Author Topic: Semi-FIRE, feeling weird about big car purchase  (Read 5999 times)


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Re: Semi-FIRE, feeling weird about big car purchase
« Reply #50 on: September 07, 2017, 04:51:23 AM »
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.

That's what I'm doing.  If the OP felt attacked, that's unfortunate, but the number of people, on this forum, who supported an idea that should go against the grain here, brought the rest of us out.  Frankly, no one was being that mean.

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. 

Biking is awesome.  It makes you awesome if you do it a lot.  Much more so than a sports car ever did.  I know.  I had a sports car once upon a time.  Don't expect us to downplay the awesomeness of cycling in a post about about how high performance sports cars make the OP feel good.

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?

Please read MMM's response to the New Yorker article.  The facts do not match that article.

TL;DR:  The kid went to the party.  He went to all the parties.  MMM just helped make them better.

Hopefully this will help you understand the difference between the "cheapness" view you have of MMM and the frugal tack towards happiness we actually espouse.

« Last Edit: September 07, 2017, 06:35:04 AM by FrugalToque »


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Re: Semi-FIRE, feeling weird about big car purchase
« Reply #51 on: September 07, 2017, 09:04:34 AM »
Really good discussion. Some thoughts that I don't think have been brought up.

When indulging in hedonic purchases, keep in mind there is always an opportunity cost. Money not spent on a fancy car can be spent in other ways, including making the world a better place. It can be reinvested in your community, helping someone get ahead in life, protecting an environmentally sensitive place, etc. Sure, this is an individual's money, and they have the right to do with it as they please, but everything I've read and experienced suggests that being part of something larger than yourself and contributing to the overall good brings more benefits to oneself than indulging, once your needs are fulfilled.

The other point that someone raised is why is spending money on vacations OK to many mustachians, but someone buying a fancy car "face-punched"? I think there's real-world evidence to back up this discrepancy. I've read many places that spending money on experiences to create memories does in fact create long-lasting happiness, as we can revisit and treasure these experiences, whereas buying a new fancy item only provides a short-term bump, and happiness quickly reverts to a person's natural baseline.

Also, people are terrible at predicting what will bring them happiness. Also, things that make us unhappy have a much greater impact on our happiness level than things that actively make us happy - apparently the ratio is something like 5:1, i.e. losing $1 is the emotional balance of winning $5. So, we'd all be better off by focusing on eliminating that which we know makes us unhappy, as opposed to imagining the happiness that something will bring us. (For many of us here, that unhappiness is our lack of freedom by requiring a job).

I use this as a guide in my own life. For example, I started lusting for an iPhone6 when they were introduced. I didn't buy one though, because I knew it was just consumer lust. Lately, however, my 6 year-old iPhone 4S has been getting in the way of things I've been trying to accomplish - a miniscule battery life that has to be catered to, broken screen and back, slow, and lack of support for newer apps. That, to me, is the sign that it's getting time to replace it.

Another example is my 2005 Toyota Echo. I love that car, but the small quirks had cumulatively really started to annoy me - I could only trickle gas into it, muffler noise, many small controls were broken, etc. I was getting pretty frustrated, and been dreaming about getting a replacement. Then, I had the good fortune of being able to steal some used parts off one that was being junked, so for $600 (including labour - I detest working on cars), I had all of my irritants removed, and I'm loving it like I bought a new one (well, almost ;) ).

The thing that introduces some gray into it for me, though, is that everyone truly has different hobbies and passions. I have bought expensive camping gear because to me, it makes the difference between a massively enjoyable experience, and one that's frustrating if everything isn't perfect. I truly derive joy from the amazing design and engineering that has been put into the gear I've bought, every time I use it, and it makes me want to do more camping. Also, camping serves as a reminder to me as to how little material items I really need to be happy, and a hedonic level "reset" button. That may or may not be valid rationalizing for the gear I've bought to most people, but I feel it is for me.

Also, it's important to keep in mind that technology and material possessions have indeed clearly improved the quality of life and happiness for people. Once water could be boiled in a metal pot, or one could bicycle instead of walking everywhere, or sleep in a nice safe, comfortable bed every night, there's no looking back! Sorting out what those core items are though, can be a real challenge.

So regarding the original question, I'm sure that there are a few people out there for whom cars are a true passion, and they enjoy spending time with their car, the experience of driving it and "caring" for it, and wistfully relive the time they've spent with the car even when they aren't in it. I think that number is actually pretty small, though, and I certainly didn't get the impression from reading OP's initial post that he was one of those people. So IMO the facepunches were certainly appropriate, especially considering how monstrously horrible cars are for the earth and people's health overall.



