For the 40-60 crowd: how do you spend/budget, etc? - Talk About Marriage
Financial Problems in Marriage When financial times are tough, it adds to the stress we deal with on a daily basis. This section is for talking about how financial problems affect our relationships and ways to cope.

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post #1 of 78 (permalink) Old 07-22-2016, 04:58 PM Thread Starter
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For the 40-60 crowd: how do you spend/budget, etc?

I'm trying to get us simpler. Drives me crazy how much time my wife spends entering every single receipt into software...buys 5 things, returns 4 because the 5th one was from the cheaper store. All those returns are more entries into the software.

We have a guideline for our coming retirement, that sets an annual spending limit, let's call it $20,000. We picked the figure (that's not the real figure) because for years, we were under it, without really trying. The year we started setting up for retirement, I insisted we buy younger cars, so I don't spend my retirement fixing them. So, out with the 25 and 28 year old cars, in with a 3-year old for me, and showroom-new for her. But that meant we spent $50k on cars alone that year and she's freaked that "now that it's been done once, it'll be a habit."

When I talk to other 60-somethings about how they keep spending in check, not a single one says they have a budget, nor do any of them use any kind of software. Not one. Usually "our retirement guy says we can spend this much this year" and how much we spent last year. If we need to adjust, we eat out less and stuff like that, or we'll ask him if it's OK to replace a car this year. Nobody said anything about checking account balances monthly, or having software report what categories of spending hit the budget or not; nobody said "this much for house, that much for cars". I want to get there...where it's just working and we don't have to obsess and talk about it daily.

How do you do it? Know how much you can spend, and stay within it? Is it just a matter of knowing what lifestyle you've been leading and keep leading it with no changes?


There are three kinds of business. Your business, my business and God's business. Whose business are you in? -Byron Katie
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post #2 of 78 (permalink) Old 07-22-2016, 05:10 PM
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Re: For the 40-60 crowd: how do you spend/budget, etc?

We have a travel visa and put pretty much everything on it. We can pretty much just keep track in our heads where things are. We only have the visa and the line of credit to keep track of as far as debt, and it's all with the one bank, so we can just log in and see whatever we need to see if we want to.

Hubby obsesses way more than I do about money, but he's managed to relax quite a bit in the last few years. We just remind each other about things that need to be paid if we think of them. We each have specific things we pay.

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post #3 of 78 (permalink) Old 07-22-2016, 05:20 PM
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Re: For the 40-60 crowd: how do you spend/budget, etc?

We combine our incomes in one account. Bills are paid out of that. If we are saving money for retirement beyond our 401Ks, then that money is taken out of this account and put into a separate account every month.

We set a fun-money budget and track on a spreadsheet. We can each spend our budget on basically anything we want. The rest is spent on normal living expenses, and shared entertainment.
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post #4 of 78 (permalink) Old 07-23-2016, 07:03 AM
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Re: For the 40-60 crowd: how do you spend/budget, etc?

Worry about big things in budget, not small. Pointless to worry about $4.95 when you have big numbers looming...
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post #5 of 78 (permalink) Old 07-23-2016, 07:09 AM
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Re: For the 40-60 crowd: how do you spend/budget, etc?

Dog,

This thread is inconsistent with your other threads. Why did you repeatedly mention "we" in the initial post?

Are you considering the option of not divorcing but instead trying to get her to emotionally accept a retirement annual spend limit? If so, we can help with that.

I get the impression that you know how to handing spending in retirement but need to convince her. Is that it?

Last edited by 225985; 07-26-2016 at 01:45 PM.
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post #6 of 78 (permalink) Old 07-23-2016, 08:20 AM
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Re: For the 40-60 crowd: how do you spend/budget, etc?

OP, your wife clearly has a problem: she's OCD regarding money. It's counterproductive, and sucks all the joy out of living.

As for us, we do our own planning, but may talk to a financial planner in a year or so to check things over. We do have a budget, just so we have a baseline to compare to occasionally. We don't track individual expenses - if we need that information, our credit cards and online bill pay categorize our spending for us. We can project our income, expenses, and taxes, and even account for inflation and how life expectancy affects it all.

Still, there can be unforeseen complexities in retirement. Do you know how much social security will pay, and how to maximize it? How much your retirement savings will provide, and when/how much your minimum distributions from IRAs, etc., will be? What will the taxes be on all that? How much will you pay for various parts of Medicare? What about the health costs that are not covered (dental, vision, etc.) - did you plan for them? And yes, you may have to replace cars eventually, too. NONE of these things are addressed by what your wife is doing.

