Author Topic: Semi-FIRE, feeling weird about big car purchase  (Read 4146 times)

Gus_Smedstad

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Semi-FIRE, feeling weird about big car purchase
« on: August 27, 2017, 01:24:42 PM »
First post here, so some introductions are in order before I get into the meat of what's on my mind.

I used to be quite active on the Retire Early board on the Motley Fool. At one point I wrote my own early retirement simulator, based on Intercsts's S&P / cost of living spreadsheet, but with different assumptions. It's pretty clear that this board is well versed in that sort of thing, so I don't need to get into things like SWR.

13 years ago I backed into retirement. I got fired for not working mandatory overtime at my job, looked at my finances, and decided I'd rather make a go at living off my investments than deal with the sort of things that made my life in the computer game industry such a hell.

This wasn't complete FIRE, since I was (and am) married, and my wife continues to work. We had two professional salaries while I was working, but kept our expenses to roughly half our home pay, and everything else went into investments. At the time I retired, our investments could cover a bit over half our expenses at 4% by themselves. Her salary continued to meet our expenses, so I didn't actually need to dip into that.

I proved to be fairly decent at value investing. It's 13 years later, we have no debt - including no mortgage - and we're about 40% over target figure for full FIRE for both of us. My wife continues to work because she likes what she's doing and isn't really ready to quit.

This last year was pretty good for us financially. Not the best we've ever had, that was 2014 when our total tax bill was rather more than her take-home pay because of capital gains. After spending, we have a surplus this year of 2.4x her take  home pay (which is still a bit more than our spending, even with some luxuries in there).

A few days ago I committed so spending about half that surplus on a fancy sports car, which won't arrive until December or so. As I see it, this is an expense we can afford. It's coming out of this year's surplus, we're still ahead 1.2x her take home pay with the extra expense, and we're no longer in the accumulation phase because we're past that target. There's an investment cost in the sense that every dollar spent today is less total income, but we don't necessarily need that income to reach future goals.

I'm into driving performance cars for the pleasure of the drive. So is my wife. In fact, this car is how she's always defined her dream car. We discussed getting it for her rather than me, but she's very attached to her present car.

So, my dilemma is that while I feel we can definitely afford the big expense, and it's not coming out of savings from prior years, it's still a tremendous expense and completely at odds with my spending reflexes. I still clip $1 coupons every time I go grocery shopping, after all. I've never spent this much on anything short of a house.

The thing is, I don't know what else I'd spend it on, the money is there, and our income keeps increasing. That's the nature of FIRE with adequate funds, if a financial collapse doesn't happen early in your retirement, and your rate of return is appreciably better than the 4% SWR, your funds are going to go up.

It is, objectively, a frivolous purchase, even if we can afford it, and it won't hurt our financial future. It's one we'll both enjoy, but it's frivolous. I worry I'm going to turn into my in-laws, who have 3x our income, no savings, and manage to rack up substantial debt every year.

My neuroses aside, it also highlights what I think may be a common post-FIRE issue - dealing with your savings reflexes when your means have expanded greatly.

Roger D

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Re: Semi-FIRE, feeling weird about big car purchase
« Reply #1 on: August 27, 2017, 03:34:05 PM »
I share your weird feeling.

I am recently FI, and extreme frugality was part of my path to achieving it. Now that I have the money, I just cannot bring myself to spend the whole 4% of the stash annually.

It would just be so weird to stop being frugal ... and yet, I have this nagging feeling that it could even be fun.

Ozstache

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Re: Semi-FIRE, feeling weird about big car purchase
« Reply #2 on: August 27, 2017, 05:44:16 PM »
I have been through a similar journey of under spending leading to surplus leading to opportunities to buy what would previously have been considered spendy. What sold me is that, like you, I would still be spending less than I earn by making such a purchase and that as long as it still met my minimalisation principles of being something I would use and/or love a lot and was value for money then why not?

In my case, I ended up buying not just one but two cars in the same year last year! The first was a practical choice to consolidate a few older cars across our extended family so that everyone else came away with something better and we ended up with a good car my wife could run errands for her mother and drive to work. The second was more frivolous, with me selling a good motorbike and trading in our second, uninspiring car for a zippy, fun, small car for me to drive. At first, I felt guilty about these purchases, but they have made more than just us happy with them, were reasonably cost efficient and we still managed to achieve a 24% savings rate for the year!

One thing I do to keep myself grounded is recognise that such purchases are purely luxuries that we are only buying because of surplus and that they would be the first to be axed if times got tough for any reason. 

Gus_Smedstad

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Re: Semi-FIRE, feeling weird about big car purchase
« Reply #3 on: August 27, 2017, 07:20:32 PM »
I think if you're near the 4% limit, i.e. recently FIRE and retired with about the minimum safe amount, or if you've suffered setbacks which mean your normal spending is near 4% of your principle, staying strict about frugality makes sense. After all, it's the first few years where things can potentially go south because your investments drop but you still have some minimum outlays.

On the other hand, if your savings are currently comfortably above 25x spending (I'm at 35x, even if we didn't have my wife's income), this sort of shenanigans is probably safe. Particularly if you're careful to keep any extraordinary spending below this year's gains, preferably well below, so your net worth is still climbing relative to 12 months ago. Or, as Ozstache put it, keeping your net savings rate still comfortably positive despite spending money you didn't have to.

I agree that it's important to keep in mind that such purchases are luxuries, not something you "need" in the future. I expect a lot of the time liquidating these things is impractical - cars depreciate, even if you get a decent deal on a used car. So I don't think you can count on realizing much from a sale in a crisis.