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Re: Semi-FIRE, feeling weird about big car purchase
« Reply #52 on: September 07, 2017, 09:12:33 AM »
Interesting thoughtful responses.


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Re: Semi-FIRE, feeling weird about big car purchase
« Reply #53 on: September 07, 2017, 09:59:14 AM »

we have no debt - including no mortgage - and we're about 40% over target figure for full FIRE for both of us.

You may have noticed some of the folks on this forum are a bit fanatical about doing everything exactly as MMM would do. 

They treat the MMM philosophy as if it were Gospel brought down on stone tablets from God, with no variations allowed- I guess we could call them evangelical Mustachians. :)

But others here are less steadfastly bound to the gospel, and do allow an occasional un Mustachian indulgence, as long as it doesn't throw off the overall goal to FIRE.

It sounds like you are doing fine, and well on the way to FIRE.  So as long as this doesn't throw off your FIRE plans, I say go ahead. 

My wife likes nice cars.  She drove a junker for years, but in the 90's she bought her first new "near luxury" car, even though we were not quite FIRE ready at that point.

That was before we made our first million.  She drove the car for years, and now drives a BMW (also bought new).  We are now multimillionaires, and neither of us have ever regretted those purchases (nor will either of us regret it when she gets her "baby" Tesla next year).  I drive an old vehicle, because only because I'm not a "car guy" and really have no desire to have a nice car.

I'm frugal, but it doesn't hurt to knock the rust off your coin purse once in a while and buy something you like.  Just don't make a habit of it.

If you don't spend a little once in a while, you'll end up like this guy:


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Re: Semi-FIRE, feeling weird about big car purchase
« Reply #54 on: September 07, 2017, 11:10:08 AM »
I hope you bought the car Gus.

While it wasn't my proudest moment from a financial perspective, I LOVE the luxury sports car I purchased back in March of 2016. Despite it having depreciated 20% in those 18 months.
"A small house can hold as much happiness as a big one." - Fortune Cookie

26 Months till FI - Stop by, or stay a while.....!/


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Re: Semi-FIRE, feeling weird about big car purchase
« Reply #55 on: September 07, 2017, 11:38:13 AM »
Yup.. I think you guys nailed it for me.. I.e experiences matter more than things.. But of course driving the car is an experience!

If that experience fulfills you and doesn't detract from your FI plans then it should be counted as equal to say our 8 week tour of SE Asia last year.. Which is still the most amazing trip to us.

I like nice things too, but I almost immediately get buyers remorse as the damn thing owns me just as much as I own it. In fact I find the less things I own the happier I am..:)


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Re: Semi-FIRE, feeling weird about big car purchase
« Reply #56 on: September 11, 2017, 01:04:38 PM »
If it were me, and the desire was nagging at me for several months I'd make the purchase, but it would have to be used. I haven't bought a new car since I was 25. I enjoy being able to buy nice things pre-owned, drive/ride them for a couple of years, then turn around and sell them for 80-100% of the purchase price. I can't think of a single reason to buy a car off the dealer lot.


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Re: Semi-FIRE, feeling weird about big car purchase
« Reply #57 on: September 12, 2017, 01:47:19 PM »
Sounds like you already committed to buying the ICE car and came here to attempt to silence or receive some comfort from cognitive dissonance, regret, or anxiety about your decision/consumption. 

Many here would probably say that whatever drove you to labor over and agonize about your decision after you made it is part of the problem with not walking the path of the stoic.  They may convey this by providing you many face punches.
« Last Edit: September 12, 2017, 01:50:41 PM by CorpRaider »

Finally...another finance blog!


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Re: Semi-FIRE, feeling weird about big car purchase
« Reply #58 on: September 12, 2017, 03:48:57 PM »
This is an interesting thread. Personally there is no way that I would spend a lot of money on a car but I get more pleasure out of riding a bike. In a family of 5 we have 1 car and we will probably downgrade our car over the next 5 years as we move towards retirement.

In saying that who am I too judge  if you can afford to buy a fancy car and you want it. I say go for it.

I'm thinking of buying a punching bag set-up with 3 bags and a PS4 this christmas for the family which is mostly my boys and myself. I intend to get a dog when we retire and do more walking. I intend to buy a vaporizer to smoke pot when I retire. I also intend to upgrade my bike. Different people like different things.


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Re: Semi-FIRE, feeling weird about big car purchase
« Reply #59 on: September 12, 2017, 03:58:06 PM »
I intend to buy a vaporizer to smoke pot when I retire.

I should probably do that too.