Author Topic: I want my lifestyle inflation.  (Read 16827 times)

soupcxan

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Re: I want my lifestyle inflation.
« Reply #50 on: July 22, 2017, 12:21:18 PM »
I don't see why you can't do what you want, but you're going to need to become a DINK household where each partner is bringing in >$100k.

Also don't see why you need to spend $30k on a Rolex, you can get a brand new Sub for <$8k. Even less if you go used.

Malum Prohibitum

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Re: I want my lifestyle inflation.
« Reply #51 on: July 23, 2017, 08:11:41 AM »
What is middle class?
  People have redefined it.  It is not an income range.  There was working class and the capitalist class.  The "middle class" was those who belonged to neither: small business owners and professionals.

PDXTabs

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Re: I want my lifestyle inflation.
« Reply #52 on: July 23, 2017, 08:59:01 AM »
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.

But why 4k sq ft? I've lived in a 2k sq ft house with a two car garage and I can't imagine needing, or wanting, more. I'd rather have the money to go out to nice restaurants or fly to exotic places. Don't forget that once you have a huge house you have to pay to maintain it with both time and money.

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?

You have a finite resource: income. You get to use it however you like. I personally don't want to spend my life (I only get one) paying off a McMansion. With that said, I could see myself in a $600K condo close in.

RFAAOATB

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Re: I want my lifestyle inflation.
« Reply #53 on: July 23, 2017, 11:19:49 AM »
It looks like OP is having trouble with this keeping-up-with-the-Jones after having bought into a very upper-class neighborhood.

The neighborhood isn't upper class, hence all my wanting for a bigger house and complaining that we've got a decent income but barely live better than subsidized housing.  Real estate here is out of line with what jobs are providing so it's a stretch for most people to get into a detached house.  Within the next ten years we will probably relocate somewhere where a upper-class neighborhood is more affordable.

And it's not just advertising that serves as a trigger, it's the content I seek out.  Reading biographies of rich people like JP Morgan and Donald Trump.  To me Queen of Versailles was about an IBM engineer maximizing her life.  There is an undeniable appeal of being rich, dressing up, drinking cocktails all day, and hanging out with other rich people all night.  Lets all be a part of the aristocracy.

At a minimum, I'm aiming to have more money and a bigger house than my parents.  That should be achievable to everyone in the 99%.  Going far beyond that is a stretch goal.  The hard part is having the income and credit to stretch a bit more now, but the risk aversion and faith in long term investing to realize waiting may be a more lucrative path.

Until then it's back to dreaming of being Kennedy rich.

But why 4k sq ft? I've lived in a 2k sq ft house with a two car garage and I can't imagine needing, or wanting, more. I'd rather have the money to go out to nice restaurants or fly to exotic places. Don't forget that once you have a huge house you have to pay to maintain it with both time and money.

It looked great on zillow and then DING!  Strange desire for a house beyond my wealth created.

sokoloff

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Re: I want my lifestyle inflation.
« Reply #54 on: July 23, 2017, 01:42:58 PM »
it's not just advertising that serves as a trigger, it's the content I seek out.  Reading biographies of rich people like JP Morgan and Donald Trump.  To me Queen of Versailles was about an IBM engineer maximizing her life.  There is an undeniable appeal of being rich, dressing up, drinking cocktails all day, and hanging out with other rich people all night.  Lets all be a part of the aristocracy.
We're probably rich. In any event, we certainly don't worry about money, but much of that is because we don't live the Robin Leach lifestyle. I get up and go to work every weekday; come home and eat a usually home-cooked meal, we drive older cars, bar-b-que sometimes on the weekends, and I dress up only for funerals.

We do have a few indulgences, including a detached house in a HCOL area and one vacation to a warm locale every winter, but if you saw me drive up to the softball field in my 2005 CR-V and we happened to talk about how I was doing my own yardwork, you'd have no idea our net worth was in 7-figures. And that's exactly how I prefer to live my life.

Playing with Fire UK

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Re: I want my lifestyle inflation.
« Reply #55 on: July 23, 2017, 02:27:30 PM »
At a minimum, I'm aiming to have more money and a bigger house than my parents.  That should be achievable to everyone in the 99%.  Going far beyond that is a stretch goal.

Why do you want this? Do you want your child to be wealthier than you? Or to be happy, useful and loved? Did your parents tell you that this was what you should aspire to? Can you identify when you started feeling like this?

It looked great on zillow and then DING!  Strange desire for a house beyond my wealth created.

Close down the Zillow tab and walk away. You don't need that shit. Don't go looking for stuff in advertising that is going to make you unhappy.

lifejoy

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Re: I want my lifestyle inflation.
« Reply #56 on: July 23, 2017, 05:13:12 PM »
You need to read "the millionaire next door". Great book and might bring you down to earth.

tyort1

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Re: I want my lifestyle inflation.
« Reply #57 on: July 23, 2017, 05:20:55 PM »
It looks like OP is having trouble with this keeping-up-with-the-Jones after having bought into a very upper-class neighborhood.

The neighborhood isn't upper class, hence all my wanting for a bigger house and complaining that we've got a decent income but barely live better than subsidized housing.  Real estate here is out of line with what jobs are providing so it's a stretch for most people to get into a detached house.  Within the next ten years we will probably relocate somewhere where a upper-class neighborhood is more affordable.

And it's not just advertising that serves as a trigger, it's the content I seek out.  Reading biographies of rich people like JP Morgan and Donald Trump.  To me Queen of Versailles was about an IBM engineer maximizing her life.  There is an undeniable appeal of being rich, dressing up, drinking cocktails all day, and hanging out with other rich people all night.  Lets all be a part of the aristocracy.

At a minimum, I'm aiming to have more money and a bigger house than my parents.  That should be achievable to everyone in the 99%.  Going far beyond that is a stretch goal.  The hard part is having the income and credit to stretch a bit more now, but the risk aversion and faith in long term investing to realize waiting may be a more lucrative path.

Until then it's back to dreaming of being Kennedy rich.

But why 4k sq ft? I've lived in a 2k sq ft house with a two car garage and I can't imagine needing, or wanting, more. I'd rather have the money to go out to nice restaurants or fly to exotic places. Don't forget that once you have a huge house you have to pay to maintain it with both time and money.

It looked great on zillow and then DING!  Strange desire for a house beyond my wealth created.

I've lived an "upper class" lifestyle.  For more than a decade.  Trust me, that path does not lead to happiness.  You might think it does, but it does not.  You are unhappy or at least dissatisfied.  Living an upper class lifestyle will not fix those feelings.  If anything it will make them worse. 
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StarBright

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Re: I want my lifestyle inflation.
« Reply #58 on: July 23, 2017, 05:23:08 PM »
I think plenty of people have said the basic, correct, answer - which is - if that is what you want then earn the money to buy it (or more appropriately, earn enough money that someone else will finance it for you).

But I thought I'd chime in from a perspective of, I've lived that life and it wasn't worth it.

Through a fluke of geography I ended up running in and married into the same social circles that profited from the Tech Boom in the early aughts. These guys had crazy amounts of money in their early 20s and none of them ended up particularly happy. Yes, there were yachts and trips to Richard Branson's private island (I didn't go on that one, but a friend did) but these folks were running the hedonic treadmill like crazy hamsters. Pretty quickly nothing was good enough - houses, restaurants, vacations, first wives (;)), then second homes weren't good enough, then smaller yachts weren't good enough, faces weren't good enough and these young men started showing up with new teeth and botox - it was constant one-upmanship and it was awful.

