Author Topic: Post FIRE (BIG) Spending Wants From Spouse :(  (Read 3529 times)

tooqk4u22

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Post FIRE (BIG) Spending Wants From Spouse :(
« on: September 03, 2020, 10:19:26 AM »
So this is more of a shit that happens after FIRE when the firehose of cash is no longer.

So here we are a year or so after FIRE and two things are entering the conversations at the home front and they are kind of biggies:

1.  Quality/$$$ of car replacement - we have funds set aside for a modest new/decent used/ok multiple used cars but now there is a desire from spouse for a better more luxury vehicle and kind of wants me to get a newer vehicle too.   Both our vehicles are older ('06 and '07) but with low mileage.  I get the desire to want something newer, although mine I feel fits me like a glove so I won't be changing mine.   

2.  Renovation/Addition of Kitchen and Master Bed/Bath - big ticket items obviously.  Again had some money set aside (still big dollars) for some of this but maybe not to the extent now being discussed. 

Personally, I think both are being driven by comparison/keeping up with the Jones as a lot of folks in our neighborhood, and entirely our close social circle (mostly comprised of very high earners and spenders), drive luxury branded vehicles and there has been a tremendous spate of renovations and additions being done.    But that has not been entirely factored into the FIRE budget. 

We could get a mortgage at todays low rates and fund most of this and it would take my WR to 3.6% (at peak values).   We have slush funds that we built up before FIRE (mental gymnastics) not included in WR Net Worth for car replacement, home repair/improvement, and a big one for vacations that could fund most of it too.   But these all add to the risk profile in my mind or change the plan....the vacation funds are more of the bigger deal for me bc it is money set aside to do a few bigger type of trips that would exceed our normal budgeted vacation amounts.   

Spouse says we can afford it, deserve it, etc.  Maybe we can, but don't believe we should.   Annnnddd....I hate the whole "Deserve" mentality. 

To be fair, I really hate spending money in general, but really on big amounts and especially for things that you lose big value on right out of the gate.  I just hate it!  The house stuff will surely add value to the house but what 50-70% of the cost of those improvements....UGH.    And we all now how car values work.   

At the end of the day, I am sure we will settle in spending somewhat more than the original plan but nowhere near the dream scenario, and it will end up being a nice compromise.   

Anyway, a day in the life of a FIREee when it's not just you that needs to be satisfied. 


nirodha

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Re: Post FIRE (BIG) Spending Wants From Spouse :(
« Reply #1 on: September 03, 2020, 01:55:01 PM »
Could you buy the car used, via a private party sale, and break even?

Would it be possible to DIY some of the renovation and come out ahead, other than your invested labor.


IMO these aren't crazy wants, it's just a question of how to satisfy them frugally. Skills and time can substitute for the big cash outlay.

tooqk4u22

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Re: Post FIRE (BIG) Spending Wants From Spouse :(
« Reply #2 on: September 03, 2020, 02:31:41 PM »
Could you buy the car used, via a private party sale, and break even?

Would it be possible to DIY some of the renovation and come out ahead, other than your invested labor.


IMO these aren't crazy wants, it's just a question of how to satisfy them frugally. Skills and time can substitute for the big cash outlay.

Pretty much yes to all that.   I have done kitchens and baths before but no structural stuff.   Agree its not unreasonable but when one sees bling on others sometimes the green monster comes out.....and that can lead to burning little greenies.  Pretty sure we will work it out fine and it was a good thing that we contemplated much of this before FIRE, just not the grand scale that is desired. 

We will see.

terran

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Re: Post FIRE (BIG) Spending Wants From Spouse :(
« Reply #3 on: September 03, 2020, 02:31:58 PM »
If you spend this slush fund on these wants what happens then? Can you afford to do it again at the end of the natural life of these things based on your SWR? That's how I would look at it. Money is a finite resource, so create a multiyear budget that includes savings for irregular expenses then try to make whatever tradeoffs needed to maximize happiness. "We can have fancy cars, or we can go on this many vacations, but we can't do both." I think it's dangerous to consider them one-time expenses because you could easily one-time-expense yourself back to work.

