Trying lifestyle inflation. Need to spend more.

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johnC64
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Trying lifestyle inflation. Need to spend more.

Post by johnC64 » Fri Jun 07, 2019 9:13 am

I think I have reached a point where I need to spend more. I am consistently making more money from investments than spending but I am still working. I love my job, I dont see myself quiting (maybe a sabbatical in the future). Cash accumulates because I don't want to invest more. I don't see the point of it.

I am very frugal. I enjoy wearing out my clothing, my car, buying second hand, finding deals, eating at home... Let's say it is difficult for me to spend money, in fact, it is a pain in the ass. I am not an underspender, I just do not enjoy what money can buy. But I have these opposite feelings of need to make use of the forever idle money and of not knowing how to do it. It is like my frugality is working against me. I am not talking about spending a little bit more occasionally, let's say I would like to double it indefinitely to have peace of mind.

Has someone here found themselves in this situation? I know people here struggle just in the opposite sense but I have been there too. It is like I have transcended or kept pushing when I needed to stop. I consider myself very lucky for being in this situation but I want to stress I have worked hard to be where I am now. It has not been a windfall or a product of speculation.

PS: We are a family and we are happily settled.

PS2: I had another account here. I was active years back but I stopped because I think my identity was compromised and I dont want to be tracked down. We are not so few anymore.

prognastat
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Re: Trying lifestyle inflation. Need to spend more.

Post by prognastat » Fri Jun 07, 2019 9:16 am

I mean if you truly want to keep working and are down to 3% SWR covering your costs what I would probably do is continue investing still, but raise your spending to whatever is covered by 3% SWR of your stash which will grow as your stash continues to grow from both returns and further investment.

Another option that might make your life better is if you live a decent distance from work use the extra money to buy a place much closer to work. I can tell you not having to spend time in traffic every day makes my days much better.

jacob
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Re: Trying lifestyle inflation. Need to spend more.

Post by jacob » Fri Jun 07, 2019 9:47 am

I'm in a similar situation. Too much money and no idea what to spend it on. My approach is to divert the surplus to other productive people rather than finding ways to waste it myself. In my case, I've started diverting it to Patreon. I primarily support people whose work would be hard to monetize under the current ad-based/affiliate/selling stuff-paradigm... because I empathize with these people. So far I've been spreading out my donations, but I'm thinking of concentrating instead to make a bigger impact, i.e. instead of giving 100 people $1/month, I'd give 1 person $100/month.

The classical solution would be charity. Anything from homeless cats to museums. Maybe you can your name on a bench at the local college... that kind of stuff. You could also just save it with the plan to leave/create an endowment to perhaps support a student with a grant. Or start a space program. Depending on how much you're willing to burn, you might need to start with smaller rockets. There are also organizations you can support as a member at say $10/month, $100/month, ... in return for various perks and honors (e.g. free entry to lectures, museums, ...). This is similar to Patreon.

Yet another way would be to have all your cash invested at places like Kiva where it would do some good.

2Birds1Stone
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Re: Trying lifestyle inflation. Need to spend more.

Post by 2Birds1Stone » Fri Jun 07, 2019 10:11 am

I really like Jacobs suggestions. What are some causes/pursuits that are near and dear to you?

I can think of plenty of organizations who could use my time and money in a way that would make the world a better place, whatever that means to you.

Scott 2
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Re: Trying lifestyle inflation. Need to spend more.

Post by Scott 2 » Fri Jun 07, 2019 12:42 pm

I'm in a similar position. What I am trying to buy:

Time - grocery delivery, food delivery, housekeeper, Uber, tradesmen, product subscriptions, limiting comparison shopping, not bothering with coupons or sales, etc.

Saying no - this applies most strongly to my job. I focus on the good parts, tactfully decline things I don't want to do, ignore boring problems I might have previously jumped in the middle of.

I also apply it to my home life. I'll pay so a weekend trip is only the good parts, ie skip the line, taxi instead of bus. On a bigger scale, I hate to travel. My wife wants to. So I sent her on a yoga retreat to Cancun. The canned package made it a reasonable substitution to my presence.

Declining to choose - If I'm torn between two things, I might just get both.

I've tried to buy things to improve quality of life too, but I still hate shopping. I tend to put it off waaay to long.

I've thought about hiring help to come in once a week and do food prep, laundry, etc. I haven't wanted a person in my space though.


