Mike, You get a seven-figure windfall and refuse to touch the principal and invest all of it, you’re gonna get $30,000 per year forever. It will help but does not make you so wealthy that money is just paper and you can never run out of it. $1,000,000 dollars ain’t what it used to be. With $30k more per year, you are still Mike. Content in your own skin, stoically-centered. That being said, I wish you material success and a seven-figure windfall in the future!

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It seems like there is a big difference between not having enough money and having enough. But when you have more than enough versus enough, it just means you spend more money on things and doesn’t make a big impact on happiness.

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Or maybe the hard and complicated question, especially as we approach retirement age, is this: How much is enough? And why?

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One of the things I have been doing, involuntarily is checking my impulse buying. I honestly don't know what I spend on subscriptions. I am so used to "Ok it's just 10 bucks a month". But also I am 'depriviliging'. I got in the habit of drinking tea a few years back, and I always just use tap water, because I am thinking about the process of boiling and steeping as an ancient way of making drinking water safe. So ritualistically, I am giving a silent moment of thanks knowing I could not identify a tea plant, or make sugar into granules. For $10 I have 3 months of loose tea leaves. So I noticed that Teavana went out of business, and Starbucks owns the minds of millions.

I expect that I will end up retiring to Hampton Roads, Savanna or Charleston, because my wife is fairly inflexible, and without a windfall, I will not be able to afford SoCal, which has little natural beauty to speak of. I want woods and water, low rent, etc. On the other hand I fully expect to work at least another 8 years, in which I'm sure I can make a million - but how much can I save?

I've been at the point at which I have all the material possessions I need, and am redundant in several spots. Everything but toilet paper right about now. Anyway, I'm really working to change my personality. I've have always raised the bridge, now I have to lower the river. I always worked harder and set higher goals in order to get the money I wanted, now I'm actually learning to economize. It's a discipline only recently born of necessity. I don't like it, and I'm not good at it yet.

I believe I can settle into some frugal ways. But I'm looking for categorical stuff. And let me blather on for a moment. I saw the excellent documentary on The Jazz Loft, and the protag, W. Eugene Smith the great photojournalist, abandoned a mansion on the Hudson to live and work in the city. I looked up the house and it was going for about 750k. I also used to follow a blog called Sippican Cottage written by a genius handiman who did contract work for old old money people and their mansions. Also my own cousin lived in a mansion neighborhood in Milwaukee, actually just across the street from a Frank Lloyd Wright building.

So I have this intuition about houses built for the wealthy, that they never have the kind of shortcuts built into them like modern tract mansions do. You never have to redo the kitchens because they obviously have tiled floors with a drain, and the backsplashes are the proper height and the pipes are copper in the crawlspace, not in the slab. I want a house that was built to last 200 years. And I think I can find one in abandoned neighborhoods like Grosse Point (adjacent) or maybe West Orange, NJ. I just have a feeling that there are a lot of houses like that are unflippable but very livable. So I'm definitely overthinking that angle.

I've also thought about, especially since I moved to this gated community, places where the Feds would put a safe house or where intelligence wonks go to retire. I'm sure there are places like that in the backwoods of Maryland and Virginia. So there's that. I'm really negotiating about the neighbors - but maybe we'll all just Zoom in the future.

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The world is wide and broad, Mike. And paying $800,000 for a dumpy house in Redondo Beach is just as dumb as it is infeasible. Your music and writing and thinking don’t cost you hardly a thing, and you can do it wherever you find yourself.

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