Frankies Girl

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Re: Post FIRE (BIG) Spending Wants From Spouse :(
« Reply #4 on: September 03, 2020, 02:47:07 PM »
Ideally, your spouse was 100% on board with the FIRE thing before you took that step.

The fact that they want YOUR vehicle to be fancy too is a sign that they are either embarrassed or overly concerned about what others think, not that they think you deserve fancy stuff.

It sounds like they either said they were on board but actually were unsure, and that unsure stuff is now bubbling up, or else they are being influenced significantly by their friend/family circle and seeing things in front of them all the time that are luxury/fancypants versions of the perfectly decent ones you currently own are eating them up inside for some reason.

Fulfilled/contented people don't push for more-moreMORE when what they have is nice enough and works well. This could be due to stress and worry and need to feel connected to a group they admire (goodness knows this year has been a total garbage pile of suck) and they need FANCYTHINGS to feel grounded and safe. Material goods/flashy stuff does provide a feeling of comfort and safety for some people when they are very stressed.


So a talk is in order first and foremost. If they truly desire fancy things, then the FIRE thing isn't going to work out long term for you. Sure, you can splurge on a few things here and there and likely never have any issues, but it's a pattern that could cause a snowball effect of indulging and running short of $. So you've got to figure out and nip it in the bud, or find an alternative to straight up FIRE if flashy/fancy stuff every year is a real need for your spouse. May mean spouse needs to go back to work. May mean you need to compromise - she gets a newer fancy car, yours obviously is staying pat. Kitchen reno budget can add 1 fancy upgrade, but the other X amount wanted are either not happening or you have to DIY.

Communication and compromise is key here tho. Sounds like you already know this so at least you're coming from a place of working together and it's just the fiddly details that need to be worked out.
« Last Edit: September 05, 2020, 10:26:52 AM by Frankies Girl »

Missy B

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Re: Post FIRE (BIG) Spending Wants From Spouse :(
« Reply #5 on: September 03, 2020, 11:00:06 PM »
So this is more of a shit that happens after FIRE when the firehose of cash is no longer.

So here we are a year or so after FIRE and two things are entering the conversations at the home front and they are kind of biggies:

1.  Quality/$$$ of car replacement - we have funds set aside for a modest new/decent used/ok multiple used cars but now there is a desire from spouse for a better more luxury vehicle and kind of wants me to get a newer vehicle too.   Both our vehicles are older ('06 and '07) but with low mileage.  I get the desire to want something newer, although mine I feel fits me like a glove so I won't be changing mine.   

2.  Renovation/Addition of Kitchen and Master Bed/Bath - big ticket items obviously.  Again had some money set aside (still big dollars) for some of this but maybe not to the extent now being discussed. 

Personally, I think both are being driven by comparison/keeping up with the Jones as a lot of folks in our neighborhood, and entirely our close social circle (mostly comprised of very high earners and spenders), drive luxury branded vehicles and there has been a tremendous spate of renovations and additions being done.    But that has not been entirely factored into the FIRE budget. 

Spouse says we can afford it, deserve it, etc.  Maybe we can, but don't believe we should.   Annnnddd....I hate the whole "Deserve" mentality. 

To be fair, I really hate spending money in general, but really on big amounts and especially for things that you lose big value on right out of the gate.  I just hate it!  The house stuff will surely add value to the house but what 50-70% of the cost of those improvements....UGH.    And we all now how car values work.   

At the end of the day, I am sure we will settle in spending somewhat more than the original plan but nowhere near the dream scenario, and it will end up being a nice compromise.   

Anyway, a day in the life of a FIREee when it's not just you that needs to be satisfied.

I'm sure you're right on all counts - and hope you can come to a reasonable agreement with your wife. I also hate the 'deserve' mentality - I think its a trap credit card companies use to set up people to emotionally justify the debt they're going into.

I find it strange how often people want to renovate and buy new cars once they've retired. Or go buy an expensive 'dream' property. It makes more sense to me to do that while one is still working. Maybe it's that message that you're retired now (rich!) and you should 'treat' yourself.