If you think you could upgrade to that lifestyle and not need to upgrade further - knock yourself out. But I can tell you, in my experience there was only one guy who seemed able to balance everything in a healthy, normal way and he actively removed himself from the cycle once he hit a certain wealth level. All of the people that I knew dreamed of earning a million bucks. By the time they were 30, fifty million wasn't enough.

Now that I live a very typical middle class existence in the midwest I miss the things I used to do/have. I miss weekly massages and pedicures. I miss amazing 12 course tasting menus and I still maintain that a Birkin would be totally worth the money.

But I honestly cringe when people mention the Siegals or Trumps or Sean Parkers of the world as aspirational. Luxury Living for luxury's sake hasn't made anyone I know happy.
« Last Edit: August 04, 2017, 08:02:50 AM by StarBright »

gerardc

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Re: I want my lifestyle inflation.
« Reply #59 on: July 23, 2017, 05:57:18 PM »
You're just confused. You currently have no cable TV and are arguing with your wife about $10. But you want to throw that out the window and have a $500k house, two luxury cars, and a $30k Rolex. Can you find a middle ground?

Just increase your expenses a little. Dates are fine, cable is fine if you watch it a lot, occasional Starbucks won't break the bank, etc. Just don't overdo it. It reminds me of someone going on a super-low calorie, unsustainable diet that makes them miserable and after 3 days just giving up and binge-eating 7000 calories worth of junkfood. Just find something reasonable that you enjoy and will be able to sustain.

If you save a little more, when your savings are close to $1M, you'll be able to let loose a little more and increase spending in other areas, gradually, and safely.

letired

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Re: I want my lifestyle inflation.
« Reply #60 on: July 23, 2017, 06:10:28 PM »


1) words of wisdom ^^^ If for no other reason than once you have the expensive thing, you now get to worry about damaging or ruining the expensive thing.

2. I also want nice things. But more than nice things, I want to not worry about money. More than not worrying about money, I want to not have to go to work every day. So that means I find ways to get the nice things I want for less money and I worry about money a little bit. What do you want most?

3 instead of wanting expensive things, have you tried wanting nice things (yes there is a difference)? Nice things: j crew shorts in like new condition from goodwill. expensive things: j crew shorts bought new at full price. Nice things: plates from good will that remind me of my grandmothers. expensive things: new expensive china from wherever people buy new expensive china. nice things: my pet kitty adopted for free. expensive things: designer/purebreed pet. nice things: that cast iron skillet I kickstarted. expensive things: le creuset.

RFAAOATB

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Re: I want my lifestyle inflation.
« Reply #61 on: July 23, 2017, 11:06:10 PM »
At a minimum, I'm aiming to have more money and a bigger house than my parents.  That should be achievable to everyone in the 99%.  Going far beyond that is a stretch goal.

Why do you want this? Do you want your child to be wealthier than you? Or to be happy, useful and loved? Did your parents tell you that this was what you should aspire to? Can you identify when you started feeling like this?

My parent's just told me I was going to college with a slight push towards MIT and a heavy push towards engineering.  I ended up going to state university failing engineering and clawing back for a business degree.  Money wasn't talked about as much.  As for me wanting my child to be wealthier than me or happy, useful, and loved?  Those aren't mutually exclusive.  My parents paid for four years of college to set me up for success and I will pay her college with a slight push towards MIT or Ivy League.  Hopefully the next generation gets a better wealth start by going to private college instead of public school.  If it doesn't work out, I plan on having enough money to be adaptable as needed.

I'm not sure when I started to have this desire to outdo my parents, but it was probably after I got out of financial trouble and had enough income and investments to believe it was possible.  Knowing my income is a bit less means I have to invest a lot more to make it happen.


Playing with Fire UK

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Re: I want my lifestyle inflation.
« Reply #63 on: July 24, 2017, 12:21:23 AM »
At a minimum, I'm aiming to have more money and a bigger house than my parents.  That should be achievable to everyone in the 99%.  Going far beyond that is a stretch goal.

Why do you want this? Do you want your child to be wealthier than you? Or to be happy, useful and loved? Did your parents tell you that this was what you should aspire to? Can you identify when you started feeling like this?

My parent's just told me I was going to college with a slight push towards MIT and a heavy push towards engineering.  I ended up going to state university failing engineering and clawing back for a business degree.  Money wasn't talked about as much.  As for me wanting my child to be wealthier than me or happy, useful, and loved?  Those aren't mutually exclusive. My parents paid for four years of college to set me up for success and I will pay her college with a slight push towards MIT or Ivy League.  Hopefully the next generation gets a better wealth start by going to private college instead of public school.  If it doesn't work out, I plan on having enough money to be adaptable as needed.

I'm not sure when I started to have this desire to outdo my parents, but it was probably after I got out of financial trouble and had enough income and investments to believe it was possible.  Knowing my income is a bit less means I have to invest a lot more to make it happen.

They aren't mutually exclusive, but focusing predominantly on being rich IME leads to missing out on everything else.

Is it possible that your feelings with changing from engineering to business are disproportionately impacting your decision making here?

I can't speak for your parents, but is it possible that they wanted you to go to a good school and do engineering because they wanted you to be fulfilled and to have the opportunities and freedom that money buys so that you can be happy?

Have you considered doing the "funeral exercise" where you sit down and think about what you want to have achieved with your life? It might help you focus on what you want.

If you were telling us that you wanted a giant house because it was your dream to adopt 8 kids, or that your dream was to be able to ride a motorbike through the hallway, or have a house-pony, I'd get it. But you seem to want money for money's sake and a house and Rolex for the sake of having more than other people. It sounds like you are frustrated and upset with what you have, but you already have so much more than most people.

Villanelle

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Re: I want my lifestyle inflation.
« Reply #64 on: July 24, 2017, 12:53:37 AM »
I really, really think you need to sit down and ask yourself a lot of "whys".

There is an undeniable "appeal of being rich, dressing up, drinking cocktails all day, and hanging out with other rich people all night."  Why?  To what end?  Why does being in the company of rich people have any value at all? 

What happiness will you truly get from owning a Rolex?  Will this be proving wrong someone who said you weren't going to amount to anything?  Will it be making you more attractive (even just platonically) after years of struggling to feel like you fit in?  What will 4000sqft of house give you that you won't get from 2500sqft?  And no, the answer is not "1500sqft more".  What is it you think those things will say about you or make you feel, that makes them call to you so strongly--strongly enough that you are willing to give up years--decades--of your time unnecessarily?  Do you plan or hope to adopt or have children in the future?  Are you willing to also give up time with them?  Is driving that luxury car more important than being home to help Timmy with his homework?  Is setting him up to feel that only a 4000sqft house (or 5000, because he'll model your desire to outdo parents, I guess) really what you think is best for him?  Is teaching him that Gatsby is an aspirational figure, not a pitable one, what you feel will serve your son well?  It all seems like money for the sake of money.  You haven't yet even really attempted to explain why you want these things, or what about them will make you happy.

