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Old 09-02-2016, 05:33 PM   #21
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We haven't seen him for quite a while but here's the thread on the pizza delivery guy. Very impressive self-discipline! No doubt in my mind that absent serious injury or illness he'll be just fine.

Pizza delivery driver aiming at FIRE in a few more years
+1

With serious injury or illness, most of us would not be fine while in accumulation mode.

Even now, in drawdown mode, most of us would still not be fine, if for other reasons.
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Old 09-02-2016, 05:37 PM   #22
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I was a remodeler and DW did office work. She was down sized in 2012 at 54.I bought lots and built houses on them all for cash I lease them and receive about 1100.00 apiece to me per month I have four.She always maxed out her 401k and now has over 550 k in it my houses are worth about 300k apiece I have about 110k in each one plus I have 300k in a taxable account.She was making 40k at the end of her career and me probably less .Its all about living below your means and saving and investing its not rocket sience
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Old 09-02-2016, 07:27 PM   #23
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My whole family is blue collar, but my working summers from 13-22 doesn't really count--nor does the construction work I did while raising kids, as it was all on our own houses. Do you have pensions from your jobs? (One of my cousins retired at 50 with a relatively well funded carpenters union pension and low expenses, and my brother-in-law is in a similar position soon.)

I am in awe that you have yourself in a position to have 800K put aside for E.R. with your income history. Even if 90K combined income was every year (unlikely as all get out!), you had to be diligent LBYM/Saver throughout.

As for medical insurance, join the club. I think that is the biggest concern for all of us who lack employer-provided benefits, but you don't have as much wiggle room as some of us. Depending upon how your 800K is allocated between tax deferred and not, you could well benefit from ACA subsidies (I'm assuming US citizen/resident)--but the out-of-pockets are daunting, and it is a black hole for forecasting. [A thought--how does your current health coverage compare with ACA exchange policies?]
My employer health coverage is pretty darn good and I pay $200 a month. We have a decent amount in Roth IRA's and could manipulate money enough to qualify for Medicare, although I hear they're looking to change that . I'll work till next May then take a serious look at FIRE.
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Old 09-03-2016, 06:58 AM   #24
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I grew up in the School of Hard Knocks and learned to LBYM and invest wisely from another old Hard School Nocker. I owe my savings to his teachings. I forever bless him for his insights and sharing life knowledge. I am comfortably retired and making much more than what I was making before I retired. I had to do it because I had no family support or inheritance.
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Old 09-03-2016, 07:01 AM   #25
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This is an interesting thread. I too often feel like I am alone here. Its astonishing how many posters that mention their megacorp (I actually had to look up what a megacorp was when I first started reading post) jobs, huge pensions and post retirement health care. I too often wonder if any one still worked hard physically for a living and retired securely.

I did some research when I was in high school on how I could make decent money and become self employed as early as possible. I knew what I wanted to do but the local trade school didn't have any openings for a whole year so I went to the local state university for a short spell. I knew after the first day that it wasn't for me. I thought everyone at the college would be no older than about 22-23 years old. I walked around there between classes and saw what looked like mostly middle aged people walking around wasting their lives away being a full time student. I got up and left the day the psychology 101 professor told the impressionable minded students that "the problem with America today is the white American male". I stood up and said good bye. I enrolled that afternoon in the local trade school to start the next fall.

