Join Early Retirement Today
View Poll Results: How much of your current or future ability to FIRE is/will be due to luck?
All of it. (I won the lottery, was born rich, found a suitcase full of cash by the side of the road, etc.) 4 2.90%
None of it. (I worked hard, practiced LBYM, darned my socks, counted my dryer sheets, and finally made it.) 43 31.16%
Some of both. (I was working at it, but a lucky break pushed me the rest of the way.) 46 33.33%
You make your own luck. (I got lucky, but it was only useful because I had already spent years accumulating knowledge and assets that let me take advantage of it.) 45 32.61%
Voters: 138. You may not vote on this poll

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Poll:How much did luck help you FIRE?
Old 02-28-2011, 01:03 AM   #1
Recycles dryer sheets
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Posts: 68
Poll:How much did luck help you FIRE?

Hi everyone,

I was thinking recently that a lot of people who have become majorly rich did so because of a lucky break more than anything else. They were at the right place at the right time. The same goes for a few of the well-off folks on this board. Some of you were dabbling in the stock market, running a business, or participating in some other investment, and, though you couldn't have predicted it ahead of time, it just turned out to be right.

Now, don't get me wrong. I'm not saying that having the resources, strength, and knowledge to take advantage of that lucky break weren't important, too, but I am curious - how many folks on here attribute their ability (or their future ability) to FIRE to more or less dumb luck, and how many folks think it has come purely from their own hard work and planning? And if you say it was from luck, was it real, out of the blue luck, or was it the kind of "luck" you had to work and slave for in order to take advantage of it when you saw it?

Just wondering!
__________________

__________________
Joshua is offline   Reply With Quote
Join the #1 Early Retirement and Financial Independence Forum Today - It's Totally Free!

Are you planning to be financially independent as early as possible so you can live life on your own terms? Discuss successful investing strategies, asset allocation models, tax strategies and other related topics in our online forum community. Our members range from young folks just starting their journey to financial independence, military retirees and even multimillionaires. No matter where you fit in you'll find that Early-Retirement.org is a great community to join. Best of all it's totally FREE!

You are currently viewing our boards as a guest so you have limited access to our community. Please take the time to register and you will gain a lot of great new features including; the ability to participate in discussions, network with our members, see fewer ads, upload photographs, create a retirement blog, send private messages and so much, much more!

Old 02-28-2011, 02:24 AM   #2
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Los Angeles area
Posts: 1,432
I chose "made my own luck". I chose a good profession (programming), LBYMed, maxed out my 401Ks and IRAs, saved some on the side, bought a house and paid it off, and learned how to invest and analyze companies.

The "lucky event" I was able to take advantage was the REIT market performance in 2000-2005. I had been tracking and investing in individual stocks since about 1993. In 1998 (a bit early) I shifted some (later all) of my $$ from (very over-priced IMO) blue chip internationals to (under-priced IMO) blue chip REITs, and kept them till 2005, completely missing the 2000-2002 collapse (REITs appreciated throughout this period). This allowed me to retire considerably earlier, probably 5 years or so.
__________________

__________________
learn, work, save, invest, fire
CyclingInvestor is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-28-2011, 04:28 AM   #3
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Duesseldorf, Germany
Posts: 1,005
I take it as luck that I was born in a solid country, where savings could be made, at least in the last 60 years, without the risk of being wiped out by war, desasters or the like.
I take it as luck that I have good health and healthcare.
I take it as luck that I was born into a family that believed in the merits of saving, not going into debt for consumption, has sent me to good schools and encouraged me to reach high at my carreer.
I take it as luck to find DH with similar values and background.
I take it as luck that our jobs are stable even in today's economy, enabling us to ER 2012.

