Author Topic: Entitlement?  (Read 10042 times)

norabird

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 8124
  • Location: Brooklyn NY
Entitlement?
« on: April 29, 2014, 02:36:25 PM »
I struggle with the idea of entitlement. I'm not sure that I'll ever reach a truly mustachean place, and I'm ok with that, but I am trying to challenge my assumptions, one of which has obviously been "yeah, I have credit card debt, but I still want to do (insert activity) and I deserve to do it!'.

The struggle over that attitude comes from a few places. I am not really on board with the idea that spending money on experiences rather than things is a waste in the same way as consumerism is a waste, so that's part of it; I still assign a big value to traveling, whether to see friends or places, and also to going to events that require an outlay of money (theater tickets, ballet tickets, comedy show tickets). And the "but why shouldn't I indulge myself in that way since I care about those things?" defensiveness is pretty strong.

What do people think of the entitlement to do certain things/lead a certain lifestyle? How do you see it in yourself and work around it, manage it, alter it?

I'm not trying to retire early but I don't want to keep living paycheck to paycheck because of my desires/interests/indulgences. Is the answer just stepping back partly? Slowly attempting to change patterns? Or is it a shift to not valuing things that matter to you and your identity? I think that's the part that scares me--I don't WANT to not value the things I value, or to give up, say, really amazing cheeses and occasional fancy ingredients, to give one example. I don't know if this is juts because I don't really belong here (but am using it as a tool to change my spending habits nonetheless) or if it's a common struggle.

homeymomma

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 335
Re: Entitlement?
« Reply #1 on: April 29, 2014, 02:42:43 PM »
It's definitely a common struggle, the degree to which we each have it probably relates to how we grew up. For me the easiest way to make big changes like that is to frame those choices not in terms of "giving up" going to a comedy show or eating fancy foods, but instead as prioritizing a feeling of NOT living paycheck as being bigger and more important and in many ways more luxurious. It's hard to see the big picture like that if you're constantly surrounded by people/pressures to keep up with things that would demand your money. Do I correctly sense that outside peer pressure in your post?

warfreak2

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1140
  • Location: UK
    • Music by me
Re: Entitlement?
« Reply #2 on: April 29, 2014, 02:43:44 PM »
You're entitled to spend your money how you want. The "why shouldn't I?"/"I deserve it" mentality imagines some adversary deciding what you can and can't spend your money on, but in reality it's just you deciding whether you'd actually rather have that money invested, buying your freedom.

payitoff

  • Guest
Re: Entitlement?
« Reply #3 on: April 29, 2014, 02:45:55 PM »
one word, Budget.  you are entitle to do/buy/spend anything you want because you work hard for it as long as you dont go overboard. after you have paid yourself first, take care of the necessities, its ok to set aside some fun money and blow it however you want.

Thegoblinchief

  • Guest
Re: Entitlement?
« Reply #4 on: April 29, 2014, 02:48:29 PM »
I'd much rather have freedom than pretty much anything.

I know you don't want to retire early, but the mental peace of having even a simple e-fund should be a huge motivator towards avoiding dumb purchases.

And the whole "invest in experiences" is worth questioning as well:

http://earlyretirementextreme.com/things-vs-experiences.html

norabird

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 8124
  • Location: Brooklyn NY
Re: Entitlement?
« Reply #5 on: April 29, 2014, 02:49:24 PM »
Thanks for the responses! I feared much worse facepunches.

There are more lifestyle pressures than peer pressures--I don't run in a wealthy crowd, but do have friends with whom I have built up a joint habit of going out and doing things. I do have some internal pressure of social obligations when, say, attending an event at someone's home, and wanting to bring something that seems like a nice contribution (whether wine or dessert. etc.). I think it will all just be a work in progress to monitor if I can stop being so reflexive about the choice to spend...and trying to question what motivates that choice.

Frankies Girl

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3015
  • Age: 81
  • Location: The laboratory
  • Typical Ghoul Next Door
Re: Entitlement?
« Reply #6 on: April 29, 2014, 02:57:22 PM »
No one is saying that spending money on things that make you truly happy is a bad thing. And especially experiences over material goods. But it's all about sticking to a plan and being mature enough to say "I can't afford that right now, so I'll save up and enjoy it when I can pay for it." and also sticking to goals. That doesn't mean living like a hermit until every last penny is paid down either, but it means that you don't do every little thing that comes your way, and you budget for the fun, just like the light bill and the credit card payment.


and another way to look at it...

