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How do you afford to have so much!?

Road Cycling “It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.” -- Ernest Hemingway

How do you afford to have so much!?

Old 09-29-11, 10:28 PM
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bianchi10
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How do you afford to have so much!?

I see some people's bike, wheel and appearal collections. Ive seen several HIGH end bikes in one garage or a room full of 7+ wheelsets on this site. I have trouble saving for a pair of shoes let alone a second bike or set of wheels! Is it simply a matter of wealth? I would think some of it has to do with accumulating these items over time, but a lot of what I see are all new items.

I make a descent living along with my wife working as well. We have a nice house and lifestyle, but nothing that keeps us living check to check. we have very little debt, we live within our means, rarely treat ourselves. I feel very blessed with what we have but I could never afford to have more than one bike or several wheelsets or etc...

whats the secret that i wasn't informed about!?

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Old 09-29-11, 10:32 PM
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Some people simply have vast amounts of cash. Other people spend a lot less in one area and spend what they save in another.

I know people who are amazed at how I can afford a backpack full of photographic equipment but their amazement soon fades when I point out what they spend on a new car every three years and how I've had my car for 11 years and counting.

If you have "a nice house and lifestyle" and want to buy some nice bikes you may need to scale down to an average lifestyle, save some cash, and then do what you will with it.
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Old 09-29-11, 10:32 PM
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I actually don't make much, and have more than any of my buddies (save one, who is RIIICH and obsessed with cycling). I have an old car, cheap motorcycle, no kids, inexpensive rent. I don't spend money on much other than cycling, so thats how I do it.
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Old 09-29-11, 10:39 PM
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So... anyone with extra cash want to donate to my wheel fund?
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Old 09-29-11, 10:43 PM
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Credit, home equity loans, and overspending.
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Old 09-29-11, 10:44 PM
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Some may be able to afford it, and some may have a few maxed out credit cards lurking in their wallet.
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Old 09-29-11, 10:49 PM
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Originally Posted by contango View Post
Some people simply have vast amounts of cash. Other people spend a lot less in one area and spend what they save in another.

I know people who are amazed at how I can afford a backpack full of photographic equipment but their amazement soon fades when I point out what they spend on a new car every three years and how I've had my car for 11 years and counting.

If you have "a nice house and lifestyle" and want to buy some nice bikes you may need to scale down to an average lifestyle, save some cash, and then do what you will with it.
yeah thats a good point. When I say "nice lifestyle" I really mean average. I make $50k a year which is comfortable for us to pay our bills and put food on the table for our family. We dont go out to dinner much, wife and I dont drink or go "Out on the town". That being said, I still couldn't imagine having several bikes. I mean, whats really the point of having more than 1 nice bike? I can understand wheelsets, but not really for a completely secondary bike(s). sure, the thought of it sounds cool to have your choice on which bike to ride that day, but it doesn't seem realistic.
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Old 09-29-11, 10:53 PM
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I was once told that you have to make at least $250k/yr to live comfortably
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Old 09-29-11, 10:56 PM
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Originally Posted by johnnyletrois View Post
I was once told that you have to make at least $250k/yr to live comfortably
I'm screwed..
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Old 09-29-11, 11:01 PM
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Originally Posted by johnnyletrois View Post
I was once told that you have to make at least $250k/yr to live comfortably
that would certainly make life MORE comfortable. Most people who make more money simiply spend more on luxuries. To me "comfortable" means being able to pay for all your responsibilities without staying awake at night wondering which bills you are going to be able to pay and which ones you can just pay the minimums on or skip all together. Dont get me wrong, $250k/yr would make life easier, but its not necassary to live comfortably.
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Old 09-29-11, 11:05 PM
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Actually a surprisingly large number of people can afford all those bikes.

Bikes aren't that relatively expensive in the grand scheme, actually.

Just think of how many people in the country drive a BMW, Infiniti, or basically any mid-upper level sedan. Each one of those cars has a 'luxury' markup of at least $10k built into the price, if not $15k-$20k. That's 3 bikes, possibly with race wheels, right there for one vehicle that you might drive for 5-7 years. (Most folks buying these cars don't drive them for 10+ years.) Think of how many people actually buy these cars - a LOT. Like hundreds of thousands. And yes, they probably make more money than you or did at some point. You're almost definitely making $100k+/yr if you're not stone cold single and buying these cars, if not closer to $200k/yr.

I ride an entry-level road bike, yet if I put my nanny expenditures into cycling, I would be able to purchase a Cervelo R3 DA + Race wheels - EVERY 2 MONTHS for what I pay for child care.
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Old 09-29-11, 11:08 PM
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Originally Posted by bianchi10 View Post
I see some people's bike, wheel and appearal collections. Ive seen several HIGH end bikes in one garage or a room full of 7+ wheelsets on this site. I have trouble saving for a pair of shoes let alone a second bike or set of wheels! Is it simply a matter of wealth?
You just need to live enough beneath your means whatever that means.

