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Re: Speaking of writers, how 'bout readers?
Old 04-10-2004, 12:29 PM   #21
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Re: Speaking of writers, how 'bout readers?

Hmm, since you've found it and I cant, can you direct me to the revised page with current numbers?

I'm just a little skeptical that after 3 down years, the top 5% would have almost tripled their net worth. As far as the last couple of years, from 1/1/2002 to 1/1/2004 the total stock market index just about stood still; from 4/11/02 to 4/11/04 it gained a very small margin.

And I think JG isnt quite 60 yet, but he's probably close enough for horseshoes and handgrenades.

On the topic of being out of the workforce, are you suggesting its hard to get into the top 5% or stay in it without current income? My net worth has increased every year since ER disproportionally to when I was working. My expenses are far lower now, and with time to ponder and work my investments, those prospects have improved as well.

But then we're all statistical abberations...
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Re: Speaking of writers, how 'bout readers?
Old 04-10-2004, 06:22 PM   #22
 
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Re: Speaking of writers, how 'bout readers?

TH:

Looks like you are using the figures compiled in 99.
Right under that on the Scott Burns (Dallas News), is a wealth scoreboard for 2001. (Update).
The beginning # for age 60-69 is $2,861,000, for age 50-59 $2,435,000, to be at the start of 5%.
One of his writers guestimated that above figures would now be about 20% higher. (The term he used was at least 20%.)
Regarding being in the 5% category(I could care less, as I left the workforce at age 52, about 13 years ago, and as long as we have enough to live the way we want to I have no desire to be in competition with anyone else.
Regarding reaching 5%, at least in my case, having to draw down on funds rather than adding to them would be almost impossible to keep up with my counterpart.
But I bought 13 years of independence for the difference. The best investment I ever made
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Re: Speaking of writers, how 'bout readers?
Old 04-10-2004, 07:15 PM   #23
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Re: Speaking of writers, how 'bout readers?

http://www.dallasnews.com/s/dws/bus/...scoreboard.htm

and here's the definitive fed study:

http://www.federalreserve.gov/pubs/o...1/bull0103.pdf
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Re: Speaking of writers, how 'bout readers?
Old 04-11-2004, 11:24 AM   #24
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Re: Speaking of writers, how 'bout readers?

Interesting stuff, I'll have to read them tomorrow after I'm done cooking dinner for 27,000 people

Sort of counterintuitive that data from 2001 after the worst of the downturn would be stronger than data from 98/99 in the middle of the upturn. I see the explanation early on that high wage earners started saving more in response to the downturn. Thats quite a level of savings...
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Re: Speaking of writers, how 'bout readers?
Old 04-12-2004, 01:23 PM   #25
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Re: Speaking of writers, how 'bout readers?

Quote:
Sort of counterintuitive that data from 2001 after the worst of the downturn would be stronger than data from 98/99 in the middle of the upturn. *I see the explanation early on that high wage earners started saving more in response to the downturn. *Thats quite a level of savings...
I will guess that a large part of the gains have been the continuing run-up in home values over the last 5 years.

What I find interesting from these numbers is some of the people planning on early retirement who say they plan to have in investments only (i.e. not including their home) more than the total networth of a top 5%er. Or perhaps double that depending on what age they are planning retirement.
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Re: Speaking of writers, how 'bout readers?
Old 04-12-2004, 01:51 PM   #26
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Re: Speaking of writers, how 'bout readers?

Yep, for the bottom 75%, house value increases might be an influencing factor, although the majority of the US has seen only nominal real estate price upticks. If you're away from the ocean and some unusual housing markets, you probably havent seen a fraction of a Boston or San Francisco type improvement.

I read the whole survey through, but I'm afraid I have a major problem with it. The sample size for the whole thing was under 4,500 people, about 3000 of which were sampled geographically and the rest were high income/net worth people (as defined by their tax returns) oversampled to improve the data quality for the 1%/5% figures.

Just to cut to the chase, I'd have some doubts about sampling error and "steering" with 10x the number of survey participants.

I'm terribly interested in what purpose the survey was put to. Nobody does a survey (especially the govt) just to see what happens, they use it to decide whether, where and how much to fund things or as a lever in creating or developing legislation.

