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Author: hocus Big red star, 1000 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: of 757444  
Subject: The New Luxuries Date: 10/11/2000 12:26 PM
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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.

Television was a luxury when television first became available. But today a small-screen color television with the ability to play videos in your home can be purchased for $200. It's not hard enough to come by to be considered a luxury.

Manufacturers have tried to restore television to luxury status by increasing the size of the screen. I don't think this works, however. A big-screen experience is better than a small-screen experience. But the difference is not great enough to justify calling the large-screen television a luxury. The jump from no television to a small-screen was far more significant than the jump from small-screen to big-screen.

I don't think you can buy luxury with money anymore. Consumer goods have become too plentiful and too cheap to make ownership of them all that special. There have been efforts to add expensive attributes that increase the feeling of specialness for those who own them. But does a hamburger cooked on a $5,000 grill taste that much better? If not, I question whether the increased price delivers genuine luxury.

What are the true luxuries today, then? It's those things that are possessed only by a few, those things that offer an unusual degree of happiness and contentment. I can think of several things that fit the bill, but they aren't things you can attain by spending more. They are things you can only possess by saving more.

Freedom from anxiety over job loss is a luxury in today's world. Job security wasn't such a big deal in earlier times, when there were millions of middle-class workers who believed that it was unlikely that they would ever lose their jobs. Today, the smartest and hardest-working employee has no such confidence. Job security is rare. That makes it a luxury--one that can be purchased only by saving enough to become financially independent of a paycheck.

The ability to retrain for new types of employment is another of the new luxuries. The New Economy offers awesome opportunities for workers positioned to take advantage of the next growth surge. But it has become difficult to anticipate where the next growth surge will be taking place. Many of us need to leave the fields we have gained experience in to continue to move forward in our careers.

But only those who have put aside substantial amounts of savings early in life feel free to take the risks needed to take full advantage of the new opportunities. Possession of a savings cushion allowing one to take risks not viable for most others has become a luxury. It's the savings cushion--not the things that could have been bought with the money instead--that provides a rare comfort in modern times.

Yet another luxury in today's world is free time. All workers, from those earning minimum wage to those earning six figures, complain of the busy pace of modern life. Earning a high income and buying lots of goods and services offers no special status in this regard. High-earning lawyers and doctors are suffering from the same tensions as all the rest. Spending money on massages or on housecleaning services can ease the pressure a bit, but cannot eliminate it.

But achieving financial independence does eliminate this bane of modern life. The day I retired from my corporate job is the day I entered a world of luxury. I don't spend any more than before. But I enjoy the rare comfort of having time to think amid all the hustle and bustle.

When I was in the process of increasing my savings goals, I never took any action that I viewed as a sacrifice. It wasn't necessary. I was able to meet all my goals by taking steps that added to my sense of well being by making me feel more secure about my future and by bringing the dream of independence closer to reality.

If you think of luxury in this new way, there is no such thing as a savings plan which is too “extreme.” It does not make sense to view steps in the pursuit of more fun, more freedom, and more fulfillment in negative terms. So long as those are the goals of your savings plan, you deny yourself nothing in going after them ever more intently.

There's only one downside to this new way of thinking about money decisions. Once you experience the benefits, you can't imagine going back to the old approach to spending. Luxury is hard to give up once you become accustomed to it.

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Author: lserrin Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 21411 of 757444
Subject: Re: The New Luxuries Date: 10/11/2000 12:40 PM
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What are the true luxuries today, then?

Marriages that last a lifetime <sigh>....

Errin
who recalls reading that money problems is one of the top 5 reasons for divorce

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Author: fzabaly Three stars, 500 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 21432 of 757444
Subject: Re: The New Luxuries Date: 10/11/2000 1:38 PM
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Freedom from anxiety over job loss is a luxury in today's world. Job security wasn't such a big deal in earlier times, when there were millions of middle-class workers who believed that it was unlikely that they would ever lose their jobs.

