Author Topic: I want my lifestyle inflation.  (Read 22604 times)

RFAAOATB

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I want my lifestyle inflation.
« on: July 20, 2017, 03:20:40 PM »
Here's the deal.  I'm tired of being reluctant to enjoy small purchases and want enough money to live an inflated lifestyle.  Today my retirement account value went up over $2,000 and I was perturbed that my energy drink and muffin cost nearly $4.  Yesterday I was bickering with my wife over $10 or $20 worth of unnecessary gimmicks at the store for a party we're hosting.  We've got a decent income and live like we're lower middle class.  I want to live like we are upper middle class and want to figure out the risks and best way to move forward.

Current Lifestyle:
2 mid 30s workers, and a soon to be placed one year old foster baby.
Income: 119k gross, 47k for her, 72k main work and 5k National Guard for me
Retirement savings: Max out 457 and ROTH IRA for me, $200/month 457 for her
Net income is about $5400 a month

We got $98,000 left on a $130k 2bd1.5ba condo that costs us $720 rounded up to $800 in mortgage and $580 in dues.
We have a paid off 2010 Subaru and live a one car lifestyle.
Other monthly expenses include:
Medical Insurance: $228
Cell Phone: $70
Streaming: $25
Internet: $69
Car Insurance: $45
Food/Restaurants: $1,500
Hair: $100
Travel Savings are up to $800/month
Daycare: $1000 estimate

Current retirement value is $218k for me and about $50k for her.

We have enough money to support a decent middle class life.  Now that that's taken care of, I want more.
Desired Lifestyle
I want a $500,000 4000sqft house.  I want two luxury vehicles, perhaps an Escalade and a BMW.  I want a 3-30k Rolex.  I want $200 date nights at least once a month.  I want to go out to lunch more often and stop worrying that my wife is going out to lunch too much.  Hell, I even want to go back to having cable TV as well.  Maybe even buy a $4 coffee every day.  I would prefer to get this done within the next ten years.

I am tempted to cut back my retirement contributions and plow all the money I can into the mortgage to make buying the next house easier.  With over a quarter million saved now, in 30 years that should allow us a normal retirement of $2,000,000 plus a military pension. 

I am beginning to study more before job hunting to see if I can break the 100k income threshold and maybe pass $130k in a few years.  That would require moving as it would take nearly a decade for me to break 100k here.

Specific questions:
How much income are we going to need to support this desired lifestyle? 

How much net worth should we have before taking on additional debt?

Would it make sense to buy a $250-$300,000 house that I can enjoy now and better ride the appreciation until I am ready to buy the $500,000 house?  I have a feeling that the $580 dues would be replaced with $200 service fees and leave the rest to be plowed into house equity.

How to we protect the baseline we have now so that if we over reach with the house, cars, vacation, and upper middle class lifestyle and the economy sours we at least have this much to fall back on?

What are the emotional risks of over reaching and falling back to where you were before vs. not reaching and wondering if you could have?

Miss Piggy

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Re: I want my lifestyle inflation.
« Reply #1 on: July 20, 2017, 03:35:34 PM »
Hmmm. You may be asking the wrong forum.

bobechs

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Re: I want my lifestyle inflation.
« Reply #2 on: July 20, 2017, 03:48:50 PM »
Figure out how much per year you hope to spend on your lifestyle of choice.  Include in your yearly budget debt service on a half-million dollar mortgage and any other loans (e.g. for luxury vehicles).

Take that number and multiply it by twenty-five.

That is the amount of investments you need to support your lifestyle in retirement.

It is the same math used to scale a more modest retirement; the math doesn't change, only the number of dollars needed to achieve your desired spending goal.

Be a little Lebowski Achiever!...  not a bum.

Feivel2000

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Re: I want my lifestyle inflation.
« Reply #3 on: July 20, 2017, 03:49:52 PM »
I don't know, but a $500,000 house doesn't seems to be too ambitious with 100k+in income.
Same goes for the cars and the vacations. Or the date nights and eating out.

But doing everything at once is probably to much. I think you should start by paying yourself (and your wife, each) an additional $200 of fun money.
Use the additional freedom to stop worrying about money and start to think about what's important to you. Then make a plan and act accordingly.

But don't try to buy happiness. Money does not buy happiness, it buys freedom.


ixtap

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Re: I want my lifestyle inflation.
« Reply #4 on: July 20, 2017, 04:02:32 PM »
Well, you would need about $170k of income to afford a $500k house, according to the 3x income rule of thumb. Given that you currently don't have a 20% down payment for that, and you want luxury vehicles and such to go with it, you should probably aim for a salary of $250k.

You would be much better off asking yourself what you hope to get from a big house and luxury items.

Would you be happier in your current home, but able to get an energy drink and a muffin every day without worrying?

What will a Rolex give you that your smartphone can't?

What do you do on $200 date nights? Would it make a difference to your happiness to do that once every three months versus every month?

Or, as Miss Piggy said, you may be asking the wrong forum. Is there a forum for how to best debt your way to a lifestyle above your income level?

wordnerd

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Re: I want my lifestyle inflation.
« Reply #5 on: July 20, 2017, 04:04:40 PM »
$1500 a month on food and almost $10K a year on travel isn't lower middle class. If you want to spend more, have at it, but you're not being honest with yourself about your situation.
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Bicycle_B

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Re: I want my lifestyle inflation.
« Reply #6 on: July 20, 2017, 04:19:47 PM »
LOL, Miss Piggy already replied with my first thought!

Here's the deal.  I'm tired of being reluctant to enjoy small purchases and want enough money to live an inflated lifestyle.

Fine, go earn that money.

Yesterday I was bickering with my wife over $10 or $20 worth of unnecessary gimmicks at the store for a party we're hosting. 
Agreed, bickering is a problem.  Regardless of income or lifestyle, I urge you to find a peaceful agreement where you and your spouse are united on earning and spending choices.  Sincerest wishes of good luck on this. 

How much income are we going to need to support this desired lifestyle? 

Way too much for this forum.  ;)

How much net worth should we have before taking on additional debt?

Enough to pay for all of your expenses in the case where you both quit your jobs the day after taking the debt.  Exception:  investment debt for which there is a strong business case.

Would it make sense to buy a $250-$300,000 house that I can enjoy now and better ride the appreciation until I am ready to buy the $500,000 house? 

"Ride the appreciation" = may not happen, better to view house purchase as consumer expense.  Scratch the 500k off the list.  I suggest comparing a 130k house vs the 130k condo, carefully including ALL expenses; if you and spouse both agree on the preference for the house and the house is just as cheap, fine go buy the house.  There's a slippery slope of wanting "more" that I suggest you avoid until your investments can pay for what you have.  Fighting the cravings will pay better than spending the money.  Whichever choice you make, even if you ignore the 130k suggestion, make a choice that ensures a 50% savings rate or at least one where 1) you and your spouse agree you're making satisfactory progress toward Financial Independence and 2) you will be saving money if one of you loses a job.

In any case, I highly recommend that housing choices flow from an agreed underlying choice of your family's values, which lead in turn to decisions.  Whether condo or house shouldn't be driven by consumerist cravings of "I want", it should be that one or the other is a better solution for the family (closer to work/park/library/skydiving/whatever, provides better base for family's most valued activity, is cheapest solution for FI goal, etc).

How to we protect the baseline we have now so that if we over reach with the house, cars, vacation, and upper middle class lifestyle and the economy sours we at least have this much to fall back on?

