How not to feel poor...

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Topic Author
Cosmic Pony
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How not to feel poor...

Post by Cosmic Pony » Sun Dec 01, 2019 3:46 pm

Finances are as follows:

59 year old guy, wife is a year younger.
Two kids, put one through college and he's doing well, the other has one more year of college (likely a $25,000 expense).
No debt, own our home valued around $600,000.
Wife works in a stable job, I was laid off earlier this year and have been looking for a new job. My field is tight.
Household budget $45,000/year wife makes $55,000 and carries health insurance
22% tax bracket but likely lower next year
Money market accounts: $59,000 (around a year's living expense)
Taxable investment accounts: $408,000 (mostly vanguard total stock index)
Traditional IRA Accounts: $988,000 (mostly a 40/60 mix of Vanguard total stock, blue chip stocks and bonds)
Roth Accounts: $132,000 (a mix of blue chip stocks and REITS)
Dividend income: Roughly $40,000 a year from stocks and REITS

So it seems we've raised two kids, paid for a home, two college educations and done pretty well with savings. Perhaps there are others out there like me who just can't get over feeling they simply can't spend money. I grew up in a family where - though my parents seldom discussed it in front of my brother and I - we were really strapped for cash. Despite a successful career as a white collar exec, I think the core belief that "I'm poor" has stuck with me. I don't buy new clothes but live in stuff that probably looks a little ragged. We own older cars and I do most of my own car repairs (which I don't really enjoy doing). I do most of my own home maintenance (also don't enjoy it). We don't travel as a couple or as a family because I won't commit to going on a trip because it will cost money.

My wife also grew up in a family of very modest means but she's over it. She lives frugally but has no issues with spending. I trust her so we don't get into conflicts when she spends.

It seems that now that the kids are pretty much independent (with the exception of the last $25,000 in expenses for the younger) my wife wants us to start living a little. She's on me to go out and buy some new clothes. I go out to the shops but come back empty handed. She wants to take more trips next year and has been pushing hard for me to spend the money to take both boys to Europe or somewhere else that to me seems pretty extravagant. My wife is terrific... a very easy going person... but that I won't commit to this type of trip is beginning to cause a bit of tension.

Maybe I should get some therapy but... ahem... that would cost money.

So first off, are my finances within the safety zone for retirement even if the rest of my work life is likely to be unstable?

Secondly, are there any others out there who were successful at changing their mindset from poor to spending a little on life's extravagances?

Thank you.

sharukh
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Re: How not to feel poor...

Post by sharukh » Sun Dec 01, 2019 3:54 pm

Hi OP,

I had the same trouble. These are the solutions i employed : try to see if these may work for you.

1. Pre pay for everything preferably months in advance. So when the time actually comes to enjoy the stuff/ experience you paid for will fell like you are getting it for free.

2. I didn’t had any budget concept, all money is in one bucket. So it was hard to spend.
Set a monthly or yearly budget and call it extravaganza budget. We use it for things/ experience that we would normally not buy. As these new things/experience comes from a separate pre allocated bucket, I feel comfortable to spend.

HTH

smitcat
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Re: How not to feel poor...

Post by smitcat » Sun Dec 01, 2019 3:55 pm

"So first off, are my finances within the safety zone for retirement even if the rest of my work life is likely to be unstable?"
- at what age(s) do both of your expect to retire?
- What are your anticipated SS incomes?
- Do either of you have any pensions?
- Do either of you expect any healthcare benefits?

"Secondly, are there any others out there who were successful at changing their mindset from poor to spending a little on life's extravagances?"
Yes - we started very early on changing our mindset to be able to enjoy life to our best.
You only get one chance at living each year, period ,month etc in life so every one missed cannot be recouped for any price.

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Sandtrap
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Re: How not to feel poor...

Post by Sandtrap » Sun Dec 01, 2019 4:02 pm

Your caution may be warranted./
You may not be as well off as things seem, or not.

Suggestion
1. Edit your original post (pencil icon) to this format and to include this information:
Portfolio Review Request
https://www.bogleheads.org/forum/viewt ... =1&t=6212

2. Actionable question for you: Based on the information provided with the revised post, "can you retire today?"

3. You mention a "household budget" of $45k/year. What would be your anticipated annual expenses when retired?

4. Be sure to include pension and other income?

5. When do you plan to collect SS? How much would it be?
Wiki Bogleheads Wiki: Everything You Need to Know

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whodidntante
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Re: How not to feel poor...

Post by whodidntante » Sun Dec 01, 2019 4:15 pm

It seems to me that you are financially independent mainly due to low spending though not rich by Boglehead standards. Bogleheads tend to be prepared for doomsday so it's a pretty high hurdle to leap.

I also come from humble beginnings. I've managed to earn an income that is not as much as many Bogleheads but great for the area and for my peer group. It doesn't seem real and sometimes I suffer from imposter syndrome. One reason I save is I don't believe it will continue. And my fear is justified. Generally, people do not age well in my chosen profession. I'm determined and can earn money in various other ways but I need to have something for when the music stops.