Yes. But as a 40-yr-old, I believe today's job market re: retirement accts is a big improvment.

It took me about 3 yrs after being fired/"laid off" in 1992 to come to this conclusion. A columnist I enjoy, Scott Burns, stated that under the 'defined benefit pension' system, most retirees received approx 50% of retirement income needs from the pension.

But employees had to stay many yrs (10-25) at a single employeer to get this size of the pension. And some pension plans were badly handled, resulting in less benefits.

He cites a 1997 study studying employees that were covered by state and local pensions, as thus did not participate in social secuity. The article is at:
http://www.scottburns.com/001008SU.htm

Given that my current field (computers) is so volatile wrt jobs and companies it makes sense that my 'pension' /IRA/401(k) is portable. The job market demands this portability.

And as a control-freak, I prefer making my own mistakes <ggg>

Bye
FrankZ

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Author: drnonlinear Three stars, 500 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 21460 of 757444
Subject: Re: The New Luxuries Date: 10/11/2000 3:33 PM
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<<Yet another luxury in today's world is free time.>>

Great post! The great revolution of (mostly) free markets has made us so productive that we can generate the surplus necessary to buy the luxury of free time. After all, the one resource that is truly scarce is TIME.

One personal experience that fits in with the theme of this thread: My wife got a big raise a week ago and we thought we'll splurge on some luxury item. The funny (& sort of sad) thing was: we could not come up with anything to spend the money on! We have most things money can buy, & there are very few restaurants that are good enough for our money.

- dr. nonlinear - following my bliss since 1963

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Author: DataCommFool One star, 50 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 21464 of 757444
Subject: Re: The New Luxuries Date: 10/11/2000 3:37 PM
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<<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
Restaurants

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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Author: brewer12345 Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 21470 of 757444
Subject: Re: The New Luxuries Date: 10/11/2000 3:59 PM
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Expensive sunglasses (I mean really, you know you're going to lose them or break them during the summer.)


Hmm, I tend to agree with you except that its very hard to know what someone else's "needs" truly are. For example, my wife buys 5 buck special sunglasses because she will crush, scratch beyond use, or lose them within 6 months (at most). I on the other hand, can't make do with cheap shades. I used to wear prescription eyeglasses and I find it annoying and disorienting to wear cheaply made sunglasses that distort my vision. My most recent pair is a set of polarized photochromic sunglasses that ran me $100 (even after I really shopped around and ended up buying them on the web). Since I kept the pair before for about 7 years (when the frame finally gave out), I don't view it as a problem. In fact, I'll probably spend less on shades over the next 5 years than my wife will.

Are the expensive shades one of my "needs?" I think so, but obviously other might not agree.

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Author: DataCommFool One star, 50 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 21481 of 757444
Subject: Re: The New Luxuries Date: 10/11/2000 4:55 PM
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<<Are the expensive shades one of my "needs?" I think so, but obviously other might not agree. >>

The differences make for an interesting topic though.

In this case I was thinking of the designer sunglasses but since it is only $100 over 7 years it is hard to argue that they are a luxury. But if your wife were to buy $100 - $150 designer shades twice a year then I think that is a luxury.

There must be many people who disagree with that statement however because there must be a lot of people who buy luxury items, like designer sunglasses, since it seems as if many are produced. Now if it were just sunglasses then no big deal but when all the other luxury items are added in then no wonder there is no room for savings.

My point though is that it seem to me as if 'the savers' don't miss the luxuries or don't mind waiting for them whereas the 'non savers' have to have them. Is it just will power? I don't think that is the only reason. I can say no to spending but I also don't even think about luxuries so I wonder if that is true with other savers. For me saving is like any other bill. X for the mortgage, Y for the electric, Z for saving. And with an automatic payroll deduction it's, well, automatic. :)





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Author: Off2Explore Two stars, 250 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 21489 of 757444
Subject: Re: The New Luxuries Date: 10/11/2000 5:16 PM
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"Mercedes SUV
Rolex watches
Expensive sunglasses
Expensive clothes
Sports tickets
Restaurants"

I agree with all of these except restaurants. By the tie my husband and I come home from full days of work, I am really not in the mood to cook most nights, and he doesn't cook at all. It's a relief to let someone else do it.