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Re: Post FIRE (BIG) Spending Wants From Spouse :(
« Reply #6 on: September 03, 2020, 11:51:46 PM »
You saved enough to be at roundabout 3%SWR? As you said, you can afford these things.

Why not start discussing exactly what renovations you both want? It would be good to make your house more energy efficient, add solar... Do you want to age in place? If so, are your passages wide enough for a wheelchair, rooms big enough for it to turn around...? Make sure the discussion covers everything you might need later in life. If youíre doing the expensive stuff, you might as well make sure youíll only need to do it once.

This discussion can take quite some time - enough time that the pandemic might finish, and you can go back to the retirement you expected to have - travels and the other stuff that you canít do now. You shouldnít be hasty about these things.

herbgeek

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Re: Post FIRE (BIG) Spending Wants From Spouse :(
« Reply #7 on: September 04, 2020, 06:44:23 AM »
As others mentioned, a talk about priorities is in order.  From what little info you've provided, it sounds like your wife is easily influenced by her social circle.  This year its a kitchen reno, next year it will be something else.  Where will it end?   How much is she willing to compromise/change?  Is she willing to go back to work to finance these wants?  What areas would she be willing to skimp on in order to accommodate splurges in other areas?

One of the primary reasons I moved out into the boonies (besides that it was cheaper  :)) was to have less comparison/competition around me.  A sub division with the subtle pressure to keep up is my personal idea of hell.  My town has some wealthy people sure, but also those at the lower end of the scale and I'm kind of in the low middle.  As long as I keep myself from comparisons, I'm happy. 

BikeFanatic

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Re: Post FIRE (BIG) Spending Wants From Spouse :(
« Reply #8 on: September 04, 2020, 07:35:07 AM »
I agree that it seems you both are not on the same page, however I also think you can afford it, and it is important to keep your spouse happy, imagine if you were told you can not buy this hobby thing because of money. No one want to give up that kind of control. I tacked on OMY just so that my spouses bigger ideas could be addressed, which of course include home renovations and a newer vehicle and a sibling trip. You have a great withdrawal rate, so as others said just talk about it and make a ten year financial and then you both can figure out what you are comfortable spending, and if one of you does have to work part time to afford more luxury.

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Re: Post FIRE (BIG) Spending Wants From Spouse :(
« Reply #9 on: September 04, 2020, 07:59:59 AM »
Are you isolating?  I've noticed that has changed some of our home desires but thankfully they cost way less than the vacations we cancelled.  If not, perhaps your spouse would benefit from some part time work.  It would provide some cash to offset expenses as well as provide for a distraction.  I always shop more in the winter when farm work is slow. 

There are also two opposite reactions to turning off the firehose of cash.  One is to clamp down and not spend a nickle.  The other is to buy expensive things to "prove" that you are not poor.  If either one is the case, you will just have to work through it.

tooqk4u22

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Re: Post FIRE (BIG) Spending Wants From Spouse :(
« Reply #10 on: September 04, 2020, 11:09:29 AM »
Appreciate the comments.   We are not on different pages, just dancing around the margins of the same page.  Spouse is great. 

As for being easily influenced by the social circle - I wouldn't say its easily but it does influence especially when its in your face front and center ALL THE TIME.   We like our friends, it just happens to be that they are spendy.   Very few people, even on this forum, get somewhat influenced by their circle, some more/some less than others but still.  If everyone at the table ordered baskets of fries, not gonna lie, I am going to want some fries.   It's just the way it is. 

For me I would have rather worked a bit longer and did it all then, bc the firehose was more than enough and in reality wouldn't have taken that much more time. 

If we don't do a thing everything will still be fine, but as I said I expect we will do these things but just more in line with or slightly better than originally contemplated.   

Loren Ver

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Re: Post FIRE (BIG) Spending Wants From Spouse :(
« Reply #11 on: September 05, 2020, 08:41:39 AM »
I don't see this as much different than wanting big things with a job if one had less than a fire hose of cash.

