“Stupid Money” Holiday

My friend Shawn retired a few years ago from a big government job, but now he consults a bit to earn what he calls “stupid money”. It’s not money that he needs, but money that can be spent on some silly, stupid stuff that you might otherwise be too sensible to spend your retirement savings on.

We just spent some stupid money, going to Walt Disney World for an impromptu holiday trip. We love the Christmas season & holiday decorations and Disney does it up big. We’ve never been there at the holidays before and really enjoyed the over-the-top holiday garlands, trees, lights, music, treats, and fireworks.

Where things got stupid is that I snagged a last minute room at Disney’s Deluxe Resort, the Contemporary. For $750 a night / 3x nights. Plus park tickets. I’m sure that’s the most I ever paid for a hotel room and three days entertainment with my own money. It was a childhood dream to stay at the cool, 1970s ‘modern’ hotel connected to the Magic Kingdom by a sleek monorail.

(When I was a kid, I thought in the future we would all live in futuristic buildings with big, glass atriums and integrated transportation systems. It’s a climate-controlled, populist utopia that never quite materialized outside of the theme park business. Elegant monorails, in particular, were beat in the marketplace by boring, ground level light-rail trains and dingy, underground metro systems.)

The trip wasn’t exactly in our budget for this year, but who cares with a little “stupid money” from some corporate board work I’ve been doing? I’ve also upped our charitable giving with this extra income, but it’s fun to also be able to plus-up the end of the year with a spontaneous silly trip like this one.

Do you have some retirement “stupid money” to spend, or plan to? What silly things do you want to spend it on?

16 thoughts on ““Stupid Money” Holiday

  1. I’m floored that the Contemporary was $750 a night. My wife and I were talking about hitting Disney World up for a holiday trip with the kids. I’m not sure this year will happen but I would like to see their decorations so we might have to make that trip next year.

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    1. The deluxe resorts are really pricey. Not hard to find moderate or value rooms for $175-$250. Offsite, $200 gets you a great room over at Margaritaville.

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  2. When my wife and I retired, we funded a “Fun Money” account that we decided would be used for extravagances that might be otherwise “out of budget.” The rules are simple: we both have to agree that an expense is sufficiently “fun” (which, I know, is very broad), but also something that we likely wouldn’t splurge for otherwise.

    For example, we’re using it to fund a week at a beach-side condo in San Diego for my wife’s extended family next spring. The price tag is much higher than we would normally spend on a place to stay, but this may be a once-in-a-lifetime chance to have three generations of family all together for a vacation before life changes make this impossible.

    Sounds like your trip would fit right in with our rules: a bit extravagant, but a unique experience you’ll remember forever (and perhaps the fulfillment of a childhood dream!). Sounds like a great use of your “fun money!”

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    1. I like your approach – and ‘fun money’ might be a better name. Maybe we’ll have to give it some formality and make this an annual exercise.

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  3. My family is using my consulting money to pay for health, vision, and dental insurance as SEHI. This frees up $1,500 monthly to spend on whatever. My wife and I used some of it for dog training classes this fall and are planning to take classes plus equip ourselves starting January for homebrewing and target shooting.

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    1. I have a neighbor who has invested in a bunch of equipment for home brewing. He was a chemist before he retired, so he really enjoys that aspect of it. He hosts the neighbor guys and other friends over once a month for whatever his latest brew is. Usually about a dozen people are there. That’s a nice retirement activity!

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  4. My son tutors college students in Organic Chemistry, so he will be big help and is actually pushing me to try to new things. I think he wants the beer too.

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    1. I don’t know anything about chemistry, but enjoyed an afternoon in my neighbors garage helping out & learning how beer is made.

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  5. My son tells me that some of the best beer he has had comes from a female biochemist at a pharma startup he knows from college. What is interesting is that her cost seems inexpensive and she teaches people how to make their own beer.

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    1. The beer my buddy makes is pretty affordable to. The equipment cost gets amortized pretty quickly if you do it 1-2x s month like he does.

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  6. My fun money? Well, my pension is fine to live on without tapping retirement accounts, or taxable investments. My consulting income in 2021 plus wife’s social security added to pension equals more than my highest year salary ever which was when I had a child in college and a mortgage. I have neither expense now.

    Upgrades to business class on two paid for flights to cruises in the Med. Grandchild 529 plans. Flights for adult children and spouses to visit us. Gifts to local charity.

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    1. Those are all great things to plus-up with fun money. My wife would like to go to Australia / New Zealand sometime after CV19. That would be a good upgrade flight, for sure.

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  7. Walt Disney wanted to build a monorail based mass transit system in the middle of LA freeways to alleviate traffic. Think about that the next time you are visiting LA and stuck in traffic.

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    1. Miami is a city with a monorail, but it doesn’t do much to fight congestion. I’m not sure anyone has come up with a good solution for urban transportation.

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  8. If I had “Stupid money” I might want to spend it on two-wheeled toy’s or what my wife calls two wheeled death machines. ~aka motorcycles

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    1. I don’t trust myself to have a motorcycle! Looks fun, but I’ll stick to my sports car & Jeep.

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