Why doesn't a lot of money feel like a lot of money?

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Regattamom
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Why doesn't a lot of money feel like a lot of money?

Post by Regattamom » Wed Jan 23, 2019 10:52 am

Hi Bogleheads,

My husband received notice of his bonus today and it is very large. It's more than we could have dreamed of not too long ago. But the strange thing is, it doesn't feel like I thought it would feel. There's not much excitement, more of just a recognition. We have avoided lifestyle creep but do allow ourselves to take a nice vacation every year. Don't get me wrong, I am grateful for the money and I know my husband works very hard for his bonus.

My question is: If you are a high earner, did the money start to "feel different" after awhile? And did the feelings change the way you handle your personal finances? I don't want to lose touch with the value of a dollar or an understanding of what it's like to live on less. I realize this is a good problem to have, but it's new to us and we expected it be more of an exciting time.

Thank you.
Last edited by Regattamom on Thu Jan 24, 2019 10:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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GoldStar
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Re: Why doesn't a lot of money feel like a lot of money?

Post by GoldStar » Wed Jan 23, 2019 11:01 am

The old saying "Money doesn't buy happiness" is true. Studies show that once you have enough for basic necessities and sustenance - much beyond that doesn't move the happiness needle much.

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Re: Why doesn't a lot of money feel like a lot of money?

Post by jpelder » Wed Jan 23, 2019 11:04 am

This is not related to me having lots of money (I'm a teacher :mrgreen: ), but I do know that the human brain just isn't good at comprehending large numbers. Once you get larger than a few thousand, everything else is just "big". Randall Munroe of xkcd has a comic addressing this phenomenon:

Image

https://xkcd.com/

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HomerJ
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Re: Why doesn't a lot of money feel like a lot of money?

Post by HomerJ » Wed Jan 23, 2019 11:06 am

The first time my wife got a $5000 bonus, we went out to a bar, drank way too much, woke up in bed the next morning, with a box of half-eaten pizza in the bed with us. :)

Bonuses after that were just deposited in our Vanguard account.

A lot of money still feels like a lot of money to us. We still high-five each other when a bonus comes in (Just got my Employee Stock Purchase Plan deposit, after selling my stock), but it's not as exciting I will admit.

I certainly still feel a happy glow every time our money grows, but it's pretty common for humans to settle into a "new normal".

A counter-point, by the way.

I'm going to Vegas this weekend, my wife and I have been discussing what our gambling budget will be.

What's funny, when I was young, when I didn't have any money, I'd take $1000-$1500 to Vegas no problem, without even thinking about it.

Now, when I have plenty of money, $1000 sounds like a lot of money, and it wouldn't be much fun to lose that much.

(Doesn't help that $1000 25 years ago would go a LONG way at $2 blackjack and crap tables - not so much at today's $10 tables - and of course, back then, I always assumed I would win)
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Re: Why doesn't a lot of money feel like a lot of money?

Post by RickBoglehead » Wed Jan 23, 2019 11:10 am

In this electronic age, money is digital. It's in a bank, or an investment account. It's not in your hands, or on the table, i.e. a pile of cash.

As our assets grew, a great market year meant a lot more money. But it never feels that way.
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Re: Why doesn't a lot of money feel like a lot of money?

Post by willthrill81 » Wed Jan 23, 2019 11:12 am

I feel similarly. At some point, it just becomes numbers on a screen (or page) and loses some of its emotional value. In several ways, I think that this is good. It's definitely helpful when you see your portfolio drop by 20% as many of us did in recent months.
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Re: Why doesn't a lot of money feel like a lot of money?

Post by Sandtrap » Wed Jan 23, 2019 11:13 am

When you have more to lose than to gain . . . any money is too much to lose.
And, vs vs.

And, it depends on background and "hard wiring".
A dollar is a lot if it is wasted. :shock:
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Re: Why doesn't a lot of money feel like a lot of money?

Post by longleaf » Wed Jan 23, 2019 11:14 am

It is a lot easier to spend than earn, and once it’s gone, it’s gone.
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Re: Why doesn't a lot of money feel like a lot of money?

