The fallacy of spending money on "experiences" vs hard assets

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Isabelle77
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Re: The fallacy of spending money on "experiences" vs hard assets

Post by Isabelle77 » Sat Nov 25, 2017 3:06 pm

Personally, I disagree with you 100%. But you do you :)

Summer camp for our kids, vacations, Hamilton tickets, throwing xmas parties, trying out the new trendy restaurants, museum memberships, skiing season passes, all of those things I'd take over a new car or home theater system. But your money is for you and your loved ones and you should do as you please. My inlaws wanted nothing more than to buy a fancy house near the beach, they did and they love it, and they don't care that they can't afford to do much else. To each his own :)

sketchy9
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Re: The fallacy of spending money on "experiences" vs hard assets

Post by sketchy9 » Sat Nov 25, 2017 3:17 pm

sambb wrote:
Sat Nov 25, 2017 2:23 pm
RRAAYY3 wrote:
Sat Nov 25, 2017 2:20 pm
sambb wrote:
Sat Nov 25, 2017 2:15 pm
the Op makes somes good points
Experiences vs. Things is irrelevant
When i drove an italian or german exotic sports car, it was an "experience", not just a "thing"
I am GLAD I spent thousands of dollars on trips to europe, vegas, and other places with friends in my 20s INSTEAD of investing in index funds. This includes the awesome convertible i had, and the trips to the beach. Why? because those "experiences" and "things" are totally different in my 20s then they are in one's 50s, etc. I could n't care less about the money those thousands would have become if it was invested. I chuckle sometimes when i see that people want to retire to "travel", and I am sure that would be fun, but something tells me it would be very different than eurrailing through europe in one's 20s. I

As long as someone is happy with their purchases, who cares if it is on experiences and things. And if buying things or experiences doesnt make one happy, and one would rather have the money invested - more power to you to. I see the benefit of both approaches.
couldn't agree more ... sure, 1 summer i spent over 20K traveling and in theory would be "better off" with that in an index fund over 5+ years, but oh well silly me decided to actually enjoy his life. i saw my grandfather die alone, miserable, with a huge bank account because he constantly worried about every penny and always saving for what amounted to nothing. it's actually quite sad to think about - and this save,save,save frugal mentality on here sometimes gets out of control.

at some point enough is enough and you need to actually step back and enjoy life. it's short.

Agree, travel especially - younger is great time to travel and see the world. Builds character too.
When I was 22 I backpacked through Europe for 6 weeks on $50/day (which wasn't much even in those days). I would never ever ever do that again at my age, but it was invaluably eye-opening at that age. I learned so much about myself and life all while travelling in some of the most beautiful and awe-inspiring locations in the world. I smartly wrote everything down as soon as I got home and still get a smile on my face when I read it, almost 20 years later. Some things are literally priceless.

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fishandgolf
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Re: The fallacy of spending money on "experiences" vs hard assets

Post by fishandgolf » Sat Nov 25, 2017 3:18 pm

My wife loves to travel.....I love my wife :D ....therefore, I must travel. :|

Personally, I do not enjoy travel.....I don't mind the vacation part.....the travel is a PITA. Airports :annoyed , rental cars, dragging luggage everywhere :annoyed , wearing the same clothes every other day, finding good restaurants, sleeping in crappy beds, crowds.........

My wife loves to travel......I love my wife :D ....therefore, I must travel :|
Last edited by fishandgolf on Sat Nov 25, 2017 3:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: The fallacy of spending money on "experiences" vs hard assets

Post by jhfenton » Sat Nov 25, 2017 3:20 pm

eye.surgeon wrote:
Sat Nov 25, 2017 11:50 am
Mind you, my wife has accused me of being the worst vacationer in the world as I get bored after about 3 days.
I'm not a relaxation vacationer. The idea of spending money to go sit on the beach seems absurd. But real travel, exploring foreign countries, hiking through mountains, running marathons in exotic locales, those are the experiences I live for. (And part of the fun in international travel is making sure that I speak some of the language ahead of time.) A cruise, on the other hand? Just shoot me and let me save the money.

In the end, we all derive joy from different things and therefore choose to spend money on different things. In June, I'm going with my son's Spanish class to Spain and Morocco for a week and a half. It will be some of the best money I've ever spent. (French, Spanish, and Arabic, check.)

On one hand, I've spent $2,500 on a treadmill and more than that all-in on my bicycle. I've traveled and run marathons in 26 states (so far).

On other other, I drive a 2008 Ford Fusion that I bought used, and our "big" TV cost $399 (a 55" 4K set). A home theater? Meh.

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Wildebeest
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Re: The fallacy of spending money on "experiences" vs hard assets

Post by Wildebeest » Sat Nov 25, 2017 3:30 pm

I am with eye surgeon that experiences are so overrated. We went to the Galapagos islands with National Geographics/ Lindblat for one week and I enjoyed the two hour National Geographics movie I saw on cable while I was walking on the treadmill so much more.

For me it is a myth that vacations/experiences are more worthwhile. I find hard assets /money a myth as well.


Harari's "Sapiens" on world travel" (reading his book is an experience, which changed my outlook on life, very much recommended):

The imagined order shapes our desires
“Most people do not wish to accept that the order governing their lives is imaginary, but in fact every person is born into a pre-existing imagined order, and his or her desires are shaped from birth by its dominant myths. Our personal desires thereby become the imagined order’s most important defences.

“For instance, the most cherished desires of present-day Westerners are shaped by romantic, nationalist, capitalist and humanist myths that have been around for centuries.



“Even what people take to be their most personal desires are usually programmed by the imagined order. Let’s consider, for example, the popular desire to take a holiday abroad. There is nothing natural or obvious about this. A chimpanzee alpha male would never think of using his power in order to go on holiday into the territory of a neighboring chimpanzee band. The elite of ancient Egypt spent their fortunes building pyramids and having their corpses mummified, but none of them thought of going shopping in Babylon or taking a skiing holiday in Phoenicia. People today spend a great deal of money on holidays abroad because they are true believers in the myths of romantic consumerism.

“Romanticism tells us that in order to make the most of our human potential we must have as many different experiences as we can. We must open ourselves to a wide spectrum of emotions; we must sample various kinds of relationships; we must try different cuisines; we must learn to appreciate different styles of music.

“One of the best ways to do all that is to break free from our daily routine, leave behind our familiar setting, and go travelling in distant lands, where we can ‘experience’ the culture, the smells, the tastes and the norms of other people. We hear again and again the romantic myths about ‘how a new experience opened my eyes and changed my life’.



“The tourism industry does not sell flight tickets and hotel bedrooms. It sells experiences. Paris is not a city, nor India a country – they are both experiences, the consumption of which is supposed to widen our horizons, fulfil our human potential, and make us happier. Consequently, when the relationship between a millionaire and his wife is going through a rocky patch, he takes her on an expensive trip to Paris. The trip is not a reflection of some independent desire, but rather of an ardent belief in the myths of romantic consumerism. A wealthy man in ancient Egypt would never have dreamed of solving a relationship crisis by taking his wife on holiday to Babylon. Instead, he might have built for her the sumptuous tomb she had always wanted.”
The Golden Rule: One should treat others as one would like others to treat oneself.

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Re: The fallacy of spending money on "experiences" vs hard assets

Post by sketchy9 » Sat Nov 25, 2017 3:47 pm

Wildebeest wrote:
Sat Nov 25, 2017 3:30 pm
I am with eye surgeon that experiences are so overrated. We went to the Galapagos islands with National Geographics/ Lindblat for one week and I enjoyed the two hour National Geographics movie I saw on cable while I was walking on the treadmill so much more.

For me it is a myth that vacations/experiences are more worthwhile. I find hard assets /money a myth as well.