How is your relationship with your wife? Do you have a robust circle of friends and family?  If not, is it something you want, even if just a small group of 4-6 people?

Image this life of yours where you have a pair new every two years Mercedes in the drive way of your 4000sqft home, and you wear that Rolex and designer suit and your wife carries a $5000 handbag and your trash can is filled with Starbucks cups and you dined last night at a three star Michelin restaurant for the dozenth time this year, and your neighbors all have those things as well.  Picture it--all these things you aspire to.  And you get in that car and drive to work at the start of yet another 60 hour week, on today, your 60th birthday, for which you receive a gift of a $500 pair of shoes, and you have plans to go out to dinner again at a place that will probably cost about $350 for the two of you.  This is the life you say you want. 

Now picture this.  You wake up and make your own coffee in the kitchen of your 2200sqft home (3-4 bed, 2.5 bath, in a safe, clean bedroom community of similar homes).  It's the morning of your 43rd birthday, and you've been retired for nearly a year now.  Outside sits a 6 year old Toyota Camry with a fair amount of upgrades, but no heated seats.  Your wife is sitting next to you and after a discussion, you decide to go on a hike together, and then you are going to spend some time in your garden where you have planted 3 different kinds of tomatoes and are seeing which you like best when they finally give fruit.  Or maybe you play tennis instead or do some birdwatching--pick your simple hobby. Your elderly neighbor, whose house and car are similar to yours, is struggling to keep up her yard, so you spend 15 minutes weeding her flower bed on a lovely sunny day.  That evening, you and your wife go to dinner at a lovely new place you've heard great things about, and spend $120 because you have drinks, an appetizers, and a shared dessert along with your $35 entrees.  You are splurging because it's your birthday. You are wearing $80 pants from Macy's bought on sale for $50, and on your wrist is a used Breitling purchased for $1500 as your combined birthday and Christmas gift  from last year, because you've always wanted a really nice watch so you and your wife made it happen.  You do not have a regular job but you volunteer at the VA, and your wife works two days a week at the foster care agency. 

Is the first life truly better?  Do you really envision more happiness in the former scenario?  If so, why?  And perhaps more importantly, do you want to be someone who thinks scenario one is better than scenario two?

 

KungfuRabbit

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Re: I want my lifestyle inflation.
« Reply #65 on: July 24, 2017, 07:02:26 AM »
first off, I didn't read all of the other comments.

Second, most of that stuff isn't unrealistic as long as you aren't planning on retiring too young.  Like you said, if you work until you are 65 you could likely have that lifestyle and retire comfortably. Not exactly the point of this forum, but it's a valid life choice (I can respect high spenders as long as they are conscious of the decision and not in debt).

The only thing I'd sway you against is a Rolex.

i personally love my half million $$ house :)

Kl285528

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Re: I want my lifestyle inflation.
« Reply #66 on: July 24, 2017, 08:15:17 AM »
I really, really think you need to sit down and ask yourself a lot of "whys".

There is an undeniable "appeal of being rich, dressing up, drinking cocktails all day, and hanging out with other rich people all night."  Why?  To what end?  Why does being in the company of rich people have any value at all? 

What happiness will you truly get from owning a Rolex?  Will this be proving wrong someone who said you weren't going to amount to anything?  Will it be making you more attractive (even just platonically) after years of struggling to feel like you fit in?  What will 4000sqft of house give you that you won't get from 2500sqft?  And no, the answer is not "1500sqft more".  What is it you think those things will say about you or make you feel, that makes them call to you so strongly--strongly enough that you are willing to give up years--decades--of your time unnecessarily?  Do you plan or hope to adopt or have children in the future?  Are you willing to also give up time with them?  Is driving that luxury car more important than being home to help Timmy with his homework?  Is setting him up to feel that only a 4000sqft house (or 5000, because he'll model your desire to outdo parents, I guess) really what you think is best for him?  Is teaching him that Gatsby is an aspirational figure, not a pitable one, what you feel will serve your son well?  It all seems like money for the sake of money.  You haven't yet even really attempted to explain why you want these things, or what about them will make you happy.

How is your relationship with your wife? Do you have a robust circle of friends and family?  If not, is it something you want, even if just a small group of 4-6 people?

Image this life of yours where you have a pair new every two years Mercedes in the drive way of your 4000sqft home, and you wear that Rolex and designer suit and your wife carries a $5000 handbag and your trash can is filled with Starbucks cups and you dined last night at a three star Michelin restaurant for the dozenth time this year, and your neighbors all have those things as well.  Picture it--all these things you aspire to.  And you get in that car and drive to work at the start of yet another 60 hour week, on today, your 60th birthday, for which you receive a gift of a $500 pair of shoes, and you have plans to go out to dinner again at a place that will probably cost about $350 for the two of you.  This is the life you say you want. 

Now picture this.  You wake up and make your own coffee in the kitchen of your 2200sqft home (3-4 bed, 2.5 bath, in a safe, clean bedroom community of similar homes).  It's the morning of your 43rd birthday, and you've been retired for nearly a year now.  Outside sits a 6 year old Toyota Camry with a fair amount of upgrades, but no heated seats.  Your wife is sitting next to you and after a discussion, you decide to go on a hike together, and then you are going to spend some time in your garden where you have planted 3 different kinds of tomatoes and are seeing which you like best when they finally give fruit.  Or maybe you play tennis instead or do some birdwatching--pick your simple hobby. Your elderly neighbor, whose house and car are similar to yours, is struggling to keep up her yard, so you spend 15 minutes weeding her flower bed on a lovely sunny day.  That evening, you and your wife go to dinner at a lovely new place you've heard great things about, and spend $120 because you have drinks, an appetizers, and a shared dessert along with your $35 entrees.  You are splurging because it's your birthday. You are wearing $80 pants from Macy's bought on sale for $50, and on your wrist is a used Breitling purchased for $1500 as your combined birthday and Christmas gift  from last year, because you've always wanted a really nice watch so you and your wife made it happen.  You do not have a regular job but you volunteer at the VA, and your wife works two days a week at the foster care agency. 

Is the first life truly better?  Do you really envision more happiness in the former scenario?  If so, why?  And perhaps more importantly, do you want to be someone who thinks scenario one is better than scenario two?
Great post. You may also want to review the MMM presentation in this blogpost. https://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2016/10/10/how-to-be-happy-rich-and-save-the-world/

2Birds1Stone

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Re: I want my lifestyle inflation.
« Reply #67 on: July 24, 2017, 09:02:33 AM »
This must be satire.
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tyort1

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Re: I want my lifestyle inflation.
« Reply #68 on: July 24, 2017, 10:47:45 AM »
Reminds me of this quote from the Shining:

Hotel Manager Stuart Ullman, talking about past guests at the Overlook Hotel:
Stuart Ullman: Four presidents, movie stars...
Wendy Torrance: Royalty?
Stuart Ullman: All the best people.


This underlying idea of being in the circle of the "best people" drives a lot of middle class people to buy the trappings of wealth (big house, nice car, best schools for kids, etc).  But the irony is that you'll actually end up NOT RICH by doing that. 

