one is disabling my account so it must be OK.

We buy things that facilitate enjoyment. Using a reductive argument that equates things to the experiences they provide makes the whole question moot. My assumption is that we are contrasting things (and the experiences they provide) to vacations.

I also have a high end garage gym (well, converted family room) - I value that collection of equipment much more highly than the vacations those equipment purchases could have funded.
Leonard | | | | Market Timing: Do you seriously think you can predict the future? What else do the voices tell you? | | | | If employees weren't taking jobs with bad 401k's, bad 401k's wouldn't exist.

stoptothink
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Re: Annual Vacation Budget

Postby stoptothink » Mon Jan 09, 2017 3:27 pm

leonard wrote:
stoptothink wrote:
leonard wrote:
Stormbringer wrote:
rgs92 wrote:Zero dollars. I'd rather spend it on a nice car; at least it doesn't depreciate as quickly as a vacation (which goes to zero as soon as you get home).
I notice here that spending a lot on a car is often disparaged, but vacation spending seems more popular. Why is one more wasteful than the other?

Experiences > things. When you are old and grey you will treasure your memories, particularly if they involved family and friends.


I don't know. I nice guitar I get to play for hundreds of hours or a Sea Kayak I've paddled a lot would greatly outweigh a trip that begins and ends in a cramped plane full of germs. But, those trips give us the benefit of filling up those FB pages with pictures.


Enough with that very vague statement. The hundreds of hours spent playing your guitar isn't an experience? Pretty much the one and only vice my wife and I have is exercise equipment; we have a pretty high-end garage gym. Do the experiences exercising with my wife and showing my kids how to bring less to my life and provide less of a memory than our vacations?


Enough? Huh, no one is disabling my account so it must be OK.

We buy things that facilitate enjoyment. Using a reductive argument that equates things to the experiences they provide makes the whole question moot. My assumption is that we are contrasting things (and the experiences they provide) to vacations.

I also have a high end garage gym (well, converted family room) - I value that collection of equipment much more highly than the vacations those equipment purchases could have funded.


I'm just tired of seeing that very vague statement over and over again in this thread. What one views as an "experience" is a very individual thing. You value your experiences with your guitar and kayak, I value the experiences exercising with my family, others may value vacation experiences more...all depends on what makes you happy. Vacations aren't the only way to create memories.

stoptothink
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Re: Annual Vacation Budget

Postby stoptothink » Mon Jan 09, 2017 3:27 pm

leonard wrote:
stoptothink wrote:
leonard wrote:
Stormbringer wrote:
rgs92 wrote:Zero dollars. I'd rather spend it on a nice car; at least it doesn't depreciate as quickly as a vacation (which goes to zero as soon as you get home).
I notice here that spending a lot on a car is often disparaged, but vacation spending seems more popular. Why is one more wasteful than the other?

Experiences > things. When you are old and grey you will treasure your memories, particularly if they involved family and friends.


I don't know. I nice guitar I get to play for hundreds of hours or a Sea Kayak I've paddled a lot would greatly outweigh a trip that begins and ends in a cramped plane full of germs. But, those trips give us the benefit of filling up those FB pages with pictures.


Enough with that very vague statement. The hundreds of hours spent playing your guitar isn't an experience? Pretty much the one and only vice my wife and I have is exercise equipment; we have a pretty high-end garage gym. Do the experiences exercising with my wife and showing my kids how to bring less to my life and provide less of a memory than our vacations?


Enough? Huh, no one is disabling my account so it must be OK.

We buy things that facilitate enjoyment. Using a reductive argument that equates things to the experiences they provide makes the whole question moot. My assumption is that we are contrasting things (and the experiences they provide) to vacations.

I also have a high end garage gym (well, converted family room) - I value that collection of equipment much more highly than the vacations those equipment purchases could have funded.


I'm just tired of seeing that very vague statement over and over again in this thread. What one views as an "experience" is a very individual thing. You value your experiences with your guitar and kayak, I value the experiences exercising with my family, others may value vacation experiences more...all depends on what makes you happy. Vacations aren't the only way to create memories.

Dottie57
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Re: Annual Vacation Budget

Postby Dottie57 » Mon Jan 09, 2017 4:58 pm

I am not a travel bug at all. I usually count down the number of days I till I go home.

May go on a big trip in a couple of years. Depends tho.

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JaneyLH
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Re: Annual Vacation Budget

Postby JaneyLH » Tue Jan 10, 2017 2:15 am

Just checked Mint and this young-ish retired couple spent $30,000 last year on travel.

We traveled away from home 25 weeks last year. Three cruises (Princess, Celebrity, Viking Ocean) Extra time at cruise destinations--Alaska, Southern California, Athens, Venice. Camping trips with our small trailer -- three trips to Yosemite, one to Death Valley, one to Oregon, one to Lassen. More camping excursions to three different music festivals. Travel to support our work for a nonprofit. Long weekends.

We ended up underspending our budget for last year by $45,000. It's a challenge for us to spend more on upscale travel, but that is something I'll try to work on! We've got a Caribbean cruise plus time at theme parks in Orlando later this month, another Yosemite trip in April, and a trip to Ireland and Scotland in May booked so far.

