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Old 03-21-2010, 11:17 AM   #21
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I know that everyone wants to be properly prepared financially for retirement.

But I have to say that I am often amazed and somewhat amused when people post their concerns for being able to "make it" in retirement, and they post a retirement income that is substantially higher than anything I ever made while actually working.

Z
Most posters don't disclose how much hedging/safety factor they are building in, so "make it" is pretty subjective. And no matter how much you make, there are loads of people who make far less and loads who make far more. Who cares, 'the most important things in life aren't things,' something that becomes clearer with each passing year.
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Old 03-21-2010, 11:18 AM   #22
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And anyone who makes more than me is "rich" and made it off the backs of others. They should be taxed at a 150% marginal rate!!

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And anyone that makes less is is a lazy parasitic bum that just refuses to try.
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Old 03-21-2010, 12:30 PM   #23
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And anyone that makes less is is a lazy parasitic bum that just refuses to try.
So we covered the known universe of possibilities, answered each case, so let's go have a beer!

Back to Midpack's query, mmmmm, not sure what to say, it appears this has been thought out enough that anything in there is a lifestyle choice. But I suppose if others see some things as outliers, it might trigger a re-thinking.

We keep our cars 10+ years, try to stagger them so we always have one 'newer' vehicle in the mix. But if having a <5 YO car is important to you, it is what it is.

I'm a little surprised that the Prop Tax is as low as it is for 'Chicagoland' ( I know many will consider it high).

I wonder how you spend $18 month on postage (small potatoes though)? I've got almost every bill on auto-pay of some sort, I'd bet that 3/4 of what we mail is a return response with postage paid. No big deal, but it did stand out for me.

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Old 03-21-2010, 02:10 PM   #24
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Quite surprised how early some people start retirement planning. Sometimes it sounds a little obsessive to focus on something so far away?
I started saving 8% of my gross salary when I was 22 years old. Of course I really didn't have a choice. It was required by my pension system.
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Old 03-21-2010, 02:40 PM   #25
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Quite surprised how early some people start retirement planning. Sometimes it sounds a little obsessive to focus on something so far away?
On the flip side, one could say that it seems more than a little irresponsible to not plan for the inevitable.

So what if it is far away - that doesn't mean it won't happen? It isn't like some one-in-a-million thing. People see their parents, grandparents or neighbors retired. Why not start planning now to help assure that one can do it comfortably?

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Old 03-21-2010, 02:44 PM   #26
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Quite surprised how early some people start retirement planning. Sometimes it sounds a little obsessive to focus on something so far away?
You may be correct with your "obsessive" observation. In our case, we have always lived on less that we netted in salary, saved and invested in index funds, bought used cars and kept them until they were worthless in 5-15 years, paid for our kids college (only one degree each, anything else was on them), took advantage of j*b promotion opportunities (even when not to the "best places"), bought homes that were quality-made but not lavish, vacations were never fancy or costly, always maximised 401(k) and IRA opportunities. None of this was ever calculated to save for retirement specifically, just wise and frugal. It all worked out somehow due to delayed gratification, but it was not a big planning deal.
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Old 03-21-2010, 02:57 PM   #27
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I suppose the comfort of being able to "make it" is really subjective for each person.

Kind of like, answering the question, "Do you have a happy life?" One person may feel depressed is his/her current situation but others would love to be in the other person's shoes.
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Old 03-21-2010, 03:44 PM   #28
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I don't mind the questions because it is their money and not my business how they spend it.

I am amazed by the fairly steady stream of people who whine that their j*b is killing (literally) them, but they only have $2 Million in investable assets and don't know what to do

Ah, quit your job tomorrow, take six months off to get healthy, and then go work somewhere with less stress. It ain't worth dying for.

