Author Topic: $250k wobble: Envious of friend's excessive lives  (Read 24531 times)

The Money Leopard

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$250k wobble: Envious of friend's excessive lives
« on: June 30, 2015, 08:41:29 AM »
Three and half years ago I was $40k in debt. Today I have a net worth of $260k, estimated to grow to $300k by year end. I'm 28 and on target to FI ($500k) by 30 / 31.

I went deep into financial literature (50+ books), moved to a developing country, maxed out my income as a programmer and lived on $1 to $1.5k a month. That combination worked a treat.

However seeing friends on Facebook / Instagram travelling to exotic locations and driving fancy cars bugs me. Either they are doing amazingly well financially (knowing their salaries I suspect not), they're getting parental support (I know some are) or they are making some very poor financial decisions (most likely).

I tell myself I'm sacrificing lifestyle now for future freedom but that doesn't stop me looking at a dream car on auto trader. I've always been a car nut but never been in the position to buy anything exciting (always gone for old Japanese sedans). Now for the first time in my life I'm able to buy one in cash but my financial savviness prevents from doing so (wealthy people buy their toys after they become rich not during the accumulation phase). I protect myself from myself by tying money up in property (forced savings). Everything has become a financial decision; I don't seem to be able to chill out. I'm obsessed with the numbers, always impatient that it's taking too long. And then I question why I'm doing this…

Has anyone else had these wobbles? Ever get annoyed at having money but living like a pauper? How did you find balance?


GuitarStv

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Re: $250k wobble: Envious of friend's excessive lives
« Reply #1 on: June 30, 2015, 09:03:03 AM »
Don't sacrifice.

You need to remember that stuff is just stuff.  Real happiness usually comes from inside.  Find out exactly what makes you happy, contented, and satisfied.  Optimize your life for this in a financially savvy manner.

Meggslynn

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Re: $250k wobble: Envious of friend's excessive lives
« Reply #2 on: June 30, 2015, 09:04:33 AM »
I struggle with this all.the.time.

My friends travel (my one weakness) frequently. They buy $500K + houses (which gives you a 2300 sq ft house with all the bells and whistles). They drive nice cars and go out for fancy meals.

The thing about this that drives me the most crazy is my husband and I both work full time and have 3 year old in playschool. Most of my friends are stay at home moms with husbands that work full time. So I think, for fu*k sakes, they get the privilege of staying home to be with their children and still a luxurious lifestyle. It boggles my mind. I know all of them plan to go back to work when the kids are school aged but still. If stayed home we would be scraping by as my hubby and I make similar incomes.

I try to find a balance. I am no hurry to retire super quickly but would like to by 45 at the latest (32 now) so our savings rate is about 35-40% when it could easily be 50%+. With the excess we do go on simple vacations, dine out once every two weeks, and spend on experiences like concerts, rafting, canoeing. I try to reassure myself that it will all pay off when I am retiring when my child is 13-15 and they are still working for another 20ish years.

I had a near death experience a couple years ago and it really changed my tune. I did feel like I was sacrificing in a race for FIRE and that I wasn't living my life well. So I now I go middle ground and spend on things I enjoy. I still try to maximize things that are free or make our travelling and dining out as cheap as possible though.

I also tell myself that kind of stuff doesn't buy happiness. My parents were loaded for about a 5-7 year duration when I was younger and they were miserable. They had a huge house, very fancy cars, and my mom shopped in search of buying happiness.

Thegoblinchief

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Re: $250k wobble: Envious of friend's excessive lives
« Reply #3 on: June 30, 2015, 09:10:58 AM »
1. The race is only with yourself.

2. If you truly want something, buy it. Your spending should ideally align 1:1 with your values, especially if you're on otherwise solid financial footing, e.g. not dealing with situations out of your control like sudden health issues, job loss, etc.

3. When evaluating whether you truly want it, give yourself time to noodle. Also, don't think in terms of the monetary cost. Money is just an intermediary store of value. The true "cost" of a good is in the life energy (time) it takes to acquire it.

velocistar237

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Re: $250k wobble: Envious of friend's excessive lives
« Reply #4 on: June 30, 2015, 09:12:44 AM »
For me, it's a single-family house with a workshop and a nice yard. I could work a few years extra to get one, but I'm not sure I want to. I try to convince myself that I've made the better choice, and I made a little workshop area in my basement and think about what I could do in my postage-stamp yard. I believe that contentment is a skill, and I've worked on myself a little bit in that regard.

It's kind of odd that the most difficult choices are the ones between two equal things.

FOBStash

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Re: $250k wobble: Envious of friend's excessive lives
« Reply #5 on: June 30, 2015, 09:18:38 AM »
I feel the exact same way.

We live in the SF Bay Area, most of our social circle are high income earners. I had dinner with a couple of them and most are buying/upgrading to $900k houses, taking international trips and going out to restos so much. It is easy for me to be swayed.

I actually had to listen to the millionaire next door and rich dad poor dad to remind myself of what I am trying to achieve.

I had to dig deep and both clarify my goals -- buying a rental, FIRE -- and clarify my joy -- surfing, outdoor activities, food -- to remind myself why I'm doing this. After experimenting this year on cutting down the eating out, I finally admitted that it's too constricting to cook daily so I found balance by cooking only on weekdays but gave myself a free pass on weekends. We also love to travel but I promised myself we will not do a major international trip until we purchase a rental property. I am motivated studying about real estate rather than researching a trip at this point so this does not feel like deprivation but rather just picking up another hobby/passion.

Lastly I remind myself that I can lose my job and be very comfortable for a long long time (close to FI). If I get a $900k mortgage, I would never want that feeling of being dependent on a job that may suck down the road.

Oh and visiting the forums help out a lot too. I concluded I have no mustachian friends. I can only talk about this with my younger brother irl.