Or, as I like to put it:  You can BE rich, or you can LOOK rich.  You can't do both.
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fuzzy math

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Re: I want my lifestyle inflation.
« Reply #69 on: July 25, 2017, 04:26:07 PM »
If you are looking to move somewhere cheap within 10 years, why not save yourself the extra realtor fees of moving? Set a goal that if you've saved $____ by your move date you get a bigger house you want. (Although I would argue that anything over 3000 sf is ridiculous - really unless you love cleaning and doing maintenance in your free time). Keep those dreams close. Rank them. Refine your ideas like how people have suggested here. People on this forum buy $2k bikes... I don't see why you can't get a $2k watch if it floats your boat. I think you can't have every one of the purchases you want if your desire is to be financially responsible. Prioritize. You haven't died yet, you probably won't die if you only get 3 of the 5 things someday that you want.

I'd urge you to set down the energy drinks and the muffins. With $1500 a month in spending you should be able to spend $400 on food for 2 people at home and $1100 on restaurants. That's a $200 date night EVERY WEEK, and another $200 or so for the month in junk purchases. But if you're spending $7 every morning for the drink and the muffin you've just wasted $200 of your monthly allotment.

I consider myself to be living a very comfortable middle class lifestyle and I spend a small fraction of what you spend on my family of 5. Some of the Drs I work with, my salary is not that much less than theirs ($65k less to be exact) but my cars cost a fraction of theirs, my house costs a fraction of theirs and they're 60+ and still working. I will not be.

Do you always feel this way or is this a fleeting desire to binge based on feeling guilty about $10 purchases? Do you find yourself having big upswings and downswings? The purchasing you are interested in is almost like what people do who have bouts of mania .


« Last Edit: July 25, 2017, 04:30:43 PM by fuzzy math »

Cpa Cat

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Re: I want my lifestyle inflation.
« Reply #70 on: July 25, 2017, 04:49:47 PM »
Obviously, this forum isn't the best fit for this type of question. Might I suggest Bogleheads.org? Not that you won't get some negative feedback, but you may also get some concrete ideas about income generation and luxury purchases.

My suggestion is that you put your goals in order from most important to least important. For example:

1. $500,000 house
2. $25,000 Fancy Furniture for House
3. $1000/mo extra frivolous spending
4. $60,000 First luxury car
5. $60,000 Second luxury car
6. $30,000 Rolex

You might never make it to #6, but you can probably make it to #3 with a few fairly realistic earnings jumps. If you pursue one goal at a time, it may make you feel more like your lifestyle goals are attainable. But if you try to attain ALL THE THINGS at once, it will feel frustrating and out of reach.

You may also need to re-evaluate your goals a bit. As someone else said - why not start with a $2,000 watch? See if you actually like wearing a luxury watch. If you do, move up to a $5000 watch in a few years. You'll probably find that at some point, you've reached the limit of what you're actually comfortable wearing on your wrist on a regular basis and that actually a $2,000 watch or a $5,000 scratches that itch.

A $400,000 house with only $15,000 of furniture might be enough of an upgrade to leave you feeling good about life, especially if you paired it with some extra monthly spending.


Blonde Lawyer

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Re: I want my lifestyle inflation.
« Reply #71 on: July 25, 2017, 07:01:40 PM »
Have you spent any significant time around openly rich (really rich) people? I'd say 80% of them are people I would not want to spend any time with.  They are not all good people. 

Acastus

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Re: I want my lifestyle inflation.
« Reply #72 on: July 26, 2017, 11:04:12 AM »
I grew up in a mansion, a 5000 sq ft Victorian. It was a beautiful home - 30' living room that was great for parties, solid oak trim, stained glass windows. There were 7 bedrooms and 5 people. My BR was on the 3rd floor, which I had to myself. Giant houses were cheap where I grew up.

I would never want to live in a house that big again, unless I was part of a commune or ran a B&B. My folks were well off enough to buy it, but they could not afford the live in maid and groundskeeper that was needed to run it. All my mother did was clean. It was built around 1900, so there was essentially no insulation. Ten foot ceilings that leak costs a bundle to heat. Needless to say, my folks were the epitome of house poor.

My current house is 1/2 the size, and more than big enough. It is a trade up after working 25 years. Everything we rented or owned before it was substantially smaller.  There is room to be together, and room for all us INTJ's to also be apart. Perfect.

ysette9

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Re: I want my lifestyle inflation.
« Reply #73 on: July 26, 2017, 01:33:14 PM »
I don't know how to make this come across as gently as I intend since the written communication medium is tough, so I'll just say this first: my intent is to be kind.

Have you been screened for depression? You sound like a very unhappy person right now. Others have hinted at this and I agree; I think you need to do some soul-searching at what is at the root of these desires. I suspect that more material possessions won't actually make you happy because the root of your problem isn't a lack of material comfort. What is really going on?

There have been times when I've really craved bigger/more/better. Once was early on after I started my career when I wanted a nice house like my parents, with all the trappings of an upgraded kitchen and furniture and whatnot. It took me years to realize that my REAL desire was to form a stable and happy home with my then-boyfriend. i.e. what I wanted was to built a nest with him, but in the absence of him being willing to commit, I was channeling that energy into wanting to feather a nest myself. That just resulted in money down the drain but no real increase in happiness.

Another time was when I had experienced my second 2nd trimester pregnancy loss and was feeling depressed and unhappy with my body. I consciously chose to do some "self improvement" spending to make myself feel temporarily better. It was sort of window dressing, but it also served a purposes of distracting me a bit in a moment when staying in my own head was painful. I think the difference there was that I was well aware of the root of my issue and also well aware that spending money wasn't going to truly make me happier, just give me a temporary bump and distraction.

As we have grown in our careers with our salary increases and net worth increases, I've found that my desire for things is inversely proportional with my ability to buy those same things. The ability to buy whatever is very intoxicating but I very rarely excise that option, because I prefer my freedom (which, of course, is why I have that ability to begin with).

"It'll be great!"

Laura33

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Re: I want my lifestyle inflation.
« Reply #74 on: July 26, 2017, 01:35:21 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 am not going to jump on you for wanting nice things, because that would be massively hypocritical -- I have chosen to continue to work until basically decrepitude by the standards of this blog (@58) because I like my house and car and I want to put my kids through college.  I read "Your Money or Your Life," and it left me cold.  I like my job ok, and I love my life as it is even more.

But the bolded parts above concern the hell out of me.  I don't hear you saying, damn, I really love watches, have had a thing for them since I was a kid, and I have tried the "do without" approach, and it's just not working for me, so my FI budget needs to allow for me to have a nice watch.  No -- you are saying I Want All The Things, and asking us how to get them on $100K/yr and still retire at a reasonable time.  That's an easy answer:  you can't.  Doesn't happen.  DH and I make multiples of what you make and have a very spendy lifestyle by the standards of this forum, and we STILL don't have Rolexes or statues or horses or boats, because we can't afford them!  Who in the world led you to believe that UMC people get to have all those things???  That's not even a 1% thing -- that's a 0.01% thing.