If you have racked up debt and have very little cash saved for your future self, and still want to rack up even more debt without delaying at least and getting things under control, then you have an impulse problem. Start practicing delayed gratification. Saving up for and putting off until you can actually afford it (and not just because you can fit it on the credit card or open a new one to run up) means that the thing or experience will be all the more sweeter for the effort you put into getting there.

And also, you're totally screwing your future self over. If you can't stick to a budget and parcel out the fun stuff as you can afford it, then you're basically saying a big "f you" to yourself.  If you lose your job, get injured or sick and have been living paycheck to paycheck or making minimum payments, that debt will eat you alive in short order. And just living paycheck to paycheck forever is a kind of pressure and worry that I'd consider hellish. Instead of saying that "I deserve this concert ticket or new whatever." How about reframing it to think "I deserve to be free from worry and debt so I can really do what I want when I want to."


dragoncar

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 8774
  • Registered member
Re: Entitlement?
« Reply #7 on: April 29, 2014, 02:58:21 PM »
And the "but why shouldn't I indulge myself in that way since I care about those things?" defensiveness is pretty strong.

"Why shouldn't I indulge myself and retire early?  I deserve it."

Works both ways, as noted by others it's just a matter of your personal priorities.

momo5

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 74
Re: Entitlement?
« Reply #8 on: April 29, 2014, 05:15:04 PM »
for me, its like eating. at the end of a long day I 'deserve' a brownie. when my kids are driving me crazy I feel like I've earned a cup of ice cream. but then the pounds start piling on and my clothes dont fit. so even though I like my ice cream and I 'deserve it' I choose to forgo so that I can look good. not everyone will make that choice, but you know what they say about having your cake and eating it too.
now, just to bring balance, my kid had a bday last week and yes, I enjoyed my piece of ice cream cake. sometimes I choose to partake because I like to enjoy my life. the key is determining what you really need to bring joy to your life and which short term indulgences arent really increasing your joy and can be let go to achieve long term goals. at least that's where I'm at right now.
and I'm about 3 lb above my goal weight (and not yet retired) so I've still got a ways to go.

SJS

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 136
Re: Entitlement?
« Reply #9 on: April 29, 2014, 05:33:42 PM »
I agree with the others - really about your priorities in life.  But it appears you are at least realizing that maybe you are spending a bit more than you think you should on these experiences - so why not set a monthly budget - and then determine in order of desire, which you can afford to do with that budget.  So you are not denying yourself, you're just limiting yourself so that you can begin/continue to set aside $ for the future.  I applaud you for admitting/explaining your "entitlement" attitude.  Some folks can just never admit to this way of thinking.  But it's pretty common.  Find a good balance for you.  You can still live a happy/fulfilled life!  And I think knowing you are heading towards becoming financially secure will begin to win you over as your nest egg grows! 

mxt0133

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1559
  • Location: San Francisco
Re: Entitlement?
« Reply #10 on: April 29, 2014, 06:07:38 PM »
I was raised in a third world country so entitlement was a concept I was never really introduced to.  Only once I came to the US did I start to notice people start using the words 'deserve' and 'entitled' to.  When I was growing up there were a lot of people that had more than we did, but there we a lot more people that had less.  So in that environment we were just glad to have the little that we had. 

Then when I started working if I could afford it and wanted it I would get it, if I didn't have the money then I couldn't get it.  There was never any sense of being deprived.  When all my friends started getting new cars and made fun of my junker it never really bothered me because I was saving for other goals.

Like others that have already mentioned it on this thread its just a choice.  Instead of saying I can't eat that cake, I just say I don't want all that sugar in my body.  Why can't I have the BMW, turns into I don't want to pay the cost of insurance or maintenance on that car.  When others say you deserve to go on an expensive vacation, I say don't want to work a whole month just so I can enjoy a week somewhere distant and everything is over priced.





Nords

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3199
  • Age: 59
  • Location: Oahu
    • Military Retirement & Financial Independence blog
Re: Entitlement?
« Reply #11 on: April 29, 2014, 08:54:23 PM »
There are more lifestyle pressures than peer pressures--I don't run in a wealthy crowd, but do have friends with whom I have built up a joint habit of going out and doing things. I do have some internal pressure of social obligations when, say, attending an event at someone's home, and wanting to bring something that seems like a nice contribution (whether wine or dessert. etc.). I think it will all just be a work in progress to monitor if I can stop being so reflexive about the choice to spend...and trying to question what motivates that choice.
You have to figure out what brings value to your life, and what you're willing to work for, and how much longer you're willing to extend your working years to pay for it.

If you enjoy running with your outgoing/thing-doing friends, and if you feel fulfilled and happy at supporting the social obligations, then you're willing to work for it.  If you feel the internal pressure of a social obligation as a burden then... maybe you need to figure out more frugal ways to do your share. 