But my guess is that most of those people are on the hamster wheel and have never really thought about why they are doing what they are doing. Either that or they are not really dying, or they would rather die than change their lifestyle.
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Old 03-21-2010, 04:15 PM   #29
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It's all relative - and some of mine are really cheap . And in weird ways that I cannot fathom - they fly red-eyes to save $100, but then stay in $500 a night hotels when there are great ones for $150 a night. But it's all in your own perception. When our kids were young and we didn't make a lot of money, we lived on it and felt good about it. Now that we are pretty much near full retirement and the kids are grown and gone, we have more, and live on that. Expenses rise to equal the amount available to spend on them.

Here in Phoenix, people bought houses for $750K a few years ago thinking they would be priced out of the market by soaring prices. Now the same houses go for $350K and buyers are scarce. People are funny - I tried to sell something on Craigs list for about $25 (and it was worth $25) - no takers - relisted it a month later for $75 and announced that this was a revised price - sold it in 2 days. I guess someone thought it was a bargain.

I can't imagine living on some of the budgets I've seen on this board, but more power to those who can.
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Old 03-21-2010, 04:35 PM   #30
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Most posters don't disclose how much hedging/safety factor they are building in, so "make it" is pretty subjective. And no matter how much you make, there are loads of people who make far less and loads who make far more. Who cares, 'the most important things in life aren't things,' something that becomes clearer with each passing year.
Its always about the stories. I used to be a professional wedding and portrait photographer. I participate in another discussion group on that. People ask questions and its always about the technigue or the flash or the camera in their picture. They never ask whether the story was told well.

I always ask first what story are we trying to tell with the picture. And what words, or elements in the picture need to be removed because they dilute the story.
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Old 03-21-2010, 04:53 PM   #31
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money is a funny thing. i gross over $300k / yr from all my income streams.
i live rather cheaply, have never owned a new car or motorcycle (i do own 9 harleys ranging from 1937 to 1990 though). i buy almost all of my tools, machinery, & equipment used (my weakness is collecting tools) no kids, no student loans, no credit card debt.
our only major bills are 7 mortgages for our various properties.
yet with all my cash flow i still feel broke half the time. most months i can only put $1k to $2k into my taxable account after paying the bills. (i always fully fund the 401k thru the business though, approx. 46k not included in the $300k income).
i wear t-shirts & jeans & look at the price on the menu before ordering & do not drink. like i said, i live cheap. lots of taco bell.
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Old 03-22-2010, 08:01 PM   #32
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I'm not suggesting one shouldn't be prudent and save a reasonable amount towards retirement. But when I hear a 20 or 30 something obsessing about early retirement I'm a little surprised. I would advise them to put a little more effort into their career and reirement might work out better.
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Old 03-22-2010, 08:25 PM   #33
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I'm not suggesting one shouldn't be prudent and save a reasonable amount towards retirement. But when I hear a 20 or 30 something obsessing about early retirement I'm a little surprised. I would advise them to put a little more effort into their career and reirement might work out better.
Better than what exactly? This forum is all about early retirement...
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Old 03-22-2010, 08:49 PM   #34
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I'm not suggesting one shouldn't be prudent and save a reasonable amount towards retirement. But when I hear a 20 or 30 something obsessing about early retirement I'm a little surprised. I would advise them to put a little more effort into their career and reirement might work out better.
If you mean "obsess" literally, like to the significant detriment of other things in their life OK.

But there are opportunities for 20-30 YOs that can make a huge difference to them later in life (or not so much later). If your company offers a matching 401K, or other benefits, learn to take advantage of them. You cant turn back the clock on those, there are annual limits. 15 years of a 3% match is nothing to sneeze at.

Learning some discipline in spending (balanced with some fun - you are only young once!), keeping an emergency fund, learning the true cost of purchases and how to optimize them, that all adds up over many years. Years you just can't make up late in the game.

I've known plenty of people who obsessed with their career track, but didn't save a dime, didn't know a thing about investing, didn't understand the value of a company match or ESOP. A bump in the road in their career can send them in a tail-spin.

Balance.