Edited to add - there was a time when I'd optimized my meal costs down to the penny. I knew how much my tea bag cost, and I would steep it multiple times. Constantly trying to make work better lead to this unexpected situation.

unemployable
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Re: Trying lifestyle inflation. Need to spend more.

Post by unemployable » Fri Jun 07, 2019 12:58 pm

Learn blackjack basic strategy, hit casinos, get comps.

bigato
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Re: Trying lifestyle inflation. Need to spend more.

Post by bigato » Fri Jun 07, 2019 1:24 pm

I'm still a bit confused as to why you feel you *need* to spend more. For most cases this is quite simple like set up a will, donate to a cause, etc. But I think you have another point in there. Could you elaborate?

unemployable
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Re: Trying lifestyle inflation. Need to spend more.

Post by unemployable » Fri Jun 07, 2019 1:33 pm

bigato wrote:
Fri Jun 07, 2019 1:24 pm
I'm still a bit confused as to why you feel you *need* to spend more. For most cases this is quite simple like set up a will, donate to a cause, etc. But I think you have another point in there. Could you elaborate?
  • You don't like your relatives and/or explicity want to make sure certain ones get nothing
  • No charity "speaks to" you
  • Making a large donation while alive may have undesirable side effects (if it's published anywhere, others may come after you)
  • You're wondering whether you're missing out on some awesome life experience by not spending money

Fish
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Re: Trying lifestyle inflation. Need to spend more.

Post by Fish » Fri Jun 07, 2019 1:35 pm

As the marginal utility of saving diminishes, I’ve been:
  • Increasing my inventory of consumables (e.g. non-perishable food, dress clothes for work) as opposed to minimizing the quantity purchased to limit carrying costs.
  • Buying higher quality products, tools and parts.
  • Spending on health (e.g. gym membership).
  • Occasionally buying convenience when able to fully appreciate its luxury.
  • Tolerating small monetary losses resulting from “bad luck” instead of becoming agitated and fighting each one.
  • Traveling to spend time with family and friends.
  • Donating to local organizations I support.
Some things under consideration are: 1) preferentially buying food from local producers, 2) paying for expert instruction (got that idea from @Scott2) and 3) spending on aesthetics.

Scott 2
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Re: Trying lifestyle inflation. Need to spend more.

Post by Scott 2 » Fri Jun 07, 2019 3:42 pm

My reason for spending more is to optimize resource allocation towards my web of goals. Especially as I've gotten older, my constraints are energy, will power, and time. Money can relax them.

I echo the spending on health bullet Fish listed - investing in healthspan. I have two gym memberships right now, in addition to my home gym. If there's a fruit or vegetable that catches my eye, I don't even consider the price. When I travel for work, I pay out of pocket for hotels to avoid the stress of 16 hour days.

Proactive medical care as well. I did all recommended blood work after my annual checkup, and acted on the preventive skin cancer screening referral. I followed up on a borderline questionable blood pressure reading with a home monitor, just in case.

I've tried spending on aesthetics, even bought a $20 tub of moisturizer. I just don't care enough. But I had to learn trial and error.

With more exposure to expert instruction, I find it most useful as a springboard into a community of skilled practicioners. Otherwise there is a ceiling reached, where someone else can't do the work for you, but finding internal motivation isn't practical.

Sclass
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Re: Trying lifestyle inflation. Need to spend more.

Post by Sclass » Fri Jun 07, 2019 7:53 pm

Great topic. I’m currently talking to my father about his estate plan. He’s in his 80s. Terminally ill. And he hasn’t spent enough money yet (according to him).

He has lived frugally all his life and now accumulates money for the sake of accumulating money. He doesn’t need anymore cash. His income exceeds his expenses by 5x right now. When I pulled him aside in May and suggested we start getting things in order he said what he usually has said over the years “Wait, I think I’m going to start spending my money.” It has recently changed to, “wait, I’m going to spend some of it, but perhaps I’ve waited too long.”

Right after he said that he just fell over on the grass next to me. Knees buckled. I was showing him my freshly mowed lawn. I knelt down to pick him up and he said he just wanted to lie there and look up at the trees. His trees.

The guy has a few months to a year to live and he hasn’t spent an extra dollar more since we met. I’m staring at his balances on my terminal watching them go up, not down.

I’m mentioning this because the the guy is kind of my ghost of Christmas future. I too have lived frugally and invested my money. I live on a fraction of the income...not quite 5x but it will eventually get there if I live into my 80s. Always feeling I don’t have enough. Always sacrificing for tomorrow.