Harari's "Sapiens" on world travel" (reading his book is an experience, which changed my outlook on life, very much recommended):

The imagined order shapes our desires
“Most people do not wish to accept that the order governing their lives is imaginary, but in fact every person is born into a pre-existing imagined order, and his or her desires are shaped from birth by its dominant myths. Our personal desires thereby become the imagined order’s most important defences.

“For instance, the most cherished desires of present-day Westerners are shaped by romantic, nationalist, capitalist and humanist myths that have been around for centuries.



“Even what people take to be their most personal desires are usually programmed by the imagined order. Let’s consider, for example, the popular desire to take a holiday abroad. There is nothing natural or obvious about this. A chimpanzee alpha male would never think of using his power in order to go on holiday into the territory of a neighboring chimpanzee band. The elite of ancient Egypt spent their fortunes building pyramids and having their corpses mummified, but none of them thought of going shopping in Babylon or taking a skiing holiday in Phoenicia. People today spend a great deal of money on holidays abroad because they are true believers in the myths of romantic consumerism.

“Romanticism tells us that in order to make the most of our human potential we must have as many different experiences as we can. We must open ourselves to a wide spectrum of emotions; we must sample various kinds of relationships; we must try different cuisines; we must learn to appreciate different styles of music.

“One of the best ways to do all that is to break free from our daily routine, leave behind our familiar setting, and go travelling in distant lands, where we can ‘experience’ the culture, the smells, the tastes and the norms of other people. We hear again and again the romantic myths about ‘how a new experience opened my eyes and changed my life’.



“The tourism industry does not sell flight tickets and hotel bedrooms. It sells experiences. Paris is not a city, nor India a country – they are both experiences, the consumption of which is supposed to widen our horizons, fulfil our human potential, and make us happier. Consequently, when the relationship between a millionaire and his wife is going through a rocky patch, he takes her on an expensive trip to Paris. The trip is not a reflection of some independent desire, but rather of an ardent belief in the myths of romantic consumerism. A wealthy man in ancient Egypt would never have dreamed of solving a relationship crisis by taking his wife on holiday to Babylon. Instead, he might have built for her the sumptuous tomb she had always wanted.”
Nothing in that passage refutes the value of travel. The comparison to chimpanzees is specious because, well, we're human beings, not chimpanzees. We form cultures, languages, different methods of cooking food, etc. And a wealthy man in ancient Egypt understood very little of the world, nor did he have any knowledge of the vast and varied landscape on earth nor of the diversity of the aforementioned cultures, cuisine, etc.

The drive to explore and discover new places is pretty innate in my opinion. I wonder how that author would explain ancient Polynesians, who set out on a vast ocean not knowing what was out there. What drove them? If not "travel" per se, certainly the desire to explore, to expand, and hopefully exploit any resources found. The same spirit of discovery and exploration drives many travellers. There's not really anything left to discover in this world, but anything new to me is a discovery for me, and travelling allows me and many others to scratch that itch.

DarthSage
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Re: The fallacy of spending money on "experiences" vs hard assets

Post by DarthSage » Sat Nov 25, 2017 3:53 pm

First off, I don't think everyone "has" to enjoy the same things in the same way. If the OP (or anyone else) doesn't care for travel, then it's a "bad spend" for that person. I'm a woman who doesn't see the value in fashion or jewelry--I'm in the minority, but there you have it.

As to travel, though, I do think the experience can be priceless and have huge value--for me. I took two trips this summer. The first was a college graduation trip for my oldest--she and I, along with her 14yo sister, went to Italy for 12 days. It was a fabulous experience, and I wouldn't trade the family bonding time and learning for anything. My girls will remember that trip forever, and they got to experience the land where my father was born--a grandfather that they never met, but now feel connected to.

The second trip was a week at a ranch we visit every year. The first time we went, our oldest was 1yo, and we've been back every year since. It's as comfortable as an old shoe, and has been an integral part of my children's lives. They simply couldn't NOT go. Now, this is probably the type of vacation that the OP doesn't care for--it's very laid-back. But, that's exactly why my kids love it. They know the place like their own bedrooms, they know the staff, they know exactly what to expect. The familiarity and comfort mean the world to them. It's the exact opposite of an exciting vacation, but it's so important to us as a family.

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bligh
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Re: The fallacy of spending money on "experiences" vs hard assets

Post by bligh » Sat Nov 25, 2017 4:10 pm

Wildebeest wrote:
Sat Nov 25, 2017 3:30 pm
I am with eye surgeon that experiences are so overrated. We went to the Galapagos islands with National Geographics/ Lindblat for one week and I enjoyed the two hour National Geographics movie I saw on cable while I was walking on the treadmill so much more.

For me it is a myth that vacations/experiences are more worthwhile. I find hard assets /money a myth as well.


Harari's "Sapiens" on world travel" (reading his book is an experience, which changed my outlook on life, very much recommended):

The imagined order shapes our desires
“Most people do not wish to accept that the order governing their lives is imaginary, but in fact every person is born into a pre-existing imagined order, and his or her desires are shaped from birth by its dominant myths. Our personal desires thereby become the imagined order’s most important defences.

“For instance, the most cherished desires of present-day Westerners are shaped by romantic, nationalist, capitalist and humanist myths that have been around for centuries.



“Even what people take to be their most personal desires are usually programmed by the imagined order. Let’s consider, for example, the popular desire to take a holiday abroad. There is nothing natural or obvious about this. A chimpanzee alpha male would never think of using his power in order to go on holiday into the territory of a neighboring chimpanzee band. The elite of ancient Egypt spent their fortunes building pyramids and having their corpses mummified, but none of them thought of going shopping in Babylon or taking a skiing holiday in Phoenicia. People today spend a great deal of money on holidays abroad because they are true believers in the myths of romantic consumerism.

“Romanticism tells us that in order to make the most of our human potential we must have as many different experiences as we can. We must open ourselves to a wide spectrum of emotions; we must sample various kinds of relationships; we must try different cuisines; we must learn to appreciate different styles of music.

“One of the best ways to do all that is to break free from our daily routine, leave behind our familiar setting, and go travelling in distant lands, where we can ‘experience’ the culture, the smells, the tastes and the norms of other people. We hear again and again the romantic myths about ‘how a new experience opened my eyes and changed my life’.



“The tourism industry does not sell flight tickets and hotel bedrooms. It sells experiences. Paris is not a city, nor India a country – they are both experiences, the consumption of which is supposed to widen our horizons, fulfil our human potential, and make us happier. Consequently, when the relationship between a millionaire and his wife is going through a rocky patch, he takes her on an expensive trip to Paris. The trip is not a reflection of some independent desire, but rather of an ardent belief in the myths of romantic consumerism. A wealthy man in ancient Egypt would never have dreamed of solving a relationship crisis by taking his wife on holiday to Babylon. Instead, he might have built for her the sumptuous tomb she had always wanted.”
I could not disagree more. We are not chimpanzees. As humans , many of us are wired to constantly seek out new and unfamiliar things. What is your favorite movie? Try watching only that movie, every day for the rest of your life. What is your favorite food? What is the healthiest food you can think of? Eat that and only that for the rest of your life. Listen to the same song and only that song for the rest of your life. We seek novelty, always have and always will. It is in of our nature. I don't travel because of some romanticism, I do it because I enjoy the novelty. I remember and cherish moments as mundane as gassing up my car at a random gas station at night, or using a rest room at a train station, or being lost at night in an unfamiliar village, not because it was an "exotic" place, but because it was a new place or a new experience. But, I couldn't tell you what I was doing on Thursday 2 weeks ago without looking it up.