I like to cook, and I cook up a storm during the weeks that I am not employed. Since I am a contract software developer, this typically occurs several weeks a year.
My husband always eats better when I don't have "real job". :-)


Off2Explore


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Author: artlv Three stars, 500 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 21502 of 757444
Subject: Re: The New Luxuries Date: 10/11/2000 6:07 PM
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Hocus,

I agree that in the main, saving is good and saving more is better, which I think is your primary thrust; however, I have to disagree/quibble with some of the statements you make along the way in your post.

Many people associate saving money with sacrifice. My experience is that there is no connection between the two.

I can't deny your experience, but I wouldn't go so far as to say there is no connection in general. I could see an issue for those who are making do with less, and who consequently find it non-trivial to include savings in a budget, and more difficult still to increase the amount budgeted for savings, without giving up (sacrificing) other expenditures. The sacrifice need not be monetary either; a parent/spouse may sacrifice increasing amounts of time at work in order to go beyond merely putting food on the table from day to day. So, to me at least, there is an apparent connection between "saving money and sacrifice" in at least some cases.

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.

"...for everything else, there's MasterCard..."
:-)

Perhaps there are people who find rare and precious things which bring unusual feelings of comfort or pleasure that can be brought with a credit card. Just because I can't imagine it doesn't mean it can't be so. It's also not clear to me that everyone will consider the same things to be luxuries, or that said luxuries are required to be in short supply all 'round.

Yet another luxury in today's world is free time. All workers, from those earning minimum wage to those earning six figures, complain of the busy pace of modern life. Earning a high income and buying lots of goods and services offers no special status in this regard. High-earning lawyers and doctors are suffering from the same tensions as all the rest. Spending money on massages or on housecleaning services can ease the pressure a bit, but cannot eliminate it.

I agree with you that time is arguably our most precious commodity, therefore I would submit that paying someone to clean my house so that I can spend more time with my family really and truly is buying time! Changing the oil in our cars, baking bread from scratch, growing our own vegetables, repairing leaky roofs and a whole litany of other activities can be accomplished by most anyone if they set their minds to it; however, I daresay not many choose to squander all their time doing all these tasks (though some may choose to do the ones they enjoy most). Rather, we each choose a balance between that which we can afford to spend time on and that which affords us extra time to devote to things that are more meaningful to us (constrained, of course, by what we can afford to pay for).

If you think of luxury in this new way, there is no such thing as a savings plan which is too “extreme.” It does not make sense to view steps in the pursuit of more fun, more freedom, and more fulfillment in negative terms. So long as those are the goals of your savings plan, you deny yourself nothing in going after them ever more intently.

Sorry, I can't agree with this bit at all.

This comes back to the notions of "need versus want", a slippery slope indeed, and "today versus tomorrow".

If you think about it, human beings need very little to survive, for example indoor plumbing, electricity, grocery stores, ... Humankind survived for many years before all these inventions. Unless you've eschewed all these, you won't convince me that you've reverted to a minimalist in terms of your consumption, thus I won't accept your less-is-better contention above (or criticism of others' consumer habits).

The fact is, everyone prioritizes their wants as they see fit, and we all draw the line a little differently; exhibit A: the sub-thread where someone enumerated a list of foolish consumption choices, and a couple of people have picked nits with the list because it overlapped with their "gotta have it" list to some extent. No matter which list you come up with, and no matter how self-evidently wasteful all the items appear to you, if you ask enough people you'll likely hit at least one that can reasonably (to them) justify any given item on the list.

Further, the question of how much to give up today for an anticipated tomorrow (which may never arrive) cannot, methinks, be answered for everyone in one generality. We all need to make our own choices there.