DoNorth

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Re: $250k wobble: Envious of friend's excessive lives
« Reply #6 on: June 30, 2015, 09:21:03 AM »
Three and half years ago I was $40k in debt. Today I have a net worth of $260k, estimated to grow to $300k by year end. I'm 28 and on target to FI ($500k) by 30 / 31.

I went deep into financial literature (50+ books), moved to a developing country, maxed out my income as a programmer and lived on $1 to $1.5k a month. That combination worked a treat.

However seeing friends on Facebook / Instagram travelling to exotic locations and driving fancy cars bugs me. Either they are doing amazingly well financially (knowing their salaries I suspect not), they're getting parental support (I know some are) or they are making some very poor financial decisions (most likely).

I tell myself I'm sacrificing lifestyle now for future freedom but that doesn't stop me looking at a dream car on auto trader. I've always been a car nut but never been in the position to buy anything exciting (always gone for old Japanese sedans). Now for the first time in my life I'm able to buy one in cash but my financial savviness prevents from doing so (wealthy people buy their toys after they become rich not during the accumulation phase). I protect myself from myself by tying money up in property (forced savings). Everything has become a financial decision; I don't seem to be able to chill out. I'm obsessed with the numbers, always impatient that it's taking too long. And then I question why I'm doing this…

Has anyone else had these wobbles? Ever get annoyed at having money but living like a pauper? How did you find balance?

I call it "Facebook Happy".  People put up what they want others to see.  Usually behind the exotic travel and luxury goods exist some issues; financial, personal, professional.  We had a handful of friends who were putting up stuff like that and several are already divorced, unemployed or bogged down in debt.  Keep your eye on the prize and you'll get to FI sooner than you think.

captainawesome

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Re: $250k wobble: Envious of friend's excessive lives
« Reply #7 on: June 30, 2015, 09:24:04 AM »
My wife struggles with this at times.  I am by far the more mustachian, and much more simplistic in my needs. Frankly I would love to live in a tiny home with minimal stuff, she is not keen on that. But we often have disagreements over purchases because she sees her friends on FB going on trips, or buying new cars, getting new stuff etc.  Ultimately though she has started to realize that those same people are in huge financial debt, still paying off student loans, and living like there is no tomorrow. Hey to each their own, but that's not us.

I do feel reaffirmed in my approach when she talks to her close friends about finances. When she gets into conversations about money, and relays that we have no debt, OWN both of our cars, and max out our retirement accounts while living a fairly cushy lifestyle. Her friends are usually shocked, then ask me to do their finances.

I also struggle with it, but in different ways. I have friends and family that make a good deal more than me. My father makes A LOT of money, and can afford  a BMW 6 series without batting an eye. He likes to work and continues to do so, so to him he doesn't mind it. I know I wouldn't own that car, but between a heads up display, electronically controlled suspension and gearing, and 400+ hp, I can understand the lure of the car (it is sweet). It certainly makes my 13 year old car seem a little drab, but at the end of the day, I know it still gets me to and from where I need to go. And it is truly more than I need. 

Sometimes you just need to take a step back to see how far you have come, and where you are going. And remind yourself you are doing the right thing for you. And if you are truly unhappy about the lifestyle you are living, change.

shotgunwilly

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Re: $250k wobble: Envious of friend's excessive lives
« Reply #8 on: June 30, 2015, 09:32:16 AM »
This is one of the reasons Facebook is a bad thing.  Facebook profiles are a front.  You have two choices, 1. Have the mental strength to realize this, and don't let peoples fake lives bother you. or 2. Get rid of it.

I got rid of it. For me it was a great decision.
« Last Edit: June 30, 2015, 09:34:24 AM by shotgunwilly »

RFAAOATB

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Re: $250k wobble: Envious of friend's excessive lives
« Reply #9 on: June 30, 2015, 09:33:29 AM »
Dealing with envy is a constant struggle for me as well.  Everything from prepared food to bigger house is tempting.  I have to focus on the long term plan but in the end I hope I am healthy enough to enjoy it when the future finally gets here.

morning owl

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Re: $250k wobble: Envious of friend's excessive lives
« Reply #10 on: June 30, 2015, 09:36:26 AM »
This is one of the reasons Facebook is a bad thing.  Facebook profiles are a front.  You have two choices, 1. Have the mental strength to realize this, and don't let peoples fake lives bother you. or 2. Get rid of it.

I got rid of it. For me it was a great decision.

+1

cripzychiken

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Re: $250k wobble: Envious of friend's excessive lives
« Reply #11 on: June 30, 2015, 09:37:38 AM »
I exist in this space too. My wife is even worse.  We are relatively high income (~120k combined).  We live a spendy life by MMM standards and a paupers life by the Jones' standard.  The problem is her best friend gets over $2000/month in parent life support (on top of a 52k/yr job), and other friends (all unmarried, no kids) spending all of their paychecks each week.  Nothing but new cars, big trips, restaurants every night, concerts, movies, plays, etc.

The big issue is understanding that money doesn't really buy you the happiness you want.  That new car isn't happiness.  Maybe a newer car - 3-5 years old - would give you the feeling you want but cost you a fraction of the cost.  Do you really want a huge massive mcmansion or just a nice home with a yard where you can spend time with your family?

Look at what your savings have bought for you that your friends don't have.  You have been able to move to a country of your choice to live.  You can up and quit your job for years and be fine.  Do you honestly think your facebook friends can do that?  They are tired to their cubicles for years/decades/life, you are almost free.

The one thing I would say do is since you are already on the right track, give yourself a monthly stipend to spend on whatever stupid thing you want without caring about the financial impacts of it.  If you want to save up for a new car, put it towards that (normal savings plus the extra no questions savings).  If you want to go get cable - your stupid spending budget is there for you.  Going to lunch once a week - look here's a budget for that spending, awesome!  If you have a budget that is free from questioning, you will feel happier since you know that over-priced candy bar can be bought if you actually want it. 

