Author Topic: Stealth wealth appropriate quality of life upgrades - unconspicuous consumption?  (Read 5886 times)

kay02

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Hey everyone!!

This may be a weird question, but do you have any "invisible" quality of life upgrades that don't make it clear you're spending a lot of money?  Like the opposite of someone noticing my jacket cost $1000 or whatever.  Not interested in that. :p

FIREby35

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Freedom with my time.

Longer than average vacations.

Paid off home.

Paid off vehicles.

Paid off student loans.

No credit card debt.

Charitable contributions.

Raises for my employees.

Christmas bonuses for employees.

Litigation costs for client's who couldn't afford it for themselves.

Purchased the building where I run my business.

Most people have no vision to see any of these things.




charis

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I think many folks I know irl would be floored by how much of our paychecks go straight to investments every week. But I can't think of anything else we spend $$ on during the stash building phase.  Some nice home interior renovations aren't visible to most, but certainly not invisible.

Retire-Canada

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The biggest quality of life upgrade that is stealth to the average person I encounter is the fact I have a lot more free time than a typical person who looks like me. The second biggest quality of life upgrade is having zero money worries. Those two don't cost anything beyond saving and investing for FIRE.

In terms of spending money upgrades for all my hobbies/interests I spend whatever money I want to get equipment and do the activities. That feels like a huge upgrade in the sense I'm always able to do what I want without any limitations related to the infrastructure around the activity. If you are also into the same activities you'd notice I have nice equipment and I get to use it a lot, but to the average person I run into on the street I don't stand out as conspicuously wealthy riding a bike, hiking or riding a skateboard.

The same goes for spending on other important aspects of my life. I went to see an Athletic Therapist based on a friend's recommendation. I have no idea if I can get reimbursed through my GF's benefits program. But, I am just going as often as she wants to see me and paying cash. As long as I feel it's beneficial and worthwhile I'll keep paying. If I get the money back from the benefits program great. If not it's still just fine.

If COVID wasn't a thing I'd be spending a lot more time/$$ on travel. If you ran into me on a trip it would not look particularly spendy. OTOH - if you added up all the time I was travelling and what it cost it would be notable compared to an average person.

I could keep enumerating stuff like this ^^^.

kay02

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I love these answers!  Vacation is one I definitely hope to do once the pandemic is over and travel can actually happen. :)

Donating to charity is one I've thought about but I need to decide where I'd want it to actually go.

Alternatepriorities

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Covid travel issues aside, the $100 i spent on global entry was worth every penny and is pretty invisible. I never would have spent that kind of money when I first started saving, but honestly I should have. $20 a year is a bargain for the time it saves. I've also had a similar experience paying extra to use the DMV express instead of the regular DMV, especially during Covid times. In general I find buying time/spending to avoid societal BS pretty worthwhile. However, I'll happily spend 8 hours working on my own vehicle, house, or yard rather than pay someone else to do it. The ultimate expression of that will someday be building my own house with my own hands rather than subbing it out... except for pouring the concrete slap if it has one... I've done enough concrete.

Retire-Canada

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Covid travel issues aside, the $100 i spent on global entry was worth every penny and is pretty invisible.

Yes! I love those NEXUS fast lanes at the airport.

WSUCoug1994

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The proper levels of insurance
Will/Trust/Health Directive
College Funds for my kids
Paid off house
home gym
time/money towards MS Society

financial independence in general......that is the best quality of life upgrade until early retirement.

Alternatepriorities

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Covid travel issues aside, the $100 i spent on global entry was worth every penny and is pretty invisible.

Yes! I love those NEXUS fast lanes at the airport.

In January it absolutely saved us from missing our connection coming back from Mexico. And the summer before it was less than 15 minutes to go through international customs coming home from Europe.

Poor Rod

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Insurance. Once you have significant assets, you can afford to buy proper insurance to cover yourself. Auto, home, health, umbrella, flood, disability, etc. People who live paycheck to paycheck likely skip some of these, and probably at the minimum requirements.

Retire-Canada

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Insurance. Once you have significant assets, you can afford to buy proper insurance to cover yourself. Auto, home, health, umbrella, flood, disability, etc. People who live paycheck to paycheck likely skip some of these, and probably at the minimum requirements.

Interestingly I've gone the opposite way and have the least insurance now since I can afford to self-insure a lot of risks now.