Save up for what you want.  You have a withdrawal rate with a budget of X for cars and Y for housing upgrades.  So if you want fancy cars you "save" the money for a longer time and you can have the fancy cars.  You might have you take a little money from other categories, but no other categories should be tanked unless this in an emergency.  Cars will be faster than the renovation.  Get one car so she has something fancy.  Then start saving for the renovation.

This isn't the instant reward one might want, but that is how life work.  Save then spend.

A few notes - this buys time in the market for the stash to grow.  This buys time in the head for the impulse to fade (or a different one to grow, then fade).  This buys time for you guys to really decide if this is how you want to spend the money, as housing renovations are really trendy right now, much of which is due to many people being stuck at home and not traveling.  This buys time to decide that saving is for suckers and you should go back to the original plan since it was a good plan :D, or not. 

BikeFanatic

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Re: Post FIRE (BIG) Spending Wants From Spouse :(
« Reply #12 on: September 05, 2020, 08:53:18 AM »
I agree with Toogk and gone fishing, it is difficult when you have friends that have a lot and even brag and push it a bit, intentional or not. I do feel isolating has isolated us from some of that.
We remodeled our house a tad, on the cheap diy, bought some new furniture, didnít cost much, but I felt pressured to bring the house up a bit for our new spendy friends. Then I realized we donít need friends that talk about money all the time, and I can hang out with down to earth people who donít have money and donít apply any pressure to upgrade. I grew up rather poor and feel more comfortable
With people who understand itís not all about the money and the show.

Saving a butload these days when an outing is kayaking on the river then bring your own lunch.
« Last Edit: September 06, 2020, 04:28:40 AM by BikeFanatic »

Paul der Krake

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Re: Post FIRE (BIG) Spending Wants From Spouse :(
« Reply #13 on: September 05, 2020, 10:26:14 AM »
I recently hung out for a week with a very spendy friend (annual budget probably around 300k for a single dude), and it messed with my head a bit.

I have never been ashamed of any of the financial decisions we have made, or how we look to the world. Still, there is something very primal about the urge to compare.


Much Fishing to Do

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Re: Post FIRE (BIG) Spending Wants From Spouse :(
« Reply #14 on: September 06, 2020, 07:41:21 AM »
Once you have fully FIREd, I don't think you need to care that much about what you do or do not think you 'deserve' (its a weird concept to me to use that word when you're talking about taking something from yourself [the money] to give to yourself [the stuff], now I do think I 'deserve' the pay from my employer for the work I did in return), or whether something is "worth it", or whether you are buying something to compete with others, or even whether things are a "necessity", etc etc.

I'm gonna draw X amount per month from my accounts that match the SWR I am comfortable with (with guiderails that may make it go up or down, based on the market, not my wants).  What I do with that X dollars is just choices of what that money is gonna be spent on, but I don't go over that, and that amount is avail to spend 9or so I likely will, even if that spending is giving or 'savings' for a bigger ticket item later, etc)

I do think that means you have to be careful with separate set slush funds.  If your monthly draw doesn't include enough for expensive cars every X years then that separate fund can launch you into a 'vehicular SOL' that might be hard to maintain.  I think similarly with vacation funds, etc.

Zette

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Re: Post FIRE (BIG) Spending Wants From Spouse :(
« Reply #15 on: September 06, 2020, 09:42:06 AM »
Are there any side hustle ways you or your spouse could earn the cash for the renovations and car?

tooqk4u22

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Re: Post FIRE (BIG) Spending Wants From Spouse :(
« Reply #16 on: September 06, 2020, 02:14:04 PM »
Are there any side hustle ways you or your spouse could earn the cash for the renovations and car?

I am sure there are plenty, but nothing that am interested in doing bc it would feel like work ;).   

SugarMountain

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Re: Post FIRE (BIG) Spending Wants From Spouse :(
« Reply #17 on: September 06, 2020, 02:33:37 PM »
We have some of these issues as well.  We did buy an "almost new" used clown car for DW right before I pulled the trigger that I'm hoping will be good for at least 10 years.  And now I do find myself wanting to buy a bunch of stuff. I feel like I deferred gratification for so long on a lot of this, and as a new FIREtiree I look to the future as we'll probably want to control spending.  But we got a windfall that I didn't expect and I kind of want to blow it (I really have my eye on a very expensive camera).  I think some of it is boredom due to the pandemic shutting down a lot of what we'd like to do, or at least making it more difficult.