The urge to travel isn't some new western myth, people have been exploring the world since there were people. People who have had the means, have been traveling for thousands of years, many simply for the sake of it. It is only now that the masses have the ability that they are doing so as well. In fact, non western cultures have been, and continue to travel extensively as well, and as one would expect, more affluent non-western cultures engage in more travel. Also back in the days of Ancient Egypt the speed and technology of travel allowed for novelty and variance even while staying within Egyptian borders. They didn't have to go far to come across a new uncharted and unexpected experience, there were no maps and no GPS, and it took days to travel what we now consider a long commute to work. Also the risk of casual travel was much greater, you could be captured, killed or eaten by wild animals. The explorers from the time of the Egyptians would have to have been more like true adrenaline and adventure junkies, not just travelers. They would need to have more in common with Shackleton or Magellan.

I wont say that every person that travels does it for the novelty and the adventure, I am sure many do it for the selfies or so they can check it off the list. However, to quote a famous tv show, there are people who are wired "to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life, and new civilizations, to boldly go where no one has gone before". :wink:

Blame it on evolution/god putting the dopamine receptors in our brain, not on some western myth. :sharebeer

I am sure the physicians on this message board understand this stuff much better than I do, but looks like monkeys do seek out novelty : https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24911320
Last edited by bligh on Sat Nov 25, 2017 4:36 pm, edited 2 times in total.

stlrick
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Re: The fallacy of spending money on "experiences" vs hard assets

Post by stlrick » Sat Nov 25, 2017 4:32 pm

If I were buying things that interfered with having the experiences that I wanted, that would be a problem. If I bought experiences that interfered with the things that I wanted, that would be a problem. My practice is to understand all the conflicting priorities (including saving for the future, which requires denial of both experiences and things) and to chose accordingly. There are things I buy that are packed away in a box a year after buying them, and there are things that I enjoy every day. There are vacations that I was anxious to come home from, and vacations that I look back on as some of the great memories of my life. Nothing is a simple rule or formula. What works for one person does not necessarily work for another, and someone else's opinion of what they value has no bearing on what I value.

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Sandtrap
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Re: The fallacy of spending money on "experiences" vs hard assets

Post by Sandtrap » Sat Nov 25, 2017 4:40 pm

TheNightsToCome wrote:
Sat Nov 25, 2017 2:32 pm
Sandtrap wrote:
Sat Nov 25, 2017 2:20 pm
delamer wrote:
Sat Nov 25, 2017 1:23 pm
There is an element of pop psychology and intellectual snobbery in the "experiences are more valuable" trend. As in, my vacation to Italy is "better" than your projection TV (on which you probably watch the Kardashians).

But to the extent that the trend causes people to think about their choices and decide what really does bring them happiness, it is not a bad thing. As another poster said, the things I remember fondly with my kids and my parents are not things bought, but experiences with them.

Although, we have a large high def TV and watch a fair amount of sports so a lot of bang-for-the-material-buck there. The TV cost a lot less than our last vacation, but provides daily enjoyment.

Be aware, as you spend, that you are not stuck on the hedonic treadmill; does your spending -- on things or experiences -- bring you happiness?

"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. According to this theory, as a person makes more money, expectations and desires rise in tandem, which results in no permanent gain in happiness."
Exactly. This is also heard from those who profess to hire "their financial advisor" because the "business of handling their "portfolio" is too time consuming and stressful. And, they can afford the AUM fees rather than be bothered with the hassle of handling "money". (because they have so much of it).
How often have we heard in the modern consumer culture (not Bogleheadville):
"Just pay for it. . it's only money. . ."
"Just hire someone to do it. . . it's not worth the stress. . . "
"You only live once. . . pay for it. . . . "
Yet, often, they are the one's with marginal portfolios. . . .
"Just hire someone to do it. . . it's not worth the stress. . . "

I usually agree with you, Sandtrap, but when it comes to changing my oil, my tires, or my water heater, or even mowing my lawn, I'll hire someone every time. These chores are like a long commute; they decrease (my) quality of life. My job drains me and I don't have the bandwidth to handle this sort of work when I come home.

(Nevertheless, I think my portfolio is better than marginal. :happy )
+1
I’m referring to that hedonic thing. Not regular Bogleheads. I don’t change my tires or paint my house or change my water heater (anymore) either👍

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Re: The fallacy of spending money on "experiences" vs hard assets

Post by Jack FFR1846 » Sat Nov 25, 2017 4:48 pm

eyesurgeon,

I agree that for YOU, things that can later be sold for money (an asset) may be a better choice than an "experience". I do agree that the cool, hip, recent word "experience" seems to make it seem more acceptable to spend an outrageous amount of money to get somewhere, be there, do things there then get back. Your response is that if you buy a thing that can later be sold when it's no longer wanted is better.

Well, I actually agree FOR ME as well. Part of this in my case is too many years having traveled for business all over the world. There are few cities in the US that I haven't been to. All of them had an airport, a Courtyard hotel, an office complex with people to discuss business with and associates (reps) who would travel with me. So I can tell you all about the Courtyard in San Francisco or the Courtyard in Seattle or the Courtyard in Tampa or Orlando or Cleveland or Dallas or Indianapolis. I can also tell you multiple times where I've gone to the front desk to ask what city I was in. So thinking about getting on an airplane is NOT something I want to do. Even getting to some cool place where I'd like to go, I have no interest in getting on an airplane.

Road trip in a car? Sure, all day long. I'll do that. Maybe a tour of racetracks within 1000 of my house. Do 4 sessions at each. Of course my 2 boys would love doing that but my wife put up with me doing it for 25 years so would have no interest.

Oh well......like Clark Griswold said "and we were here".
Bogle: Smart Beta is stupid

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Re: The fallacy of spending money on "experiences" vs hard assets

Post by Jazztonight » Sat Nov 25, 2017 4:49 pm

I'm looking at the title of this thread: "...spending money on 'experiences' vs 'hard assets'."

We're fortunate if we have the money. How we're going to spend it is always the question.

If you take two trips/vacations/holidays a year, some of them are going to be more memorable than others. If I'm asked to name the one place I've been that I'd recommend to others, that's easy: The Galapagos. There are a few more that are memorable--Buenos Aires, Rio de Janeiro, Copper Canyon train trip in Mexico. But that's just me.

At the same time, when I think of my possessions and answer the same question, I'd have to say my Yamaha piano (which I play every day), my vintage Selmer tenor sax (which I never play anymore), and my plain old 2002 Toyota Camry, the best car I've ever had .

What gives you joy? What brings back pleasant memories? It can be anything--a purchase, a travel experience, a chance meeting with someone you admire (I met Duke Ellington for a moment in 1973 and wouldn't trade that moment for anything).

The way I look at it is, I've got some money, I've got some time, I can still walk, talk, see, and breathe, and I'm going to try to make life decisions to the best of my knowledge and experience.
"What does not destroy me, makes me stronger." Nietzsche

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Re: The fallacy of spending money on "experiences" vs hard assets

Post by Lynette » Sat Nov 25, 2017 4:53 pm

To each his own ... my initial degree was in History and Latin.. should have made a career of it.

Once I spent a wonderful two week weeks wondering around Rome. I had taken a class in a community college in Italian and could nearly understand the Italians. Then I spent another 10 days in Sorrento/Naples/Pompeii. I had spent quite a bit of time researching the history. What an amazing experience to see the fast food joints in Pompeii. I still chuckle when I see the people who are crazy about sports - same with the Romans - there were four teams - red, white and blue - chariot teams on the Circus Maximus. Today it is a grassy knoll where people walk their dogs. I've also been on about six photographic tours with Roadscholar. I'm starting to understand how to use my DSLR. The list goes on .. several weeks reading up on the history of the place, deciding where to go and mapping it out ... going .. then putting my photos on a website etc. etc.