MayDay

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Insurance. Once you have significant assets, you can afford to buy proper insurance to cover yourself. Auto, home, health, umbrella, flood, disability, etc. People who live paycheck to paycheck likely skip some of these, and probably at the minimum requirements.

Interestingly I've gone the opposite way and have the least insurance now since I can afford to self-insure a lot of risks now.

We do not have all of that, but do find Umbrella quite worth the 150$ a year!

Steeze

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I would do health related stuff -

Extra dental visits, extra tests at physicals, see a nutritionist, get massages regularly, get a personal trainer, get Invisalign, see a therapist. Custom insoles.

Have a lawyer and an accountant. All the insurance like others have said. Have a passport and assets in multiple countries.

You could always buy real estate too. Maybe you have a nice apartment, no one needs to know you own all 32 units. Or a few hundred acres of timber in Maine no one knows about. Harvest the trees every 20 years and go visit the land once every few years.

Buy high quality groceries - think local organic farmers market.

Things people donít see or appreciate like high quality mattress, sheets, pillows, blankets.

Education- take online classes, or 1 on 1 language learning, music classes, etc.

Get your nice clothes tailored.

Malcat

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We have a lot of these

-people know we spend very little on groceries, but aren't aware that my kitchen it packed with high end cookware and tools, it's a chef's paradise in there: Staub, Le Crueset, Japanese knives, copper pots, the big Cuisinart, etc, etc

-Like pp above suggested, we both have a full on suite of health care: massage, physio, therapy, Invisalign, orthotics, Lasik, etc

-Also.like pp above suggested, I have a top of the line team of lawyers, accountant, consultants, and financial professionals to handle my business affairs when needed. A deal recently fell through that would have cost me at least 35K in fees for just the first step.

-We dress very casually, however, each piece is merino wool, mostly from Ice Breaker, and cost approx $200 each. So although we're sitting around in t-shirts, lounge pants, and hoodies, we're each wearing close to $1000 in clothing to look vaguely unemployed.

-Outerwear. We live in a part of Canada with a wild range of weather. There's no $1000 designer coat to be found, but there are several thousands of dollars of technical layers to cover every possible weather situation and keep us comfortable outside. There's no such thing as bad weather, just the wrong clothes, but having the right clothes for all weather conditions is expensive.

-I don't wear makeup and my hair is almost a buzz cut, but I get regular Botox and use high quality skincare products. People think I'm less vain now that I don't wear full makeup daily or have fussy hair anymore, but in truth I'm still vain, just less insecure about how I look without all the war paint.

-My cats. They themselves are expensive (a Rex and a Sphynx), and they have top of the line everything including a Litter Robot and Surefeed chip activated food bowls. Their food is more expensive than ours.

We both look super young, to the point that we both get carded semi regularly despite closing in on 40 and 50, we dress like we're in university, and we live in a building filled with students. So basically, we spend a lot to look like two broke kids with a couple weird cats.

jrhampt

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I also spend very little on cosmetics/hair but more on skincare and services like massage therapy/reflexology - yearly BBL/IPL series to remove sunspots and rosacea, skinceuticals products like their vitamin c serum, and in non-pandemic times regular massage and yoga classes at various studios.  A swanky mattress since I work from bed and our backs aren't getting any younger, and not a fancy wardrobe but a functional one for outdoor exercise with higher quality hiking/biking/paddling gear.

sailinlight

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Tipping people well and more often for good service.

ixtap

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Getting things fixed is only delayed by my own procrastination, not by any financial considerations.

FIRE 20/20

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Donating to charity is one I've thought about but I need to decide where I'd want it to actually go.

Take a look at https://www.givewell.org/ and https://www.effectivealtruism.org/.  Both do a lot of research to find effective uses for your charitable contributions. 
Research has consistently shown that spending money on other people gives you more happiness than spending it on yourself, so if you're looking at a quality of life upgrade definitely consider charitable giving.  For me, the greatest quality of life upgrade I've made since FIRE is volunteering.  I've found that actually helping the real person in front of me can give me a boost for days, while clicking a button to transfer funds doesn't give me as much of a boost.  I realize the donation probably does more good, so I do a little of both. 

kay02

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Donating to charity is one I've thought about but I need to decide where I'd want it to actually go.

