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Old 03-20-2013, 05:52 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aaronc879

Income has a lot to do with it. It's easy to max your 401k and IRA if you make $90K/yr, not so easy with a more "normal" $40K/yr. Expenses are very important as well. High income doesn't do much good for FIRE if you spend all of it. This forum has a lot of high earners(many who don't think they are) who save a fairly high percentage.
High income and low spending or being ex military or Government and getting a decent pension are the ways to ER.

The folks on here are outliners in the American demographic. Me I'm single with no kids so I have none of those expenses. I earn 3 or 4 times the median US income and probably spend way less than most.
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Old 03-20-2013, 07:05 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by Midpack View Post
From just a few months ago, 244 ER.org members. FWIW...

Poll: How much do you actually spend each year?
Cool, I'm in the bottom 6%.
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Old 03-20-2013, 07:11 PM   #23
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Hi Shorn, welcome to the forum! I do not contribute much around here, but visit this site multiple times a day. You'll find invaluable advise on these pages. I know it is invaluable to me.

Just wanted to chime in and say that you are not alone when it comes to the "low income / high expectations" equation. I am 35 myself and up until recently my salary was low $30K's... My very first year in the US (I'm originally from South America) I made $18K... and I saved half of it! Pretty proud of that, if I may say so. We make a little better salaries now, but not by much. As has been said so many times, it's not what you make but what you spend. We try to not spend much and live off one salary and save the other. It doesn't always work that way, of course, but we try to keep that goal on a monthly basis. I'm sure life will keep throwing curves at us, though. We also have no debt, no kids, and the house paid off, and are well above the "median" net worth referenced in that graphic elsewhere.

Again, welcome!
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Old 03-20-2013, 07:19 PM   #24
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thanks for your replies guys. i'll just be digging through the forums and reading books to get more of a grip on things. it is intimidating, especially the investing part for me because i am very distrustful of the stock market. it feels like a rigged game. but like others have said before, if you don't play, you can't win.

BigE, what i'm working on now is figuring out where to put additional savings. other than our emergency fund, all of our $ will be in things we can't touch till age 59.5 and we may need to get into some of it sooner. i'm guessing a Vanguard, non-dividend producing index fund or something. i need to figure out what municipal bonds are available and how to invest in them. figure out if any of these Greek terms like TIPS, ETFs, I-Bonds, and Pen Fed CDs are things that will work for me. still trying to find the best newbie posts.

a memory i have from my teenage years is a woman down the street who retired at 65, bought a fur coat, and died within six months. also, although my health is generally good, i had heart surgery years ago and that gives one a philosophical view of the future.

thanks again
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Old 03-20-2013, 07:52 PM   #25
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our house is paid off, worth $150-175k? no debt, no kids, 13 year-old car, 3-yr expenses cash emergency fund @ ~1%, DW & i have work pensions that won't kick in for 10-20 years depending on if either of us quit now vs. reaching basic retirement in 10 years. have only around 80k in 401k/roth ira.
I believe you already know this, but just to be sure I will expressly confirm that unless your expenses are exceptionally low, you are not currently in a financial position to retire.

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Originally Posted by shorn View Post
i plan to leave the job i'm sick of ...
I know how it feels to be in a job you're tired of; but given the above I would not recommend that you quit until you have other employment to go to. It is a tough job market out there for most folks.

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Originally Posted by shorn View Post
... to start online business selling our collections as we're borderline hoarders and have put a lot of our money into them and don't want to be too tied to them.
For several reasons, that doesn't strike me as a realistic/sustainable alternate income stream.

In any case, I would strongly suggest setting up your proposed on-line small businessbefore quitting your job, so that you can test the waters without taking the plunge. You may also find that the on-line stuff doesn't really take much time and that you are accordingly able to keep your day job - and, more importantly, the income it provides - while still reaping the benefits of purging your hoard.
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Old 03-21-2013, 04:25 AM   #26
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I am sorry you feel that way. It is not a race. The most important, IMO, is to live a happy, healthy, and fulfilling life.