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Re: The fallacy of spending money on "experiences" vs hard assets

Post by nedsaid » Sat Nov 25, 2017 4:58 pm

I believe that spending money on experiences is a very good thing. The value of the memories created when I traveled overseas cannot be calculated. Certainly my horizons were greatly expanded and I learned many new things. Don't regret my travel experiences a bit.
A fool and his money are good for business.

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Re: The fallacy of spending money on "experiences" vs hard assets

Post by Sandtrap » Sat Nov 25, 2017 5:01 pm

Lynette wrote:
Sat Nov 25, 2017 4:53 pm
To each his own ... my initial degree was in History and Latin.. should have made a career of it.

Once I spent a wonderful two week weeks wondering around Rome. I had taken a class in a community college in Italian and could nearly understand the Italians. Then I spent another 10 days in Sorrento/Naples/Pompeii. I had spent quite a bit of time researching the history. What an amazing experience to see the fast food joints in Pompeii. I still chuckle when I see the people who are crazy about sports - same with the Romans - there were four teams - red, white and blue - chariot teams on the Circus Maximus. Today it is a grassy knoll where people walk their dogs. I've also been on about six photographic tours with Roadscholar. I'm starting to understand how to use my DSLR. The list goes on .. several weeks reading up on the history of the place, deciding where to go and mapping it out ... going .. then putting my photos on a website etc. etc.
That’s wonderful👍
I’d like to world travel for photojournalism.

Old Guy
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Re: The fallacy of spending money on "experiences" vs hard assets

Post by Old Guy » Sat Nov 25, 2017 5:18 pm

Different strokes for different folks.

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Re: The fallacy of spending money on "experiences" vs hard assets

Post by HIinvestor » Sat Nov 25, 2017 5:19 pm

I have to say I enjoy both--quality hard assets as well as enjoyable experiences, even if they cost money. Travel and dining for us are part of the experiences, often with extended family and loved ones. Also, getting together often involves travel as S is in DC, D is in CA and we are in HI. I'm happy that at this point in our lives, we can have some of both--great experiences and very nice hard assets.
Last edited by HIinvestor on Sat Nov 25, 2017 6:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.

AntsOnTheMarch
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Re: The fallacy of spending money on "experiences" vs hard assets

Post by AntsOnTheMarch » Sat Nov 25, 2017 6:19 pm

sketchy9 wrote:
Sat Nov 25, 2017 3:47 pm
Wildebeest wrote:
Sat Nov 25, 2017 3:30 pm
I am with eye surgeon that experiences are so overrated. We went to the Galapagos islands with National Geographics/ Lindblat for one week and I enjoyed the two hour National Geographics movie I saw on cable while I was walking on the treadmill so much more.

For me it is a myth that vacations/experiences are more worthwhile. I find hard assets /money a myth as well.


Harari's "Sapiens" on world travel" (reading his book is an experience, which changed my outlook on life, very much recommended):

The imagined order shapes our desires
“Most people do not wish to accept that the order governing their lives is imaginary, but in fact every person is born into a pre-existing imagined order, and his or her desires are shaped from birth by its dominant myths. Our personal desires thereby become the imagined order’s most important defences.

“For instance, the most cherished desires of present-day Westerners are shaped by romantic, nationalist, capitalist and humanist myths that have been around for centuries.



“Even what people take to be their most personal desires are usually programmed by the imagined order. Let’s consider, for example, the popular desire to take a holiday abroad. There is nothing natural or obvious about this. A chimpanzee alpha male would never think of using his power in order to go on holiday into the territory of a neighboring chimpanzee band. The elite of ancient Egypt spent their fortunes building pyramids and having their corpses mummified, but none of them thought of going shopping in Babylon or taking a skiing holiday in Phoenicia. People today spend a great deal of money on holidays abroad because they are true believers in the myths of romantic consumerism.

“Romanticism tells us that in order to make the most of our human potential we must have as many different experiences as we can. We must open ourselves to a wide spectrum of emotions; we must sample various kinds of relationships; we must try different cuisines; we must learn to appreciate different styles of music.

“One of the best ways to do all that is to break free from our daily routine, leave behind our familiar setting, and go travelling in distant lands, where we can ‘experience’ the culture, the smells, the tastes and the norms of other people. We hear again and again the romantic myths about ‘how a new experience opened my eyes and changed my life’.



“The tourism industry does not sell flight tickets and hotel bedrooms. It sells experiences. Paris is not a city, nor India a country – they are both experiences, the consumption of which is supposed to widen our horizons, fulfil our human potential, and make us happier. Consequently, when the relationship between a millionaire and his wife is going through a rocky patch, he takes her on an expensive trip to Paris. The trip is not a reflection of some independent desire, but rather of an ardent belief in the myths of romantic consumerism. A wealthy man in ancient Egypt would never have dreamed of solving a relationship crisis by taking his wife on holiday to Babylon. Instead, he might have built for her the sumptuous tomb she had always wanted.”
Nothing in that passage refutes the value of travel. The comparison to chimpanzees is specious because, well, we're human beings, not chimpanzees. We form cultures, languages, different methods of cooking food, etc. And a wealthy man in ancient Egypt understood very little of the world, nor did he have any knowledge of the vast and varied landscape on earth nor of the diversity of the aforementioned cultures, cuisine, etc.

The drive to explore and discover new places is pretty innate in my opinion. I wonder how that author would explain ancient Polynesians, who set out on a vast ocean not knowing what was out there. What drove them? If not "travel" per se, certainly the desire to explore, to expand, and hopefully exploit any resources found. The same spirit of discovery and exploration drives many travellers. There's not really anything left to discover in this world, but anything new to me is a discovery for me, and travelling allows me and many others to scratch that itch.
sketchy9, You are correct. I have read Harari’s book and these quotes taken out of context do not represent his premise. Highly recommend the book, btw.

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Re: The fallacy of spending money on "experiences" vs hard assets

Post by darrvao777 » Sat Nov 25, 2017 7:06 pm

"Experiences" is a very broad term.

My wife and I (even before having the anchors known as young children) never loved traveling.

We commit the double sin of leasing luxury vehicles. Driving to and from work is an experience too. No matter how crummy a day I'm having, getting into my car puts a smile on my face.

I think the key is to be frugal in general and once debt-free with some assets accumulated, spend with the purpose of increasing happiness (whatever that may be: nicer home, nicer cars, travel, food, education for the kids, etc)

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Re: The fallacy of spending money on "experiences" vs hard assets

Post by AlohaJoe » Sat Nov 25, 2017 7:07 pm

eye.surgeon wrote:
Sat Nov 25, 2017 11:50 am
The news is full of pop-science articles touting the benefits of this, most of which I think are junk science.
In your efforts to debunk junk science you have brought an admirable amount of open data, rigouruous research, and hard science citations.

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Re: The fallacy of spending money on "experiences" vs hard assets

Post by marcopolo » Sat Nov 25, 2017 7:11 pm

As my kids are getting older, I often hear them talking to each other remembering something funny/scary/exciting that happened during some trip or other we had taken as a family (hiking machu pichu, grand canyon, trekking in Nepal, Alaska wilderness, Hawaii volcanoes, etc.) Those are also the things I remember fondly. I have never heard them talk about what car we had, what type of tv we owned, or the brand of our kitchen appliances....

Everyone is different. But for me, those "experiences" provide much more long term happiness than most any "thing" we have purchased.
Once in a while you get shown the light, in the strangest of places if you look at it right.