Post by Thegame14 » Wed Jan 23, 2019 11:15 am

I am not a high earner, but I am ok at 100K, I work at a non-profit, I could leave to get a bump to the $130K range and a larger bonus. But what I always find funny, is that I still remember working for $5.15 an hour, and I would work like 30 hours a week while going to school, and I would end up with like $100 or so check at the end of the week, and that weekend I would go out to eat with friends, probably just the diner, we would go to the movies, I would maybe by a new piece of clothing from like Armani Exchange or Abercrombie, and then have nothing left over the following week. Now I make a lot more than $5.15 an hour, and I think going out to eat is expensive, if we do it is still the diner, or a chain restaurant with a gift card most of the time, I NEVER buy clothes, and who can afford a movie, they are like $15 a person now plus popcorn and soda it is like $25 a person, who can afford that?

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Re: Why doesn't a lot of money feel like a lot of money?

Post by Jack FFR1846 » Wed Jan 23, 2019 11:17 am

I think how it "feels" depends on what you do with it.

If I were given $500k, I'd likely deposit it in my taxable account, having it available if for some reason I was unable to fund all of my tax advantaged accounts to the max.

My first real windfall happened in late 2001 when a boatload of stock options vested and were way, way up. We had a mortgage and one of our cars was falling apart. I took the windfall and paid off the mortgage, bought my wife a brand new car, bought myself (well, us) a last year's model HDTV (new ones were near $10k back then) and put the rest into bank accounts. That felt like a big bonus. Not having a mortgage payment......every first of the month, I habitually pulled out the check book....then put it away. Seeing the new car. Watching the Patriots in the super bowl on the TV which they happened to win was memorable. Making a deposit.....not so much.

I suppose if I do get some $500k windfall, I should probably go to my local Porsche dealer and buy a 911 GT-3. I wouldn't forget that.
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Re: Why doesn't a lot of money feel like a lot of money?

Post by Grt2bOutdoors » Wed Jan 23, 2019 11:18 am

Have you ever been in a situation where you had no money? Where money was actually scarce?
That is when you realize the value of a dollar, and depending on how long that scarcity existed, you will never forget it!

You can work hard and never receive your just reward. Take a little bit of the bonus and spend as you see fit. Bank the rest. Rainy days do come around from time to time, best time to prepare is when the sun is shining. Ask me how I know. :wink:
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Re: Why doesn't a lot of money feel like a lot of money?

Post by greg24 » Wed Jan 23, 2019 11:21 am

When you have enough.

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Re: Why doesn't a lot of money feel like a lot of money?

Post by KlangFool » Wed Jan 23, 2019 11:24 am

greg24 wrote:
Wed Jan 23, 2019 11:21 am
When you have enough.
+1,000.

KlangFool

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JMacDonald
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Re: Why doesn't a lot of money feel like a lot of money?

Post by JMacDonald » Wed Jan 23, 2019 11:28 am

Since you don't do lifestyle creep, that money means more security for the future.
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Regattamom
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Re: Why doesn't a lot of money feel like a lot of money?

Post by Regattamom » Wed Jan 23, 2019 11:31 am

Thanks everyone. These are all great points. I was starting to feel like something is wrong that we aren't more excited, but I see now that maybe it's normal. To address some of the comments:

Yes, once you have enough, the happiness needle does not move much.

I do have trouble comprehending large numbers! The graph made me chuckle.

The idea that it's just numbers on a screen or paper resonates. We never see the check or the cash anymore. It just gets deposited and we never actually hold it.

I agree that I worry more about losing money now than I did when we didn't have any to lose.

My first bonus was $500 and I thought I won the lottery! I bought drinks for all my friends and had a great time spending it. Times have changed:)

Maybe we should buy something nice (we definitely could use a new TV) to "celebrate" the windfall. It might remind my husband how well he is compensated throughout the year.

I do know what it's like to not have money. I grew up poor and was a single mom working two jobs to get by. Which is why I am suprised that I am not more excited/happy about the windfall.

Thanks again.

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Re: Why doesn't a lot of money feel like a lot of money?

Post by cheese_breath » Wed Jan 23, 2019 11:34 am

GoldStar wrote:
Wed Jan 23, 2019 11:01 am
The old saying "Money doesn't buy happiness" is true. Studies show that once you have enough for basic necessities and sustenance - much beyond that doesn't move the happiness needle much.
ANother old saying... "Familiarity breeds contempt." While you may not disdain money, you've gotten used having it.
The surest way to know the future is when it becomes the past.

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Re: Why doesn't a lot of money feel like a lot of money?

