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When I was 15...
Old 12-13-2014, 09:09 PM   #1
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When I was 15...

In one of the threads, I was told I was doing something wrong because I won't have millions (plural) at retirement. The commenter said he was thinking of how to become a millionaire when he was 15. Good for him, but he must be a youngster with a new world frame of reference.

When I was 15, according to ESPN, the minimum Major League Baseball player's salary was $10,000. THE AVERAGE WAS $24,909. THE AVERAGE.

Born too late for Bill Haley and a brand new '57 Chevy and too early to be thinking about making millions...especially with my first job at 16, making $1.25 per hour on the window (it was the window or the grill back then) at McDonald's.

My auto mech teacher at the time told us the importance of maintaining our cars, prefacing it: "I know it seems impossible but, with inflation, each of you will make about ONE MILLION DOLLARS in your lifetime."

Things HAVE changed.
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Old 12-14-2014, 08:48 AM   #2
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When I was 15... I was still combing the alleys looking for redeemable pop bottles. Hey, they were worth a nickel!
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Old 12-14-2014, 09:17 AM   #3
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I wasn't focused on the accumulation of riches at 15. I was just trying to get through the awkwardness of high school... I was the queen of the nerds...

I didn't get serious about saving/accumulating till my mid/late 20's. Prior to that I had nothing to accumulate as a starving student.
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Old 12-14-2014, 09:52 AM   #4
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I wouldn't worry about it. Like any public forum, you need to be able to sort through the noise (e.g. BS).

Yes, things have changed. I can remember when my 6th grade teacher said to the classroom, that we would never earn a million dollars in our entire lifetime. That always stuck with me for some reason. Of course the average annual salary back then was between 4 and 5 thousand a year. I don't remember how old I was by the time I had earned a million (probably somewhere in my late 30's), but I do remember thinking about what she said once I had saved my first million.

As I've said in other posts, a smart man (or woman ) only believes half of what he/she reads and hears, a wise man or woman knows which half to believe.
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Old 12-14-2014, 10:25 AM   #5
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When I was 15, we were living in a housing project in New England (family of 5). Dad made $50/week and our rent was $55/month. He drove a beat up 51 Chevy and worked two jobs (was later my car). I was in high school and had a paper route and cut lawns for money. Mom was SAHM and took care of my two younger sisters. Dad had a 3rd grade education, but always supported the family.

I left home at 17 and ended up getting drafted at 20. Best thing that happened to me at that time. Saw the world from a much different perspective than most here. Made it through the VN war madness without a scratch or bullet hole and used the G.I. Bill to finance an Engineering degree. Got my MBA on the company I worked for. Never thought about making (let alone saving) a million dollars. I still fix my own cars, cut the lawn, fix anything that breaks, and stay in LBYM status. I feel blessed we are where we are now.
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Old 12-14-2014, 10:51 AM   #6
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We were pretty poor growing up, and when I was 15 (1970) I already intended to be a millionaire. I had already had 4 careers (paperboy at 11, farm worker on the weekends, lawn mowing and snow shoveling entrepreneur, and was currently flipping burgers), so I knew the negatives of working for somebody else and the need to save money to improve your control over your life. With the paper route I walked it for 4 months until I saved enough to buy a used bike.

The millionaire concept was a goal, unattainable for most, that represented freedom to me. I had no clue about compounding, investing, and all that. But I knew how to save. I did hit speed bumps, like dating costs, a car and maintenance, paying my way through college, marriage and a child. But I saved for all of that, so I knew it was possible, especially as my spouse was like-minded early on. As I learned more about investing and compounding, becoming a millionaire actually became feasible instead of just a dream.

I know I made more that $1M in my lifetime, but I could never have saved that much. Investing sort of wisely coupled with a lot of luck in choosing to be born in an affluent time in an affluent country is what got me there. I also made career choices based on money, and it paid off pretty well. Since I didn't like working in general, I decided to at least make some money doing it. I know others went for doing what they loved, but I never found that, until I retired.
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Old 12-14-2014, 11:08 AM   #7
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When I was 15, I knew only that I really did not want to be poor like my parents and all the rest of my extended family. Money, or more specifically the lack thereof, dominated every single aspect of our lives, from what we ate to what we wore and where we lived, and I hated that fact. I didn't really think in terms of a million dollars, just "not poor".
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Old 12-14-2014, 11:20 AM   #8
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At 15 I was mowing yards or doing any odd job for money. Started helping DB building a sawmill, but he really couldn't pay. Didn't stop me from trying to make a career out of logging and mills.

