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peer pressure to spend

March 14th, 2016 at 08:33 am

My neighbor's house is for sale. Very nice place and I'm sure there will be a bidding war. She's selling it because they want to cash out their equity and move to a cheaper neighborhood with a longer commute. That way instead of having bought their house for $420k with 5% down payment, she can have a bigger home, longer commute but put down 20% or more down payment depending on how much they make on the sale of the home.

The problem? EVERYONE (not me) has been telling them to just buy more home. She said they are doing it because they aren't able to live on her husband's paycheck and are dependent for her to work and cover the bills. Her husband pointed out if they sell and buy with more money down they can live on one income and she doesn't have to work and can stay home with the kids if she wanted. She works part-time as a nurse and makes good money. She isn't sure if she wants to stay at home full time but is sure she wants to live on one income.

She was telling me and asking how the heck we were living with no income. I told her the truth. We saved a lot of money and live cheaply. We've always lived on one income and I think that it's the way to go in today's society.

She said that coworkers, family, even their parents suggest buying more house with the equity they are getting. No one is suggesting they "downsize" and move somewhere cheaper. But she feels that not having the pressure to work and knowing they can afford the car payments, student loans, and mortgage on just her husband's income would be huge. I agreed that is would be incredible to do it. I did say I hate long commutes, but I can see the enormous benefit of living on one income.

What astounded me was when she said they were doing this to "downsize"spending (I mean really I'm not sure most on this board would say they could afford their house in the first place having put down only 5%), makes financial sense. Yet people are encouraging them, friends, relatives, real estate agent, to upsize in price of the home and spend money. Keep the payment the same but go up since you have so much more to put down.

Seems logical but not when the budget was tight to begin with. I think people go a bit crazy with mortgages and student loans. I think that MANY people justify both a larger mortgage and large student loans as "good" debt and don't really look at the big picture. They don't see how tight it could make a budget. Or how it could be useful to try to stay within certain income parameters. People who care about you actually encourage in some ways overspending. $50k student loans? Sure you'll get a job. Housing at 35%? Sure your income will grow.

I find it astonishing because lenders approve the loans and your friends and family support the idea.

I am starting to think we preach financial responsibility. But if our own friends and family encourage "good" debt and stretching ourselves financially, how can people be financially responsible? How can you learn if everyone else is doing the same? Or egging you on?

Financial mish mash

October 24th, 2014 at 07:38 pm

I am a pretty boring investor. We just buy and hold. We don't actively invest, and I rarely look at the accounts and total them up because it'd probably give me white hairs if I did. Anyway though I guess I'll give some interesting updates.

In January we had $439k in retirement savings, as of today we have $500,444. However when I checked in mid-September (19th) we had $515,884. So it's going up but also come down.

Taxable accounts we started with $195k and are at $228k. Good savings, but more importantly it's not up as high because we've paid off a lot of debt. Starting debt was $27,800 in January 2014. Of which $11,800 was car loans 0.9%, $8k was 0% Credit Cards, and $8k in student loans at 1.9%. So as of today we owe $4900 on one car and $2330 on one 0% CC. We've paid off $20,500 of debt. It was just getting to us so we decided to start minimizing payments even though it didn't make financial sense. Accordingly our NW went up from $839k to $959k. I am hoping the year ends with our retirement solidly above $500k, taxable above $230k, and debt below $5k.

This month I also decided to start a spread sheet on tracking in depth my groceries and eating out. What I found is that I spent a lot more on eating out this month which caused my cooking budget to be super low. Our groceries currently with a week to go is at $282.05. Our eating out $282.28, which I usually don't break $300 (usually closer to $200) and our groceries have been running around $600 a month. And we are eating out at least 1 more meal for sure if not 2 this next week. Yikes!

I guess it's just that we ate out with friends more than usual. We ate out 7 times with friends so far this month and are planning on meeting up on Tuesday again. Socializing is tough on the pocket book.

I can't complain about this year. I think I may keep a running tally of my groceries and eating out which is easier in excel than mint. I also now stand in self-checkout lines at costco and bjs and track what is home stuff and what is groceries.