Take a look at https://www.givewell.org/ and https://www.effectivealtruism.org/.  Both do a lot of research to find effective uses for your charitable contributions. 
Research has consistently shown that spending money on other people gives you more happiness than spending it on yourself, so if you're looking at a quality of life upgrade definitely consider charitable giving.  For me, the greatest quality of life upgrade I've made since FIRE is volunteering.  I've found that actually helping the real person in front of me can give me a boost for days, while clicking a button to transfer funds doesn't give me as much of a boost.  I realize the donation probably does more good, so I do a little of both.
Thanks!! I have a few "causes" I care particularly about but I don't know the best way to go about supporting them.  This should help! :)

Bloop Bloop Reloaded

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There are lots of nice things that are fairly inconspicuous, like tailored clothes/a bespoke suit.

Knowing that you don't need to work is also a good thing. That knowledge allows me to dump briefs that I don't like (poorly prepared / dodgy client / insufficient payment for the amount of work I'd need to do), with no remorse and no need to worry about my "reputation" one way or another. That has been incredibly liberating for me.  It also means I don't have to negotiate on fees. I set a high rate, probably higher than fair market rate, and if people don't want to pay it that's fine, don't brief me.

Malcat

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There are lots of nice things that are fairly inconspicuous, like tailored clothes/a bespoke suit.

Knowing that you don't need to work is also a good thing. That knowledge allows me to dump briefs that I don't like (poorly prepared / dodgy client / insufficient payment for the amount of work I'd need to do), with no remorse and no need to worry about my "reputation" one way or another. That has been incredibly liberating for me.  It also means I don't have to negotiate on fees. I set a high rate, probably higher than fair market rate, and if people don't want to pay it that's fine, don't brief me.

Yeeessss

"Yes, I know I'm 20% above market average."

Bloop Bloop Reloaded

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The funny thing is that setting your fees right at the border between justified and unreasonably greedy can sometimes make others think you're better than you are. Which leads to a virtuous cycle.

At the end of the day, I want every client thinking "he was good...but just barely good enough to justify that ridiculous bill!"

skp

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Enough money to help my AC pay for childcare.  My mother in law provided mine.  I can't, so I'm paying for theirs.

Psychstache

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I'm never stressed about affording things in emergencies and don't really stress about money at all.

jeninco

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Also outerwear, and the equipment we need to do sports we like -- primarily backcountry skiing, mostly, but also mountain biking, road biking, and area skiing, along with various others. Not all of us do every sport, and we live in one of those places where most of this equipment can be bought used, but we buy good gear and maintain it. (We had a used Patagonia store in town for a while last year, and we stocked up...)

I'm paying for gym time, a trainer to write me a program, and the occasional private session while I learn Olympic lifting, something I've always wanted to do. I anticipate the gym membership will continue for the foreseeable future, which is a weird thing for me -- I've never paid by the month for such a thing before. I keep reminding myself that we can absolutely afford it, and it's keeping me sane through the pandemic.

I think mostly we buy peace of mind: a car mechanic we like and trust, financial planner, attorney, CPA -- people whose job it is to know their specialty and give us good advice.

Oh yeah -- also college tuition for both kids. That's a big one, obviously. In fact, at this point we're working because 1) we're delaying drawing down our assets, and 2) we can pay full tuition for both of our kids. (One's a sophomore at a fantastic school that only provides need-based assistance, the others a HS junior).  It's not obvious that they're attending college loan-free, but they'll finish free and clear.

mozar

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This post is so timely for me!
One of my roommates made a comment about me living a modest life, and I literally thought are you kidding? My life is an exploding volcano of wastefulness! I'm well trained, lol.

My dad was complaining to me that it's hard for him to brag to his friends about me.
Dad's friend: My son just finished his third year of medical surgeon residency, I'm so proud!
Dad: my daughter hasn't worked in three years!
Dad's friend:... wut?

Yes to being inconspicuously vain! I have a ridiculous amount of oils and serums in my closet. Having flawless skin and perfect teeth is more important to me than a handbag.

Tempname23

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Enough money to help my AC pay for childcare.  My mother in law provided mine.  I can't, so I'm paying for theirs.
Athletic Club?

skp

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Enough money to help my AC pay for childcare.  My mother in law provided mine.  I can't, so I'm paying for theirs.
Athletic Club?
No sorry.  Adult children

Sun Hat

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Comfortable shoes, food with a backstory (organic grains straight from the farmer, ethically raised meat, time to grow my own veg), invisible upgrades to my little house (insulation, water line replacement, roof), specialized food for my dog with allergies, charitable donations.

