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Old 09-04-2016, 06:14 AM   #41
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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...
The Micawber Principle, since 1850. Still going strong.
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Old 09-04-2016, 08:43 AM   #42
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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.
Thanks for keeping the lights on Winemaker. I'm from the coal fields of Western Ky, where many of my friends and family work or have worked in the mines, unfortunately many of them have not prepared for layoffs and a end to mining.
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Old 09-04-2016, 09:25 AM   #43
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My parents never had professional jobs, doing labor-based work all their lives. They got started mid-40s after they immigrated to the US with no assets and two kids in tow.

After my father recently passed away, I helped my 73 year old mother take an inventory of her assets and put together a financial plan, based on her spending. I was pleasantly surprised to find that they had accumulated almost $1M in assets, making a combined income of ~$40-50k a year, with spending a little less than 16k per year.

Now only if I could convince her to retire and enjoy the fruits of their labor...
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Old 09-04-2016, 09:29 AM   #44
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My parents never had professional jobs, doing labor-based work all their lives. They got started mid-40s after they immigrated to the US with no assets and two kids in tow.

After my father recently passed away, I helped my 73 year old mother take an inventory of her assets and put together a financial plan, based on her spending. I was pleasantly surprised to find that they had accumulated almost $1M in assets, making a combined income of ~$40-50k a year, with spending a little less than 16k per year.

Now only if I could convince her to retire and enjoy the fruits of their labor...
So your 73 year old mother is doing a labor based job despite having $1M in assets and SS?
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Old 09-04-2016, 09:44 AM   #45
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So your 73 year old mother is doing a labor based job despite having $1M in assets and SS?
Yes, and still saving a significant percentage of her income. My sister and I have been nudging her to retire, but she's set in her ways. When my father finally stopped working at the ripe old age of 75 doing maintenance work at a hospital, he passed away a year later. I think this is influencing her thinking.
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Old 09-04-2016, 03:46 PM   #46
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When my father finally stopped working at the ripe old age of 75 doing maintenance work at a hospital, he passed away a year later. I think this is influencing her thinking.
Yes I retired from megacorp at 49 and a couple of buddies worked until 65 and died at 67.

OTOH my Dad was retired for 30 years and my brother for 28 years.
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Old 09-04-2016, 07:07 PM   #47
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I'm definitely on the same path as the one you've chosen. But as you can imagine, I get quite the reaction when I tell her about my plans to "retire" before 50. I think when the day comes, I'll just tell her that I'm unsuccessfully pursuing a different profession.
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Any blue collar workers here?
Old 09-04-2016, 07:30 PM   #48
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Any blue collar workers here?

I am blue collar and I was a single mother (divorced when my son was 1). I have been a UPS driver for 22 years.

Social Security shows my lifetime of earned income from when I was 16yo until now, at age 49, to be a little shy of $1,300,000. I also received $3000/yr in child support from my blue collar ex-husband for 17 years. I had no savings, no car, and a mortgage with no equity when I got divorced.

I live in an old 1700sq ft house in an older neighborhood in the Midwest that cost $40,000 and has been paid off since I was 32. I do have a new car but I drove the old one for 18yrs. I have traveled quite a bit with my child and I sent him to parochial schools at full tuition and paid for half of his college tuition at a state college (without a scholarship unfortunately).

Thanks to compounding and the fabulous info and encouragement on this site and others I have $860,000 saved for retirement. We do not have a matching 401k but I will have a pension.


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Old 09-04-2016, 08:43 PM   #49
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I have $860,000 saved for retirement.
Well done!
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Old 09-05-2016, 05:15 AM   #50
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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 09-05-2016, 09:29 AM   #51
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Not blue collar (professional engineer license; retired civil engineer) but I spent plenty of time mucking through swamps, climbing over/under fences, peeing in the woods or port a johns, hiding out in forests in the middle of the night, dodging traffic behind orange cones, maintaining balance on slippery muddy surfaces, wearing a hard hat, dirt on my knees, hands, feet, face, etc.

Toward the end of my career I wore a blue hard hat (which apparently made me a "supervisor" instead of all the white hat laborers), steel toe "dressy" shoes, and khaki or dark slacks, so it was obvious when I stepped out of my Honda Civic (another clue!) on the construction site that I wasn't a laborer.

I never broke through $70k but made a pretty average salary for a civil engineer of my age and experience.
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Old 09-05-2016, 10:55 AM   #52
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I never broke through $70k but made a pretty average salary for a civil engineer of my age and experience.
Looks like you were a little below average:

Engineering Salary Survey from 2012
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Old 09-05-2016, 10:58 AM   #53
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Aren't there several retired enlisted military that post? Definitely bc to me.

