Local attractions

by Denver Dad

Do you take advantage of the travel/tourist places and activities in your area? I recently took the kids on a mini road trip (DW stayed home) to Gunnison and it occurred to me that I’ve lived here almost 20 years and there are still so many places around Colorado that I’ve never been to. This was my first time in Gunnison, and we saw Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, which I never even heard of until we got down there. We also stopped in Crested Butte, which I had also never been to.

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118 thoughts on “Local attractions

  1. I was lucky-ish in my former job, because I had to drive all over the state. So I saw a lot of stuff (though I didn’t feel lucky when I was driving in the mountains in February). But I haven’t been to Idaho Springs, and I’ve just driven through Manitou Springs, and there are a bunch of places that DH has located that would work for fly fishing for him and spa treatments for me. We just never get around to it. It doesn’t help that I hate leaving my elderly cat.

    I love the cat, but she’s 20 years old and I’m starting to feel like she’s going to outlive me.

  2. Tahoe, San Francisco and Napa are all day trips. We go skiing every year, but I haven’t been to the City for fun for years, and rarely visit Napa. I’m not sure why. Maybe the traffic? When I was younger, we went to San Francisco all the time, because we could.

  3. I have yet to go to the World of Coca-Cola or the King Center. I finally visited Savannah this year but still haven’t been to New Orleans. I think I’ve done the other southern cities.

  4. Maybe the traffic?

    For me it’s the parking in San Francisco that kills my inclination to go there.

  5. But in high school it was a super fun day trip with friends to take the train into San Francisco and then use buses and BART to get around. I can’t believe I used to know the bus system that well.

  6. Somewhat…I find that we did things that were age appropriate until elder caregiving became so predominant in my life. DP (partner) is not a trip planner, not even a day trip, so none of that was done the past few years. Last summer was just too raw for me, but I have a list of some things to do this summer. There are some adult only things that we didn’t get too before kids that I am not sure I will get to with DP as they are more active than he is wanting. However, it maybe a good girls weekend type outing.

  7. Of course we do local tourism. We are lucky to live in a place with tons of options. It is really hard to determine the line between “fun social event” and “tourist outing”, really. We go to the Bronx Zoo, which is clearly a tourist outing, but we also head to Flushing to eat, which a knowledgable tourist would also do. We go to kids events held at tourist attractions up in Westchester. We go to the big New England fair (the Big E).

    We did the Intrepid recently. We stood in a long line for an hour to get in, and when we did, I am sorry to say, it was pretty boring. Except for the Space Shuttle. The problem for me was not that it was military equipment, but it was the lack of signage and context. I got the sense that it was set up with military buffs in mind, but they forgot about the people who might not know much but want to learn. The Canadian War Museum in Ottawa was a million times better.

  8. We take a lot of day and weekend trips. Boundary Waters, North Shore (Lake Superior), Eagle Center along the Mississippi every March, etc. Since moving here I’ve enjoyed learning more about the Dakota tribe and their history. I haven’t been to a lot of the local museums, but my kids have with school and summer day camp.

  9. I just went to the local art museum a couple of weeks ago. I think I’ve been to the George Eastman (founder of Kodak) museum once since we’ve lived here. I always say this or that exhibit sounds interesting but I never get there. When the kids were little we went to the nationally well-regarded Museum of Play a lot but we dropped our membership when the youngest went into ~1st grade.

    We get to Niagara Falls about once a year, usually as a mid-point stop off on the 3hr drive home from Toronto. The Canadian side is much better for views and for food.

    There are a lot of people who do wine trail tours around here, usually with a group of friends and using the services of a limo/minibus company. Probably I’m spoiled/snobby because of grown up near Napa, so we’ve never done that.

  10. There are sooooo many things to do there is no way we could see them all, or afford it. We pick our spots. The kids have been to the major attractions numerous times with school or camps. We’ll be at the Museum of Natural History Friday (a favorite of mine).

