Trying lifestyle inflation. Need to spend more.

Simple living, extreme early retirement, being wealthy, ...
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Dream of Freedom
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Re: Trying lifestyle inflation. Need to spend more.

Post by Dream of Freedom » Sat Jun 08, 2019 3:09 pm

Well, you start with the BMW. Then.... :lol:

Spending on health would probably have a good effect on the quality of life of your family. Same with anything safety related.

Education for your kids or even yourself. Like French lessons or a piano tutur, martial arts lessions, gymnastics, dance, ect.

Experiences and travel. Go white water rafting or something.

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

Post by EdithKeeler » Sat Jun 08, 2019 8:19 pm

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 just wrote in my journal about how pleased i am with my house purchase. It’s not extravagant, but it’s nice, and frankly, the old place was bringing me down.

Yes, I’d have more money if I’d stuck with the old place, but I think the new place buys me a better quality of life. I’ve got room for my stuff, I can have friends over, and I love my yard.

I felt.... poor, I guess, in the old place. I mean, for a while I was like “wow, look at how much I’m saving!” But then it was like “look at the crime! I’m scared to open my door!”

I don’t think I’m happier because I have a better house—I think I’m happier because I have a better situation. And it’s worth the money.

I don’t think I’d like it if I’d stayed and then was thinking when I got old “I wish I’d moved” before I got robbed the third time.

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

Post by JamesR » Sat Jun 08, 2019 10:34 pm

jacob wrote:
Fri Jun 07, 2019 9:47 am
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.
Perhaps it would make sense to have a few rules of thumbs in that scenario to maximize the value add of your money. It seems like it would make sense to target producers that have only a single source of income through patreon (and no other source of monetization/advertising/merch), and to have their sponsored amount as public with a value of under $900/mo.

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

Post by FrugalPatat » Sun Jun 09, 2019 12:30 am

If you are considering charity, rather than just following personal preferences, you could look into effective altruism: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Effective_altruism, https://www.effectivealtruism.org/

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

Post by Scott 2 » Sun Jun 09, 2019 2:48 am

2Birds1Stone wrote:
Fri Jun 07, 2019 9:48 pm
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.
The other side of this, is by outsourcing chopping wood and carrying water, you can take on more stimulating endeavors. Breaking new ground, mentally or physically, gives you a different form of resilience. It's not like you'll forget how to scrub a toilet or buy an avocado.

Take some rough math - let's say outsourcing grocery shopping saves 30 minutes a week. For someone with 40 years left, that is 1000 hours of productive time bought back. Considering 2000 hours per year is the rule of thumb for a full time work, that's a lot of opportunity.

I am finding work takes on a completely different dynamic in the context of my "inflated" lifestyle. Since I control large portions of my work, I get exposed to new ideas and challenges weekly. However, unlike when I was early in my career, I also have free time. My weekends aren't just a scramble to be ready for the work week. That quality of life makes me more effective, giving me more control, reinforcing the cycle.


In this context, weekly help makes a ton of sense - let's say 4h per week. I think what holds me back, is a desire to avoid adding another relationship committing me to work. At 200h per year, your're talking someone counting on me for $4-5k of income. Eventually cutting that off, when I am ready to retire, creates hardship for them. If the relationship is good, I may be reluctant and feel stuck.

I think this is an artificial mental barrier I am letting hold me back. In practice, outside of the lifestyle benefits, it could pay for itself in two ways:

1. I perform better at work, gaining a pay raise or bonus to immediately offset the annual cost
2. Working is so easy that I do it for more years, maybe long enough to pay for the help in perpetuity

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

Post by LookingInward » Sun Jun 09, 2019 4:20 am

FrugalPatat wrote:
Sun Jun 09, 2019 12:30 am
If you are considering charity, rather than just following personal preferences, you could look into effective altruism: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Effective_altruism, https://www.effectivealtruism.org/
It kind of surprises me this is not discussed more in this forum. With so much misery in the world, the last thing I will have problem with is how to "spend" money.

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Re: Trying lifestyle inflation. Need to spend more.

Post by jacob » Sun Jun 09, 2019 8:28 am

@Scott2 - Another "defense" would be that outsourcing these jobs distributes money in the economy. When I was looking at potential central/south-American countries to live in, I got the strong impression that insofar you could afford it, it was practically mandatory to hire a gardener, maid, etc. to spread the wealth rather than insisting on doing things yourself. But as you mention, this does create a relationship with entails some expectations. Kinda jars with innate senses of individualism (arms-length transactions), so it depends on the culture.