We love our travel. It is the best thing we spend money on, and gives us a lot of pleasure for years after. We take a TON of pictures and work hard to keep them organized. I expect we will spend a lot of time enjoying those pictures over the years. I like my car but I doubt I'll give it much thought 20 years from now.

TheEternalVortex
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Re: Annual Vacation Budget

Postby TheEternalVortex » Tue Jan 10, 2017 2:54 am

Lately it's been $0 ;). No desire to travel with toddlers.

Drew777
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Re: Annual Vacation Budget

Postby Drew777 » Tue Jan 10, 2017 8:15 am

Mid-20s couple, we only actually spend a couple thousand on travel every year, mainly on food and whatever other activities we do on our trips. Maybe a little more this year. But all our flights and hotels are free from credit card rewards. Probably redeemed about $30,000 worth last year.

Exterous
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Re: Annual Vacation Budget

Postby Exterous » Tue Jan 10, 2017 10:23 am

FWIW there are a lot of studies out there about Hedonistic adaptation\treadmill in terms of valuing experiences over items. Over time you tend to revert to a baseline level of happiness despite new 'things' while the transient nature of experiences prevents adaptation which, frequently, makes their impact more substantial. This may seem counter intuitive (which I thought when I first started reading about it) because the experience is temporary while the thing has more permanence. However its the fact that the experience is temporary that lends itself to the greater impact. There are, obviously, gray areas. For example, frequent repetition of an experience* can easily result in adaptation if its frequent enough while things can enable more experiences (like camera equipment to capture those fleeting experiences) preventing or slowing adaptation. There are also points of diminishing returns in both areas.

While responses will vary by individual and thing I would caution people out there who are saying that things give them greater pleasure than experiences** because our ability to adapt to circumstances and things is a very strong behavioral pattern with roots in our survival instinct. If people are consistently able to revert to their baseline after significant events like the death of a spouse, birth of a child, job loss etc ("Reexamining adaptation and the set point model of happiness: Reactions to changes in marital status." 2003) its unlikely material things beyond meeting basic\traditional needs can make substantial impact on your baseline over a meaningful duration. Even if you say a car lends itself to the 'experience of driving' its likely that your driving experiences are not sufficiently varied to prevent the adaptation.

Please keep in mind that there were a lot of qualifiers in this post

*on some papers there is a distinction drawn between an 'experience' and a 'frequent event' where an experience is defined as having a limited number of occurrences. Thus constantly utilizing an item does not count as an 'experience' unless it is used in new\novel to you ways

**this is not an endorsement for a specific experience

leonard wrote:Unless folks are independently wealthy and have already won the game and retired - for the most part - these are ridiculous numbers to spend on vacations.


I don't think you need to have won the game already to spend a significant amount money on it. I think 'On the way to winning' is more than sufficient. If you're on track with your desired plan and desired retirement age why not spend the money on something you like? Lots of stories out there about people putting those things off until retirement only to die before or shortly after retiring.

Rodc
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Re: Annual Vacation Budget

Postby Rodc » Tue Jan 10, 2017 11:48 am

TheEternalVortex wrote:Lately it's been $0 ;). No desire to travel with toddlers.


A great winter vacation with toddlers (if you live somewhere with tough winters) can be driving to the nearest hotel with a pool, even if it is just five miles. :)
We live a world with knowledge of the future markets has less than one significant figure. And people will still and always demand answers to three significant digits.

Rodc
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Re: Annual Vacation Budget

Postby Rodc » Tue Jan 10, 2017 12:00 pm

Exterous wrote:I don't think you need to have won the game already to spend a significant amount money on it. I think 'On the way to winning' is more than sufficient. If you're on track with your desired plan and desired retirement age why not spend the money on something you like? Lots of stories out there about people putting those things off until retirement only to die before or shortly after retiring.


Agree. Lots of gray area here of course. But we did not take expensive vacations when our kids were young - trips to see family and camping mostly. It was important to save for retirement and college.

But three things happened.

1) Our financial goals were coming along nicely. Not in the bag, but would take a pretty big surprise to get seriously derailed.

2) The kids were getting older and we really enjoy traveling with them and they are enthusiastic travelers, and they would not be around forever. Indeed now that they are well into high school it is getting very hard to schedule family vacations so I am glad we did not put off too many vacations. We could and likely will take some trips with them as adults but it just gets harder to schedule as they get older and possibly too expensive for some trips as they get married and have kids and the numbers grow.

3) We saw too many people our own age getting serious life changing health problems or dying. Living poor now to live rich later started looking more and more risky.

With items 1 and 3 it was clear we could balance spending more now with modest risk vs waiting which has its own risks. We decided better to have a good amount of fun now, while the getting was good, even if it delayed retirement a little or meant a little less retirement income later.

Some delayed gratification is good. But infinite delayed gratification (as in you die young or become disabled young so what you put off can never be done) is not so good.
We live a world with knowledge of the future markets has less than one significant figure. And people will still and always demand answers to three significant digits.