I hadn't thought about expressing this in terms of savings rates. I generally tend to focus on the dollar amounts. It turns out that in those terms, our savings rate for this year was 33% after the extraordinary expense.

It's still difficult saying "yes, I can afford this," if you've thoroughly adjusted to the spending mindset that leads to FIRE.
« Last Edit: August 28, 2017, 05:38:23 AM by Gus_Smedstad »

mara

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Re: Semi-FIRE, feeling weird about big car purchase
« Reply #4 on: August 28, 2017, 05:34:57 AM »
I know this feeling. It creeps around the edges of things, doesn't it? We retired two years ago and live on a small hobby farm with one main vehicle—a pickup truck—and bicycles. Our 12-year-old truck was shaking my poor bones so badly, I was miserable. Turned out it was unsafe and not worth fixing. In the past, we always bought modest vehicles, but this time I picked out a better quality new model.

OP, since your stash provides a good safety margin, I hope you can enjoy some luxuries. You've done a great job with frugality and accumulating wealth. Just continue to be mindful about not overspending. Welcome to the forum.

Rubic

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Re: Semi-FIRE, feeling weird about big car purchase
« Reply #5 on: August 28, 2017, 01:34:15 PM »
It's still difficult saying "yes, I can afford this," if you've thoroughly adjusted to the spending mindset that leads to FIRE.

As someone else who also enjoyed owning a very un-mustachian high-performance
sports car, I'd say go for it.  Have fun and drive safely!

plantingourpennies

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Re: Semi-FIRE, feeling weird about big car purchase
« Reply #6 on: August 29, 2017, 12:57:06 PM »
We hit our number last year.

I went out and blew 37k on a 25 year old Honda.

Drive it every day, regret nothing.

You'll be fine.

Mr. PoP

PS. The only real question here is...what kind of sport car?
PlantingOurPennies- Our experience with personal finance.

marielle

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Re: Semi-FIRE, feeling weird about big car purchase
« Reply #7 on: August 29, 2017, 02:55:28 PM »
Why not donate and give more? I'm not against having a fun car, I want one myself, but it sounds like you want a brand new luxury brand? What about a fun 90s car that's 1/3 of the cost? Or what about creating your own unique build as a hobby since you're FIRE? Maybe I'm wrong, but the new luxury sports car will lose its allure pretty soon after you get it. But if it's one you build yourself, you'll be proud of it every time you look at it.

We are all incredibly lucky and many of us don't give enough.

I like this post in particular about giving:
https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/ask-a-mustachian/disgusting-question-donation-to-charities/msg1671495/#msg1671495

Gus_Smedstad

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Re: Semi-FIRE, feeling weird about big car purchase
« Reply #8 on: August 29, 2017, 03:34:59 PM »
Maybe I'm wrong
You're wrong.

I'm not really interested in debating with you what I enjoy and what you think I enjoy.

As for driving a fun 90's car - been there, done that. Bought one in '98, and sold it in 2014 for 95% of what I paid for it. I wasn't really planning on it being enough of a collector's item that I'd recoup that much, but that's how it worked out.
« Last Edit: August 29, 2017, 03:38:44 PM by Gus_Smedstad »

soccerluvof4

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Re: Semi-FIRE, feeling weird about big car purchase
« Reply #9 on: September 01, 2017, 02:03:20 PM »
I battle through this as well. At the end of the day  remember being frugal or Fire'd or whatever you want to call it isnt meant to be a prison sentence. While you can justify pretty much anything which I also have learned as long as you go back to your plan then feel good about it. A reward for what you have accomplished and move on. Just don't go out and buy a new motorcycle or some other toy now! As we have been doing well this year I have been getting more and more things remodeled around the house knowing I was going to do a little bit each year. I have been more liberal in some finishes as well. That's been my reward.
" In life you don't get what you deserve you get what you negotiate"

Gus_Smedstad

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Re: Semi-FIRE, feeling weird about big car purchase
« Reply #10 on: September 01, 2017, 03:06:42 PM »
Yeah, I have no plans on spending major money on anything else. Though I admit that I worry that having done it once, it'll be tempting to relax spending discipline again in the future. On what, I don't know, it's just a vague concern.

What really worries me now, actually, is that I keep thinking about it. I believe this is largely because I won't see the car for at least another 3 months, so it's hanging over my head. In effect I feel I've spent the money (though I haven't written a check yet) without the reward of using the car I purchased with it. I'm also driving my wife's car in the meantime, since I've already sold my prior car. In any case it shouldn't be eating up this much of my emotional energy.

I've also recently become aware that I'm having trouble accepting my present financial situation. When I look at my present account balances they don't seem real. I've been in wealth-building mode for a long time now, and it's difficult to accept that I'm well past the target figure.

For example, when I first hit 25x expenses, that felt like the minimum, and that I shouldn't start thinking in terms of withdrawal because it would be better to build up a margin of safety. Even if 25x is supposed to around 96% safe.