I do NOT take it as luck that we got some small legacies from both sides of the family that gave us a good start. We'd rather have the relatives enjoy their money and live longer.
I do NOT take it as luck that we are childless. But if life gives you lemons you better learn to make lemonade.
__________________
chris2008 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-28-2011, 04:31 AM   #4
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
obgyn65's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: midwestern city
Posts: 4,061
In my case the right answer is "none of it". Worked hard, and practiced LBYM. I did not get a lucky break.
__________________
Very conservative with investments. Not ER'd yet, 48 years old. Please do not take anything I write or imply as legal, financial or medical advice directed to you. Contact your own financial advisor, healthcare provider, or attorney for financial, medical and legal advice.
obgyn65 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-28-2011, 05:56 AM   #5
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
clifp's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 7,450
Retiring at 40 was mostly lucky. I often say that earned my lottery tickets, choosing the right major make smart career choices. But working for company who's stock went up 50x that is lucky.

On the other hand I am confident that even if I didn't make dime on stock options, and assuming I avoided a long layoff, I still would be nearing retirement in my early 50s. Making a good salary, saving early and often, mostly avoiding stupid investments, and finally LBYM those are the main ingredients to FIRE.
__________________
clifp is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-28-2011, 06:56 AM   #6
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
grasshopper's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 1,670
No luck, but wonderful Karma. Ms G. and I attracted to our life all the abundance that we now have and will ever need.
__________________
grasshopper is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-28-2011, 08:02 AM   #7
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Posts: 3,867
For me it was good choices in my early years combined with some luck in my later years which enabled me to ER as early as I did 2 years ago at age 45.

The good choices were being in a profession (actuarial) which paid well, paying for cars with cash, avoiding credit card debt, paying off student loans early, paying off mortgage early (and not having those two loans at the same time), LBYM, and being childfree.

The good luck events were enjoying my biggest earning years and having the stock market boom in the late 1990s, and having my company start its ESOP in the late 1990s which grew by 3000% by the time I left in 2008. Having that ESOP peak at the same time the big bond fund I would invest its proceeds in bottom out has greatly helped my ER income.
__________________
Retired in late 2008 at age 45. Cashed in company stock, bought a lot of shares in a big bond fund and am living nicely off its dividends. IRA, SS, and a pension await me at age 60 and later. No kids, no debts.

"I want my money working for me instead of me working for my money!"
scrabbler1 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-28-2011, 08:14 AM   #8
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
Free To Canoe's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Cooksburg,PA
Posts: 1,738
Quote:
Originally Posted by chris2008 View Post
I take it as luck that I was born in a solid country, where savings could be made, at least in the last 60 years, without the risk of being wiped out by war, desasters or the like.
I take it as luck that I have good health and healthcare.
I take it as luck that I was born into a family that believed in the merits of saving, not going into debt for consumption, has sent me to good schools and encouraged me to reach high at my carreer.
I take it as luck to find DH with similar values and background.
I take it as luck that our jobs are stable even in today's economy, enabling us to ER 2012.

I do NOT take it as luck that we got some small legacies from both sides of the family that gave us a good start. We'd rather have the relatives enjoy their money and live longer.
I do NOT take it as luck that we are childless. But if life gives you lemons you better learn to make lemonade.

I voted you make your own luck. DW and I have made some lemonaide from the lemons. However, this post has me thinking about many things that I take for granted.

I hope it can be said that I maximized the "luck" I was given.

Free to canoe
__________________
Free To Canoe is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-28-2011, 08:14 AM   #9
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
travelover's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 9,889
Mostly dumb luck added with LBYM thriftiness.
__________________
Yes, I have achieved work / life balance.
travelover is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-28-2011, 08:48 AM   #10
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
Onward's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 1,667
No luck. No brains, really. Just discipline and an overwhelming hunger to extricate myself from the corporate machine.
__________________
And if I claim to be a wise man, it surely means that I don't know.
Onward is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-28-2011, 08:54 AM   #11
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
dex's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 5,105
Luck or factors which the a person have no control over are a major part of the equation. I don't know how to weight the variables.

Born between 1945 and 1955
Born in the USA
Born mentally healthy
Born physically healthy
Born into a family that was able to supply with physical needs
Born into a family that was able to provide psychological needs*
Born into a family that was able to give good guidance*
White
Male


I may have missed a few items but you get the idea.

If a person had the above going for them they almost had to work at failing.