    When I lived in London, at first I did a ton of touristy stuff but then consciously stopped. I needed to transition to being a local and stop pretending I was just visiting in order to get over the culture shock. I did more low key things in my immediate neighborhood – visit the park, eat at the local Indian place (which I still miss to this day), etc. Towards the end I ramped up on touristy stuff again and revisited a few favorites.

  11. Mooshi – thanks for the Intrepid comment. I was thinking of going with the kids, but I think we’d be bored. We need context (and a gift shop and food).

  12. Lemon – My oldest and I just read the Betsy-Tacy series (well she still has to read the last two books, which I read while she’s at camp because I could not wait) and the books are so adorable. It made me want to visit Minnesota. I had never even heard of those books growing up and wish I had read them as a kid.

  13. I’m guilty of not taking advantage of more local attractions. I’ve never been to Staten Island. Seriously, I’d like to go. The ferry is free.

  14. July – There is a good kids museum on Staten Island and I’d guess some great Italian restaurants. Not sure what else is there honestly. The ferry ride itself may be the highlight of the trip.

  15. I come from Essex in the UK and i have hardly gone up North within my 22 years of existence. I have been to Newcastle once and Wales once and Dorset a few times which is beyond beautiful!

    I am currently travelling the world and i have seen more of South East Asia and Australia than my home country!

    Insane!

  16. Kerri, they did have food but it was not too great. Who knows, though, you might like it. You guys may be more up on the technology than we were.

  17. Yeah, I should go just for the ferry ride. Maybe have an Italian meal.

    I visited Governor’s Island years ago, but they’ve built it up since then and I’d like to walk up the Hills they built and then slide down. There are so many things I’d like to do locally.

  18. We did a lot of tourist stuff before the kids came along, but have been waiting for them to get bigger before doing the freedom trail, the duck tours, the Gardner museum, etc. I think they are probably big enough to do those now. We have taken them to the science museum and the aquarium and the kids’ museum a ton of times.

  19. We try to take advantage of stuff around here because that is how I was raised and I want her to go to all of the parks, gardens, museums, shows, Radio City etc. My husband didn’t even see the Rock Center tree until he worked in midtown. I don’t want DD to be unfamiliar with the city since we are so close to everything. I keep taking her on the subway and metro north so she doesn’t think that the only way to get around NY is by car.

    I think she is finally starting to “feel the love” about NY. I didn’t want to push it when she was younger because she wasn’t into the walking, and the noise. She was in the city a few weeks ago with a friend and they did touristy things in Soho and Little Italy. They had a lot of stores and places that they wanted to go because they follow you tubers and people on Instagram. The day started with a visit to Black Tap, and it seemed like we were the only NYers there because we were helping everyone else with directions to 9/11 memorial, subway etc.

    I am still in the city a couple of times a week to see my friends and for the occasional work meeting. I’ve been making an effort to go in more on the weekends to see shows and concerts. We will spend a lot of time there this summer when DD is at camp because it is so easy for us to drive in on the weekend and park on the street. So many people leave the city and take their cars to Hamptons, etc that there is generally ample parking int he residential neighborhoods. We have a list of restaurants that we want to visit and I am going to drag my husband to Brooklyn because he never goes there.

    I hope she will spend even more time in NYC when she is in high school and can take the train into the city without parents so they can start to explore on their own.

  20. We took the kids to the Intrepid and they mostly enjoyed it, especially my history nut. At the time they had nice exhibits iirc. I enjoyed wandering around some of the cramped spaces.

  21. We only do local tourist attractions when we have out of town visitors. With our last guests we toured Monticello and Natural Bridge. We also visited a local brewery with them which because DH and I rarely drink we would not have done on our own. It was fun tasting the different beers.
    With DD headed up north for college in a few months, one of the things that I am looking forward to is visiting places along the way and around her school and trying all sorts of new restaurants. I already have a long list of places I hope to get to over the next four years.