With the sampling size and methodology implemented, I could have made this say absolutely anything I wanted it to. But 99% of people look at the chart or table produced, and really dont look at the underlying methodology.

Whats worse is when someone "bundles", by layering or interleaving two pieces of data (accepted as gospel without evaluation of the methodology or "purpose"), to draw unreasonable conclusions.

Maybe I'll have a look see for what this study was subsequently used for...
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Re: Speaking of writers, how 'bout readers?
Old 04-12-2004, 02:12 PM   #27
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Re: Speaking of writers, how 'bout readers?

Conclusions and use of this data:

- A number of groups have used the data to show that the economy has improved since 1998.

- An economics publication did some surveying of their own based on the federal study as a backdrop. In their (smaller) sample survey of the 400 wealthiest, net worth of the top 1/5/10% of that sample set dropped dramatically between 2001 and 2002. So much for the improved economy.

- Many groups have used the racial demographic data to show that caucasians are improving their ownership of the total net worth pie at the expense of people of color.

- A lot of stuff focusing on the opposite end of the spectrum...while the rich got richer, the poor mounted more debt and default rates increased. And the wealth gap widened dramatically across the board.

- Stock ownership is up substantially. Real estate and financial groups are promoting some slices of the statistical information to encourage people to use the equity in their homes for other purposes, and to encourage moving these inflated stock assets into more expensive homes and properties.

The applications for this range from support for increasing taxes on the wealthy, support programs and debt reduction programs for low income, and more programs to combat the problems with racial disparity of net worth. There was also some not very well discussed analysis of the wealthier slice owning tax free investments. Perhaps lightening the tax-freeness of these, or changing the breadth or basis of tax free investments at a certain income level?

Should be interesting to see how any of this materializes and if/how this background data gets used.
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Re: Speaking of writers, how 'bout readers?
Old 04-13-2004, 10:51 PM   #28
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Re: Speaking of writers, how 'bout readers?

The thing that struck me about the study is that the single biggest factor that affects your net worth appears to be whether you're salaried or self-employed.

Those who are self-employed had median and mean net worths that were something like 5x - 6x those of working stiffs. * I suppose this shouldn't be too surprising, but it suggests to me that mediocre performance as an entrepreneur trumps above average performance as a salary-man.
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Re: Speaking of writers, how 'bout readers?
Old 04-14-2004, 03:49 AM   #29
 
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Re: Speaking of writers, how 'bout readers?

I believe I made the most
headway net worth-wise, when I owned and ran my own business. Not sure I could prove it and probably
wasn't aware at the time, but looking back it appears
that way now. On the other hand, the numbers on failed small businesses/entrepreunerial activities
are huge. In terms of ability to ER, I still think
attitude and motivation are more important than how
you make your living.

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Re: Speaking of writers, how 'bout readers?
Old 04-14-2004, 09:02 AM   #30
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Re: Speaking of writers, how 'bout readers?

Quote:
In terms of ability to ER, I still think attitude and motivation are more important than how you make your living.
If you're referring to the attitude and motivation in controlling expenses and managing savings I agree 100%. If you mean career-wise then I agree except that you don't have to be very motivated these days. I don't consider myself particularly motivated, and my attitude is sometimes cynical, but I care about how what I do helps the company and its customers, and through that and my thorough job knowledge I stand head and shoulders above most of my peers.

It's not hard to appear to be motivated and to have a good attitude these days; just contrast yourself to your lazy and/or dumb peers.
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Re: Speaking of writers, how 'bout readers?
Old 04-14-2004, 11:59 AM   #31
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Re: Speaking of writers, how 'bout readers?

The business owner vs salary thing was highlighted in "the millionaire next door". High net worth people by far are self employed, which is why certain immigrants have higher rates of millionaire-ism than others...for example Russian immigrants are more likely to start a business when they arrive.

I'm still leery of this "study", not so much because I disagree with the results but because of the methodology and the extent of the "draw down" from the conclusions.