Generalizing with the best of them (that means you, hocus :-),

Art

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Author: LilithD One star, 50 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 21505 of 757444
Subject: Re: The New Luxuries Date: 10/11/2000 6:16 PM
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Great topic! I've been thinking for years about this outdated idea that consumables are the only measure of wealth. It's simply not true anymore, and countries should perhaps more often measure their quality of life and environmental status as well as GDP. Perhaps then the World Bank would stop forcing people into the cash (ie taxable) economy. I'm not idealising the tough way many people in 'underdeveloped' countries live, I just believe they should be able to continue their lifestyle (that has often served them for millennia) if they wish.

It is very noticable where I live that it tends to be the lower-paid/unemployed people who conspicuously consume items (eg TV in every bedroom, lots of jewellery, flashy-looking new cars). People with money are more likely to invest in the freedom of running their own consultancy from home, living near the sea, looking after their health etc.

Has anyone read Lionel Tiger's 'The Pursuit of Pleasure'? His premise is that humans really desire the same things our ancient, even animal ancestors desired: status, a clean environment, security but enough freedom etc.

Consumable luxuries of the past implied status and freedom and the clean environment was simply taken for granted. Many consumables, now easily accessible to most people in developed countries, are no longer status symbols. But having the money to buy yourself some space, some freedom and a clean environment is growing in importance.

I wonder if so called 'underdeveloped' nations will be able to resist the temptation of overconsumption and recognise what luxuries they really have? Again, I don't mean doing without the basics of clean water, enough food, medical care and birth control. In other words, can we find a balance between the different forms of luxury?

This is subversive to a board that is really all about share investing only if you believe that economic growth should be fast and cancerous.

Lil

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Author: SeattlePioneer Big funky green star, 20000 posts Top Favorite Fools Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 21519 of 757444
Subject: Re: The New Luxuries Date: 10/11/2000 7:46 PM
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If leisure time is one of the "new luxuries," perhaps there should be a tax on it. This would discourage those lazy bums who have the temerity to Retire Early, creating labor shortages and confusing the work ethic of the middle class.

The means are at hand ---child support payments are figured based on the "imputed earnings" of men, who may have been working a great amount of overtime and will be expected to continue to do so whether it's available or not. Similarly, earnings could be imputed for tax purposes up until age 65, 68 or 70 or so, with any earnings shortfall caused by Retire Early slacking being met with imputed earned income which would be taxed, earned or not.

Perhaps we could toss in Social Security taxes into the mix as well.


Seattle Pioneer

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Author: ClarkePitts One star, 50 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 21549 of 757444
Subject: Re: The New Luxuries Date: 10/12/2000 1:00 AM
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Luxuries should be those things that improve your quality of life.

Here in Japan, the per capita income is very high - a lot of people can afford Gucci, Mercedes and international air travel etc. yet they have no living space to themselves and I think the standard of living quite low by comparison with Western European or American standards.

The latter day luxuries for most apparently well off urban people these days are - living space (gardens!), free time and a good environment (air, litter etc.) Very few living in the major cities of the world enjoy these.

How many people live in small appartments!

How many people only see their families and friends at the weekend or not even then!

How many people breath dirty polluted air that leaves grim on their clothes; and have to wade through litter the moment they leave their homes.



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Author: BobOgren Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 21572 of 757444
Subject: Re: The New Luxuries Date: 10/12/2000 1:02 PM
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One of my dad's favorite comments, when we were wining about wanting something, is " A man is rich in proportion to what he can live without".

I think that applies here.

Bob

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Author: newmanjohn Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 21598 of 757444
Subject: Re: The New Luxuries Date: 10/12/2000 3:29 PM
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This is my first post.

I have just given up careering and have changed from salary to 30 hours per week. I am no longer anxious about this. When I had a career I used to write reports that were altered to fit the prevailing myths and prejuduces before release. Now I am trying to write more cleverly, but less.

Let me summarise:
"I don't think you can buy luxury with money any more. Time is luxury. Luxury is hard to give up once you have become accustomed to it."