SnackDog

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Re: Semi-FIRE, feeling weird about big car purchase
« Reply #11 on: September 02, 2017, 02:23:41 AM »
It is not a question of whether you have the money but rather if a clown car is the most appropriate use of your cash. Did you consider all the other ways to use it? You can change lives for $10,000. Does sitting in a shiny vehicle make you feel that good? Does it have zero emissions? Or are you just like some crass pro sports knucklehead who wants a Jaguar in his driveway?
The habit of saving is itself an education; it fosters every virtue, teaches self-denial, cultivates the sense of order, trains to forethought, and so broadens the mind. –Thomas T. Munger

Gus_Smedstad

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Re: Semi-FIRE, feeling weird about big car purchase
« Reply #12 on: September 02, 2017, 05:53:32 AM »
are you just like some crass pro sports knucklehead
I'm assuming you knew that nothing productive would come of your attack on me, and just wrote it because you enjoyed lashing out at some random stranger on the internet.

Dictating how other people spend their discretionary funds in a self righteous tone seems inappropriate to me. I'm not sure if this is common to the board culture here; I assumed it was like the other early retirement board I used to frequent, where the focus was on financial planning.

I'm aware that people who don't enjoy driving for its own sake don't really understand the appeal of performance cars to people who do. The knee-jerk assumption is that it's about status, rather than enjoyment of an activity, because they personally don't get any enjoyment out of it. It's like trying to explain what's fun about roller coasters to someone who doesn't like them.

Now, if you were arguing that it was unwise to spend the funds, and presented an argument to back it up, that would be another matter. I think a large part of why boards like this exist is because most people do have trouble keeping their spending under control, and that's why they have difficulty financially. That's a big part of why I started this thread; asking the question, when is it safe to spend?

mara

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Re: Semi-FIRE, feeling weird about big car purchase
« Reply #13 on: September 02, 2017, 06:59:12 AM »
are you just like some crass pro sports knucklehead

Dictating how other people spend their discretionary funds in a self righteous tone seems inappropriate to me. I'm not sure if this is common to the board culture here; I assumed it was like the other early retirement board I used to frequent, where the focus was on financial planning.

That tone is actually not common here. A twisted sense of humor pops up once in a while, too.

Exflyboy

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Re: Semi-FIRE, feeling weird about big car purchase
« Reply #14 on: September 02, 2017, 11:02:14 PM »
So we have saved somewhere between 65 and 157 times annual spend.. Depending on if we stay in the rental business or not.... and.. our expenditure doesn't rise... It almost certainly will though..:)

Big purchases.. I have a bit of a hard time spending the stash anyway and I know a fancy car = door dings in the car park.

Would it make me happy?.. I have built two airplanes. One cruised at 200mph and was aerobatic.. Did that make me happy?.. Yes but eventually I sold them.

Hmm.. So even though I love driving fast the roads are generally straight in the USA (I grew up in the UK) and you really can't drive that fast anyway.

So for me a fast fancy car would be a bit of a status object and I know I'd regret spending the money.

I do have the urge of buying a "stupid car" Maybe a Black Chrysler 300 (yes I'm a Breaking Bad fan) or a Dodge Charger Hellcat.. But then again just for driving around and posing.

I have a sensible 4WD tractor for our hobby farm and an '89 F250 to pull the horse trailer.. All of which work great and so no need to replace them.

I guess its just hard for me to think of a large purchase that would make me happier than my Wife's 2012 Chevvy Cruze and my rebuilt '99 Dodge Neon that I bought for $350.

Then again, I guess I could buy almost whatever I wanted.. because it really doesn't matter..:)

Then again,more money is always better than less money so better to save right?..:)
« Last Edit: September 02, 2017, 11:05:42 PM by Exflyboy »

Doc Holiday

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Re: Semi-FIRE, feeling weird about big car purchase
« Reply #15 on: September 02, 2017, 11:09:57 PM »
Gus,
Great job on calmly putting the troll down! Don't know if I could have done so well...


Enjoy your car. I'm not sure why, if we have worked beyond just getting by on offbrand oatmeal, we should feel bad about doing something fun with our money. A car just for status IS stupid, but a fine driving experience is completely worthwhile in my book. Some experiences require money.  You have saved well. You won the game.


My rationale for my car was, "if I was the last person alive after the zombie apocalypse (and the roads were good), would I still want my car?" Absolutely. I'm still in a honeymoon phase after seven years.
Only downside is the maintenance. At least my dealer has good espresso.


It doesn't sound like you are getting into lifestyle creep. More likely, your concern its that it is new and more expensive than what you are used to.


You might check my post called "How to kill the dragon". While it doesn't rationalize car purchases, it does deal with other car and money issues.
“The art of medicine consists of amusing the patient while nature cures the disease.”   -Voltaire

LateStarter

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Re: Semi-FIRE, feeling weird about big car purchase
« Reply #16 on: September 03, 2017, 08:15:44 AM »
Maybe I'm wrong, but the new luxury sports car will lose its allure pretty soon after you get it. . . .
You're wrong. I'm not really interested in debating with you what I enjoy and what you think I enjoy. . .

The (hedonic treadmill) point being made is totally in the spirit of the MMM site. It's not just about the money here.

 
It is not a question of whether you have the money but rather if a clown car is the most appropriate use of your cash. . . . .  You can change lives for $10,000 . . . . are you just like some crass pro sports knucklehead
I'm assuming you knew that nothing productive would come of your attack on me, and just wrote it because you enjoyed lashing out at some random stranger on the internet.

Sustainability vs Clown Car, charitable giving, and "facepunches" etc. are all core MMM themes . . . At least you didn't get sworn at :-)  And you did say:

The thing is, I don't know what else I'd spend it on . . .


I assumed it was like the other early retirement board I used to frequent, where the focus was on financial planning.

Incorrect assumption. Read the blog. Watch https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LfKaLQkTZfQ, etc.