ChickenStash

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For me, it's mostly the ability to pick and choose who and what I do with my working time. It puts me in a position of negotiating strength when I don't "need" any particular job and can either leave a bad one or take my time to find a good one as I see fit.

My last job had some very bad aspects that made me want to leave and when I moved to the next one I negotiated having 5 weeks off between them so I could take a bucket-list international trip with no work related concerns on my mind. They weren't happy but it was glorious. With Covid, there were rumors that my department was going to have a few furloughs so I unofficially told a friend in management that I'd volunteer. It didn't happen but it was nice to not worry about it.

Segare

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Interestingly I've gone the opposite way and have the least insurance now since I can afford to self-insure a lot of risks now.

Glad you posted, I have almost minimum now and will go with even less as time goes on.

John Galt incarnate!

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Hey everyone!!

This may be a weird question, but do you have any "invisible" quality of life upgrades that don't make it clear you're spending a lot of money?  Like the opposite of someone noticing my jacket cost $1000 or whatever.  Not interested in that. :p

FI  rewards me with exclusive ownership of every minute of every day which as an Epicurean and  inveterate daydreamer is the acme of my existence.

This  literally invisible  free time is the most significant aspect of my quality of life.






Villanelle

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We eat and drink very well.  I suppose if we have someone over and offer them a dram of $400 Scotch, it stops being inconspicuous, but we very rarely do that. 

Back to the more esoteric, intangible benefits,  I think that a consistent lack of worry about so many things tops my list. 

Rubic

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The funny thing is that setting your fees right at the border between justified and unreasonably greedy can sometimes make others think you're better than you are. Which leads to a virtuous cycle.

Another benefit with setting high fees is that you can give your
best clients extra discounted services, while billing the more
difficult ones at your full hourly rate.

BuffaloStache

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I'm not even half-way to FI yet, but I resonated with a lot of these. The extra time aspect (for being more intentional, volunteering, being more present, etc,) is the obvious big one that I'm looking forward to, but there are a lot of other ones mentioned here that I also find important. Ensuring optimal health care and upping the quality of everyday items (from food to childcare and anything in-between) seems like a good one.

We have some friends who are effectively FI, and they choose to live in a smaller space and own less things but all of the things they own are super high quality. It's something I never noticed at first, but the more we see them in different scenarios the more I realize it (high-end/durable bicycles, hiking backpacks, etc.). I love this idea.

Also, thanks for introducing me to Ice Breaker, @Malcat. That was a fun rabbit hole to go down and learn about the company and their approach to clothing: https://www.icebreaker.com/en-us/our-story/our-story.html

Finally, I love that you help support childcare for your grand-kids, @skp . My family is in the midst of paying this right now with 2 young children, and having any extra support at this stage in our lives would absolutely supercharge any FI ambitions we have. The idea to have either the financial means and/or the time to provide meaningful, long-term childcare for my future adult children is a big one.

ixtap

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We have some friends who are effectively FI, and they choose to live in a smaller space and own less things but all of the things they own are super high quality. It's something I never noticed at first, but the more we see them in different scenarios the more I realize it (high-end/durable bicycles, hiking backpacks, etc.). I love this idea.


Ideally, this would be us. In reality, it is hard to find smaller spaces with good build quality and high end finishes. Our current place is nice, but the landlord never updated anything. The cabinets are actually wood, which is rare for rentals around here, but they are over 20 years old and have issues with the finish. They also don't take advantage of any of the wonderful options for making corners useful, for example. The counter tops are tiled - whoever came up with that design idea should be drummed out of the profession. The kitchen sink is painted...some kind of metal. It was probably enameled, but the once the enamel started to wear, someone painted over the worn spots. If we wanted to stay in this area, we would buy a condo and do it up with high spec options, but as far as we can tell to rent, you have to go up in size to go up in quality.

2sk22

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We have some friends who are effectively FI, and they choose to live in a smaller space and own less things but all of the things they own are super high quality. It's something I never noticed at first, but the more we see them in different scenarios the more I realize it (high-end/durable bicycles, hiking backpacks, etc.). I love this idea.

Our house looks just like the other ones on the block but over the years, we have completely remodeled our house to our preferences. We have generally used good available materials and appliances in these projects. Unless you were to come into our house, none of this shows - and we like it like that.