Leemiller
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Re: Annual Vacation Budget

Postby Leemiller » Tue Jan 10, 2017 12:09 pm

Rodc wrote:
TheEternalVortex wrote:Lately it's been $0 ;). No desire to travel with toddlers.


A great winter vacation with toddlers (if you live somewhere with tough winters) can be driving to the nearest hotel with a pool, even if it is just five miles. :)


Agree. We've really enjoyed doing this, my only issue is sometimes the heated pools aren't as heated as I'd like.

Leemiller
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Re: Annual Vacation Budget

Postby Leemiller » Tue Jan 10, 2017 12:09 pm

Rodc wrote:
TheEternalVortex wrote:Lately it's been $0 ;). No desire to travel with toddlers.


A great winter vacation with toddlers (if you live somewhere with tough winters) can be driving to the nearest hotel with a pool, even if it is just five miles. :)


Agree. We've really enjoyed doing this, my only issue is sometimes the heated pools aren't as heated as I'd like.

SQRT
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Re: Annual Vacation Budget

Postby SQRT » Tue Jan 10, 2017 12:17 pm

Rodc wrote:
Exterous wrote:I don't think you need to have won the game already to spend a significant amount money on it. I think 'On the way to winning' is more than sufficient. If you're on track with your desired plan and desired retirement age why not spend the money on something you like? Lots of stories out there about people putting those things off until retirement only to die before or shortly after retiring.


Agree. Lots of gray area here of course. But we did not take expensive vacations when our kids were young - trips to see family and camping mostly. It was important to save for retirement and college.

But three things happened.

1) Our financial goals were coming along nicely. Not in the bag, but would take a pretty big surprise to get seriously derailed.

2) The kids were getting older and we really enjoy traveling with them and they are enthusiastic travelers, and they would not be around forever. Indeed now that they are well into high school it is getting very hard to schedule family vacations so I am glad we did not put off too many vacations. We could and likely will take some trips with them as adults but it just gets harder to schedule as they get older and possibly too expensive for some trips as they get married and have kids and the numbers grow.

3) We saw too many people our own age getting serious life changing health problems or dying. Living poor now to live rich later started looking more and more risky.

With items 1 and 3 it was clear we could balance spending more now with modest risk vs waiting which has its own risks. We decided better to have a good amount of fun now, while the getting was good, even if it delayed retirement a little or meant a little less retirement income later.

Some delayed gratification is good. But infinite delayed gratification (as in you die young or become disabled young so what you put off can never be done) is not so good.


Agree with your sentiment. I really enjoy travelling with family and (sometimes) friends. Have taken my 32 year old daughter and her husband on several "special" trips. Really fun and it will create wonderful memories both for us and them. I view this as creating a portfolio of memories that my daughter can cherish when we are gone. A little immortality for us perhaps? Lots of photo books.

We have a particularly deluxe trip planned for Sept. We wanted to get this one in before they start a family. Crossing on QM2, several days in Paris, then week on a "Barge" in southern France. Very expensive but we can afford it and can't take it with us.

leonard
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Re: Annual Vacation Budget

Postby leonard » Tue Jan 10, 2017 1:04 pm

stoptothink wrote:
leonard wrote:
stoptothink wrote:
leonard wrote:
Stormbringer wrote:Experiences > things. When you are old and grey you will treasure your memories, particularly if they involved family and friends.


I don't know. I nice guitar I get to play for hundreds of hours or a Sea Kayak I've paddled a lot would greatly outweigh a trip that begins and ends in a cramped plane full of germs. But, those trips give us the benefit of filling up those FB pages with pictures.


Enough with that very vague statement. The hundreds of hours spent playing your guitar isn't an experience? Pretty much the one and only vice my wife and I have is exercise equipment; we have a pretty high-end garage gym. Do the experiences exercising with my wife and showing my kids how to bring less to my life and provide less of a memory than our vacations?


Enough? Huh, no one is disabling my account so it must be OK.

We buy things that facilitate enjoyment. Using a reductive argument that equates things to the experiences they provide makes the whole question moot. My assumption is that we are contrasting things (and the experiences they provide) to vacations.

I also have a high end garage gym (well, converted family room) - I value that collection of equipment much more highly than the vacations those equipment purchases could have funded.


I'm just tired of seeing that very vague statement over and over again in this thread. What one views as an "experience" is a very individual thing. You value your experiences with your guitar and kayak, I value the experiences exercising with my family, others may value vacation experiences more...all depends on what makes you happy. Vacations aren't the only way to create memories.


I think we are having a semantic issue. I honestly don't see anything at all "vague". I gave a concrete example of items I have purchased. Also, it's clear that owning a guitar is less transitory than viewing the Eiffel Tower in person. In general, I'd prefer to own something I can experience at will - rather than have to spend thousands and travel thousands to re-experience. So, have no idea why you are seeing vagueness in my post.
Leonard | | | | Market Timing: Do you seriously think you can predict the future? What else do the voices tell you? | | | | If employees weren't taking jobs with bad 401k's, bad 401k's wouldn't exist.

leonard
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Re: Annual Vacation Budget

Postby leonard » Tue Jan 10, 2017 1:08 pm

Exterous wrote:I think 'On the way to winning' is more than sufficient.