I have had nothing but blue collar jobs since I was 12 years old. I got a blue collar education in a skilled trade, did my apprenticeship, got a journeyman then a masters license. I quit my job to go on my own when I was 25 years old. I have been self employed for almost 20 years and have accumulated 2 million in investable assets and a net worth of around 3 million. I guess if I would have been a little smarter and stayed in school I could have got a good job and been successful but this is the path I chose now I have to follow it.
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Old 09-03-2016, 08:33 AM   #26
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Although I had a BS in Mining Engineering and almost an MBA, I chose to be a front line supervisor and a middle manager in the underground coal industry. I spent 30+ years working 10+ hours working underground in several coal mines in WY, WV and PA. You can't get much blue collar than that.
I also worked as a hardware store clerk while in high school and in college, if I wasn't co-opping in a coal mine. No regrets, many rewards.
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Old 09-03-2016, 09:21 AM   #27
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I am!!! I have been following this forum for many months now. This is my first time posting. I am a 41 y/o server, chiropractic assistant, and landlord. My DH (also landlord)was a restaurant manager, followed by a sales rep/route driver, and finally became self employed when he got tired of making other people look good and stomping out fires. He started doing property maintenance and repair about 5 years ago and has a steady clientele of senior citizens, other landlords, and realtors. During the first couple years of growing his business, I was the main breadwinner. Supporting a family of five, working two serving jobs. We did have our rental properties that helped a little but we're only netting about $8000/yr from those. We bought our first 3 houses CFD from my grandparents about 20 years ago. Those three we paid off 5 years ago. Over the past 15 years we have purchased another four rental properties. We have very little turnover as we keep our rent a little under market, but we don't profit as much as we should. We earn about $70,000 total between the two of us and have a net worth of $631,000. $178,000 from IRA's the rest is real estate. I am trying to come up with an exit plan for my part time chiropractic assistant job. I only bring in $13 an hour and feel I am worth more than that. I need to figure out how I will replace the $1100 a month that I take home from that job. I don't want to go full time serving. I like that job and it pays well, but I don't think I would like it as much if I was there full time. My goal is to be FI in 9 years. Cutting down to one part time job in 6. (Another 3 houses will be paid off then). In any case, you are not the only blue collar following this forum!
well done GenXr.
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Old 09-03-2016, 09:28 AM   #28
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Inspirational, esp. from the Pizza Delivery guy! Makes me feel my kid on the "road less traveled" path may make it! I have always felt that LBYM is THE piece to the puzzle!
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Old 09-03-2016, 09:29 AM   #29
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I grew up my dad was a construction worker and farmer, my mom was a waitress, they divorced when I was young and both struggled financially. I've worked in the mining industry " briefly ", waiter, washed cars, mowed lawns, got in the service side of the automotive industry, found my calling, my wife retired from Walmart 5 years ago, we will be fire at 50 if we choose, I'm thinking of going part time now, enjoy dealing with cattle these days more than people. So I guess I'm blue collar.
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Old 09-03-2016, 09:56 AM   #30
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I've spent most of my working life in the electric utility industry. In some parts of the country, a craft Journeyman will easily exceed $100k income plus benefits per year. That being said, LBYM is still a huge factor. I've known retirees from the industry who had a seven figure 401k to go along with their DB pension and retiree medical. I've known others who bought all the fun toys, big homes and extravagant vacations without ever saving a dime.
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Old 09-03-2016, 10:12 AM   #31
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I have an AS degree and worked all my productive life as HVAC / Refrigeration technician. I had very good wages and most companies I worked for provided nice benefits. Since late 1990s a Sr HVAC tech could make over $100K with some overtime. Of course the job requires hard work, physical fitness, frequent night / weekend emergency calls in.
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Old 09-03-2016, 10:39 AM   #32
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I used to be a blue collar worker. Cement, construction, farm worker, factory worker. I went to school to get a computer science degree in time for the tech crash. Wife had a hard time getting into her field, so to keep a stable income, I continued working in the factory. My wife, daughter, and I all graduated the same week.

I had enough saved to be comfortably FI, I quit working a year ago. I initially the first few months taking college classes for fun. Econ, finance, classical style and easy rock guitar, keyboard, and art.

Econ and finance really paid off for investing. Those courses doubled my income. I'm signing up for a Yale online class on Tuesday. No commute.
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Old 09-03-2016, 05:45 PM   #33
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Having a blue collar job made me motivated to get a degree because the people I worked for were disrespectful and quite dim (in my teen-aged opinion). Then I graduated college, got a job, and worked for megacorp, where the people I worked for were disrespectful and quite dim.
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Old 09-03-2016, 06:31 PM   #34
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...........I got up and left the day the psychology 101 professor told the impressionable minded students that "the problem with America today is the white American male". I stood up and said good bye. ...........
I remember this professor. He was chosen to represent the thinking of all university professors in all universities in the country.
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Old 09-03-2016, 07:07 PM   #35
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This is an interesting thread. I too often feel like I am alone here. Its astonishing how many posters that mention their megacorp (I actually had to look up what a megacorp was when I first started reading post) jobs, huge pensions and post retirement health care. I too often wonder if any one still worked hard physically for a living and retired securely...