Buying a new sports car is classic anti-MMM on several levels. If you weren't being challenged and facepunched, this wouldn't be the MMM forum.

Gus_Smedstad

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Re: Semi-FIRE, feeling weird about big car purchase
« Reply #17 on: September 03, 2017, 10:49:49 AM »
Quote
Buying a new sports car is classic anti-MMM on several levels. If you weren't being challenged and facepunched, this wouldn't be the MMM forum.
I must be anti-MMM on several levels then. Nor do I think much of forums where facepunching a part of the culture. This clearly isn't the forum for me.

I'll say this in parting. The "treadmill" part of the "treadmill of hedonism" seems to be the trap, not the hedonism. I don't see anything wrong with enjoying yourself, or spending money on yourself. I'm not an ascetic, and have no desire to be one. Rather, the problem is when you're trying to accumulate wealth that will generate income, any money you spend today put a permanent dent in your future income.

Cars, particularly expensive cars that cost more than necessary to get the job done, can be a huge capital sink. Particularly if you churn through them every few years, which is common in the US. To the point where they suck up a big chunk of people's discretionary funds - or worse, suck up more than that, with people buying cars they can't actually afford because of loans and leases.

I'd never spend this kind of money on a car if 1) I were still in wealth-building mode, 2) couldn't pay cash, 3) could envision another large expense that I'd have to forgo because I was spending the money on the car, or 4) was digging into past savings rather than spending excess income.

DavidAnnArbor

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Re: Semi-FIRE, feeling weird about big car purchase
« Reply #18 on: September 03, 2017, 08:38:29 PM »
If it's within your budget then your entitled to spend that money however you see fit. Your spending is my income. My spending is your income. That's how the economy works.

GenXbiker

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Re: Semi-FIRE, feeling weird about big car purchase
« Reply #19 on: September 03, 2017, 11:11:46 PM »
I'd never spend this kind of money on a car if 1) I were still in wealth-building mode, 2) couldn't pay cash, 3) could envision another large expense that I'd have to forgo because I was spending the money on the car, or 4) was digging into past savings rather than spending excess income.

You're doing fine rationalizing your purchase.  The forum must be getting soft - not many face punches for getting a new car.

Exflyboy

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Re: Semi-FIRE, feeling weird about big car purchase
« Reply #20 on: September 04, 2017, 12:55:40 AM »
The concept of metaphorical facepunches is applied when people do dumb stuff with momey and people are here on the forum asking for advice.

The FP would only be applied if the OP is doing something dumb with money. By definition this means spending when they shouldn't on something they can't afford or delays their path to FI.

Clearly an outrageous purchase after one is already financially independent is not in this category. Heck I could go out and buy a half million dollar airplane and still be just fine and as such it is highly unlikely to attract a FP based upon my networth.




GenXbiker

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Re: Semi-FIRE, feeling weird about big car purchase
« Reply #21 on: September 04, 2017, 09:33:35 AM »

It's not just about the money and whether you can afford it.  LateStarter said it well.

FrugalToque

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Re: Semi-FIRE, feeling weird about big car purchase
« Reply #22 on: September 04, 2017, 06:16:47 PM »
If you're looking for people who are going to approve of you getting a luxury sports car, you've come to the wrong place.

MMM got by on a Scion Xa for a long time, until he felt like promoting an all-electric vehicle to his fans.  I get by with a Nissan Versa, purchased used if it matters.

A luxury sports car is a waste of money.  Money is to be invested in order to set you free, not spent on temporary thrusts of happiness.  Cars are expensive, well beyond their sticker prices.  You'll be paying insurance, maintenance and parts on that expensive car for the next decade, when you could have moved closer to work, purchased a bicycle, improved your health and saved up a shitload of money.

This is not the forum where people tell you to "go ahead and buy" that sports car/designer purse/$30k diamond engagement just because it's "within your budget" and you "deserve" it.

No shit you deserve it.  So do I.  What of it?  Who cares what you or I "deserve"?  Maybe I deserve a royal court, a pair of Samurais as personal bodyguards and a trebuchet.

It's about not drowning yourself in adaptation to luxury.  It's about not overconsuming our resources.  It's about toughening yourself up, not making your life easier.

At least, that's what should be happening on this forum.

Toque.

FrugalToque

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Re: Semi-FIRE, feeling weird about big car purchase
« Reply #23 on: September 04, 2017, 06:48:55 PM »
My rationale for my car was, "if I was the last person alive after the zombie apocalypse (and the roads were good), would I still want my car?" Absolutely. I'm still in a honeymoon phase after seven years.
Only downside is the maintenance.
Yeah.  The maintenance.  That and your dependence on luxurious items.

Quote
At least my dealer has good espresso.
You take your vehicle to the dealer?  That's the most expensive way to maintain the vehicle.

Toque.

happy

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Re: Semi-FIRE, feeling weird about big car purchase
« Reply #24 on: September 04, 2017, 07:00:31 PM »
+1 to Late Starter and Toque.
Consider yourself politely face punched.
I'm think the distinction between "I'm feeling weird spending all this money on a luxury sportscar that I can afford" and "Can I buy a pony"  is pretty minimal.
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Doc Holiday

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Re: Semi-FIRE, feeling weird about big car purchase
« Reply #25 on: September 04, 2017, 07:23:05 PM »
Fascinating replies.


What if the OP wanted to do some distant travel? Obviously you can drop a lot of money on that but would be a great experience.  Is that a problem for people that see expensive cars as satan's spawn?
The OP clearly is a car enthusiast, not a car snob. Big difference.