Best question yet among many great questions.  Answer: Avoid spending increases.  Keep your current spending level as the upper limit until you reach FI for the current spending level. Until then, only make changes in how you spend, not how much you spend. 

What are the emotional risks of over reaching and falling back to where you were before vs. not reaching and wondering if you could have?

This is the best question of all, and it is thrilling that you asked it. 

I personally think that the "wondering if you could have" thing will only remain a large question if your attachment to the consumerist vision of an upper middle class life as the best life remains in force for the rest of your life AND you choose not to inflate your current lifestyle.  It's wise to courageously attempt the highest things you can achieve, but only when both members of the couple agree that the chosen thing to attempt is worthwhile, AND only if the attempt is not a quicksand trap of errors that can eat you alive. 

IMHO risky choices can be wise (asking the most beautiful girl out, asking a person you love to marry you, sky diving, starting a business) but overly inflating your lifestyle is not.  The level of lifestyle inflation you desire is a quicksand trap of errors that can eat you alive financially and emotionally. 

Is your spouse in agreement that you should pursue the level of lifestyle inflation you desire?

If not, please read:
http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2016/06/08/happiness-is-the-only-logical-pursuit/
« Last Edit: July 20, 2017, 04:27:53 PM by Bicycle_B »

SwordGuy

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Re: I want my lifestyle inflation.
« Reply #7 on: July 20, 2017, 05:22:36 PM »
I have some face punches for you.   They are meant to be thought-provoking.

We got $98,000 left on a $130k 2bd1.5ba condo that costs us $720 rounded up to $800 in mortgage and $580 in dues.

Get the hell out of the condo into a home that's not in an HOA and you can save $400-$500 a month right off the top.

Food/Restaurants: $1,500
For 2 adults and a kid?  How the hell is that a lower middle class lifestyle?

Hair: $100
A month?! 
That's more than I've spent on my hair in my entire 59 1/2 years on this planet.
It's at least 5 to 10 times what my wife spends in a year.

Travel Savings are up to $800/month

Set-aside for Planned Luxury Travel Expense:  $800/month

Fixed that for you.   You aren't "saving" a dime for travel.  You're just setting it aside to spend later.
And you're spending more on vacations than my tenants spend on housing.  So quit the pretensions that you're stuck living a lower middle class lifestyle.

Daycare: $1000 estimate

Thank you for taking a foster child into your home.

The above face punches aside, you are my hero.  Well done!   

You have my permission to duck any one facepunch simply for being a great person. :)

I want a $500,000 4000sqft house.  I want two luxury vehicles, perhaps an Escalade and a BMW.  I want a 3-30k Rolex.

Why?

Why a 4000 sqft house?   What do you NEED that space for?  Why not a 3000sqft house instead?  Or a 2500 sqft house?
Is there some specific reason you NEED that space?  Or is it just the house equivalent of BTSD syndrome?

Why two luxury vehicles?   What will they give you that you are lacking?   How will they give you that?   CAN they actually give you want you are lacking?  Or will it require something else that's fancy, then another, and another?

And a $30,000 rolex?   Damn.  At least get half a dozen gold chains to go with it for wearing to the beach.  Or one big chain like this guy.  You'll look swell and be the envy of everyone:

http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_NDcTbOyfDBE/TCK3TDVhmAI/AAAAAAAABzk/H3sgSDhjqi0/s1600/fat-guy-21.jpg


I want $200 date nights at least once a month.
This is the first "I wanna" that makes sense to me.   Go for it.  Hell, twice a month.   As the kid gets older, make it one for the two of you and one for the family every month.   Have a good time together.

I want to go out to lunch more often and stop worrying that my wife is going out to lunch too much.  Hell, I even want to go back to having cable TV as well.  Maybe even buy a $4 coffee every day.  I would prefer to get this done within the next ten years.
Maybe you went overboard a bit on your savings plan.  Go back and really think about what you do that makes you and your wife happy (preferably at the same time!) and re-align your spending to do that, but not the expensive other stuff you're also doing.  You might shed this feeling of resource scarcity and start enjoying life more.

I am tempted to cut back my retirement contributions and plow all the money I can into the mortgage to make buying the next house easier.  With over a quarter million saved now, in 30 years that should allow us a normal retirement of $2,000,000 plus a military pension. 

If you put that $250,000 into Vanguard's VTSAX and let it ride for 30 years, and never saved another dime, you would be darn close to $2,000,000 (in today's dollars) at the historical average rate of return for the US stock market.

I am beginning to study more before job hunting to see if I can break the 100k income threshold and maybe pass $130k in a few years.  That would require moving as it would take nearly a decade for me to break 100k here.
Go for it.   It never hurts to look around for opportunities.

What are the emotional risks of over reaching and falling back to where you were before vs. not reaching and wondering if you could have?

Based on your comments so far, I would say pretty darn high - for you.

I think you're frustrated and unhappy.   I don't believe what you're prescribing for yourself will make you happy.   
I don't know what you need, but a $30,000 rolex is not the key to happiness in life.
« Last Edit: July 20, 2017, 06:54:31 PM by SwordGuy »

RFAAOATB

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Re: I want my lifestyle inflation.
« Reply #8 on: July 20, 2017, 05:33:47 PM »
$1500 a month on food and almost $10K a year on travel isn't lower middle class. If you want to spend more, have at it, but you're not being honest with yourself about your situation.

I think I've mentioned this before.  I'm living in a 2 bed 1.5 bath condo.  One of the subsidized housing setups is 2 bed 1 bath condos.  All my income and the biggest housing difference is one extra toilet.  I'm not accounting for the security of not feeling money stressed like when things were tight but still, when do I get the nice things?

Is your spouse in agreement that you should pursue the level of lifestyle inflation you desire?

She wants a bigger house.  I don't blame her.  Decent attached houses start at a quarter million and it only goes up from there.  It's subsidized housing, apartments, trailers, and condos for most people here.  We cut cable a while ago, she wanted it back, and after two months of that she decided to cancel it again due to not watching it much.  I still want to watch boxing and MMA, and live with that inconvenience but don't look forward to spending another $100/month for it.

Any increase we decide to make will most likely mean cutting back on my maxed out retirement accounts to afford it unless I can study my way and hustle into a higher paying job.

smallstache

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Re: I want my lifestyle inflation.
« Reply #9 on: July 20, 2017, 08:24:11 PM »
I read this and wondered if you all got trolled.

RFAAOATB

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Re: I want my lifestyle inflation.
« Reply #10 on: July 20, 2017, 09:04:34 PM »
I read this and wondered if you all got trolled.

No troll.  While you all say you have successfully turned away from the desire for more, I have not.  Past financial difficulties make me more risk averse to actually buying more but leaves me stuck in a purgatory where I can save money, increase my net worth, but feel like I'm missing out on what a debt fueled lifestyle can bring.  2 cars, cable TV, and a detached house should not be too much to ask for.  2 luxury cars and a 4,000 sq ft house is a stretch, but with only one life to live, why not stretch for it, strive as hard as you can and either get it or know you didn't instead of wondering if you could.  I will be OK with OK things, but I want some nice things as well.

Financial independence is a worthy goal, but it must be balanced with an appropriate level of luxury and enjoyment.  Deciding what appropriate is is the difficult part.  And yes, having enough to not need paid employment is a luxury not to be discounted.