Don't have children, get through school without student loans, limit your housing costs to 10% of income (mortgage+HOA+taxes or rent, insurance), pay cash for suitably priced cars and drive them for a long time, and don't waste money on things like cable or satellite TV.

Let someone else eat the depreciation on items with values that plummet initially.

That might take a town home, studio apartment, mobile home, and/or room mates instead of your own house (I've done all based on local real-estate market conditions and career progression).

It might mean driving an old $2000 Toyota/Honda/Subaru that'll make it to 250,000 miles or German sports sedan that's ten years out of date (still handles like it did with a $40K new price tag in inflation adjusted dollars but could be had for $5K today).

Do that for a few years and you can have a sizable toy collection, cash reserves, and rapidly growing tax-advantaged retirement savings plans.

I like other expensive sports (one custom titanium bike in fifteen years is enough although I do have some nice second-hand add-ons like the Powertap SL+, Garmin Edge 500, and extra Record hubs) but the principles are the same.

We have a nice house and lifestyle,
Those are most likely two of your problems.

Last edited by Drew Eckhardt; 09-29-11 at 11:24 PM.
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Old 09-29-11, 11:14 PM
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You have too much overhead with the wife and the house. I'm financially single (have a gf of 6 years and will be getting married soon now that she's about done with school), and I live in a 1 bedroom apartment. I drive a Chevy Equinox with 130,000 miles that is paid for. I don't buy clothes or other material things unless they are cycling related. I just graduated with a EE degree last December and started a new job as a systems engineer 1 month later. I make good money and could easily finance a BMW, Audi, Benz, etc. Instead I ride a $6k bicycle. It brings me more satisfaction and it's a better investment considering how much I love to ride it and how healthy it is for me. It's all about where you spend your money. You could definitely afford another bike and a $2k wheelset if you wanted it bad enough. You just have to make sacrifices elsewhere.
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Old 09-29-11, 11:19 PM
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A lifetime of carfree living did the trick for me.
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Old 09-29-11, 11:20 PM
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The 'nice house' issue is actually not as simple as advising someone to not buy such as nice house.

My wife convinced me two years ago (given that she paid a far greater share of the bills at that time) that we should go for the better house in the better neighborhood in an already pricey area (friggin' California) as opposed to my initial plan of going small and getting a small simpler house in a not so nice neighborhood.

In the past 2 years, I would have lost close to $75k in home value had I gone with my 'cheaper' plan due to the general malaise in the home sales market.

In contrast, the more expensive house in the better neighborhood with the amazing school district that we ended up purchasing, has GAINED close to that much based upon comparable home sales in our neighborhood. It's pretty much the same story in most places - all the primo housing in great neighborhoods continue to appreciate, whereas the cheaper the house, the bigger the price drop in recessionary times. Seems counterintuitive to spend more money to protect your money, but that's what it takes in the real estate market.

I wouldn't apply the 'spend more to protect more' for the other lifestyle expenditures, though. =)
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Old 09-29-11, 11:21 PM
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Originally Posted by bianchi10 View Post
I see some people's bike, wheel and appearal collections. Ive seen several HIGH end bikes in one garage or a room full of 7+ wheelsets on this site. I have trouble saving for a pair of shoes let alone a second bike or set of wheels! Is it simply a matter of wealth? I would think some of it has to do with accumulating these items over time, but a lot of what I see are all new items.

I make a descent living along with my wife working as well. We have a nice house and lifestyle, but nothing that keeps us living check to check. I feel very blessed with what we have but I could never afford to have more than one bike or several wheelsets or etc...

whats the secret that i wasn't informed about!?
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Old 09-29-11, 11:26 PM
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I'd be surprised if someone actually here admits that they're living above and beyond their means.

I've gotten into a lot of hobbies at the tender age of 25 and I frequent message boards. You'd be surprised on how many people would camp out for a pair of sneakers for 72 hours and finish off a paycheque just to buy some Japanese-branded earphones...and all the while have a negative balance on their bank accounts.
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Old 09-29-11, 11:28 PM
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It is all about where one puts one's money. For me, I'm frugal and happy with long held cars and a decidedly less than ostentatious lifestyle.
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Old 09-29-11, 11:28 PM
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I rarely pay retail.
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Old 09-29-11, 11:32 PM
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Off topic, but if you want to see a parade of people living beyond their means, go to NYC, San Francisco, or any major popular metropolitan area, and check out any of the girls who are very fashionably dressed between ages 19 at 25 who live in the city. Do you think a girl that young makes the $75-$100+k required to maintain a pricey apartment in the city, wear $2000 clothes (multiple sets!), and go to all the nice restaurants and social outings?