Or maybe you need a new set of friends.

It doesn't have to be an expensive bottle of wine, and it doesn't have to be a store-bought dessert.

Jamesqf

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4047
Re: Entitlement?
« Reply #12 on: April 29, 2014, 10:57:23 PM »
I am not really on board with the idea that spending money on experiences rather than things is a waste in the same way as consumerism is a waste, so that's part of it;

There are more potential experiences out there than you are likely to be able to fit in one life.  Lots of those experiences are cheap, if not free, yet every bit as gratifying as the ones you pay thousands of dollars for.  So start working on the cheap ones.

greaper007

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1129
Re: Entitlement?
« Reply #13 on: April 30, 2014, 01:00:56 AM »
Thanks for the responses! I feared much worse facepunches.

There are more lifestyle pressures than peer pressures--I don't run in a wealthy crowd, but do have friends with whom I have built up a joint habit of going out and doing things. I do have some internal pressure of social obligations when, say, attending an event at someone's home, and wanting to bring something that seems like a nice contribution (whether wine or dessert. etc.). I think it will all just be a work in progress to monitor if I can stop being so reflexive about the choice to spend...and trying to question what motivates that choice.

Hey, you're hanging out at someone's house instead of going out.   That's a huge step for a lot of people.     How much are you spending on a bottle of wine or dessert, $10?    That's not much more than you'd be spending for dinner at home by yourself.    If you really want to cut costs just make the dessert (or homebrew, but the equipment is expensive).   Something like homemade pudding is super easy and way tastier than the box stuff.

DoubleDown

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1989
Re: Entitlement?
« Reply #14 on: April 30, 2014, 09:20:33 AM »
for me, its like eating. at the end of a long day I 'deserve' a brownie. when my kids are driving me crazy I feel like I've earned a cup of ice cream. but then the pounds start piling on and my clothes dont fit. so even though I like my ice cream and I 'deserve it' I choose to forgo so that I can look good. not everyone will make that choice, but you know what they say about having your cake and eating it too.

That's a great analogy.

rocksinmyhead

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1491
  • Location: Oklahoma
Re: Entitlement?
« Reply #15 on: April 30, 2014, 02:05:31 PM »
so many words of wisdom here!! :)

another thing that helps me is to focus on what you GET to do/buy, not what you DON'T get to do. walking through an arts festival and admiring the art, or having a cheap picnic in the park with friends, can be SO much fun and doesn't have a ticket price. or if you want to go to a baseball game, check out the cheap seats (we are lucky and have a minor league team in town, where lawn tickets are $5. we just make sure to eat beforehand). in terms of buying fancy ingredients, cooking with local, in-season produce feels incredibly luxurious to me but is super cheap. or baking your own bread. cool, you baked it, now it's like ARTISAN bread! super fancy :)

it's definitely a work in progress for me as well, and I think that you will find that as you said, just becoming more conscious of it and questioning all of your spending will make a difference.

Cassie

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 5739
Re: Entitlement?
« Reply #16 on: April 30, 2014, 03:23:52 PM »
As in everything moderation is the key.  I too value experiences more then things but if we have too many of them then we will not be financially secure.  For example, we enjoy dinner/show packages with the dinner at one of the nicer restaurants.  We only do this once or twice a year.  It is something we look forward to and really enjoy. When I take a bottle of wine to someone's house I can find a good wine for about $8.00 at trader Joes.   

lifejoy

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3969
  • Age: 31
  • Location: Canada, eh
  • Lovin' the Mustachian life!
    • Not Buying This
Re: Entitlement?
« Reply #17 on: April 30, 2014, 04:17:53 PM »
Great post. Already you have received some really good advice, but this is what worked for me and my SO:

We still did nice things, but we did them less. That made those nice things even more of a luxury/treat/something-special because we changed the frequency.

Going out for dinner and concerts and movies all the time - it becomes a habit, a lifestyle.

If you limit it, and think of alternatives (cook a nice healthy meal at home - and do it ahead of time so that you're not tempted to dine out, find free concerts with no cover charge and drink water or juice while there, and use netflix or free streaming to watch movies, or rent from the library) then when you finally do the big fancy option, it'll feel that much more thrilling! Don't think of it as limiting yourself; think of it as challenging yourself.

Sonorous Epithet

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 281
  • Age: 36
  • Location: Dayton, OH
Re: Entitlement?
« Reply #18 on: May 01, 2014, 09:13:11 AM »
the "but why shouldn't I indulge myself in that way since I care about those things?" defensiveness is pretty strong.