Somebody is buying those $500,000 to $1,000,000 houses.  Why not me?  Unfortunately I may not be willing to put in the work to get the income necessary to afford it.  Is this giving up or an honest assessment of my talents and limitations?

With This Herring

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Re: I want my lifestyle inflation.
« Reply #11 on: July 20, 2017, 10:18:51 PM »
You guys are spending a huge amount on food and restaurants.  I'm surprised that doesn't already include a few $200 date nights per month.

Where do you live right now?  Can you move somewhere with cheaper houses?

I think you may be underestimating the size of a 4,000 sqft house.  Those things are behemoths.  My parents have a 2,500 or so sqft house, and that is a plenty big enough size unless you have more than four or five kids.  Trust me, if you are used to a 2-bd 1.5-bath condo, you will NOT want the level of cleaning and maintenance needed to keep up a house of your dream size.

I think you need to sit down and read "Your Money or Your Life" and "The Millionaire Next Door."  The latter especially found that the majority of the wealthy don't have any of these "finer things" you want.

Consider that scaling up all of your spending like this could cost you time with your family in earning the money and peace of mind if something changes and you start to worry about the debt crushing you.

I agree with the other poster who says to increase the personal spending money for each of you if your current budget is grating, if it will help you avoid these much larger debt traps.
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kenaces

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Re: I want my lifestyle inflation.
« Reply #12 on: July 20, 2017, 10:24:11 PM »
I read this and wondered if you all got trolled.

I was thinking same thing :)

Feivel2000

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Re: I want my lifestyle inflation.
« Reply #13 on: July 21, 2017, 01:23:39 AM »
I just added up your expenses. Other than the pre tax savings, you aren't saving anything?

Why do you think a $200 date night would satisfy you if the ~$1,000 on restaurants per month can't?

What luxury travel can give you joy, you couldn't buy from the $9,600 travel budget per year?

I think you don't have a over-saving problem, you have an appreciation and an allocation problem.
You are already spending like crazy but you don't get any value in return.


Driftwood

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Re: I want my lifestyle inflation.
« Reply #14 on: July 21, 2017, 04:46:53 AM »
Definitely seems like a troll post, but I’ll respond anyways because caffeine.
2 cars, cable TV, and a detached house should not be too much to ask for.
Ok… but you aren’t asking for those things, you’re specifically looking for price tags and labels…. “Luxury”, $500,000 house, Rolex.”  Detached houses don’t start at $500K as a nationwide standard.  The Rolex? I really don’t know how to respond without being insulting… when I see this I see “I want people to look at my jewelry and think that I’m special and rich and awesome because it is so expensive”.  If you want a second car then get a second car… no biggie.
Financial independence is a worthy goal, but it must be balanced with an appropriate level of luxury and enjoyment.  Deciding what appropriate is is the difficult part.  And yes, having enough to not need paid employment is a luxury not to be discounted.
You’ve invented this rule for yourself “must be balanced with an appropriate level of luxury”.  If you think that you MUST have a purple house and a purple car and a purple tie and a purple watch and a purple poodle to be happy then no one can really help you, you’ve decided on this as a way to measure your happiness.
I do agree with this part though “must be balanced with an appropriate level of enjoyment”.  Of course… but do you think you could enjoy living in a $499,999 house, or will only a $500,000 house do? What do you want to do with that house?  If you want to spend hours watching cable TV, why not buy a cheaper house and then use the extra money to pay for cable and some ‘luxury’ recliners in your house?
Somebody is buying those $500,000 to $1,000,000 houses.  Why not me?  Unfortunately I may not be willing to put in the work to get the income necessary to afford it.  Is this giving up or an honest assessment of my talents and limitations?
Why not you?  You haven’t earned the money to pay for it, you haven’t been given the money to pay for it.  Credit will give you an opportunity to get what you haven’t earned.  So will theft.  Both have consequences. The world owes you nothing… you don’t deserve anything you don’t earn.  So if the things you listed are that important, then earn enough money to pay for them. 
Giving up?  Quitting working on life/self improvement is giving up.  Quitting on defining your life by price tags instead of things that bring real happiness isn’t ‘giving up’, it’s just making a logical, healthy shift. 
*Nothing I post should be taken too seriously*

sokoloff

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Re: I want my lifestyle inflation.
« Reply #15 on: July 21, 2017, 04:51:24 AM »
I read this and wondered if you all got trolled.
No troll.
I admit that I assumed your post was a troll as well, to the point that I poked around your posting history and I'm convinced it was a legit post out of frustration rather than a trolling post.
While you all say you have successfully turned away from the desire for more, I have not.  Past financial difficulties make me more risk averse to actually buying more but leaves me stuck in a purgatory where I can save money, increase my net worth, but feel like I'm missing out on what a debt fueled lifestyle can bring.
Prove it. I don't see you saving significant money nor increasing your net worth significantly.

You want a $500K house? Save up $100K downpayment. 2 mid-30s workers with only 2x current income in retirement savings isn't yet time for a victory lap.

Adding a kid adds significant expenses (care, college savings, parental sanity spending).

2 cars, cable TV, and a detached house should not be too much to ask for.
On $120K of income, I agree, but you will need to prioritize that over a fountain of luxury travel and eating out. Most families don't spend $20K in travel in a decade; you guys spend that in two years. You are living solidly middle class, and probably closer to upper middle class than you realize.

If you look at your Facebook feed, everyone is buying new things, eating great food, and traveling to amazing places. That's not an X-ray of their lives; it's a highlight reel.
2 luxury cars and a 4,000 sq ft house is a stretch, but with only one life to live, why not stretch for it, strive as hard as you can and either get it or know you didn't instead of wondering if you could.  I will be OK with OK things, but I want some nice things as well.

Financial independence is a worthy goal, but it must be balanced with an appropriate level of luxury and enjoyment.  Deciding what appropriate is is the difficult part.  And yes, having enough to not need paid employment is a luxury not to be discounted.

Somebody is buying those $500,000 to $1,000,000 houses.  Why not me?  Unfortunately I may not be willing to put in the work to get the income necessary to afford it.  Is this giving up or an honest assessment of my talents and limitations?
The people buying those $1MM houses have household incomes in the $300K+ range.

With your one life to live, if you want to go strive for that, do it, but you're striving for the income and the material trappings need to come after the income, not before (or instead of). I have no idea of your talents or limitations, but if you want to raise a kid, have 2 luxury vehicles, travel and eat out regularly, live in a house 3x as expensive as what you have today, and still retire someday (let alone early), you will need more income. Period.

havregryn

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Re: I want my lifestyle inflation.
« Reply #16 on: July 21, 2017, 05:32:09 AM »
I can sort of sympathize with you because I catch myself having the same frustration.
Even though I live in Europe and reading this forum has reinforced my belief that the US and the EU are vastly different contexts when it comes to pretty much everything relevant to this.
And we live in a kind of HCOL where the same kind of place you live in costs the 500 000$ while an upper middle class house is deep in the seven figures.
But what I wanted to say, I think feeling uneasy about spending money while at the same time you feel you want to do it is not something you are going to be able to cure with more money.
3 years ago we were living in Sweden (so, a place where you can't be poor even if you try but you also can't get rich working) with a monthly budget of cca 4000$, two of us and a baby, in a suburb of Stockholm. I was unemployed and even though we managed to save cca 1500-2000$ because of our very frugal choices I felt insecure and like you questioned every single tiny purchase.
Fast forward to now, our monthly household income after tax and pension contributions is about 13 000$ (obviously we both got really good jobs in the meantime and moved to a lower tax country).  We spend a lot more on stupid stuff now. But I still feel bad about it and question most purchases. Still there are ways to feel poor since our income has nothing on an unemployed bum who inherited a large house in an upscale area around here etc. And I feel sometimes that we are robbing ourselves and especially our kids of things we could have just because we are somehow anxious around money. So, the numbers in the budget changed a lot. The mental agony remained the same.

