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Thread: High Income Kith
07-02-2019, 02:33 PM #301
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It's awkward talking about incomes because to some people that is private, and some people think it's no big deal and you don't know. Then there's the point Kathy brought up that not all salaries spend equally, due to regional costs of living and personal circumstances. A 100k income goes a long way in the midwest, not so far on the east or west coast, and there's a big difference in expenses when you have kids, or medical expenses. So just saying "we make xxx annual income" isn't a good indicator of where you are financially.
Another thing I have noticed lately, and it's not new it's just me, a lot of people CARE about what other people think about them. Strangers, even. They worry they are being judged on everything from hair style to clothing, the car they drive, what they do for fun, and of course how much they make and what they spend it on. And they feel they have to compete, have to dress as well, have to eat at certain restaurants, be seen doing certain activities, and so on. The flip side of that is they feel bad doing their own thing, not following the crowd, not giving in to peer pressure, buying from thrift shops and eating leftovers for lunch. Honestly, most people are not looking squinty-eyed at you and thinking "I bet those are 2nd hand shoes, the poor girl can't afford new ones, aww. I don't want to be friends with her any more".
DH has a very good income right now, but when we married 20 years ago we were flat broke. He had divorced and lost everything to his ex, house, car, retirement savings. We were both driving junker cars, which we had to replace a year later, which wiped out the few thousand I had saved before I got laid off 3 weeks before the wedding. DH went through a long spell of unemployment, temp jobs and underemployment, so we have always been frugal. Our bank accounts look really good right now, but we worked hard to get here. DH is already talking about retirement, when and if he'll be able to. We depend on his insurance to cover my expensive medical treatments. Even though he could quit working in 5 years, we can't afford it. We're enjoying life right now, but in a careful, frugal fashion.Stop trying to organize all of your family’s crap. If organization worked for you, you’d have rocked it by now. It’s time to ditch stuff and de-crapify your world.
If you're not using the stuff in your home, get rid of it. You're not going to start using it more by shoving it into a closet.
Use it up, Wear it out,
Make it do, Or do without. ~unknown
A clean house is a sign of a wasted life. ~unknown
07-02-2019, 03:08 PM #302
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Some people are more cautious about giving out personal info such as income on public internet sites. One never knows who is looking at that info or what they might do with it.
From having friends on the east and west coasts, I learned a long time ago that wages are often higher on the coasts than in the midwest for the same jobs, due to differences in COL. Had one acquaintance who tried for years to get hired in Minnesota at the wages he was getting in Boston because, according to him, he "knew his worth". He never seemed able to grasp the concepts of either being offered lower wages because the jobs were in lower COL areas, or the concept that he could have lower income but a higher standard of living. He did eventually move and bitched for years about how he wasn't being paid what he was worth. (While also saying he would never move back to Boston.)
I stopped caring a long time ago what anyone thinks of my spending habits. I don't see why I should have to pay retail for everything just because someone else assumes I can. And I have been poor too. Since I don't want to be again, I have no plans to stop being a good steward of our money.
07-02-2019, 04:31 PM #303
I know people in my hometown that are making less than us, but living much better. If it were not for our pensions, I would seriously consider taking a lower paid job in a low COL city.
I feel like I don't care what other people think of me, but in a good way. I care about some things, for example at work I want to be thought of as competent person who gets along well with her coworkers. I don't really care what they think about my fashion sense - or lack of it. As long as my clothes are perceived as being workplace appropriate. I don't care if people realize that all my shoes are from Payless shoes. Let make take a moment to morn the death of Payless shoes.
My husband and I were geeks back in high school so we were never popular. Perhaps that is the building block of not trying to impress other people. We know that what we like - the things we choose to spend our disposable income on - are not what the majority of people care for. I do not really care for status symbol stuff.
I was telling my husband that geeks do not normally spend to impress. He countered that they do. But they spend to impress other geeks, not mainstream society. I suppose our collection of D&D stuff could be considered impressive - by people who actually care about that kind of thing. But really that is stuff we bought because we think it is awesome. And it is mostly stuff we actually use.
But in terms of the traditional things to impress other people - we don't have much. No designer clothes or shoes. No car of any type.KathyB
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07-02-2019, 05:47 PM #304
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Our cars are 2002 and 2005 models. Most of our furniture is secondhand. Etc. I doubt anyone would be impressed, but who cares? People seem real impressed we retired early, but don't seem to make the connection between the old cars, secondhand furniture, and early retirement. Not my problem.
07-02-2019, 11:19 PM #305
In my area, most people are affluent or act like they are. They do buy marked down/clearance items at the market, however. With the new advent of debit cards instead of food stamps for the SNAP program, it's hard to distinguish who is on food stamps. There is a food bank at my church and as a volunteer, we don't discuss money. We help anyone who comes and sometimes, the guests tell us their financial woes or cry. But we don't judge and just help them.
My family had been in poverty due to job loss/changes. I know that most doctors/dentists don't accept Medicaid (state assistance) as they don't get paid quickly and what the state pays them per visit is $15. So, it was very hard finding quality professionals to help us and we have chronic illness here. Currently, we're not in poverty anymore due to increased wages at our jobs.