I think on ones way to winning has more risk than having made it - depending on how far away it is. Therefore, I'd hedge my bets and get to the goal - rather than spend some of these numbers every year ($10k, $15k+). Hit the beach or the mountains for a lot less. If one is truly on their way to winning - it won't be long until they can hit the baccarat tables in Monaco.
Leonard | | | | Market Timing: Do you seriously think you can predict the future? What else do the voices tell you? | | | | If employees weren't taking jobs with bad 401k's, bad 401k's wouldn't exist.

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ray.james
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Re: Annual Vacation Budget

Postby ray.james » Tue Jan 10, 2017 1:14 pm

6k for 2 people. One international trip - usually staying in small hotels - alternate years. Rest are usually local with in my state/border states. A lot of national parks, some theme parks. We rarely visit cities as that is not our cup of tea. It should be nature and relaxing for both of us. With kids in near picture, we might have to bump that a bit.

For those interested, I visited 3 museum on Bank of america "museum on us". Some groupons for aviation museums, shows etc to save.
When in doubt, http://www.bogleheads.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=79939

Exterous
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Re: Annual Vacation Budget

Postby Exterous » Wed Jan 11, 2017 1:20 pm

leonard wrote:
Exterous wrote:I think 'On the way to winning' is more than sufficient.


I think on ones way to winning has more risk than having made it - depending on how far away it is. Therefore, I'd hedge my bets and get to the goal - rather than spend some of these numbers every year ($10k, $15k+). Hit the beach or the mountains for a lot less. If one is truly on their way to winning - it won't be long until they can hit the baccarat tables in Monaco.


I think percentages tell a better story than absolute numbers. Sure we'll spend at least $12k on vacations this year but thats only about 20% of what we'll put away for retirement over the same period. I'm 34 but have already lost a friend the same age who dropped dead on his way into work one morning despite no prior signs of health issues. With the caveat that my plans could certainly change and using rough numbers, a 25% reduction in my annual vacation budget would bring my retirement age 2 years closer. Given that the same reduction comes from 2-4 fewer trips per year then we are talking giving up ~55 trips for a slightly earlier retirement. There are quite a few considerations that do not make this a trade that I would consider at this time: 1 - Locations\Attractions can change or disappear so I would prefer to visit those I am able to sooner rather than later. 2 - There is no guarantee my wife or I will live to retire. 3 - I'd be hard pressed to fit 55 trips into the 2 additional years of retirement. 4 - There is a greater time window to take advantage of favorable promotions\exchange rates\pricing. I don't know what airfare rates will be when I retire but its unlikely that it will be cheaper than the $300 RT I paid for us to get to Amsterdamn

Traveler
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Re: Annual Vacation Budget

Postby Traveler » Wed Jan 11, 2017 1:39 pm

leonard wrote:Unless folks are independently wealthy and have already won the game and retired - for the most part - these are ridiculous numbers to spend on vacations.


I may be one you consider "ridiculous", but I'm sure there are things you spend money on that I would deem ridiculous. Travel is something I enjoy and therefore choose to spend more on that than anything else in my budget. So what's the problem? Is it that I don't value expensive cars, homes, clothes or the latest, greatest tech gadgets or whatever you decide should be my priority?

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JDCarpenter
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Re: Annual Vacation Budget

Postby JDCarpenter » Wed Jan 11, 2017 1:46 pm

Last three years: 15-20% of spending (after taxes/savings)
Flexible plan for this and roughly 20 following years (assuming portfolio doesn't evaporate): >50% of higher annual spending (retirement this summer and filling up on marshmallows)
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Chan_va
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Re: Annual Vacation Budget

Postby Chan_va » Wed Jan 11, 2017 1:48 pm

Roughly 15k/yr. Family of 4.

ponyboy
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Re: Annual Vacation Budget

Postby ponyboy » Wed Jan 11, 2017 2:13 pm

leonard wrote:Unless folks are independently wealthy and have already won the game and retired - for the most part - these are ridiculous numbers to spend on vacations.


Nah...you'd be shocked how much people spend on eating out in one year. Imagine if those people cut that down to once a week...and opted to cook/pack their lunch. They would have thousands more to play with.

Rodc
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Re: Annual Vacation Budget

Postby Rodc » Wed Jan 11, 2017 2:55 pm

Exterous wrote:
leonard wrote:
Exterous wrote:I think 'On the way to winning' is more than sufficient.


I think on ones way to winning has more risk than having made it - depending on how far away it is. Therefore, I'd hedge my bets and get to the goal - rather than spend some of these numbers every year ($10k, $15k+). Hit the beach or the mountains for a lot less. If one is truly on their way to winning - it won't be long until they can hit the baccarat tables in Monaco.


