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  • Easily contented or unimaginative?

    I had a random thought this evening. I often read comments on forums where people say they have no need or desire to spend more than $50K or $100K a year or whatever.

    Now I'm a pretty good saver. I actually enjoy saving. But I also enjoy spending, and I'm starting to think that I have a really good imagination and a pretty good bucket list. The less I work the more I travel and do stuff that costs money. So, I'm honestly surprised when people say they can't find something they'd like to do, see, or have that would cost more than $50K a year. I mean, right now I'm planning a heli-skiing trip. Skiing is great. I like touring (where you walk up the mountain yourself) and resort skiing (where you ride chairlifts for $100 a day). But I don't know very many serious skiers who wouldn't jump at the chance to go heli-skiing if they could afford it. What does it run? Something like $500-1000 per person per day. Now that I can afford it, heck yes, let's give it a try. An entire mountain of fresh powder every run and you don't have to walk to the top of the mountain first? How can you beat that? I mean, just the flightseeing is great.

    So are people who say they're content spending relatively little :

    A) Lying

    B) Easily contented or

    C) Unimaginative?

    And if the answer is just easily contented, is it good to try to train yourself to be that way (it will certainly help you build wealth) or are you just going to miss out on a lot of enjoyable things in life doing that?
    Helping those who wear the white coat get a fair shake on Wall Street since 2011

  • #2
    Your 3 choices would not necessarily be complimentary to most people (at least, in the South, "easily contented" implies slow-witted, child-like). Perhaps these folks are at the point in their lives where they enjoy their careers and accumulating more than spending. I would possibly put myself in that position. I also find things that don't cost very much just as enjoyable. Being with my grandkids versus heli-skiing? There's no competition.
    Working to protect good doctors from bad advisors. Fox & Co CPAs, Fox & Co Wealth Mgmt. 270-247-6087

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    • #3
      Firstly one has to have the money in order to do things like Heli skiing. And for that one has to work harder and save more in order to do those. Maybe people don't want to strive harder or curtain other things in life for those momentary pleasures.

      If you do have that money, then the question becomes - is it worth it. These are people who have been life long savers. They suddenly cannot become extravagant spenders.

      The comes on what you want to spend money on. I have only 2 main hobbies on which I spend more than the usual money. - photography and travel. But even in those areas I try and see if the extra cost in buying the current state of the art camera will give me more pleasure or a step down model will bring me more satisfaction. I have stayed in many 5-Star hotels for free ( courtesy of free medical advisory board meetings , investigator meetings etc) and the Ritz Carlton and a Hampton Inn give me similar pleasure. All I want a clean room with clean sheets and not a roach motel. I can afford a Ritz but why should I spend money on it if I don't derive additional pleasure from it.

      So in my case it is more easily contended than being unimaginative.

       

       

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      • #4
        I'm the opposite, I know I like to spend a lot so it means working harder, working longer, and still trying to save 20-50% of gross for retirement when the paychecks no longer come in.

        At least while the job still pays well and is enjoyable. At which point, if I don't have enough saved up, time to become a moustachian ☺️

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        • #5




          Your 3 choices would not necessarily be complimentary to most people (at least, in the South, “easily contented” implies slow-witted, child-like). Perhaps these folks are at the point in their lives where they enjoy their careers and accumulating more than spending. I would possibly put myself in that position. I also find things that don’t cost very much just as enjoyable. Being with my grandkids versus heli-skiing? There’s no competition.
          Click to expand...


          I don't mean to imply slow-witted by easily contented. If you know a better way to phrase that, I'm all for it.

          I find lots of things that don't cost much enjoyable. But I also find things that do cost a lot to be enjoyable too. Imagine taking all your grandkids heli-skiing? My kids (and presumably their kids when they have some) would LOVE to have that experience that they might never be able to purchase themselves.
          Helping those who wear the white coat get a fair shake on Wall Street since 2011

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          • #6
            This is something that always strikes me in the FIRE community general retirement comments, etc....I have concluded that its mostly like sentiment and stock market prices. Sentiment follows prices and level of content follows whats possible so as to be unlikely to end up badly or very disappointed. A self preservation method.

            Most any doctor could retire within a decade to a MMM style of life but reality is thats just not what we want. I save to spend and enjoy my future to a greater degree than I do today.

