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Old 01-12-2009, 06:32 PM   #21
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I give my parents all the credit for the FI part of FIRE. Both lived through the depression and only used credit for expanding their small business. The RE part: Not so much. Dad retired at 65 in order to help finance DS's college tuition - but he continued to w*rk or look for w*rk into his late '70s. Mom was "retired" at 80. Maybe they were good examples after all. They claimed to be good examples not to smoke (both smoked for years and then quit.) They were right, I never wanted to go through that! Maybe it was the same with RE.
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Old 01-12-2009, 06:40 PM   #22
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My parents were frugal so I got a LBYM outlook from them. But the RE impetus was internal. When I compared private sector and public sector HR jobs in my 20s I liked several of the government agencies I visited more than the private sector companies. When I thought about the possibility of comfortably retiring at age 55 that made the decision easy. I always assumed I might change my mind when the time arrived but having the luxury to choose was mighty appealing. In the event, I had no interest in further employment.
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Old 01-12-2009, 07:18 PM   #23
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My parents: My mother is a classic child of the depression: nothing can be wasted or thrown away; no point buying when you can somehow make do with what you have.

My father -- LBYM on steroids. At age 5 we each got a checkbook. Allowance was entered as a deposit initialed by my father. To receive cash, you wrote him a check. Really made you think before spending. When he died early four of us were in college and two more still at home. He had saved so well that there was enough money to support everyone including paying for college for all six.
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Old 01-12-2009, 07:25 PM   #24
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It's hard to say. What is interesting though, is that I have always been on the frugal side (even without trying) and my older brother wasn't. Ever since we were young, I always went for cheaper stuff while my brother had to get the top of the line.

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Old 01-12-2009, 07:55 PM   #25
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My parents. Dad was a successful entrepreneur despite having a GED he got in the Army. AT one point in the late 80s he was a multimillionaire. Lost quite a lot of it when his business went under in the early 90s recession, but preserved enough capital to start up in another line of business. No matter how successful he has been, he was always careful with money and generally didn't extend himself. We lived in a nice house, went on nice vacations, etc., but dad clearly thought of himself as a blue collar guy and we lived like it. I learned the lesson of saving and LBYM, but also that I needed to be better educated on the subjects of finance and accounting to avoid the business failure stuff. I also learned that an entrepreneur's life is not an easy one and made a conscious choice not to pursue that path.

Mom was just good at managing a household even through adversity (when the business crashed). She stayed home with the kids, which I personally think is the best choice for kids. Her example is the reason I was willing to work so hard, get a business degree at night, and suffer throughthe CFA: I wanted my kids to have a stay at home parent and I wanted my wife not to have to worry about every penny or feel guilty when she did so.
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Old 01-12-2009, 08:15 PM   #26
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My current Boss. He's 53 and still a long way from retirement. He was telling me one day how he never thought he'd be working this long and he thought he'd be a millionaire 20 years ago. So later that day I ran the numbers and figured out with the way I was living I could be retired before him.

That and I'm fairly certain my Dad's plan is to either die working for the insurance money, or at least work into his 70's to get the house paid off.
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Old 01-12-2009, 08:36 PM   #27
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Great thread idea, Freebird.

I'd have to say my parents were. We ate every nite but didn't have much extra cash for anything else. My father had to put up with a lot of crappola, as he came thru the depression when times were really bad, and a job was not readily given up. I learned LBYM and still practice it.

When you turned 60 years old, MegaCorp had a nice retirement package. I debated, but, I took it. A very good decision, I think.
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Old 01-12-2009, 08:37 PM   #28
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My parents were frugal. However, I am not sure that's the factor as all my siblings are bigger spenders than I am.

My brother recently bought his wife a "diamond ring upgrade", which they were too abashed to admit about the price (we did not ask). However, we overheard that it cost as much as a new car!
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Old 01-13-2009, 05:57 AM   #29
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Frugal parents, now in their 70s, spent less than 20k last year. Dad is especially frugal, and all the points in Goonie's post above were the principles we were taught. Dad has the same poem from Khan's post, stuck onto his refrigerator so my siblings see it when they visit:

Use it up
Wear it out
Make it do, or
Do without.

We all grew up with the same training, but while all my sibs are in debt to their eyeballs, we have none, and have had none for over 15 years (before that only a mortgage on the house).

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Old 01-13-2009, 08:05 AM   #30
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He understood the "life is short" aspect. He gave notice for ER from his job to help care for my mother as she struggled with breast/bone cancer. She died a couple days before their 25th anniversary and the week before his ER started.
Wow! Mom died of breast cancer one month after Dad retired. I swore I would not take the chance. Mom was only 57.

6.5 years after ER - so far so good!
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Old 01-13-2009, 02:48 PM   #31
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Wow! Mom died of breast cancer one month after Dad retired. I swore I would not take the chance. Mom was only 57.
6.5 years after ER - so far so good!
She was diagnosed at age 40 and fought for nearly a decade, dying a few months before she turned 50. Breast cancer treatment in the 1970s/80s was primitive by today's standards but apparently the women in my family tree are genetically predisposed. My daughter (born five years after my mother died, barely a day shy of her birthday) is the spitting image of my mother's childhood photos, perhaps my mother's way of avenging herself from the grave.