We had a negative net worth well into our 20s. Finally getting some education and an entry level programming job, changed everything.

Don't let anything posters say discourage you. Many times we don't understand what they are attempting to say, or they don't understand us. I think there's as many paths to financial independence as there are people.

As I wrote this, I recalled a horrible, abusive guy in a mill. He was a partial owner and always bragged he'd be a millionaire by 35.

He was my motivation to go to night school and work full time, to get away. Well 18 years or so later I ran into his brother. I waited and finally asked about his(should be) millionaire brother. He laughed "he's broke, made a bunch of money and blew it all on a few bad timber deals. He's looking for financial backing, want to buy in?" I declined.

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Old 12-14-2014, 11:35 AM   #9
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As Car-Guy said, I wouldn't worry about it too much. I saw that comment and thought it was a bit "off" (forget who the poster was and am not interested enough to search for it, but am wondering if it's the same person who said that anyone can quit work and claim 40K in benefits?) This is a well-moderated forum, but even within those boundaries that are set for us by the mods, a few things can happen -

1) A wide range of different views are expressed
2) Not everyone is adept at accurately expressing in prose what they are thinking
3) Some people post before they have finished fully-forming their thoughts, so you end up with a kind of blurted-out simplistic thought
4) Some people are simply quite opinionated and not very open to other points of view or other ways of doing things (i.e. my way of looking at the world is the best, indeed, the only way)

Given this, it's a wonder we get along here at all but we do, for the most part!

At the age of 15, I was spending lots of time in my bedroom playing records and listening to the radio (both regular broadcast radio and shortwaves), as well as building radios. I was also studying for my ham radio license, and going to school (naturally). The only saving of money I was doing was in order to buy stuff for my radio hobby. I had no thoughts about having any kind of a stash beyond short and medium-term goals. However, I did grow up in a middle-class family with very frugal depression-era parents, and when I got a bit older, the habits I had observed in my parents had rubbed off on me.

36 years later, I am 51, still don't have a million dollars, and am already ER'ed, but almost certainly will get there during ER.
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Old 12-14-2014, 11:51 AM   #10
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When I was 15, my parents had just separated. I lived with my mom who was unemployed while my well-off dad paid almost nothing in child support or alimony. We often had barely enough food to put on the table and had to rely for a while on the generosity of extended family for sustenance. So yes, I was thinking how great it would be to be "rich". Of course, we lived in France back then and a millionaire in French Francs (roughly 10F to the dollar) would have hardly been rich!
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Old 12-14-2014, 03:31 PM   #11
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Back when I was 15, I peddled newspapers, set pins in a bowling and learned from my parents how to LBYM. My parents saved too hard and left me a little cash stash which I've grown and will someday leave my kids. Last night DW and I had dinner for 20 bucks at our favorite Mexican restaurant and ,today, bought a lot of good stuff at the dollar store.....I've made well over a million.....lucky and worked hard.....grew up in a 580 sq ft home and now enjoy one much bigger. But......we never, never don't spend more than we can afford and are thankful that we were brought up to value a buck. Back then a coke was a dime, a pizza just over a dollar so I've learned to invest......long term, inflation has to be factored in to an injoyable retirement.......still stay in touch with my old girlfriend that I had at 15.....fun to talk about old times.
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Old 12-14-2014, 03:41 PM   #12
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What I was 15, I watched my mother work 2 full time jobs, plus a part time job. She was an RN 11p-7a, worked at the nursing home from 7a-3p. And she worked at the Mr. Donut shop on weekends when she did not work the nursing home.

I was satisfied doing drugs and drinking at 15. Always thought I might wind up in jail, or dreamed about making $30K a year so I could buy a big boat. The minimum wage was $2.30 an hour.

I applied for a job at Earth Shoe back in the day, good thing I didn't get it. I would have eventually have gotten laid off when most all shoe making went overseas.

My mother eventually moved to a different town, and I straightened up (I think...)
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Old 12-14-2014, 04:06 PM   #13
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At 15 I was working full time during summer, had to ride my bicycle to work. I had work at a family friend's shop. I repaired and made new window screens, screen doors, all the way up to full 4x8 panels for patio screen rooms. I was making a bit over minimum wage approx $3.50-4.00/hour, which I believe min wage was about $2.90 at the time summer of 1979. I continued this job part-time during school up until graduation from high school.