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post #7 of 78 (permalink) Old 07-23-2016, 01:21 PM Thread Starter
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Re: For the 40-60 crowd: how do you spend/budget, etc?

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Dog,

This thread is inconsistent with your other threads. Why did you repeatedly mention "we" in the initial post?

Are you considering the option of not divorcing but instead trying to get her to emotionally accept a retirement annual spend limit? If so, we can help with that.

I get the impression that you know how to handing spending in retirement but need to convince her. Is that it?
I do not want a divorce. However, it may be the path I choose. On the counselor's advice, I'm seeking to understand both paths.

I want to be able to offer to my wife, several alternatives to the time-consuming way that she currently tracks spending. I know what I've done in my past, but she is far more convinced if it is an idea that comes from outside us as a couple...so I'm seeking to find out what others have done, present her with several options from elsewhere, and let her make choices.

She exhibits very high anxiety about money in general, but one of the toipcs is that she spends all the time entering all the data, why don't I help? The reason I don't is that I do not see the effort as having value. It is her anxiety, not mine. Thanks to counseling, she understands that concept. With money, as with anything else, she can only see one way to do it - do every possible step you can, the more detail you do, the more likely you'll do it perfectly. Until she's so frustrated she stops completely.

There are three kinds of business. Your business, my business and God's business. Whose business are you in? -Byron Katie
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post #8 of 78 (permalink) Old 07-23-2016, 01:29 PM Thread Starter
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Re: For the 40-60 crowd: how do you spend/budget, etc?

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OP, your wife clearly has a problem: she's OCD regarding money. It's counterproductive, and sucks all the joy out of living.
That's my opinion, too. I have at least evolved to the point that her OCD sucks the joy out of her life, but not mine. My objective in helping her spend less time at it, is so that there's more time for "us"...I got married to have a partner in activities, not a data-entry clerk

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Do you know how much social security will pay, and how to maximize it?
Yes

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How much your retirement savings will provide,
That's an adjustable figure, within bounds, based on evaluating risk/reward. We have it in a dollar range.

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and when/how much your minimum distributions from IRAs, etc., will be?
One of the reasons the financial advisors have said you shouldn't work any more is that we're already in a position where the min distributions, when we get there, plus SS, will put us into an "interesting" tax bracket...in other words, any added income you create now will be hit fairly hard with taxes anyway, so why not enjoy life.

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How much will you pay for various parts of Medicare?
Haven't gotten estimates I believe yet, but so far, all estimates are well beneath what we would pay for health insurance today, were it not provided by her job.

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What about the health costs that are not covered (dental, vision, etc.) - did you plan for them?
'been paying those out of pocket all along, so they're already in our averaged annual spending plan.

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And yes, you may have to replace cars eventually, too.
We'll be 80 when the warranty on hers expires. But it's not a big deal...we only have 'expensive' cars now because I wanted that experience once. In 15 years, I'll be happy to drop back to buying cars that cost six months worth of groceries...they've been steady companions for 40+ years!

There are three kinds of business. Your business, my business and God's business. Whose business are you in? -Byron Katie
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post #9 of 78 (permalink) Old 07-23-2016, 02:54 PM
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Re: For the 40-60 crowd: how do you spend/budget, etc?

How long is warranty again?

More likely the warranty will expire on her first.

BTW, how did you learn so quickly how to put all those multiple quotes in one post?

Last edited by 225985; 07-26-2016 at 01:44 PM.
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post #10 of 78 (permalink) Old 07-23-2016, 05:23 PM Thread Starter
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Re: For the 40-60 crowd: how do you spend/budget, etc?

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Try that again. She is 60/61. How long is warranty again?
20 years, 200,000 miles. Basic on this vehicle is 5 yrs/60k miles, but it's a Toyota Hybrid, and the std warranty for the hybrid portions, in the three CONUS states that border the Pacific Ocean, is 10 years, 150,000 miles. Toyota's so confident in their vehicles that a 20 year 200,000 mile warranty is available for all of them nominally cheaply - $99 for the smaller cars. Where I live, all local dealers throw that in for free. Wife chose to "option up" on warranty and paid another $800 to expand that 20/200k to "bumper to bumper".

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More likely the warranty will expire on her first.
Even if not, she's so spooked about driving that I"d be surprised if she wants to drive then anyway. No way to know how long she'll live. Her dad died at 38, apparently of stress. His older sister drank herself to death at 42, but an even older sister is now 93, despite being heavy and a heavy smoker. Her mom, always obese and a heavy smoker, is now 87, but all of her siblings left these mortal coils in their 50s.