  22. I am going to date myself, but Staten Island was also called Richmond when I was in school in the 70s. Most NYC public school kids would take a school trip to Staten Island to visit :
    https://www.historicrichmondtown.org This insured that NYC kids would visit that boro, but I spent very little time in Brooklyn until I was in my 20s. The city schools used to take kids on a lot of field trips. I wish my school district would do this, but they only take the kids for one trip per grade so we have to fill in the gaps for local attractions. I went to Statue of Liberty, Staten island, Museum of Natural History, Botanical Gardens, Museum of the city of NY and lots of other places with my school.

    I’ve been to Staten Island as an adult because I have some friends that live there. It is very residential and there isn’t a lot of touristy stuff. The ferry is great, and you can’t beat the price.

  23. “We have a list of restaurants that we want to visit and I am going to drag my husband to Brooklyn because he never goes there”

    Lauren – Lots and lots of great restaurants at a decent price point in Brooklyn. Let me know if you’re serious and I’ll send you a list offline.

  24. L – I am trying to get my husband to agree to a trip to Boston to do all the stuff you just described. Exactly the kind of thing I like, not so sure about the kids.

  25. We went on a duck tour last summer and my kids all loved it (youngest was almost 3 at the time). But the highlight for them was actually seeing some ducks when we were in the Charles River, not really the other stuff.

  26. In Boston, we always love doing the swan boats. I have a photo of myself somewhere on a swan boat when I was 4

  27. Oh yes, we have done the swan boats with the kids too. That was when #3 was 2, so she might not remember it. Perfect for little kids, but you have to get there early since the lines can get crazy.

  28. My kids have been to most places in our city. We have also been to Asheville, Cherokee and the Yadkin River valley vineyards. Kids have also been to the NC Zoo in Ashboro and the River Banks Zoo in SC.
    We have yet to go to the smaller cities. And we yet have to do in depth visits to the big college campuses in the Research Triangle area. The same thing with Boston and Atlanta – those will be part of the college tour circuit.

  29. “We only do local tourist attractions when we have out of town visitors. ”

    ITA. I am always surprised at what guests want to see while they’re in town. My nephew really wanted to go to Carlo’s Bakery in Hoboken of Cake Boss fame (they also have a shop in Manhattan now I believe). Can’t remember the last time I went to Hoboken.

  30. I always say this or that exhibit sounds interesting but I never get there.

    The Denver museums have good exhibits too, and I kept suggesting them to DH, and he kept saying no. Finally I asked if he was ever going to be interested before retirement, and he acknowledged that he wasn’t. So I should start to go by myself more, but it feels a little lonely.

  31. We definitely have hit every major sports/cultural/historical venue in the city multiple times between chaperoning field trips, going as a family, work functions, and entertaining out-of-town guests. A lot of the minor ones too, and other things like checking out each of the local taprooms on date nights. It’s one of the reasons outside of commute that we don’t want to live in the suburbs, although we’ve been to some of the attractions there too (Chicago Botanic Garden is one of my favorite places on earth). DS is a total city kid & can tell you how to get anywhere via public transit. He used to ask to ride the trains for fun as a preschooler.

    Lately, we’ve been branching out to some of the day-trip destinations. Over the winter, we went to Springfield (Lincoln Museum, State Capitol tour) and went to the Great Lakes Civil War museum in Kenosha. We’ve done lots of other nearby weekend trips too.

    @RMS – I don’t mind going to museums by myself at all. I have a membership to the Art Institute, and I like to go there by myself if I ever have the chance & go through at my own pace.

  32. I guess the question is what is the difference between a “tourist attraction” and something else? Because I would never in a million years spend any time at Navy Pier by choice (but of course I have been there a dozen times), but when we go to a museum/play around in the downtown parks/ride the water taxi – I don’t think of it as “being a tourist”.

  33. “really wanted to go to Carlo’s Bakery in Hoboken”
    We did that a few years back at the height of their/the show’s popularity. We managed to avoid much of the (2hr long) line because we were smart enough to order a very small cake ahead and then we chose the other stuff we wanted once we were being waited on. It was ok, but the best part was the people watching outside.

  34. @RMS – I don’t particularly care for eating at restaurants by myself (outside of fast casual), but museums and movies? I’m all for it.