However, I've never been a fan of living only for tomorrow. Old people tend to be physically unable to endure difficult travel or big adventures. I really enjoy travel to far off lands. I also don't want to be the 65-year-old driving a Corvette only on the weekend if it doesn't rain. So certain things I spend money on now. What is it you are missing out on? Good luck.

student
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Re: How not to feel poor...

Post by student » Sun Dec 01, 2019 4:17 pm

Since your question is how not to feel poor, I will tell you that you are in approximately the top 11% of the US households in your age group. (Data is from 2017, so if you adjust for inflation, I would say top 12%.) https://dqydj.com/net-worth-by-age-calc ... ed-states/

blastoff
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Re: How not to feel poor...

Post by blastoff » Sun Dec 01, 2019 4:18 pm

I wouldn't buy too many clothes you don't want. Maybe a couple nicer things, but don't spend money on something you really don't care about.

Do take some trips. It sounds like you would enjoy them, you just struggle spending.

If SS will be significant for both of you, I think you are in a great place.

Regattamom
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Re: How not to feel poor...

Post by Regattamom » Sun Dec 01, 2019 4:23 pm

Your wife is ready to enjoy her life with you and her grown children. You are lucky to be healthy and in a marriage where your spouse wants to spend time with you and have fun together. If you won't do it for yourself, do it for her. You can afford some trips.

averagedude
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Re: How not to feel poor...

Post by averagedude » Sun Dec 01, 2019 4:28 pm

This is why i believe in yearly budgets. Everyone thinks that budgets are negative and constraining, but it is really just a spending plan. Sit down with your wife on New Year's and develop a spending plan for next years expenses and allocate money to things that would make life enjoyable for the both of you.

texasdiver
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Re: How not to feel poor...

Post by texasdiver » Sun Dec 01, 2019 4:32 pm

Our circumstances are not that different from yours. I'm a couple years younger but was also laid off (or non-renewed) as happens in education. My wife earns more than yours but our finances are in the same ballpark with more retirement $$ and less taxable savings. My thoughts.

1. Even if you could maybe do early retirement based on the numbers, finding any kind of employment gig to keep you busy for the next few years while your wife continues to work does wonders for the state of mine. At least did for me. Although "we" can afford lots of things, I just feel better about spending when I'm contributing to the family income, even if more modestly than I used to. I don't know what your field is and what your local economy is. But there must be some options short of Uber driving. Any kind of consulting options? If your wife has the healthcare that gives you more flexibility. I'm doing some long-term subbing, and online consulting and while not matching my old salary, I'm coming a decent way there.

2. Frugal and poor are not the same thing. Embrace the difference. If your wife thinks you need some new clothes, accommodate her but honestly clothes are cheaper than they have ever been. You can get decent shirts and pants at Costco, for example, for ridiculous low prices. No need to go to expensive department stores, especially if you aren't working in a high powered business or legal environment where people notice your labels.

3. Travel can be done frugally or extravagantly. You can spend a fortune on a whirlwind tour of Europe doing fancy hotels and restaurants. Or you can fly over and get an AirB&B for a week someplace and just explore on your own, shop at local markets, do some of your own cooking, etc. We like to do the latter. As long as you aren't burning the seed corn so to speak and going into debt to travel, you can probably afford it. Maybe meet your wife half way and create a separate travel fund you can save into to pre-pay the trips she wants to do.
Last edited by texasdiver on Sun Dec 01, 2019 4:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Grt2bOutdoors
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Re: How not to feel poor...

Post by Grt2bOutdoors » Sun Dec 01, 2019 4:35 pm

Visit a thrift shop, you'd be surprised what you can find in there, little used or practically new clothes for cheap.
Start planning that trip to Europe or wherever, if you do it in advance you may find bargains in places to stay, flights, etc. So long as you are not jetting off to Paris every year, you should be okay. Its easy for me to say, but think of this as a way to let up on the stress for the entire family. If your budget is $45K today, it shouldn't be that much higher in retirement. You did a great job saving for retirement and you have zero debt! :sharebeer
The most important thing is to stop playing the comparison game and ignore the comparisons to the "bogleheads". There are people with more, lots more but they are few and far between - even on this forum.
"One should invest based on their need, ability and willingness to take risk - Larry Swedroe" Asking Portfolio Questions

Broken Man 1999
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Re: How not to feel poor...

Post by Broken Man 1999 » Sun Dec 01, 2019 4:41 pm

Maybe some new threads might enhance your job search.

Hopefully you don't appear raggedy in person. That would be a major turn off were I doing the hiring.

I would certainly try to do some living, lots of travel venues do not break the bank, as others have noted.

Shine yourself up, and keep trying.

Good luck!

Broken Man 1999
“If I cannot drink Bourbon and smoke cigars in Heaven than I shall not go. " -Mark Twain

HEDGEFUNDIE
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Re: How not to feel poor...

Post by HEDGEFUNDIE » Sun Dec 01, 2019 4:49 pm

Two thoughts:

1. You have more years behind you than ahead of you. How do you want to spend the rest of your life?

2. Net worth is traded off with experiences. Which person is better off? Someone with $2M in net worth but few enjoyable life experiences, or someone with $100k less but memories of traveling the world?

