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27 Year Old NYer Reintroducing Himself
Old 01-16-2011, 12:11 AM   #1
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27 Year Old NYer Reintroducing Himself

Tales of my demise have been grossly exaggerated...
Hi I took a hiatus from posting for a while. One could argue I did some soul searching during my time away. I'm 27, post graduate school, looking at ways to get ahead in the game of life and ultimately being able to both enjoy my life and save for retirement.

Left my job at a credit union after 3 1/2 years, then became an executive assistant. Starting out I was very gung ho, having the opportunity to work in a new field for someone who was at once CEO of a multibillion dollar company and board member of two highly successful companies. The job was listed as full-time online, in the interview it became part-time and after a few months it became per diem. He was very frugal and I bore the brunt of it. To make a long story short, I was burning through my 1 year emergency fund and before I got my next job I had less than $300 left to my name and ever-growing credit card debt. That was Spring of 2010.

After 6 weeks of being unemployed, not qualifying for unemployment because of how I was paid I made a quick decision. Get back in banking, but with a different company and a clean slate. That was the beginning of July.

Today my credit card debt is down to about 1100 and my car loan 3100. I pay 100/mo for the cc and am not adding anything to the balance. Also used income based repayment to lower my monthly payments on student loans until I get things squared away. Sallie Mae also unexpectedly lowered my interest rate from 5.25% to 4.25 due to "being a great customer". Still owe them 41000, but in time the pieces will come togetherů

I'm reading Marketing Metrics: The Definitive Guide to Measuring Marketing Performance, Second Edition right now because it sounds like a field I'd like to learn more about in the coming months. Always eying the work landscape but it can be a bit hairy at times. I think leveraging my professional network will give me the best hope at meeting someone in charge of making the hiring decisions. Before I get to that point though I'd like to know what the heck I'm talking about.

Been reading Linchpin by Seth Godin on and off. It helps shift my view of being an easily replaceable cog in a machine to someone the organization perceives as highly valuable in the decision-making process. Nothing happens overnight but I'm optimistic toward my future. 2011 is shaping up to be my best year yet.

My bf is also living the FIRE-mentality. He makes significantly more than I do to start off, a year older but has had the same car for 8 years and his own apartment. He works a lot harder than I do and his results are proof of that. Yet each day he encourages me to stick to my goals and spend wisely.

I want to use this forum more to learn from people who are able to retire and enjoy life.
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Old 01-16-2011, 10:50 AM   #2
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Welcome again!
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Old 01-16-2011, 04:31 PM   #3
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Welcome again!
Thank you walkinwood. Looks like I will have at least 30 working years left in my life, possibly more. I really want to do it right and learn from the decisions I've made over the past decade.
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Old 01-16-2011, 05:35 PM   #4
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Good for you!

I was 30 when I began aggressively saving for retirement. My goal was to retire when I turned 55 (I did) and be financially independent (I am). I always saved first and spent what was left. I lived below my means - any salary increases went into savings or the 401K. We had basic food, clothing, shelter, and transportation. I had three pairs of slacks and five shirts for work. One pair of brown shoes and one pair of black shoes. "Stuff" cost money that could be better served as an investment towards my retirement.

The payoff was huge. I always say retirement has been my best career choice.
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Old 01-16-2011, 05:47 PM   #5
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Welcome to the forum!

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Originally Posted by MBAVisionary View Post
My bf is also living the FIRE-mentality. He makes significantly more than I do to start off, a year older but has had the same car for 8 years and his own apartment. He works a lot harder than I do and his results are proof of that. Yet each day he encourages me to stick to my goals and spend wisely.
As many members will say, the above quote is THE SINGLE BIGGEST factor for a couple to reach Early Retirement. It is true that you have to LBYM - but even if you do, a significant other that does not can (and often does) completely undo any advancement you make to the ER goal line.

Congratulations - you've already made huge strides in setting up your concrete goals and plans by finding someone on the same page financially (hopefully the two of you will work out long-term ). When you have a teammate who is always sharing your mindset, it makes those sacrifices of saving all the easier.
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Old 01-16-2011, 06:28 PM   #6
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Congratulations - you've already made huge strides in setting up your concrete goals and plans by finding someone on the same page financially (hopefully the two of you will work out long-term ). When you have a teammate who is always sharing your mindset, it makes those sacrifices of saving all the easier.
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Old 01-17-2011, 12:27 PM   #7
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Hey MooreBonds,

Thanks for the reply. You are totally right on the money about living below your means. I used to eat out at work everyday because "I could", even though I work right across the street from a supermarket and could get a week's worth of food for what I was spending in two days, along with better nutrition to meet my weight goals. No sense in being broke and getting fat. That said, I do pick a day each week to

We're going on a trip to Florida next month and got a killer great deal on hotel and airfare. Hotel near Tampa for 59/night and complimentary breakfast. 57.40 / night at a Disney Orlando resort because he's a resident and 173 roundtrip per person for JetBlue. It might be silly for me to be going on a trip now but I haven't been on a real vacation since 1999.