You need to find a way to understand what makes you want the things you want and what makes you fear the things you fear and then maybe you can slowly upgrade your lifestyle and feel good about it. 
« Last Edit: July 21, 2017, 05:34:50 AM by havregryn »

YoungGranny

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Re: I want my lifestyle inflation.
« Reply #17 on: July 21, 2017, 06:52:28 AM »
I think you need to start by realizing you are not living a lower middle class lifestyle. Lower middle class for a family of 3 makes $30k-$50k you are already spending $62k a year.

You're on the wrong forum for your original question because to achieve those things you either need A.) Significant boost to income or B.) Crap-load of debt (even with either of those things few people on this forum would support that amount of lifestyle inflation - we're all about living a life of luxury on the cheap)

Without coming across as rude I suggest that with your travel budget you visit countries where people have a lot less than the US and are still happy. I also suggest reading more book and maybe even journaling. It sounds silly but I started writing down 3 things I'm grateful for everyday and the shift in mindset makes me realize I am not deprived of anything and happiness does not come from material possessions.

jlcnuke

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Re: I want my lifestyle inflation.
« Reply #18 on: July 21, 2017, 07:54:04 AM »
I read this and wondered if you all got trolled.

No troll.  While you all say you have successfully turned away from the desire for more, I have not.  Past financial difficulties make me more risk averse to actually buying more but leaves me stuck in a purgatory where I can save money, increase my net worth, but feel like I'm missing out on what a debt fueled lifestyle can bring.  2 cars, cable TV, and a detached house should not be too much to ask for.  2 luxury cars and a 4,000 sq ft house is a stretch, but with only one life to live, why not stretch for it, strive as hard as you can and either get it or know you didn't instead of wondering if you could.  I will be OK with OK things, but I want some nice things as well.

Financial independence is a worthy goal, but it must be balanced with an appropriate level of luxury and enjoyment.  Deciding what appropriate is is the difficult part.  And yes, having enough to not need paid employment is a luxury not to be discounted.

Somebody is buying those $500,000 to $1,000,000 houses.  Why not me?  Unfortunately I may not be willing to put in the work to get the income necessary to afford it.  Is this giving up or an honest assessment of my talents and limitations?

Let's start from the top.

You have 2 problems that I see right now:
A. You've cut your spending sufficiently that you "feel" like you're missing out.
B. You're comparing what you have to what others have to a detrimental effect.

Now, let's see about addressing these issues:
For "A":
Some people aren't going to be happy with a "pure Mustachian lifestyle". You apparently aren't, and you didn't even go "all the way". That's fine. I'm not either. Nothing wrong with being willing to trade some more of your life working in order to afford the lifestyle you're willing to accept.

For "B":
Go smack yourself in the mirror and remind yourself that most of those people living in the million dollar homes either make a shit-ton more than you do, make more than you and work every hour they can in order to barely afford those places, or can't actually afford them and are just putting off the inevitable loss of that lifestyle. You can try to become one of the former (which you hinted at working "towards" but it doesn't seem like a highly probable outcome right now). You can go halfway and try and become the middle option - though I really never understood throwing your life away almost completely just to have large home to miss while you're working. You can also shoot for the last option - leverage yourself as much as possible and try to enjoy that excess as long as you can make it last - probably tied with working all the time for how unhealthy such a lifestyle is, maybe worse though.

OR

You can assess your actual situation and see what realistic options will maximize your happiness now AND in the future. Your happiness isn't going to be maximized by working all the time and stressing out over whether or not you can afford the mortgage next month because the A/C went out and you didn't have the money to pay for both that and the next mortgage payment. Likewise, your happiness isn't going to be maximized by moving your family into a single-wide trailer a 2 hour commute from your work so that housing costs would be minimal. You have to find a balance. On that note, the balance also needs to take into account your future. If you stop saving entirely so that you can afford "close" to the lifestyle you seem to be envying right now then you're almost guaranteed to regret that significantly in later years and very possibly will find yourself stuck in a much lower quality of life when you eventually are forced to retire (and living the lifestyle you mentioned with your income would result in you being forced to retire because you'd likely never have enough to maintain that lifestyle and voluntarily retire).

What does the arbitrary $500k 4,000 sq ft home get you that you care about which you can't get with a home 1/2 that size or half that cost? Very little I'm guessing other than more debt and the ability to tell people you got a big expensive house. Neither of which is likely to provide any long-term happiness imo.

What does a watch that costs as much as a used 3-series BMW get you that you can't get with a watch for $500? Status? Envy? A lot of pain when it gets stolen?

I like cars. I only buy "luxury" cars currently because I spend a LOT of time in my car. As such, my last two cars have been late model luxury cars. I still try to keep them under $30k and realize I'm only spending a lot of time in 1 vehicle so there's no need for me to have multiple luxury vehicles. One will do and I don't have to spend $60-80k on it either. I also keep them for 7+ years. It's not mustachian, and it doesn't let me save as much as I can, but I've accepted that it's one area of my life I'm willing to splurge on at the expense of having to work longer.

So, if you're willing to have a lower QOL in retirement (if savings are dropped low enough to prevent maintaining your lifestyle with your investments by normal retirement age), or work longer (assuming your savings are not dropped low enough to make ER with your lifestyle possible), then feel free to decide what luxuries are worth it "now" to you and which aren't. Don't kid yourself though, outside of the McMansion it sounds like you're already living an upper middle-class lifestyle, not a lower middle-class one.
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Harper

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Re: I want my lifestyle inflation.
« Reply #19 on: July 21, 2017, 08:34:14 AM »
So if you're not a troll, then are you surrounded by spendypants people?  Coworkers, family, friends?  Do you need new friends?  Being around spendypants has the opposite effect on me that I like knowing I have cash in the bank and I'm not just spending it on stuff.

Psychstache

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Re: I want my lifestyle inflation.
« Reply #20 on: July 21, 2017, 08:35:52 AM »
Yeah, if this is what you want from your life, you need to start making significantly more money or be comfortable going into a shitton of debt. Either way, I agree with other posters that you need to reassess your understanding of your lifestyle, because it is empirically not 'lower middle class'.



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SimpleCycle

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Re: I want my lifestyle inflation.
« Reply #21 on: July 21, 2017, 08:54:28 AM »
You are spending $18,000 a year on food, and almost $10,000 on travel.  That is upper middle class spending.

One thing I learned, even before my interest in MMM, is that on upper middle class incomes (like yours and mine) you can have some luxury but you can't have ALL THE LUXURY ALL THE TIME.  So you can have the house OR the travel OR the restaurants, and keep a relative amount of financial sanity, but you can't have them all.  In the face of this reality, the best thing to do is to align your spending with your priorities.  Decide what is important - FI, the house, the travel, the restaurant meals, having a child?  The order of those priorities determines how you spend your money.

Unlike some posters, I don't believe there is virtue in FI for FI's sake.  If you decide you are willing to work into your mid or late 60s to have what you want, that is your decision.  But it's all tradeoffs, there's nothing magical once you reach $100k/year or $200k/year in income.