One of my neighbors do the same thing, hiring people if they need money. It's a way to support the local economy and build tremendous amounts of social capital. Speaking of that, one of the things I/we do albeit not very consistently is to shop at the local supermarket/cornerstore instead of driving off to Aldi. It's a little bit more expensive that way but what with the savings on CO2 and the fact that I do appreciate the diversity of the local economy. Likewise, when we need plumbing, electric, ... we try to hire around the neighborhood even if costs (sometimes quite a bit) more.

Lucky C
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Re: Trying lifestyle inflation. Need to spend more.

Post by Lucky C » Sun Jun 09, 2019 10:43 am

There are plenty of ways I could spend more if I had more, that I don't consider wasteful or charity.

- I would spend more money on more mature plants to speed up my gardening/landscaping rather than waiting longer to see results from tiny cheaper plants.
- Increase the efficiency of your home. Maybe doubling up on attic insulation for example would have an ROI worse than investing, but who cares if you have the extra cash and the materials will have a greenhouse gas payback period less than the life of the product. Hard to calculate that but e.g. mineral wool insulation is recycled from slag waste and shouldn't degrade over time so it should last the life of the structure and save more GG than it emits in making it.
- Get more BIFL items / high quality items even if you don't think you use them enough. Maybe with the higher quality you will want to use it more. If not it should be in good enough shape for future generations to use it.
- Throw a party for the neighborhood. You can spend a tidy sum on good catering. Could be wasteful (paper plates etc.) but so is everything else your neighbors would have been doing in their free time, probably.
- Buy local as Jacob said. Fresh milk from down the road costs twice as much as supermarket milk. I would want to support the local dairy, farms, and restaurants more.
- Buy up raw land in your area that would otherwise be bought by a developer and let it stay wild. This is not an investment if you don't plan to sell it as it will only cost you further each year in taxes (unless you get out of paying tax by conserving the land). This is a big one as you could extend it further to buy up tear downs and pay a lot of money to convert them to something else like food forests or an ERE village.
- Start a business even if it has a low probability of success, or make it a non-profit. Even if it is for profit, if you are loaded you will be less stressed than your competitors whose lives depend on their success.
- Start a PAC to influence politics in the direction you want. Or fund your own campaign for office. Give donations to the right people to exploit the corrupt system, but for good.
- Buy a controlling number of shares in a company you think is too big and then split it up.

The sky's the limit depending on how much you want to change things in your household/neighborhood/locally/nationally/globally. Even if I had billions I would find ways to spend it to change the world how I see fit.

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

Post by Scott 2 » Sun Jun 09, 2019 11:52 am

@Jacob - I have found people resist the idea that a "rich" person paying others to serve them can be positive. I avoid making that argument but do agree with it.

In my experience, individuals doing the work are happy to earn money. Especially when they are treated as a peer providing a service, rather than as "the help".

As an example - our housekeeper gets the company rate for a service, but we pay her directly. She comes on her schedule. My wife is friendly with her - they'll chat a little and know things about each other's life. We pay an extra $100 around the holidays.

However, I am a rich white male who was born in the US. Typically the person providing a service is not. The reflection of American society as a whole is glaring. As a result, I tread very lightly on claiming the relationship as mutually beneficial.


I avoided charity in this discussion, because effective philanthropy is so complex. IMO it is better treated as a goal than as an expense.

7Wannabe5
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Re: Trying lifestyle inflation. Need to spend more.

Post by 7Wannabe5 » Sun Jun 09, 2019 7:10 pm

Lucky C wrote:- Buy up raw land in your area that would otherwise be bought by a developer and let it stay wild. This is not an investment if you don't plan to sell it as it will only cost you further each year in taxes (unless you get out of paying tax by conserving the land). This is a big one as you could extend it further to buy up tear downs and pay a lot of money to convert them to something else like food forests or an ERE village.
+1

The coolest would be conversion of some horrible strip mall parking lot.

I would also distribute free copies of my favorite books to children.

My "ex" who grew up wealthy in Tehran had family retainers for whom he felt some degree of responsibility. He loved his nanny and would have been happy to support her, but his father gave her son enough of a leg up that he was well able to care for her, so it never became necessary. The woman who cared for his parents in their final years pretty much demanded some sort of pension, but something less was proffered and accepted. Of course, in a culture where wealthy men are also sometimes fully financially responsible* for multiple wives, this is sort of a natural extension.