My assistant goes to 25 concerts every year because that is what she truly enjoys. I could counter her by saying, why don't you listen to the music on YouTube? Not the same at all (although I mostly listen to online music myself).


If you have the money and are equipped for retirement, who cares? Cars, travel, concerts, trebuchets, go for it. I'm at almost 40x savings, now what? Donate the rest? Leave it to my kids whilst I drive a crappy purple Scion? (Train quote). Yeah, I would stick to,
if you earned it and you are FI, you do deserve it.

People feeling like they deserve something because they work hard but can't afford it and then charge it is a different kettle of fish.

“The art of medicine consists of amusing the patient while nature cures the disease.”   -Voltaire

happy

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Re: Semi-FIRE, feeling weird about big car purchase
« Reply #26 on: September 04, 2017, 07:28:39 PM »
It wouldn't matter whether it was a car, or luxury travel or over the top reno or any other excessive want.
Maybe read the blog again?
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Lazy_Spartan

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Re: Semi-FIRE, feeling weird about big car purchase
« Reply #27 on: September 05, 2017, 12:01:03 AM »
The problem with purchasing the luxury sports car is hedonistic adaptation. How do you know you'll just stop st one? How do you know that the desire for bigger, better,, faster, shinier, fancier won't crop up once you've had the car awhile? Will you be able to reign in your desires? Will you be as satisfied with your luxury car the moment a nicer faster one pulls next to you? I have a friend who always wanted a corvette. It was his dream car and he worked 2 jobs so that he could afford to buy it with cash. The day he plunked down $65k cash (and his many hours of life energy he put into his jobs for that cash) and drove off the lot a brand new $200k Ferrari pulled up next to him and the temporarily sated "car lust" he had for the corvette pretty much fled and he wanted the new shiny thing soon after.
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SnackDog

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Re: Semi-FIRE, feeling weird about big car purchase
« Reply #28 on: September 05, 2017, 01:51:04 AM »
A lot of people try to hide behind the "we are car enthusiasts who enjoy great driving cars" argument. These are typically people who have never been karting, never done a driving school or SCCA event, or otherwise engaged in fun driving. They don't purchase a fun to drive Miata because they are worried they won't look cool enough. They purchase a brand new, shiny, bloated Luxo-barge with 500 hp, 4000 pound curb weight, electric cooled seats and rear seat DVD. And they drive it back and forth to work, shopping, Appleby's and church on suburban streets choked with similar excretia, peering nervously out the window to see if anyone noticed them but also to check if anyone else has a fancier car.
The habit of saving is itself an education; it fosters every virtue, teaches self-denial, cultivates the sense of order, trains to forethought, and so broadens the mind. –Thomas T. Munger

SpreadsheetMan

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Re: Semi-FIRE, feeling weird about big car purchase
« Reply #29 on: September 05, 2017, 05:03:44 AM »
I'm not interested in cars, so wouldn't fall into the expensive car trap, but this thread does raise an interesting philosophical point. What is money for post-FI?

Post FI(RE) I fully intend to spend money on my passions and interests and I won't be asking for any validation.

Fortunately, they are all relatively cheap pursuits, so they will have no impact on finances, but what if they weren't? After all, the freedom to pursue them is part of the reason for all the financial discipline in the first place.


happy

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Re: Semi-FIRE, feeling weird about big car purchase
« Reply #30 on: September 05, 2017, 05:45:15 AM »
It depends. For some folks it seems their goal is to use frugality to become wealthy - once wealthy they will indulge in some over the top luxury wants. Its a free world, do what you want, but its not Mustachian. Core values for those who've drunk the Kool-aid include being happy living on less, and the concept of stoicism. FIRE is freedom to spend one's time doing all manner of cool stuff, but without going down a consumerist path.  Too much money? There are a million and one ways one could use it to the benefit of humanity without wasting it on clown luxury.
Journalling at Happy Aussie Downshifter

mara

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Re: Semi-FIRE, feeling weird about big car purchase
« Reply #31 on: September 05, 2017, 06:19:45 AM »
Fascinating replies.

What if the OP wanted to do some distant travel? Obviously you can drop a lot of money on that but would be a great experience.  Is that a problem for people that see expensive cars as satan's spawn?
The OP clearly is a car enthusiast, not a car snob. Big difference.

My assistant goes to 25 concerts every year because that is what she truly enjoys. I could counter her by saying, why don't you listen to the music on YouTube? Not the same at all (although I mostly listen to online music myself).

If you have the money and are equipped for retirement, who cares? Cars, travel, concerts, trebuchets, go for it. I'm at almost 40x savings, now what? Donate the rest? Leave it to my kids whilst I drive a crappy purple Scion? (Train quote). Yeah, I would stick to,
if you earned it and you are FI, you do deserve it.

People feeling like they deserve something because they work hard but can't afford it and then charge it is a different kettle of fish.

+1

Help save the world.
Live below (or within) your means.
Retire early if you want to.
Have some fun. (IMHO, there should be some wiggle room on the definition of fun.)

GenXbiker

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Re: Semi-FIRE, feeling weird about big car purchase
« Reply #32 on: September 05, 2017, 07:44:58 AM »
What if the OP wanted to do some distant travel?

Any extravagant travel would be a waste of money and resources.  The money could be better utilized elsewhere. as others have stated.  Just because someone can afford it, doesn't mean they should actually spend the money, nor does it mean that they "deserve" it.  You'll see this theme reported often on this forum.  Welcome to mustachianism.