Leemiller
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Re: How not to feel poor...

Post by Leemiller » Sun Dec 01, 2019 4:57 pm

First of all, you’ve made it. Congratulations.

New clothes will help you get a new job. If your wife is telling you to buy new clothes, ask her to go shopping with you and don’t resist her suggestions. It is possible she’s embarrassed by how you are currently dressing. Hence her repeated requests. My husband dresses well, and I appreciate the effort and how he looks. None looks their best in shabby clothing.

As for the trip to Europe, you’ll be lucky if you can get two 20-somethings to commit to travel with you in a few years, especially at the same time. They will be off with their spouses and significant others. If you haven’t made a habit of family trips, it will not get easier to do so especially when a significant other enters the scene. I’m not sure why you’re letting a couple of thousand dollars create so much tension.

No reason to be so tight with your income and savings now. You’ve oversaved for a retirement at your current spent rate. Why not just commit to 5% of your taxable account being spent each year. That would be 400k, so about 20k a year more. Also, I would find a charity to donate to.

retire57
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Re: How not to feel poor...

Post by retire57 » Sun Dec 01, 2019 5:19 pm

I know how you feel. It's difficult to know how much is enough - not mathematically, but emotionally. It's a real challenge to move from the accumulation to the drawdown stage. Sometimes it feels like a tightrope walk.

My advice is to start outsourcing those tasks you really hate doing, i.e. the car repairs/maintenance. That's a great use of money as the happiness (and free time) you gain should be both long and short-term.

ddunca1944
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Re: How not to feel poor...

Post by ddunca1944 » Sun Dec 01, 2019 5:35 pm

Financial security has always been important to me. My husband and I were never big earners, but we were both big savers. Consequently we now enjoy a comfortable (but not lavish) retirement.

I still buy most of my clothes at thrift stores. I enjoy the fun of the hunt and the thrill of a good find.

We love to travel. We used to travel on a pretty tight budget - it was still very enjoyable. As we've gotten older, my husband had a very scary bout with cancer and we realized that our time here is limited. Experiences are more important to us than possessions. We still travel, but now spend more : longer trips and a bit more comfort.

The memories we have are priceless. I'm with your wife. Listen to her. And enjoy whatever time you have left. None of us knows how much time that is

Rus In Urbe
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Re: How not to feel poor...

Post by Rus In Urbe » Sun Dec 01, 2019 5:41 pm

The way I read it you're doing okay----not super rich but certainly secure and on track for eventual retirement. But you are unhappy.

So, here are two suggestions to cure your ailment:

PLAN A. Make it a project---with your wife----to go somewhere very enjoyable for a weekend trip and spend your time over nice dinners and walks talking about WHAT YOU WOULD ENJOY DOING TOGETHER. Take some photos of the two of you during this weekend. Keep in mind the abundance you have earned, and how short life is. Have some gratitude conversations during which you list with one another all the things you are grateful for (start with one another). Savor every minute together. And come up with a list of some things that would be fun to do in the future----and action steps to achieve them. You have both lived frugally so I doubt that these future fun things you come up with are going to break the bank.
Research has shown that the VALUE of an experience entails three things:
1. Anticipation and planning for it (savor doing this)
2. The actual experience itself
3. Remembering and recalling it (take lots of photos and review them from time to time)
Make this "abundance weekend" at least an annual event (maybe twice a year if you can stand the joy of it). This kind of mind-set should remind you of why you have worked and saved.

PLAN B. Stop focusing on yourself. Go work for Habitat for Humanity for a weekend. Volunteer every week at your local food pantry. Teach someone illiterate how to read, every week. Make human connections in your community with those who are less privileged than you are now. Establish a Donor Advised Fund and give a set amount of money to charities of your choice each year for a nice tax deduction. Try to find a young child who needs your mentorship.

If you do both these things, you will feel completely different in about a year.

Good luck to you! :beer
I'd like to live as a poor man with lots of money. ~Pablo Picasso

ExitStageLeft
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Re: How not to feel poor...

Post by ExitStageLeft » Sun Dec 01, 2019 5:43 pm

It sounds like your concerns are more behavioral than financial, but by every measure I can come up with you are financially independent. Even without Social Security you have a large enough nest egg to more than cover your anticipated expenses. Adding in an estimated $30k for SS at age 70 and the result is you can start your retirement now with an annual spend of $75k or so and be assured that you will not end up in the poorhouse.

Add in the assets of your home and you have something to fall back on when long term care may be needed.

If you're not familiar with the online retirement planning tools, here are a few:

https://www.i-orp.com/Spend/extended.html

http://cfiresim.com/

https://www.portfoliovisualizer.com/financial-goals

I have been doing the retirement planning loop for a couple years now. It may take some time to become confident that you have the resources to retire now, but it is time well spent.

7eight9
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Re: How not to feel poor...