Both my wife and I have been a lot happier since we gave ourselves a 'no questions' budget (and at $50/each/month, we almost never are able to spend it all).  Plus we've seen that impulse buys died down since we didn't feel the pull of them as strongly since we could if we wanted it - it was no longer a financial taboo.
« Last Edit: June 30, 2015, 09:40:09 AM by cripzychiken »

Exflyboy

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Re: $250k wobble: Envious of friend's excessive lives
« Reply #12 on: June 30, 2015, 09:44:50 AM »
I found that after a lifetime of lusting after stuff it really ends up an empty experience.

I have built two airplanes in my time.. the last one was FAST, flew in clouds was aerobatic, everything I could wish for. 400 miles to have lunch somewhere over the mountains?.. Sure why not?

But I began to tire of these things owning me more and more. Airplanes need a LOT of maintenance, insurance and hangar rent is expensive.. God forbid somebody actually damaged it while you were having that $200 lunch, etc etc.

Eventually I was like, screw this and sold it.. Now I have never really been a car guy, but I like fast cars. After an airplane or maybe a really fast motorcycle then you realize there is no such thing as a "fast car". So I eventually got over my need to own fancy vehicles.. Except I always said.. "when I get to $2,000000 liquid net worth I will order a new Dodge Charger".. Because, well why not?.. I could afford to do something stupid right?

Well, a month ago I was offered a buyout package for my pension back in the UK.. This took my liquid NW to about $25k shy of 2 million.

So now.. am I about to order a Charger?.... ummm... I don't think I can do it.. I'm happy with my 1999 Dodge Neon...:)

In fact I now really wonder if I want to continue owning my paid off house and 5.5 acres of land as well!

Ricky

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Re: $250k wobble: Envious of friend's excessive lives
« Reply #13 on: June 30, 2015, 09:49:08 AM »
1. Figure out a baseline for the standard of living you want in your life, that you're willing to accept. 3/2 in a nice neighborhood? Eating out more than once a week? Living in a tent? Eating rice every meal? Drive a BMW everywhere? Ride your bike everywhere? You get it. Be reasonable. Be honest. You'll find you really don't need/desire that much to be content and happy.

2. Put EVERY dollar towards supporting that lifestyle. You're buying time. Time = options!

3. Once you're there, you can continue working or quit! If you continue working, guess what? You can spend 100% of that money towards anything that you want. But guess what else!? You won't want to! You'll realize being free is worth way more than the boats and cars and excessive vacations that your money could buy you from working. It's a win-win.

It's really amazing once you get there how you see things for what they are. You start to notice patterns in human behavior more, how alike people are, and how people are just working for social status and material things (and because they don't save).

+1 to the Facebook thing. It's okay to have it, just practice self-control. Use it for good intentions, not mindless voyeurism.

Eventually I was like, screw this and sold it.. Now I have never really been a car guy, but I like fast cars. After an airplane or maybe a really fast motorcycle then you realize there is no such thing as a "fast car". So I eventually got over my need to own fancy vehicles.. Except I always said.. "when I get to $2,000000 liquid net worth I will order a new Dodge Charger".. Because, well why not?.. I could afford to do something stupid right?

Well, a month ago I was offered a buyout package for my pension back in the UK.. This took my liquid NW to about $25k shy of 2 million.

So now.. am I about to order a Charger?.... ummm... I don't think I can do it.. I'm happy with my 1999 Dodge Neon...:)

In fact I now really wonder if I want to continue owning my paid off house and 5.5 acres of land as well!

I do think it's sometime beneficial to "aim high" even if you "land low" (no airplane pun intended). If you get motivated to do your job because you dream of owning million dollar houses and cars and planes then that might be a good thing - as long as you are focused on that goal and don't go in debt to get to that goal. Once you actually get the money to get that stuff - your inexperienced, naive self will have disappeared and your smarter, experienced self will realize that you never wanted that stuff at all. It makes it MUCH harder to ever do anything for money again though because there is literally no point...
« Last Edit: June 30, 2015, 10:01:53 AM by Ricky »

Cycling Stache

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Re: $250k wobble: Envious of friend's excessive lives
« Reply #14 on: June 30, 2015, 09:54:14 AM »
Don't sacrifice.

You need to remember that stuff is just stuff.  Real happiness usually comes from inside.  Find out exactly what makes you happy, contented, and satisfied.  Optimize your life for this in a financially savvy manner.

This is true.  There is a ton of research to support it.  This is also unbelievably hard to believe it's true.  That's why so few people are able to follow it.

More interesting though is to consider the Facebook effect.  You've got a bunch of friends online.  And each only posts select updates--normally the things they're most proud of, excited about, etc.  So what do you see?  Lots of vacation photos.  Lots of party photos.  Lots of cool car photos.  And they're particularly enticing because they're people you know (kind of--it is Facebook) enjoying them, smiling while there, etc.  And because you have lots of friends online, you're seeing a steady stream of these things, which creates the impression that is how everyone is living all the time.

But of course it isn't.  The new car may be the only cool new thing the person buys that year.  They may be stressed about their credit card bill or student loan bills.  They may hate their job, or have to work late nights or weekends, but none of that gets posted.  All you saw was a post of a guy smiling in front of his new car.  And the kicker is that the joy of having the new car wears off really quickly--in that, your day to day happiness will depend much more on how things are going at work, how your interactions are going with friends, whether you're stressed about a project or a relationship, or whatever.  None of that shows up on Facebook (mostly). 

I point this out because I stopped checking Facebook as much once I realized how powerful this effect is.  For me, it's less about buying stuff, but the same dynamic applies to sports.  I'm a good athlete, and I enjoy running and cycling.  But each time I go on Facebook, I have various posts about friends who are finishing on the podium for different races, or running way faster marathons than me, or riding much more awesome bikes than me.  I have to admit--even knowing about the Facebook effect--my initial reaction is to be bummed about my own performance.  I'm finally able to snap myself out of it by realizing that (1) it doesn't affect my performance, and (2) there have always been people faster than me at races, etc.--it just didn't bother me when they were strangers rather than friends.