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Re: The fallacy of spending money on "experiences" vs hard assets

Post by AlohaJoe » Sat Nov 25, 2017 7:17 pm

RRAAYY3 wrote:
Sat Nov 25, 2017 2:13 pm
my GF and I never buy each other "gifts", instead we do "experiences" like swimming in a heated infinity pool overlooking the NYC skyline following a deep tissue massage. at the end of the day
Exactly. I'm shocked at the vast majority of people in this thread who believe that "experiences = travel". You must live strange lives if those are the only experiences you ever have. You never have dinner with friends? Have an impromptu poker night? Go to the cinema? Go for a Sunday stroll in the park? Host a Superbowl party? Take your kids Trick or Treating?

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Re: The fallacy of spending money on "experiences" vs hard assets

Post by ResearchMed » Sat Nov 25, 2017 7:34 pm

Sandtrap wrote:
Sat Nov 25, 2017 2:20 pm
delamer wrote:
Sat Nov 25, 2017 1:23 pm
There is an element of pop psychology and intellectual snobbery in the "experiences are more valuable" trend. As in, my vacation to Italy is "better" than your projection TV (on which you probably watch the Kardashians).

But to the extent that the trend causes people to think about their choices and decide what really does bring them happiness, it is not a bad thing. As another poster said, the things I remember fondly with my kids and my parents are not things bought, but experiences with them.

Although, we have a large high def TV and watch a fair amount of sports so a lot of bang-for-the-material-buck there. The TV cost a lot less than our last vacation, but provides daily enjoyment.

Be aware, as you spend, that you are not stuck on the hedonic treadmill; does your spending -- on things or experiences -- bring you happiness?

"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. According to this theory, as a person makes more money, expectations and desires rise in tandem, which results in no permanent gain in happiness."
Exactly. This is also heard from those who profess to hire "their financial advisor" because the "business of handling their "portfolio" is too time consuming and stressful. And, they can afford the AUM fees rather than be bothered with the hassle of handling "money". (because they have so much of it).
How often have we heard in the modern consumer culture (not Bogleheadville):
"Just pay for it. . it's only money. . ."
"Just hire someone to do it. . . it's not worth the stress. . . "
"You only live once. . . pay for it. . . . "
Yet, often, they are the one's with marginal portfolios. . . .
If one (or two :wink: ) can afford it, then what in the world is "wrong" with...

"Just hire someone to do it. . . it's not worth the stress. . . "
and
"You only live once. . . pay for it. . . . "

We didn't work and save so that we could try to leave huge pots of gold behind... (or little ones).

Just because there are some spendthrifts, doesn't mean that everyone "spending money on <whatever>" is not in a position to "afford <it>".

We don't "need more stuff", although that doesn't mean we don't occasionally "want something else" (such as the second Sonos we just got for another room, given how much we've enjoyed the first).
We prefer to have someone else take care of the yard. I can no long kneel as easily to plant and trim things. Sad, but true.
But we still enjoy having some nice landscaping.
And we now have the luxury of some help with housekeeping.

And we are now also having the time of our lives on travel.
We most certainly are "living once.... and paying" for what we enjoy now! :D
We also now know that we *can* afford it.

Of note, given OP's post and a few responses, DH refused to take vacations other than "weekends before/after business trips".
I finally convinced him to try a "real" vacation... and he was hooked.

We do have a "deal" in that he still brings his laptop along and does some work, given that he has no interest in retiring for a few more years.
But I would MUCH rather see him working on the balcony of a ship than at home :happy
Or sitting in a charming, antique style place in Bellagio, overlooking Lake Como... or in Japan, staying at a traditional Inn and also at a Buddhist Monastery...
... allowing DH to take private samurai master sword lessons. Or our traditional Japanese dance lessons, in full costume (that latter was, er, a definite "flunk", but lots of laughter; the former was an amazing and impressive success... while I cowered in the corner :shock: ).
And the important thing is he now LOVES traveling, and is so sorry that we didn't start sooner.
"So many places, so little time..." etc.

And yes, of course, driving a special car can be a wonderful "experience", too, a very special one, if that's what one prefers.
And so can going to a world class opera (be it local, or at La Scala, or even listening to a recording at home while sipping a nice wine), or just learning to play bridge...

Ditto just "owning a thing of beauty"... (and beauty is in the eye of the beholder, after all).

But that doesn't mean that watching movies on a special screen isn't "special" for someone else...

What matters is what *you* enjoy, as long as it's something you *will* enjoy, in the moment, continuing enjoyment, or continuing memories...

However, for us, our top priority remains travel, while we still can.
Next up, a 12 day "ferry cruise" along the northern Norwegian coast, in search of Northern Lights.
It doesn't need to be luxe, although a lot does tend in that direction nowadays.

RM
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Re: The fallacy of spending money on "experiences" vs hard assets

Post by stoptothink » Sat Nov 25, 2017 7:39 pm

Both the wife and I loathe traveling and have agreed for the near future that our family out-of-state vacations are done. As far as I am concerned, every vacation we have taken has been a disappointment, but we get a lot of awesome experiences from our ~$15k garage gym, which is pretty much our one vice. I am with OP, sort of; what is an "experience" is highly subjective. I do not gain any enjoyment whatsoever from what most define as experiences (travel, eating out, movies), but my greatest joys are experiences such as family bike rides (pulling my two young kids behind me in the trailer), hiking the local trails, getting together with my entire extended family to make tamales on holidays, etc.

Figure out what makes you happy.
Last edited by stoptothink on Sat Nov 25, 2017 7:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: The fallacy of spending money on "experiences" vs hard assets

Post by Volkdancer » Sat Nov 25, 2017 7:41 pm

Or learning how to cross the street in HCMC with some degree of confidence! That too is an experience!

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Re: The fallacy of spending money on "experiences" vs hard assets

Post by stoptothink » Sat Nov 25, 2017 7:50 pm

AlohaJoe wrote:
Sat Nov 25, 2017 7:07 pm
eye.surgeon wrote:
Sat Nov 25, 2017 11:50 am
The news is full of pop-science articles touting the benefits of this, most of which I think are junk science.
In your efforts to debunk junk science you have brought an admirable amount of open data, rigouruous research, and hard science citations.
There actually is some real peer-reviewed research about this. In fact, after our last family vacation which led to my wife and I agreeing to cancel an annual trip, I wrote a little about it http://community.today.com/parentingtea ... -happiness. The current research suggests that most people gain more long-term happiness/enjoyment from just having time to relax, and actually traveling or planning extravagant trips actually can take away from the experience - a hike on a local trail often induces more and longer-lasting happiness than a trip to Europe. Of course, your experiences may vary.

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Re: The fallacy of spending money on "experiences" vs hard assets

Post by Doom&Gloom » Sat Nov 25, 2017 7:56 pm

People enjoy different things.
Money can buy different things.
It's a heck of a system!

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Re: The fallacy of spending money on "experiences" vs hard assets

Post by marcopolo » Sat Nov 25, 2017 8:22 pm

AlohaJoe wrote:
Sat Nov 25, 2017 7:17 pm

Exactly. I'm shocked at the vast majority of people in this thread who believe that "experiences = travel". You must live strange lives if those are the only experiences you ever have. You never have dinner with friends? Have an impromptu poker night? Go to the cinema? Go for a Sunday stroll in the park? Host a Superbowl party? Take your kids Trick or Treating?
You make a very good observation.

But, i think so many of the responses revolved around vacations because that seemed to be context of the OP's statements:
I bring this up as a thought exercise for bogleheads. If you look objectively at spending on vacations, it's the worst money you will ever spend. It depreciates immediately. You have literally nothing left to show for it within a couple weeks. Objectively it's a much poorer purchase than even the most frivolous luxury sports car, which will never be worth zero.