Post by KlangFool » Wed Jan 23, 2019 11:35 am

Regattamom wrote:
Wed Jan 23, 2019 11:31 am

Maybe we should buy something nice (we definitely could use a new TV) to "celebrate" the windfall. It might remind my husband how well he is compensated throughout the year.
Regattamom,

Buy two electric bicycles. Then, both of you can go out more. It makes a difference.

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michaeljmroger
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Re: Why doesn't a lot of money feel like a lot of money?

Post by michaeljmroger » Wed Jan 23, 2019 11:38 am

I have a different experience. I think almost every single day that I'm extremely fortunate to be wealthy, and that some of the things we envision would simply not be possible otherwise (e.g. buying a house in cash). Money doesn't buy happiness, but it definitely contributes to it.

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Re: Why doesn't a lot of money feel like a lot of money?

Post by pennywise » Wed Jan 23, 2019 11:41 am

Regattamom wrote:
Wed Jan 23, 2019 11:31 am

Yes, once you have enough, the happiness needle does not move much.
There may not be an app, but there's a term for that:

"The hedonic treadmill, also known as hedonic adaptation, is the observed tendency of humans to quickly return to a relatively stable level of happiness despite major positive or negative events or life changes."

For me, it was when I eagerly anticipated that our dual income would exceed 6 figures/year. I thought when that happened we would be living in luxury, buying whatever we pleased without thought or care, and indulging ourselves relentlessly. Over the years as the number crept steadily upward I kept my dream pegged at 6 figures.

And finally we made it to the promised land of a joint 6-figure income and.....no change. We put a little more into savings and retirement, we eased a little more into being comfortably unconcerned about emergency expenses and house costs. The treadmill just kept rolling :D

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Re: Why doesn't a lot of money feel like a lot of money?

Post by thatme » Wed Jan 23, 2019 11:41 am

HomerJ wrote:
Wed Jan 23, 2019 11:06 am

What's funny, when I was young, when I didn't have any money, I'd take $1000-$1500 to Vegas no problem, without even thinking about it.

Now, when I have plenty of money, $1000 sounds like a lot of money, and it wouldn't be much fun to lose that much.
This is so true. We’ve been debating buying a new car for more than 12 months. We have the cash, could pay for it outright, but we keep holding on. When I was in my early 20s I bought and sold new cars (for a loss) several times, but when I was only thinking about the monthly payment amount, it didn’t seem like a big deal at all. Now that I would be writing a big check, I continue to hold out until we really “need” it. All I can see is that we will write a big check, and ultimately that asset is going to $0, so I want to wait as long as we can and make the best decision possible.

In some ways, getting over the hump of having no money to having a moderate amount of money makes all of the difference.

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Re: Why doesn't a lot of money feel like a lot of money?

Post by bryansmile » Wed Jan 23, 2019 11:42 am

A very simple way to feel it's a lot of money: withdraw all of it from the bank and count the cash.

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Re: Why doesn't a lot of money feel like a lot of money?

Post by mak1277 » Wed Jan 23, 2019 11:43 am

Jack FFR1846 wrote:
Wed Jan 23, 2019 11:17 am
I think how it "feels" depends on what you do with it.

If I were given $500k, I'd likely deposit it in my taxable account, having it available if for some reason I was unable to fund all of my tax advantaged accounts to the max.

My first real windfall happened in late 2001 when a boatload of stock options vested and were way, way up. We had a mortgage and one of our cars was falling apart. I took the windfall and paid off the mortgage, bought my wife a brand new car, bought myself (well, us) a last year's model HDTV (new ones were near $10k back then) and put the rest into bank accounts. That felt like a big bonus. Not having a mortgage payment......every first of the month, I habitually pulled out the check book....then put it away. Seeing the new car. Watching the Patriots in the super bowl on the TV which they happened to win was memorable. Making a deposit.....not so much.

I suppose if I do get some $500k windfall, I should probably go to my local Porsche dealer and buy a 911 GT-3. I wouldn't forget that.
I agree with this. To me, if I know I'm just going to save my bonus, the amount doesn't really excite me. If I knew I was going to get a Porsche with my bonus in a given year, I'd feel a lot different. I'm all about saving, but to say that it's "exciting" would be wrong (for me at least).

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Re: Why doesn't a lot of money feel like a lot of money?

Post by mak1277 » Wed Jan 23, 2019 11:45 am

HomerJ wrote:
Wed Jan 23, 2019 11:06 am
What's funny, when I was young, when I didn't have any money, I'd take $1000-$1500 to Vegas no problem, without even thinking about it.