Many here are financially independent and/or have FIREd, but this is why we joined this board :-)

.
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Originally Posted by 1986pacecar View Post
You cite one the reasons I haven't posted here since my first post. Initially I thought I too had a decent retirement plan but it seems everyone one here has a net worth approaching seven figures. I've worked for 36 years years and have contributed to my 401k for over 30 of those years and don't have half of what they do. This place makes me feel mighty poor.
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Old 03-21-2013, 06:16 AM   #27
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hello,

i've been going through the forums looking for a "where do i even begin?" faq. i thought i was doing pretty well compared to most Americans and vs. most of my friends, (Then you are already well on your way.) but you people seem to be doing amazingly well.

our house is paid off, worth $150-175k? (Now you don't have to worry about a place to sleep. Costs are limited to taxes and repairs and mortgage payments can now be invested for your retirement.) no debt, (Much better than the great majority of people in this country.) no kids, 13 year-old car, 3-yr expenses cash emergency fund @ ~1%, ( ) DW & i have work pensions that won't kick in for 10-20 years depending on if either of us quit now vs. reaching basic retirement in 10 years. (You might have a pension? Woo Hoo! ) have only around 80k in 401k/roth ira. got started late on all things financial. i plan to leave the job i'm sick of to start online business selling our collections as we're borderline hoarders and have put a lot of our money into them and don't want to be too tied to them. (Good plan! Watch a George Carlin youtube video on "Stuff") wife will continue to work and she makes more than me, so she'll be eligible for pension sooner than me.

if SS won't kick in until around 2035 if ever, pension for me not until 2033, 401k/ira not eligible for unpenalized withdrawals till 2027; what's your recommendation for a kind of account i can put money into that will not have too much risk, but at least be likely to keep up with inflation that we can withdraw from earlier that age 59.5?

i thought we could live pretty frugally, but again, you guys seem like superheroes of saving/earning. (Sounds to me like you are off to a good start and have a good attitude to be a superhero too. The folks here are helpful with good suggestions. We have all been fortunate to find this forum. I know I was.) of course i worry about health insurance costs when we leave our jobs as health insurance is already our biggest annual expense even though we're fairly healthy.

i've read what feels like quite a few personal finance books: Your Money or Your Life, Tyson's Personal Finance for Dummies, Tobias' Only Investment Guide You'll Ever Need, Millionaire Next Door, Rich Dad Poor Dad, etc., but investing still feels Greek to me. (A lot is still Greek to me too but that didn't stop me from becoming FI and retiring a few years early) i wish things were as simple as in the original edition of YMoYL. i would appreciate any advice and links you might suggest. my parents were really bad with money so i felt like i had no context for this.

thanks and take care
For being in your mid 40's it sounds like you have a good start on a plan and time to make it work. I didn't see the light until about the same age too. Good to see you here.

Cheers!
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Old 03-21-2013, 08:19 AM   #28
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Its a natural inclination to want to compare ourselves to others, but I would resist that urge and just focus on doing your best to be frugal, while socking away what you can and living a happy life.

In my mind you are already a winner just by your presence here!
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Old 03-21-2013, 08:31 AM   #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ER Eddie View Post
Cool, I'm in the bottom 6%.
I suspect the chart of annual spending of ER.org members isn't much different than a chart of annual income of the general population with the largest group in the $25-$50K/yr range.
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Old 03-21-2013, 09:53 AM   #30
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I work with a lot of high net worth individuals, and I rarely find one who is happy and pleasant to be around.
I think it depends on the individual, and that it is inaccurate to stereotype or generalize; much the same as it would be to see most poor people as lazy or stupid (some are, some aren't).

FWIW, while I don't have any billionaire friends I do know more than a few people whose stock holdings are a matter of public record and whose net worth is in the mid-eight figures ... and they are pleasant and unassuming company.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ready View Post
If you have your health, family, friends, and hobbies you enjoy, you are already much richer than many ... Money is just a small part of life, not the main goal.
I certainly agree with those sentiments.
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