I'm not discounting the psychological and emotional benefits of taking time off work, going on vacations, spending time with family. These have real merit. I'm just rejecting the pop-science notion that spending $10k going to Thailand for 3 weeks is somehow psychologically more beneficial than buying a more expensive car or installing a home theater. For me, either of those would provide more lasting enjoyment than a vacation. Not only do I enjoy them much longer, but they have a tangible value when I'm done with them.

Mind you, my wife has accused me of being the worst vacationer in the world as I get bored after about 3 days.
Once in a while you get shown the light, in the strangest of places if you look at it right.

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Re: The fallacy of spending money on "experiences" vs hard assets

Post by Alexa9 » Sat Nov 25, 2017 8:50 pm

The world is your oyster. Traveling is worth it if you enjoy it. If you're miserable while traveling, I don't see the point. Everyone's different.
If you love luxury or sport cars, then a Mercedes or Porsche is a good choice. If you think a car should get you from point A to B, then a Honda is a better choice. Different strokes for different folks.

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Re: The fallacy of spending money on "experiences" vs hard assets

Post by AlohaJoe » Sat Nov 25, 2017 9:01 pm

marcopolo wrote:
Sat Nov 25, 2017 8:22 pm
But, i think so many of the responses revolved around vacations because that seemed to be context of the OP's statements
Sure, the OP also thinks "experiences = travel" but I don't know why everyone else had to follow him down the same wrongheaded path. Somehow I doubt the OP told his kids "We're not celebrating Thanksgiving this year, instead I'm giving you a watch. Because hard assets are better than experiences." :shock:

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Re: The fallacy of spending money on "experiences" vs hard assets

Post by Wildebeest » Sat Nov 25, 2017 9:09 pm

sketchy9 wrote:
Sat Nov 25, 2017 3:47 pm
Wildebeest wrote:
Sat Nov 25, 2017 3:30 pm


For me it is a myth that vacations/experiences are more worthwhile. I find hard assets /money a myth as well.

.......

Harari's "Sapiens" on world travel" (reading his book is an experience, which changed my outlook on life, very much recommended):

.......

Nothing in that passage refutes the value of travel. The comparison to chimpanzees is specious because, well, we're human beings, not chimpanzees. We form cultures, languages, different methods of cooking food, etc. And a wealthy man in ancient Egypt understood very little of the world, nor did he have any knowledge of the vast and varied landscape on earth nor of the diversity of the aforementioned cultures, cuisine, etc.

The drive to explore and discover new places is pretty innate in my opinion. I wonder how that author would explain ancient Polynesians, who set out on a vast ocean not knowing what was out there. What drove them? If not "travel" per se, certainly the desire to explore, to expand, and hopefully exploit any resources found. The same spirit of discovery and exploration drives many travellers. There's not really anything left to discover in this world, but anything new to me is a discovery for me, and travelling allows me and many others to scratch that itch.
I clearly did not succeed in peaking your interest in the book. I think "Sapiens" is a great book and I hope that you read it and see how he explains the ancient Polynesians explorations and more. It may change your perspective as it did mine.
The Golden Rule: One should treat others as one would like others to treat oneself.

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Re: The fallacy of spending money on "experiences" vs hard assets

Post by Gnirk » Sat Nov 25, 2017 9:26 pm

The older I get, the more “experiences”, be they theater, travel here or abroad, walking on a warm, sandy beach searching for shells, or eating my first lobster roll in Maine, mean far more to me than “things”. In fact, I’m trying to get rid of many of my things.

I’m not the only one in my family or circle of friends who believes this. Even my youngest daughter who is 45 requests “experiences” as birthday and Christmas gifts. So I give her theatre tickets, or gift cards to yoga class or a local spa, or miles for a plane ticket.

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Re: The fallacy of spending money on "experiences" vs hard assets

Post by Sandtrap » Sat Nov 25, 2017 9:53 pm

ResearchMed wrote:
Sat Nov 25, 2017 7:34 pm
. . . . . .
What matters is what *you* enjoy, as long as it's something you *will* enjoy, in the moment, continuing enjoyment, or continuing memories...

However, for us, our top priority remains travel, while we still can.
Next up, a 12 day "ferry cruise" along the northern Norwegian coast, in search of Northern Lights.
It doesn't need to be luxe, although a lot does tend in that direction nowadays.

RM
I was moreso addressing the wastefulness of "hedonic adaptation" taken too far. Consumerism for its own sake. Didn't put it right. :shock:
Thanks for sharing. That sounds wonderful. The image of "Iaido Lessons is priceless.
DW and especially old business friends are helping me learn to "retire". One recent mailing: Nat Geo private jet tours, and other tours. I'm a slow learner but getting there, bit by bit.
Northern Lights ferry cruise. . . that's exotic indeed.
mahalo.
j :D
Last edited by Sandtrap on Sat Nov 25, 2017 9:57 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: The fallacy of spending money on "experiences" vs hard assets

Post by Wildebeest » Sat Nov 25, 2017 9:57 pm

bligh wrote:
Sat Nov 25, 2017 4:10 pm
Wildebeest wrote:
Sat Nov 25, 2017 3:30 pm
Harari's "Sapiens" on world travel" (reading his book is an experience, which changed my outlook on life, very much recommended):

[
I could not disagree more. We are not chimpanzees. As humans , many of us are wired to constantly seek out new and unfamiliar things. What is your favorite movie? Try watching only that movie, every day for the rest of your life. What is your favorite food? What is the healthiest food you can think of? Eat that and only that for the rest of your life. Listen to the same song and only that song for the rest of your life. We seek novelty, always have and always will. It is in of our nature. I don't travel because of some romanticism, I do it because I enjoy the novelty. I remember and cherish moments as mundane as gassing up my car at a random gas station at night, or using a rest room at a train station, or being lost at night in an unfamiliar village, not because it was an "exotic" place, but because it was a new place or a new experience. But, I couldn't tell you what I was doing on Thursday 2 weeks ago without looking it up.

The urge to travel isn't some new western myth, people have been exploring the world since there were people. People who have had the means, have been traveling for thousands of years, many simply for the sake of it. It is only now that the masses have the ability that they are doing so as well. In fact, non western cultures have been, and continue to travel extensively as well, and as one would expect, more affluent non-western cultures engage in more travel. Also back in the days of Ancient Egypt the speed and technology of travel allowed for novelty and variance even while staying within Egyptian borders. They didn't have to go far to come across a new uncharted and unexpected experience, there were no maps and no GPS, and it took days to travel what we now consider a long commute to work. Also the risk of casual travel was much greater, you could be captured, killed or eaten by wild animals. The explorers from the time of the Egyptians would have to have been more like true adrenaline and adventure junkies, not just travelers. They would need to have more in common with Shackleton or Magellan.

I wont say that every person that travels does it for the novelty and the adventure, I am sure many do it for the selfies or so they can check it off the list. However, to quote a famous tv show, there are people who are wired "to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life, and new civilizations, to boldly go where no one has gone before". :wink:

Blame it on evolution/god putting the dopamine receptors in our brain, not on some western myth. :sharebeer

I am sure the physicians on this message board understand this stuff much better than I do, but looks like monkeys do seek out novelty : https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24911320
And here I thought I had quoted some interesting sections of a book I enjoyed and felt it would provide a different perspective to this thread. If you have an interest read the book "Sapiens" and you may extend your horizon.
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Re: The fallacy of spending money on "experiences" vs hard assets

Post by marcopolo » Sat Nov 25, 2017 10:00 pm

AlohaJoe wrote:
Sat Nov 25, 2017 9:01 pm
marcopolo wrote:
Sat Nov 25, 2017 8:22 pm
But, i think so many of the responses revolved around vacations because that seemed to be context of the OP's statements
Sure, the OP also thinks "experiences = travel" but I don't know why everyone else had to follow him down the same wrongheaded path. Somehow I doubt the OP told his kids "We're not celebrating Thanksgiving this year, instead I'm giving you a watch. Because hard assets are better than experiences." :shock:
Agreed
:sharebeer
Once in a while you get shown the light, in the strangest of places if you look at it right.

