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What's up with these engineers and ER?
Old 10-26-2005, 09:41 AM   #1
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What's up with these engineers and ER?

Winn, 84, has been retired longer than many people have been working. He left his job as a chemical engineer in 1977, the year Jimmy Carter came into office and Star Wars opened in theaters.



Winn, who retired from his job as a chemical engineer at 56, says he's been investing for more than 50 years, concentrating mainly on companies he knew through work. He started when he banded together with a few friends to buy stock of his employer, Hercules Co. Back then, commissions were extremely steep, and buying in round lots - 100 shares or more - meant big savings. Eventually, the company began a savings plan and matched contributions at 25%.

Saving as much as you can.

People often concentrate on their rate of return. But the single biggest factor that determines the size of your retirement kitty is how much you invest. Put away $500 a month for 30 years, and you'll have about $1.1 million - if you earn 10% a year. Save $900 a month, and you'll have $1.1 million, too, but you'll only have to earn a more realistic 7% a year.

Heck didn't just stuff his IRAs every year and hope for hot returns He funded his company's 401(k) savings plan, too, and formed an investment club with a friend. They ran it for 15 years, and it eventually grew to 30 members.

Investing in stocks for the long term.

"My suggestion is to start early and put a good deal of it in stocks or mutual funds," says Winn. Even though the stock market has had all the charm of a dead mackerel the past five years, the historical evidence is clear: Stocks have gained an average 10.4% a year since 1926, vs. 3.7% a year for ultrasafe Treasury bills.



Seems to be quite a few engineers that FIRE. Coincidence? This guy is pretty right on but I don't necessarily like the # of stocks and funds (31 and 42) he holds. But then again he's the one that has been retired since I was born.



http://biz.yahoo.com/usat/051025/13189392.html
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Re: What's up with these engineers and ER?
Old 10-26-2005, 09:49 AM   #2
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Re: What's up with these engineers and ER?

Great mathematical and analytical skills. Good with spreadsheets. High incomes. No dry cleaning bills. We can get away with nerdy chic. In my opinion, there is less keeping up w/ the joneses at work. I think the keeping up w/ the Joneses at work is just as much of a pressure as keeping up w/ your neighbors the Joneses.

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Re: What's up with these engineers and ER?
Old 10-26-2005, 10:01 AM   #3
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Re: What's up with these engineers and ER?

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Originally Posted by justin
Great mathematical and analytical skills.* Good with spreadsheets.* High incomes.* No dry cleaning bills.* We can get away with nerdy chic.* In my opinion, there is less keeping up w/ the joneses at work.* I think the keeping up w/ the Joneses at work is just as much of a pressure as keeping up w/ your neighbors the Joneses.*

OTOH,

Too anal about numbers, gets too involved in the nuts and bolts of things, paralysis by analysis. Has to have the latest and greatest gadgets. Good salaries in the beginning of their career, but top out early unless they get into management....fat chance unless they evolve beyond The Nerd.

The above was meant to be in jest. My father and FIL were both engineers so I grew up in that environment. Thank God for my mother the school teacher to show me there was a world beyond numbers, gagets and the creative mechanics method of fixing things.

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Re: What's up with these engineers and ER?
Old 10-26-2005, 10:04 AM   #4
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Re: What's up with these engineers and ER?

The only answer I have as to why engineers tend to be the primary group looking to RE is because they tend to be very mathematical and tend to reason things out to the very end, more than almost any other group I can think of. *Sometimes they even tend to be too smart for their own good because they read into things too much.

Because of this reasoning power, they are able to come to the conclusion that the purpose of life is to have fun and that life is finite. *Therefore, they reason that in order to maximize the total amount of fun time, they must reduce or eliminate the amount of non-fun time work.

Another factor I have gleened from many engineers is that they feel they are stuck doing engineering and can't figure out a way to work for themselves doing anything besides engineering.
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Re: What's up with these engineers and ER?
Old 10-26-2005, 10:11 AM   #5
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Re: What's up with these engineers and ER?

As an engineer, my guess is that engineers as a group are the least tolerant of bullsh!t, and that's what drives them to exit the rat race.* *I don't think their investing chops are much better than average.* *In fact, the engineer in the story was the typical "invest in what you know" type of investor.* *That approach works great when what you know are tech stocks and tech stocks have a fanstastic run for 15-20 years.
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Re: What's up with these engineers and ER?
Old 10-26-2005, 10:12 AM   #6
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Re: What's up with these engineers and ER?

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Originally Posted by SteveR
OTOH,

Too anal about numbers, gets too involved in the nuts and bolts of things, paralysis by analysis. Has to have the latest and greatest gadgets. Good salaries in the beginning of their career, but top out early unless they get into management....fat chance unless they evolve beyond The Nerd.
I won't argue with that generalization. Although all of that statement save the first sentence is true for most professionals in general.
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Re: What's up with these engineers and ER?
Old 10-26-2005, 01:04 PM   #7
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Re: What's up with these engineers and ER?

