Ivanka and her $10K bangle bracelet keep rattling around in my brain. What is it like to be able to spend that kind of money on a little sparkly?? Heck, what is it like to look at a menu in a restaurant and not care about the prices? Or to go into a furniture store and say “I’ll take that one” just because you like it and not because it’s the only one you can afford… Or to drive the car that you want, not merely the one whose payments you can manage…
Let’s ignore flights of fantasy here - like winning a mega-lottery. Consider your life and lifestyle as it exists. What would you consider to be the income level where you’d no longer wait for sales or clip coupons. I’m not suggesting you’d spend extravagantly - you’re not buying yachts and private jets - but you can fly first class if you want, stay in whatever hotel you prefer, dine without scanning the dollar menu.
Personally, I don’t think I could relax my frugal nature unless I had an additional $10 per month (after taxes, of course.) I’d feel comfortable splurging for the top tier cable package, I’d ditch my pay-as-you-go phone for a smart phone with a good plan, and I’d shop on Land’s End without going to the Clearance page first. I’d definitely go for 1st class flying (not that I fly that often) but I don’t think I’d choose super high-end hotels - I’m good with a clean, quiet room, thanks. I’d get tickets to shows that I only dream about now. And I’d definitely go for some fine dining more often.
I do wonder how long it would take me to stop looking at price tags and fretting about how a purchase would affect my budget.
I’d love to fly first class, but it would take me a lot more than $10 a month to do it. Are you sure that’s the figure you really want?
An extra $100,000 a year would get me the travel I ould want. Other than that, my life is fine. I neither need nor want jewelry, my Hyundai is fine and makes me happy, my house is perfectly adequate and comfortable, I don’t like the clothes at Saks any more than I like my Eddie Bauer clothes, so I don’t need extra there.
But I would love to travel a lot more, and to do it first class. There are three of us, so $100,000 should do it.
Well flying first class is nuts expensive. I looked into it once flying to Australia and coach was a grand, business was 10k and first was 20 or 30. To fly first class whenever I wanted I’d need probably $50k per year after taxes or more since there are other things that would come well before it on the priority list.
A couple of years back I made $400k per year and I felt pretty rich I bought what I wanted when I wanted too with minimal savings. Of course I was recently married at that point and now I’ve got a kid so that probably adds 50% to my life costs. All in all I’d say $750k per year would have me not caring about my spending. To own the houses that I would prefer would run ~$30 mil so to afford the mortgage on that I’d need about $8 mil per year in income after which I doubt I would care much about money any more.
It would take around twice my monthly income. I’m on SS and get about $1240 a month and manage to scrape by. I ditched my cable and pick up TV with an antenna. I have an Assurance Wireless phone with free minutes and free texts. My car is 20 years old and long since paid for and runs reliably enough I don’t worry much about it. That said, if I had about $2500 a month, I’d feel better about my financial situation. Definitely get my cable back. Maybe think about getting a new car, and a new wardrobe. Maybe have a couple of hundred dollars to put into the bank.
… out of curiosity, what currency are you working in?
When I was single and living alone, I was making $100K/year and I bought whatever I wanted. The things I wanted were fairly middle-rent, though. I’m not a person who would ever think of flying first class, for example. It’s Just Not Done.
But cashmere sweaters? Expensive food? A house just for myself (in a small Midwestern city with cheap real estate)? A new Toyota (not with a premium package)? Heck yeah baby. Bought it.
Now I’m married with a kid, and my husband’s business is making plenty of money. I buy myself treats without consulting the budget: sock yarn, clothes from Old Navy (when there’s a discount code!), toys for the kid. Other than wanting a vacation somewhere sunny with a sandy beach (and we can afford that, my husband just doesn’t have the time to research and book one), I have everything I want.
We obviously enjoy different things. I’m working in dollars but things I want are first row tickets to the Dodgers which run $30l-70k per seat for season tickets and really you need two if not 4 to really enjoy them. So without trying I could drop $120-280k / year before I bought food and drinks at 80 games a year which would easily be another 10k.
I like going to the theater and sitting close the main theater in Denver runs $150/ seat and my wife and liked to go a dozen times a year so that’s $5k and I’m sure much more than that in LA. I think our zoo membership/donation was $10k per year. Without even getting creative I could spend $200k per year by myself without taking a vacation.
I was lucky enough to rack up a bazillion frequent flyer miles traveling for business, so I almost always fly FC, but I buy a coach ticket and use miles to upgrade. It doesn’t take that many miles for a typical upgrade, domestically. If you have a FF credit card, check it out the next time you fly. You might be surprised.
International FC takes a lot more miles, but it is definitely worth it. Domestic FC is often just glorified BC, but international flights are all-out. You’re not fighting for elbow space with the person next to you, you get decent food and good drinks, and you can actually sleep if you want (I can never sleep in coach).
It seems to me that the three Gap Inc stores (Old Navy, The Gap and Banana Republic) sell essentially the same clothes but at different price points. So if you’re happy to buy Old Navy clothes with a discount code, you can be satisfied at a lower cost of living than someone who wants to wear Banana Republic clothes. And there are plenty of people whose cost of living is much higher than that. Lots of people in Manhattan eat out all the time, even though they have gourmet kitchens in their multi-million dollar apartments.
That’s how people can be earning $500,000 or a million bucks per year and yet be flat broke.
For me it is more about security than annual income. Even if I made 200k a year, I wouldn’t know if that was something I could rely on year after year after year.
Supposedly the urge to travel only lasts 2 or 3 years at most for many people.
I don’t know what a number figure would be for me. To lead the lifestyle I lead now but not worry about extra spending, I can technically do that now (spend more on the nicer things in life). But I prefer to save my surplus money rather than spend it because as I said I don’t know how long income will last.
My wife and I were walking around the mall Friday. She said, “I used to love to shop. I wanted so many things, but didn’t have the $ to afford them. Now I have the money, but I hate to shop, and don’t want anything.”
In retirement, we’re making about $120K/year and have substantial savings. I buy pretty much what I want, and I fly first class when I fly, which isn’t often. I also have no need of big ticket items, so just buying things because I can is a non-starter. On the other hand, I’m able to buy power tools for my shop when the need arises.