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Re: The fallacy of spending money on "experiences" vs hard assets

Post by ResearchMed » Sat Nov 25, 2017 11:11 pm

Sandtrap wrote:
Sat Nov 25, 2017 9:53 pm
ResearchMed wrote:
Sat Nov 25, 2017 7:34 pm
. . . . . .
What matters is what *you* enjoy, as long as it's something you *will* enjoy, in the moment, continuing enjoyment, or continuing memories...

However, for us, our top priority remains travel, while we still can.
Next up, a 12 day "ferry cruise" along the northern Norwegian coast, in search of Northern Lights.
It doesn't need to be luxe, although a lot does tend in that direction nowadays.

RM
I was moreso addressing the wastefulness of "hedonic adaptation" taken too far. Consumerism for its own sake. Didn't put it right. :shock:
Thanks for sharing. That sounds wonderful. The image of "Iaido Lessons is priceless.
DW and especially old business friends are helping me learn to "retire". One recent mailing: Nat Geo private jet tours, and other tours. I'm a slow learner but getting there, bit by bit.
Northern Lights ferry cruise. . . that's exotic indeed.
mahalo.
j :D
A few years ago, when Vanguard was offering a nice selection of logo'd items, I purchased one and surprised DH with it.

Just before his second "real" vacation (also his second cruise, booked immediately upon returning from the first :happy ), I handed him an early holiday present with a t-shirt. Written across the back was "Vanguard".
Written across the front was:

"Retiree In Training"

:D

He wore it a few times on board, and got lots of smiles.

RM
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Re: The fallacy of spending money on "experiences" vs hard assets

Post by IMO » Sun Nov 26, 2017 12:13 am

Interesting post(s) to read.

As others have mentioned, there seems to be the equation of travel is the only way to have experiences, which is false. So as a simple example, lets say you go out and by a boat (yes a dreaded bh word, but a hard asset) and because of that you forgo say 2 years of your $15,000/yr normal vacation budget to pay for the boat. But now, frequent weekends in the summers involve taking your family to the local lake where you are just having fun, and likely creating experiences that will last potentially a lifetime for your kids (so long as you don't go when they are too young to remember which seems to be before age 5). Maybe you even travel with the boat, say heading out to Lake Powell to combine your travel with your hard asset. Even if the kids are taken too young for the actual kid to remember, as a parent, I suspect those memories and experiences will be something you'll cherish forever. If one simply bought a boat and found pleasure it just looking at it and not using it, I suppose that would be a bit of a problem.

Travel is simply like hobbies or interests. All of them typically cost money and they all provide experiences. Sometimes hobbies/interests intersect with traveling, sometimes they don't.

There was a thread from the MMM forum that I found interesting to read through, especially as that site tends to cater to younger individuals with typically much more modest means than those on this forum, it was titled Re: Traveling is just another form of consumerism, possible the ultimate.
https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/welco ... -ultimate/
The opening post was really quite balanced for those who really care to read it.

There was a response on that forum that I echoed my personal thought very well: "Travel can be a great and rewarding experience. I know that it has been for myself. But it can also be 'look at me showboating' consumerism as well. It all depends on the person." (Jetblast).

When people start bragging about their travel experiences, it's right up there with humble bragging about how expensive a car one has or how large of a nest egg or salary they have...

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Re: The fallacy of spending money on "experiences" vs hard assets

Post by MJW » Sun Nov 26, 2017 12:26 am

Halicar wrote:
Sat Nov 25, 2017 2:04 pm
My take is that "experiences, not things" is just good old-fashioned conspicuous consumption adapted to the age of social media.
I take a fairly similar view -- it's experiences as things rather than versus. The ubiquity of social media seems to have brought about much more of a "hey, look at me!" element to experience-having than was possible in the past. Now, one's snorkeling adventures in Belize or hike to Machu Picchu can be flaunted just as easily as a luxury sports car, expensive watch, etc. It's also no less off-putting to be around someone that continually humble-brags about things they've seen or done.

EDIT: I just saw that the person who posted above me basically said the same thing.

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Re: The fallacy of spending money on "experiences" vs hard assets

Post by LuigiLikesPizza » Sun Nov 26, 2017 4:59 am

At the end of the day, it's all still consumption.

Claiming that money spent on experiences is somehow superior to money spent on hard assets gives those folks in the first group the psychological comfort of staking out the intellectual high ground.

It's snooty and meaningless.

To use that well-worn phrase: to each their own first world problems.

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Re: The fallacy of spending money on "experiences" vs hard assets

Post by gd » Sun Nov 26, 2017 6:33 am

Vacation is not a synonym for experiences. Hard asset is not a synonym for things.

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Re: The fallacy of spending money on "experiences" vs hard assets

Post by HopeToGolf » Sun Nov 26, 2017 7:13 am

Eye surgeon

Instead of thinking about what you’ve read as junk science, look at it as one way to view the world.

I think experiences can add to happiness but so does stuff and money. I can imagine someone who grew up poor but made and saved lots of money (rather than spending a dime) deriving a great deal of comfort and happiness from knowing she is financially secure.

In your case, your theater probably leads to experiences you value. Enjoy it and forget the rest.

There has been a ton of talk about travel to foreign locations. I think travel is so personal.

In my situation I like travel but the conditions have to be right....hotel, flights, drive, workload before and after the trip, location, food, etc. There are so many places for it to be suboptimal that I find travel fun but maybe not the awesomeness others find. Yes, the bumps are part of the experience but what if I prefer control. ;) That said, my perspective on travel would change if I could always take two weeks off and work was held at bay. Two weeks is a lot of time to overcome many bumps in the road.

What annoys me about this thread is the lack of recognition by many posters that there are “different strokes for different folks.”

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oldcomputerguy
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Re: The fallacy of spending money on "experiences" vs hard assets

Post by oldcomputerguy » Sun Nov 26, 2017 7:48 am

Here's my take, for what it's worth.

Some years back, when DW's Toyota Tercel reached the Happy Hunting Ground, we went shopping for a replacement. DW was about 40 years old at the time, and it was soon apparent that she was leaning toward a Mazda Miata convertible. I finally sighed and capitulated. The Miata is now sitting in the garage, idle, not being driven. In fact DW now has back issues that keep her from driving it except on special occasions (the strain of getting into and out of it repeatedly causes her pain). So there it sits.

Last May, we took a European river cruise that included stays in Switzerland and France. The large smile on her face as she saw the Alps from the airplane window is a sight that will stay with me.

New toys are nice. But they are just things. Travel experiences remain.

Your mileage may vary (pun intended).
It’s taken me a lot of years, but I’ve come around to this: If you’re dumb, surround yourself with smart people. And if you’re smart, surround yourself with smart people who disagree with you.

WildBill
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Re: The fallacy of spending money on "experiences" vs hard assets

Post by WildBill » Sun Nov 26, 2017 8:11 am

eye.surgeon wrote:
Sat Nov 25, 2017 11:50 am
The trendy thing these days is to talk about spending money on "experiences", basically a new-age description of a vacation, and how it's better than spending money on "things", basically a new-age description of hard assets. The news is full of pop-science articles touting the benefits of this, most of which I think are junk science.

I bring this up as a thought exercise for bogleheads. If you look objectively at spending on vacations, it's the worst money you will ever spend. It depreciates immediately. You have literally nothing left to show for it within a couple weeks. Objectively it's a much poorer purchase than even the most frivolous luxury sports car, which will never be worth zero.