Dad had 8th grade education, worked in brew house of small old time brewery (Great side benefit: Had the best pub around - free! - and they didn't card you when with Dad.), and umpired on the side. Mom worked as a clerk when not raising kids. Left a $600K estate in 2004. I didn't know what ac was till second year of college in a new dorm.
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Old 09-05-2016, 11:03 AM   #54
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Aren't there several retired enlisted military that post? Definitely bc to me.
I know of one. That would be me. I think all the other Military (ret.) are commished
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Old 09-05-2016, 11:25 AM   #55
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My uncle, born in '09 had a small family run grocery store, in a dying town, passed on by his mother. Other than WWII that's all he did for a day job. He played sax in a small jazz band that played local country clubs, maybe twenty bucks for the weekend. Couple of dive homes he bought and rented out, they were worth nothing. Daughter let them go back to the county to not pay the tax. Investments were the bank and some bonds, nothing more. Their estate was around 800k when they passed both in their 90s.
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Old 09-05-2016, 02:41 PM   #56
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I think saving rates are more about attitude toward money and spending, rather than a direct result of income amount.
I think you're right. I've noticed this a lot, more so recently as we've gotten older and we're more aware of the limited options some relatives have. I retired from law enforcement but I'm fortunate to have one of the old-fashioned DB COLA'd pensions, SS, and savings/investments, the old "three-legged stool". That pension plan they stopped offering in the mid 1980s.

When the pension plan changed they offered current participants the option of getting back half of their prior pension contributions (tax-free because taxes had already been paid on it) if they switched to the new lower-benefit pension plan. An astonishing (to me) number of people took that option and used the money to buy cars, motorcycles, boats, bigger houses, etc. As a result of that decision, many of those guys are still working, not because they want to, but because they have to. Or they have a significantly lower standard of living than they could have had.

At my last job, a federal government contractor armed security position, they had a glitch one weekend and instead of the Friday morning direct deposit of pay we didn't get it until the following Monday. No biggie for the folks on this forum but I was surprised at the amount of panic and gnashing of teeth about it. Two people took out payday loans! Just amazing. And everyone there had two incomes either from a law enforcement pension or (for the part-timers) their current full time LE job.
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Old 09-06-2016, 01:02 PM   #57
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Looks like you were a little below average:

Engineering Salary Survey from 2012
Ouch! Yeah, guess I was an underachiever. My last job was a state job, so expectations were pretty low and lots of time off. Looks like all of my career I spent between the 25th and 50th percentiles, though I know plenty of peers in private practice (something I did at the beginning of my career) consistently worked more than 40 hours per week which I never did.

In the end, I made "enough".
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Old 09-06-2016, 03:11 PM   #58
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All of these posts reminds me of my folks and can't imagine going through what they did to survive the depression and the tough forties. Dad did not complete high school because he had an offer to go to work in a skilled industry. He worked for the same company for 48 years and retired on the last possible day at age 65 in 1974. I remember the war years when he worked some odd jobs to get by. Back in those days Mom was a stay-at-home mom and she worked her a** off. People these days couldn't do what they did to raise a family. No auto washing machine or dryer, no dishwasher.
Hung the clothes outside to dry even in the winter when they froze. Mom and I used to sing and whistle songs while we did the dishes. I'm talking up and down steps to hang out the laundry, shovel coal in the winter to feed the furnace (and I remember when they didn't have a furnace). They didn't own a car until 1947 when I was 11 years old.
I could go on and on but those days are gone. They were the salt of the earth. Paid cash for everything. My wife and I understand but my kids don't and the grandkids surely don't. Days gone by.

Sorry for the long post but thought it was a good time to pay homage to my folks and to thank them for a "great" upbringing. They were the typical blue collar crowd. Rest in peace.
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Old 09-06-2016, 03:22 PM   #59
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Fantastic--and impressive! Congrats on your son.

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Originally Posted by tinlizzy View Post
I am blue collar and I was a single mother (divorced when my son was 1). I have been a UPS driver for 22 years.

Social Security shows my lifetime of earned income from when I was 16yo until now, at age 49, to be a little shy of $1,300,000. I also received $3000/yr in child support from my blue collar ex-husband for 17 years. I had no savings, no car, and a mortgage with no equity when I got divorced.

I live in an old 1700sq ft house in an older neighborhood in the Midwest that cost $40,000 and has been paid off since I was 32. I do have a new car but I drove the old one for 18yrs. I have traveled quite a bit with my child and I sent him to parochial schools at full tuition and paid for half of his college tuition at a state college (without a scholarship unfortunately).

Thanks to compounding and the fabulous info and encouragement on this site and others I have $860,000 saved for retirement. We do not have a matching 401k but I will have a pension.


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Old 09-06-2016, 03:30 PM   #60
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My boyfriend is a Caterpillar mechanic, and started working as a mechanic before getting an A.A. or vo-tech degree was the norm. He can retire now at 57 if he decides he wants to. I am white collar and only 40, so I will probably be working for a few more years to reduce my risk. He does make decent money though, and we live in an older, blue collar neighborhood.
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