*This level of responsibility is sometimes offered as reason behind laws requiring husband's permission to leave country. As in "who knows what kind of bills she might rack up shopping in Paris!"

cimorene12
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Re: Trying lifestyle inflation. Need to spend more.

Post by cimorene12 » Sun Jun 09, 2019 7:48 pm

There are some MMM posts about this question.
https://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2012/09 ... -can-save/
https://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2016/10 ... ay-100000/

I took a class on philanthropy during undergrad. It doesn't make me an expert by any means, but it does mean that I've looked at the question of how to give money away from different angles. Where you put your excess money is a reflection of your own values. Plenty of people upthread have offered a lot of very good options.

I know that setting up a small scholarship fund is viable: https://www.kiplinger.com/article/retir ... rship.html

If I already had enough income to cover all my needs and wants and wanted to double my monthly expenditures, I'd be quietly shoveling money into 529 accounts for my extended family members. I view paying for education as facilitating people getting the skills to stand on their own two feet, which is the greatest gift of all.

I'd recommend reading about the exclusions for gift taxes, just for ideas. Rules about gift taxes: https://www.irs.gov/instructions/i709

johnC64
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Re: Trying lifestyle inflation. Need to spend more.

Post by johnC64 » Wed Jun 12, 2019 6:35 am

Thank you for all your responses and ideas. I am looking into some of them. I knew charity will be one of the first things to pop up in the discussion. I have conflicting views on standard charity organizations and I haven't made up my mind about it.
jacob wrote:
Fri Jun 07, 2019 9:47 am
... 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 ...
This idea here is something I will start doing. There are lot of people out there producing things I benefit from and they are not charging for it. Open-source software and free education comes to mind.
Fish wrote:
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.
  • 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.
....
"Increasing my inventory of consumables" is something to which I could allocate part of the money. Ideally I will like to buy all my future food, medicines, shoes, cars, gas, education, corndogs or toilet paper right now that I have the cash but I haven't seen the way to do it effectively. Futures contracts could be great if the were not a financial instrument based on trust on financial institutions. I am not prepper, but I have started looking a little bit more seriously into that way of stocking up. I started buying quality tools and durable stuff long ago.

There is one thing I am getting out of the surplus money. I don't care about money much lately. If I have to 'lose' some money for some reason, I don't double think it. Like you say, I don't fight it, I just keep going like nothing happened.

I am even considering to stop keeping track of income and expenses... but I like the graphs so much...
prognastat wrote:
Fri Jun 07, 2019 9:16 am
...
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.
I live in a sweet spot between work, friends, family, etc... Moving is not something we are considering right now. Maybe in the future I can consider something out of the city, but not anytime soon and I am not sure it would be much more expensive.
Scott 2 wrote:
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.
....
The idea of buying time is something I will also try to apply. Grocery delivery of some the shopping we can do for a start. I will discuss it with DW to try to get more ideas.

The reason to switch jobs was precisely to be able to say no to things I am not interested in. Still, I do some of such tasks out of... I don't exactly know why. Yes, I have to remind myself to say no more often.
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?
I don't think this captures everything, but this is my try:
It is the fact that money is doing nothing there, it is completely unproductive and I can not foresee any situation in which I could use it. I could quit and I wouldn't need it (that's why I don't want to invest it). You could think the lower the SWR or any other similar metric you like the safer you can feel in retirement. I think that I am at a point in which lowering my SWR has, as they have mentioned here, very marked diminishing returns for me (the 3% I mentioned was just order of magnitude, it is certainly lower than that). In fact, I think that if all this plan (i.e., ERE) fails, it needs to do hard and loud in a way that no SWR will save us. The way we have set up everything is resilient but it will fail in scenarios like super inflation, government asset takeover (gradual or not), war, etc. In those cases, no big portfolio will work. (BTW I don't like physical gold, I don't trust its value and won't buy it). What I want to say is that the risk inherent to investing this surplus money is not worth the return I can get from it.
Sclass wrote:
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.”
....
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
I am living a quite parallel situation although probably not so imminent as yours. It is exactly what gave rise to all these doubts. In fact, it is with my parents with whom I discuss this situation the most. They have the same problem as me and I don't want to see myself there when I am 70. Some people will not believe it, but it is a quite complex problem.



Recalling the idea of the renaissance man... I am healthy, I am handy with tools (or so says DW), maybe investing to improve my social network is something I can deliberately start doing...

Sorry for the messy answer.