I think percentages tell a better story than absolute numbers. Sure we'll spend at least $12k on vacations this year but thats only about 20% of what we'll put away for retirement over the same period. I'm 34 but have already lost a friend the same age who dropped dead on his way into work one morning despite no prior signs of health issues. With the caveat that my plans could certainly change and using rough numbers, a 25% reduction in my annual vacation budget would bring my retirement age 2 years closer. Given that the same reduction comes from 2-4 fewer trips per year then we are talking giving up ~55 trips for a slightly earlier retirement. There are quite a few considerations that do not make this a trade that I would consider at this time: 1 - Locations\Attractions can change or disappear so I would prefer to visit those I am able to sooner rather than later. 2 - There is no guarantee my wife or I will live to retire. 3 - I'd be hard pressed to fit 55 trips into the 2 additional years of retirement. 4 - There is a greater time window to take advantage of favorable promotions\exchange rates\pricing. I don't know what airfare rates will be when I retire but its unlikely that it will be cheaper than the $300 RT I paid for us to get to Amsterdamn


Plus there things that will be harder later, or impossible. I have been very fortunately health-wise - at age 60 I can still crank out a 20+ mile, multiple peak, 9000 vertical ft of gain hike on tough terrain. I can do that locally, but also sometimes I want to do so in bigger mountains and that is a plane trip, and if I want to toss in a big technical climb I use a professional guide. I am very lucky to be able to do this now, will take some really good fortune to do this at 70. If I want to include family, that is multiple aircraft tickets.

I watched my mother put in a wheelchair permanently at age 50. I watched my sister die of cancer at age 51. I have a neighbor my age who can hardly walk. I have no idea how long I will stay healthy. I am hoping that with some luck and hard work it will be a long time - I hiked with my dad into his 70s and we took our last trip to visit his brother's WWII grave in Belgium as he approached 80 and was still an energizer bunny, but dead two years later.

Life requires some balance and delayed gratification. But putting off everything for some hoped for some future day when all your ducks are in a row and you are in a golden retirement full of health and energy is a bet that often does not pay off. If something is important, get it down while the getting is good.
We live a world with knowledge of the future markets has less than one significant figure. And people will still and always demand answers to three significant digits.

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Re: Annual Vacation Budget

Postby SRenaeP » Wed Jan 11, 2017 2:58 pm

Rodc wrote:Life requires some balance and delayed gratification. But putting off everything for some hoped for some future day when all your ducks are in a row and you are in a golden retirement full of health and energy is a bet that often does not pay off. If something is important, get it down while the getting is good.


+1

This bears repeating.

-Steph

leonard
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Re: Annual Vacation Budget

Postby leonard » Wed Jan 11, 2017 3:01 pm

Traveler wrote:
leonard wrote:Unless folks are independently wealthy and have already won the game and retired - for the most part - these are ridiculous numbers to spend on vacations.


I may be one you consider "ridiculous", but I'm sure there are things you spend money on that I would deem ridiculous. Travel is something I enjoy and therefore choose to spend more on that than anything else in my budget. So what's the problem? Is it that I don't value expensive cars, homes, clothes or the latest, greatest tech gadgets or whatever you decide should be my priority?


You have your spreadsheet with priorities and I have mine.

I don't expect to change anyone's mind involved in this conversation - you, me, and most of the posters have already decided our priorities. The casual reader may not be quite as set in to a frugal approach. Perhaps they're open to analyzing this trade off.

I don't have expensive cars, homes, clothes, tech gadgets or other such things as priorities either. So, we agree on more than we disagree.

BTW - you conveniently missed the "Unless folks are independently wealthy..." caveat to my "ridiculous" assertion. Perhaps you are FI - I have no idea what your finances look like.

Enjoy.
Leonard | | | | Market Timing: Do you seriously think you can predict the future? What else do the voices tell you? | | | | If employees weren't taking jobs with bad 401k's, bad 401k's wouldn't exist.

leonard
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Re: Annual Vacation Budget

Postby leonard » Wed Jan 11, 2017 3:03 pm

ponyboy wrote:
leonard wrote:Unless folks are independently wealthy and have already won the game and retired - for the most part - these are ridiculous numbers to spend on vacations.


Nah...you'd be shocked how much people spend on eating out in one year. Imagine if those people cut that down to once a week...and opted to cook/pack their lunch. They would have thousands more to play with.


We eat out maybe once a month, perhaps twice sometimes. So, I am fully aware of the money to be saved eating in.
Leonard | | | | Market Timing: Do you seriously think you can predict the future? What else do the voices tell you? | | | | If employees weren't taking jobs with bad 401k's, bad 401k's wouldn't exist.

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Re: Annual Vacation Budget

Postby stoptothink » Wed Jan 11, 2017 3:11 pm

leonard wrote:
I think we are having a semantic issue. I honestly don't see anything at all "vague". I gave a concrete example of items I have purchased. Also, it's clear that owning a guitar is less transitory than viewing the Eiffel Tower in person. In general, I'd prefer to own something I can experience at will - rather than have to spend thousands and travel thousands to re-experience. So, have no idea why you are seeing vagueness in my post.