Post by 7eight9 » Sun Dec 01, 2019 5:49 pm

Americans say, on average, that it takes a net worth of $2.27 million to be considered “wealthy,” according to a 2019 survey from Charles Schwab. Net worth means assets minus liabilities, so this is a picture of your total savings, including the value of your home, 401(k) and any other assets you may have, minus any debt.
Link --- https://www.cnbc.com/2019/05/14/the-net ... amily.html

I don't know if this number is right or wrong but if it is you are borderline wealthy.
I guess it all could be much worse. | They could be warming up my hearse.

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Watty
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Re: How not to feel poor...

Post by Watty » Sun Dec 01, 2019 6:08 pm

Cosmic Pony wrote:
Sun Dec 01, 2019 3:46 pm
So first off, are my finances within the safety zone for retirement even if the rest of my work life is likely to be unstable?
.....
Household budget $45,000/year wife makes $55,000 and carries health insurance
.....
Dividend income: Roughly $40,000 a year from stocks and REITS
And you will get Social Security in the not too distant future.

:oops:

Let me put that more politely.

:sharebeer

Congratulations you are doing fine.

See this web site for a suggested Social Security claiming strategy

https://opensocialsecurity.com/

Typically it makes sense for one spouse to start Social Security when they are around 62 and for the other to delay starting it until they are around 70, but that can vary. When the first of you starts Social Security you should be meet your spending goals without even spending all your dividends.
Cosmic Pony wrote:
Sun Dec 01, 2019 3:46 pm
Secondly, are there any others out there who were successful at changing their mindset from poor to spending a little on life's extravagances?
It was a few years before I retired but one year in my early 50s I ended up going to three funerals of people that were about my age. I was not real close to any of them since they were people like neighbors and people I worked with but that does get you thinking. One thing you might want to do is to see if you can get the information from your last high school class reunion if you did not go to it. If you had a large graduating class there are likely a significant number of people that have already died. That might motivate you to try to enjoy the time that you have left.

My numbers were a lot lower than yours and I retired a few years ago just before I turned 59.

I never felt poor but I do not have expensive tastes so having things like a nice middle class home and a late model Corolla are fine with me. Far from a poor lifestyle but hardly extravagant.

We do things like taking an international trip once about once a year as well as several domestic trips but even then there are ways to keep the costs reasonable by doing things like traveling in the shoulder season.

My wife sounds like she is more like you in that she has a hard time spending money even if we can afford it and have budgeted for it. For most things I have sort of become the designated shopper for big ticket items.

I would suggest just giving your wife permission to do something like plan and book a trip to Europe. There is no need to take an organized tour to most places since you can just get your flights and then use the Rick Steeves books as a planning tool. (Note: The hotels Rick Steeves recommends tend to be a bit more expensive than I think is necessary, but he usually also gives some budget options. When we are in Europe we usually spend so little time in hotel we are mostly just interested finding something that clean, safe, and in a decent location.) As she is doing this she should be communicating with you so the final trip is not a total surprise. Southern Europe tends to be a lot less expensive than Northern Europe so Spain or Italy would be great destinations for a first trip if you need a suggestion about where to go.

It would be good to start getting your passports now though since if you need to do things like get copies of missing birth certificates it can take awhile.

I wish I could remember which retirement planning book I read it in but somewhere I read a quote that went something like. "You do not get any choice about spending your retirement money or not, it will be spent. If you do not spend it then either your heirs or the government will spend it but it will be spent."
Cosmic Pony wrote:
Sun Dec 01, 2019 3:46 pm
She's on me to go out and buy some new clothes. I go out to the shops but come back empty handed.
1) Let your wife go through your drawers and closet and pick out the things that need to be retired. She may also find some things in the back of the closet that you had forgotten about.

2) Get all your clothing sizes and then sit down on the computer and visit a few clothing web sites. Check out their return policy then let your wife order a basic new wardrobe for you. A couple of dress pants, a few casual pants and a dozen new shirts. That will go a long way and you can likely do that for less than $500.

mathwhiz
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Re: How not to feel poor...

Post by mathwhiz » Sun Dec 01, 2019 6:18 pm

Maybe the layoff is affecting your self-confidence and causing your emotional state and a case of the blahs.

It sounds to me like you have a net worth of $2.2 Million including your paid off home and $1.6 Million in investments with income of $95k with dividends covering $45k in expenses.

So what is the problem in spending $20k a year on travel and increasing your budget to $65k a year? If this is psychologically an issue for you, take a part time job to add income but by all accounts you are good.

At this rate, your children are going to be very fortunate inheriting a mid 7 figure investment portfolio because you refuse to spend it down at any rate.

Topic Author
Cosmic Pony
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Re: How not to feel poor...

Post by Cosmic Pony » Sun Dec 01, 2019 6:39 pm

All terrific advice, many gems to put to use. And thanks to those who have take such time and effort to respond. Memory serves that the last time I ran the numbers on social security, we were each in the mid to upper $2,000 a month range, but we're not quite at the finish line yet. We have both been working without a break since we met in our early 20's so have paid quite a bit in. Guess I haven't been giving this potential income enough weight in the overall picture.

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mrspock
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Re: How not to feel poor...