Prior to 15 I had already had lot of small jobs mowing lawns and taking care of neighbor's houses when they were on vacation. I actually had enough money to buy my first car when I was 14. Split the cost half/half with my Dad. It was a VW dune buggy, the fiberglass style street body. Built on a 1961 VW chassis, it was not fast with the stock 40 hp engine. We would go out in the country and he would let me drive on weekends for a bit. Great memories of that.

I won't say my motivation for working early was retirement, rather it was cars and having the money to be able to have one and afford to drive since I had to pay for all costs: gas, insurance, maintenance. I did have some motivation to save for college expenses, and by the time I went off to college at 18 I had nearly the first year saved, I made up the rest with working. Plus at 18 had a second car that was actually my college car. I have had 2 or more vehicles ever since, mostly more.

Since working basically full time since 15, and part-time during school, I am now 36 years of work and ready to not be working at 51. No more than 1 more year, I plan to go part-time at work in spring as a transition.
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Old 12-14-2014, 04:24 PM   #14
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I am one of seven girls and my father was a school teacher. My mother was a housewife. I was very used to hand me downs although we never really wanted for anything. My father was the hardest working person I knew. In addition to teaching, he owned a plant nursery, he grew tobacco, oversaw the FFA portion of the county fair each year and made and sold Christmas wreathes and greenery during the season.

At 15 I was already working part-time in a restaurant. I also did babysitting, helped with the tobacco planting and cutting, and helped make the wreaths each year.

I've always been a saver. I knew that I wanted to be successful and that money was security, and I am feeling blessed to have retired this year at 57.



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Old 12-14-2014, 05:12 PM   #15
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At 15 I was riding the school bus to my job at the Twin Cup, a hamburg stand. My aunt did not like having to come pick me up when I got off work at night, so I was saving my money to buy a car, insurance and car maintenance for when I turned 16. I already had the car before I was 16. Having grown up extremely poor, living in an orphanage and then foster care in CA, before my relatives in PA were able to bring us 5 children back home to PA, money represented freedom and not being a second class citizen to me. I never want to rely on anyone again!
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Old 12-14-2014, 05:23 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Major Tom View Post
This is a well-moderated forum, but even within those boundaries that are set for us by the mods, a few things can happen -

1) A wide range of different views are expressed
2) Not everyone is adept at accurately expressing in prose what they are thinking
3) Some people post before they have finished fully-forming their thoughts, so you end up with a kind of blurted-out simplistic thought
4) Some people are simply quite opinionated and not very open to other points of view or other ways of doing things (i.e. my way of looking at the world is the best, indeed, the only way)
5) Some people's posts (mine included) made late at night after imbibing a bit should be completely disregarded, unless they are unintentionally funny.
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Old 12-14-2014, 05:42 PM   #17
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When I was 15, I enjoyed playing Stocks and Bonds with my father. It was a Christmas gift around the time I was 13, and we played it many evenings (my mother and sister rarely joined in). Dad also was very transparent with financial information. He ran a one-man small business, although we all helped out some. He wanted us to understand why accumulating investments was more important than buying clothes that weren't on sale (although we never lacked for anything, we also got our clothes from Sears unless it was a 50% off sale at the department store). He died about 4 years before I ER'd, but he knew we were on track for it and was very pleased how his investment in time paid off. Makes me a little teary to think about it now.
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Old 12-14-2014, 06:18 PM   #18
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I was goal oriented even back then, and have no idea where I got it from.

Best friend's parents bought him a brand new Camaro. Working as an attendant in a union at an automated gas station, I created a plan to save every dime and nickel over the next couple of years to buy my own new Camaro with cash. I was smoking then, and even budgeted my cigarettes.

Parents divorced, mother had to ask me for rent, and I still doubled down on the savings. Even now, I don't know how I pulled that off. It's akin to the same feeling those of us who have saved for so many years have when we find we are able to ER. "How did I do that?" comes to mind.
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Old 12-14-2014, 06:25 PM   #19
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When I was 15 I was trying not to turn red when I was trying to talk to girls.

There was a neighbour who had worked for 50 years around that time. I remember dividing numbers to see if he made 1m in his lifetime.
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Old 12-14-2014, 06:34 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gumby View Post
When I was 15, I knew only that I really did not want to be poor like my parents and all the rest of my extended family. Money, or more specifically the lack thereof, dominated every single aspect of our lives, from what we ate to what we wore and where we lived, and I hated that fact. I didn't really think in terms of a million dollars, just "not poor".
+1 ! x 2 x 3 x 5 !!!
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