We don't have a semantic issue at all. Did you not realize that I was 100% agreeing with you? The vague statement is that "experiences" make one happier than things; it has been repeated several times in this thread without anybody defining what an "experience" is.

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Re: Annual Vacation Budget

Postby Dottie57 » Wed Jan 11, 2017 3:13 pm

Traveler wrote:
leonard wrote:Unless folks are independently wealthy and have already won the game and retired - for the most part - these are ridiculous numbers to spend on vacations.


I may be one you consider "ridiculous", but I'm sure there are things you spend money on that I would deem ridiculous. Travel is something I enjoy and therefore choose to spend more on that than anything else in my budget. So what's the problem? Is it that I don't value expensive cars, homes, clothes or the latest, greatest tech gadgets or whatever you decide should be my priority?



I think some of us spend way less during a year than some people spend on vacations. This goes to the ridiculous statement. It is hard for me to imagine spending $30k on vacations when I spent < on living.

I am thinking the big buck vacations are from people wih family income> 200k. But maybe I am wrong.

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Re: Annual Vacation Budget

Postby leonard » Wed Jan 11, 2017 3:16 pm

stoptothink wrote:
leonard wrote:
I think we are having a semantic issue. I honestly don't see anything at all "vague". I gave a concrete example of items I have purchased. Also, it's clear that owning a guitar is less transitory than viewing the Eiffel Tower in person. In general, I'd prefer to own something I can experience at will - rather than have to spend thousands and travel thousands to re-experience. So, have no idea why you are seeing vagueness in my post.


We don't have a semantic issue at all. Did you not realize that I was 100% agreeing with you? The vague statement is that "experiences" make one happier than things; it has been repeated several times in this thread without anybody defining what an "experience" is.


No didn't register that you were agreeing. Thanks for the clarification.

I just assumed that things - like vacations - were valued for our experience of them. I didn't call this out explicitly.
Leonard | | | | Market Timing: Do you seriously think you can predict the future? What else do the voices tell you? | | | | If employees weren't taking jobs with bad 401k's, bad 401k's wouldn't exist.

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Re: Annual Vacation Budget

Postby Will do good » Wed Jan 11, 2017 3:27 pm

surfstar wrote:
rgs92 wrote:Zero dollars. I'd rather spend it on a nice car; at least it doesn't depreciate as quickly as a vacation (which goes to zero as soon as you get home).
I notice here that spending a lot on a car is often disparaged, but vacation spending seems more popular. Why is one more wasteful than the other?


Studies have shown that real, lasting happiness is derived from experiences, not "things".
The joy of a new car quickly fades, much more and sooner, than the joy of a nice experience ("vacation") with a loved one / friends.

You're completely off-base by 180 degrees in your "depreciation" assessment. It is the reason that many people who live the most fulfilled lives, actually own (or at least spend money on) very few things. Experiences and relationships deliver true value.


+1

why3not
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Re: Annual Vacation Budget

Postby why3not » Wed Jan 11, 2017 3:33 pm

leonard wrote:
Traveler wrote:
leonard wrote:Unless folks are independently wealthy and have already won the game and retired - for the most part - these are ridiculous numbers to spend on vacations.


I may be one you consider "ridiculous", but I'm sure there are things you spend money on that I would deem ridiculous. Travel is something I enjoy and therefore choose to spend more on that than anything else in my budget. So what's the problem? Is it that I don't value expensive cars, homes, clothes or the latest, greatest tech gadgets or whatever you decide should be my priority?


You have your spreadsheet with priorities and I have mine.

I don't expect to change anyone's mind involved in this conversation - you, me, and most of the posters have already decided our priorities.

So why exactly did you chose to call the way that others chose to prioritize their spending ridiculous?

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Re: Annual Vacation Budget

Postby JDCarpenter » Wed Jan 11, 2017 3:35 pm

Dottie57 wrote:...

I think some of us spend way less during a year than some people spend on vacations. This goes to the ridiculous statement. It is hard for me to imagine spending $30k on vacations when I spent < on living.

I am thinking the big buck vacations are from people wih family income> 200k. But maybe I am wrong.


You are probably correct (or retirees who had that income level). That's why I (and some others) went with percentages. Still will be linked to income levels, but arguably less so. (Not to mention impact of age, stage of life, etc. on this manifestly discretionary slice of spending.)
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Re: Annual Vacation Budget

Postby leonard » Wed Jan 11, 2017 3:56 pm

why3not wrote:
leonard wrote:
Traveler wrote:
leonard wrote:Unless folks are independently wealthy and have already won the game and retired - for the most part - these are ridiculous numbers to spend on vacations.


I may be one you consider "ridiculous", but I'm sure there are things you spend money on that I would deem ridiculous. Travel is something I enjoy and therefore choose to spend more on that than anything else in my budget. So what's the problem? Is it that I don't value expensive cars, homes, clothes or the latest, greatest tech gadgets or whatever you decide should be my priority?


You have your spreadsheet with priorities and I have mine.

