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Moaning About Money

Richard Quinn

I’M SPENDING MONEY like water, even though I’m a tightwad, or so says my wife.

We’re on vacation—well, sort of. Since we’re retirees, “vacation” has less meaning. Still, we are away from our principal residence in New Jersey, instead spending the summer at our house on Cape Cod.

At various points, some of our four children and 13 grandchildren arrive—but, fortunately, not all at once. The house goes from quiet to pandemonium. Even so, it’s a bit depressing when they all leave and it’s quiet again.

Over the years, we’ve developed traditions, stuff we have to do. Mini golf—now $14 a person. The beach—parking sticker $35 a season. Go-carting, bumper boats, baseball batting cage—each $9 a try. Craft shows—highly variable. Golf—$97 for two. And, of course, feeding them all, plus a few dinners out for the gang. This week, we spent $400 on dinner out for eight.

My wife just told me I need to make another trip to the ATM—$3.50 fee. My moan caused her to say, “I know you’re stressed, but it’s our vacation.” My moan wasn’t serious, though. I get it, and I also get how fortunate we are to be able to do what we do and to have family around.

A few weeks ago, my stress was more authentic, as I watched our investments drop. But lately, I’m on a high. One day recently, we were up $47,000. Another day, another $17,000. At the end of the month, tax-free interest payments will buy more shares of our mutual funds. Let the good times roll.

The thing is, we’re still nowhere near breakeven since March 1. Emotions have a powerful effect, especially when it comes to money. If things look good, I’m more inclined to spend. When they’re down, I tend to moan.

We have a hiatus at the moment. We’re down to one grandson staying with us. Tomorrow, another crew of four arrive. It will be back to the ATM. The supermarket limits cash back to $50 and my bank is nowhere in sight.

Can we please have a mini-bull market, at least until the end of August? I fear my wife’s reaction to another moan.

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John Podsedly
John Podsedly
3 months ago

ATM? Did you leave home without your American Express card?

R Quinn
R Quinn
3 months ago
Reply to  John Podsedly

Nope, but I have found that more places want cash only and a few add a percentage to the bill if you use credit.

Chazooo
Chazooo
3 months ago

Sounds less expensive than Disney World, but enjoy the kids while they are young – they will soon have other vacation interests more compelling than being with the gray hairs.

R Quinn
R Quinn
3 months ago
Reply to  Chazooo

How right you are. Things change quickly. It used to be building sand castles on the beach. With two of them this year it was playing golf – the 15 year old drives the ball 300 yards which I wouldn’t believe if I hadn’t seen it.

The Drake
The Drake
3 months ago

Seems a smart guy like you would know about some ways to avoid the ATM fee. Fidelity Cash Management for example. I’m sure there are others. They refund the fee regardless of where you get the cash.

Last edited 3 months ago by The Drake
Paula Karabelias
Paula Karabelias
3 months ago

$3.50 ATM fee seems high. I think Cape Cod 5 charges a dollar if you don’t have an account with them . They seem to have branches all over the Cape. Anyway, it’s a small price to pay for all the fun you are having with your family !

Richard Gore
Richard Gore
3 months ago

I planned my retirement so that my spending or happiness wouldn’t be affected by the inevitable fluctuations of the stock market. I don’t want my happiness to be tied to my wealth at all. I have enough so I don’t need to worry about the market.

Nate Allen
Nate Allen
3 months ago

$14/person for mini-golf? Wow.

R Quinn
R Quinn
3 months ago
Reply to  Nate Allen

Wow indeed. I remember $1.00

Guest
Guest
3 months ago

Being together with your family at this time in your long life – PRICELESS

Thomas Taylor
Thomas Taylor
3 months ago
Reply to  Guest

Yes, I echo that sentiment whole heartedly. We lost dad to cancer 22 years ago when he was 77 and our family was never the same. The 5 kids and spouses, kids, grands, etc. got together quite frequently for celebrations. He was the glue that held the family together and it was comfortable and easy to be around him. Our mother, not so much. We all loved her but liking her was sometimes difficult. She spent the next 17 years until she passed being mad at him for “leaving” her. We all just kind of drifted apart after a few years. Forget the money and enjoy the family.

Guest
Guest
3 months ago
Reply to  Thomas Taylor

“We all just kind of drifted apart after a few years.”

Mr. Taylor – It just kills me to read that. I’m sorry and agree -enjoy the family.

Last edited 3 months ago by Guest
R Quinn
R Quinn
3 months ago
Reply to  Guest

You are absolutely right.

Ormode
Ormode
3 months ago

The big question is – on a yearly basis, are you spending less than your income? Are you still adding to your investments? If so, then your spending is under control.

Michael1
Michael1
3 months ago
Reply to  Ormode

That’s a pretty high bar. A retiree could be spending more than their income – i.e., spending from principal in accordance with their strategy – and still have their spending under control.

R Quinn
R Quinn
3 months ago
Reply to  Ormode

I bet if you have been reading my posts in the past you know the answer to that question. Yup, our spending has always been under control and still is. And we do add to investments, but on a very modest basis. Keeping emergency – and vacation- cash comes first these days.

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