Had they surveyed 45,000 and MAINTAINED a core of those (say 30k) for the subsequent surveys, I'd feel like I was getting good data. That way you could chart the flow of what happened to high wage earners, high net worth people, low wage earners, low net worth, and transitions between the categories.
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Re: Speaking of writers, how 'bout readers?
Old 04-14-2004, 01:17 PM   #32
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Re: Speaking of writers, how 'bout readers?

Salary, DCA, max 401k/IRA, twenty years = 80+% of ER. All other ventures over the years didn't amount to a pitcher of warm spit when all was said and done. Although did suffer some brief - "I got it figured out" and "spend it while you got episodes". Enjoyed the book anyway.
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Re: Speaking of writers, how 'bout readers?
Old 04-15-2004, 02:39 PM   #33
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Re: Speaking of writers, how 'bout readers?

Definitely owning company was financially the big win for me, but it would have been the opposite if the company lost money, which is not uncommon. What is more, I needed the years of savings and business experience to have the resources to start the company.
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Re: Speaking of writers, how 'bout readers?
Old 04-15-2004, 02:41 PM   #34
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Re: Speaking of writers, how 'bout readers?

As for what got this post started, I am loving reading the Jack Aubrey books -- Master and Commander is the first but they go on for 20 books or so. I am on #7 now and Patrick O'Brian is about the smartest writer I've ever read and the stories are really engaging. The movie with Russell Crow was good, but the books I realize now are even better.
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Re: Speaking of writers, how 'bout readers?
Old 05-16-2004, 02:07 PM   #35
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Re: Speaking of writers, how 'bout readers?

I recently discovered the LA mystery writer Michael Connelly. He is a former LA Times Crime reporter who made good as a mystery writer. His first one, The Black Echo, was a huge hit, and there have been many more after that. When I read mysteries I am easily put off by inconsistencies or background mistakes. Darn few of either of these in Connelly's books. And I lived in LA long enough to be very familiar with the physical and human geography of that city.

My recomendation would be to start with the first, Black Echo, and take them in order. They aren't serials, but there is some continuity. Also, Connelly writes thrillers that are not part of the Detective Harry Bosch series. One of these thrillers is Blood Work, which was made into a very successful movie starring Clint Eastwood.

These books are hard to put down.

Mikey
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Ronin, Kem Nunn's latest book is out...
Old 09-27-2004, 08:46 PM   #36
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Ronin, Kem Nunn's latest book is out...

... http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/AS...831685-2557466

I'm #46 in line at my local library.
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Thanks, ronin.
Old 09-30-2004, 05:51 PM   #37
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Thanks, ronin.

I'll add T.J. to the list.

I've been working back through my Joe Haldeman collection lately and reading a lot of "good for you" nonfiction.

I've never had a librarian ask me "But waddya DO all day?!?"...
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Re: Speaking of writers, how 'bout readers?
Old 10-01-2004, 04:52 AM   #38
 
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Re: Speaking of writers, how 'bout readers?

I am jumping back to an earlier discussion re. books on
business owner's higher likelihood of becoming
millionaires. I have never been close to millionaire
status, nor will I be in the future. But, looking back I can see two (2)
situations where I could have made it and still
ERed. Both involved being self employed/running
my own company. Don't see any other way I might
have made it. I did have some stock options in a public
company which was acquired. This might have gotten me there eventually, but probbaly not soon enough
to be considered a "real" ER.

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Re: Speaking of writers, how 'bout readers?
Old 10-01-2004, 05:59 AM   #39
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Re: Speaking of writers, how 'bout readers?

Quote:
...Master and Commander...
The Hornblower series was also quite good in the old English tall ship category.
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Re: Speaking of writers, how 'bout readers?
Old 10-08-2004, 05:18 PM   #40
 
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Re: Speaking of writers, how 'bout readers?

I just finished 'I, Judas' by Taylor Caldwell. Currently
reading a Robert E. Lee biography by Emory Thomas
and 'Give War a Chance' by P.J. O'Rourke.
Today, I stopped by Barnes and Noble and checked out
'Guns, Germs and Steel'. A disclaiimer. I only read the
forward and skimmed the rest. Looks like a PC piece of crap to me. The author stayed in New Guinea too long.
This nonsense about the natives who are covering their asses with palm leaves having a higher IQ than "dead white men" is pretty ridiculous.

John Galt
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