I don't expect to change anyone's mind involved in this conversation - you, me, and most of the posters have already decided our priorities.

So why exactly did you chose to call the way that others chose to prioritize their spending ridiculous?


Because a great vacation can be had for under say $2k (or less). Spending $15k+ when the FI isn't squared away doesn't seem like the right trade off.

So, I also question the value. If one can get a great vacation for less money, why spend more? The "benefit" of the experience of a $15k vacation doesn't actually seem 7 or 8 times better than the $2k. When I plug these ideas in to my personal cost/benefit = ridiculous.

Get FI squared away, take cheaper (but as enjoyable) vacations in the mean time, then go nuts once FI is set.

Or, go nuts now, simply dismiss the whole argument as subjective value of "experiences", and don't worry about what some guy on the internet says.
Leonard | | | | Market Timing: Do you seriously think you can predict the future? What else do the voices tell you? | | | | If employees weren't taking jobs with bad 401k's, bad 401k's wouldn't exist.

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Re: Annual Vacation Budget

Postby why3not » Wed Jan 11, 2017 4:07 pm

leonard wrote:Get FI squared away, take cheaper (but as enjoyable) vacations in the mean time, then go nuts once FI is set.

Or, go nuts now, simply dismiss the whole argument as subjective value of "experiences", and don't worry about what some guy on the internet says.

I have the last one covered without much of an issue :D
Your plan is a good one & one that would be best for many folks. But not for everyone & I personally never chose to call what folks spend their money on ridiculous. Their money is theirs to spend as they wish & reap the benefits & consequences of.

leonard
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Re: Annual Vacation Budget

Postby leonard » Wed Jan 11, 2017 4:12 pm

why3not wrote:
leonard wrote:Get FI squared away, take cheaper (but as enjoyable) vacations in the mean time, then go nuts once FI is set.

Or, go nuts now, simply dismiss the whole argument as subjective value of "experiences", and don't worry about what some guy on the internet says.

I have the last one covered without much of an issue :D
Your plan is a good one & one that would be best for many folks. But not for everyone & I personally never chose to call what folks spend their money on ridiculous. Their money is theirs to spend as they wish & reap the benefits & consequences of.


I am going to switch my portfolio over to some 5% front loaded active mutual funds with 3% expense ratios. after all my money and there's no objective underpinning to these financial trade offs, right?

If that were true, might the "r" word approach your lips (or keyboard)?

I'll go ahead and say it - it would be a ridiculous decision if I were to do that. So, I don't think we are entirely "live and let live" regarding finances on this forum. We do have a perspective and opinions on what makes sense.
Leonard | | | | Market Timing: Do you seriously think you can predict the future? What else do the voices tell you? | | | | If employees weren't taking jobs with bad 401k's, bad 401k's wouldn't exist.

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Re: Annual Vacation Budget

Postby stoptothink » Wed Jan 11, 2017 4:16 pm

JDCarpenter wrote:
Dottie57 wrote:...

I think some of us spend way less during a year than some people spend on vacations. This goes to the ridiculous statement. It is hard for me to imagine spending $30k on vacations when I spent < on living.

I am thinking the big buck vacations are from people wih family income> 200k. But maybe I am wrong.


You are probably correct (or retirees who had that income level). That's why I (and some others) went with percentages. Still will be linked to income levels, but arguably less so. (Not to mention impact of age, stage of life, etc. on this manifestly discretionary slice of spending.)


Our family income is ~$200k/yr, our "big buck" vacations for a family of four are <$1k/yr. It's just another one of those threads where this no right or wrong answer; it all depends on what you prioritize. We prioritize "experiences over things" too, it's just that our "experiences" are exercising as a family in my garage gym, family bike rides and hikes, etc. and not trips to exotic destinations.
Last edited by stoptothink on Wed Jan 11, 2017 4:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Rodc
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Re: Annual Vacation Budget

Postby Rodc » Wed Jan 11, 2017 4:16 pm

Dottie57 wrote:

I am thinking the big buck vacations are from people wih family income> 200k. But maybe I am wrong.


That may be largely true, but I have known people of modest means who live very frugally day to day for the express purpose of saving money to travel.

Different people just value different things. Some people value travel. Some people do not. Some people value economic security. Some people do not. Some people value cars.....

One should figure out what they value and then make plans to secure what they value.
We live a world with knowledge of the future markets has less than one significant figure. And people will still and always demand answers to three significant digits.

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Re: Annual Vacation Budget

Postby Da5id » Wed Jan 11, 2017 4:42 pm

leonard wrote:I am going to switch my portfolio over to some 5% front loaded active mutual funds with 3% expense ratios. after all my money and there's no objective underpinning to these financial trade offs, right?

If that were true, might the "r" word approach your lips (or keyboard)?

I'll go ahead and say it - it would be a ridiculous decision if I were to do that. So, I don't think we are entirely "live and let live" regarding finances on this forum. We do have a perspective and opinions on what makes sense.


You are setting up a false equivalence. Going on expensive vacations is in no way related to paying too much in fees.