Other factors that helped
Postponement of gratification
Tall*
Good looking
Good communication skills*
College education
Career selection
Conservative investing

* I didn't have these but still made it.
__________________
Sometimes death is not as tragic as not knowing how to live. This man knew how to live--and how to make others glad they were living. - Jack Benny at Nat King Cole's funeral
dex is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-28-2011, 08:55 AM   #12
Recycles dryer sheets
JBmadera's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Green Valley
Posts: 241
Certainly aided by luck - 15 years ago, due to division closing, moved from food service distribution into hi-tech. stock option proceeds helped a great deal.
__________________
JBmadera is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-28-2011, 09:05 AM   #13
Full time employment: Posting here.
cardude's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 599
Much of my success is from luck:

I was lucky to have hard working, thrifty parents who taught me how to save and how to LBYM, and they put me through college and let me grow up at my own pace while there.

I was lucky in NOT landing a "great" job out of college, but instead was forced to take various sales jobs.

I was VERY LUCKY suckering my DW into marrying me. Probably my greatest lucky break to date.

I was lucky to have had the chance to buy into a Chevrolet/Dodge dealership in 1993, just as business was getting ready to boom in our area.

I did display a little skill practicing extreme LBYM when DW and I owned the dealership-- we basically lived off her teacher salary and saved the rest.

I used some skill by only reinvesting the minimum amount back into the dealership to keep it running, and stripping the rest of the money out for investment elsewhere. I never wanted to pass this business down to my sons. I didn't see it lasting that long. I was right on that one. I was mostly lucky investing the profits from the dealership. I was big into Intel, Microsoft and Cisco Systems back in the go-go days (had a cousin who worked for Cisco), and was lucky (with maybe a little skill) selling all my positions in mid 1999.

I used some skill buying Berkshire with the proceeds, plus every bit of dealership profit I could squeeze out, over the next 10 years, when I thought Berkshire was cheap.

After posting this, I now worry that I may have used up all my luck over the years.
__________________
ER'ed from the new car business Feb 2008. I'm 47, she's 45. Two boys ages 15 and 13. DW is SAHM. I've got a part-time used car lot I w*ork at 3 hours a day that keeps me in beer money.....
cardude is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-28-2011, 09:07 AM   #14
Moderator
MichaelB's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Rocky Inlets
Posts: 24,455
I was fortunate to have opportunities and also to benefit from the choices I made.
__________________
MichaelB is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-28-2011, 09:12 AM   #15
Moderator
Walt34's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Eastern WV Panhandle
Posts: 16,539
No luck really, unless one counts the luck of taking on a job that had a good DB pension and health insurance, and not getting seriously injured or sick. But getting that job was a four-year project, and during that time almost everything I did was targeted to that end.

I recognized the pitfalls of debt and refused to make myself a slave to the credit industry, ending a marriage rather than go down that road.

Married a wonderful lady who shares those values, is smart, can actually balance her checkbook, and knows the importance of doing so.
__________________
I heard the call to do nothing. So I answered it.
Walt34 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-28-2011, 09:48 AM   #16
Administrator
W2R's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: New Orleans
Posts: 38,890
Quote:
Originally Posted by Joshua View Post
Hi everyone,

I was thinking recently that a lot of people who have become majorly rich did so because of a lucky break more than anything else.
Who said you have to become majorly rich to retire? Some of our members are indeed majorly rich, but others are enjoying a nice retirement despite more modest assets.

For those who want to retire, I think that determination, desire, and planning are more relevant than luck. Keep your eye on the brass ring and go for it.

I suppose for anyone, one could say that luck plays a part. We were all lucky that during the year before retirement we didn't experience an earthquake such as the one that hit New Zealand last week. We were lucky that we weren't born braindead. Many of us were lucky to be born in a country where opportunity abounds.

Generally, I think that many here could rightly claim that they took a lemon and made lemonade.
__________________
Already we are boldly launched upon the deep; but soon we shall be lost in its unshored, harbourless immensities.