You absolutely have the right to choose specific things that matter to you, that make you happy when you look at them/use them, and that you are willing to work longer to afford.  But you don't have the right to expect ALL of the trappings to make a lifestyle that "goes together."  Everyone has to pick and choose -- everyone.  I drive a Porsche -- and I also drive it to Aldi's for my groceries and to Kohl's once or twice a year for a few clothes; my kids go to public school, and my idea of a splurgey watch cost me $120.*  Oh:  and I also waited for that car until I was 50+, FI, had college funded and retirement on track, and could write a fucking check for it.  Because for me, damn, I love cars, love love love, and that puppy makes me smile every time I drive it, and it is the stupidest expense that was ever worth it in my life.  But it would be royally fucking stupid if I let my desire for that car interfere with my higher priorities, like taking care of my family and having a big 'stache to protect against future hard times.

The way you get to "happy" isn't to pine after a luxury lifestyle while sniping at your spouse over $4.  It is to get past the idea of an "image" of success, and figure out what specific things are most likely to bring you happiness -- and then figure out whether the cost is worth the additional years of work.  Spend your money where it counts, for you, and cut back everywhere else.  E.g., if you are spending $1500 on food now for two people, yet that budget doesn't cover a fancy dinner or two a month, then you're blowing a lot of cash on food that doesn't bring you any value.  Set aside at least $200 of that every month for at least one blowout date night -- and then cut back on weeknight takeout in favor of frozen pizza, or trade regular grocery store for Aldi's, or whatever, to make up the difference. 

Or, e.g., the house:  what is it about the 4,000 sf, $500K house that is appealing?  Is it because you have seen your dream house in your dream neighborhood, and that is what the specific features and space and finish cost in your neck of the woods?  Or is it because your mental image of "success" is a big "executive"-style house?  If it's the latter, challenge yourself on that -- what do you really *need* in a house, and what are the very specific extras you want and will use and enjoy (lot size, kitchen appliances, floors, level of finish, number of bedrooms/bathrooms, mudroom, playroom, etc.).  Build your image of the house you want around the specific features you want, and you are very very likely to discover that it doesn't have to be quite that big or cost quite that much.  And, you know, if it does, then ok -- you work that $500K + all the upkeep into your budget, and you look at how much longer you need to work for that, and you decide if it is worth it.

Or the watch:  if you are a watch guy, cool.  So you save up for it.  Every month, you put $XX into a watch fund; every time someone gives you money as a gift, you put it in the watch fund.  Sure, you can't get it immediately, but you're always making progress, building toward something you want -- which, I can tell you from personal experience, makes it that much sweeter when you finally get there.

I agree with the earlier poster who said that it sounds like you have put yourself on a starvation diet, and now you just can't stand it any more and are ready to burst (I don't quite get it -- $1500 in food and $10K/yr in travel doesn't exactly sound bare bones or LMC -- but your intense emotional reaction certainly suggests that you have cut back severely in some area that matters to you and are now feeling massively depressed/angry that this is your reality for the rest of your life).  So figure out what the "pinch" is, and then go back through your budget to relieve that pressure by allocating more money to the important thing you are missing, and taking that extra money from somewhere else where it doesn't mean as much.  (But NOT your retirement funds -- honestly, you need your current savings just to afford a regular retirement age, much less ER). 

Tl;dr:  Happiness doesn't come from having everything.  It comes from separating out the things that really matter to you from the generalized commercial vision of "success," and focusing your limited resources on the former.

*And I don't give a fuck if someone wonders what a schlub is doing in such an awesome car, or how they let someone buy something like that if she wasn't wearing a matching $3K watch and $800 boots.  Because, dude, I own that fucker, and I paid cash, and I can retire whenever I want, so suck it.
Laugh while you can, monkey-boy

ysette9

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Re: I want my lifestyle inflation.
« Reply #75 on: July 26, 2017, 02:07:54 PM »
Quote
And I don't give a fuck if someone wonders what a schlub is doing in such an awesome car, or how they let someone buy something like that if she wasn't wearing a matching $3K watch and $800 boots.  Because, dude, I own that fucker, and I paid cash, and I can retire whenever I want, so suck it.

Be truthful with yourself: that is half the fun of it, isn't it? :) I get a kick out of the idea of being underestimated like that because I have the self confidence and the bank account balance to not care what others think.

This makes me think back to something the OP said earlier about rich people, including Trump. Whenever I think about him I don't really think about all the gaudy richness he flaunts but about the fact that he seems to be extremely miserable with the lowest self esteem of anyone I can think of in the public eye. Nothing screams lack of self assurance like constantly having to brag about being the BEST or having others prop you up with positive feedback. There are a lot of similarities in my mind to how North Korea is constantly boasting about being so wonderful. It would be hilarious if it weren't so sad.

Not to derail this too much, but my point is the same as others have said: material possessions aren't bringing people like this happiness, quite the opposite.
"It'll be great!"

Laura33

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Re: I want my lifestyle inflation.
« Reply #76 on: July 26, 2017, 02:15:31 PM »
Quote
And I don't give a fuck if someone wonders what a schlub is doing in such an awesome car, or how they let someone buy something like that if she wasn't wearing a matching $3K watch and $800 boots.  Because, dude, I own that fucker, and I paid cash, and I can retire whenever I want, so suck it.

Be truthful with yourself: that is half the fun of it, isn't it? :) I get a kick out of the idea of being underestimated like that because I have the self confidence and the bank account balance to not care what others think.

This makes me think back to something the OP said earlier about rich people, including Trump. Whenever I think about him I don't really think about all the gaudy richness he flaunts but about the fact that he seems to be extremely miserable with the lowest self esteem of anyone I can think of in the public eye. Nothing screams lack of self assurance like constantly having to brag about being the BEST or having others prop you up with positive feedback. There are a lot of similarities in my mind to how North Korea is constantly boasting about being so wonderful. It would be hilarious if it weren't so sad.

Not to derail this too much, but my point is the same as others have said: material possessions aren't bringing people like this happiness, quite the opposite.

Yeah, yeah, you got me.  :-) 

I have the same knee-jerk reaction to gaudy wealth you do, too: it makes me think, damn, you must be really insecure if you feel like you need to persuade me how awesome you are by flaunting all the expensive crap you own.  (Not to mention totally clueless about what I actually find impressive)
Laugh while you can, monkey-boy

badassprof

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Re: I want my lifestyle inflation.
« Reply #77 on: July 26, 2017, 06:16:47 PM »
I like how it was put in the Village Voice's (i think ?) review of the restaurant in Trump tower:  Trump is what poor people think rich people are like.

AccidentialMustache

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Re: I want my lifestyle inflation.
« Reply #78 on: July 26, 2017, 08:41:34 PM »
It looked great on zillow and then DING!  Strange desire for a house beyond my wealth created.

I can solve your desire for a larger house for you. Go to the library and grab any of Susan Susanka's the "Not So Big House" series. Read it. Realize most of those houses are smaller than 4k sf. Would you pick a 4k sf mcmansion over any of them? If you would then I can't help you.

Of course, you may still want a better home, but the big SUVs and Rolex don't necessarily have a place there.

RFAAOATB

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Re: I want my lifestyle inflation.
« Reply #79 on: July 27, 2017, 08:06:03 AM »
You all brought up some interesting perspectives.  Having two luxury vehicles is pretty low on my list of wants actually.  It sounds great but I've become accustomed to only having one car.  When the current vehicle wears out I might buy a more luxury car for a replacement or I might buy a smaller car to better deal with small parking spaces.  I don't drive enough to worry about it too much.