One tip for scratching that luxury car itch, buy older german cars and learn to do the maintenance yourself.  Parts are a bit more pricey than American or Japanese cars, and there does tend to be more maintenance, but the real cost with the maintenance is the labor.  My 2001 BMW looks timeless, is a blast to drive, only cost $6k four and a half years ago, it's probably still worth close to that, and will likely last until we no longer use fossil fuels, especially since I doubt I'll drive it more than 3,000 miles per year.

lhamo

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Re: Post FIRE (BIG) Spending Wants From Spouse :(
« Reply #18 on: September 06, 2020, 08:59:44 PM »
I don't see this as much different than wanting big things with a job if one had less than a fire hose of cash.

Save up for what you want.  You have a withdrawal rate with a budget of X for cars and Y for housing upgrades.  So if you want fancy cars you "save" the money for a longer time and you can have the fancy cars.  You might have you take a little money from other categories, but no other categories should be tanked unless this in an emergency.  Cars will be faster than the renovation.  Get one car so she has something fancy.  Then start saving for the renovation.

This isn't the instant reward one might want, but that is how life work.  Save then spend.

A few notes - this buys time in the market for the stash to grow.  This buys time in the head for the impulse to fade (or a different one to grow, then fade).  This buys time for you guys to really decide if this is how you want to spend the money, as housing renovations are really trendy right now, much of which is due to many people being stuck at home and not traveling.  This buys time to decide that saving is for suckers and you should go back to the original plan since it was a good plan :D, or not.

Agree with this.

Also, if one person wants to do a splurgey thing that the other person isn't willing to blow the budget for, if the spouse that wants the thing can either:

1)  Find ways to save money in other parts of the budget that are not as important to them -- maybe this means saving money on groceries or eating out (by learning to cook better or growing/foraging more of your own food), or finding cheaper ways to stay entertained, or cutting back on travel expenses (EVERYBODY has this money to shift around at the moment!) or

2)  Find a way to bring in additional income to pay for it.  This doesn't have to mean going back to a desk or FT job. Maybe a writing or photography hobby can generate income, or hobby craft items can be sold.

Cassie

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Re: Post FIRE (BIG) Spending Wants From Spouse :(
« Reply #19 on: September 06, 2020, 09:45:16 PM »
Our cars are 2008 and 10 with low miles. If a friend gets a new one I might feel a little envious but it quickly passes. I would skip the car and do house upgrades within reason.

Malcat

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Re: Post FIRE (BIG) Spending Wants From Spouse :(
« Reply #20 on: September 07, 2020, 05:16:19 AM »
I think it's REALLY important to talk through what this kind of spending actually means.

You have the funds and you could push it a little further, but pretty much just this once.

Is this the *one time* she's going to want to keep up with her friends? What happens when this new car gets old or when other parts of the house are dated.

Is she actually comfortable with the level of spending that your retirement savings can afford?

If you planned for a 3% WR, then you will probably end up with tons of extra money in not too long, and at that point, you could afford a lot of extras.

Jumping up to 3.6% now allows you this one big spend, and then probably limits you. So it really, really depends on what the two of you want your longterm future to look like.

Talk it through in detail, map out the possibilities, and come together on a plan that you are both aligned on.

LightTripper

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Re: Post FIRE (BIG) Spending Wants From Spouse :(
« Reply #21 on: September 07, 2020, 06:47:48 AM »
As I now see @Loren Ver already suggested, would one way to address it to be save any incremental spend needed into your slush funds out of your WR (so it could take 2-3 years to get there - and some sacrificed holiday spend etc. that is probably happening anyway with Covid - but at least your OH knows there is a plan to get to where she wants to be, while still making the most of what you have now?)  Personally I am good at waiting for stuff as long as I have a plan (in fact I actively enjoy the anticipation, and in relation to any extension/remodel it would give you scope to plan, keep an eye out for discounted kitchen furniture or lighting or whatever and accrue those over time as you see good deals to keep costs down).  Go and get a quote from a company that does it all for you, and then figure out how much you can cut costs by putting the whole thing together yourselves with a building firm?  Could be fun?