Post by mrspock » Sun Dec 01, 2019 6:50 pm

+1 on the the "pre pay" vacay idea as well, I do this for most of my vacations, as it lets me enjoy them more thoroughly, I find I'm able to splurge on the "incidentals" far more if I do it this way.

Do you have a detailed monthly budget? If so, create one even if you've been able to be a terrific saver without one. This might help give you confidence to spend the balance of your monthly budget on whatever else you'd like.

I'm still in the accumulation phase, but I think the key to having confidence to spend is having a good budget, and automating as much as you can (be it investing, paying bills, or withdrawals). If you have money left over each month, consider moving it to a separate "free spending" account vs. letting is sit in your investment accounts, this might make it easier to give yourself permission to spend it later.

You only live once, and you did all this saving so you could enjoy life. So go enjoy it!

TallBoy29er
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Re: How not to feel poor...

Post by TallBoy29er » Sun Dec 01, 2019 7:20 pm

Get some new threads. This isn't a once a year thing for you obviously. But it can change the way you look and feel about yourself, and others can see a difference as well. Even your wife (think about that for a sec). Also, I hire people. The way they present themselves is important. Not via name brands, but you should not look thread-worn. Think $300-$400 invested in your appearance for the next 3 years. That is peanuts for a guy who is worth over $2M.

And yeah, your wife has sacrificed along with you for all these years. You are going to need to find a way past your current mindset, but you already know that.
Last edited by TallBoy29er on Sun Dec 01, 2019 8:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.

krb
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Re: How not to feel poor...

Post by krb » Sun Dec 01, 2019 7:22 pm

I bought a clipper because it burned me to spend $20 to get a haircut. So I cut my own. Eventually enough people said "...did ... you ... cut your own hair?" that I stopped. Also I buy all my clothes on nordstromrack.com and return whatever comes in if it doesn't fit right. I can't tell you how much I buy on ebay because I can save a couple bucks.

To be honest, I kind of like looking for deals and getting annoyed at overpaying. I think it reinforces the value of a dollar.

HEDGEFUNDIE
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Re: How not to feel poor...

Post by HEDGEFUNDIE » Sun Dec 01, 2019 7:23 pm

krb wrote:
Sun Dec 01, 2019 7:22 pm
I bought a clipper because it burned me to spend $20 to get a haircut. So I cut my own. Eventually enough people said "...did ... you ... cut your own hair?" that I stopped. Also I buy all my clothes on nordstromrack.com and return whatever comes in if it doesn't fit right. I can't tell you how much I buy on ebay because I can save a couple bucks.

To be honest, I kind of like looking for deals and getting annoyed at overpaying. I think it reinforces the value of a dollar.
But does it reinforce the value of your time? Or of your life?

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Watty
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Re: How not to feel poor...

Post by Watty » Sun Dec 01, 2019 7:28 pm

Cosmic Pony wrote:
Sun Dec 01, 2019 6:39 pm
Memory serves that the last time I ran the numbers on social security, we were each in the mid to upper $2,000 a month range, but we're not quite at the finish line yet.
2x2,500x12= $60K a year.

Lots of details but the only reason that you would not be at the finish line is if you have lapped yourself and were making an extra victory lap.

Still lots of details to work through but financially you are more than fine.

mathwhiz
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Re: How not to feel poor...

Post by mathwhiz » Sun Dec 01, 2019 7:30 pm

Remember you can use that $600k in equity in your home if you so desire. Sell and move to a low cost of living area and buy a $200k townhome or smaller house and add the $400k into the kitty for travel/fun whatever. It's enough money to travel smartly for months on end if you so desire renting vacation places all over the country for many years while your bodies can handle it.

krb
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Re: How not to feel poor...

Post by krb » Sun Dec 01, 2019 8:04 pm

HEDGEFUNDIE wrote:
Sun Dec 01, 2019 7:23 pm
krb wrote:
Sun Dec 01, 2019 7:22 pm
I bought a clipper because it burned me to spend $20 to get a haircut. So I cut my own. Eventually enough people said "...did ... you ... cut your own hair?" that I stopped. Also I buy all my clothes on nordstromrack.com and return whatever comes in if it doesn't fit right. I can't tell you how much I buy on ebay because I can save a couple bucks.

To be honest, I kind of like looking for deals and getting annoyed at overpaying. I think it reinforces the value of a dollar.
But does it reinforce the value of your time? Or of your life?
Hi.
1-I am still young enough that I am in accumulation phase (50) and not comfortable spending freely. So I penny pinch partially for practical reasons (ie will I have enough at retirement). But also it burns me to spend money unnecessarily. I like the experience of going to get a haircut. But even more than that I like the experience of saving $30 with tip by doing it myself. I think my self-haircuts look great. But every single time I've done it several people make that comment above. So even though it looks great to me everyone else in the world is seeing something I'm not. Either they are all crazy or I am wrong. Usually when faced in that situation it is because I am wrong not everyone else is crazy. Rarely it has been the other way but I'm not stupid enough not to recognize that. 100,000,000 Elvis fans can't be wrong as they say.