- - H. Melville, 1851
W2R is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-28-2011, 10:23 AM   #17
Moderator Emeritus
 
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 11,044
Luck was a factor for sure.

1) DW and I were born in free, democratic and wealthy countries.
2) DW and I have been in relatively good health all of our lives (and even though I retired for health reason, I won't complain).
3) Our parents were not poor (but nor rich either).
3) DW and I were born with reasonably good intelligence.
5) We were lucky to have thrifty grandparents who could show us how to LBYM.


But:

1) We chose careers that had good employment and earning prospects.
2) I chose to leave my friends and family behind and move to a country that offered better job opportunities, higher salaries and lower taxes which facilitated wealth accumulation.
3) I chose a spouse that had similar wealth accumulation ideals.
4) We chose jobs that had the potential for higher earnings (opportunities for promotion, stock options, bonuses, etc...) even when we had to leave everything behind and move across country to obtain such jobs.
5) we chose to work our a$$ off often clocking 70+ hours a week.
6) we chose to LBYM.
__________________
FIREd is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-28-2011, 10:28 AM   #18
Recycles dryer sheets
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Posts: 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by W2R View Post
Who said you have to become majorly rich to retire? Some of our members are indeed majorly rich, but others are enjoying a nice retirement despite more modest assets.

For those who want to retire, I think that determination, desire, and planning are more relevant than luck. Keep your eye on the brass ring and go for it.

Now now, I am not saying you have to be rich to retire. lol Far from it. I expect to enjoy only modest independence when I retire, but that will still be far and above what many will have. And whether I get any "luck" or not... I plan to keep plugging away it. As some have pointed out, I am already very lucky just due to the time and place of my birth in a country that enjoys a more or less stable economy and government. We worry about the state of our investments, not whether armed brigands are going to murder us in our beds tonight.
__________________
Joshua is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-28-2011, 11:02 AM   #19
Recycles dryer sheets
robbridg's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: Allen Park
Posts: 118
No financial lucky breaks for me. I did have have one unlucky break in my financial life and that was my divorce. That cost me a bundle! If it wasn't for that I'd be semi-RE'd by now.

I feel blessed though that my life has gone as well as it has.
__________________
robbridg is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-28-2011, 11:36 AM   #20
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: France
Posts: 1,195
I haven't FIREd yet, but I voted that I made it all myself (or rather, we did, ourselves). I inherited $10K about 5 years ago, so I guess that's 1%.

Luck doesn't have much to do with it, although that depends on how you define luck - beyond good health, perhaps.

The other day, we were discussing with a friend my plan to maybe go back to college this September. She commented "Oh, you're so lucky to be able to do that, I'd love to but I can't". I don't know if she genuinely thought that we'd rolled a six and she hadn't, but she chose to have her son at 39 without getting married (kid's Dad is around, but not a whole lot), so at 45 I'm not sure what she thought was going to happen. We've been LBYM since we got married without any specific idea of exactly what we'd do with the pile of accumualated money; now we've discovered that I can have a year of retirement now rather than at the "back end". That's not luck in any sense that I recognise.

(The other day, I came across this site). Maybe the book which is linked (The 4-Hour Work Week) is already well-known here. I just noticed the comment about "having several mini-retirements", which rings a big bell for me.)
__________________

__________________
Age 56, retired July 1, 2012; DW is 60 and working for 2 more years. Current portfolio is 2000K split 50 stocks/20 bonds/30 cash. Renting house, no debts.
BigNick is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Anxiety before FIRE (poll) F-One FIRE and Money 45 02-08-2011 05:08 PM
FIRE Income Investment Poll chinaco FIRE and Money 21 11-23-2010 06:28 PM
Poll: FIRE and unemployment benefits REWahoo FIRE and Money 38 01-26-2008 11:14 AM
Poll: Average Income Before FIRE PsyopRanger FIRE and Money 63 01-27-2007 11:01 AM
Poll: How long did it take you to save for FIRE RedHawk FIRE and Money 31 01-24-2007 03:19 PM

 

 
All times are GMT -6. The time now is 04:40 AM.
 
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.