Pithy and profound. Worthy of Confucius or PT Barnum.

I have been living in luxury for 2 months now.

Jjerb

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Author: Wahchai Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 21604 of 757444
Subject: Re: The New Luxuries Date: 10/12/2000 4:21 PM
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The fool who wrote of the new luxuries could not have been more right. I was a wise person for many years: I drove a new Cadillac, BMW, or Mercedes every year (the brand varied with the decade. First-class travel, shirts from Sulka's--it was a long journey to foolishness.

Funny, but none of those luxuries afforded me any satisfaction once they were acquired. Okay, the first Mercedes gave me some feeling of achievement. But after a few dings and scratches each car became nothing more than transportation.

Only after I saw several friends retire did I realize my mistakes. Both were less successful than I, yet both stopped working when their investments topped one million. I hadn't any idea. I used to berate them for being cheap. Yet both lived essentially as well as I did. They bought their suits and shirts on sale, and drove less expensive cars which they held onto at least four years before trading. I though they were motivated by a lack of confidence, worried about job security. I wasn't worried about such things. I thought I was a star and my expensive cars and clothing were necessary investments calculated to inform others of my status. All that time my friends were saving and investing, steadily and cautiously. They didn't even know each other, but they were identical in their behavior.

I thought they were fools. I, however,was wise.

Now my friends live the good life. They still invest, and they still spend cautiously. I'm still a star, but I'm still working. They travel, work on their golf game, and they enjoy the greatest luxury of all: freedom. Their time is their own. Jimmy Clavell, author of "Taipan" and "Noble House," created a character, a corporate type, who had saved her "F*** You" money. She enjoyed her work because she knew that if the work ever became unbearable, or if her boss was insufferable, she could say, "F*** you!" and walk out.

Financial security is freedom. Freedom from worry, freedom to use your time as you see fit, freedom even to keep working if you so choose. The workplace is a great deal more pleasant if you are there because you want to be and not because you need to be.

So now, I am happy to say, I too am a Fool. I sold my expensive house (made a good profit), and bought a smaller one in the suburbs which I like just as much. Instead of a 740 BMW (great car), I drive an inexpensive SUV with good tires. And every month when I get my statement from my discount broker, I feel a sense of satisfaction that a $60,000 car never accorded me. I enjoy following the market, studying different companies, and choosing my own investments. Some of my choices could have been better, but I'm learning fast. Fortunately my two friends are three years older than I, so I still have time to catch up. Already I feel a sense of security, a feeling of control over my destiny, that I never had before.

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Author: yekim1 Big red star, 1000 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 21608 of 757444
Subject: Re: The New Luxuries Date: 10/12/2000 5:08 PM
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Good post, Wahchai -- more evidence that RE is about a lot more than, well, RE.

Stuff=bad, collect dust
Consumables=taste good! only need fork or corkscrew!

A favorite quote:

"If, forgetting the respect due to the Creator, I were to attempt a criticism of creation, I would say, 'Less matter, more form!' Ah, what relief it would be for the world to lose some of its contents."

--Bruno Schulz


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Author: peplow Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 21616 of 757444
Subject: Re: The New Luxuries Date: 10/12/2000 6:53 PM
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Absolutely right on..

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Author: wizand One star, 50 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 21629 of 757444
Subject: Re: The New Luxuries Date: 10/12/2000 10:21 PM
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An interesting article by Richard Alm and Michael Cox is at: http://www.intellectualcapital.com/bios/bio375.html and Titled "Even the poor have more"

He states:In fact, by the standards of 1971, many of today's poor families might be considered members of the middle class.

In it he makes a case that the luxuries enjoyed by the average middle family of of a few decades ago are now widely used by today's "poor" families. Even "real" poverty by one definition has dropped from 31% in 1949 to 2% at the end of the 1980's.

Wizand

(The other articles on this link are also excellent.)