For us, we don't try to fit in with anyone and most people we know are co-workers and church friends. So, I think we're surrounded by decent folks. I also try to keep blinders on and steer away from bad vibes when venturing out in public. I just get errands done and then go back home. I don't look around to see what people have. If DH sees a fancy car on the road, he'll ask if I saw it and I usually respond No. I guess I just don't care enough to pay attention to stuff like that. I believe our AGI last year was $68,000. It will be less this year due to my dropping down in hours, my medical costs and other losses. My guess is it will be below $50,000. It is tough to pay bills as DH was complaining the other day and I can feel the pinch. I'm trying to figure out what to do at this point.
07-04-2019, 01:19 PM #306
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When I started FV I belonged in the medium kith and was beyond debt poor. The people here helped save me! I now belong in this kith and I'm still super frugal, learning more every day. I no longer have to be frugal but I can't not be frugal. I swore I would never live like that again.
I'm here because it helps keep me on track and I want to be one of those that can help newbies and others that are where I was. One of the things I love about this forum is that no matter what kind of $ we make we all have a passion or need to be frugal, we are here to learn and to help others. I don't talk much about it in real life but I do post what I'm doing on FB - gardening, chickens, canning, foraging....stuff like that. Some people are amazed that people still do that kind of stuff but I've never gotten snotty or rude comments.
When I was contracting and making over $175k I was asked why I still do all the frugal things I do and my answer was "that's the difference between making money and having money". I now live in a state with low taxes, low food costs and 20 miles from the nearest town.
07-05-2019, 08:12 AM #307
I plan on retiring early-ish. I will be 59, so maybe some people will be mildly impressed. I currently look young for my age (51). If that trend continues people will be more impressed because they will guess I am younger.
My son is 32 and still gets carded for alcohol. Not one of those card anyone who looks under 30 things. Wait staff is genuinely shocked when they see his age. He looks around 20.
Well it is not like I am retiring early to impress anyone though.KathyB
07-15-2019, 11:04 AM #308
This for the high income/high cost of living area people out there. How many of you have moved to lower cost of living areas after retirement? Or are thinking of moving to lower cost of living after retirement?
I still have 8 years to go, but this is part of my retirement plan. Part of it is a money thing. But part of it is not. I do not like the population density and bad traffic here.
I think I would have enough money to live here after my husband and I retire. But we could have a higher quality of life in another area with the same money. For example, nicer home and/or neighborhood, more money for hobbies and entertainment.
I would also like to have some extra money in investments set aside. My husband and I will both get pensions, but there is no survivor's benefit for the pensions. And the social security the survivor's benefit is not helpful for us, since you have to choose between your own social security benefits or half your spouse's.
Other quality of life things: While there may be less attractions and local events than here, many places have a decent amount of attractions and local festivals. I was able to find many locations where I feel like the amount of attractions and events would be enough, even if it is less than here.KathyB
07-22-2019, 01:34 PM #309
I fully expect to move to a lower cost of living area once I retire. Where that is, I don't know. Being that I still have 20-ish years to go, I have a lot of time to figure that out. Like you, it has more to do with the amount of population and traffic than it does cost.
07-22-2019, 05:40 PM #310
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We live in a small town now. Our COL would go up no matter where we moved just because of greater shoppurtunities. We don't have many stores here, and they're small, so less selection, less impulse buying.
07-23-2019, 10:27 AM #311
I live in a major metro area and don't really shop local except for groceries. Stuff is so much more expensive locally than it is on line. And the traffic makes it pain to go shopping.
I feel like I might actually do more in person shopping when I retire to a less big area. The places I am thinking of moving to are smaller than here, but still decent sized towns. Well I suppose it depends on how you define smaller. If you just go by population of the city itself DC ranks #20, behind Columbus, Ohio and Indianapolis, Indiana. But if you go by metropolitan area - i.e. including the urban sprawl - we are ranked number 6 in the US. By that standard we are over three times as big as Columbus and Indianapolis.KathyB
08-03-2019, 11:43 AM #312
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I am in Norther Virgina (high COL) but we plan to stay here. My town has a range of housing from apartments to McMansions. My home was paid for back in 2003 so when we sell we will be able to buy a smaller place outright. Real estate taxes are high, medical care is costly. But I think basic food and household supplies are affordable here like other places and I don't have much need to buy other stuff. I do dress really nicely but it's because (A) I sew and (B) I got a lot of mom's clothing and jewelry and altered it to suit me. And she had CLOSETS full of stuff. I'm sure I only need to buy shoes and underwear for the next 10 years.
08-04-2019, 02:53 PM #313
I am in the same general area. I live near DC but on the Maryland side. My housing situation is not as good though. We live in a condo so there is not much room to downsize. We had the bad luck/stupidity to take out a mortgage shortly before a housing bubble burst. For years we owed more on than it was worth. The assessed value is slowly climbing up, but still under the bubble price. We will not be finished paying for it when we retire. We will probably not get a lot when we sell, but at least it is a positive number now.
We might have enough in retirement funds to get a house somewhere else. But at this point I would be fine living in an apartment in another city.
I feel like I would like the freedom an apartment would give us to move if we choose.
On the other hand, except for the condo situation, we are doing pretty good financially. We will have pensions plus a retirement fund, so I think we will be doing okay.
In a few more months we will have paid all our debts except the mortgage. We have money in savings and in retirement funds.
Honestly, this is the best shape financially I have ever been in.KathyB
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