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Old 03-22-2010, 08:51 PM   #35
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I agree that after you've got your costs under control, the fastest way to reach retirement is to improve your income. But, there comes a point where you have improved your income so much, and lowered your costs so much, that ER can actually come very quickly. That aside, having a somewhat firm idea of where the finish line is can make the long marathon run that much less stressful. Also, it is specifically because I know how much I enjoy my free time and freedom, that I work so hard to improve it.
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Old 03-23-2010, 04:23 PM   #36
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OK You all make good points and I agree-mostly. But I don't think the first thing a young worker should do is figure out how to retire early. Certainly,getting expenses under control is a huge priority and in most cases will go a long way to ensuring a financially secure retirement. I know that this is an early retirement forum but I wonder a bit when some of the posters (maybe only a few)just started work. Good financial habits are more important in my view than an extreme plan that gets you ER at 42.
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Old 03-23-2010, 04:51 PM   #37
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I agree with ERD50 and others. I think it's perfectly fine to dream about ER, but not to obsess about it. Once it becomes the only goal in your life, you miss everything else that makes life fun and interesting.

When I was in my late 20s I worked with a guy whose only desire was to retire by 45. Everything he did was towards achieving it. He had no TV, no home phone (cell phones were not around then), an old beater car and lived in a studio apartment in a poor neighborhood. I kept in touch with him after I left that job and he did achieve his goal - retirement at 45. But nothing changed at that point - same manner of living. It was his choice and his lifestyle. Never married, never had kids, never really did anything that would cost him money. Was he happy?? I guess he was, in his own way, but I don't think most of us would be.

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Old 03-23-2010, 05:04 PM   #38
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So we covered the known universe of possibilities, answered each case, so let's go have a beer!
No, you left out those parasitic civil service employees who all retired at 40 with COLA'd Pensions....
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Old 03-23-2010, 11:48 PM   #39
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I have to disagree with the consensus here. IMO the sooner you gain full control of your life, the better. No one who needs a paycheck is ever in full control of his/her life. I only wish I had obsessed about FIRE when I was in my 20s.

This is not the same thing as obsessing about your career, which is an illusion manufactured to convince you that you are not spending the best years of your life prostituting yourself.

It's also not the same thing as obsessing about money, which is just silly.

Obsessing about FIRE is obsessing about the freedom of your precious, fleeting human sprit. IMO more people should obsess about it, and as early as possible.
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Old 03-24-2010, 10:36 AM   #40
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I have to disagree with the consensus here. IMO the sooner you gain full control of your life, the better. No one who needs a paycheck is ever in full control of his/her life. I only wish I had obsessed about FIRE when I was in my 20s.

This is not the same thing as obsessing about your career, which is an illusion manufactured to convince you that you are not spending the best years of your life prostituting yourself.

It's also not the same thing as obsessing about money, which is just silly.

Obsessing about FIRE is obsessing about the freedom of your precious, fleeting human spirit. IMO more people should obsess about it, and as early as possible.
Well, I really have to disagree with you on this one, Onward...nothing personal in my response, I have read a couple of similar posts, and wanted to offer a different perspective.

Maybe you are confusing a bad career choice with the illusion of freedom?
"prostituting yourself" is a conscious choice, if you felt you had to do that to have the "illusion" of a career you probably needed to move on to somewhere or something that offered what you were looking for. You had skills, and it was a job you took, not a prison sentence you received. Understand the need for a paycheck, we all worked for one, I just don't get the blame game.

Maybe my situation was unique, but somehow I doubt it. I bounced around quite a bit in my early to mid-20's before I found a job I liked that offered a career path. It was outside my degree field. I worked hard, learned as much as possible, and stuck with it. No company is perfect, and things haven't turned out exactly like I thought, but, overall, 25 years later, I still enjoy it. No regrets. If I felt like my career was an illusion, I would take my skills and experience and move on. I'm a firm believer that attitude determines altitude, and that the harder you work the luckier you get. I can't imagine working for xx years and retiring from a company with the pent-up anger and angst some of the members on this forum have shared about their employers.


There is a program for people who want to obsess about their precious fleeting human spirit as early as possible, rather than work for the man. It's called welfare. Doesn't pay much, but the hours are good and they let you dream...
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