Zillow is my weakness, and until it makes sense to upgrade my current housing situation I will still be dreaming of bigger and better living accommodations.  I estimate I've got another five years here until we'll get a clearer picture of our future.

Right now the financial lifestyle goals are:
Be a millionaire (less than 20 years)
Buy a bigger house (less than 10 years)
Two vacations a year (on going)
Fully fund children's education (Will probably be the number one reason I keep working until late 50s)

I have a relatively clear path for this, the waiting and discipline is quite irritating though.

Acastus

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Re: I want my lifestyle inflation.
« Reply #80 on: July 27, 2017, 08:35:31 AM »
I recommend reading "The Millionaire Next Door" by Stanley. He interviews several people who have made it and gives some revealing demographics for the millionaire population. They are not the rich and shameless fools you see on TV. They are regular hard working people with skills, and they typically hit 2 commas in mid life. It may give you the perspective your are missing.

yachi

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Re: I want my lifestyle inflation.
« Reply #81 on: July 27, 2017, 11:48:36 AM »
I've read polls where most Americans believe they are middle class, regardless of where their income puts them in relationship to the middle.  The thing I would be most worried about with your plan is hedonistic adaptation, where you stop feeling successful, rich, blessed, or happy with the items you bought, just because you've been exposed to them for so long.                                                                                                     

patchyfacialhair

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Re: I want my lifestyle inflation.
« Reply #82 on: July 27, 2017, 12:28:42 PM »
I understand where you're coming from OP.

Our house is 4k sqft, but it's only 2700sqft finished, with the basement simply used for storage. 2700sqft is insanely huge for 3 people (we plan on 4 total), but we thoroughly enjoy having friends and family over for meals and opening our guest bedroom to them. My parents have stayed over, her friends have stayed over, and we cook at least once a week for guests.

Any bigger, and it would be too overwhelming. It takes us about 3 hours a week to do routine cleaning (all bathrooms, vacuum everything, dust, scrub kitchen), and that doesn't count landscaping either. That's about 2 hours a week. 5 hours a week maintenance is not insignificant. Imagine what that would be with 4k finished square feet.

The utility bills aren't fun either...

We bought it because it checks off every box for us, and at a combined HHI of 150k plus, with a purchase price of ~400k, it's comfortable for us, for now. But, we agree that means no new car purchases, and it means we both HAVE to keep working. She can't easily become a stay-at-home mom if she wants to do that. We're still saving for early-ish retirement (early 50s), but keep in mind that what you're asking for requires 300k plus income.

For example, here's a monthly budget for the lifestyle you're thinking of:
Mortgage for 500k home: $1900
Taxes: $500
Insurance: $200
Utilities: $400
Home Maintenance Fund: $450
Car Payments: $1000 (2 luxury leases)
Car insurance: $150
Gas: $200
Car Maintenance: $200
Premium Cell Phones: $200
Premium TV/Internet: $200
Groceries:$900
Entertainment/Restaurants: $500
Daycare: $1000
Misc: $1000
Travel: $1000
Savings: $400

Total expenses (not including income tax) $10000

Let's say that after taxes and whatnot you're at 60% take home pay, so that works out to: $120k expenses, which means you'd need AT LEAST 200k take home. At this point your savings rate probably isn't much and the lifestyle isn't sustaintable, meaning you'd need to be more like $250k to begin to feel a little comfortable.

Not saying you can't do it, but it seems like a lot of effort for what are some questionable budget line items.

RFAAOATB

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Re: I want my lifestyle inflation.
« Reply #83 on: July 27, 2017, 03:28:49 PM »
I recommend reading "The Millionaire Next Door" by Stanley. He interviews several people who have made it and gives some revealing demographics for the millionaire population. They are not the rich and shameless fools you see on TV. They are regular hard working people with skills, and they typically hit 2 commas in mid life. It may give you the perspective your are missing.

I've read that book, and the takeaway for me was "a million just ain't that much anymore".

Sometimes I do get hit with perspective like when I'm wandering around in a grocery store and you realize that the supply chain of this country results in a system where I could buy any of the multitude of thousands of items I want.  I used to track my vehicle mileage when money was tight estimating the cost of gasoline in cents per mile.  Now my income has increased and mileage decreased to the point where I barely notice gasoline expenses.

Going from a two car 3 hour combined commute to a one car 50 minute commute has really decreased the importance of high gas prices in my life.

Money is going to be a lot tighter next month than it has been for us in years due to parental leave.  Theoretically we could live off one income indefinitely but I want more money and she likes working so it's going to be a two income daycare type of family for the foreseeable future.

Altons Bobs

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Re: I want my lifestyle inflation.
« Reply #84 on: July 29, 2017, 01:52:56 PM »
To live an upper middle class lifestyle you desire, you need to have an income of $1mil/year or more. Start looking for work or investments now that can bring you that kind of income, otherwise you will never get to the upper middle class lifestyle you want, you will just be pretending to live it.

sokoloff

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Re: I want my lifestyle inflation.
« Reply #85 on: July 29, 2017, 03:02:51 PM »
To live an upper middle class lifestyle you desire, you need to have an income of $1mil/year or more. Start looking for work or investments now that can bring you that kind of income, otherwise you will never get to the upper middle class lifestyle you want, you will just be pretending to live it.
$1.1MM/year is the threshold for 99.9 percentile ("the 0.1%er").

Clean Shaven

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Re: I want my lifestyle inflation.
« Reply #86 on: July 29, 2017, 06:35:34 PM »
To live an upper middle class lifestyle you desire, you need to have an income of $1mil/year or more. Start looking for work or investments now that can bring you that kind of income, otherwise you will never get to the upper middle class lifestyle you want, you will just be pretending to live it.
That's one generous stretch definition of "middle class" income.

JLee

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Re: I want my lifestyle inflation.
« Reply #87 on: July 29, 2017, 07:30:30 PM »
You all brought up some interesting perspectives.  Having two luxury vehicles is pretty low on my list of wants actually.  It sounds great but I've become accustomed to only having one car.  When the current vehicle wears out I might buy a more luxury car for a replacement or I might buy a smaller car to better deal with small parking spaces.  I don't drive enough to worry about it too much.

Zillow is my weakness, and until it makes sense to upgrade my current housing situation I will still be dreaming of bigger and better living accommodations.  I estimate I've got another five years here until we'll get a clearer picture of our future.

Right now the financial lifestyle goals are:
Be a millionaire (less than 20 years)
Buy a bigger house (less than 10 years)
Two vacations a year (on going)
Fully fund children's education (Will probably be the number one reason I keep working until late 50s)

I have a relatively clear path for this, the waiting and discipline is quite irritating though.

There are also inexpensive ways to make luxury vehicles happen - don't buy new ones. I have a soft spot for cars and drive a fast Toyota and a slow Lexus. Something like this will be absurdly reliable, incredibly comfortable, and solidly past its depreciation curve.

Guide2003

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Re: I want my lifestyle inflation.
« Reply #88 on: July 29, 2017, 08:47:07 PM »
I had a hard time thinking the original post was genuine until I read your (OP's) engagement throughout. So many of your desires seem antithetical to what this community aspires to that it is a wonder that you have been around these parts for so long.