It’s kind of sad. I think it’s okay to save aggressively. People here get satisfaction from doing that. But to get a pang of regret at the end of the line that you forgot to spend your money is a sad place to be.

Something to think about before I get there. It’s kinda tragic.

I think FFJ mentioned recently that buying most things doesn’t give him the satisfaction it once did. I’m there. It’s really hard to find anything that adds more value. Yet I worry about a moment in the midnight hour when I realize I have a ton of unused wealth that I feel I need to spend while I’m wasting away in bed wheezing through an O2 mask on my face. And, all I can do is think about spending my money.

ffj
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Re: Trying lifestyle inflation. Need to spend more.

Post by ffj » Fri Jun 07, 2019 8:57 pm

@Sclass

It's still true for me. I think we are of similar age and this is just something that happens at some point. I recently spent a bunch of money on a trip but I was only interested in going because of a class offered that I wanted to learn from and it wouldn't have appealed to me to just go and sit around and drink beer. I had to have a reason for going to justify the cost. But the money I used was literally laying in a cigar box from the odd jobs I do that I don't even need to be doing. :roll: That's my challenge and although I spend much more money than a lot of people on this forum I can easily see winding up like your father.

But I have been thinking about it and it seems to me I have a couple of avenues to give more purpose to my life and possible challenge. One is to set up a charitable trust that aligns with my values and the other is to buy some real estate, I'm thinking un-developed, and transform it into a nature preserve, permaculture project and/or community garden and then donate it upon my death. Those two ideas could easily eat up un-used cash and also do some good hopefully.

@op

It's all about value. I think a lot of people here get labeled as cheap but it goes against their internal values to waste money. Personally, I could drop $10,000 tomorrow on something that has value without flinching but I will get pissed off over having to pay $6 on a shitty hotdog at some venue where you have no other choice.

2Birds1Stone
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Re: Trying lifestyle inflation. Need to spend more.

Post by 2Birds1Stone » Fri Jun 07, 2019 9:48 pm

This is an extremely eye opening conversation, among complete internet strangers. Why I struggle to find people who I can converse with on such a level in real life is a head-scratcher

ffj, your last sentences summed it up perfectly.

fish, "Tolerating small monetary losses resulting from “bad luck” instead of becoming agitated and fighting each one." this one has been extremely life changing. I used to agonize over monetary losses from mistakes, accidents, or perceived "misfortune" ....one of the things reaching FI has afforded is letting go!

One thing is for sure, I've ran the scenario where you keep up a 75-80% savings rate for a few decades and the numbers become staggering......eventually you have to either find other things with your wealth, or you end up dying very very rich. And it doesn't take much to get there, over time.

I actually worry that too much $$ can make you soft. IE outsourcing so many things that you only know how to do the one thing that takes all of your time. Also, becoming too reliant on monetary wealth for the rest of your lifestyle to work.

Chop wood carry water.......

Tyler9000
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Re: Trying lifestyle inflation. Need to spend more.

Post by Tyler9000 » Fri Jun 07, 2019 9:52 pm

I spend quite a bit more now than I did when I was in pure maximum accumulation mode. But once I got used to FI, my mindset finally switched from one primarily concerned with scarcity to one comfortable with abundance. I'm not wasteful by any means, but I'm OK spending on personally motivating things like an apartment in a nice walkable downtown location. The trick is just saving your money and energy for things that make you happy and not wasting them on things that don't.

thedollar
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Re: Trying lifestyle inflation. Need to spend more.

Post by thedollar » Sat Jun 08, 2019 12:32 am

I struggle with a lot of the same things as you do OP.

Don't think it's because I would mind buying things but I just hate spending money. It's inefficient to me.

Sometimes I consider raising my spending and buying 'stuff' or experiences. However, I'm afraid that it would 1) open pandora's box of spending just to spend and 2) why would I even try lifestyle inflation? I interpret lifestyle INFLATION as spending more money without increasing the utility/happiness you get.

jacob
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Re: Trying lifestyle inflation. Need to spend more.

