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No. of Recommendations: 4
Couple of thought here Otter:

First thing, regarding the inflation rate. PPI and CPI are *not* good measures of inflation in general, nevermind a personal rate of inflation. Any Economics book worth its salt can point to major shortcomings. For example, they fail to properly take into account the power of substitution. If you the consumer experiece a 50% rise in the price of OJ, you are going to reach for apple juice instead. The PPI and the CPI can not properly accomodate and measure for this.

Second, the maket basket is a hypothetical one. Theirs will include such bizaar things such as Palm Pilots (I won't need new ones once I retire). They also fail to account for the fact that I can milk a PC for 5 - 7 years before I need to replace it. Your market basket is truly unique. By understanding your expenses using a "Money or Your Life" approach, as Arette so aptly recommends, you'll be well on your way to understanding what you are really spending and what its value is to you, I think you will find *declining* expenses once you start to give it this kind of scrutiny, and quantify the "Life Value" of your money..

Finally you write:

By the way, think being able to offer them a nice dinner/drive them around in a Porsche' versus a hamburger or VW bug would make it easier for me to catch those youngsters in what you call "floss" like bikinis.

I think this is *in general* true in the US. I dated a lot of college aged people while in my late 30s in Boston who were as much attracted to money and what it buys, as anything else.

However: here in Europe I have found high positions and financial trappings to be *liabilities* amoungst the student population. Owning a Porche means you are part of the "envionment destroying global capitalist imperalists."

By living cool but cheap, you can save a ton of dough, and I've found, still have your pick of the college crowd. Try buying a used Burton board and a 10 year old "mini." Spend your free time staying in shape as opposed to working. Then .... swipe the Porche driver's co-ed right out from under him, while he's spending 16 hour days at the office.

Hope this helps ...

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