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Discussion Starter #1
I ask because I ran into an old school mate who hasn't changed since high school.
She drifts from job to job, rents an apartment in whatever city she happens to live in.
She still spend it as fast as she earns it. No savings at all, no home equity.
She either takes transit or drives a barely running beater.
She drinks,smokes, has travelled to more countries , been to more concerts, olympics, you name it than many people will ever do in a lifetime.
Her theory is to live each day as if it is your last because tomorrow my never come.
She will end up "floating" around until 65, assuming she lives that long. Since she will be "poor" and we HAVE to look after our poor, she will receive GIS and no OAS clawback.

I on the other hand work hard and save. Sure I still play too, but only if the savings are done first. I still live my life the way I want to live, so I consider myself wealthy. I enjoy watching my 5K grow in my TFSA rather than blow it on 3 weeks on a beach somewhere.
My plan is to pull the pin at 54 and enjoy a retirement with no financial worries, assuming I don't die, or wnd up having a stroke, or crippled.
I realize its all about choice but I will not receive GIS or OAS because I will be too "rich" and it is not fair to the "poor" old people who made the decision to blow it all in their youth.

I still believe I am doing the right thing but running into my old friend got me thinking if we both died today, she has lived a well lived life. I have lived a good life too, but haven't lived like she has. My death would also give the govt a nice windfall while she would leave sweet tweet.

Do you ever regret your financial decisions?
 

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Do you ever regret your financial decisions?
Not the good ones! ;-)

Your friend sounds like my stepdaughter, who lives pretty much the same way except she has no energy or ambition so she's going to "see the world" only from her couch, on television.

I was more of a spendthrift in the past but the stress of always worrying about money and having no safety net finally got to me. I now approach it as a craft, a discipline, and get that sort of fulfillment from it...the same fulfillment you might get from pursuing any craft or discipline and improving your skills.

Both my parents and all my uncles (10 of them!) died of cancer, so I don't have a lot of optimism that I'll have a long life, and yet the idea of living for the moment and not saving for the future just doesn't appeal to me anymore.
 

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When you come across this stuff you need to ask yourself "would you really like to do all that stuff? Would it make you any happier?". Keep in mind, like a party someone else is talking about the next day that you were at; it always sounds better than it really was.

No, I do not regret being financially responsible. I do everything that I really, really want to do. Think about it. If you have the money and there is something that you really, really wanted to do, you would do it. So, if you end up saving the money, that fact alone states, that you did or have everything that you really, really wanted. Now run the same analysis with a spender who has spent their last nickel. What are the chances they bought the last thing they wanted, when they spent that last nickel? Who do you think is actually happier?
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Eagle I get what you are saying. Actually the plan is to do many of the things she did when I retire. The difference is that she hitchiked and stayed in hostels and I will afford a Hilton.
My concern is that will I be healthy and non crippled enough to do so.

It really does bug me about the clawbacks I will suffer due to my selfd impose wealth.
GIS should be for sick and disabled people who couldn't work. Not for people who are spenders,and people who chose to have 10 kids kids with 10 different fathers.

Reminds me of the grasshopper and the ant story.
Perhaps this is partly to blame for our low saving rate?
 

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Ah yes, grasshhopper and the ant. I know that one well, you could easily change the variables and you would have a very accurate portrayal of our CDN cities.

I have been through a lot of hardship and this has caused me to be extremely careful about saving a huge rainy day fund that could keep me going for a year with no income. But my concept is that I save FIRST, build up a pool of money, then look ahead to the next 6-12 months and figure out what I might like to do. For instance, summer trip, $1000 on whatever, $3000 on some dental work etc etc. Big stuff that isn't urgent but I would like to do. I then look at the costs for each, consider how much money I will have at the time the money would need to be spent and then prioritize what I want to do.

One key element is I lead a simple life and keep the desires in check. My car is 12 years old (fully maintained, not a piece of junk, no rust or damage), I live in a nice apartment and I enjoy summer day trips to explore the countryside. I do not need to keep up with my colleagues at work by having huge mortgages with no breathing room in case of job loss or adversity. I have a 4x3 TV (yes yes I know I'll burn in hell for it), a cheap DVD player, basic cable and Internet, no cell phone and the absolute minimum of recurring monthly expenses.

I think if more people lived this way they wouldn't be continually talking about debt repayment and could instead plan their year based on the cash they HAVE. No one wants to do that because they want all the toys and luxuries NOW.
 

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We fall in the middle all the bills are payed the investments made usually have 1 brand new vehicle 1 5-10 years old. We eat out to much travel every year (leaving for Florida) shop to much and are just generally spoiled.

We also have never had un controllable debt but are not afraid to borrow.

I just feel very sorry for people that will die with every cent.
 

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Personally, I'm a middle of the road type person. I don't believe in depriving myself of certain pleasures (yearly big trip) for the sake of making the extra mortgage payment. As it is, I'm fairly aggressive as far as saving and paying off the mortgage, but I always feel that there's always a balance between being completely miserly and being a spendthrift.

As for you situation Bean, if you hadn't met your old classmate, would you even care about your happiness? I mean if you felt fulfilled before why any change? My thoughts on these type of situations are that if others want to spend their lives like that then let them. It doesn't have a negative effect on my life (unless you count the extra taxes for GIS and OAS), but really, why should I care.
 