  35. The infomous Washington D.C. school trip will be coming up for DS next year. I debated whether to be a chaperone but there will be little interaction between us, as boys will be assigned male chaperones. I do want to see the place again, so will sign up with DD’s class. I don’t mind the bus trip, bad food, shrieking kids….

  36. I don’t mind the bus trip, bad food, shrieking kids….

    Or, y’know, you could just drive. We used to drive up to DC from NC occasionally.

  37. Rocky, go to the springs! And please give us all a report afterwards.

    We started a “sand bucket list” for what to do before moving away from this state a few years ago. I still want to go to where you can harvest your own scallops and float down the Rainbow River a couple hours north of here. Otherwise, we got tired of it all. We miss small scale, local things. If they exist here, I certainly haven’t been able to find them. When Santa Claus comes to a neighborhood, thousands turn out to greet him. Blech. We have learned about mangroves and turtles and hammocks and the Tocobago and Caloosahatchee and Karesh and Edison and Ford, but it all just ends up seeming like the same dang record over and over.

  38. Rocky, you can come with us!

    To the museum, or the hot springs? I guess either is good!

  39. I was thinking about this post today and laughing at myself, because my big outing this morning was to the brand! new! King Soopers (Kroger) a mile from my house. There was cake, and music, and free samples, and face painting for the kids! Also very little parking. But I got a free reusable grocery bag! So that makes about 50 of those stuffed in my car trunk.

  40. Ivy,
    Now I am trying to figure out how to persuade family members to make the trek up to the Chicago Botanic Gardens on Saturday morning after an event in the city on Friday night. Otherwise, we will surely end up at Eataly.

  41. I don’t mind visiting museums on my own — actually, it’s easier than trying to pace yourself with others. I love dropping into the Art Institute for an hour when I’m in town on my own.

  42. Oh boo! I somehow just lost a post I was writing about when my parents visited in Berlin.

  43. The main attraction where we are is the water, and we try to visit it as much as possible. :)

  44. Kerri – we just went to Boston for a couple of days in April, and I wish we had at least 3 or 4 more days. If you go, you should get the Go Boston card. It saved us so much money even though we just there for two nights. I think your kids would love the science museum, and it is a very kid friendly city. Since we had the pass, my DD went back for a second visit. So, so many of the attractions are included and we visited many more places just because we could get in with the card for no fee. Duck tour was included on our pass too.

  45. What is a good museum in Denver? We’ll be at RMNP next month, and have a free day in Denver.

  46. Recap: my plan to take my Midwestern “country mouse” parents to a lovely outdoor market and walk to some outdoor attractions on their first day (to help combat jet lag) was interrupted by a very large group of men and women in body make up and costumes, some of them on floats. It was the Christopher Steet Parade, down the street between the subway station and the market. They decided to take it in good humor, cause why not. Once we got to the market, we couldn’t browse the various wurst, cheeses, jams, etc for long because a thunderstorm broke out. We scrambled to a restaurant for brunch. Afterwards, it was still raining, so we got on the #100 bus. Its route goes by many famous spots, and we sat in front upstairs. We got off at the Brandenburg Gate. The parade had been there too. The ground was littered with champagne bottles, and a lesbian couple sat on the curb necking. It was quite the introduction to Berlin, lol.

  47. “Now I am trying to figure out how to persuade family members to make the trek up to the Chicago Botanic Gardens on Saturday morning after an event in the city on Friday night. Otherwise, we will surely end up at Eataly.”

    Oh you should! If you like greasy burger dive bars, you can go to Charlie Beinlich’s after. Or one of the nice, local restaurants on the North Shore (of which there are many).

  48. I grew up in the DC area, and now live in a tourist destination, so I have long ago exhausted my tolerance for truly tourist excursions. However, I don’t think of all the private or publicly funded museums, public lands, cultural and educational resources as tourist attractions per se, although that is a fair, if partial, description. Living here means that if the funds or health for travel aren’t there, my senior citizen transit pass,senior discount memberships, free university lectures, daytime rehearsal tickets, extensive parks, etc., will allow me to have a very full life outside the house if I so choose.

