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Old 08-20-2010, 05:39 AM   #21
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Thanks for the encouragement, Sarah. I'll look into the writer you mentioned. The name is familiar, but I don't think I've actually read any of his work yet.

As for updates, yep, I'll probably be sticking around for a while. I've just started to get a solid enough grip on the present to start looking at the future, so it will take me a little while to get where I want to go, but most good things are worth working a while for. I've been combing the forum archives, trying to get a handle on things around here and maybe avoid asking too many questions that have already been amply addressed. I'm sure you'll still see a few confused posts from me, though.

Planning for retirement is like the argument people have about going back to school...
"But if I start working on this now, I'll be X years older by the time I'm done!"
"Ok, and how much older will you be by that time if you *don't* do it?"


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Old 08-20-2010, 06:29 AM   #22
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Location: Eastern WV Panhandle
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I think you're doing fine. As others mentioned very few people have their act together at age 27 - I didn't either. At that age I was still single, and owned an airplane and a motorcycle, not giving a thought to where I wanted to be in five years, let alone 20.

Read the books mentioned and you can turn things around. You have responsibilities to your family and you're meeting them.

At 28 I was newly married and divorced five years later. So at 34 I had a net worth of about $8k, most of that in cash, and was living with my mother, not where any guy wants to be at that age, saving for a house which I bought 18 months later. At 36 I had an income of $38k/year and was six figures in debt between the house and a pickup truck. I met and married a wonderful girl who had the wisdom and maturity to say "The only trouble with loans is that they always want you to pay it back. Plus interest."

Well, duh.

Fourteen years later DW and I achieved Zero Debt, in part because we haven't paid a dime in credit card interest charges, taking to heart Suzie Orman's mantra of "If you can't pay cash you can't afford it!"

At the other extreme we know a couple who has had a great time the last 25 years, with every "I wanna..." funded by credit. They were $700k in debt, just sold a house via a short sale, meaning the bank accepted less than the amount due on the loan figuring half a loaf was better than none. So their next 20 years looks pretty bleak to me since the era of easy credit is gone for the foreseeable future and their credit is destroyed. They have no savings of course, but one has a pension so they probably won't starve.

That is not a place anyone wants to be.

I heard the call to do nothing. So I answered it.
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Old 08-20-2010, 06:45 AM   #23
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Look for the contributions by Nords. He was in the military and ER'ed successfully and his contributions are great to read.

Then, tackle your habit of spending money in ways that do not support your goals in life.
This does not mean that you should not buy things for your family. But you could be more creative to find alternatives to buying as your sign of love.
Long term, no kid misses the toy that Daddy did not buy. But they all miss the game that Dad did not play with them, the book that Dad did not read to them.
If you feel the urge to buy as sign of love, put the item on a list for at least a week, go home instead and try to express your love in a special way that does not involve consumption.

It is highly recommended to start keeping track of expenses in writing and as detailed as possible. Create budget categories and monitor at least monthly. Only if you know exactly where your money goes you can find opportunities to save, attack useless expenses and see your progress. There are lots of contributions here on tracking expenses.

As you wrote, your family has some obstacles with only one income. But look out for examples of other one income families like on's forums, or on The Dollar Stretcher: Frugal Living since 1996. Get a copy of the "Complete Tightwad Gazette" and of "Your Money, Your Life" from the library or buy used. Lots of ideas and examples, even though the prices in the examples are outdated by inflation.

Share your dreams and goals with DW. You need to work as a team and her support will help you in your daily work and she might come up with some ideas as well.

All the best to you and to your family. Please keep us updated.
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Old 08-20-2010, 02:49 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by chris2008 View Post
If you feel the urge to buy as sign of love, put the item on a list for at least a week, go home instead and try to express your love in a special way that does not involve consumption.
That's good advice. I probably fell into the habit because it's more or less what I learned from my own dad, and patterns like that have a tendancy to reassert themselves when you're not paying attention.

Share your dreams and goals with DW. You need to work as a team and her support will help you in your daily work and she might come up with some ideas as well.
Yep. We always try our best to work as a team with everything. No couple is 100% in harmony all the time, but I think the trying is almost more important in some ways than the succeeding. We've made it five happy years so far.

You know what they say - the hardest working person in the military is a spouse!


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