            As with others, some of the things I enjoy the most are free, but I do like spendy stuff too and being in spendy places at times. I think for docs a big expense is a nice house in a nice neighborhood with the upkeep it requires. Of course letting the gardener trim my dwarf palms yesterday would have saved me 70 bucks and the displeasure of this corneal abrasion (was only one or two little fronds so I didnt put my glasses on, never again).

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            • #7


              I don’t mean to imply slow-witted by easily contented. If you know a better way to phrase that, I’m all for it. I find lots of things that don’t cost much enjoyable. But I also find things that do cost a lot to be enjoyable too. Imagine taking all your grandkids heli-skiing? My kids (and presumably their kids when they have some) would LOVE to have that experience that they might never be able to purchase themselves.
              Click to expand...


              I really didn't think you meant that. I would probably say content rather than easily contented.

              Someday, I anticipate doing things like that with the kids but the oldest of the 5 is just 8 and I'll save that for their teenage years. Not saying I'll always be content to keep things as they are. Plus my husband is 16 years older and doesn't enjoy travel like he used to because he traveled so much when he owned businesses. It's a choice I make to go with a friend and leave him alone or enjoy being with him. Took the kids and wives to Hawaii a couple of years ago and it was just awesome, but I used miles for the flights and we rented a great house through VRBO so it wasn't overly costly.

              That said, I love encouraging clients to live their dream if they can afford it and they really want to go for it but need permission.
              Working to protect good doctors from bad advisors. Fox & Co CPAs, Fox & Co Wealth Mgmt. 270-247-6087

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              • #8
                I find that I still live quite below my means for many reasons. A big part is a grew up with little extra so maybe I am just easily contented compared to my peers.

                I don't really have the time by the end of the day to go to the mall and buy expensive clothing. Designer purses and shoes never really did it for me, and why would I waste my money on them right now if they are basically going to be filled with wipes and cheerio crumbs for the next few years?  :P  I love my new souped up Highlander but can't really justify dropping tens of thousands more for a luxury car when mine does everything I want it do, and I work from home so no commuting for me. We did get nice places to stay, a large rental car, bought/ate anything we wanted on our vacation this summer and it was a blast, but it still by no means broke the bank for me. Not planning on buying a home until husband's job is solidified and I am saving a great deal for a down payment already. So overall, at this point in my life there is nothing more that I want...when kids are older will definitely spend more on travel, etc. But I am on track to have us save 120k+ this year-havent crunched the numbers since mid year but it turns out to a high savings rate- and I still feel like I have everything I want.  

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                • #9
                  I could easily spend $1M per year doing cool stuff, not accumulating items, loving life and not getting bored. Easily!

                  This MMM lifestyle of spending $24k per year, while of great academic interest, does not suit me or how I wish to live.

                   

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                  • #10
                    I was always content before I started earning decently (and I'm still nowhere near max earning, still being in fellowship and the military).  But I enjoy doing things that cost money.

                    I prefer outright enjoyment over contentment, and I'm happy to spend to attain it.  But again, not all money spent leads to being happier.

                    I think Buddha would posit that the elimination of desires is the first on the path to achieve proper intentions...and Lao-Tze would say along the principle of wu-wei that a sage, because he never does anything, never ruins anything...but that's just because there wasn't as much awesome stuff back then as there is now, right?

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                    • #11
                      Just thinking about heli-skiing makes me have a borderline panic attack. I prefer more sedate leisure time activities.

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                      • #12


                        So are people who say they’re content spending relatively little : A) Lying B) Easily contented or C) Unimaginative?
                        Click to expand...


                        Lying? Possibly to themselves as an adaptive behavior to help them accept a lifestyle they can afford. I would guess this is a small percentage.

                        Easily contented (or simply content)? This is probably the best answer of the three options. Many who have been on the hedonic treadmill at some point have realized that having more and better things (or "grander" experiences) can be a somewhat fleeting high that leaves you wanting even more. There's nothing wrong with nice things or grand experiences, but when they become the norm, you need even nicer things and grander experiences to get a dopamine release. When you have something you enjoy, like heli-skiing, Make it a Treat. Do it every weekend, and it loses its luster.

                        Unimaginative? Quite the opposite, I would say. It doesn't take an active imagination to spend lots of money. Conversely, having grand adventures or having everything you could want without spending a ton of money takes some level of creativity or ingenuity. I've seen some some good examples of this among the FIRE community. I liked Jeremy & Winnie's post on spending 4 months in Europe at a cost of $30,000. Not a barebones budget, but not extravagant, either.