I like the quality of being frugal and admire it in others and frown upon its opposite in me and frown upon its opposite in others. So It's only partially the money. It's partially the discipline and the character that it builds. To my mind at least.

krb
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Re: How not to feel poor...

Post by krb » Sun Dec 01, 2019 8:06 pm

TallBoy29er wrote:
Sun Dec 01, 2019 7:20 pm
Get some new threads. This isn't a once a year thing for you obviously. But it can change the way you look and feel about yourself, and others can see a difference as well. Even your wife (think about that for a sec). Also, I hire people. The way the present themselves is important. Not via name brands, but you should not look thread-worn. Think $300-$400 invested in your appearance for the next 3 years. That is peanuts for a guy who is worth over $2M.

And yeah, your wife has sacrificed along with you for all these years. You are going to need to find a way past your current mindset, but you already know that.
If you get new threads seriously look at nordstromrack.com. They will ship whatever you order to your house. Free shipping spending over a reasonable minimum. Whatever doesn't fit just return to your local brick and mortar. It's changed my life! Great clothes. Half off! Yes I'm a cheapskate but I prefer the term "frugal."

delamer
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Re: How not to feel poor...

Post by delamer » Sun Dec 01, 2019 8:27 pm

If you spent $16,000 to take your family to Europe, that would reduce your liquid net worth by exactly 1% and your total net worth by 0.7%. And that is with a total net worth of over $2 million and expenses of $45,000/year.

Your wife has made a reasonable request that you spend your joint assets in a way that would give her enjoyment and have zero effect on your financial security.

You’ve passed frugal and have arrived at cheap.

If your wife wrote in, I’d tell her to take the kids to Europe without you. :?

texasdiver
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Re: How not to feel poor...

Post by texasdiver » Sun Dec 01, 2019 8:57 pm

Cosmic Pony wrote:
Sun Dec 01, 2019 6:39 pm
All terrific advice, many gems to put to use. And thanks to those who have take such time and effort to respond. Memory serves that the last time I ran the numbers on social security, we were each in the mid to upper $2,000 a month range, but we're not quite at the finish line yet. We have both been working without a break since we met in our early 20's so have paid quite a bit in. Guess I haven't been giving this potential income enough weight in the overall picture.
I can't say enough good things about https://maximizemysocialsecurity.com/ which is well worth the money to buy the software. If you pull up your earnings history from the SS web site you can input all the actual data and then estimate future earnings and get a real picture of future SS benefits as well as the advantages or disadvantages of different withdrawal schemes and how much additional years of employment will help, if at all.

You'll find lots of highly political comment on this forum about social security. But based on what you know about politics, try to imagine a scenario in which the most active voting block in this country (older Americans) goes along with any plans to demolish social security, or even reduce benefits to any meaningful degree. It's not called the third rail of American politics for nothing. Especially in this day an age when private and public pensions are rapidly disappearing. Personally I think this country would have to be in a Zimbabwe level economic crisis before social security starts getting touched. And then we would all have much bigger problems. But that's just my opinion. Point is, you need to decide for yourself how much you want to rely on future social security in your planning.

Dottie57
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Re: How not to feel poor...

Post by Dottie57 » Sun Dec 01, 2019 9:03 pm

averagedude wrote:
Sun Dec 01, 2019 4:28 pm
This is why i believe in yearly budgets. Everyone thinks that budgets are negative and constraining, but it is really just a spending plan. Sit down with your wife on New Year's and develop a spending plan for next years expenses and allocate money to things that would make life enjoyable for the both of you.
I like this concept a lot.

keepingitsimple
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Re: How not to feel poor...

Post by keepingitsimple » Sun Dec 01, 2019 9:05 pm

Feeling poor is definitely a mindset. There are some with great means that feel poor and other with more meager means that feel rich. So it really is all in how one chooses to view circumstances.

Perhaps one way to transition to a more balanced viewpoint is to set up a budget with your spouse for the trip and some of the other things she indicates you need, like clothes. Then ask her to take the lead in making those things happen so you're not bogged down with price tags. She sounds reasonable, she's frugal and you've indicated you trust her...so let her make the arrangements and make the payments. You know she'll stay on or below budget and it will help you experience things more freely and with a different mindset.

If you don't free yourself mentally to make some sort of transition to a healthier, more balanced view of spending money on life's joys you will eventually live in regret. Don't do that.

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FIREchief
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Re: How not to feel poor...

Post by FIREchief » Sun Dec 01, 2019 9:12 pm

Cosmic Pony wrote:
Sun Dec 01, 2019 3:46 pm
She wants to take more trips next year and has been pushing hard for me to spend the money to take both boys to Europe or somewhere else that to me seems pretty extravagant. My wife is terrific... a very easy going person... but that I won't commit to this type of trip is beginning to cause a bit of tension.
Do your boys want to go to Europe? :confused
I am not a lawyer, accountant or financial advisor. Any advice or suggestions that I may provide shall be considered for entertainment purposes only.

mathwhiz
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Re: How not to feel poor...