Now, when I have plenty of money, $1000 sounds like a lot of money, and it wouldn't be much fun to lose that much.
This makes me laugh/cringe. When I was in my 20's I blew $900 gambling in Reno....I had $1,200 in my checking account and that was the sum total of my assets. Didn't phase me in the least.

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Re: Why doesn't a lot of money feel like a lot of money?

Post by pdavi21 » Wed Jan 23, 2019 11:50 am

Being unhappy with how much money you have is the only way to make more.
"We spend a great deal of time studying history, which, let's face it, is mostly the history of stupidity." -Stephen Hawking

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Re: Why doesn't a lot of money feel like a lot of money?

Post by 5th_Dimension » Wed Jan 23, 2019 11:52 am

It is looking like I will be receiving an unexpected $10,000 or so. My first thought was "meh". Then I thought about it and told the wife I didn't want to end up being one of those people who shrugs off $10,000 or $50,000 or any other large amount of money. It may not move the needle much for us now, but for a lot of people, including our past selves, that would have been huge.
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Re: Why doesn't a lot of money feel like a lot of money?

Post by Dottie57 » Wed Jan 23, 2019 11:56 am

I went most of my career without a bonus of any kind. The last 8 years or so I received what I considered great bonuses. The largest about 20% of salary. The bonus money always looked good to me since it was not something I could count on. It depended on health of megacorp.

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Re: Why doesn't a lot of money feel like a lot of money?

Post by Shallowpockets » Wed Jan 23, 2019 11:57 am

OP, your feelings are a whole lot better than if your husband's bonus had been much less than expected. you are not dissapointed, you are just not elated.
This is all perspective and almost a non issue. Or a first world, top 3% issue.
Plenty of us here not ever even reaching such a point. Best some of us could do is be in the not dissapointed camp by getting a bonus at all.
Be happy.

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Re: Why doesn't a lot of money feel like a lot of money?

Post by Socal77 » Wed Jan 23, 2019 12:03 pm

During my studies of personal fulfillment and psychology I found a concept called "Headwinds/Tailwinds."

It applies to all situations in life, not just finances.

Most of us quickly forget about all of the tailwinds we have, and only concentrate on the headwinds.

This, IMO, is one of the very subtle reptilian brain "nudges" that keep our system moving forward.

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Re: Why doesn't a lot of money feel like a lot of money?

Post by BanquetBeer » Wed Jan 23, 2019 12:07 pm

KlangFool wrote:
Wed Jan 23, 2019 11:24 am
greg24 wrote:
Wed Jan 23, 2019 11:21 am
When you have enough.
+1,000.

KlangFool
My experience is this as well. Just got my bonus, cool... goes directly into savings (we don’t spend any of it). It would be a lot more emotionally triggering if we did without and needed the money or planned to blow it.

When you don’t need it and it just goes to savings, just part of the norm/plan and isn’t as exciting as it once was (also no longer a large % increase to net worth)

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Re: Why doesn't a lot of money feel like a lot of money?

Post by ResearchMed » Wed Jan 23, 2019 12:08 pm

HomerJ wrote:
Wed Jan 23, 2019 11:06 am
The first time my wife got a $5000 bonus, we went out to a bar, drank way too much, woke up in bed the next morning, with a box of half-eaten pizza in the bed with us. :)

Bonuses after that were just deposited in our Vanguard account.

A lot of money still feels like a lot of money to us. We still high-five each other when a bonus comes in (Just got my Employee Stock Purchase Plan deposit, after selling my stock), but it's not as exciting I will admit.

I certainly still feel a happy glow every time our money grows, but it's pretty common for humans to settle into a "new normal".

A counter-point, by the way.

I'm going to Vegas this weekend, my wife and I have been discussing what our gambling budget will be.

What's funny, when I was young, when I didn't have any money, I'd take $1000-$1500 to Vegas no problem, without even thinking about it.

Now, when I have plenty of money, $1000 sounds like a lot of money, and it wouldn't be much fun to lose that much.

(Doesn't help that $1000 25 years ago would go a LONG way at $2 blackjack and crap tables - not so much at today's $10 tables - and of course, back then, I always assumed I would win)
Uh, at least it was just a box of pizza :shock:

:D

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Re: Why doesn't a lot of money feel like a lot of money?

Post by Afty » Wed Jan 23, 2019 12:15 pm

I feel the same way. I remember when I was fresh out of college thinking that some people earned $XXX and what could they even do with all that money? Now we earn several multiples of that, yet it doesn't have the "feel" I had expected.

