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Living a Fabulous Gay Life: What is the cost?

Editor’s note: San Diego Gay & Lesbian News welcomes a new financial advice column by Steve Doster, CFP®, a Certified Financial Planner at Doster Financial Planning. The column, called Living a Fabulous Gay Life, will appear monthly.

Do you have those friends? You know, the ones that are always fashionably dressed with the “LAX > MIA > GIG” Facebook posts and the weekends spent “in the desert.”

It got me thinking: How much does it cost to live a fabulous gay life?

My friends living fabulously have busy travel itineraries. Let’s set aside $10,000 a year for our fabulous gay to travel on big trips to amazing places like Rio de Janiero, Mykonos and Amsterdam and weekend trips to Palm Springs, Las Vegas and San Francisco.

Entertainment for things like dining out at hip restaurants, cover at the clubs, and all those overpriced vodka cocktails can easily tally up to $600 each month. One must have designer clothes for these worldly trips and nights on the town including a closet full of $200 jeans, $50 T-shirts and $20 underwear (not talking Hanes three-pack here). I’d guess $400 a month would be a good average.

Technology spending can add up to a decent $250 per month for cellular, cable, high-speed Internet and iTunes, but that pales in comparison to personal care for the fabulous gay. It would not be outrageous to hear people spend over $1,000 a month to keep their beauty machine running with personal training, gym membership, yoga classes, deep-tissue massages, tanning, Botox treatments, facial peels, laser hair removal and teeth whitening.

I won’t mention housing and car expenses because they vary so widely. They’re “equalizer” expenses anyway. The more money you earn, the more money you spend on these two items making the highly-paid gay just as poor as the rest of us.

Excluding housing and auto expenses, we have about $40,000 of fabulously gay costs. But wait, there’s something big missing. What is it? If it doesn’t stand out in your brain like a hot surfer walking down the Pacific Beach boardwalk, then you must continue reading.

Think about that paycheck. Actually visualize yourself sitting in front of your computer on a Friday evening verifying the direct deposit went through and you can now go hit the ATM before meeting up with friends. Then like clockwork, it starts to happen. The e-bills eat away at what looked like a pretty decent balance until it is all gone. The same thing is repeated every month: money in, money out. A friend recently referred to this as his MMC or “money menstrual cycle.” Eww …gross.

The point I am getting to is that there is never any money left for you … for RETIREMENT. Now don’t check out here, I know you have little time or interest in discussing such things. But consider who you work for if you don’t save something for yourself. You really work for the cell phone company, the cable company, the local watering hole, etc. You work so that these businesses can make money. With no savings for yourself, you will always be the worker bee and never the queen!

It doesn’t take much and you can still live fabulously.

For example, 25-year-olds can save $190 every month and be millionaires by the time they reach 70. Or say you already spent through your 20s and didn’t save a dime. A 30-year-old needs to save only $285 per month to be a millionaire at 70. If that seems like a lot to fit into your current budget, just add up what you spend each month on cellular, cable, Internet, cocktails and dining out. Wow, right?

There are plenty of ways to cut into some of your current spending without giving up too much fun. And you don’t have to be a millionaire, just save something for yourself even if it’s only $50 a month. It’ll add up.

The alternative is to live it up now and worry about retirement later. So instead of saving $190 a month, you can start when you hit 40 by saving $670 a month to reach the millionaire mark at 70. Ouch, that’s a big difference and will definitely cramp your lifestyle just when you should be starting your sugar daddy phase.

How much does a fabulous gay life cost? The true cost is infinite if you don’t begin saving for retirement. Believe me, it will not be fabulous living on only Social Security and Medicaid in retirement. Start saving now so you can live the fabulous gay life not just today, but for your entire life.

Steve Doster, CFP®, is a Certified Financial Planner offering fee-only, hourly financial advice for do-it-yourself investors. www.dosterfinancialplanning.com