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BTW, how did you learn so quickly how to put all those multiple quotes in one post?
I learn a lot from user-based discussion forums. When I'm studying a vehicle I might want, I join an online forum focusing on it. Likewise, I've joined bass-player forums, woodworker forums, Asian cooking forums, etc. All these forums seem to run on the same software base, so there was really nothing new for me to learn.


There are three kinds of business. Your business, my business and God's business. Whose business are you in? -Byron Katie
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post #11 of 78 (permalink) Old 07-23-2016, 05:38 PM
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Re: For the 40-60 crowd: how do you spend/budget, etc?

I'm 48, and i don't have a "hard copy" of a budget. I guess i just have a lifestyle and I know whether or not I need to spend extra as it comes up. My salary covers my bills fine, so the only thing I would need to budget for would be the extras. I don't lead a fancy lifestyle, so it's not a problem with me.

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post #12 of 78 (permalink) Old 07-26-2016, 01:40 PM
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Re: For the 40-60 crowd: how do you spend/budget, etc?

@DustyDog My H & I don't use any sort of software or spreadsheet for budgeting. I think you're smart to do that though. But it seems to be taking on a life of it's own and creating more anxiety. And, I'm sure that wasn't the intent of it.

I think that I'm more of a saver than a spender. My H is more of a spender than a saver (but he is good about looking for deals). I believe in a mix of the 2 to enjoy life. I want to be able to enjoy some things in life now but not to the point that it's beyond our means. It took a while for us to be able to get to this point, but I think we're finally there. I handle all of the finances. We both put a lot into our 401K's. If there's a month that we didn't put money into our savings account, then I'll say that we need to be careful this month or no big ticket items for a few months. If I know that our property taxes are due this month, then I again remind ourselves that it's due and we should be careful about what else we spend money on. This keeps us out of credit card debt and able to put money into savings. This 'system' has worked for us but again, we don't have kids so I would probably imagine families with children needing to have a better budgeting system.
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post #13 of 78 (permalink) Old 07-26-2016, 01:59 PM
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Re: For the 40-60 crowd: how do you spend/budget, etc?

OP,
Entering items onto a spreadsheet is merely a way to track them and compare. We use one credit card for all purchases, groceries and everything, paid in full each month. We get the statement that itemizes each charge and we know each month what we spent on and how much. To me this is considerably easier than entering all of that data into another "tracking" system. However, we live a very modest lifestyle and need very little. My wife went through a period of extravagance several years back and almost caused the end of our marriage but she has since come to see the importance of not being wasteful, or at least pretends to.

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post #14 of 78 (permalink) Old 07-26-2016, 02:01 PM
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Re: For the 40-60 crowd: how do you spend/budget, etc?

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Originally Posted by DustyDog View Post
I want to be able to offer to my wife, several alternatives to the time-consuming way that she currently tracks spending. I know what I've done in my past, but she is far more convinced if it is an idea that comes from outside us as a couple...so I'm seeking to find out what others have done, present her with several options from elsewhere, and let her make choices.

She exhibits very high anxiety about money in general, but one of the toipcs is that she spends all the time entering all the data, why don't I help? The reason I don't is that I do not see the effort as having value. It is her anxiety, not mine. Thanks to counseling, she understands that concept. With money, as with anything else, she can only see one way to do it - do every possible step you can, the more detail you do, the more likely you'll do it perfectly. Until she's so frustrated she stops completely.
Get the book "Smart Couples Finish Rich" (or "The Automatic Millionaire: A Powerful One-Step Plan to Live and Finish Rich" both are good books by the same guy). It's for both of you to read.

One of the main ideas of the book is that a detailed budget is a waste of time because they are usually broken even before completed.

Instead save 10% (or more) of each pay check, then pay your bills for the month, then any money left over is ok to just spend without fussing over.

One thing that the book does not suggest, but I think is a good idea is to split the monthly discretionary funds 50/50. that way each of you have some spending money.

It might be hard to get her to completely stop using the software. She might just be a detail oriented person. But she can still simplify what she's doing. For example she does not need to categorize everything into little buckets with returns, etc. Instead she can just have a wife's-discressionary category and dump it all in there.
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post #15 of 78 (permalink) Old 07-26-2016, 02:06 PM
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Re: For the 40-60 crowd: how do you spend/budget, etc?

to continue.. I basically do what the "The Automatic Millionaire: A Powerful One-Step Plan to Live and Finish Rich" book suggests.

All my bills are auto paid from my bank.

I pay cash for everything (mostly using my ATM card) but do have a credit card for emergencies.

But I download all transactions from my bank accounts, credit card (when used), etc into Quicken. So I do keep a track of it all that way.
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