I really like the part about spending money to build memories rather than have stuff (which probably will be unappealing or obsolete before long).
By stuff..everyone cares about different things..... for instance, I carried around an old tracfone (cost for a cell about $85 a year) for 10 yrs.. I never cared..... it was for emergencies, good enough for me...and I gave it to him on those morning drives to work icy/snowy in case he broke down..
Just 2 months ago, I bought my 1st android..(hey that's a big deal!)...Love it by the way..... still a tracfone.. our oldest car is a 1991.. it's got that iron duke engine and we love this car-so faithful !@#....had it for over 10 yrs...oh he had to replace a gas tank & some other things, nothing huge... .bought it for $2,000 (only 33,000 miles on it)..... we keep the paint job up.. we just don't need newer cars...doesn't bother me if we don't have the cd player & it's got winder winders (I even prefer those)...
If we wanted, we could buy a couple brand new cars & pay cash but we never would, for us, that would be the biggest waste imaginable.. though it's true, we often look at someone and probably judge by the vehicle they drive... many would think we must be really poor or we'd have newer.. but it's just not the case..
On the other hand, I wouldn't think anything of buying a $1,000 lap top, a new SLR...or something that really meant something to the kids...a specialty guitar they had their heart set on... We plan to go to Family resort , stay in a house...9 of us (bringing a couple friends )... just 2 nights.. over $2,0000 ...did this last year..and they want to go back.
Our kids have i-pods, not cell phones.. so long as internet is available, it's just like having a phone..with the magic jack app/ free texting & all. I know some families that pay over $150 a month for phones, then a kid goes over upping their bill another couple hundred .... OMG -I'd FREAK !#@$..... But if one has a business.. they do need a unlimited plan..our oldest son found one for $12 a month.. he's pretty happy with it.
Agree about the need for affordable health insurance. I recently enrolled and realized my employer pays for less than half of the cost. I knew this company was ungenerous and had the leverage to factor that into my salary demands. But can you imagine having to pay for a family plan (>$600 per month) on a blue collar salary? (75% of all employees are production workers).
It seems these plans can be all over the map...I have lost tract now, but I think they only take out about $250 a month for our family plan.. blue collar here too.. After reading what some pay.. It's just crazy.. I am very pleased with his plan yet I wonder what may come.. ..Ours is (or I should say was, I am sure it changed with the new year)..annual deductible $150 individual / $300 family..
Out of pocket Maximum $750 Individual/ $1,500 family.. if you stay in network that is..
Overall, I agree there has to be a balance between spending and saving. However, I think many people err on the side of not saving enough. IMO, you need to plan very conservatively for retirement:
* You can't count on good investment returns when we went through a decade of low to flat market performance not long ago.
* You can't assume you will work until full retirement age if you get sick or hurt.
* You can't assume you will match your old salary if demand for your skills decline (learned that one the hard way).
We started a 401 K when he got the better job, no matching from employer....my H seemed to be the only guy there who got into it...I don't know why... it's been accumulating very nicely... we may reach the goal we set out for ..but who knows... with the unsteady fluctuations.....we do pay a little extra to get it "managed" as this is not a strong point of either of us.. I also started an IRA years go in case he needed to roll it over, if he lost this job...so it would be in place..
Then having term life insurance for these years.. when so much is going on...I have a policy on him till he is 58...and just got another till he is 70...he's got one on me till I am 58....
His job offers a pension... Even if my H got laid off or we both had to take lower paying jobs ....I believe we'd be Ok ....because of what we have saved ...and having no debt...
If things got really bad in later years.. there are those "Reverse mortgages"... I would absolutely HATE to use that though, would be an awful loss to the home owner, and our children... just saying.. in desperation.. it is there.. I do wonder if they consider acreage in that .. I bet they only give you like half or less of what something is worth.. I often wondered about those things. We hope to pass our house/property on to one of the kids..so it can be kept in the family.. sounds that has to be done a good 7 yrs before one dies or something.. many things to look into.. that we haven't done just yet.