I'm not discounting the psychological and emotional benefits of taking time off work, going on vacations, spending time with family. These have real merit. I'm just rejecting the pop-science notion that spending $10k going to Thailand for 3 weeks is somehow psychologically more beneficial than buying a more expensive car or installing a home theater. For me, either of those would provide more lasting enjoyment than a vacation. Not only do I enjoy them much longer, but they have a tangible value when I'm done with them.

Mind you, my wife has accused me of being the worst vacationer in the world as I get bored after about 3 days.
Howdy

Here is a thought.

From your post I assume you are a physician.

Carrying that thought forward, the time and money you devoted to the training for your profession cannot be classified as anything other than an intangible asset, as it is all between your ears. No “hard” assets whatsoever.

Is that qualitatively different from the myriad other forms of “experience” in building human capital that you seem to scorn? Would you have been better off spending your money on your education or on that luxury sports car that will of course “always be worth something”?

W B
"Through chances various, through all vicissitudes, we make our way." Virgil, The Aeneid

UpperNwGuy
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Re: The fallacy of spending money on "experiences" vs hard assets

Post by UpperNwGuy » Sun Nov 26, 2017 8:18 am

Why is this an either/or question? Vacations and hard assets are both good, and I manage my personal finances to have both. When my pension arrives each month, I immediately divide it into four parts:
1. living expenses for that month,
2. savings for car repairs, new car, medical bills, and other irregular expenses,
3. savings for vacations, and
4. investing.

My vacations are a mix of visiting family here in the US and making one or two trips to Europe each year. What good are hard assets if you don't use them to enjoy life?

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Re: The fallacy of spending money on "experiences" vs hard assets

Post by MikeG62 » Sun Nov 26, 2017 10:17 am

RRAAYY3 wrote:
Sat Nov 25, 2017 2:13 pm
...
sounds like you don't like traveling ... me? i'm 32 - have surfed in hawaii, gone scuba diving in the mediterranean, sipped wine under the Eiffel tower, etc. etc. etc. I don't even know how much money I've "wasted" with "nothing to show for it" [aside from mind blowing life altering experiences, but who needs those?], but I've also lived a fuller life than people twice my age and I actually have interesting stories to tell. viewing a vacation as a depreciating asset is 1 of the most miserable sounding statements i've ever read.

there's a balance that needs to be struck with saving / actually living life. * doesn't have to be via traveling.

my GF and I never buy each other "gifts", instead we do "experiences" like swimming in a heated infinity pool overlooking the NYC skyline following a deep tissue massage. at the end of the day, we had "nothing to show for it" - other than an incredible time relaxing and enjoying life. there's a lot more to life than residual values and ROI.
+1
Gnirk wrote:
Sat Nov 25, 2017 9:26 pm
The older I get, the more “experiences”, be they theater, travel here or abroad, walking on a warm, sandy beach searching for shells, or eating my first lobster roll in Maine, mean far more to me than “things”. In fact, I’m trying to get rid of many of my things.
+1
Last edited by MikeG62 on Sun Nov 26, 2017 10:29 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Levett
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Re: The fallacy of spending money on "experiences" vs hard assets

Post by Levett » Sun Nov 26, 2017 10:21 am

UpperNwGuy asks the pertinent question, in my view:

"Why is this an either/or question?"

The question I ask myself (and have asked for much of my adult life) is: "Am I living the life I wish to live?"

Happily, for most of my life the answer has been "yes." 8-)

Lev

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Re: The fallacy of spending money on "experiences" vs hard assets

Post by Valuethinker » Sun Nov 26, 2017 10:32 am

eye.surgeon wrote:
Sat Nov 25, 2017 11:50 am
The trendy thing these days is to talk about spending money on "experiences", basically a new-age description of a vacation, and how it's better than spending money on "things", basically a new-age description of hard assets. The news is full of pop-science articles touting the benefits of this, most of which I think are junk science.

I bring this up as a thought exercise for bogleheads. If you look objectively at spending on vacations, it's the worst money you will ever spend. It depreciates immediately. You have literally nothing left to show for it within a couple weeks. Objectively it's a much poorer purchase than even the most frivolous luxury sports car, which will never be worth zero.

I'm not discounting the psychological and emotional benefits of taking time off work, going on vacations, spending time with family. These have real merit. I'm just rejecting the pop-science notion that spending $10k going to Thailand for 3 weeks is somehow psychologically more beneficial than buying a more expensive car or installing a home theater. For me, either of those would provide more lasting enjoyment than a vacation. Not only do I enjoy them much longer, but they have a tangible value when I'm done with them.

Mind you, my wife has accused me of being the worst vacationer in the world as I get bored after about 3 days.
Driving a car is an experience.

So is watching a home movie theatre.

However when you drive a new car, the new car smell will quickly disappear, then you will see an even newer and better sports car. So you have to be wary of that. BTW the new car smell is the smell of *solvents* which you would not, normally, encourage your patients to smell?

Libya and Syria? Much as I mourn for those countries, I am so glad that I went to see them, whilst I still could. Much of what I saw there, no longer exists.

You have but one life, and it may end sooner than we think.

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snackdog
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Re: The fallacy of spending money on "experiences" vs hard assets

Post by snackdog » Sun Nov 26, 2017 10:33 am

The fallacy is that things can bring you happiness by their inate being. This happiness tends to be quite temporary and replaced by a lust for other things: the newer car, the bigger house, the faster jet, the more brilliant sapphire, the taller pyramid. What one does with "stuff" in the way of experiences, however, can make a difference.

The 911 can be used for a grinding daily commute (made possible now that they are water cooled and less prone to overheating when idling) or wrung out on an a weekend rally cross full of competition, grit, sweat and emotion. The trophy home can be a lonely fortress of solitude and despair over upkeep, or the scene of monthly society benefit bacchanalia with pianos rolled into the swimming pool and local authorities pounding on the door. The private plane can rack up ruinous storage fees while waiting for a quarterly trip to Chicago to visit insipid in-laws, or fly constantly on sight seeing tours and ferrying sick kids to urban hospitals.

Similarly, vacations can be vacuous affairs involving tour buses loaded, cattle-style, with the blue-hair and Sansabelt crowd from flyover states, trudging through European museums and lined up at tired buffets, or they can be solo back-packing trots along the Inca Trail with no map, no reservations, no Spanish and no plan. We once did a bottom of the barrel cruise through the Canary Islands and Africa on a rusty recycled wreck of a ship full of English tradesman no doubt on their 30th anniversary trip, roasting their stomachs by the pool all day while we explored islands for hours. It cost way less than flights, food and hotels for the same itinerary ($50/pp/d) and included hilarious nightly entertainment in the lounge.

It's worth noting that the most memorable experiences tend to be of the shared disaster type. The lost passport, the mangled rental car, the incinerated RV, the all day road trip with food poisoning, the night in a tube tent with swarming mosquitos, the slog through Amazon mud. The bigger the mess, the greater the difficulty of finding a way out, and the number of comrades involved to rehash the whole thing for years after, the better.

I guess the point is to think carefully about how your dollars can bring you the most happiness and don't fall into the trap that things in and of themselves are the best answer.

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Re: The fallacy of spending money on "experiences" vs hard assets

Post by mirror » Sun Nov 26, 2017 10:39 am

OP
What was the third gift you opened on your 6th birthday? What was your first vacation? I imagine one of these is much easier to recall. So which was the better "investment" by your parents? Not everything is a financial decision.

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Re: The fallacy of spending money on "experiences" vs hard assets

Post by dbr » Sun Nov 26, 2017 10:42 am

No fallacy. Just individual differences. Live your life the way you want to and don't worry about what someone else claims to do.

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