I wonder if the circles you run in with the Guard and your civilian job skew your perspective of what is "normal." I see a lot of people at work maintaining a lifestyle that seems unsustainable since I know the government pay scales. I didn't put a lot of thought into this aspect of it, but for this tour I ended up living in a neighborhood where people with options don't choose to live. It took me a while to put my finger on the dissonance I felt, but I would be unsatisfied with my lifestyle when I compared it to coworkers but then felt like I really had my shit together when I drove home through my neighborhood. After feeling out my coworkers more, I find that there is always an explanation for their lifestyle--spouses that triple the family income, 12 extra years of seniority/savings than me, a waterfront house and boat all floated with massive borrowing, etc. I'm pretty sure that my net worth is the highest in the department, and I'm the youngest/most junior by a lot. Bottom line is its all about preferences.

Maybe use your healthy travel budget to visit poorer areas of the world to gain perspective. We are foster parents as well and have been able to use benefits like the food bank, WIC, monthly stipend, non-profit services to offset childcare expenses. At $1500 per month it seems like maybe even subscription services like Blue Apron would save you money, especially if the expenditure is due to you both working. Recently we have been able to change our mindset about luxuries we previously wanted by finding the freedom in not being encumbered with the burden of fancy things combined with the feeling of those dollars in the bank. It sounds to me like you should consider your relationships and determine if they are having a negative effect on your perspective.

At the end of the day, its all about priorities. If you really want all that stuff, go for it. You'll just have to work for a really long time to finance it. As long as you aren't paying for it on credit you will be fine.
“We think sometimes that poverty is only being hungry, naked and homeless. The poverty of being unwanted, unloved and uncared for is the greatest poverty. We must start in our own homes to remedy this kind of poverty.” Mother Teresa

rdaneel0

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Re: I want my lifestyle inflation.
« Reply #89 on: July 29, 2017, 09:34:08 PM »
If you're spending what you're spending and feel like you're living a deprived lifestyle, inflating things will not help. You'll get that Rolex and luxury car and gigantic house, and you'll start noticing nicer watches, better cars, vacation homes. You are already living an upper middle class lifestyle. You've built it up in your head that you're unhappy because of your deprived frugal lifestyle, but your spending now is lavish.
It sounds like you're just not happy in your life and you think the ticket to joy is more.

What about just doing things that make you happy instead of trying to buy them? Get physically active and stay fit (yay confidence!), spend time outside every day, go to free events around town, entertain friends at home, pursue hobbies that don't require constant spending, learn a skill you've always wanted to learn, etc. When you fill your time with things that make you happy and benefit your well being lots of petty desires will naturally fade. As you learn more and do more your confidence will soar and won't relate so much to objects.

A low cost week example:

M-F - go to work, bring breakfast and lunch. after/before work work out, if possible outside. heat up dinner that's already made, watch some netflix, chat, go to bed.

Friday night- have friends over for drinks and appetizers, maybe play games! late at night make frozen pizzas!

Saturday- sleep in! make a good breakfast with the family. do something fun with your wife/family. maybe go to a local event, go hiking together, have a picnic, go to the library, explore a new area. in the evening go for dinner at a reasonably priced restaurant, grab a bottle of wine on the way home. watch movies on the couch and pop some popcorn!

Sunday- wake up and work out. Do household chores, groceries, finances, laundry, cleaning, batch cook for the week. Engage in your hobbies or interests that aren't consumer based. Go for an evening stroll.

I know life isn't a one size fits all scenario, but I think some version of this might make you feel better than you do now. Life is all about balance, and I agree that too much deprivation is bad. I think you're depriving yourself of the things that could make you really happy. If it doesn't work it doesn't work, but it's worth a try because I can guarantee you that Rolex won't do it.

Lyssa

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Re: I want my lifestyle inflation.
« Reply #90 on: July 30, 2017, 05:00:54 AM »
I really, really think you need to sit down and ask yourself a lot of "whys".

There is an undeniable "appeal of being rich, dressing up, drinking cocktails all day, and hanging out with other rich people all night."  Why?  To what end?  Why does being in the company of rich people have any value at all? 

What happiness will you truly get from owning a Rolex?  Will this be proving wrong someone who said you weren't going to amount to anything?  Will it be making you more attractive (even just platonically) after years of struggling to feel like you fit in?  What will 4000sqft of house give you that you won't get from 2500sqft?  And no, the answer is not "1500sqft more".  What is it you think those things will say about you or make you feel, that makes them call to you so strongly--strongly enough that you are willing to give up years--decades--of your time unnecessarily?  Do you plan or hope to adopt or have children in the future?  Are you willing to also give up time with them?  Is driving that luxury car more important than being home to help Timmy with his homework?  Is setting him up to feel that only a 4000sqft house (or 5000, because he'll model your desire to outdo parents, I guess) really what you think is best for him?  Is teaching him that Gatsby is an aspirational figure, not a pitable one, what you feel will serve your son well?  It all seems like money for the sake of money.  You haven't yet even really attempted to explain why you want these things, or what about them will make you happy.

How is your relationship with your wife? Do you have a robust circle of friends and family?  If not, is it something you want, even if just a small group of 4-6 people?

Image this life of yours where you have a pair new every two years Mercedes in the drive way of your 4000sqft home, and you wear that Rolex and designer suit and your wife carries a $5000 handbag and your trash can is filled with Starbucks cups and you dined last night at a three star Michelin restaurant for the dozenth time this year, and your neighbors all have those things as well.  Picture it--all these things you aspire to.  And you get in that car and drive to work at the start of yet another 60 hour week, on today, your 60th birthday, for which you receive a gift of a $500 pair of shoes, and you have plans to go out to dinner again at a place that will probably cost about $350 for the two of you.  This is the life you say you want. 

Now picture this.  You wake up and make your own coffee in the kitchen of your 2200sqft home (3-4 bed, 2.5 bath, in a safe, clean bedroom community of similar homes).  It's the morning of your 43rd birthday, and you've been retired for nearly a year now.  Outside sits a 6 year old Toyota Camry with a fair amount of upgrades, but no heated seats.  Your wife is sitting next to you and after a discussion, you decide to go on a hike together, and then you are going to spend some time in your garden where you have planted 3 different kinds of tomatoes and are seeing which you like best when they finally give fruit.  Or maybe you play tennis instead or do some birdwatching--pick your simple hobby. Your elderly neighbor, whose house and car are similar to yours, is struggling to keep up her yard, so you spend 15 minutes weeding her flower bed on a lovely sunny day.  That evening, you and your wife go to dinner at a lovely new place you've heard great things about, and spend $120 because you have drinks, an appetizers, and a shared dessert along with your $35 entrees.  You are splurging because it's your birthday. You are wearing $80 pants from Macy's bought on sale for $50, and on your wrist is a used Breitling purchased for $1500 as your combined birthday and Christmas gift  from last year, because you've always wanted a really nice watch so you and your wife made it happen.  You do not have a regular job but you volunteer at the VA, and your wife works two days a week at the foster care agency. 

Is the first life truly better?  Do you really envision more happiness in the former scenario?  If so, why?  And perhaps more importantly, do you want to be someone who thinks scenario one is better than scenario two?