The value of an expensive vacation is strictly subjective. You may say going to the Jersey Shore for a week is "better" than going to Hawaii for a week because of the cost benefit. That is simply an opinion.

The benefits gained by high fund fees are shown to be non-existent in many studies, and are simply a loss. Not simply an opinion.

If you look at the Bogleheads principles, they says to "Keep costs low" (fund costs). They say to "spend less than you earn". They say to "save a significant portion of your income". They don't say "don't go to Hawaii", or "you must buy a Civic instead of a BMW" or "you must go all out for FI rather than spend money beyond a reasonable savings rate". I personally think that if one is saving adequately for one's retirement, what one does with ones money isn't all that interesting a topic -- it generally is contentious, and there is no "right" answer other than we all have different priorities and objectives...

Kingtriton10
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Re: Annual Vacation Budget

Postby Kingtriton10 » Wed Jan 11, 2017 4:46 pm

Wow... Im really taken back by some of the numbers being thrown around here. Where are you guys traveling??? I can go to St. John USVI for 2 weeks under $3,500. 8-)

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Re: Annual Vacation Budget

Postby TomatoTomahto » Wed Jan 11, 2017 5:24 pm

Kingtriton10 wrote:Wow... Im really taken back by some of the numbers being thrown around here. Where are you guys traveling??? I can go to St. John USVI for 2 weeks under $3,500. 8-)

We stayed at a very nice hotel on Seven Mile Beach in Grand Cayman and ate at nice restaurants. We flew steerage class. We arrived on Xmas Day and left on New Years Day, which ran the cost up. I think the next time, and I think there will be a next time, it will just be the two of us, which will reduce the price.

leonard
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Re: Annual Vacation Budget

Postby leonard » Wed Jan 11, 2017 6:04 pm

Da5id wrote:
leonard wrote:I am going to switch my portfolio over to some 5% front loaded active mutual funds with 3% expense ratios. after all my money and there's no objective underpinning to these financial trade offs, right?

If that were true, might the "r" word approach your lips (or keyboard)?

I'll go ahead and say it - it would be a ridiculous decision if I were to do that. So, I don't think we are entirely "live and let live" regarding finances on this forum. We do have a perspective and opinions on what makes sense.


You are setting up a false equivalence. Going on expensive vacations is in no way related to paying too much in fees.

The value of an expensive vacation is strictly subjective. You may say going to the Jersey Shore for a week is "better" than going to Hawaii for a week because of the cost benefit. That is simply an opinion.

The benefits gained by high fund fees are shown to be non-existent in many studies, and are simply a loss. Not simply an opinion.

If you look at the Bogleheads principles, they says to "Keep costs low" (fund costs). They say to "spend less than you earn". They say to "save a significant portion of your income". They don't say "don't go to Hawaii", or "you must buy a Civic instead of a BMW" or "you must go all out for FI rather than spend money beyond a reasonable savings rate". I personally think that if one is saving adequately for one's retirement, what one does with ones money isn't all that interesting a topic -- it generally is contentious, and there is no "right" answer other than we all have different priorities and objectives...


There are some standards that we can use to analyze across these examples. I agree that the benefit of vacations is a subjective value. If you value the an expensive vacation today, by all means, go for it. I just don't agree if you are not set.

One bizarre aspect of this is the lack of frugality which in general is a BH trait. When cars come up - many if not most talk about how they drive older cars and don't churn money buying new cars all the time. Do I really need to mention there are exceptions? OK. Of course some people spend a lot on cars. But, most don't. That is true of most consumer items. But, there seems to be a weird exception - vacations. Seems like the (very subjective assessment) of vacations here are that of outsized value.

Plus, never said the 2 examples were exactly the same - which is by definition impossible. So there was no way to set up an equivalency - false or otherwise.
Leonard | | | | Market Timing: Do you seriously think you can predict the future? What else do the voices tell you? | | | | If employees weren't taking jobs with bad 401k's, bad 401k's wouldn't exist.

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Re: Annual Vacation Budget

Postby JDCarpenter » Wed Jan 11, 2017 6:11 pm

Kingtriton10 wrote:Wow... Im really taken back by some of the numbers being thrown around here. Where are you guys traveling??? I can go to St. John USVI for 2 weeks under $3,500. 8-)


http://www.naia.com.fj/schedule.php

http://www.nationalgeographicexpedition ... nds/detail

Just examples. Infinite variations--we would not be willing to stay (or enjoy staying) in a very nice hotel on seven mile beach like TomatoTomahto; OTOH, the dedicated dive resorts on Little Cayman can be in the same $$ ballpark.
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Da5id
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Re: Annual Vacation Budget

Postby Da5id » Wed Jan 11, 2017 6:23 pm

leonard wrote:Plus, never said the 2 examples were exactly the same - which is by definition impossible. So there was no way to set up an equivalency - false or otherwise.


IMHO not merely are they not the same, they are unrelated. You seemed to suggest they were somehow comparable, I don't believe so.

Which boglehead principle do you think expensive vacations violates? And what is "expensive"? All opinions, on which there is no consensus this not being the MMM forum...


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