SimpleCycle

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Re: I want my lifestyle inflation.
« Reply #22 on: July 21, 2017, 09:03:48 AM »
Also, you know this, but comparison is the thief of joy.

We live in what has become a spendy neighborhood.  We live in a 2 bed 2 bath condo.  We drive a Corolla.  We have 2 kids who go to an in home daycare.  Our next door neighbors live in a 4 bedroom 3 bath condo with a garage and roof deck, drive two luxury SUVs, and have a nanny for their 1 kid.  Compared to us they live a very luxurious life, but I have no idea how the bottom line works.  I suspect they make twice as much money as we do, but I really have no idea.  To compare myself to them makes no sense - we COULD make the choices they make, but we'd probably be in debt and barely saving.  That is not worth it to me.

DarkandStormy

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Re: I want my lifestyle inflation.
« Reply #23 on: July 21, 2017, 09:29:18 AM »
Troll or not a mustachian.

If you want the debt, luxury lifestyle you will likely work until you are 70.  If you're fine with that, go for it.
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Acastus

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Re: I want my lifestyle inflation.
« Reply #24 on: July 21, 2017, 09:45:28 AM »
The major theme for FIRE is, cut back on everything that is not important to you so you can spend on the handful of things that are important. If your frugality is too extreme, you will not stick with it. You feel like things are too extreme, but I think some of your categories are out of whack, and some of the grief is short lived, like your day care.

$1500 for food is really spendy. Really, $50 per day is not enough? I got spanked by this crowd, and I spend half that.

Run some numbers on a bigger house. Don't forget taxes and PMI if you need that. Your HOA is kind of steep. My first place was a stretch at about 30% of gross, and we were pretty broke for a while. We had to live like college students. I have been a lot happier paying 20% of gross or less. Waiting until day care ends will help your budget.

I don't think 120k is enough to live the Kardashian lifestyle. You are probably looking at 200k income to have a 500k house and 120k in cars and 50k of useless bling.

mrspendy

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Re: I want my lifestyle inflation.
« Reply #25 on: July 21, 2017, 10:07:11 AM »
I'm very confused by the food expenses. I live in one of the highest cost of living areas of the U.S. $500K is a decent 1 bedroom.

My wife and I spend about what you do on food/restaurants (maybe a bit less) BUT that includes  1-2 $200 / night very nice and spectacular meals with apps a couple drinks etc, maybe once a month where we "go out hard" and have 5-10 drinks, plenty of farmer's market gourmet items, regular trips to fast casual places with fresh made delicious salads, fresh seafood and meat from local fishmonger / butcher. We dine better than royals on that amount.

$18K / year on food for 2 is anti-mustachian baller status and it's tough for me so see why you feel that you can't get a $4 coffee when you're already at such a high level.

We also have similar travel budget, which included a 10 day trip to Hawaii staying at the 5 star resorts where cocktails are $20. Granted, I used a points for a lot of it (I rack up about $80K of reimbursable business expenses) but how can $18K / year on food and $10K a year on travel per year when you live in a cheap area (I'm a coastal elitist and look on your $120K mortgage with envy and disdain) not feel like you are balling out?

All my friends are in DC, SF, NYC, etc and spend close to that (some a little more) and know that they are ridiculous human beings (as am I).

EDIT: I missed you have a kid, so perhaps my rant is less applicable


EDIT 2:
To put some specifics on it with the help of Personal Capital, we've spent $8,100 on groceries and restaurants in 2017. This includes the following line items

$720 my subsidized work lunch (every day), $4-$7
$356 Fast casual salad place (that's probably 14-17 times)
$258 Mama's Fish house  http://www.mamasfishhouse.com/
$222 steakhouse
there are 5 more line items which are over $100 and we only went to once.

How is that not super luxurious? where are you dining for that much dough without feeling like you are eating like a king?

$18K is apparently 3x the average American household's food spending.
http://www.thesimpledollar.com/how-the-average-american-family-spends-their-income-and-how-to-trim-it/

« Last Edit: July 21, 2017, 10:55:00 AM by mrspendy »

sokoloff

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Re: I want my lifestyle inflation.
« Reply #26 on: July 21, 2017, 10:13:24 AM »
EDIT: I missed you have a kid, so perhaps my rant is less applicable
Not yet, they don't.
Quote
soon to be placed one year old foster baby

RFAAOATB

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Re: I want my lifestyle inflation.
« Reply #27 on: July 21, 2017, 10:35:46 AM »
I don't think 120k is enough to live the Kardashian lifestyle. You are probably looking at 200k income to have a 500k house and 120k in cars and 50k of useless bling.

At this rate a 200k combined income for us will take 15 years to achieve. Lets hope record low inflation continues for another decade and we end up surprisingly spry 50 year olds.  As much as I bitch about the small condo I probably won't feel a huge need to upgrade until the second child comes.  Having a luxury vehicle let alone two doesn't make sense in our current area, and the luxury watch doesn't make much sense if I can't have everything else to go with it.

I'm reluctant to increase my spending in the near future until baby costs stabilize and are accounted for.  I'll already be cutting back and drawing down cash savings to cover our parental leave.  It will take until the end of the year to figure out what the next 5 year plan will look like.

Despite the mathematical inefficiency I am still tempted to cut my 457 contributions down to $50 a month and send the rest of that money to the mortgage and pay it off in 4 years.  That will either make buying the next house easier or get me addicted to the idea of not paying a mortgage again.


sokoloff

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Re: I want my lifestyle inflation.
« Reply #28 on: July 21, 2017, 10:54:32 AM »
Despite the mathematical inefficiency I am still tempted to cut my 457 contributions down to $50 a month and send the rest of that money to the mortgage and pay it off in 4 years.  That will either make buying the next house easier or get me addicted to the idea of not paying a mortgage again.
It's not the very worst idea in the world. Be sure you have a plan for what to do when the mortgage is paid off and that that plan has something to do with making up some of the retirement shortfall that you're creating.

Ballpark, you will need to get to 25x your lifestyle spending in retirement assets saved. You're probably in the 3x-4x range right now. Any Social Security or other pension-type funds can offset this figure, of course.

If you pay off the mortgage and then divert that future cashflow to the "finer things in life", you're at risk to fall significantly short on the retirement and/or educational savings side.

GoConfidently

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Re: I want my lifestyle inflation.
« Reply #29 on: July 21, 2017, 11:18:45 AM »
I think you need therapy. You're about to have a 1 year old placed in your home and all the sudden you have intense anxiety about money. Perhaps your anxiety about parenting is manifesting as an overwhelming desire to provide nice things for your family. Success as a parent and husband comes from being loving and present and supportive, not giving shiny presents.

That aside, table all the big purchase decisions until at least six months after your baby arrives. Do you really want to have to clean 4,000 sq feet of house with a kiddo underfoot? Do you want your fancy new car seats soured and stained because a sippy cup of milk seeped into the cushions and baked in the sun? Do you really feel like you need a Rolex to tell time at the park? Not to mention the fact that moving is hard under any circumstances but moving with a kid is a whole other ballgame. No one in your family needs that upheaval in the next year. Your lifestyle and priorities are about to change dramatically. Take a deep breath, use some of that travel money for a fancy date night this month, and reassess in six months.

Pigeon

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Re: I want my lifestyle inflation.
« Reply #30 on: July 21, 2017, 11:22:30 AM »
Honestly, I think you might benefit from counseling.  It seems like you have a fairly lavish lifestyle, but are fixated on the glass that's an eighth empty and that makes you sad. 