I don't run in a wealthy crowd, but do have friends with whom I have built up a joint habit of going out and doing things.

So do you spend on experiences because you care about those things or do you just do it out of habit? I suspect it's the latter. What would be the worst thing about cutting back on the experiences? Are you afraid that you'll damage your relationships with your friends, or lose social status? What sort of reactions do you think they'd give you? If all your friends told you that they were cutting back on trips out because they were chasing FIRE, would you keep going to those events solo, or would you want to look for mustachian ways to spend time with them?

Only you can really answer those questions about what is really important to you and worth sacrificing financial freedom for, and what is just status quo, keeping up with the Joneses, and force of habit.

oldtoyota

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3151
Re: Entitlement?
« Reply #19 on: May 01, 2014, 09:26:36 AM »

What do people think of the entitlement to do certain things/lead a certain lifestyle? How do you see it in yourself and work around it, manage it, alter it?


I think I am "entitled" to retire early, so I work toward that. If you feel you are "entitled" to things, then you will work toward having more things. It's all about choices.


MrsPete

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3519
Re: Entitlement?
« Reply #20 on: May 01, 2014, 09:37:19 AM »
one word, Budget.  you are entitle to do/buy/spend anything you want because you work hard for it as long as you dont go overboard. after you have paid yourself first, take care of the necessities, its ok to set aside some fun money and blow it however you want.
This is the best answer.  I would never advocate leading a dull life devoid of experiences you'd enjoy . . . so that you can one day retire and enjoy those things.  Allot a certain amount of your budget for these experiences, BUT stick to that budget.  When you're operating within the framework you've established, you'll be able to enjoy those things guilt-free, knowing that they're part of your plan.  Another word that fits into this discussion is BALANCE.  Balance your current life and your future plans; never sacrifice one for the other. 

Personally, I can't relate much to the entitlement thing -- at least, I certainly don't buy into it on today's levels.  When TV commercials tell me I deserve this or that, it always rings a little oddly in my ear.  However, I'm a little older than the average poster here, and I was raised largely by grandparents in a way more typical of a generation older still.  I wasn't raised on instant gratification and credit cards; rather, I was raised to believe that hard work is rewarded . . . not simply existence. 


Iron Mike Sharpe

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 397
Re: Entitlement?
« Reply #21 on: May 01, 2014, 10:17:14 AM »
Yeah, budgeting is key.  I have things in my life that I enjoy, but I make sure I budget for them AFTER I make sure I pay my future self (25% to 401K, max out an HSA, come close to maxing out Roth IRA depending on how profitable my hobby income is).

I enjoy going to sporting events, so I budget $100/month to it.  I have split season tickets to MLB with a group of guys.  I get 40 tickets a year, but I am able to resell a portion of those tickets to premium games for more than I spent on them.  Most years, depending on how the playoffs shake out, I will actually have several hundred dollars unspent in this category that I can add to investments.  I had hockey tickets too, but I bailed on those as I realized they cost me too much.  I will go to a few games this year by getting cheap, last minute tickets off of StubHub.

I enjoy music.  I think I give myself $10-$15/month to buy music and $20-25/month for concerts.  I only buy albums I really want by bands I really want.  If I want to listen to bands/albums I am not familiar with, I just use the library.  I'm at the library a lot to check out music.  I'm able to see a fair amount of live shows each year, because most of the good music is being made by smaller bands.  It's been a while since I've had to pay more than $25 for a ticket.  A lot of shows I see are $15 or less.

I enjoy getting out in nature and riding a bike.  I live right by a state park that is a 240-mile long bike trail.  I had put away money to buy a bike and assorted accessories.  Now, I essentially have a hobby that doesn't cost anything to engage in.

And my other interest is in playing poker.  This actually produces a side income for me each year while engaging my brain in an activity that requires critical thinking.

And I budget in a small vacation or two each year.  ($100/month).

I'm able to keep myself very busy with rewarding activities, but I make sure I pay my future self first.

MissStache

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 710
  • Age: 37
  • Location: Washington, DC
Re: Entitlement?
« Reply #22 on: May 01, 2014, 10:31:44 AM »
I deserve to do it!'.


I have a work friend who is the worst about this.  She wants to buy new shoes that are $150 because she "deserves it" or she rents an SUV instead of a compact car on a trip because she "deserves it."  She goes out to lunch 3 times a week because she "deserves it."

What I want to say to her, but don't, is "Why do you deserve it?   Did you save a life?  Did you adopt a starving child from Africa?  Did you donate $10,000 to charity?  Did you cure cancer?  What have you done do deserve anything?"