Exflyboy

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Re: Semi-FIRE, feeling weird about big car purchase
« Reply #33 on: September 05, 2017, 09:13:46 AM »
The whole hedonistic adaption is fascinating to me.

I used to have this little bunch of groupies.. "wow you have an AIRPLANE?.. it goes 200 miles and hour.. you can travel across half of North America in an easy day... wow!...

And I'm like WTF?.. The day I sold it I was like the a man with the boat.. two happiest days.. day you buy and the day you SELL it. Insurance, hangar rent etc.. flying in shitty weather to keep my instrument rating up, blah blah. Started to take over my life.

I guess ultimately I know deep inside that spending money just doesn't make me happy, probably because I spent half my life saving the stash so I'm conditioned not to spend it.

I am learning to spend without remorse and I fantasise about buying a Maseratti but I don't think I ever would.




ysette9

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Re: Semi-FIRE, feeling weird about big car purchase
« Reply #34 on: September 05, 2017, 10:59:19 AM »
I come down on the side of believing that money is just a tool that you (hopefully) use wisely to get what you want in life. We are all here to learn to be more frugal to facilitate the end goal of finding happiness and satisfaction in life. That could come from being more bad-ass, from making a smaller dent on the environment, from having free time to spend with family and friends, to being able to pursue hobbies and passions, and so forth. We are united to with goal of FIRE, but "why FIRE?" Is going to have a unique response for each of us.

I feel that so long as the money part is taken care of, how we choose to spend our time and mo et after FIRE is one of personal taste and preference. Arguing over whether the OP will get enough joy out of his/her car purchase to justify the expense is like you lot trying to decide whether I really like cheddar enough to justify buying it in costco quantities. What the hell do you know what I like?

My parents are recently retired and I have found that I don't begrudge them their fancy expenditures. I see how happy hey are being free and how much fun they have traveling the world and going on last-minute road trips just for the hell of it. Good for them, i say. Life is short and once you have your ducks in a row, go have maximum fun!
"It'll be great!"

Rubic

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Re: Semi-FIRE, feeling weird about big car purchase
« Reply #35 on: September 05, 2017, 11:16:24 AM »
Cars are a controversial topic in the personal finance community.

    http://www.budgetsaresexy.com/financial-confession-bought-used-acura-nsx-for-45k/

J.L. Collins has apparently given his blessing  ;-)


GuitarStv

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Re: Semi-FIRE, feeling weird about big car purchase
« Reply #36 on: September 05, 2017, 11:35:54 AM »
I come down on the side of believing that money is just a tool that you (hopefully) use wisely to get what you want in life. We are all here to learn to be more frugal to facilitate the end goal of finding happiness and satisfaction in life. That could come from being more bad-ass, from making a smaller dent on the environment, from having free time to spend with family and friends, to being able to pursue hobbies and passions, and so forth. We are united to with goal of FIRE, but "why FIRE?" Is going to have a unique response for each of us.

I feel that so long as the money part is taken care of, how we choose to spend our time and mo et after FIRE is one of personal taste and preference. Arguing over whether the OP will get enough joy out of his/her car purchase to justify the expense is like you lot trying to decide whether I really like cheddar enough to justify buying it in costco quantities. What the hell do you know what I like?

My parents are recently retired and I have found that I don't begrudge them their fancy expenditures. I see how happy hey are being free and how much fun they have traveling the world and going on last-minute road trips just for the hell of it. Good for them, i say. Life is short and once you have your ducks in a row, go have maximum fun!


I think that many of us are here because we want to be happier, and have figured out that you happiness doesn't come from stuff or money.  Yeah, you need money to furnish bare essentials . . . food, clothing, shelter.  Beyond that and everything is a matter of small degrees.  Most hobbies or things that you do for enjoyment can be enjoyed for incredibly little money.

The OP said he likes driving cars.  Is a 100,000$ car really ten times as fun to drive as a 10,000$ car   . . .  or is he buying into image and silliness that has been pushed at him aggressively his whole life?  Would spending a couple years building a car into exactly what you want be more enjoyable than just buying something at a dealership?  You should be able to ponder and answer these questions.  If you're feeling annoyance or irritation at them, it's likely coming from the part of your brain that gets instant gratification from blowing money . . . the part that gets bored very quickly.

Every acquisition (be it cheese, cars, or vacations) that you make should be made with these types of questions in mind because they'll help you optimize happiness and radically reduce the need to think/worry about money.  It doesn't matter if you can afford it, the question should always be 'Does this maximize my long term happiness more than these other carefully considered options."

AdrianC

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Re: Semi-FIRE, feeling weird about big car purchase
« Reply #37 on: September 05, 2017, 02:36:53 PM »
They don't purchase a fun to drive Miata because they are worried they won't look cool enough. They purchase a brand new, shiny, bloated Luxo-barge with 500 hp, 4000 pound curb weight, electric cooled seats and rear seat DVD.

Did OP say what he was buying? Maybe it is a Miata?

I'm guessing more...Porsche perhaps? The 718 is nice, starting at $60K.

I could have one, but it seems too showy for me, too flash. Not my style. I do have a Miata. I sometimes think it's a waste, too frivolous, and I think about selling it. Then I drive it and thoughts of selling are banished for awhile.

Doc Holiday

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Re: Semi-FIRE, feeling weird about big car purchase
« Reply #38 on: September 05, 2017, 06:53:57 PM »
I think the idea of finding something that you alone enjoy for the right reasons is reason enough to do/get it.