                        How much does it cost to go heli-skiing? I honestly have no idea.

                        Best,

                        -PoF

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                        • #13
                          That is a really interesting question.  It would be interesting to prospectively follow some young Reddit FIRE enthusiasts over the coming decades and see how reality unfolds.  Its also pretty tempting for many people to misrepresent themselves on the internet when there are often no consequences for doing so. So that's A).

                          I budget obsessively because I feel I absolutely have to. There's ton's of stuff I want or want to do, but having made dumb money decisions in the past, I know better than to trust myself.

                          C) is interesting too though, because as I've followed my spending closely for several years now, I've noticed that I spend the least when I have a really busy month.  Turns out when I'm tired and working long hours I don't have the time or energy to browse a sale online or imagine a gadget I think I need or daydream a new vacation idea.  I could imagine some people who are so consistently busy (with work, kids, family, finances, etc.) it would never even occur to them to spend money heli-skiing.

                          (Side question: Your life/disability insurance policies cool with high-risk sports? I've never had a reason to check my policies for that, but the thought came up when I was pondering a motorcycle recently.)

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                          • #14




                            I had a random thought this evening. I often read comments on forums where people say they have no need or desire to spend more than $50K or $100K a year or whatever.

                            Now I’m a pretty good saver. I actually enjoy saving. But I also enjoy spending, and I’m starting to think that I have a really good imagination and a pretty good bucket list. The less I work the more I travel and do stuff that costs money. So, I’m honestly surprised when people say they can’t find something they’d like to do, see, or have that would cost more than $50K a year. I mean, right now I’m planning a heli-skiing trip. Skiing is great. I like touring (where you walk up the mountain yourself) and resort skiing (where you ride chairlifts for $100 a day). But I don’t know very many serious skiers who wouldn’t jump at the chance to go heli-skiing if they could afford it. What does it run? Something like $500-1000 per person per day. Now that I can afford it, heck yes, let’s give it a try. An entire mountain of fresh powder every run and you don’t have to walk to the top of the mountain first? How can you beat that? I mean, just the flightseeing is great.

                            So are people who say they’re content spending relatively little :

                            A) Lying

                            B) Easily contented or

                            C) Unimaginative?

                            And if the answer is just easily contented, is it good to try to train yourself to be that way (it will certainly help you build wealth) or are you just going to miss out on a lot of enjoyable things in life doing that?
                            Click to expand...


                            Jim, be sure to check out the Ruby Mountain heli operation.  I find that it is a good combination of value and fun.  I mean, a Utahn can drive there and save the flight and missed work expenses.  Once you're familiar with the operation, you can fly standby when they need extra bodies -- stay in the Elko Motel 6 the night before and pay a discounted price for the heli.

                            I've done killer luxury trips in France and Canada.  I'm neither easily contented nor unimaginative...but I also appreciate good deal.

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                            • #15




                              That is a really interesting question.  It would be interesting to prospectively follow some young Reddit FIRE enthusiasts over the coming decades and see how reality unfolds.  Its also pretty tempting for many people to misrepresent themselves on the internet when there are often no consequences for doing so. So that’s A).

                              I budget obsessively because I feel I absolutely have to. There’s ton’s of stuff I want or want to do, but having made dumb money decisions in the past, I know better than to trust myself.

                              C) is interesting too though, because as I’ve followed my spending closely for several years now, I’ve noticed that I spend the least when I have a really busy month.  Turns out when I’m tired and working long hours I don’t have the time or energy to browse a sale online or imagine a gadget I think I need or daydream a new vacation idea.  I could imagine some people who are so consistently busy (with work, kids, family, finances, etc.) it would never even occur to them to spend money heli-skiing.

                              (Side question: Your life/disability insurance policies cool with high-risk sports? I’ve never had a reason to check my policies for that, but the thought came up when I was pondering a motorcycle recently.)
                              Click to expand...


                              Josh, I've researched the insurance question a lot.  I'm sure Larry et al will offer their suggestions as professionals, but I can tell you as a consumer, yeah, they care A LOT about that stuff when you're applying.  If you get into dangerous sports (off-trail hiking -- seriously! and don't even get me started on tech diving or mountaineering) AFTER the policy is signed, there isn't a problem.

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