How is having an obscenely large house going to bring you gobs of happiness?  How is spending easily twice as much as you need to have a fun date going to enrich your life?  You are already bringing in a much higher than average income, and spending freely on many aspects of your life.

It's human nature to want nice things and to like some luxury.  I get that.   I'm already FI and am approaching retirement, but not very early by the standards of this forum.  I got there by modestly indulging in new inexpensive cars every 10-12 years, taking $1500 vacations, but not every year, and going out to dinner once in a great while.  I take pleasure in those indulgences for the luxuries they are rather than fixating on what I don't have or how I could be doing it more expensively.

How do other people afford McMansions, yachts, Rolexes, an annual world travel?  Some people are neurosurgeons, some are partners in Big Law firms, some are CEOs of tech companies.  Some people have inherited wealth.   Some (and I know a few) live in a very fancy house of cards, with nothing but debt for the mortar.  Some will be working until they are in their 70s.  You could live a more luxurious lifestyle than you are already living, but the trade-off is a longer working life and less financial security in the form of money in your accounts.

HariboFan

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Re: I want my lifestyle inflation.
« Reply #31 on: July 21, 2017, 11:30:43 AM »
Having a luxury vehicle let alone two doesn't make sense in our current area, and the luxury watch doesn't make much sense if I can't have everything else to go with it.
What does the portion I've bolded mean? I'm genuinely curious. I'm sympathetic to some of your lifestyle wants, but the watch thing puzzles me. I can understand paying a couple hundred for a high-quality watch that looks nice. But paying thousands for a watch is baffling. (Though I guess I shouldn't find it any more baffling than the fact that people spend outrageous amounts on engagement rings--and those don't even tell you the time!)

financialfreedomsloth

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Re: I want my lifestyle inflation.
« Reply #32 on: July 21, 2017, 11:34:46 AM »
Honestly, I think you might benefit from counseling.
I agree. he is spending a shitload of money and is not happy and then thinks being able to spend even more money will make him happy? Dude, seriously, it will not work like that. Perhaps watch Queen of Versailles. There is one scene where she is buying several carts full off crap at walmarkt (they needed to budget due to the recession 2008) for her children and when she is talking about it, all I could think was: 'there is something seriously wrong with this woman'. Worst of all, she was miserable, their children were miserable. Too me it looked like an all out miserable life for all involved.
If you want to go earn the big bucks and spend, spend, spend. have at it. It's your life. But if you are not happy with your current spending I highly doubt you will be when you can spend X2, X3 times your current amount ...
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kenaces

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Re: I want my lifestyle inflation.
« Reply #33 on: July 21, 2017, 12:42:55 PM »
I do feel like many others in this thread - wanting to criticize your desire for "rich" life stuff.  That said I think it is more about what we each choose to value most because we can't have it ALL.  Once you accept the reality that you can't have it all you can make choices based on what you value most.

i.e. for me: fat investing/savings accounts and FI ASAP >>>> expensive house/car/watches so my choices are easy and clear.  I value having total control over my time more than anything.  So, I guess you just need to decide what is most important to you, and go after whatever that is.


RFAAOATB

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Re: I want my lifestyle inflation.
« Reply #34 on: July 21, 2017, 12:47:02 PM »
Having a luxury vehicle let alone two doesn't make sense in our current area, and the luxury watch doesn't make much sense if I can't have everything else to go with it.
What does the portion I've bolded mean? I'm genuinely curious. I'm sympathetic to some of your lifestyle wants, but the watch thing puzzles me. I can understand paying a couple hundred for a high-quality watch that looks nice. But paying thousands for a watch is baffling. (Though I guess I shouldn't find it any more baffling than the fact that people spend outrageous amounts on engagement rings--and those don't even tell you the time!)

I think we can all remember an example of people who stretch way too far to afford a more than practical car or truck.  A $60,000 truck is probably not going to serve you five times as well as a $12,000 car.  To me a big truck doesn't fit in the driveway of a small house like it would in the driveway of a big house.  And a fancy watch doesn't fit unless everything else is taken care of.

We could list a lot of luxury categories (cars, handbags, spa treatments, clothes, furniture, statues, fancy dining, horses, boats) and measure individually how much they claws at your desire levels from not understanding why to wanting it to the exclusion of others.  In my case it's fancy watches.  The only reason I don't buy a $300-$800 watch now is I know I'll want a $2000 - $10000 watch afterwards.

DarkandStormy

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Re: I want my lifestyle inflation.
« Reply #35 on: July 21, 2017, 12:48:16 PM »
You're projected to spend ~$56k/year when you factor in daycare.  To hit your FIRE number at that spend level, you'll need $1.4m if you use 4% SWR.  How much is your pension?

Now, the $1k/month in daycare won't be there forever, but we could easily find $2k for luxury/debt lifestyle for the fancy cars, bigger house, somehow spending a larger amount on food, etc.  At $68k/year you'd need $1.7m.
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DarkandStormy

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Re: I want my lifestyle inflation.
« Reply #36 on: July 21, 2017, 12:50:55 PM »
Quote from: RFAAOATB link=topic=76367.msg1632815#msg1632815
To me a big truck doesn't fit in the driveway of a small house like it would in the driveway of a big house.  And a fancy watch doesn't fit unless everything else is taken care of.

« Last Edit: July 21, 2017, 01:28:05 PM by DarkandStormy »
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Plugging Along

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Re: I want my lifestyle inflation.
« Reply #37 on: July 21, 2017, 12:54:12 PM »
Here's the deal.  I'm tired of being reluctant to enjoy small purchases and want enough money to live an inflated lifestyle.  Today my retirement account value went up over $2,000 and I was perturbed that my energy drink and muffin cost nearly $4.  Yesterday I was bickering with my wife over $10 or $20 worth of unnecessary gimmicks at the store for a party we're hosting.  We've got a decent income and live like we're lower middle class.  I want to live like we are upper middle class and want to figure out the risks and best way to move forward.

Current Lifestyle:
2 mid 30s workers, and a soon to be placed one year old foster baby.
Income: 119k gross, 47k for her, 72k main work and 5k National Guard for me
Retirement savings: Max out 457 and ROTH IRA for me, $200/month 457 for her
Net income is about $5400 a month

We got $98,000 left on a $130k 2bd1.5ba condo that costs us $720 rounded up to $800 in mortgage and $580 in dues.
We have a paid off 2010 Subaru and live a one car lifestyle.
Other monthly expenses include:
Medical Insurance: $228
Cell Phone: $70
Streaming: $25
Internet: $69
Car Insurance: $45
Food/Restaurants: $1,500
Hair: $100
Travel Savings are up to $800/month
Daycare: $1000 estimate

Current retirement value is $218k for me and about $50k for her.

We have enough money to support a decent middle class life.  Now that that's taken care of, I want more.

I am beginning to study more before job hunting to see if I can break the 100k income threshold and maybe pass $130k in a few years.  That would require moving as it would take nearly a decade for me to break



I may get facepunched, but I will disclose.  I think I may live the life you want but not quite to the extreme.

Your desired Desired Lifestyle
YOU| a $500,000 4000sqft house.
ME :   I have a 2000 sqft home  worth more than $500k. (HCOL)   We are thinking about upgrading to the $750 to $1mil range.   How are we going to do this?   Our home has been paid off for a while.  We bought it at $280k based on a mortgage of the lowest income.    We are saving the money for an upgrade.   No more debt for us. 