Either daddy is paying all the bills (happens a lot) or they're maxxing out their debt to maintain that lifestyle. There are very few women in that age bracket who can command that sort of income without working a ridiculous number of hours, yet you can find them in droves in the posh parts of NY.

Back to the regularly scheduled programming....
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Old 09-29-11, 11:45 PM
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Originally Posted by pgjackson View Post
Credit, home equity loans, and overspending.
Nonsense....Have you considered the alternative?
That would be:
Knowing how capitalism works.
How to manage finances and your life!
How to plan for debt free living and retirement and use credit wisely to your advantage!
And mostly to eliminate the victim mentality and take responsibility for your actions.
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Old 09-29-11, 11:48 PM
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Originally Posted by ilovecycling View Post
You have too much overhead with the wife and the house. I'm financially single (have a gf of 6 years and will be getting married soon now that she's about done with school), and I live in a 1 bedroom apartment. I drive a Chevy Equinox with 130,000 miles that is paid for. I don't buy clothes or other material things unless they are cycling related. I just graduated with a EE degree last December and started a new job as a systems engineer 1 month later. I make good money and could easily finance a BMW, Audi, Benz, etc. Instead I ride a $6k bicycle. It brings me more satisfaction and it's a better investment considering how much I love to ride it and how healthy it is for me. It's all about where you spend your money. You could definitely afford another bike and a $2k wheelset if you wanted it bad enough. You just have to make sacrifices elsewhere.
And then the kids come rolling along, and you realize that childcare will set you back $1500 per month...and the real financial pain begins!
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Old 09-29-11, 11:51 PM
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Originally Posted by contango View Post
Some people simply have vast amounts of cash. Other people spend a lot less in one area and spend what they save in another.
Originally Posted by pgjackson View Post
Credit, home equity loans, and overspending.

What they said. Everybody's situation and standards are different. Also, this is a cycling forum, so the membership here would have a stronger interest in cycling than simply those owning a Walmart bicycle that is ridden once every 5 years. Hence, the glorious stables of high end exotic bicycles would be more commonplace in this "subculture" than is the norm. In other words, we're a heavily biased group.

For my situation, we don't finance cars and keep zero credit card balances. Cars are driven into the ground (youngest car is 8yrs old) until it becomes impractical to keep them. We don't regularly do expensive vacations. I've also saved thousands by doing my own car maintenance and repairs around the house. For example I need the steering rack replaced on my truck - a $1500 job at the dealer but is only a $400 part and half a Saturday on my driveway. That's $1100 that stays in the bank account. Most importantly, we're DINKS and live below our means, which leaves a lot leftover for savings and discretionary spending. I do other (seemingly expensive) hobbies as well - photography, woodworking - and still tithe happily to my church.

On the flip side, I have friends who have very high consumption lifestyles (new car every 3 years and dinners out every night), make less than us, with kids, have much more expensive bicycles, and complain about money.

I'm not at all saying that I'm perfect. Far from it. My wife does a good job keeping me grounded although admittedly she has no idea what kind of money I have in my bikes. I have multiple bikes because I like having options for different days, moods, rides, routes, purposes, whatever (similar to having different camera lenses or even camera systems) and for me the mechanical side and the gear are also part of the enjoyment (I do my own wrenching and builds).

The concept of money and how one chooses to enjoy any pastime will differ greatly among people. So whatever floats your boat, and there's clearly a lot of different boats here.
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Old 09-29-11, 11:58 PM
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The single biggest determinant of your expenditure pattern will be where and in what house you live.

Rent or mortage will range from 33% of your income, to 50% and higher for some unlucky folks who choose to live in pricey areas.

All the hobbies, etc., are usually small in comparison to your rent/mortgage. Doesn't matter how big you talk about being thrifty if your home is a big cost factor.

At the same time, if you are willing to live in an inexpensive home/area, you can have tons of expensive hobbies, even with a modest income. The home is the real bankbreaker. I hear a lot of folks hemming and hawing about saving here, working more here, and they have no idea what their rent/mortgage ratio is to their total expenditures. In a lot of cases, once you see that you're spending 40-50% of your money on rent (common in NYC apartments), you'll see that it almost doesn't matter how cheap you live your lifestyle - that one cost will kill any real savings you gain by curtailing your hobbies.
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Old 09-30-11, 12:39 AM
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As hhnngg1 says, it's all about where you live. I live in an expensive city and our rent is >50% of my after tax income. 1200 sqft, 2 1/2 bedrooms and a family of four. Plus living in Canada, everything related to cycling costs twice what it does in the US, unless you can ship it to a mailbox and smuggle it back across.

I earn more than most people - but 105 is pretty much my limit.
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