Author Topic: Do we have a financial/ lifestyle set point that's hard to shift?  (Read 4817 times)

Moustachienne

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Like a few others, I've been a bit surprised at the level of income and required stache of many posters as I associate MMM with a more modest level.  So I've been thinking that maybe we all have pretty firm internalized set points regarding what a comfortable stache is, probably strongly based on our family background and its implicit and explicit expectations.  My background is frugal Canadian from a slightly earlier time than MMM and I know that influences what I see as necessities or luxuries, both pro and con.

So my parents could afford nice international travel in later life but still had senior citizen friends drive them to the airport through rush hour traffic rather than pay for a cab.  My husband and I think the trip starts at the door and I feel guilty and gleeful at this different decision.

Aussiegirl

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Re: Do we have a financial/ lifestyle set point that's hard to shift?
« Reply #1 on: August 08, 2015, 12:22:20 AM »
I think it also comes down to personality.  I value financial security very highly, so our 'stash and required income will be higher than what most would consider necessary.  My husband regularly tells me our heirs will make out like bandits.....

Miss Prim

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Re: Do we have a financial/ lifestyle set point that's hard to shift?
« Reply #2 on: August 08, 2015, 07:55:15 AM »
Everyone has their own level of comfort in regards to spending.  We have a 2nd home at a lake, which is really not necessary from a mustachian point of view, but we spend time on weekends there as a family retreat.  It didn't cost us a whole lot and it has been fully paid off for years.  Some of our best memories have taken place there.

We like to travel a lot, but try to do it as cheaply as possible.  We don't spend money on clothes, new cars,  new furniture, fancy food etc.  I think mustachianism is spending money on the things that make you happy, and cutting back on the things that don't. 

We didn't retire very early.  But, we did save 20% of our income along the way.  Also, we both spent the last few years only working part-time.  Our stache is not huge by some standards, but SS., rental income, small pensions and income from a business covers our everyday expenses.  Our stache is more for extras like travel and home repairs and maintenance. 

If you don't think you will need a large 'stache and wish to live more frugally, than go for it.  We are all on a different path in life and value different things, but the core principles are the same; don't spend more than you make and save as much as you can for retirement.

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Moustachienne

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Re: Do we have a financial/ lifestyle set point that's hard to shift?
« Reply #3 on: August 08, 2015, 08:49:17 AM »
Yes, very true that everyone's mileage will vary re desired level of income/stache.  I'm interested in how we reach that decision (more a feeling or instinct) and I think it's often subliminal and maybe hard wired.

We'll retire in a couple of years at 60 with a paid off house in a very expensive city and 1.2M, so very much in the comfort zone of Canadian middle class retirement.  We've generally aimed to live "like rich students" our entire life so used cars, biking, brown bagging, home cooking, and saving at least 60% of our income for the last 10 years since we paid off the house.  MMM has been very helpful in clarifying that this level is indeed very comfortable, given the doom/gloom messages from the retirement industry and social consumerist messages.  Many MMM lifestyle choices resonate with us, and we choose to ramp up where it suits us.   But it really feels like a pre-ordained approach, based on our family backgrounds, not a radical re-thinking.

I know there are posts from Mustachians who do get stick from family and friends for ERE plans, but it also seems that many of us are very comfortably middle class and acting in line with that cohort thinking.

Do I have an actual question, you ask?   Or just rambling observations? :)  Maybe it's this "are Mustachians born, not made?"

Merrie

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Re: Do we have a financial/ lifestyle set point that's hard to shift?
« Reply #4 on: August 08, 2015, 11:25:10 AM »
When my husband and I met, he was a not-particularly-frugal grad student who was looking forward to shifting his lifestyle up once he got a "real job", which he did shortly after we got married, at which point I was still in school. I would have lived more frugally in school if not for him. I'd have found a way. My best friend and her husband, by contrast, are SUPER frugal. If I had married someone more like him, then I'd have been more able to drive frugality in my own life too. So I have a huge house and a lucrative career, but a ton of debt. They live in an apartment the size of half of my first floor and work in less lucrative jobs, but don't have any debt. So I guess I would agree that it's hard to shift people off the point they are at. My friend has actually been irritated by her husband's excessive frugality at times; I've been the opposite way with mine.

Retired To Win

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Re: Do we have a financial/ lifestyle set point that's hard to shift?
« Reply #5 on: August 08, 2015, 06:32:28 PM »
I should think that, as far as lifestyle is concerned, it's not the size of the stash that is the criteria.  The size of the required stash is the result of the mindset and expectations one has regarding what constitutes an acceptable "comfortable living baseline."  And that is going to vary from person to person.

A separate issue is the setting of a required stash goal based on excessive insecurity regarding future economic conditions and their effects on one's stash.  That, of course, is also going to vary from person to person.