I have had nothing but blue collar jobs since I was 12 years old. I got a blue collar education in a skilled trade, did my apprenticeship, got a journeyman then a masters license. I quit my job to go on my own when I was 25 years old. I have been self employed for almost 20 years and have accumulated 2 million in investable assets and a net worth of around 3 million. I guess if I would have been a little smarter and stayed in school I could have got a good job and been successful but this is the path I chose now I have to follow it.
I worked for large and mid-size aerospace corps all my career, but moved around a bit, and then was on my own (with little or no pay) for a while. So no pension, no retirement health care for me.

I admire people who do well financially without the job security and benefits of large employers or the gummint, no matter what they do for a living (as long as it is legal ). As I mentioned, I was trying to be on my own for a while, actually starting a small business with some friends, and we did not make it. So, I know how tough it is. Cubicle dwellers would not know it.
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Any blue collar workers here?
Old 09-03-2016, 07:57 PM   #36
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Any blue collar workers here?

Hi Gary T,

I don't have a blue collar job, but I'm an administrative assistant (secretary) in California. I just make sure to max out 401(k) and Roth each year. Slow and steady contributions have resulted in $300k since 2003, and include idiotic Roth withdrawals of $13,000 and inconsistent contributions (before 2010).

Your feat is very impressive and you should proud of your accomplishment. It's nice to hear from a fellow working class member. 😉


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Old 09-03-2016, 09:04 PM   #37
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I used to be a blue collar worker. Cement, construction, farm worker, factory worker. I went to school to get a computer science degree in time for the tech crash. Wife had a hard time getting into her field, so to keep a stable income, I continued working in the factory. My wife, daughter, and I all graduated the same week.

I had enough saved to be comfortably FI, I quit working a year ago. I initially the first few months taking college classes for fun. Econ, finance, classical style and easy rock guitar, keyboard, and art.

Econ and finance really paid off for investing. Those courses doubled my income. I'm signing up for a Yale online class on Tuesday. No commute.

I take classes at HES, maybe we should start an online rivalry.


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Old 09-03-2016, 09:40 PM   #38
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I wear blue coveralls with a healthy slathering of grease or diesel fuel, when my coworkers run into me when I am off work in my "civilian" cloths, they always comment on how good I clean up. They seem genuinely surprised.

I have a high school diploma and no higher formal education. My first ten years of work was all under $25,000. I was barely surviving. I didn't start saving for retirement until I was age 32.

The last ten years I have been fortunate to move up in my industry and make over $100,000. I also have a side gig that produces a little over $100,000. This may all end soon as I may be laid off in November due to the layoffs in oil and gas, and my side gig is affected by this as well.

Fortunately, the first ten years of struggling convinced me to LBYM and save and invest everything. I am now worth a little over 1.4 million and counting.
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Old 09-03-2016, 09:46 PM   #39
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DH and I work in law enforcement - definitely not a high paying megacorp job - but a good career none the less. At least there is a small pension available as young as age 56, but definitely not big enough to live on alone. We own paid off rental property that contributes to income, this is what really allows us to save $$.

I hear my coworkers complain about not being able to afford rent, food, etc. They say they can't save for retirement. I think a lot of them just don't budget right and live way beyond their means....

My 21 year old son is working at a restaurant and still manages to put money into retirement and into his savings at a massive rate - of course it helps that he still lives in the basement and brings home lots of free food to eat!

I think saving rates are more about attitude toward money and spending, rather than a direct result of income amount. If you make 100K a year and spend 110k you are in big trouble pretty quickly - but spending 30K when you make 50K income results in a huge amount of savings that can be invested in something like stocks or real estate - creating even more wealth. Most people just don't get that concept...
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Old 09-03-2016, 10:01 PM   #40
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I enjoyed reading all the above stories. These experiences are worth telling!

Being a fairly well compensated engineer that started late and worked up from a technician, I will always consider myself blue collar. I hope to never move into management because I love the lab environment and the socialization it offers. Hopefully, I can finish off my career (large semiconductor company) in this roll before commoditization and ageism get the better of me.

I think what aids me most is my ability to work with peers, customers, and management and wearing anyone's hat if needed. Social awareness and experience can be under appreciated and many of the kids I work with lack these skills for a variety of reasons.....many went from HS to college to work and need some self development.... others just have limited social skills due to way too much screen time. When these kids ask about my life experience I always tell them that my time in the military in the 80's and 10 subsequent years as a musician in a SF punk rock band gave me a perspective on corporate life that keeps me sane through my "working" years Some get it and others see it as wasted youth.....
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