I might print this post and show it to the few people I've told about the MMM forum to show them what it is all about. :-)

Khaetra

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Re: I want my lifestyle inflation.
« Reply #91 on: July 30, 2017, 11:51:48 AM »
When I was young, I wanted all those things.  A big fancypants house, fancy car, dripping in jewelry, etc.  I wanted it all.  Now that I am much older, retired and comfortable I see how silly those things are.  I have a house, but nowhere even close to fancypants.  I have a car, a brand new one even, but it's not fancy.  I have some jewelry, none of it I would consider fancy.  Now, I can afford a big fancy house, fancy car, fancy jewels, but why?  Will it make me a better person?  Keep me healthy?  Nope.  It might impress a few people, sure, but why do I want to impress them anyway?  Will it make them like me more, become bestest buds?  Probably not and that's okay because I don't need the Joneses-types in my life.

Cassie

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Re: I want my lifestyle inflation.
« Reply #92 on: July 30, 2017, 02:36:20 PM »
At age 63 I am so happy that I don't need to go to work anymore. I know people that are still working at this age. I am grateful for good health, family, friends, the ability and means to travel and do the things I want. When I was younger at times I craved fancy things but it would usually be because something else was lacking in my life. When I figured out what and took action those desires went away.

marble_faun

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Re: I want my lifestyle inflation.
« Reply #93 on: July 30, 2017, 07:24:37 PM »
My household income is quite a bit higher than yours, but we haven't gravitated toward luxury goods. In part, it's because no one in our social circle is involved in that sort of thing. It would be hilariously weird if showed up to our friends' teeny apartment for board game night sporting a Benz and Rolex.
« Last Edit: July 30, 2017, 10:23:04 PM by marble_faun »
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craiglepaige

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Re: I want my lifestyle inflation.
« Reply #94 on: July 31, 2017, 07:18:43 AM »

The neighborhood isn't upper class, hence all my wanting for a bigger house and complaining that we've got a decent income but barely live better than subsidized housing.  Real estate here is out of line with what jobs are providing so it's a stretch for most people to get into a detached house.  Within the next ten years we will probably relocate somewhere where a upper-class neighborhood is more affordable.

And it's not just advertising that serves as a trigger, it's the content I seek out.  Reading biographies of rich people like JP Morgan and Donald Trump.  To me Queen of Versailles was about an IBM engineer maximizing her life.  There is an undeniable appeal of being rich, dressing up, drinking cocktails all day, and hanging out with other rich people all night.  Lets all be a part of the aristocracy.


We must had not watched the same movie. I saw a wasted mind with a lack of happiness. If I was a woman, I wouldn't trade my normal life for the one she lives.

I'm actually quite baffled by this thread...
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financialfreedomsloth

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Re: I want my lifestyle inflation.
« Reply #95 on: July 31, 2017, 11:08:26 AM »

The neighborhood isn't upper class, hence all my wanting for a bigger house and complaining that we've got a decent income but barely live better than subsidized housing.  Real estate here is out of line with what jobs are providing so it's a stretch for most people to get into a detached house.  Within the next ten years we will probably relocate somewhere where a upper-class neighborhood is more affordable.

And it's not just advertising that serves as a trigger, it's the content I seek out.  Reading biographies of rich people like JP Morgan and Donald Trump.  To me Queen of Versailles was about an IBM engineer maximizing her life.  There is an undeniable appeal of being rich, dressing up, drinking cocktails all day, and hanging out with other rich people all night.  Lets all be a part of the aristocracy.


We must had not watched the same movie. I saw a wasted mind with a lack of happiness. If I was a woman, I wouldn't trade my normal life for the one she lives.

I'm actually quite baffled by this thread...
I mentioned Queen of Versailles hoping it would snap him out of this want for luxury. i was equally baffled by his response. I just had this, 'abandon all hope' thought in my mind so i didn't reply anymore. Honestly if somebody made me a deal saying I got 300.000 euro (an amount that would make both me and the girlfriend FIRE but either had to spend a year in jail or with that family. I think I would choose jail ...
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LadyStache in Baja

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Re: I want my lifestyle inflation.
« Reply #96 on: August 01, 2017, 11:04:36 AM »
I struggle with lifestyle inflation as well. As soon as we get a bit of breathing room, I want more things. Now I want a cargo bike, thanks to a mustachian who started a cargo bike business and posted about it on the forums. Thanks for nothing!! https://urbantribecargobicycles.com/products/the-gatherer-cargo-bike?variant=38216043536

It helps to go to amazon and put the thing I want on my wish list. Then my mind can stop obsessing over it and relaxes knowing that the thing is bookmarked and won't be forgotten about.

Now I'll probably research the cargo bike, look at how to possibly diy it, and hopefully I'll just forget about it eventually and it'll go to the back of my mind with all the other stuff I want.

My new goal is simply to save for the things I want before I buy them (while still making my customary retirement contributions), which is what the two posters that live your dream life have mentioned that they do. So it must work!
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letired

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Re: I want my lifestyle inflation.
« Reply #97 on: August 01, 2017, 11:51:07 AM »
at times I craved fancy things but it would usually be because something else was lacking in my life. When I figured out what and took action those desires went away.

^^ For me, this was a key insight I had several times over the past few years. A few years ago, I was really frustrated my car. I focused all of my unhappiness and uncertainty about my future into hating my car. After I spent ~$100 adding a new stereo that had bluetooth/Aux-in so I could hook up  my ipod for car trips and started interviewing for a new job, my frustration with my car disappeared. When I get all wrapped up in an expensive 'need', it's usually that I haven't recognized the actual issue and am instead focusing on an easier or less scary problem to """"fix""".

It sounds like the OP is about to have their first child, and has spoken a lot about their uncertainty around the financial implications. I can see how that could easily turn into a desire for the outward trappings of financial security/success.

nouveauRiche

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Re: I want my lifestyle inflation.
« Reply #98 on: August 01, 2017, 04:13:49 PM »
You have the necessities of life covered and then some.  If you're not happy now, buying a bunch of expensive crap isn't going to make you happy.

There is an undeniable appeal of being rich, dressing up, drinking cocktails all day, and hanging out with other rich people all night.  Lets all be a part of the aristocracy.

Rich people don't drink cocktails all day - alcoholics do.

How are you going to identify the other rich people with whom you would like to hang out?  That Rolex on the other guy's wrist might be a cheap knock-off.  His Armani suit could be from a consignment shop.  You'll need a way to separate the wheat from the chaff.  Are you going to introduce yourself at a bar/resort/club and ask "What's your net worth?  Here's mine."?

JLee

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Re: I want my lifestyle inflation.
« Reply #99 on: August 01, 2017, 04:49:07 PM »
You have the necessities of life covered and then some.  If you're not happy now, buying a bunch of expensive crap isn't going to make you happy.

There is an undeniable appeal of being rich, dressing up, drinking cocktails all day, and hanging out with other rich people all night.  Lets all be a part of the aristocracy.

Rich people don't drink cocktails all day - alcoholics do.

How are you going to identify the other rich people with whom you would like to hang out?  That Rolex on the other guy's wrist might be a cheap knock-off.  His Armani suit could be from a consignment shop.  You'll need a way to separate the wheat from the chaff.  Are you going to introduce yourself at a bar/resort/club and ask "What's your net worth?  Here's mine."?

Clearly you only associate with those you meet at the airport as you step off of your corporate jets.