  49. I took my older two to Denver when I had to go to a conference a few years ago. We liked it, but only had time for one museum, which was something about Colorado history. It was really good and the kids liked it a lot. My second kid was also really impressed by the Denver airport architecture

  50. Question: Since the campground/cottage village we are booking in Brittany is nonrefundable, and the air travel has massive penalties for cancellation. I want to get trip insurance. I have done this in the past but cannot remember how I did it. Any recommendations?

  51. MM,

    Do any of your credit cards come with automatic trip insurance? I know my AA, Hyatt and Marriott ones do.

  52. It’s very comprehensive:

    The Covered Traveler’s Pet, has an injury or serious illness that
    is either life threatening or requires care and is verified by a
    licensed veterinarian. Pet(s) means any domesticated or tamed
    animal that is kept as a companion and cared for affectionately.

  53. How would I find out?

    Ask the google. What credit cards do you have? Amex, Chase Sapphire, Capital One, etc.?

  54. Is trip insurance available for illnesses or injury to family members who aren’t on the trip?

  55. Scarlett,

    Why yes!

    ■ The Covered Traveler’s Family Member, not traveling on the Trip, has an injury or illness that is either life threatening or requires care from the Covered Traveler(s) and is veri ed by a licensed medical practitioner.

  56. Rhett, I just have one credit card from Citibank. I supposed I could call them.

  57. Scarlett,

    Your next question will be, How do they define family member.

    Family Members means your children, spouse, ancée, Domestic Partner and their children, including adopted children or step-children; legal guardians or wards; siblings or siblings-in-law; son-in-law or daughter-in-law; parents or parents-in-law; grandparents or grandchildren; aunts or uncles; nieces or nephews.

  58. “What could she possibly have been thinking?’

    She’s a snob and then tried to cover up posts in addition to the two that were first discovered. Wonder if there were other issues as well.

  59. Lemon, will the kids be with you? The Denver Art Museum is good, and the Western History Museum is good. The Natural History Museum is okay and it has an IMAX theater attached with edumacational movies about nature, and that might be useful if the kids are getting tired. The Molly Brown House isn’t that big, but it’s unique. The Nat. History Museum is also in the same large complex as the zoo. The Denver Botanical Garden is very nice this time of year.

  60. Scarlett,

    And just to be clear that’s the trip insurance that comes automatically with an AA credit card.

  61. An idea from a friend of mine, when her kids were younger: a great big long list in bright colored markers of family summer fun: get ice cream at x, go to nearby attraction, tie-dye t-shirts, family game night, volunteer at y, etc. go to slightly further attraction. I like that there is no sorting whatsoever.

  62. Googling Citibank trip insurance brings up lots of hits. If you’ve already got it, using that makes a lot more sense than buying more. Wish I’d known to tell my parents that before their trips over the last few years–they always buy it.

  63. Just call your credit card and find out the limit. My card (very ordinary) has $5,000 in trip insurance if you pay with your card.

  64. Thanks Rhett. I will investigate for my personal travels. I always buy the most comprehensive with a no preexisting conditions and cancel for any reason rider, and for most of my long trip medevac is required too

  65. I was just mentioning this stuff today. I have to get my dad to Battleship Cove in Fall River. He’d love it. And I forget how close it is.

    Ivy- we went to the Chicago Botanical Gardens! Loved it!!

    I have to be a tourist in Boston too. I never get there unless I’m going to the aquarium or the Opera House

  66. I think it’s time to shop credit cards for the best benefits. I don’t typically buy travel cancellation insurance, but our dogs are getting older and so am I!

    We changed health insurers this year, but the policy we had before included medical evacuation insurance. They contracted it out to another company. They had medical personal at a devoted 800 phone number to deal with the details.
    I doubt our new policy has it but I need to check.

  67. So I think of “tourist” stuff like Harborplace and the Aquarium. We basically only do that stuff when people are in town. But we like our state parks, like to walk around Fells Point, like to go to ball games periodically, etc. And we like the periodic DC tourist stuff more than our own and go hit museums on an occasional Saturday.