So, yes, Facebook is going to have lots of posts about people buying what seems like really cool stuff.  But what MMM highlights is the cost of doing that--especially long-term--and the limited and quickly diminishing happiness that you get from buying such things.

And I say this as the former owner of a high-end car.  It was awesome.  At first.  And when I took it to the track--still one of the best experiences I've had in my life.  But once you experience what a car can do on a track, the 99.8% of driving you do the rest of the time is unbelievably dull.  You sit in traffic like everyone else and wait for the occasional highway on-ramp to hammer it.  For about 7 seconds. 

So now I ride in the minivan or take the metro and know that I'm just a few more years from financial independence.  And that makes me smile.

tonysemail

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Re: $250k wobble: Envious of friend's excessive lives
« Reply #15 on: June 30, 2015, 09:54:48 AM »
This is one of the reasons Facebook is a bad thing.  Facebook profiles are a front.  You have two choices, 1. Have the mental strength to realize this, and don't let peoples fake lives bother you. or 2. Get rid of it.

I got rid of it. For me it was a great decision.

i quit FB for the same reason.  haven't missed it.

nereo

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Re: $250k wobble: Envious of friend's excessive lives
« Reply #16 on: June 30, 2015, 09:58:55 AM »

I call it "Facebook Happy".  People put up what they want others to see.  Usually behind the exotic travel and luxury goods exist some issues; financial, personal, professional.  We had a handful of friends who were putting up stuff like that and several are already divorced, unemployed or bogged down in debt.  Keep your eye on the prize and you'll get to FI sooner than you think.

I LOVE this term and I am going to start using it.
People post what they want others to see, which is a form of bragging.  How often do you see them posting their large credit-card balance?  How frequently do you hear people post their insecurities about retirement, job security or even surviving the next financial emergency? In my experience, Facebook posts are never an accurate representation of how people are actually doing.  Chances are they are taking these expensive vacations, buying luxury cars and collecting trinkets in an futile effort to increase their happiness.

My one concern from the OP is that he/she feels they are sacrificing with their lifestyle.  I would take a deep close look as to why, and if there are some purchases that would truly increase his/her happiness, then make them.   If owning a late-model car fancier car is worth working an extra year or so, than by all means buy the car.

Erica/NWEdible

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Re: $250k wobble: Envious of friend's excessive lives
« Reply #17 on: June 30, 2015, 10:52:18 AM »
1. Don't judge your insides by other people's outsides.

2. Install this: https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/news-feed-eradicator-for/fjcldmjmjhkklehbacihaiopjklihlgg?hl=en

3. Come to the forums often for an alternate view on these things. :)

snogirl

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Re: $250k wobble: Envious of friend's excessive lives
« Reply #18 on: June 30, 2015, 11:24:12 AM »
thanks for starting the thread and all the postings.
I too can caught up in FB and am ready to ditch it.
Lately I have been doing much more journaling and reading.
I prefer calling my real friends.
It definitely is an inside job (my happiness).
It is comforting to know others here on MMM have similar experiences & ideas to share about it.

JLee

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Re: $250k wobble: Envious of friend's excessive lives
« Reply #19 on: June 30, 2015, 11:34:14 AM »
Three and half years ago I was $40k in debt. Today I have a net worth of $260k, estimated to grow to $300k by year end. I'm 28 and on target to FI ($500k) by 30 / 31.

I went deep into financial literature (50+ books), moved to a developing country, maxed out my income as a programmer and lived on $1 to $1.5k a month. That combination worked a treat.

However seeing friends on Facebook / Instagram travelling to exotic locations and driving fancy cars bugs me. Either they are doing amazingly well financially (knowing their salaries I suspect not), they're getting parental support (I know some are) or they are making some very poor financial decisions (most likely).

I tell myself I'm sacrificing lifestyle now for future freedom but that doesn't stop me looking at a dream car on auto trader. I've always been a car nut but never been in the position to buy anything exciting (always gone for old Japanese sedans). Now for the first time in my life I'm able to buy one in cash but my financial savviness prevents from doing so (wealthy people buy their toys after they become rich not during the accumulation phase). I protect myself from myself by tying money up in property (forced savings). Everything has become a financial decision; I don't seem to be able to chill out. I'm obsessed with the numbers, always impatient that it's taking too long. And then I question why I'm doing this…

Has anyone else had these wobbles? Ever get annoyed at having money but living like a pauper? How did you find balance?

Exciting doesn't have to be expensive! You can find Miatas super cheap and they are a blast to drive/race.

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Re: $250k wobble: Envious of friend's excessive lives
« Reply #20 on: June 30, 2015, 11:50:30 AM »
If you had a near death experience, it will help keep you grounded. Like Exflyboy above, I've lived my dream for the last 25 years... for me it wasn't "I am done with all this expense and duty" to my dream. I had a debilitating (non hobby related) back injury that set me to rights.

I have done a 180 thanks to that injury and some other choices we had already set in motion. I don't have the 2m NW but have recovered after 3 intense and painful surgeries (yeay!), sold off most of my hobby stuff, and own three multi unit properties for a good chunk of passive income and over 1m NW now.

Before giving up my hobby AND before my injury DH quit his horrible job so we were already heading down this path. Believe me when this all started for us in 2011 (we were 43) it was HARD. Not only did I have the pressure of FB, I was fully entrenched in the social community of my spendy hobby and I wobbled, OH how I wobbled. It took this injury to really lock me into seeking FIRE in a serious way, for myself as well as DH. I had always thought I would work forever, I am a workaholic... I am that no longer.

I am even prepping to sell our nice amenity rich home for a simple home we can own outright with lower maintenance costs. It will make FIRE all that much easier.

Sure I still buy things. I am a high income earner and yes I've replaced my hobby with a new less expensive and less physical hobby. I feel I still work too much (running a couple of side gigs) which allow me to get into my new hobby without any guilt or impact to our RE planning.

You might not get that fancy car, your logical side probably won't let you, but there might be other things you can invest in that can ease the pain that being mid-FI planning causes.