Bottom line is that one has to feel lifestyle comfortable and spending secure or one is going to be psychologically compelled to increase the size of one's target stash until it feels right.

meadow lark

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Re: Do we have a financial/ lifestyle set point that's hard to shift?
« Reply #6 on: August 09, 2015, 12:05:41 AM »
I have a set-point, for sure.  One comment - do not feel guilty for not asking your friends to drive you to the airport.  This is one of my pet peeves.  People who would rather inconvenience others (sorry, driving someone in rush hour traffic is an inconvenience) than pay $20.  Now, if there is an emotional component, say, driving you to your chemo appointment, I will be right there!  But if it is about saving money...  Now there are lots of caveats.  If it's a barter system, that's different.  Or incredibly expensive.  But in general - take a cab or a shuttle!

screwit

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Re: Do we have a financial/ lifestyle set point that's hard to shift?
« Reply #7 on: August 09, 2015, 12:42:16 AM »
I have a theory that living frugally is something that eldest children apt easier than younger ones. Anecdotally,  I've observed that eldest usually seem to feel a level of responsibility for everyone else and often set up their lives and finances to support others as needed.  I've observed that many younger siblings often have a more relaxed "it'll all work out" approach to money.
Hmm, doesn't answer your statement really. Maybe I should start my own thread...

Nudelkopf

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Re: Do we have a financial/ lifestyle set point that's hard to shift?
« Reply #8 on: August 09, 2015, 03:10:27 AM »
I have a set-point, for sure.  One comment - do not feel guilty for not asking your friends to drive you to the airport.  This is one of my pet peeves.  People who would rather inconvenience others (sorry, driving someone in rush hour traffic is an inconvenience) than pay $20.  Now, if there is an emotional component, say, driving you to your chemo appointment, I will be right there!  But if it is about saving money...  Now there are lots of caveats.  If it's a barter system, that's different.  Or incredibly expensive.  But in general - take a cab or a shuttle!
Omg! I haven't ever heard anyone voice this... but I totally agree with this sentiment! I live in a rural town, where people fly to the city every 8 to 10 weeks. And they almost always get a lift out to the airport! It's a $16 taxi fare. I've gotten a lift once - a friend picked me up, but then we spent the evening together ('friend' haha).

Zamboni

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Re: Do we have a financial/ lifestyle set point that's hard to shift?
« Reply #9 on: August 09, 2015, 05:58:01 AM »
Yes, most of us have a set point, and it can clearly be hard to change that set point.

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My husband and I think the trip starts at the door

I've gradually shifted my mentality to this, and the way you phrase it is perfect.

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live "like rich students" our entire life so used cars, biking, brown bagging, home cooking, and saving at least 60% of our income

I know what you meant, but it made me laugh. Spending lots of time with college-age children of the wealthy, I've learned that "rich students" don't ever brown bag or home cook and rarely bike; they just let mom and dad pay for everything.

2Birds1Stone

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Re: Do we have a financial/ lifestyle set point that's hard to shift?
« Reply #10 on: August 09, 2015, 06:22:31 AM »
I think set points can be beneficial too.

I have a set point in lifestyle/spending that I have maintained since the very first day I started working full time.

Being able to avoid lifestyle creep while increasing earnings can make for a much quicker and painless journey to FI.


Cassie

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Re: Do we have a financial/ lifestyle set point that's hard to shift?
« Reply #11 on: August 09, 2015, 11:32:52 AM »
I think it depends on what stage of life you are at too. When I was younger I was much more wiling to sacrifice for the future. Well the future is here & now I want to do my bucket list because you never know when you won't be able to any longer.  So spending more $ now then we ever did. I expect that to slow down as we age & probably won't want to do as many things.

music lover

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Re: Do we have a financial/ lifestyle set point that's hard to shift?
« Reply #12 on: August 09, 2015, 12:21:40 PM »
In a way, I have a "set point". I spent most of my career earning low income and paying a mortgage, so learned to live frugally by necessity. I now earn more and no longer have a mortgage, but my spending hasn't increased by very much. All I've really done is replace old hand-me-down furniture, upgrade some musical gear, and do a few renos that have been put off.

I will be retiring next spring and my govt. pension will easily cover my monthly expenses with 30% - 40% of it leftover. I can easily afford to spend more, but the desire isn't there.

Miss Prim

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Re: Do we have a financial/ lifestyle set point that's hard to shift?
« Reply #13 on: August 09, 2015, 02:25:54 PM »
We live 20 min from the airport and routinely take people there and people pick us up!  It is mostly between us family members and nobody complains about it at all.  We don't mind taking and picking up people, it is the least we can do!  Maybe it is because we live fairly close and we are all too cheap to pay, but amongst our family and friends, we do stuff like this for each other.

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