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I still believe I am doing the right thing but running into my old friend got me thinking if we both died today, she has lived a well lived life. I have lived a good life too, but haven't lived like she has. My death would also give the govt a nice windfall while she would leave sweet tweet.

Do you ever regret your financial decisions?

I know people like that too, and it always shakes me up a bit. However that type of care-free attitude almost always requires being single or at least not having children. Otherwise, the children and spouse usually suffer. I probably couldn't change my frugal nature if I tried but I think people like your friend can teach us a few things regarding how we approach life.
 

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Bean, would you be happier living like she does? Would you be happy collecting GIS in retirement? If you have a saver personality, then converting to a spender probably won't make you any happier.

As well, OAS doesn't get completely clawed back until you reach $107k+ in income during retirement.
 

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I think people like your friend can teach us a few things regarding how we approach life.
Absolutely! Money is a means to an end, it shouldn't be the end goal in and of itself. Far too many people envision living the good life at some point in time in the future, only to get to that point and then they just can't do it often for reasons beyond their control.
 

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She drifts from job to job, rents an apartment in whatever city she happens to live in.
She still spend it as fast as she earns it. No savings at all, no home equity.
She either takes transit or drives a barely running beater.
She drinks,smokes, has travelled to more countries , been to more concerts, olympics, you name it than many people will ever do in a lifetime.
Her theory is to live each day as if it is your last because tomorrow my never come.
She will end up "floating" around until 65, assuming she lives that long. Since she will be "poor" and we HAVE to look after our poor, she will receive GIS and no OAS clawback.
I have seen these people when they hit their late 40s, 50s and early 60s. They are unemployable and either take menial jobs (the only ones available to them), continue working at a job they don't like, or end up on social assistance. I saved as much as I could. Then when my husband and I deemed it was time to retire- we had the choice.
 

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I have seen these people when they hit their late 40s, 50s and early 60s. They are unemployable and either take menial jobs (the only ones available to them), continue working at a job they don't like, or end up on social assistance. I saved as much as I could. Then when my husband and I deemed it was time to retire- we had the choice.
I don't doubt that has been your experience, however, we need to guard against rationalization based on anecdotal evidence. We make choices and then periodically justify those choices by anecdotal observation; if I chose an alternative the result would be thus based on a particular example or series of examples, much in the same way savers assume that life will be rosy in retirement discounting illness, early death or even the inability to spend compromising the expected outcome. You can't assume that a more hedonistic lifestyle will automatically lead to a lower quality of life in later years. We may need to convince ourselves of this eventuality in order to justify our sacrifices during our working years, unfortunately that doesn't mean it's true. Perhaps that's why they call it the pursuit of happiness rather than simply engaging in what makes us happy each and every day.;)
 

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My only regret is not saving more and working harder when I was younger.

The one word that comes to my mind to describe that situation is balance.

You have to know what makes you happy. For me going to concerts, living day to day doesn't really appeal to me.
 

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Maybe this makes the case for higher mandatory contributions to something like CPP. Thus, people who earn decent money through their working years can't blow it all and receive a subsidy from those who were more diligent. We might even then be able to afford to increase benefits to those who are genuinely poor due to disability, illness, etc.
 

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Not for a second.

Couldn't imagine living my life any other way.

Also, I wouldn't be as happy if I weren't financially responsible....but that's just me.
 

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What msimms said. We're paying off our mortgage April 1st (in the morning, but it's no April Fool joke!) and I'm so excited by it I almost can't stand the excitement. For two people (husband and I) who had virtually nothing 10 years ago, we've come a long way baby!
 

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What msimms said. We're paying off our mortgage April 1st (in the morning, but it's no April Fool joke!) and I'm so excited by it I almost can't stand the excitement. For two people (husband and I) who had virtually nothing 10 years ago, we've come a long way baby!
Congrats on reaching the big financial milestone!
 

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Discussion Starter #19
I know I am doing the right thing. It just set me back listening to all the places she has seen. Walked the great wall of China, saw the berlin wall fall. Ireland, Thailand, Austrailia, mountain climbing, surfing, you name it she has done it, and seen it.

I've been to Vegas, Disneyland/world, Mauii, and I sit and watch growing dividends being deposited into all my accounts.:(
 

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I know I am doing the right thing. It just set me back listening to all the places she has seen. Walked the great wall of China, saw the berlin wall fall. Ireland, Thailand, Austrailia, mountain climbing, surfing, you name it she has done it, and seen it.
Travel per se isn't necessarily irresponsible from a financial point of view, and I'm all for enriching one's life through experiences like that.

Years ago I had a dream that was so vivid I remembered it very clearly, and it seemed to have a message about all this:

In my dream, I was sitting by the fireside talking with Bruce Chatwin, the novelist and travel writer. He was telling me stories about his adventures, and the more he talked the more I felt like I'd done nothing with my life. I looked at him and said, "you know, if life were a book, you'd be a writer and I'd only be a reader."

He thought about that for a second, and then laughed and said, "that's nothing to be ashamed of, really. Most people just watch television!"

If there's a message in there, it's that you shouldn't put yourself down just because you haven't seen the world; as long as you have been engaged in life and have achieved (or are on the way to achieving) some things you're proud of, that's fine. Mostly it's important to avoid treating life like a spectator sport.

I don't meant this as an excuse for complacency, but I think everyone has different priorities in life and in the end we have to stand up next to our own yardstick -- not someone else's.
 
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