Good luck to you, hang in there!

EscapeVelocity2020

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Re: $250k wobble: Envious of friend's excessive lives
« Reply #21 on: June 30, 2015, 12:35:46 PM »
True contentment comes from knowing what you really want out of life and working toward it.  I found a middle ground on frugality that has us spending around 40k/yr and everyone is happy.  Higher than it has been in the past, and still a little high for my tastes, but a little low for my wife, and the kids aren't spoiled but not deprived...

I also like not having to worry about what the stock market is doing (staying flat would be better than dropping precipitously, but whatever), so I have found a job that I enjoy and have thrown myself into appreciating it for the next few years.  I'm FI, which has helped reduce stress.

I also found, later in life, that I don't want to be a stay at home parent and was lucky that my wife took on that role when the kids were younger.  Now that the kids don't need her as much, she has gone back to work as a teacher.  With her income, she pays for extra things for herself and camp for the kids in the summer so she can have more freedom.  We worked hard before kids, and continued to live below our means even when we went to one income, primarily by driving used cars and living in an affordable home while our friends lived the dream. 

One realization is that it would be harder, if we were starting right now, to have as high a saving rate as we had in the past because we want to be in a good school district (which compounds the  expenses - housing, property tax, insurance, utilities, etc.).  Also, teenage kids are more expensive than young children - food, activities, academics, clothing...  so make sure you figure out your priorities sooner rather than later!  But, all along the way, make improvements and keep a healthy balance.  Maybe you want a higher saving rate, or maybe you really DO want to live more luxuriously now, but are aware of the trade-off with less financial security and options in the future (since you're on this forum, where people are retiring in their 20's and 30's because that was what they really wanted out of life).

Good luck, whatever you decide!

Home Stretch

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Re: $250k wobble: Envious of friend's excessive lives
« Reply #22 on: June 30, 2015, 12:41:07 PM »
I'm in a similar boat. It's always hard to put on the blinders and just keep focused on the long-term goal. It's really hard when I'm surrounded by a lot of close friends my age who make the same income as I do, but they have all this really cool shit!

It's basically a fool's errand not to feel a little bit envious of all the extravagant material wonders that these friends procure every time I go over for a visit. Why yes, I do need a brand-new 65" LED TV.

The best advice I can give is to strike a good balance between saving for your long term goal and spending on things that ACTUALLY make you happy. For example, I totally splurged on a brand-spanking-new bicycle that is way more extravagant than what I could have picked up on CL for $150, but I freaking love the thing, and it made me excited enough to start commuting to work for the first time on my bike even though I've been living the same distance from the office for 4 years.

Squirrel away

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Re: $250k wobble: Envious of friend's excessive lives
« Reply #23 on: June 30, 2015, 12:43:43 PM »
This is one of the reasons Facebook is a bad thing.  Facebook profiles are a front.  You have two choices, 1. Have the mental strength to realize this, and don't let peoples fake lives bother you. or 2. Get rid of it.

I got rid of it. For me it was a great decision.

i quit FB for the same reason.  haven't missed it.

I joined FB for about 5 minutes and then deleted my account.:P

DoubleDown

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Re: $250k wobble: Envious of friend's excessive lives
« Reply #24 on: June 30, 2015, 12:55:37 PM »
Don't sacrifice.

You need to remember that stuff is just stuff.  Real happiness usually comes from inside.  Find out exactly what makes you happy, contented, and satisfied.  Optimize your life for this in a financially savvy manner.

+1

If you feel like you're sacrificing, you're doing it wrong. I can say (I think with complete honesty) that I have zero envy for any of the fancy stuff my wife is always telling me about our facebook friends exhibiting (the exotic trip they're taking, the $2 million house they're building, etc.). I have everything I want and need, so I don't envy those with "more." I'm not saying this to brag, I'm just trying to point out it is possible to be content and not feel like you're sacrificing for the future. We don't live like paupers, we have a nice home and all kinds of fancy stuff. Once you start making good financial decisions and get financially strong, you can get what you want/need without depriving yourself.

justajane

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Re: $250k wobble: Envious of friend's excessive lives
« Reply #25 on: June 30, 2015, 02:41:33 PM »
I don't necessarily feel like I am sacrificing, but I truly don't understand many people's finances, particularly on Facebook when they post expensive vacations and meals. We make ca. 90K in a low cost of living area. We drive modest cars, have a modest home, don't have smartphones, eat out at cheap places, rarely fly, rarely go on vacation; yet still we don't feel  like we're rolling in the dough.

 None of friends who spend more extravagantly seem stressed out about money. Maybe they make more than we do.

I did laugh once when an acquaintance and I were discussing life insurance. We're both mostly stay at home moms, and she was questioning whether their life insurance policy was high enough. It turns out they have 1 million on the husband. In what universe would that not be enough?

Cycling Stache

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Re: $250k wobble: Envious of friend's excessive lives
« Reply #26 on: June 30, 2015, 03:13:19 PM »
I don't necessarily feel like I am sacrificing, but I truly don't understand many people's finances, particularly on Facebook when they post expensive vacations and meals. We make ca. 90K in a low cost of living area. We drive modest cars, have a modest home, don't have smartphones, eat out at cheap places, rarely fly, rarely go on vacation; yet still we don't feel  like we're rolling in the dough.

I remember thinking the same thing in the early 2000s when I started working at a big law firm in the DC area and making good money, and everyone around me drove nicer cars.  Turns out the answer at the time was most likely Home Equity Loans and Lines of Credit!

Seriously, though, I think most upper middle class people believe that debt is just a given and that we're all going to work forever anyway, so might as well enjoy life by buying things.  The stress about finances happens late at night and off camera.

lbmustache

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Re: $250k wobble: Envious of friend's excessive lives
« Reply #27 on: June 30, 2015, 05:32:38 PM »
I don't necessarily feel like I am sacrificing, but I truly don't understand many people's finances, particularly on Facebook when they post expensive vacations and meals. We make ca. 90K in a low cost of living area. We drive modest cars, have a modest home, don't have smartphones, eat out at cheap places, rarely fly, rarely go on vacation; yet still we don't feel  like we're rolling in the dough.