RunningintoFI

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This is a little nitpicky since the right type of person would completely recognize this for how expensive it is but I buy the best possible pair of running shoes that I can find for my body and have custom orthotics to go along with that.  It can add up over the years but a nice pair of running shoes still costs less than one visit to a physical therapist so I consider it money well spent.  And running shorts with holes for keys.  So the basic running stuff. Also, this post made me realize I'm unbelievably frugal in basically all areas of my life outside of two..

PDXTabs

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If myself or one of my kids lose a winter coat it is an inconvenience, not a financial crisis. This isn't true for every american. Also, I buy whatever food I want at the grocery store most days and I have enough money saved to eat food for the rest of my life.

Bloop Bloop Reloaded

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If myself or one of my kids lose a winter coat it is an inconvenience, not a financial crisis. This isn't true for every american. Also, I buy whatever food I want at the grocery store most days and I have enough money saved to eat food for the rest of my life.

I shop at the "whole foods" equivalent - more expensive, but more convenient, and 5 mins walk from home. Get in, get out with a minimum of fuss and not too many shoppers.

The cheaper big box Aldi is a 15 min walk through construction sites and city gridlock. Plus it's huge and not as easy to navigate. And not as pleasant.

I'd rather pay an extra $30 per weekly grocery shop than walk the extra 20 minutes carrying several grocery bags. Yep, I'm lazy as fuck.

GreenSheep

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I've been reading this book:

https://www.amazon.com/Hunger-Oldest-Problem-Martin-Caparros-ebook/dp/B07MQGDTTX/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1607698872&sr=8-1

Apparently it was a best-seller in Spain, but since there are only 8 Amazon reviews of the English version, it doesn't seem to have gotten much attention in the U.S. I'm reading it in Spanish, which is not my first language, so it's certainly possible that there are things I'm not fully understanding.

I think everyone is aware that hunger is a problem, but in this book, the author interviews actual humans all over the world who are living with food insecurity. These are hard-working people who often work 12+ hours a day, and yet they still don't have enough to eat. He asks about their hopes and dreams, how they think their situation came about, and what would need to happen in order for things to improve. He talks to them about their children. He talks to people from the organizations who are trying to help. He makes the problem much more real than just a bunch of statistics.

It makes my own food (life in general) situation seem almost unbelievable. There are people who feel lucky to get one ball of millet to eat for the day, and then there's me... buying whatever I want at a grocery store full of delicious, colorful, healthy things. It's a difficult thing to wrap my head around, and it makes me very angry at the corrupt governments and organizations who appear to be causing this.

To keep this on topic... I agree that buying whatever food I want is a form of stealth wealth, especially since it's not lobster and caviar to show off for a dinner party! It's just healthy fruits and vegetables, etc. I also think that stealth wealth can include using one's post-FIRE time and/or money to help people who so far haven't been given a real chance in life.

FIREby35

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Totally agree. Sometimes is helps to understand the "bottom of the ladder" is much further down than we might imagine. Lots of people only look up and feel inadequate and then desire for more and better. A full view, seeing up and down, can really give perspective.

utaca

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I've been reading this book:

https://www.amazon.com/Hunger-Oldest-Problem-Martin-Caparros-ebook/dp/B07MQGDTTX/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1607698872&sr=8-1

Apparently it was a best-seller in Spain, but since there are only 8 Amazon reviews of the English version, it doesn't seem to have gotten much attention in the U.S. I'm reading it in Spanish, which is not my first language, so it's certainly possible that there are things I'm not fully understanding.

I think everyone is aware that hunger is a problem, but in this book, the author interviews actual humans all over the world who are living with food insecurity. These are hard-working people who often work 12+ hours a day, and yet they still don't have enough to eat. He asks about their hopes and dreams, how they think their situation came about, and what would need to happen in order for things to improve. He talks to them about their children. He talks to people from the organizations who are trying to help. He makes the problem much more real than just a bunch of statistics.

It makes my own food (life in general) situation seem almost unbelievable. There are people who feel lucky to get one ball of millet to eat for the day, and then there's me... buying whatever I want at a grocery store full of delicious, colorful, healthy things. It's a difficult thing to wrap my head around, and it makes me very angry at the corrupt governments and organizations who appear to be causing this.