I think part of it is that we just save bonuses rather then splurging on something or changing our spending in response. We're avoiding lifestyle inflation, but it also means that getting a bonus has no impact on our normal lives.
Last edited by Afty on Wed Jan 23, 2019 12:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Why doesn't a lot of money feel like a lot of money?

Post by Dottie57 » Wed Jan 23, 2019 12:15 pm

thatme wrote:
Wed Jan 23, 2019 11:41 am
HomerJ wrote:
Wed Jan 23, 2019 11:06 am

What's funny, when I was young, when I didn't have any money, I'd take $1000-$1500 to Vegas no problem, without even thinking about it.

Now, when I have plenty of money, $1000 sounds like a lot of money, and it wouldn't be much fun to lose that much.
This is so true. We’ve been debating buying a new car for more than 12 months. We have the cash, could pay for it outright, but we keep holding on. When I was in my early 20s I bought and sold new cars (for a loss) several times, but when I was only thinking about the monthly payment amount, it didn’t seem like a big deal at all. Now that I would be writing a big check, I continue to hold out until we really “need” it. All I can see is that we will write a big check, and ultimately that asset is going to $0, so I want to wait as long as we can and make the best decision possible.

In some ways, getting over the hump of having no money to having a moderate amount of money makes all of the difference.
Give yourself permission to buy. The new safety features are **** Really ***** good. I bought a new 2018 and love all of the features.

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Re: Why doesn't a lot of money feel like a lot of money?

Post by runner540 » Wed Jan 23, 2019 12:21 pm

Regattamom wrote:
Wed Jan 23, 2019 10:52 am
Hi Bogleheads,

My husband received notice of his bonus today and it is very large - - it came in at 105 percent of target. It's more than we could have dreamed of not too long ago. But the strange thing is, it doesn't feel like I thought it would feel. There's not much excitement, more of just a recognition. We have avoided lifestyle creep but do allow ourselves to take a nice vacation every year. Don't get me wrong, I am grateful for the money and I know my husband works very hard for his bonus.

My question is: If you are a high earner, did the money start to "feel different" after awhile? And did the feelings change the way you handle your personal finances? I don't want to lose touch with the value of a dollar or an understanding of what it's like to live on less. I realize this is a good problem to have, but it's new to us and we expected it be more of an exciting time.

Thank you.
Set a % to give of the bonus and a % to spend. My % of net are give 10-15%, spend 5-10% and save 80%. 10% of a big bonus can pay for a semester of a needy student's tuition, or support a local organization. It will reconnect you to the value of a dollar. And thank your spouse!!

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Re: Why doesn't a lot of money feel like a lot of money?

Post by sergeant » Wed Jan 23, 2019 12:22 pm

I won a few bucks on a game show and it felt like a lot of money. I was pretty excited. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=APhpt_uEJ-E

EDIT: I have also been awarded 10x what I won on the game show in a lawsuit but "winning" the smaller amount felt much better.
Last edited by sergeant on Wed Jan 23, 2019 3:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Regattamom
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Re: Why doesn't a lot of money feel like a lot of money?

Post by Regattamom » Wed Jan 23, 2019 12:23 pm

KlangFool wrote:
Wed Jan 23, 2019 11:35 am
Regattamom wrote:
Wed Jan 23, 2019 11:31 am

Maybe we should buy something nice (we definitely could use a new TV) to "celebrate" the windfall. It might remind my husband how well he is compensated throughout the year.
Regattamom,

Buy two electric bicycles. Then, both of you can go out more. It makes a difference.

KlangFool
KlangFool,
Are you worried we will become couch potatoes with a new TV? :D
No worries, I just talked with my husband and being the physically fit guy that he is, he thinks he wants to buy an elliptical or Concept 2 erg.
Regattamom

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snackdog
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Re: Why doesn't a lot of money feel like a lot of money?

Post by snackdog » Wed Jan 23, 2019 12:25 pm

If it helps, convert it to brand new Cadillacs. They run around $50,000 so think of the bonus as how many ever brand new Cadillacs it would buy.

If it is quite a large number them and you are overwhelmed, bump it up to Mercedes-Benzes ($100,000), Bentleys ($300,000) or modest NYC apartments ($1MM). If his bonus is worth more than a NYC penthouse, then I suggest you ring up some yacht dealers or maybe visit a London fine art gallery.