 None of friends who spend more extravagantly seem stressed out about money. Maybe they make more than we do.

I did laugh once when an acquaintance and I were discussing life insurance. We're both mostly stay at home moms, and she was questioning whether their life insurance policy was high enough. It turns out they have 1 million on the husband. In what universe would that not be enough?

I feel the same. Like someone else said, some have debt and just don't care. I'm sure most are living under the "play now worry later" mindset (I was too). It's hard to not feel left out sometimes. :(

Check2400

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Re: $250k wobble: Envious of friend's excessive lives
« Reply #28 on: June 30, 2015, 05:49:56 PM »
Would it help you to know that while you are envious of so many people on Facebook, here on the forum boards, you're the envy of the grand majority of the population by being able to FI at age 31 with a half million dollars?

Everything is relative, but sometimes knowing how much jealousy you inspire helps minimize the amount of jealous in endure. 

EscapeVelocity2020

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Re: $250k wobble: Envious of friend's excessive lives
« Reply #29 on: June 30, 2015, 06:29:13 PM »
Would it help you to know that while you are envious of so many people on Facebook, here on the forum boards, you're the envy of the grand majority of the population by being able to FI at age 31 with a half million dollars?

I'll just throw this out there, for fun, but 'retirement' at 31 with 500k in the US isn't really all that spectacular (or at least shouldn't be).  There are plenty of people that make 50k/yr, so in a decade or so after you retire, they will wonder why you let your resume atrophy while they themselves are making 100k and are on track for 'poverty level ER' at 1 million... (if ER ever becomes mainstream, which is a bit of a sci-fi leap, but I certainly imagine it lately).  EDIT TO ADD - assumuming the next 10 years are a continuation of the years we have just had from 2009 onward...

Now, if you are willing to global arbitrage in other countries, then that will extend the excitement for a while.  But I've always found the US to be my yardstick for optimization.  Many other countries will help you cut costs, but the US has so far been the most ripe for unlimited income potential and opportunity (generally, not vs. singular examples like Gaddafi in Egypt or Helu in Mexico). 
« Last Edit: July 01, 2015, 07:55:51 AM by EscapeVelocity2020 »

Eric

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Re: $250k wobble: Envious of friend's excessive lives
« Reply #30 on: June 30, 2015, 07:17:07 PM »
Would it help you to know that while you are envious of so many people on Facebook, here on the forum boards, you're the envy of the grand majority of the population by being able to FI at age 31 with a half million dollars?

I'll just throw this out there, for fun, but 'retirement' at 31 with 500k in the US isn't really all that spectacular (or at least shouldn't be). 

Surely you can't be serious.  Retiring at 31 is a ridiculously amazing accomplishment.  All of about .0001% of the population can do it.

The rest of your post is just comparing yourself to others, which is what the first 30 posts in this thread are discouraging against, since there's no point.  Who gives a shit if someone else is making $100k?  They're forced to work while you're not.

Telecaster

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Re: $250k wobble: Envious of friend's excessive lives
« Reply #31 on: June 30, 2015, 08:30:36 PM »
1. The race is only with yourself.


This.  It is impossible to keep up with the Joneses.  The Jonses always win.  As soon as you decide you don't give a shit what the Joneses think then you win. 

mozar

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Re: $250k wobble: Envious of friend's excessive lives
« Reply #32 on: June 30, 2015, 08:53:21 PM »
What about inviting yourself to be a passenger in your friends cars? That way you can get your cookies, and socialize too.

vagon

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Re: $250k wobble: Envious of friend's excessive lives
« Reply #33 on: July 01, 2015, 12:57:23 AM »
What you want is not the car, it is social respect.

It is the same reason why people buy any luxury item, it is a symbol to peers that you have 'made it' or have 'power'. You want to be respected. Really though those symbols are all bullshit.

Being a walking billboard for XYZ brand doesn't earn the respect of anybody you should want it from. Getting hand outs from mummy and daddy shouldn't garner any respect either. Only real power should get respect. Real power is increasing optionality, literally the ability to choose what you want to do. You said yourself you have the ability to buy a fancy car. Soon you will have the ability to retire too. Who has more power then? Who deserves more respect?

Reality is no one gives you power for X dollars at the store, you have to build it. That fancy car and the designer shoes are actually the reverse of power: they are big fucking padlocks. For the 1% who can afford it, it is ironically something they are probably getting paid to sell or something made by a company they own. For the other 99% of people the real symbol this sends off is "I just chained myself to my wage for a few more days/months/years".

So, yeah, think about what you actually want and ask if buying that thing will will actually get you it.

Elbata

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Re: $250k wobble: Envious of friend's excessive lives
« Reply #34 on: July 01, 2015, 02:28:51 AM »
Quote
Seriously, though, I think most upper middle class people believe that debt is just a given and that we're all going to work forever anyway, so might as well enjoy life by buying things.  The stress about finances happens late at night and off camera.

I'm loving this thread--lots of wisdom in the comments.

A guy came over tonight to play pool. He's by no means a braggart, but I could tell he does quite well financially. I can't help it, but often I'm exposed to others who are making and spending a lot more money than me, I get the wobbles.

Even so, at the end of the day, I'm happy living a simple life. I love having a 90's car in the driveway. It does define me in a certain way.

And regards to FB--it's not about what my friends are doing--I use it to get daily info on biology, science, nutrition, that sort of thing. I find it cool to be able to converse with authors and people who have the same interests.