YOU: want two luxury vehicles, perhaps an Escalade and a BMW. 
ME:  we have three vehicle, two more expensive luxury, and a cheaper one for the nanny.   All paid for in cash.   We we first started out, we had less expensive vehicles, and drove them until they died.  We bought the vechicles based on what we could buy with cash, so if it was a rust bucket for $2k, then be it.  In the meantime, we saved w equivalent of the car payments we would have spent on the vevhicle that we really wanted, and used that to buy the car.  As we saved more, we could buy more expensive vehicles.  You want a second car, save for it. 

YOU want a 3-30k Rolex.
ME:  I was lucky, I received mine as a gift.   I was surprised that maintenance is $800.   I was told if you flinch the price or maintenance, you shouldn't buy one.   I like my watch, it is reliable and has sentiment.   I have to tell you, no one knows I have one even though I wear it every day.  I wouldn't pay for it myself.

YOU| want $200 date nights at least once a month.
ME|. We do do out for very expensive dinners.   Once was well over $1000.   We don't do it every month, and we ar frugal with our cooking at home so we can go to expensive dinners. I will go if it's a really special place (usually travelling) or if we are out with guest (the experience).  We don't go out just for the sake of going you.   You spend a lot on your other eating out, maybe get better at that, then you can go out for dinner. 

YOU:  I want to go out to lunch more often and stop worrying that my wife is going out to lunch too much. 
ME:  same as above.  My spouse goes out for lunch a lot, and me too.   To offset, we make our food at home as economical as possible.  We spend a little more than you with a family of almost 5. 

You| Hell, I even want to go back to having cable TV as well.  Maybe even buy a $4 coffee every day. 
ME|.  Everything comes with a price, we gave up the $4 coffee every day to be able to do the other things, 

YOU:I would prefer to get this done within the next ten years.
ME:  you can have it all, just not at the same time.   I think you really need to decide what is important to you, and make the goals.   Is coffee really going to bring the same happiness and joy as the house, then go with the coffe, and forget the house.   

I have no qualms with my spending because we have no debt, we max out our retirement accounts every year, and the things I do spend on, though they may seem a lot I know what brings me true joy. 

Specific questions:
How much income are we going to need to support this desired lifestyle? 

We didn't alway have this lifestyle.   We needed set priorities.   My spouse is not very mustachian at all.   So its a constant if you want the million dollar home what are you to do to earn it.     'Oh you want another luxury vehicle?, is this more or less than the house'   'Oh, yes the coffee is only $5 but if you do that every day, we can have the vehicle faster'  etc. 

How much net worth should we have before taking on additional debt?

We don't ever take on additional debt unless it's for investing.   Definately no consumer items including a larger house. 

How much income?   BOTH My spouse and I have $100k + incomes plus side hustles.   We work really hard so we can play hard, but we always save too. 

What are the emotional risks of over reaching and falling back to where you were before vs. not reaching and wondering if you could have?    Well, my spouse always wants to know if we can have it.   I can honestly say we are at the point that we know we can have it, therefore a lot of those things we no longer want.  When the bank owns it, you aren't really doing anything special, you haven't earned it.   My spouse did want a Rolex, for his grad, I offered to get home one because we could afford it.   He no longer wanted it knowing he could have it.   One thing to remember that sometimes feelings and insecurities manifest themselves into things.   Having a strong sense of what is important to you and feeling good about it, often takes more digging and soul searching.

Also, you have to work for it.   I have told my spouse, you want the toys, get a hirers paying contract.   That has sent him to other cities and countries.   He doesn't like being away as much, so less toys.   

All you wrote is about choices and having clear goals and priorities. 

SeaEhm

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Re: I want my lifestyle inflation.
« Reply #38 on: July 21, 2017, 01:55:55 PM »
  To offset, we make our food at home as economical as possible.  We spend a little more than you with a family of almost 5. 

You| Hell, I even want to go back to having cable TV as well.  Maybe even buy a $4 coffee every day. 
ME|.  Everything comes with a price, we gave up the $4 coffee every day to be able to do the other things, 

YOU:I would prefer to get this done within the next ten years.
ME:  you can have it all, just not at the same time.   I think you really need to decide what is important to you, and make the goals.   Is coffee really going to bring the same happiness and joy as the house, then go with the coffe, and forget the house.   

I have no qualms with my spending because we have no debt, we max out our retirement accounts every year, and the things I do spend on, though they may seem a lot I know what brings me true joy. 

Specific questions:
How much income are we going to need to support this desired lifestyle? 

We didn't alway have this lifestyle.   We needed set priorities.   My spouse is not very mustachian at all.   So its a constant if you want the million dollar home what are you to do to earn it.     'Oh you want another luxury vehicle?, is this more or less than the house'   'Oh, yes the coffee is only $5 but if you do that every day, we can have the vehicle faster'  etc. 

How much net worth should we have before taking on additional debt?

We don't ever take on additional debt unless it's for investing.   Definately no consumer items including a larger house. 

How much income?   BOTH My spouse and I have $100k + incomes plus side hustles.   We work really hard so we can play hard, but we always save too. 


And that my friends is living the American Dream!
White picket fence
two six figure salaries
2.3 kids
Just here to feel guilty about my purchases which are often irrational, wants, and in an atypical budget.

SeaEhm

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Re: I want my lifestyle inflation.
« Reply #39 on: July 21, 2017, 02:03:48 PM »
At the OP

Sounds like you have some financial insecurity and are thinking that getting these finer things will make everything better.   

I have been there (and still have one foot in that life) so don't take my previous statement as a personal assault in which I am trying to bestow me being better than you.

I thought that getting a more expensive house, more expensive car, more expensive shoes, more expensive this, more expensive that would make my life more fulfilled and therefore make me happier. 

I am starting to realize that my true happiness isn't always related to these expensive items. 

In my old age, sadly, I am just starting to find out what truly makes me happy.  If I knew about this sooner, I could have saved a lot of money.

BRB going to watch this video top try and better understand myself- I will update with any insights I learn

Thanks for the motivation!

https://www.ted.com/talks/dan_gilbert_asks_why_are_we_happy/transcript?language=en
Just here to feel guilty about my purchases which are often irrational, wants, and in an atypical budget.

Pigeon

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Re: I want my lifestyle inflation.
« Reply #40 on: July 21, 2017, 02:12:48 PM »
Having a luxury vehicle let alone two doesn't make sense in our current area, and the luxury watch doesn't make much sense if I can't have everything else to go with it.
What does the portion I've bolded mean? I'm genuinely curious. I'm sympathetic to some of your lifestyle wants, but the watch thing puzzles me. I can understand paying a couple hundred for a high-quality watch that looks nice. But paying thousands for a watch is baffling. (Though I guess I shouldn't find it any more baffling than the fact that people spend outrageous amounts on engagement rings--and those don't even tell you the time!)


I think we can all remember an example of people who stretch way too far to afford a more than practical car or truck.  A $60,000 truck is probably not going to serve you five times as well as a $12,000 car.  To me a big truck doesn't fit in the driveway of a small house like it would in the driveway of a big house.  And a fancy watch doesn't fit unless everything else is taken care of.