    I was laughing at the “drive from NC to DC” comment earlier, because I did that in reverse today — hit my dad’s for an overnight on the way to Granny’s. So if anyone has suggestion for a quick scenic wonder to hit between Winston-Salem and Chattanooga that would take an hour or less and is appropriate for an 11-yr-old boy (other than “Asheville is so cute!”), let me know. 😉

  68. July, look to see if your employer has a Travel Assist benefit. Most employers do ..it is a “value add” that is usually isn’t promoted.

  69. Saac- not usually. But colleges typically have 1 or more prospective student “open houses” per semester on Saturdays. Look on their admissions home page. But make sure your son is not scheduled for an SAT or ACT that day (colleges try to avoid that, but conflicts do happen)

  70. Laura, you could also google Rainbow Falls (my nephew says it’s good but legit hike), Tunnel to Nowhere or “gem” mines around there.

  71. If you want to see the eclipse in August, check out this resource to see where the closest place is where you could go be on the path of totality.
    http://www.eclipse2017.org/2017/in_the_path.htm#NORTH_CAROLINA

    I still haven’t decided if we are going to camp somewhere on the path or stay in Asheville that weekend and drive South Monday morning. The latter makes more sense to me except it’d be miserable to find ourselves stuck on a highway at that crucial moment.

  72. On visiting local tourist attractions, when we were in DC a couple of weeks ago we visited some cousins, who were asking what we’d seen so far, liked, etc. it made me laugh because a lot of the things we named (Library of Congress, Supreme Court) they had never seen. I’m sure there are a ton of things I haven’t seen in Houston.

  73. Thanks, Lemon! I’ll check that out.

    Related to this topic, does anyone have a good way to track local live performance events to be alerted about buying tickets in advance? To be useful for me I would need to track specific genres because otherwise it becomes to unwieldy.

    Eventful seems to do the job, but I haven’t used it enough to know for sure.

  74. A follow-up to the “rich” topic from a few days ago:

    Here’s how much money Americans think you need to be considered rich

    Participants were also asked how much money is required to be considered “wealthy” in America. “Survey respondents say it’s an average of $2.4 million,”

    Unsurprisingly, it seems that most who are actually in that category do not consider themselves wealthy.

    A 2013 survey from UBS found that only 28 percent of people worth $1 million to $5 million consider themselves wealthy. Sixty percent of those worth $5 million or more said they’re wealthy.

  75. That couple is annoying. At $500k, you have to pick some things – house, cars, expensive childcare, vacations, charitable contributions, student loans, savings. They chose everything other than savings. Doesn’t change the fact that they are rich. How they *feel* doesn’t change the facts. It does make them seem really out of touch.

  76. The $500k couple is contributing $36,000 annually to their 401(k)s. Then they’re supposedly investing an additional $7300. There’s got to be some sort of employer match or profit sharing, so they’re likely contributing over $50k annually to their portfolio.

    It’s certainly not great for their income level, but it’s not horrible. And they’re doing this while spending $42k annually on childcare; I don’t know if that’s reasonable for their area, but considering they both likely work long hours, seems reasonable. And then they’re also spending $32k on student loan repayment. That’s $74k in after-tax money that’s not really negotiable. But as the kids get older, if they can make a go of public school and pay off the loans, it will free up a lot of cash flow.

    And then there’s the fact that it seems like there’s a decent chance that at least one of them will have a seven-figure income in the next 10 years, right? I can look at the chart and bash them for having both a Land Cruiser and a 5-series when they still have student loans, but at their income levels, it’s not the catastrophic choice that it is for $100k households.

    They’re not going to be able to retire at 50, especially with their lifestyle expectations, but presumably they don’t want to. Maybe they should be worried about age discrimination at that point, I don’t know.

  77. re the article Louise posted “how difficult it can be to avoid lifestyle creep”. This, for a lot of people.