And as we all know, regarding real wealth--when I wake up and take my doggies for their morning walk, while everyone is zipping by me on the way to work in their $75K BMWs, Teslas, and shiny Benzes, I'm thankful for the air I'm breathing, and so many other things that we take for granted. We're already incredibly rich and we, who choose to live this Mustachian lifestyle, know that.

cbr shadow

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Re: $250k wobble: Envious of friend's excessive lives
« Reply #35 on: July 01, 2015, 04:43:42 AM »
Great thread.  It's good to hear other people get the "wobbles" too. 
My wife and I live way under our means (about 60% savings rate) but still travel and are happy.  We're 31 years old and a lot of our FB friends from high school are starting to buy expensive houses and luxury cars.  It makes me want to show off our finances to everyone, but of course this would make me look like a douche and would be pointless.  Still sometimes I feel like I want attention for saving so quickly, or our high incomes.

The other side of that is that I think sometimes I forget how bragging makes other people feel.  Even if I secretly want people to be jealous of us, I don't actually want to make people feel bad about their own situation.  Quick example:  A friend from high school that I don't speak to very much isn't doing very well financially.  Only recently moved out of his parents house, works low paying jobs, can't save money etc..  I met him for a drink recently and told him all about my life, vacations we've been on, that we save a lot, etc.  Then he told me he's having a rough time, can't save, etc.  When we were leaving he told me he's glad I'm doing so well and we left.  Afterwards I'm kicking myself for even a small amount of bragging, knowing that it didn't actually get me anywhere to do so.  Sure he may have been a bit impressed, but I imagine it doesn't make him feel very good about himself.

Peony

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Re: $250k wobble: Envious of friend's excessive lives
« Reply #36 on: July 01, 2015, 05:37:08 AM »
Following

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Re: $250k wobble: Envious of friend's excessive lives
« Reply #37 on: July 01, 2015, 05:49:03 AM »
When I get the urge to spend money because of what other people buy, I usually go on this website to encourage me and stick with my plan. It always work. If I were to check my facebook page everyday, I would probably go crazy and purchase something I don't need. All I see on facebook are people who just buy and flaunt their purchases,but I tell myself that I am on a journey for something better than their purchases...Financial Independance. Something most of these people on facebook won't ever acheive (in my opinion).

LouLou

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Re: $250k wobble: Envious of friend's excessive lives
« Reply #38 on: July 01, 2015, 07:29:03 AM »
I feel this way sometimes, but then I remind myself why I am trying to save more money.

This weekend, two of my friends were saying that their employers may be bought out.  They don't know what will happen to their jobs.  One person stated that they could live at least a year without any additional income and without changing his lifestyle.  The other one is spendier...not so much.

My mom is spendy.  She drives a new car and goes on trips.  She makes 1/5 of what I do, and 1/10 of my husband and I make together.  She also lost her job yesterday, has no savings, and had already been applying to other jobs for the last year with no bites. 

I do not want to be in their position.  While I absolutely want a nicer car, a fully renovated kitchen, and overseas trips, I want financial security more. I'm not fully mustachian, mind you.  If something is really important to me, I will spend for it. But I've found that I usually can get the less expensive version of something and get the same amount of happiness. And by closely examining my life, I realized that I spent money on things that I don't even really care about.  So I cut of those things except where necessary.

pachnik

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Re: $250k wobble: Envious of friend's excessive lives
« Reply #39 on: July 01, 2015, 08:37:05 AM »
This is great thread and I like the use of the word 'wobble'. 

Am I envious of friends' excessive lives?  I don't have any friends who have excessive lives.  I am also 51 maybe this has something to do with it but I don't think so. I am not on Facebook and got rid of cable a year ago so no TV.   Of my closest friends, two had to retire early due to health problems.  Another is a nun who does I guess you would call it volunteer work in her church community.  She doesn't live in a cloister.  And another friend of mine is working still at 58.  No splashy vacations or luxury cars here.

But I do work for people who make several times the money I do.  I work as an assistant in a lawyers' office you see.  Their vacations are overseas or flying to major cities in the U.S. and this year mine is a short drive away.  Sometimes at work I do have 'vacation envy'.  :)  But not really a lot.  Last year we took a big vacation back to Montreal so I could meet my husband's family.  I think next year we will take a big vacation again - maybe a hotel/flight package to London and Paris.

Looking forward to following this thread.

Blonde Lawyer

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Re: $250k wobble: Envious of friend's excessive lives
« Reply #40 on: July 01, 2015, 08:58:22 AM »
I think you also have to keep in mind that things aren't always as expensive as they look.  For example, my husband and I took a long vacation to the other side of the world but we got amazing deals and did it for under $2500.  Most people assumed we spent $10k+.  Our house is very nice but we bought it from a desperate seller for about $40k less than it is worth now.  We frequently go to an expensive community in a southern state but that is because that's where my husband's family lives.  We drive there and stay there for free.  My sister in law worked at an expensive resort.  Our trips there were comped.  My husband's high school friend managed a Las Vegas hotel.  Same deal.  We were in a room that could be featured on MTV but we were paying $20/night for it. 

Trips can be bought with travel points, or won in a contest, or gifted by family.  Just because something looks fancy doesn't mean it was purchased the traditional way.

Giro

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Re: $250k wobble: Envious of friend's excessive lives
« Reply #41 on: July 01, 2015, 08:59:29 AM »
Great and timely thread.

I'm going through this myself.  It is a real internal struggle for me.  I haven't found my "sweet spot" of saving and spending. 

And people posting that cars will not make you happy, doesn't help me at all.  I love cars.  I have a toy in the garage that I absolutely get giddy about driving and I've had it for a couple of years now.  The joy hasn't faded.  I want a new car.  I want to trade the toy in on a better toy.  I've been trying hard to stop wanting the bigger, badder car for awhile.  It's expensive ($85K used) and I shouldn't buy it.  But, I want it.  wah.wah

It's hard to have a much higher than average household income and see others who make less than you, staying home with children and buying much nicer things and going on more vacations. 

the struggle is real.  hahaha  kidding of course.


wenchsenior

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Re: $250k wobble: Envious of friend's excessive lives
« Reply #42 on: July 01, 2015, 09:27:55 AM »
One point that I think is in the original poster's favor is that they have become aware of this struggle quite young. I suspect that if the original poster just mentally tracks happiness value/$ spent over time, the envy will lesson.