Fun on a budget is my mantra.
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Old 01-17-2011, 12:34 PM   #8
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Good for you!

I was 30 when I began aggressively saving for retirement. My goal was to retire when I turned 55 (I did) and be financially independent (I am). I always saved first and spent what was left. I lived below my means - any salary increases went into savings or the 401K. We had basic food, clothing, shelter, and transportation. I had three pairs of slacks and five shirts for work. One pair of brown shoes and one pair of black shoes. "Stuff" cost money that could be better served as an investment towards my retirement.

The payoff was huge. I always say retirement has been my best career choice.
I am shifting the mindset many Gen Yers like myself have when it comes to entitlement. Growing up we were poor, but that doesn't give me an excuse to not keep my spending in check. Money can be used in an almost infinite number of ways. Years from now, I'd like to adopt the belief that I didn't scrimp on everything but spent on what really matters to me. Not a car that will likely be replaced by something more advanced and refined, or gadgets that get obsolete (though the iPad looks hot and I own an iPhone now which I pay 100/mo for, along with a $2200 MacBook Pro!). I'd like to maximize my value from these things instead of upgrading each and every year.

The advertising definitely pulls you in after a while. New toys is associated with status and quality of life. When in reality people get stressed out trying to pay for products or services they never should have gotten in the first place. I believe in balance.
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Old 01-17-2011, 10:18 PM   #9
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Fun on a budget is my mantra.
+1 +2 +3 +4 +5!

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The advertising definitely pulls you in after a while. New toys is associated with status and quality of life. When in reality people get stressed out trying to pay for products or services they never should have gotten in the first place. I believe in balance.
It never ceased to make me roll my eyes when a coworker would constantly complain about 'never being able to get ahead, because just when you have an extra $100 laying around, your _____ goes out and you're back in the hole".

Yet, 5 minutes later, he was talking about how he's going to upgrade from his iPhone 2 to an iPhone 3 or 4 (or whatever they're called)-just because. Not to mention his various cable packages. And this and that.
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Old 01-20-2011, 05:03 PM   #10
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I agree completely. If more people kept their spending in check, perhaps they would have more time free to focus on things that really matter long term and less effort would be made worrying paycheck to paycheck.
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Old 01-20-2011, 11:07 PM   #11
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I would suggest not looking at the spending side from a "budget and sacrifice" perspective but instead look to get the maximum value for your money. With some skill it is possible to make money go very far.

This may sound trite but consider this:

Add up all the paychecks, grants, gifts, etc. you've ever received. (You can do this using your annual social security statement or you can just eyeball it.) Then subtract your net worth, the value of your investments, savings, etc. The difference is what you've spent to get to the point where you are today.

Now consider alternative life stories where you saved more than you currently have or stories where you saved less. For instance, if you have lived in a place with one less bedroom for the past 5 years and saved $200 per month because of that, you'd have $12000 in your pocket now. If you had lived somewhere for 10 years where you didn't need a $300/month car to shop or go to work, you could have $36000 on top of that.

Such differences in choices add up over the years and more than anything I find this to be an indicator of whether someone has $150000 to their name once they hit 30 or negative $50000. Income has little to do with it since most spend right up to their income. So it's a good exercise to consider whether things were worth it.
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Old 01-29-2011, 12:29 AM   #12
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Hi jacob,

Thanks for your reply. I am taking your words to heart. From 1999-2010 my total gross income was about 205,000. I also got 40k from an insurance policy that I used for braces (4k), medical expenses (3k) and cars / tech toys. My current assets / investments are worth around 16,000. That's a bit shocking to me. I find myself wondering were the heck the money went. The differences do add up quite a bit over the years. Especially the amount of money I've spent on automobiles. I'm done for a long time. I got suckered in and have paid a whole lot proportionally to my income. I bought my car new (total spent between maintenance, interest and upgrades is around 35k) in 2008 but a 2 year old model would've saved me loads for depreciation. In 2005 I got a 2 year old one (for around 18000 total) that I'm 80-90% sure would still be running find now. Those numbers a huuuge. I never really thought about it that way before.
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