    I have found it useful to do what financial statement preparers in corporate America would do which is to prepare a ‘cash sources and uses statement’. Start at the top like the reporter did to determine how much is available after reducing gross income for retirement and taxes. But then, jump right to the bottom and say how much “extra” should be left at the end of the month/year. This “extra” would cover the vacation and miscellaneous categories on their budget. Then start filling in the things you’re really committed financially to covering (housing, transportation, food, clothing, insurances, education, charity). Eventually, once the numbers are populated, it forces the discussion of what needs to be limited/cut back.

    Congrats to them on fully funding their 401ks. But that’s $36k/$500 gross = 7.2%. Woefully low, unless there’s some employer contribution, if they want to maintain their lifestyle in old age.

  78. oh, ok, I’ll admit it. I’ve really been in a career stage for the past ~10years where I make enough $$, my work is appreciated, certainly over the past year it’s actually been enjoyable to come into the office, I like the work and the people I work with. Comp-wise, the structure is the old raise ~equal to inflation for those who are meeting expectations (and no bonus for anyone), so no one’s getting ahead unless their outgo (e.g. mortgage payoff) is being reduced. For this year, the budgeted raises are still ~=inflation.

    Now the brag. My raise is 1.25x the target and I got a cash bonus of 2% annual pay, the only person in the group to be so awarded. No, I’m not going to get rich growing my comp ~5%/yr unless I find a way to get promoted (I’m looking) or leave this employer (unlikely…honestly too good of a gig and I don’t really want to start the learning curve again). So I guess they like me and I get to come into work tomorrow. Can’t say I really busted my hump, mostly I showed up and did good work made easy by having lots of experience doing this stuff, so the Rhett principle holds.

  79. But I can’t get riled up and preachy about it (she says as she tries to cut down Amazon orders and bypass summer clothes on sale)

    Amazon One-Click is the devil.

  80. If they have two little kids (and they obviously don’t live in NYC, just are “NYC-based” because no one needs or even wants two cars in the city), it all depends on whether the loan payments and child care payments are going to end in a few years. At which point one of the two may leave the workforce or cut back to take care of suburban parenting constraints, and hopefully the other will maintain the income levels. So freeing up the 70K will allow them to ramp up after tax and college savings. But I agree with others that you start with free aftertax cash flow, subtract the monthly nut, and figure out how to allocate the rest. That is why middle and UMC retirees tend not to follow advice to keep a mortgage. The smaller the nut, the greater the freedom, whether to travel, help the kids or at a minimum the freedom from worry about eating cat food.

    Anyone who can reasonably retire in comfort (not frugal style) at 50 without a full military or similar pension, or can buy a car that costs more than 100K, is across whatever financial divide there is between well to do and rich in old parlance. I only use “wealthy” for a very high net worth category.

  81. Great news, Fred. One day sometime in the next 5 plus years you will wake up and say, I have lost that feeling. I am starting to wish I didn’t have to go into work anymore (maybe there was a change in environment, or boss, or just in you.) Let me check my portfolio.

  82. Our own good news, as we prepare to leave today on our trip, was that despite putting on 20 lbs in the past 9 mos (all his good work since the heart crisis of 2 years ago undone), DH’s blood levels were terrific at the cardiology appt. That made up for the coumadin lady scolding (obnoxiously, the regular one was on vacation) because we hadn’t told them about the trip in advance. Now we can just hope that the forecast of 21 days of rain means no more than that standard European overcast part of the day drizzle.

  83. Meme – yes, completely agree. Middle kid asked me the other day when I thought I’d hang up my spikes? 5-10 years?
    I said that’s reasonable. Low probability of it happening before I turn 65, due to health insurance costs but maybe I could get on DWs plan thru her employer…if she’s still working. DW is almost 3 years younger than I am so it’s a factor. Really doubtful I’ll stick it out here till I’m 68. But you never know. Kind of jokingly but not really I was talking with my boss and a peer yesterday about someone else and the fact that she’s on a glide path to retirement, working only T-W-Th. I said that’s my plan…at some point go to 80% on my way to 60% on my way out the door. At 60% I’d have full benefits, still earn 15 days vacation, and probably have every M&F or Th&F off.