Although the hedonic treadmill exists big time in our world, to be afraid of buying something that you truly enjoy out of fear that you will get dragged onto the treadmill suggests a lack of self-awareness or self-restraint.
My wife is gorgeous, but I never worried that if I married her that when a prettier one comes along (and they do), I would leave her.




And I would also suggest that travel, true travel (not cruises, fancy hotels, sightseeing without meeting people) is one of the best ways to spend your money as it gives you stunning perspective of your own life and the world. Try a village in the highlands of China with the Hmong, backwoods Cuba, or India during Holi. Those are some of the experiences I value over almost anything that's happened to me. Did they cost money? Sure. Do I live simpler as a compromise? Yes. Do I enjoy living simply. You bet.





“The art of medicine consists of amusing the patient while nature cures the disease.”   -Voltaire

Exflyboy

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Re: Semi-FIRE, feeling weird about big car purchase
« Reply #39 on: September 05, 2017, 07:58:56 PM »
I almost bought a refrigerator today (on sale at Home Depot for $1000).. Its a massive upgrade from the 20 year old thing you would find in a low end rental, complete with broken shelves.

I think this might be the thin end of the wedge...:)

DavidAnnArbor

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Re: Semi-FIRE, feeling weird about big car purchase
« Reply #40 on: September 05, 2017, 09:03:32 PM »
I think there's too much moralizing about choices that the FIRE person can choose to spend money on. If his spending is a sports car that fits with his budget that's fine. Maybe in every other way he is very frugal. He doesn't buy fancy beer, nor goes on overseas travel that adds up pricewise over the course of a year, nor needs to hire a CPA to do a complicated tax return. Everyone makes their own personal choices, that are personally right for them.

Lazy_Spartan

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Re: Semi-FIRE, feeling weird about big car purchase
« Reply #41 on: September 05, 2017, 09:52:04 PM »
I think there's too much moralizing about choices that the FIRE person can choose to spend money on. If his spending is a sports car that fits with his budget that's fine. Maybe in every other way he is very frugal. He doesn't buy fancy beer, nor goes on overseas travel that adds up pricewise over the course of a year, nor needs to hire a CPA to do a complicated tax return. Everyone makes their own personal choices, that are personally right for them.
I think part of the problem is that the OP asked for justification for his spending when he is semi-FIRE. That, to me as a FIREd person who spends money on stuff but never asks my spending to be justified here, shows that he is questioning the value of the purchase and wondering if it aligns with the MMM ideology (cult dogma ;-)) as well as his own personal values. So people responded to that.
Retired at 42

Louis XIV

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Re: Semi-FIRE, feeling weird about big car purchase
« Reply #42 on: September 05, 2017, 11:44:07 PM »
  • it sounds like you're FIRE, your with is FI without the RE by choice.
  • You've got money to burn and plenty of surplus
  • It won't hurt your financial future (your words)
  • You'll derive enjoyment from it
  • you're well aware of the hedonic treadmill & the inherrent risks

Personally my FI mindset is more in line with: https://www.reddit.com/r/financialindependence/comments/58j8pc/build_the_life_you_want_then_save_for_it/

I think a lot of long time MMM readers are getting sick of him dancing around his love of Teslas when he can clearly afford one and would derive happiness from it (vs his leaf experience sounds kinda mediocre). He just dropped $230k on a building for his goals & happiness, you can buy a car if its in line with yours... If not, don't buy it.

Its something you want, you can afford it, it will make you happy (not in a status/ego way I hope!), go for it. Its not compromising your financial future.
« Last Edit: September 05, 2017, 11:46:13 PM by Louis XIV »

GuitarStv

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Re: Semi-FIRE, feeling weird about big car purchase
« Reply #43 on: September 06, 2017, 06:01:18 AM »
The original post is an admission that a poor purchasing descision is being made, and a plea for approval.  There following reasons are given for the purchase:
- I want it
- I feel a burning need to spend money on something

These are objectively poor reasons.  The fact that this plea for approval is being made at all indicates that the original poster knows deep down that it's a bad decision.


I think there's too much moralizing about choices that the FIRE person can choose to spend money on. If his spending is a sports car that fits with his budget that's fine. Maybe in every other way he is very frugal.

If you have money and you want something, go get it!  #YOLO

Posts like this are a symptom of the rot that has taken place on this board over the past few years.  Being able to afford something is absolutely not justification to purchase it.


He doesn't buy fancy beer, nor goes on overseas travel that adds up pricewise over the course of a year, nor needs to hire a CPA to do a complicated tax return.

Yeah, it's good that this poster has several areas of life nailed down.  Saving money in some areas is not justification for wanton, purposeless expenditure elsewhere.  This is not justification to make a purchase.


Everyone makes their own personal choices, that are personally right for them.

No.  The whole reason that we have this forum is because people often make their own personal choices that are personally wrong for them.  Our job is to attempt to guide people away from doing that.

If someone posted that they were looking for the best type of hammer to drive a spike into their eye, your approach would be to carefully consider the task and then offer a few suggestions of hammer (and maybe nail type).  A better approach would be to question why they feel a need to drive the nail into their eye to begin with and hope you can prevent the waste.