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Re: Why doesn't a lot of money feel like a lot of money?

Post by Olemiss540 » Wed Jan 23, 2019 12:27 pm

Because delayed gratification is not exciting.

We are looking ahead to bonus time so we can make the jump into home ownership. If it comes in big, we will be SUPREMELY excited. If it was going into retirement accounts, not so much.

This is why the average american is in credit card debt. Delayed gratification is no fun at all.....
I hold index funds because I do not overestimate my ability to pick stocks OR stock pickers.

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Regattamom
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Re: Why doesn't a lot of money feel like a lot of money?

Post by Regattamom » Wed Jan 23, 2019 12:39 pm

snackdog wrote:
Wed Jan 23, 2019 12:25 pm
If it helps, convert it to brand new Cadillacs. They run around $50,000 so think of the bonus as how many ever brand new Cadillacs it would buy.

If it is quite a large number them and you are overwhelmed, bump it up to Mercedes-Benzes ($100,000), Bentleys ($300,000) or modest NYC apartments ($1MM). If his bonus is worth more than a NYC penthouse, then I suggest you ring up some yacht dealers or maybe visit a London fine art gallery.
This is a good exercise. I don't value Cadillacs, but if we think about the things we value that we could purchase with the money, it makes it seem more real. We can tell ourselves that we could purchase X if we really wanted, but that we prefer to put the money in savings.
Last edited by Regattamom on Wed Jan 23, 2019 1:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Regattamom
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Re: Why doesn't a lot of money feel like a lot of money?

Post by Regattamom » Wed Jan 23, 2019 12:39 pm

Olemiss540 wrote:
Wed Jan 23, 2019 12:27 pm

This is why the average american is in credit card debt. Delayed gratification is no fun at all.....
Agree

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willthrill81
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Re: Why doesn't a lot of money feel like a lot of money?

Post by willthrill81 » Wed Jan 23, 2019 12:42 pm

Olemiss540 wrote:
Wed Jan 23, 2019 12:27 pm
Delayed gratification is no fun at all.....
I don't know about that. Seeing our mortgage balance shrink and our portfolio balance grow is a lot of fun to me! But I am a nerd, so take that with a grain of salt. :wink:
“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

BlueCable
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Re: Why doesn't a lot of money feel like a lot of money?

Post by BlueCable » Wed Jan 23, 2019 12:45 pm

pdavi21 wrote:
Wed Jan 23, 2019 11:50 am
Being unhappy with how much money you have is the only way to make more.
I either disagree with this or didn't understand it clearly.

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willthrill81
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Re: Why doesn't a lot of money feel like a lot of money?

Post by willthrill81 » Wed Jan 23, 2019 12:52 pm

BlueCable wrote:
Wed Jan 23, 2019 12:45 pm
pdavi21 wrote:
Wed Jan 23, 2019 11:50 am
Being unhappy with how much money you have is the only way to make more.
I either disagree with this or didn't understand it clearly.
+1

Being content with what you have does not preclude efforts to earn more. Further, even if that were true, it is likely to just get you on the above referenced hedonic treadmill, and you'll never have enough. I have a family member who's net worth is in the tens of millions, but it's never enough for him.
“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

KlangFool
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Re: Why doesn't a lot of money feel like a lot of money?

Post by KlangFool » Wed Jan 23, 2019 12:56 pm

Regattamom wrote:
Wed Jan 23, 2019 12:23 pm
KlangFool wrote:
Wed Jan 23, 2019 11:35 am
Regattamom wrote:
Wed Jan 23, 2019 11:31 am

Maybe we should buy something nice (we definitely could use a new TV) to "celebrate" the windfall. It might remind my husband how well he is compensated throughout the year.
Regattamom,

Buy two electric bicycles. Then, both of you can go out more. It makes a difference.

KlangFool
KlangFool,
Are you worried we will become couch potatoes with a new TV? :D
No worries, I just talked with my husband and being the physically fit guy that he is, he thinks he wants to buy an elliptical or Concept 2 erg.
Regattamom
Regattamom,

Not exactly. With an electric bike, you can go further. Depending on where you are, you could substitute running an errand with your car with an electric bike. It makes a difference in my life. For example, a trip to the grocery store/library/UPS store became an electric bike drive.

To an extreme, my older sister flew around the world with her foldable bike. Then, she bikes around the country that she flew into.