Personally I am also feeling the pull to a larger place due to Covid (I am currently WFH but we have no office so I spend about 20+ hours a day in my bedroom and that is not great even though it's a very nice room with plenty of light and green views).  I do look at people who have a home office or a play room or a bigger garden with a trampoline for the kids (or older children who could be doing school work in the same room!) and feel a little pang of envy - which I never did when I was at work all the time.  I suspect being retired and being at home more could kind of have the same effect (though I hope I'd then have the time and energy to make more efficient use of our space!)  So I can see how it could work that way in retirement without really being a "keeping up with the Joneses thing": rather that when you're at home so many more hours of the day, home being well designed and spacious has a much bigger pay off than when you're all out at school/work most of the time and the house is standing empty.

The car thing I get less - but that's my personal prejudice: I can see if you spend a lot of time in your car and the new one would be genuinely more comfortable and/or efficient maybe you could make a case for it.  But again, would having a plan to get there in a year or two help take the pressure off financially and give a lot of the benefits of doing it right now?  Even a couple more years out of each vehicle could make quite a big difference to lifetime costs.  Do you have a sense of whether she would be willing to keep the "new" vehicle for 15+ years too?

evanc

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Re: Post FIRE (BIG) Spending Wants From Spouse :(
« Reply #22 on: September 09, 2020, 05:57:35 PM »
Appreciate the comments.   We are not on different pages, just dancing around the margins of the same page.  Spouse is great. 

As for being easily influenced by the social circle - I wouldn't say its easily but it does influence especially when its in your face front and center ALL THE TIME.   We like our friends, it just happens to be that they are spendy.   Very few people, even on this forum, get somewhat influenced by their circle, some more/some less than others but still.  If everyone at the table ordered baskets of fries, not gonna lie, I am going to want some fries.   It's just the way it is. 

[bFor me I would have rather worked a bit longer [/b]and did it all then, bc the firehose was more than enough and in reality wouldn't have taken that much more time. 

If we don't do a thing everything will still be fine, but as I said I expect we will do these things but just more in line with or slightly better than originally contemplated.

This can be a good litmus test, ďshould I buy XĒ (newer car, nicer kitchen, what have you). Are you willing to go back to work to pay for it? If yes, then go for it. If no, then you have your answer, either way.

This thought exercise is especially effective for me whenever I get tempted to splurge on X - I ask myself what my time is worth. Is a new car worth six months of reverting to wage slavery? More often than not, the answer is a resounding no. As an added benefit, it can help you appreciate what you already have.

SwordGuy

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Re: Post FIRE (BIG) Spending Wants From Spouse :(
« Reply #23 on: September 09, 2020, 07:32:49 PM »
It's important to remember that the two of you have something that all your spendy friends don't have. 

You have the freedom to decide how to spend your time.    Your spendy friends (unless they are financed by a working spouse) don't have what you have.

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Re: Post FIRE (BIG) Spending Wants From Spouse :(
« Reply #24 on: September 14, 2020, 07:10:32 AM »
Kinda can relate to most of the things your talking about other than the car. The DW and I have always been on the same page when it comes to that and I always make sure she has the better one.

We moved back in Dec and we are surround by spendy people. Not braggers or with compete with the Jones's types but They really spend the doe but are wonderful neighbors. But here we are new to the block and with a lot of updates that need to be done. But the pressure is there somewhere to up it up a bit because of what we see all the time. And while my DW says to things " Yea it would be nice" I think it effects me more which is not the usual. So i gripe and moan and complain about the house being a money pit and so on and she listens and really doesnt ease my mind but at least listens and probably is laughing inside. All you can do and you seemingly from your posts know already is talk it through and find what is a happy medium and give her some of what she wants and at a price you can live with. I think in your posts you have already come to the conclusion. Sure it will be fine and you'll get though it ok! Best of luck whatever you decide