FrugalToque

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Re: Semi-FIRE, feeling weird about big car purchase
« Reply #44 on: September 06, 2017, 07:08:15 AM »
I think there's too much moralizing about choices that the FIRE person can choose to spend money on. If his spending is a sports car that fits with his budget that's fine. Maybe in every other way he is very frugal. He doesn't buy fancy beer, nor goes on overseas travel that adds up pricewise over the course of a year, nor needs to hire a CPA to do a complicated tax return. Everyone makes their own personal choices, that are personally right for them.
That's a little disingenuous.
He doesn't buy fancy beer, doesn't go on big vacations.
He just wants to spend money frivolously in the single greatest way that people ever blow money - an excessively fancy vehicle.
But that's okay, because he drinks normal beer?

Toque
(Okay, excessively large houses are pretty bad, too.  We can have a conversation some other time over which is more detrimental to the average person's bottom line.)

Fishindude

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Re: Semi-FIRE, feeling weird about big car purchase
« Reply #45 on: September 06, 2017, 08:01:14 AM »
Buy the car and enjoy it. 
Forget all the negative comments, you are in great financial shape.

What's the point of saving all of this $$ for retirement if you can't enjoy some of it doing things you like to do?
Some folks get a kick out of sacrificing and stuff like riding a bike to work, backpacking for $2 a day in Taiwan, or eating rice and beans all the time.  I'd just feel poor.

LateStarter

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Re: Semi-FIRE, feeling weird about big car purchase
« Reply #46 on: September 06, 2017, 07:26:28 PM »
Buy the car and enjoy it. 
Forget all the negative comments, you are in great financial shape.

Except that the "negative comments" are very clearly on track with the fundamental reasons for the existence of this website, and the messages it promotes. Again, again, again, MMM is not just about the money.

If the intention is to ignore/forget all the MMM-themed feedback, what's the point in posting questions on the MMM forum ?

Some folks get a kick out of sacrificing and stuff like riding a bike to work, backpacking for $2 a day in Taiwan, or eating rice and beans all the time.  I'd just feel poor.

If it feels like "sacrifice", you're doing it wrong. It's not about sacrifice.

Why would riding a bike to work make you feel poor ?

FrugalToque

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Re: Semi-FIRE, feeling weird about big car purchase
« Reply #47 on: September 06, 2017, 08:28:13 PM »
What's the point of saving all of this $$ for retirement if you can't enjoy some of it doing things you like to do?
Some folks get a kick out of sacrificing and stuff like riding a bike to work, backpacking for $2 a day in Taiwan, or eating rice and beans all the time.  I'd just feel poor.

Have you read the blog?  There are a few basic tenets to understand:
1) It's not about being cheap or depriving yourself
2) It's about learning to derive happiness from living your life well
3) It's about refusing to bask in luxury, which weakens yourself

I biked to work today, 20km each way, because it's fucking awesome and it makes me a stronger, healthier person.

Try starting here:
http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2012/09/18/is-it-convenient-would-i-enjoy-it-wrong-question/

Or really: start anywhere.  You're missing out on the whole point of this philosophy.

Toque.

tj

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Re: Semi-FIRE, feeling weird about big car purchase
« Reply #48 on: September 06, 2017, 08:44:13 PM »
are you just like some crass pro sports knucklehead
I'm assuming you knew that nothing productive would come of your attack on me, and just wrote it because you enjoyed lashing out at some random stranger on the internet.

Dictating how other people spend their discretionary funds in a self righteous tone seems inappropriate to me. I'm not sure if this is common to the board culture here; I assumed it was like the other early retirement board I used to frequent, where the focus was on financial planning.

I'm aware that people who don't enjoy driving for its own sake don't really understand the appeal of performance cars to people who do. The knee-jerk assumption is that it's about status, rather than enjoyment of an activity, because they personally don't get any enjoyment out of it. It's like trying to explain what's fun about roller coasters to someone who doesn't like them.

Now, if you were arguing that it was unwise to spend the funds, and presented an argument to back it up, that would be another matter. I think a large part of why boards like this exist is because most people do have trouble keeping their spending under control, and that's why they have difficulty financially. That's a big part of why I started this thread; asking the question, when is it safe to spend?

This forum has always (and not really surprising due to the blog creator's interests that this forum it's based on) had an infatuation with environmentalism over finances. You might enjoy the forum at early-retirement.org more?

Doc Holiday

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Re: Semi-FIRE, feeling weird about big car purchase
« Reply #49 on: September 06, 2017, 08:57:10 PM »
Toque,
Thanks for your replies. Being new to this site, my initial thought was that this is a FIRE site (which it is) and the frugalism was intended to get you to FIRE. The poster Happy informed me via PM that that idea is min-max theory and is not the mantra here.  I appreciated his education. It is more a Venn diagram of FIRE and frugalism and environmentalism.


I might suggest if I could: show others all the positive attributes of MMM so as to create a growing movement. The OP, as far as I can tell, is long gone because he felt attacked.


Although it might be loathesome to hear newbies utter sacrilege, you will scare them away with self-righteousness over how fucking awesome your biking is and how they are wallowing in material offal. Asking questions of the poster like what is it that they seek might be a more open approach. 


I think a spirited discourse is mutually beneficial and makes us understand our position better, as well as others' (unless one is drinking and all bets are off). I for one am clearly open to new ideas (yours included) or I wouldn't be here, as I'm not a troll.


Here's one for you. In the New Yorker article on MMM, there was a tale about how Peter wouldn't let his son go to a birthday party because the buy-in was $20 for pizza and game cards. He didn't want to pay for the cards which he thought were stupid. A) I wonder what his kid was thinking and B) how does that action fit with the three tenets you mention?


Respectfully,
Doc
“The art of medicine consists of amusing the patient while nature cures the disease.”   -Voltaire