My own experience is that my urge to spend money and buy 'things' decreased dramatically as I approached middle age. Part of this is the mid life crisis thing of feeling that time is very limited, and where am I getting the most value 'bang for my buck'? And realizing that it was usually experiences that gave me satisfaction, and material objects amused me only for a few days to weeks. Then, I had a house full of stuff that cluttered it up.

The other thing is that as you get older, you start seeing first hand all the crucial things you might need the money for, just to keep your life on a stable track (medical, housing, kids, helping aging parents, etc.) You add some combo of those things to your need for retirement money, and the urge to spend drops.

However, I'm by no means immune. We live in a dirt cheap house in dirt cheap town, and are fortunate to do so because it allows us to make up about a decade of wasted time, and potentially retire about 10 years early if we want to (crap compared to many on this forum, but great for us considering the circumstances we started with). Even though I KNOW living frugally is a huge help, I wish we lived somewhere else more suited to our personalities, and I'd be tempted to blow a lot of money to set that up if the opportunity became available. My compromise is I'm trying to get us to a net worth that gives us more options than we have now. That helps motivate me to stay frugal.

JLee

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Re: $250k wobble: Envious of friend's excessive lives
« Reply #43 on: July 01, 2015, 11:18:21 AM »
Great and timely thread.

I'm going through this myself.  It is a real internal struggle for me.  I haven't found my "sweet spot" of saving and spending. 

And people posting that cars will not make you happy, doesn't help me at all.  I love cars.  I have a toy in the garage that I absolutely get giddy about driving and I've had it for a couple of years now.  The joy hasn't faded.  I want a new car.  I want to trade the toy in on a better toy.  I've been trying hard to stop wanting the bigger, badder car for awhile.  It's expensive ($85K used) and I shouldn't buy it.  But, I want it.  wah.wah

It's hard to have a much higher than average household income and see others who make less than you, staying home with children and buying much nicer things and going on more vacations. 

the struggle is real.  hahaha  kidding of course.

Absolutely. Not everyone understands - some people have dogs. Some people take vacations. Some people have fancy coffee.  Some people brew beer.  Some people love cars.

I've had my toy car for 8 years now and I have no plans on getting rid of it.

catccc

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Re: $250k wobble: Envious of friend's excessive lives
« Reply #44 on: July 01, 2015, 11:30:55 AM »
Chicago Tribune Journalist said:
Don’t waste your time on jealousy. Sometimes you’re ahead, sometimes you’re behind. The race is long and, in the end, it’s only with yourself.


Do what is right for you.  I spent 6K on a fancy vacation for my family earlier this year.  Yet I look at families with iPads in the hands of each adult and child and scoff.  I'd look a someone with a fancy car and scoff.  And they might laugh at me for using $6K for a week on the beach.  To each his or her own.

waltworks

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Re: $250k wobble: Envious of friend's excessive lives
« Reply #45 on: July 01, 2015, 12:03:17 PM »
Delete FB profile.

Problem solved.

catccc

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Re: $250k wobble: Envious of friend's excessive lives
« Reply #46 on: July 01, 2015, 12:05:00 PM »
Delete FB profile.

Problem solved.

Or slightly less dramatic, hide the "friends" that post this kind of stuff.

jeromedawg

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Re: $250k wobble: Envious of friend's excessive lives
« Reply #47 on: July 01, 2015, 12:21:58 PM »
I struggle with this exact same thing, so you're not alone. In fact, I posted about something similar but more specific a while ago and got lambasted and *face-punched* because I was so obsessive about it. I'm slowly learning to ignore what other people are doing and to care more about what's good for my own family. But it is difficult, I agree... when your friends, cousins, and family members are out buying the most expensive toys, homes, and cars, it starts becoming a bit unnerving and makes you wonder why you didn't endure through years of med school, etc so you could build a fortune and "retire early." Then you start considering how much people actually spend on *stuff* and what their "standard of living is" and you just shake your head. In fact, for myself, I'm always shaking my head when I think of all the crap I've gotten that I thought would make me happier. With the help of my [way more practical] wife, and reading MMM, I'm slowly learning what everyone here is learning: less is more. At the same time, don't deprive yourself of the things you truly enjoy or that bring you fulfillment/joy.  It's OK to indulge [in moderation] every now and then if it helps. But delayed gratification usually wins.

Check2400

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Re: $250k wobble: Envious of friend's excessive lives
« Reply #48 on: July 01, 2015, 12:24:35 PM »
Would it help you to know that while you are envious of so many people on Facebook, here on the forum boards, you're the envy of the grand majority of the population by being able to FI at age 31 with a half million dollars?

I'll just throw this out there, for fun, but 'retirement' at 31 with 500k in the US isn't really all that spectacular (or at least shouldn't be). 

Just to clarify, since I missed a word, I did say FI.  I suppose it should have said "able to be FI at age 31" instead of "able to FI at age 31."  The serenity of knowing your basic needs are met upon reaching financial independence (at least I assume and hope for myself in the future!) is a milestone on the way to retiring early, but not the same as retiring early. 

Stash Engineer

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Re: $250k wobble: Envious of friend's excessive lives
« Reply #49 on: July 01, 2015, 01:32:32 PM »
Thanks for this thread!  I also wobble and so does my wife.  My sister-in-law and her family live on the husband's income and have two kids, yet are somehow always traveling either to the beach or on overseas vacations that sometimes last 3-4 weeks.  My wife is always showing me her FB posts about whatever the latest trip is and is somewhat jealous that they are living this lifestyle and we aren't.  The husband and I are good friends and during a conversation last year he let me know that he's got about $25k in credit card debt, plus two car loans for brand new cars, plus a mortgage that's 2.5x what mine is, etc, etc. 

Although we do get a little envious, we also know that we will retire WAY before they are able to.