I started terminal leave in Feb 2002-- hard to believe it's been nearly seven years!
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Old 01-13-2009, 02:53 PM   #32
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My brother recently bought his wife a "diamond ring upgrade", which they were too abashed to admit about the price (we did not ask). However, we overheard that it cost as much as a new car!
Did you ask what he did that required such an "upgrade"??
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Old 01-13-2009, 03:06 PM   #33
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My step-grandparents, who were children of the depression and saved every penny. Drove a early 60's Dodge Dart until 1990. My grandpa was a state business tax auditor (franchise tax board?) and really good with numbers. He had piles and piles of papers on stocks and bonds and quotes and company info in his garage. I remember that his best investment (according to him) was something called a___ express (somebody fill that in for me?). Grandma was a stay at home and he retired at 55. Unfortunately, he had a stroke only 9 years later and was severely disabled until he passed a few years after that. But grandma never had to worry about money, and while she still calls the telephone company to argue about 15 cent fees, she's been to Iceland, Thailand, and a dozen other places in the last decade. They went everywhere when they were married, including the Soviet Union and China back when it wasn't exactly easy to get in.

Second is DW, she saw her parents blow it financially and all the stress they had. She is so good with money and is always pushing us to be frugal. I had to beg her to stop taking the recyclables to the redeem center instead of using the blue bin they picked up (without paying you). She only relented when she started her own business and saw the logic of her hourly consulting rate vs. time spent going to the recycling center. If it was left to me we'd probably only be saving about 10% per year due to my lack of skills.
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Old 01-13-2009, 03:26 PM   #34
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Did you ask what he did that required such an "upgrade"??
Maybe it's what he didn't do, or what he shouldn't have done...

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I remember that his best investment (according to him) was something called a___ express (somebody fill that in for me?).
American Express in the early 1960s when they were recovering from the salad-oil scandal?
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Old 01-13-2009, 03:32 PM   #35
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Although I'm not FIREd yet, I've drawn a few lessons from watching my parents' situation. Dad retired from law enforcement in 1970 at the age of 49. Unfortunately, the modest state pension that looked adequate in 1970 soon met the inflation monster of the 70s. He ended up working another job full time starting a few years later until age 62. Mom worked part time until about age 65.

Their story will probably influence me to err on the safe side and be prepared for negative events in the early years of retirement. I may end up playing it so safe that I work longer than necessary. I just want to make sure that I don't end up back in the workplace because I have an inadequate cushion.
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Old 01-13-2009, 03:47 PM   #36
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Maybe it's what he didn't do, or what he shouldn't have done...


American Express in the early 1960s when they were recovering from the salad-oil scandal?
It was something like Ampco Express (but I know that's wrong) some early precurser to a mutual fund...
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Old 01-13-2009, 04:57 PM   #37
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Dad worked. Lots. He was a skilled machinist and would frequently have several jobs, as well as working toward creating a cattle ranch. He owned his own shop several times and treated people well and with respect. The money and the skills he brought were magnified by the thrift and caginess of my Mom, who roamed about finding property deals, freight damaged foods from the railroads, auction cattle and other goods. Being quite a bit less work ethic driven and skillful than my Dad i lean more toward my Mom - more the spend less than the work more type.
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Old 01-13-2009, 05:59 PM   #38
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My mom and dad were always savers, and HARD workers. My dad was a well known cheapskate in the family. Mom always made me save 75% of my job money while in high school for college. "Pay yourself first."

Plus, I'm naturally conservative and responsible. It was easy not to overspend (well, too much that is) and keep the financial house in order.
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Old 01-14-2009, 09:17 AM   #39
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My brother recently bought his wife a "diamond ring upgrade", which they were too abashed to admit about the price (we did not ask). However, we overheard that it cost as much as a new car!
The purchase was actually made in 2007. They would not do it now. As they did not drive fancy cars, I interpreted the comment "same as a new car" as being "less than $30K".

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Did you ask what he did that required such an "upgrade"??
No, but I knew the situation.

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Maybe it's what he didn't do, or what he shouldn't have done...
He has a well-paid hi-tech job that requires frequent domestic and world-wide international travel. When he is home, much time is spent reading and keeping up with technology. Wife stays home, taking care of young kids (he's a late starter), and also of their McMansion. I have seen her taking care of the pool, mowing the lawn, replacing plumbing fixture, etc...

He got big stock grants last year. So to make up to his wife, he wanted to indulge her, who was into jewelry. It was really a joint purchase. I would salt the money away for rainy days. They probably thought they had saved enough. YMMV.
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Old 01-14-2009, 02:44 PM   #40
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She was diagnosed at age 40 and fought for nearly a decade, dying a few months before she turned 50. Breast cancer treatment in the 1970s/80s was primitive by today's standards but apparently the women in my family tree are genetically predisposed.
Same - a successful mastectomy then a recurrence 10 years later which spread and it was the early experimental days of kemo. Took nearly 3 years to the final act.

I had 2 boys but I am watching my 2 granddaughters.
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