  84. Related to the discussion a few days ago. Pediatric GI specialists first talk about diet and lifestyle changes. Both the ones we went to, for kid talked about eating a diet with more fruits and vegetables, drinking enough fluid and toilet habits.
    Then there was a supplemental sheet listing the gut offenders carbonated beverages, artificial sweeteners, gum, coffee, alcohol.
    And there were recommendations for peppermint tea (first time I heard of this).

  85. Peppermint tea is classic for GI issues. My grandmother was a big believer, and also my father. Since I am nauseated by the smell of peppermint, I had to go to another room when my father made that tea

  86. The 3,450-meter shot, which took about 10 seconds to reach its target

    Wow. Pull trigger. 10 Mississippi 9 Mississippi 8 Mississippi 7 Mississippi 6 Mississippi 5 Mississippi 4 Mississippi 3 Mississippi 2 Mississippi 1 Mississippi Hit.

    And then the sound comes even later, I believe.

  87. “That couple is annoying. At $500k, you have to pick some things – house, cars, expensive childcare, vacations, charitable contributions, student loans, savings. They chose everything other than savings. Doesn’t change the fact that they are rich. How they *feel* doesn’t change the facts. It does make them seem really out of touch.”

    Agreed. The reason it is ludicrous isn’t that I think that they are spending their money on the “wrong” things. I don’t really care – and it seems like they are doing fine, even if I think I would save more and spend less at that income level. It’s the commentary about how they are just “regular joes” who “have trouble saving” just like everyone else. Granted – I give them the benefit of the doubt because there is no commentary from them – it’s the Financial Samurai guy and others putting commentary around the numbers. Unlike that doofus U of C law professor who whined about how poor he was & how he was going to have to fire his gardener, nanny, and cleaning service if Obama raised his taxes.

    Congrats Fred! And what you described is pretty much how we do our loose budget.

    Have a great trip Meme!

  88. Congrats Fred!

    “‘cash sources and uses statement’” – this is what we do.

    On peppermint tea – I discovered this is a thing on my last work trip to Europe. I am not a tea person, but after a large meal, it was a nice alternative to coffee and regular tea.

  89. I love mint tea! I’ve never noticed that it does anything for my stomach though. But I don’t generally have digestive issues.

  90. Congrats, Fred!

    i agree–the reason that couple doesn’t have the net worth/wealth they think they’re entitled to is because they (apparently) haven’t set priorities. But rich? Being able to invest an amount equal to or higher than the average income is not a bad rule of thumb for determining that.

  91. “Quick question–college tours on weekends. A possibility?”

    Sure, but it also depends on what kind of tour you want. Most colleges allow for self-guided tours at just about any time, but IME not many offer guided tours on weekends, and some don’t offer many tours during the summer.

    Personally, I enjoy walking college campuses, and visited campuses even when we didn’t have kids. Now that we have kids, when we travel we try to work in some campus visits even if there’s no guided tour available.

    I encourage you to take Saac to visit campuses when you can. Get him (more) excited about college.

  92. Mooshi, are you a Costco member?

    The Costco Visa features 3% CASH BACK ON RESTAURANT AND ELIGIBLE TRAVEL PURCHASES WORLDWIDE, and also provides Trip Cancellation & Interruption Protection, Worldwide Travel Accident Insurance, Worldwide Car Rental Insurance, and Travel & Emergency Assistance.

  93. I found interesting that the Schwab survey referred to in the article to which Louise posted a link looked at net worth to determine the threshold to “wealthy.”

    Most articles I’ve seen that discuss the who’s rich look at income instead.

  94. Finn, maybe they’re using the words the way I did above–“wealth” relates to net worth, being “rich” relates to income. For populations in the US that struggle from generation to generation, the lack ofwealth to fall back on, such as a mortgage, is the bigger problem. That’s why the GI bill helping white vets but not black vets buy houses continues to be a problem today; that stability just isn’t there.

  95. I think of “rich” in terms of wealth, as per the dictionary definition: having abundant possessions and especially material wealth.

    I don’t think I’ve ever seen the word, “income,” in any definition of “rich.”

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