Post by mathwhiz » Sun Dec 01, 2019 9:43 pm

As they say happy wife, happy life. Also, since she is the one bringing home the bacon with you currently unemployed, it's time to take some cues from her. Make her happy or she might become resentful and all that money won't mean much when you have to give half of it up in a divorce.
She wants to take more trips next year and has been pushing hard for me to spend the money to take both boys to Europe or somewhere else that to me seems pretty extravagant. My wife is terrific... a very easy going person... but that I won't commit to this type of trip is beginning to cause a bit of tension.

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Sandtrap
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Re: How not to feel poor...

Post by Sandtrap » Sun Dec 01, 2019 9:44 pm

mathwhiz wrote:
Sun Dec 01, 2019 9:43 pm
As they say happy wife, happy life. Also, since she is the one bringing home the bacon with you currently unemployed, it's time to take some cues from her. Make her happy or she might become resentful and all that money won't mean much when you have to give half of it up in a divorce.
She wants to take more trips next year and has been pushing hard for me to spend the money to take both boys to Europe or somewhere else that to me seems pretty extravagant. My wife is terrific... a very easy going person... but that I won't commit to this type of trip is beginning to cause a bit of tension.
+1
Great points!
j :happy
Wiki Bogleheads Wiki: Everything You Need to Know

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alec
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Re: How not to feel poor...

Post by alec » Sun Dec 01, 2019 10:53 pm

If you’re anxious about traveling, start out by taking small, cheap, trips. Once you get exposed to visiting new places, you may be more open to it. So, I wouldn’t have the first trip be Europe.

Also, therapy is cheaper than divorce. :D
"It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it!" - Upton Sinclair

tesuzuki2002
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Re: How not to feel poor...

Post by tesuzuki2002 » Sun Dec 01, 2019 11:11 pm

alec wrote:
Sun Dec 01, 2019 10:53 pm
If you’re anxious about traveling, start out by taking small, cheap, trips. Once you get exposed to visiting new places, you may be more open to it. So, I wouldn’t have the first trip be Europe.

Also, therapy is cheaper than divorce. :D
I just spent 2 weeks in Europe... UK and Italy. Total trip cost was only $1600 which I thought was completely reasonable.

EnjoyIt
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Re: How not to feel poor...

Post by EnjoyIt » Sun Dec 01, 2019 11:23 pm

#1 You are practically financially independent. Once your kid is out of the house you can both quite working and live comfortably collecting $50k/yr from your investments and there is a good chance your kids will still inherit over a million each. This is because you will qualify for free healthcare under the ACA.

#2 eventually you 2 will collect Social Security which will cover your expenses in retirement so you don't really need a portfolio past 70.5 years old.

#3 Since you are rich and financially independent while still one of you still has a job why not take that extra cash and spend an extra $10,15, even $20k a year on fun things. Your portfolio will still continue to grow in the back ground while you get to enjoy life a little more.

Congratulations, on achieving financial independence.

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Brianmcg321
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Re: How not to feel poor...

Post by Brianmcg321 » Mon Dec 02, 2019 1:55 am

I heard a quote I think about a lot as I'm getting closer to retirement:
"Your money you've saved up your entire life is going to be spent. Either by you while your alive, or someone else after your dead".
Rules to investing: | 1. Don't lose money. | 2. Don't forget rule number 1.

anonsdca
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Re: How not to feel poor...

Post by anonsdca » Mon Dec 02, 2019 2:00 am

One of the better humble brags I have seen here, AND there are a lot. Nice job.

DesertDiva
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Location: In the desert

Re: How not to feel poor...

Post by DesertDiva » Mon Dec 02, 2019 2:21 am

Read this article to help get some perspective:
https://www.marketwatch.com/story/whats ... 2019-10-01

Your net worth is higher than roughly 5.5 billion other human beings on this planet. At this point in life, you likely aren’t going to be a decamillionaire, but you don’t need to be. Just spend what you need to spend within your values and you’ll be fine. You’ve made good decisions so far...

RevFran
Posts: 39
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Re: How not to feel poor...

Post by RevFran » Mon Dec 02, 2019 6:43 am

If you can truly live on your wife’s salary, then anything you might earn should you find work, take on a p-t job etc, is gravy —so why not, when you find work, split what you earn in half — half for retirement savings and half for travel?

I also appreciate the psychological benefits of prepaying travel.

pennywise
Posts: 701
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Re: How not to feel poor...

Post by pennywise » Mon Dec 02, 2019 7:34 am

retire57 wrote:
Sun Dec 01, 2019 5:19 pm
My advice is to start outsourcing those tasks you really hate doing, i.e. the car repairs/maintenance. That's a great use of money as the happiness (and free time) you gain should be both long and short-term.
+1

I'm still evaluating our new income/outgo balance since we are <1 year into retirement. I have a constant vague unease about spending even though we are objectively fine-when the Vanguard rep tells you you've won the game, that's a pretty solid endorsement!

We aren't eager travelers, we don't spend on new cars every few years, we only go to restaurants when out with our grown kids, I don't care for jewelry, fancy watches and expensive clothes. The dollar store is a great source for a lot of basics. So generally we don't live a "luxurious" lifestyle.