To keep this on topic... I agree that buying whatever food I want is a form of stealth wealth, especially since it's not lobster and caviar to show off for a dinner party! It's just healthy fruits and vegetables, etc. I also think that stealth wealth can include using one's post-FIRE time and/or money to help people who so far haven't been given a real chance in life.

This sounds super interesting and reminds me of the way William T. Vollmann wrote his excellent book "Poor People", which you might enjoy.

PDXTabs

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I don't know if this counts but today I found out that a former coworker had committed suicide and his stay-at-home partner (and mother of at least one of his children) had a gofundeme setup to cover incidental life expenses for the next month or two. Anyway, I hadn't seen them in years but they were kind folks so I tossed $240 their way because the situation sounds horrible. $240 doesn't meaningfully change my position this month or in 10 years, and so far I'm the highest donor on the campaign.

Alternatepriorities

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I don't know if this counts but today I found out that a former coworker had committed suicide and his stay-at-home partner (and mother of at least one of his children) had a gofundeme setup to cover incidental life expenses for the next month or two. Anyway, I hadn't seen them in years but they were kind folks so I tossed $240 their way because the situation sounds horrible. $240 doesn't meaningfully change my position this month or in 10 years, and so far I'm the highest donor on the campaign.

Being able to be quietly generous without it being financially reckless has definitely been a quality of life upgrade.

GreenSheep

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I've been reading this book:

https://www.amazon.com/Hunger-Oldest-Problem-Martin-Caparros-ebook/dp/B07MQGDTTX/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1607698872&sr=8-1

Apparently it was a best-seller in Spain, but since there are only 8 Amazon reviews of the English version, it doesn't seem to have gotten much attention in the U.S. I'm reading it in Spanish, which is not my first language, so it's certainly possible that there are things I'm not fully understanding.

I think everyone is aware that hunger is a problem, but in this book, the author interviews actual humans all over the world who are living with food insecurity. These are hard-working people who often work 12+ hours a day, and yet they still don't have enough to eat. He asks about their hopes and dreams, how they think their situation came about, and what would need to happen in order for things to improve. He talks to them about their children. He talks to people from the organizations who are trying to help. He makes the problem much more real than just a bunch of statistics.

It makes my own food (life in general) situation seem almost unbelievable. There are people who feel lucky to get one ball of millet to eat for the day, and then there's me... buying whatever I want at a grocery store full of delicious, colorful, healthy things. It's a difficult thing to wrap my head around, and it makes me very angry at the corrupt governments and organizations who appear to be causing this.

To keep this on topic... I agree that buying whatever food I want is a form of stealth wealth, especially since it's not lobster and caviar to show off for a dinner party! It's just healthy fruits and vegetables, etc. I also think that stealth wealth can include using one's post-FIRE time and/or money to help people who so far haven't been given a real chance in life.

This sounds super interesting and reminds me of the way William T. Vollmann wrote his excellent book "Poor People", which you might enjoy.

I just added it to my Amazon wish list. Thank you!

formerlydivorcedmom

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Healthcare is the biggest.

I pay out-of-network bills for counseling for me and middle kid and don't blink.  A friend was telling me about her struggle to find a therapist to help very troubled kid...but kid was on Medicaid and it was a months-long wait to get in to see someone.  I realized just how lucky we were.

And then in a few weeks ago our elderly dog needed to be put to rest.  The vet tech came in and started rattling off options and prices.  It was a huge blessing to be able to say "I don't care about the price.  Tell me which choice means doggy is not in pain and my husband isn't any more traumatized than he already is having to see doggy in pain."



zolotiyeruki

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I don't know if this counts but today I found out that a former coworker had committed suicide and his stay-at-home partner (and mother of at least one of his children) had a gofundeme setup to cover incidental life expenses for the next month or two. Anyway, I hadn't seen them in years but they were kind folks so I tossed $240 their way because the situation sounds horrible. $240 doesn't meaningfully change my position this month or in 10 years, and so far I'm the highest donor on the campaign.

Being able to be quietly generous without it being financially reckless has definitely been a quality of life upgrade.
One thing I've thought about lately is "wouldn't it be awesome if I had enough stashed away so I could *give* away $100 each day to someone/something?"  Leave a gargantuan tip to some waitress that's getting harassed, or contribute to someone's well-deserved GoFundMe, or pay for someone's groceries, or be the super cool aunt/uncle that gave a bigger wedding gift, or help save the Reno Air Races, or patronize a Youtuber whose content I've really enjoyed, or whatever.  When I first started writing this post, I thought it might be hard to find enough daily opportunities, but the more I think about it, the easier I think it would be.

