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Subject:  Re: The New Luxuries Date:  10/11/2000  3:37 PM
Author:  DataCommFool Number:  21464 of 876452

<<Many people associate saving money with sacrifice. My experience is that there is no connection between the two. In my case, each increase in saving led to greater enjoyment of life, not only in the long-term, but in the short-term as well. So I've tried to understand better the widespread perception that to save more means to enjoy life less.

I've come up with a theory. Just as generals have a tendency to develop battle plans based on what worked in previous wars, consumers have a tendency to form viewpoints about money based on the experiences of earlier generations.

It's not that long ago that the pleasures derived from material goods were hard to come by. Television is a recent invention, as are the airplanes that make exotic vacations feasible for the middle-class. It's only the large productivity gains enjoyed in recent decades that have allowed many of us to even consider the possibility of eating out several times a week.

So we define luxury as the possession of goods and services--electronics equipment, restaurant dining, vacations. But are these things really luxuries in today's world? A luxury to me is something rare and precious that brings an unusual feeling of comfort or pleasure. I question whether the things that can be bought with a credit card still fit the bill.>>

I think this brings up the whole idea of needs versus wants. You need to heat the house in the winter and you need to eat dinner but IMHO it is a luxury to go out to dinner at a restaurant.

The reason I qualified this statement with IMHO is that it seems as if many people view what I consider wants as needs. In this board, from past messages, Fools LBYM because they are more likely to view luxuries as wants versus needs and have a desire to save money. So this is a long winded way of saying that I think the reason people find saving to be a sacrifice is that they NEED to buy all the things that most of us on this board consider to be luxuries. Part of this need can be explained by status symbols but I don't think all of it can.

I also think that for some reason it doesn't bother me or, it seems, most of the Fools here to not buy the luxuries. So it becomes easy to save for the goal of RE since we aren't missing anything.

I say this in part because I am constantly amazed at all of the goods and services that I consider to be luxuries that are being bought by many people. And it can't be that it is just the rich buying them because there aren't enough of them. Some examples:

Mercedes SUV
Rolex watches
Expensive sunglasses (I mean really, you know you're going to lose them or break them during the summer.)
Expensive clothes - look at all the polo shirts.
Sports tickets

Since people have to have these things they feel real pain if they have to cut back in order to save. But you have to save to RE or to retire at all. I like all of these items and some I would buy if money didn't matter, I'm just saying that I don't even think about it unless the subject comes up. Yet there must be a lot of people who do think about it and buy them otherwise the products would not be offered.

DataCommFool - trying to understand why people buy the things that they do since 1902.

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