However I hate scrubbing toilets so it is absolutely wonderful to have someone else clean the house every other week. If left to my own devices I would never voluntarily exercise so it's very helpful to go to a Pilates class a few times a week and do what the instructor says. Eating at home is more fun when I go to the market and buy fresh fish that was swimming a few hours earlier even though it costs more than a block of frozen stuff from Costco or Publix. For the first time in my life I have learned to use the drive through car wash instead of a hose and a bucket and a few hours of my own time. And so on.

All these things make me feel I'm living like a queen. Oh, and I should add being able to cover incidental expenses for the 501c3 I'm involved in forming, being able to cover the cost of a dinner for a friend at the League of Women Voters holiday dinner, being able to write a check to the group that helps the national park we dive in....yep, nothing makes you feel richer than helping someone else along the way too.

So as has been said, you don't need to subscribe to common wisdom-not feeling poor can come from doing things that may be simple to others but which you've not allowed yourself to indulge. And find those things that resonate for YOU, not necessarily because Everyone Else does them.

Live it up! That car wash thing, game changer there... :D

Shallowpockets
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Re: How not to feel poor...

Post by Shallowpockets » Mon Dec 02, 2019 8:05 am

Lossen up, my friend. Loosen up. Baby steps. First, indulge your wife, and yourself, by getting some new clothes. Clothes make the man, or they make him shabby. And perhaps that is what you are. You do not have a job, so no reason to dress any particular way. No reason to dress at all, so you get up and crawl back into the same clothes. Next day, same thing. You look the same, so you feel the same.
Get thee a couple new items. Swap them out for your old worn out stuff. Look proud.
You can look at yourself in a new light. It can change your attitude.
Baby steps. Don’t be a stodgy old skinflint.
Wow, you bought some new clothes. Maybe just pants, or a shirt. Like getting new running shoes. Now that daily run has perked up. You want to get out there.
Happy wife, happy life. Because this would be a show and tell and what it tells her is you are trying.
You have to start somewhere.
Next thing you know you will be taking a vacation in those new clothes and life will be beautiful.
Happy wife, happy life. May be so much better for you all around.

simas
Posts: 465
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Re: How not to feel poor...

Post by simas » Mon Dec 02, 2019 8:37 am

Cosmic Pony wrote:
Sun Dec 01, 2019 3:46 pm
...
Household budget $45,000/year wife makes $55,000 and carries health insurance
22% tax bracket but likely lower next year
Money market accounts: $59,000 (around a year's living expense)
Taxable investment accounts: $408,000 (mostly vanguard total stock index)
Traditional IRA Accounts: $988,000 (mostly a 40/60 mix of Vanguard total stock, blue chip stocks and bonds)
Roth Accounts: $132,000 (a mix of blue chip stocks and REITS)
Dividend income: Roughly $40,000 a year from stocks and REITS

Maybe I should get some therapy but... ahem... that would cost money.

So first off, are my finances within the safety zone for retirement even if the rest of my work life is likely to be unstable?


Thank you.
I think you may see your own answers
- yes, your taxes are going to be significantly lower than 22% marginal rate
- absolutely yes, get help/mental help/therapy. Not only for sake of marriage but your own. Dealing with major change (layoffs) and defensive reaction you exhibit is absolutely normal.
- you have plenty of savings


This forum is full of people who are busy calculating 0.00001% withdrawal rate variances so 'they never run out of money'. It is sad to think about such people failing to think of
a) 'running out of life' (your average life expectancy right now is 23 years according to SSA.gov)
b) 'running out of health' (which WILL happen much earlier than running out of life)

so live, and take good care of your (physical/mental) health

wrongfunds
Posts: 2034
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Re: How not to feel poor...

Post by wrongfunds » Mon Dec 02, 2019 2:54 pm

anonsdca wrote:
Mon Dec 02, 2019 2:00 am
One of the better humble brags I have seen here, AND there are a lot. Nice job.
I can spot a humble brag 10 miles way but this is NOT it. The OP did NOT come across as humble bragging at all.

By the way, I do agree with you that there are *LOT* of the humble brags here though, some blatant and some subtle.

NOT this one though.

CMD1
Posts: 87
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Re: How not to feel poor...

Post by CMD1 » Mon Dec 02, 2019 3:01 pm

Congrats, looks like your going to be fine. With wife working you have the income you need and can reinvest $40k a year in dividends. At some point sounds like SS will replace her income AND whatever you do and earn will be a bonus to get further ahead and take those trips. Go on a least one trip as she suggests, sounds fun!!

pkay
Posts: 119
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Re: How not to feel poor...

Post by pkay » Tue Dec 03, 2019 1:28 pm

What you have is by no means poor. You have a house that is paid for. Plenty of money in the bank (certainly more than we have). Two adult children and a lovely wife who wants to spend time with you. It's good to spend what you have as long as it is within your means. Make memories and enjoy life together while you're healthy and can go places together. You worked hard to get here so enjoy it. At the end of the day, are you happy? If you're not happy and always worrying, then there is probably no end to saving for retirement. One thing that did occur to me is you could downsize your home if you don't enjoy doing the repair work.

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