Hmmmm, to give away $100/day, or $36.5k, at a 4% WR, that'd mean I'd need $1MM in addition to our living expenses.  Oof, that's a bit steep.  Maybe a couple times a week, then...

Alternatepriorities

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One thing I've thought about lately is "wouldn't it be awesome if I had enough stashed away so I could *give* away $100 each day to someone/something?"  Leave a gargantuan tip to some waitress that's getting harassed, or contribute to someone's well-deserved GoFundMe, or pay for someone's groceries, or be the super cool aunt/uncle that gave a bigger wedding gift, or help save the Reno Air Races, or patronize a Youtuber whose content I've really enjoyed, or whatever.  When I first started writing this post, I thought it might be hard to find enough daily opportunities, but the more I think about it, the easier I think it would be.

Hmmmm, to give away $100/day, or $36.5k, at a 4% WR, that'd mean I'd need $1MM in addition to our living expenses.  Oof, that's a bit steep.  Maybe a couple times a week, then...

I used to think about something like that while hitchhiking... I didn't know the 4% rule back then, so it was more an "if I had more money than I could possibly spend but was still hitching" thought. I did one long hitchhiking trip after securing FU money. A young mother in a beat up minivan with three kids gave me a ride and when she stopped for "a little" gas I insisted on filling her tank. I don't think she could quite believe I was out there walking because I wanted to. In her defense the officer I talked to the day before had some trouble with it too.

I'd have to find an easier way to make an extra million to do it everyday but it would be a lot of fun. Maybe TSLA options...

FLBiker

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This thread has been an interesting read.

We're just about at FI.  I'm still working full-time, DW isn't currently, but may sometime again.  We just moved from the US to Canada, though, so I don't want to do anything drastic (like RE) until we're more sure about our living expenses up here.  So far, though, it seems doable.

So, the first thing that came to mind as an "stealth wealth" move was to move from the US to Canada during a pandemic.  We didn't do it because of the pandemic, but COVID certainly could have derailed us if we weren't willing to live with more uncertainty.  I'd taken a new WFH job last October, but things got really dicey during the Summer (~100 people furloughed) so it wasn't really stable, and moving meant DW left her job.  We did it anyway, and it turns out I kept my job, but having money in the bank gave us more confidence.

I also find it helps a lot with stress, because I ultimately don't care if I lose my job.  Ironically, I think this makes me a better employee, as I'm able to ignore things that don't matter and speak the truth freely.  At least, it's worked so far. :)

I wish I could say I didn't worry about money, but I can't.  Unfortunately, that's still a fairly common thing for my anxiety to attach to.  The best I can say is that I *shouldn't* worry about money, which is sometimes helpful as I try to reason with that voice in my head.

Materially, I'd say the biggest thing is shoes.  I buy better shoes now than I used to.  I wear Birkenstocks (Chelsea boots for kicking around town, sandals at home, oxfords for when I used to work in an office).  And they're expensive, but they also last forever.  And I run in Brooks.  My clothes are still cheap.  Even in Canada, I have found that thrifting and hunting sales has been a great source of clothes.  I might get a new winter coat, but it won't be very expensive.  If I was doing 4 season camping I'd spend more, but for hiking around small town Nova Scotia, I haven't found the clothing demands to be particularly high (I was surprised -- I thought I'd need a bunch more stuff).

For us, the big thing has really been freedom.  When our daughter was born, DW stayed home for 2.5 years.  I can say that length of leave was absolutely unique among our peers and coworkers.  Honestly, I can't think of anyone who took more than the allotted 12 weeks.  And we were free to move, even with uncertain jobs, to a place that feels like a great place for our kiddo to grow up.  You really can't put a price on that, and it's pretty invisible - at least, people don't see the money that provides some of the confidence.

One tiny example -- we got about 4 inches of snow last night.  My daughter (being FL born and bred) has never seen such snow, and I just put an out of office marker on my calendar for this afternoon, so that she and I can play when she gets home.  Not likely something I'd lose my job over, but it's nice to not have to put my job first.
« Last Edit: December 18, 2020, 06:24:26 AM by FLBiker »