Post by jacob » Sat Jun 08, 2019 8:36 am

ffj wrote:
Fri Jun 07, 2019 8:57 pm
It's all about value. I think a lot of people here get labeled as cheap but it goes against their internal values to waste money. Personally, I could drop $10,000 tomorrow on something that has value without flinching but I will get pissed off over having to pay $6 on a shitty hotdog at some venue where you have no other choice.
I've observed the same effect in even very wealthy (8-9 figs) people. I suppose it's ingrained and part of the reason why some become wealthy and others do not. Indeed, those with the opposite value framework---"Why worry about price when you can easily afford it?"---seem perpetually stuck around the zero line.

jacob
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Re: Trying lifestyle inflation. Need to spend more.

Post by jacob » Sat Jun 08, 2019 8:46 am

Perhaps it would help to introduce the framework that I've generally come to associate with high-finance types... I'm not sure whether it really came from this domain, but presuming you already collected all the baubles of middle class existence, there are three things worth pursuing: access, optionality, and control.

I mentioned an example of access above in the form of memberships. At the low end, this might be an annual membership to the Field Museum (and while you're at it, all the other ones). Now you have complete access w/o having to think of it. It could also be the full cable package or the mega hotspot dataplan. Even if you don't use it, it's just there. That is access.

An example of optionality would be buying a ticket to a baseball game and then deciding not to go because you'd rather not. Tickets like that are essentially options whereas I think they are more commonly thought of as [bus] fares. There are many things in life which can be thought of as an option.

Control is more familiar. Generally putting more money down means more control. If you buy the house, you control more of the house than if you rent it. If you buy 5% of the shares in the company, you control more (you might even get a board seat) than if you just buy a few 100 shares in which case you get to vote for someone else rather than yourself. If you give $10 to a politician, you're a donor. But if you give them $10 million, you control them.

IlliniDave
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Re: Trying lifestyle inflation. Need to spend more.

Post by IlliniDave » Sat Jun 08, 2019 9:50 am

OP,
In a sense I'm in that situation. I probably don't need any more money. But it's not a source of stress (even just token stress). I have a pretty good feel for what the "reward" is for the things could buy with money above what I would require to live a decent lifestyle. I got it by experimenting on my self and observing. The first thing I had to do in order to do that was lighten up on the severity of judgement I imposed on non-compulsory spending. I guess I should note that fresh out of school I was a modest spendthrift and then I married a chaotic spendthrift and then wound up back on my own, and my way of recovering financially was to push frugality to the edge of feeling deprived (but never over the edge). So, although today I tend to see that frantic accumulation/catch up period as my baseline, it wasn't my natural state.

Using the terminology jacob introduced above, optionality (maybe because it could be said to contain the other two) is probably the main value I see on accumulating a dash more money, and for investing enough of it to keep overall long-term growth a reasonable possibility. There are ways I can spend money that bring me enjoyment in reasonable proportion to the outlay, so I have those options. It's also good to know that I have some financial resilience should I wind up with some large unanticipated financial setback. But in the end most of it will probably be given away. Initially my thoughts were limited to bequests for my children/grandchildren and siblings, but now it's got to the point I'm considering the inclusion of certain charities/causes. I guess that's what I'd suggest. If you have money you don't need, want to spend, or foresee needing in the future, put it to work supporting others who work towards things you value.

Edit: Just cleaned up some awful typos, etc.
Last edited by IlliniDave on Sat Jun 08, 2019 2:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.

chenda
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Re: Trying lifestyle inflation. Need to spend more.

Post by chenda » Sat Jun 08, 2019 12:36 pm

If I were you I would probably indulge in some immortality projects so in 2119 readers of the local Parish Magazine will note that 100 years ago Mr JohnC64 was kind enough to pay to rebuild the local lynchgate, and will reflect that he must have been a very nice chap and ponder with some nostalgia what life was really like back in the early 21st century.

Sclass
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Re: Trying lifestyle inflation. Need to spend more.

Post by Sclass » Sat Jun 08, 2019 1:54 pm

Hey, that reminds me of a funny thing I heard at an alumni seminar at my dad’s college a couple of years ago. It was a biology lecture and the professor discussed his research into cell senescence and mitochondrial dna. He said it held the secrets to longevity and regeneration. All of a sudden I could feel the hall, filled with old guys in wheelchairs and walkers, wake up. At the end the professor said research was slow and funding was a bottleneck. Several people, really old guys needing a microphone, said they were ready to commit million dollar grants right then and there if the young scientist would just get on with it. The hall erupted in laughter but I think those guys were dead serious.

Their money was pretty much useless at that point. The seminar series was primarily put on to raise scholarship donations.

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