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Author: BigPantsMatt Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 21670 of 757444
Subject: Re: The New Luxuries Date: 10/13/2000 1:58 PM
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"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."

So that is the basic question. I argue that luxury can most definately be purchased with a credit card. Consider this most fundamental luxury: the opportunity for self-expression. With a credit card I can afford to do things I enjoy, like learning to snowboard, or visiting distant friends, or buying a DV camera and making movies. Luxury can be based upon ownership of material goods, but not just for the sake of placing them on the mantle or parking them in the garage. Rather, material goods act as tools to help extend our freedom and let us follow our dreams.

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Author: KentuckyLiz Big red star, 1000 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 21676 of 757444
Subject: Re: The New Luxuries Date: 10/13/2000 4:18 PM
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Make sure Tweaker reads this, so he knows the true price of the $8500 watch he "needs" to impress his "star" friends.

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Author: adsach Two stars, 250 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 21678 of 757444
Subject: Re: The New Luxuries Date: 10/13/2000 4:25 PM
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Mr BigPantsMatt posted:

I argue that luxury can most definately be purchased with a credit card. Consider this most fundamental luxury: the opportunity for self-expression. With a credit card I can afford to do things I enjoy, like learning to snowboard, or visiting distant friends, or buying a DV camera and making movies. Luxury can be based upon ownership of material goods, but not just for the sake of placing them on the mantle or parking them in the garage. Rather, material goods act as tools to help extend our freedom and let us follow our dreams.

I agree with Matt that one form of luxury is the ability to purchase the tools of self expression. Even in my more 'back to nature' moods of stone sculpture, where I eschew using a power grinder and hand san<d a stone, I am thankful for the manual technology. I don't want to mine my own ore, to make my own iron, to forge my own chisel, even though I want to take said chisel and chip away at a rock I fished out of a streambed. And I sure don't want to make my own sandpaper. The credit card saves me from this.

But then, this comes back to time. The reason I don't want to smelt and forge my own tools is more the amount of time it would take to build the facilities to make the tools than any aversion to the actual process of the work. Saving the time IS the luxury.

The basis of civilization is the exchange of goods and services in order to save labor/time by concentrating skills and a division of labor. While folks in less developed countries might see a supermarket as a luxury because of the vast array of goods - folks in more developed countries might see the barter for individual items in multiple market stalls as a luxury because of the large amount of time exchanged in each minor purchase(something I only have time for on vacation).


Ad Sach - who has just assuaged his desire to post without the luxury of spending the time to develop a coherent thought before posting.


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Author: drdoolittle Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 21730 of 757444
Subject: Re: The New Luxuries Date: 10/14/2000 7:10 PM
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Once one is RE a big plus is being able to say what you believe without any financial repercussions!

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Author: KentuckyLiz Big red star, 1000 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 21749 of 757444
Subject: Re: The New Luxuries Date: 10/14/2000 11:02 PM
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Once one is RE a big plus is being able to say what you believe without any financial repercussions!

As a working person, I totally understand what you're saying here!

"Free speech" isn't free! There is a price to pay, and ya gotta save up and invest for it.

KentuckyLiz


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Author: ataloss Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 148127 of 757444
Subject: Re: The New Luxuries Date: 2/4/2004 6:33 PM
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When I was in the process of increasing my savings goals, I never took any action that I viewed as a sacrifice. It wasn't necessary. I was able to meet all my goals by taking steps that added to my sense of well being by making me feel more secure about my future and by bringing the dream of independence closer to reality.

If you think of luxury in this new way, there is no such thing as a savings plan which is too “extreme.” It does not make sense to view steps in the pursuit of more fun, more freedom, and more fulfillment in negative terms.


I am not ready to start living in a cardboard box to boost my savings rate and/or comfort level in retirement- but that's just me. In Your Money or your life Dominguez has a cartoon of a life satisfaction curve that rises with income as survival and comfort are attained and then falls. Not even an extremist like dominguez suggested that no degree of savings could be too extreme.

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