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Originally Posted by wab
That approach works great when what you know are tech stocks and tech stocks have a fanstastic run for 15-20 years.
Here, here. I think the theme here has as much to do with when they retired (1977) as much as it has to do with investing principles or personality type. Let's see, 1977, just a few years before one of the greatest bull runs in history. Winning strategy back then: balanced portfolio (conservative or aggresive or throwing darts), LBYM, stick with the plan, end of story. We have several fine posters here (Unclemick comes to mind) who also started at the perfect entry point and applied a similar principle with great results. Engineer too, I think?

How many stories do you see out there on people who bailed out in 1965 and came up roses on their investments in 1982? Then again ERing probably wasn't common in 1965 and pensions were. I would imagine those circumstances saved a lot of people from poverty.
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Re: What's up with these engineers and ER?
Old 10-26-2005, 01:43 PM   #8
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Re: What's up with these engineers and ER?

Another mixup of correlation and causation?

A lot of engineers are on this site because engineers would probably be more likely to have a computer, internet connection, and enjoy virtual socialization. That we're ER'ed is incidental

May also be some relation to engineers working for high tech companies where they would make a high salary and have access to stock options that might go stratospheric. Then instead of buying a yacht and an airplane like the sales guys do, they just quit working.
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Re: What's up with these engineers and ER?
Old 10-26-2005, 02:15 PM   #9
 
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Re: What's up with these engineers and ER?

Think of someone you know who's the opposite of an engineer. That's right, that person who's heavy into spirituality, and isn't clear on the difference between the greater than sign (>) and the less than sign (<).

Now, can you picture this person choosing an appropriate asset allocation and setting up automatic investments?
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Re: What's up with these engineers and ER?
Old 10-26-2005, 02:20 PM   #10
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Re: What's up with these engineers and ER?

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A lot of engineers are on this site because engineers would probably be more likely to have a computer, internet connection, and enjoy virtual socialization.* That we're ER'ed is incidental
That may have been the case about 10 years ago, but now doesn't almost everyone have a computer and Internet access?* You don't have to be an engineer or even resemble an engineer to own a computer and have Internet access.* Take JG for example.
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Re: What's up with these engineers and ER?
Old 10-26-2005, 02:22 PM   #11
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Re: What's up with these engineers and ER?

A good 60-70% of people have a computer and internet access. Half of them use it regularly.

I dont know how many of those socialize virtually on web sites with persistence. I'm gonna go out on a limb and say mostly introverts.
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Re: What's up with these engineers and ER?
Old 10-27-2005, 11:26 AM   #12
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Re: What's up with these engineers and ER?

Quote:
Originally Posted by SteveR
Thank God for my mother the school teacher to show me there was a world beyond numbers, gagets and the creative mechanics method of fixing things.
There is? Where!? More importantly, why would anyone want to go there?!?
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Re: What's up with these engineers and ER?
Old 10-27-2005, 02:07 PM   #13
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Re: What's up with these engineers and ER?

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There is?* Where!?* More importantly, why would anyone want to go there?!?
If I have to explain it....you would never understand it. It would just be best for you to continue to live in your world of illusion.

BTW, my dad was a nuclear engineer and did design work on pressure vessels for reactor systems; Navy as well as land based system. I had a lot of respect for him and his intelligence. Who knows, you may have worked on a system he designed.
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Re: What's up with these engineers and ER?
Old 10-27-2005, 02:26 PM   #14
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Re: What's up with these engineers and ER?

I've worked with engineers for 30 years and also gave birth to one. LOL! Everyone I've ever known never aspired to ER or retirement at all. They all say the same thing: "I'll never quit work; I'll always do something even if its PT".
Anyway, I'm surprised there are so many engineers her that ER.
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Re: What's up with these engineers and ER?
Old 10-27-2005, 02:29 PM   #15
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Re: What's up with these engineers and ER?

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BTW, my dad was a nuclear engineer and did design work on pressure vessels for reactor systems; Navy as well as land based system.* I had a lot of respect for him and his intelligence.* Who knows, you may have worked on a system he designed.
S3G (the original in Ballston Spa, NY), S5W with S3G core 3, and D2G. *I'm sure he got roped into one or all of those, and he has my sincere condolences & commiseration.

My father used to sell the steam-plant side for Westinghouse's nuclear sales in Pittsburgh. *If I'd paid any attention to what he was doing I never would have joined the nukes but, no, I just had to go and do it my way...
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Re: What's up with these engineers and ER?
Old 10-28-2005, 09:26 AM   #16
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Re: What's up with these engineers and ER?

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S3G (the original in Ballston Spa, NY),
My father used to sell the steam-plant side for Westinghouse's nuclear sales in Pittsburgh. *If I'd paid any attention to what he was doing I never would have joined the nukes but, no, I just had to go and do it my way...
My dad worked for Westinghouse in PA on the Shippingport Project in the late 50's. He got laid off and moved to Combustion Engineering for the duration of his career.

Small world.
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