How You Feel About Money Changes Over Time

We got an email in response to Ben’s excellent post, You Probably Need Less Money Than You Think For Retirement, that is worth sharing.

re : retirees underspending.  I retired at 36 and turn 60 next year, and am of course a latedad with a 7 and 5 year old. I estimate I live off 1/3rd of my cash flow, and of course some of my assets are also appreciating.

Yes, there is a bit of fear that my nest egg must last (cause the tech industry sure ain’t gonna hire me at this point) and of course it’s kinda easy to just continue the habits that got me here.

But I must say, a lot of it at this point is a case of the “been there, done thats.”  Stuff doesn’t have the novelty it once did, esp since I got my fill when I was younger.  Am I really gonna go to Vegas and whoop it up, especially since it’s almost impossible to corral a group of 5-10 friends at the same time to do it with?  Do I need to pay $150 for a meal and sit around a bunch of squares at Morton’s Steakhouse when the carne asada burrito from a Mexican drive-through tastes just as good?   Snowboard trips were fun when there was a dozen of us going, but now everyone is always moving in a different direction…and damn ski resorts have gotten expensive!

I would spend money on things that don’t exist, however.  Invent a drug that 5x’s my progress on trying to learn guitar.  🙂  Fix my elbow tendinitis, etc

I’ve made a point to spend more on take-out and luxury cinemas lately and do ask myself, “where should I spend more?”

But I just don’t give a shit about many things anymore, and often think of Morgan Housel’s story about when he was valeting nice cars and nobody paid any attention to the driver.

I give $ monthly to an orphanage/school in Mexico and am thinking of where I might donate more. I think this might be the answer for old-ish people who have already got their fill of many things…

In about 5 minutes, I will hop on my bike and ride along the beach boardwalk for 45mins and REALLY enjoy the $6 iced mocha I get at the end 🙂  It’s the simple things, esp these days

I don’t know what the age is, I suppose it’s different for everyone, but there comes a point in one’s life where your relationship with money changes. Now I should preface that this thing that I’m about to go into, which our emailer described, is something that only happens if you’re financially secure.

Once you hit a certain age, your relationship with money changes. You’re probably less motivated to buy a nice watch at 70 than you are at 40. You’re probably less motivated to buy a sports car at 80 than you are at 50. At some point in your future, you’ll probably care a lot more about what money can do for your family versus the dopamine rush you’ll get from material items.

So don’t be afraid to spend money today on things and experiences that you’ll take with you forever.

This might sound like a silly example but I’ll share anyway. My wife and I recently went to a tropical island and had an amazing time. I never went to any places like this as a kid, so it’s really special to experience it as an adult. I would love to be able to do more trips like this in the future, and plan on doing so, but how could the 10th time be as special as the first time? I’m sure that I’ll eventually get to the mental place of “been there, done that.”

Like most people working and reading this, I’m motivated by money. I like what it allows me to do, the things it allows me to buy, and the peace of mind it offers. But I also recognize that my relationship will change over time. So as long as I’m saving for tomorrow, I have no problem spending for today.