We could list a lot of luxury categories (cars, handbags, spa treatments, clothes, furniture, statues, fancy dining, horses, boats) and measure individually how much they claws at your desire levels from not understanding why to wanting it to the exclusion of others.  In my case it's fancy watches.  The only reason I don't buy a $300-$800 watch now is I know I'll want a $2000 - $10000 watch afterwards.
I have always worn the same model of Timex watch.  When it wears out every ten years or so or I lose it, I buy a new one (on sale) exactly the same as the old one, if they still make it.  The last one cost $38. Truth be told, I could live just fine with no watch.  I'm either working in front of a computer that displays the time, I'm in a room with a clock or I have a cell phone with me that tells time.  I love this watch though.  It is perfect.

For my last anniversary, dh bought me a very expensive watch.  Not a Rolex, but well over $1,000.  He was so freaking excited about it.  He is a guy who likes to buy jewelry.  It is beautiful.  I love how much he loves me, and it is a signal from him of how much he has enjoyed our 36 year marriage. 

Secretly, I miss my Timex very much.  A $1,500 watch does not serve me 40 times better than a $38 watch.  In fact, my $38 watch is much better.  They both keep perfect time, or perfect enough for me.  My Timex is more readable and more comfortable and lights up when you press a button.  I gave some thought to asking him to return it, but he was way, way too happy about it and we are FI. 

More expensive is not necessarily even nominally better.

Bicycle_B

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Re: I want my lifestyle inflation.
« Reply #41 on: July 21, 2017, 02:16:53 PM »
  To offset, we make our food at home as economical as possible.  We spend a little more than you with a family of almost 5. 


And that my friends is living the American Dream!
White picket fence
two six figure salaries
2.3 kids

Ok, SeaEhm, I did literally laugh out loud on that one.

sokoloff

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Re: I want my lifestyle inflation.
« Reply #42 on: July 21, 2017, 02:20:10 PM »
Ok, SeaEhm, I did literally laugh out loud on that one.
Haha. I didn't get it the first time. Well done!

Acastus

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Re: I want my lifestyle inflation.
« Reply #43 on: July 21, 2017, 02:37:50 PM »
What is middle class?

There is no standard definition, so everyone looks around their neighborhood, and if everyone looks kind of like them, then they must be middle class. This is pretty wrong headed. To me, everyone who lives in Manhattan or the hills of San Francisco is upper class. So what if you are just scraping by there? If they were actually middle class, they could not afford to live there AT ALL.

I define middle class as 1/2 to 2 times the median household income. Median is ~ 60k, so the middle is 30k - 120k. The low end is actually quite low and really only applies in LCOL areas or retirees who have paid off housing. You might be able to whine that another 20k needs to be added to HCOL areas. Family size counts a bit, so you can do more 3rd order tuning, maybe.


Plugging Along

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Re: I want my lifestyle inflation.
« Reply #44 on: July 21, 2017, 04:42:16 PM »
  To offset, we make our food at home as economical as possible.  We spend a little more than you with a family of almost 5. 

You| Hell, I even want to go back to having cable TV as well.  Maybe even buy a $4 coffee every day. 
ME|.  Everything comes with a price, we gave up the $4 coffee every day to be able to do the other things, 

YOU:I would prefer to get this done within the next ten years.
ME:  you can have it all, just not at the same time.   I think you really need to decide what is important to you, and make the goals.   Is coffee really going to bring the same happiness and joy as the house, then go with the coffe, and forget the house.   

I have no qualms with my spending because we have no debt, we max out our retirement accounts every year, and the things I do spend on, though they may seem a lot I know what brings me true joy. 

Specific questions:
How much income are we going to need to support this desired lifestyle? 

We didn't alway have this lifestyle.   We needed set priorities.   My spouse is not very mustachian at all.   So its a constant if you want the million dollar home what are you to do to earn it.     'Oh you want another luxury vehicle?, is this more or less than the house'   'Oh, yes the coffee is only $5 but if you do that every day, we can have the vehicle faster'  etc. 

How much net worth should we have before taking on additional debt?

We don't ever take on additional debt unless it's for investing.   Definately no consumer items including a larger house. 

How much income?   BOTH My spouse and I have $100k + incomes plus side hustles.   We work really hard so we can play hard, but we always save too. 


And that my friends is living the American Dream!
White picket fence
two six figure salaries
2.3 kids

Nice catch, I was wondering if anyone would get that.   It's more like 2.5 adults, it's a full time nanny who eats part of her meals at my house. 

Chain link fence- it was cheaper

I am not complaining, I feel we have a pretty good life and appreciatetive of the life I have. 
« Last Edit: July 21, 2017, 04:45:37 PM by Plugging Along »

Ricksun

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Re: I want my lifestyle inflation.
« Reply #45 on: July 21, 2017, 05:23:16 PM »
I read this post as a parody or trolling and am shocked by the actual seriousness of the answers.

bridget

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Re: I want my lifestyle inflation.
« Reply #46 on: July 21, 2017, 05:52:50 PM »
It seems like a pretty big jump between "I don't want to worry about a $4 muffin anymore" and "a mansion, two luxury cars, and a Rolex." 

For the first half, I'm on board.  Being stressed or feeling emotional about small, every day purchases takes a tolld.  I personally make enough money that I have decided that it is a net positive on my life if I use that money to make my life better today in the form of not being overly invested in whether I grab $10-20 extra of party supplies.  I consider myself to be "purchasing" the ability to not worry about it far more than I am purchasing the muffin in front of me.  Those expenses add up and are real (something about a millionaire made ten bucks at a time), but I am proceeding toward financial independence at a reasonable clip anyway. 

Have you ever lived at that level of luxury spending before?  If you've never had a Very Fancy watch, it's quite possible that you imagine that it will bring you that much happiness, but if you actually had the watch, you would be disappointed in how little it actually improves your life.

My recommendation is to take 2-3 months in which you try to stop worrying about small everyday purchases (defined at 1-2 a day, under $50 or so), and seeing if that helps you feel better.  Obviously refrain from buying luxury goods that cost tens of thousands of dollars in that time frame.  You might find that you can improve your happiness at a drastically lower price point than you expect. 


Bicycle_B

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Re: I want my lifestyle inflation.
« Reply #47 on: July 21, 2017, 06:16:37 PM »
OP, fwiw, sorry if I just joined the long chorus of "don't want that much stuff, the problem is mental, deal with it" without offering a solution.

Please consider eliminating as many sources of advertising as possible from your life, and your wife's to the extent she is willing to join you.

Not knowing you, I can only speculate that you are in part influenced by advertising.  In other words you're a normal guy in America, therefore the target of a genius army dedicated to affecting your emotions in ways that make you WANT WANT WANT their fabulous products/services.  While counseling is one way to work on your emotions, it is also well worthwhile to also cut off the stream of desire-inducing ads.  Use adblockers on your news and social media feeds wherever possible.  Lighten up on the screen time, lower the priority of posters who brag about expensive stuff, etc.  Presumably the long term effect will help your happiness level regardless of the spending pattern you choose.  It might even give you a shot at fulfilling your material wants.


Rubic

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Re: I want my lifestyle inflation.
« Reply #48 on: July 22, 2017, 09:53:36 AM »

With This Herring

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Re: I want my lifestyle inflation.
« Reply #49 on: July 22, 2017, 11:50:59 AM »
I read this post as a parody or trolling and am shocked by the actual seriousness of the answers.

OP has almost 500 posts on this site.  If you scroll through the topics OP started and OP's 50 most recent post, there is no prior evidence of trolling that I can see.  It looks like OP is having trouble with this keeping-up-with-the-Jones after having bought into a very upper-class neighborhood.
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