If you just replace the word "deserve" with the word "want" then it becomes a lot easier to hear what you are really saying.   Just be honest with your desires, then think about your choices.  You can choose to do whatever you want with your money/life/future, but every decision you make is just that- a choice. 

dragoncar

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 8774
  • Registered member
Re: Entitlement?
« Reply #23 on: May 01, 2014, 11:50:09 AM »
I deserve to do it!'.


I have a work friend who is the worst about this.  She wants to buy new shoes that are $150 because she "deserves it" or she rents an SUV instead of a compact car on a trip because she "deserves it."  She goes out to lunch 3 times a week because she "deserves it."

What I want to say to her, but don't, is "Why do you deserve it?   Did you save a life?  Did you adopt a starving child from Africa?  Did you donate $10,000 to charity?  Did you cure cancer?  What have you done do deserve anything?"

If you just replace the word "deserve" with the word "want" then it becomes a lot easier to hear what you are really saying.   Just be honest with your desires, then think about your choices.  You can choose to do whatever you want with your money/life/future, but every decision you make is just that- a choice.

She deserves it because (if) she (presumably) worked for the money she is using to pay for it.  That's fine, but not particularly useful.

norabird

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 8124
  • Location: Brooklyn NY
Re: Entitlement?
« Reply #24 on: May 01, 2014, 12:34:47 PM »
Thank you everyone for all the insight! I think I'm going to try to flip this into 'I deserve to take some time off from being so busy and focus more on building my relationship with myself', which means NOT always going out to do things but just dialing back and seeing what comes out of a slower, more frugal approach.

socaso

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 541
Re: Entitlement?
« Reply #25 on: May 01, 2014, 04:43:51 PM »
If you can get a couple of friend on board I could see this being a fun group challenge. You and your friends could scout out cheap and free activities for the next couple of months. That way you still get to hang out with your friends but I think it could give you and your friend a chance to think about which experiences you truly want to spend money on. After a couple of months you may find that you don't even miss certain things but you miss other things a lot. That way you can target your spending anymore and you won't feel deprived because you've learned that spending money on certain things isn't that big a deal to you. If you can't get your friend on board you could just do this yourself for a month or two to evaluate your priorities for yourself.

wealthywinters

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 22
  • Location: Melbourne, Australia
    • Wealthy Winters
Re: Entitlement?
« Reply #26 on: May 01, 2014, 06:36:27 PM »
Sounds like you've got a lot of great advice, so I'll add my suggestions:

On entitlement, you are entitled to what you earn, but not more - debt is a privilege in that sense. You are entitled to the fruits of your labour now and into the future, and quite a few people spoke about that.

Something that I've done (literally written down) is a list of things I enjoy and that give me value, but are cheap or free. My husband and I like travelling, but at the moment we have a baby and not a lot of travel money. Our solution was to start camping, and drive around our state a lot alongside this. I also hope when we do travel overseas that we stay in cheap places but don't mind because it's easier than camping, and enjoy the experience of sights and time with others. We recently visited his parents in the uk and agreed that our favourite time was spent wandering around London together - the places we visited were often pricey enough that it soured the experience (heritage castles and so on). We also loved just spending time with his parents, no matter what we were doing. I think focusing on what you enjoy that doesn't cost means you end up reducing the things that do cost.

If relationships with friends is important, perhaps take the lead an organise at-home gathering where perhaps you each bring a gourmet dish, or gourmet picnics. You could keep an eye out for local festivals where you often get samples of food and lots of entertainment for nothing.

Like has been said, identifying and admitting your feelings is more than most people do, and just having that introspection is a great start!

Gimesalot

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 666
Re: Entitlement?
« Reply #27 on: May 01, 2014, 08:46:09 PM »
For me its not that "I deserve it," but that "it will make me a better person."  For example, traveling will make me a better person because I will learn about other cultures, blah, blah, blah.  In the end, I do spend a significant amount of money traveling, but I make sure that I get the most bang for my buck.

Here are some things I do to save money:
I volunteer at the local theaters.  This means I get into all of the ballet, opera, symphony, and broadway shows for FREE!  I also get to see some concerts and comedy shows.  I have been to over $400 worth of shows this year alone.

Another volunteering opportunity is festivals.  We regularly volunteer at festivals and get free tickets.  This years jazzfest was $70 a day per person.  We volunteered and got in for free.  We get our friends to come and it becomes a social outing.

Also, check out smaller comedy acts, you might get lucky.  I paid $5 to see a local improv troupe.  Turns out a famous guy, who has a show on Comedy Central, decided to show up and do stand up.  Tickets to his shows cost $50 to $60.