KlangFool

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Regattamom
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Re: Why doesn't a lot of money feel like a lot of money?

Post by Regattamom » Wed Jan 23, 2019 1:01 pm

Socal77 wrote:
Wed Jan 23, 2019 12:03 pm
During my studies of personal fulfillment and psychology I found a concept called "Headwinds/Tailwinds."

It applies to all situations in life, not just finances.

Most of us quickly forget about all of the tailwinds we have, and only concentrate on the headwinds.

This, IMO, is one of the very subtle reptilian brain "nudges" that keep our system moving forward.
Interesting. Thank you.

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HomerJ
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Re: Why doesn't a lot of money feel like a lot of money?

Post by HomerJ » Wed Jan 23, 2019 1:04 pm

Regattamom wrote:
Wed Jan 23, 2019 12:39 pm
snackdog wrote:
Wed Jan 23, 2019 12:25 pm
If it helps, convert it to brand new Cadillacs. They run around $50,000 so think of the bonus as how many ever brand new Cadillacs it would buy.

If it is quite a large number them and you are overwhelmed, bump it up to Mercedes-Benzes ($100,000), Bentleys ($300,000) or modest NYC apartments ($1MM). If his bonus is worth more than a NYC penthouse, then I suggest you ring up some yacht dealers or maybe visit a London fine art gallery.
This is a good exercise. I don't value Cadillacs, but if we think about the things we value that we could purchase with the money, it makes it seem more real. We can tell ourselves that we could purchase X if we really wanted, but that we prefer to put the money in savings.
1000 cases of Bud Light! Now THAT's a good bonus!
The J stands for Jay

bhsince87
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Re: Why doesn't a lot of money feel like a lot of money?

Post by bhsince87 » Wed Jan 23, 2019 1:10 pm

I would almost go so far as saying this is a feeling you MUST eventually achieve if you want to retire, or especially retire early.

Otherwise, you can get trapped into the "If I work just one more year, think how much more money I could have!"
"If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, go home from us in peace." Samuel Adams

dave_k
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Re: Why doesn't a lot of money feel like a lot of money?

Post by dave_k » Wed Jan 23, 2019 1:14 pm

Similar to many of the other responses:

For me, it does feel like more money as it grows, but it's not linear. Large bonuses still feel good, but large is relative. My wife and I do allow ourselves to spend more than we used to as our income has grown, but are living farther below our means in a relative sense than ever.

Even though I'm driving a 19 year old car that was once very nice and expensive (more than I should have spent at the time), I like knowing that I could replace it with a brand new high end car any time without causing financial stress. It's a satisfaction I wouldn't have without the money to do so.

Sometimes I have to remind myself when I'm cheaping out on something that it's not necessary. The difference between saving say 49% and 50% of our gross income will not matter much in the long run, and it makes sense to enjoy some of it now. Maybe letting yourselves spend a fraction of each bonus and pay increase would give you more enjoyment.

2015
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Re: Why doesn't a lot of money feel like a lot of money?

Post by 2015 » Wed Jan 23, 2019 1:16 pm

Socal77 wrote:
Wed Jan 23, 2019 12:03 pm
During my studies of personal fulfillment and psychology I found a concept called "Headwinds/Tailwinds."

It applies to all situations in life, not just finances.

Most of us quickly forget about all of the tailwinds we have, and only concentrate on the headwinds.

This, IMO, is one of the very subtle reptilian brain "nudges" that keep our system moving forward.
Agreed.
Focus is intimately tied to contentment, fulfillment, and state of mind. The human mind is engineered to view life through the lens of problems unless consciously and actively intercepted. This is why a narrow focus on investing, personal finances, and microeconomics will never result in the feeling of enough, but in fact the continuous feeling of lack. Those who disgorge for all manner of financial publications are aware of this easily exploitable human foible (or if they're not aware of and/or exploiting it, they won't be disgorging for long).

FireHorse
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Re: Why doesn't a lot of money feel like a lot of money?

Post by FireHorse » Wed Jan 23, 2019 1:25 pm

Feel the same here.
I think our brain adapting "new normal" very quickly

Starfish
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Re: Why doesn't a lot of money feel like a lot of money?

Post by Starfish » Wed Jan 23, 2019 1:25 pm

Humans suffer from loss aversion bias which is actually very unproductive and I have to work a lot to get rid of it (but I can't): losing 100$ is not symmetrical with winning 100$. Winning just does not bring that much happiness.

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