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

Post by Jason » Wed Jun 12, 2019 7:16 am

Really? Losing sleep over how to spend money? Poor Jeff Bezos. Even after giving up half of his fortune for a new piece of ass he's probably tossing and turning all night worrying about dying with billions left in the bank. This is just a bunch of humble bragging bullshit. If cancer kids or AIDS awareness or hospices or the Amazon forest or your great great great grandkids or homeless fucking parakeets or a personal chopper doesn't float your boat maybe you can grow it even more and do like incredibly stupid shit with it. Either way, the world will carry on.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gO9PwbtlOIU

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

Post by Lemur » Wed Jun 12, 2019 8:37 am

I don't have this problem. My wife just spends it ;)

Kidding aside....we save for vacations now which is something we did not do in our previous 5 years of marriage. Being prior military and seeing many different countries, I never felt a need to travel but my spouse wants to see the world. A fair compromise was made. Perhaps I'll even have a different perspective being able to travel for pleasure rather than for work.

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

Post by Bankai » Wed Jun 12, 2019 12:42 pm

Interesting question and a lot of good advice here.

If you are happy with your current spending but still want to spend more, the two things that come to mind are health and time.

Health - this one is a no brainer really - there's no better investment. Some ideas on how to 'buy' better health:
  • better quality food - if you're currently buying in a supermarket, make sure it's all organic. It's only very slightly healthier, but if money is not a problem, there's no downside.
  • exercise - subscription to the best/closest gym and a personal trainer
  • supplements - your diet should really cover that, but if not, get the best on the market
  • massages - great for reducing stress
  • premium healthcare with regular check-ups; blood and other stuff checked every 3-6 months
  • move far away from pollution
Time - like most of us, you probably waste quite a lot of time every day doing work at home (washing dishes and other nonsense).
  • outsource all of that and enjoy your free time with family or however you prefer
  • delegate any tasks your wife/kids are capable of doing to them and pay them if necessary
  • negotiate work from home
  • move closer to work to save commute time
  • introduce a rule in your life that you won't worry about money disputes up to $x (e.i. if you order something online and it's crap, but only cost you $25, just bin it rather than go through a hassle of contacting the seller and/or sending it back)
  • basically, look at every regular task in your life and ask yourself if you enjoy doing it, or is it work, and if the latter, pay someone else to do it

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

Post by Frita » Thu Jun 13, 2019 8:44 am

Interesting thread as this is something I need to think of more...random thoughts:
• I struggle to outsource things I dislike doing as it is good practice approaching life with more equanimity. Otherwise, I tend to become more egocentric too.
• I also distinguish between being able to help financially and whether it is the correct course of action. For example, DH’s mother is a spendthrift and always looking for a handout due to the emergency of the day. Giving her money would enable her behavior. We offer help in the form of money management, either from us or elsewhere (book, class, etc.), which is never accepted.
• +1 to supporting locale businesses

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

Post by Augustus » Thu Jun 13, 2019 9:53 pm

I'd start by asking yourself if the world is as ideal as it could be. From there I'd start making a list of things I'd like to see changed. Then I'd hire people to do those things.

I'd probably start by setting up water purification and basic medical/food for people that don't have it.

Charity is too hands off IMO, would be much more fun to do it yourself.

There's a bajillion things I'd change in the world from planting trees in local areas to funding space exploration.

I think it'd be super cool to have some minions on my payroll to implement my both quixotic and practical ideas. I'd also pull some bitchin pranks.

The cool thing with the internet is you could literally go hire people around the world and pay them to do these good deeds, while you sit in your evil genius chair petting a cat and listening to their progress reports.

Hiring someone to make this on some of my land would be right up my alley: https://www.atlasobscura.com/places/ozymandias-plains

You're only limited by imagination, go read some cool books for inspiration.

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

Post by chenda » Fri Jun 14, 2019 3:23 am

Cool, Folly building looks fun. Some were built to provide employment for locals during recessions or famines. Like https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conolly%27s_Folly

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

Post by tjh » Fri Jun 14, 2019 4:44 am

What you are talking about is desire for more. Everyone has the desire for more, but not everyone has the means to buy. If you are not content with what you have, buying what you want, as long as you have a standard of financial strength that you are not violating, is ok. But realize, you'll never satisfy your desire for more.

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

Post by LookingInward » Fri Jun 14, 2019 10:40 pm

Bankai wrote:
Wed Jun 12, 2019 12:42 pm
  • better quality food - if you're currently buying in a supermarket, make sure it's all organic. It's only very slightly healthier, but if money is not a problem, there's no downside.
I've heard from various people that organic food is not only not better in terms of health, it is worse in terms of resource consumption than "normal" food.

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