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Old 10-20-2014, 09:07 AM   #21
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The ability to plan and work towards something that isn't on the immediate horizon.
This doesn't necessarily imply a lot of intelligence, just an ability for long term goals.

Luck may play a role, but not necessarily.
Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity - Seneca

I am a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work, the more I have of it. - Thomas Jefferson
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Old 10-20-2014, 09:42 AM   #22
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Luck is certainly part of it. If I had been born in a different culture or era, as a female I would not have had the opportunity for the career that I did, which helped having money left over to save.

I think part of it is the ability to be future thinking. Every time we water the lawn now the squirrels are busy burying acorns in the softened soil, and they have brains the size of pistachios, so it isn't just an IQ kind of difference. Low income people may have no choice but to live paycheck to paycheck and not save for the future, but obviously many others we all know and read about could easily save for the future but for some reason simply do not.

I am no longer surprised by people who tell me they are worried about their job or retirement savings, then tell me about their latest cruise, new car, RV, boat or whatever. I just try very hard to keep my mouth shut and listen sympathetically.
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Old 10-20-2014, 09:47 AM   #23
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We are FIRE'd so obviously it is intelligence, and good looks too.
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Old 10-20-2014, 10:10 AM   #24
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I think it may have something to do with a personality that is accustomed to "being on the outside looking in." What this means is that many folks here (myself included) were either never the leader of the pack nor a follower when it came to popular social circles growing up. We had our own set of friends, but for the most part were forced to find our own ways to "survive" our growing up years (and perhaps were also less susceptible to peer pressure to conform). This independent streak provided perspective that being a conformist would have denied as an acceptable reality. Unfortunately for those who "followed," the chains of conformity grow even stronger into adulthood.

Again, some folks here may have been the homecoming king/queen, but I wasn't. FYI, many of the popular kids in my high school "peaked" back then or in college.


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Thanks for this confluence of words. This is more than fairly on the nose as it describes how I've seen my own life. -- I am in this world but not of this world.--

I also think this retiring early mindset includes something of an unconscious Buddhist philosophy. When the Student is ready The Master will appear. Just like back in high school, most of The Students are never ready.
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Old 10-20-2014, 10:23 AM   #25
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We have one kiddo who is popular and also the one who has the most trouble staying on budget, especially the clothes budget. Apparently, not caring what other people think of you or your clothes can be a real money saver.
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Old 10-20-2014, 10:45 AM   #26
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[QUOTE=truenorth418;1505896]

So yes luck and intelligence play a part, but I think the most important differentiating factors are desire, determination and discipline.




Yes and to that I would add one more ingredient - Fear. Fear of running out of money in old age.
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Old 10-20-2014, 10:46 AM   #27
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It's a combination of all the factors discussed herein: Intelligence, determination, luck, etc.

But I think the main driver is how one is wired. Most of us want to (or wanted to) FIRE. We are different. Most people (even those from whom FIRE is a real possibility) seem to want to continue working at least until a more typical retirement age. If I had wanted to work until age 65, I would likely have had significantly different spending and saving habits, and would not have been very focused on the nuances of planning for retirement.
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Old 10-20-2014, 11:04 AM   #28
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My first boss out of college told me it was impossible to escape the rat race since whenever one got a raise they would simply spend the additional money on a higher lifestyle. I thought to myself "That's ridiculous".
That is me in a nutshell! I had a manager over me who said I would never be able to retire since inflation would eat up any raises and to the extent I could get ahead, I would just raise my "needs" and not be able to save enough to retire.

Well Dave, I am 55 and have turned in my notice. At age 56, I will be retired in spite of inflation and increasing needs. It is primarily determination and the upbringing to not live beyond your means.
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Old 10-20-2014, 11:14 AM   #29
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I agree that life isn't fair but we all have the same chance to be born a crack baby or the child of Bill Gates. Bill Gates was also lucky coming from a well off family and going to a private high school that happened tohave better computer coding equipment than the nearby University of Washington. It's what he made of it that made the difference for him and many others - both up and down the economic ladder.

True, but don't say you hit a homerun when you were born on third base.
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Old 10-20-2014, 11:22 AM   #30
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That is me in a nutshell! I had a manager over me who said I would never be able to retire since inflation would eat up any raises and to the extent I could get ahead, I would just raise my "needs" and not be able to save enough to retire.
Just the opposite for me. I work in the financial industry which pays a significant portion of its yearly comp in form of a bonus. When my boss told me my first bonus number he said "If you live on the bonus the company will own you, but if you bank the bonus you will not need the company."...Thanks Kevin.
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Old 10-20-2014, 11:33 AM   #31
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True, but don't say you hit a homerun when you were born on third base.
Anyone born in the US without a major disability starts out on 3rd base if you look around the rest of the world. Somehow, people from the poorest of countries manage to become billionaires. These tend to be from the elite of these countries but it's still a major accomplishment. In the US there are lots of people from poor families that become mega rich. Rich people become poor. The old saying of shirt sleeves to shirt sleeves in three generations is very true.

Where else but the US are the "poor" typically overweight, have smart phones and have cable access with a HDTV.
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Old 10-20-2014, 11:36 AM   #32
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I dunno. It was mostly luck and natural intelligence honestly. I've never really worked that hard. School was always pretty easy and mid-level office work was easy too. I was a directionless liberal arts major, but by being in the right place and the right time, I got into tech in the mid-90's. Most of my training was OTJ, so I didn't have to return to school or get any certs, etc.

Things that were helpful: having a spouse who also had a steady income and didn't spend like crazy, and having a lifestyle that doesn't require a lot of money (small, older house that we paid off early, used cars that we hang on to, etc.) having good health thus far. DH and I are pretty low maintenance.

Neither my DH nor I are big on traveling, nor do we have expensive hobbies. When we were both working we had a lot of extra money that we invested. We were living like we made 30K, but we were making six figures. Now we are parents and we're down to one income, but we still have extra money to invest because we have a pretty small nut every month. We have a calm low key life and it's great.
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Old 10-20-2014, 12:05 PM   #33
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Luck was certainly a part of it for me. I got into a certain career field just because I discovered I was good at it and enjoyed it. Turns out, I joined a technology company that was quite generous with stock and bonus compensation for top performers. My career peaked about the same time as the company's rise, which was a lucrative combo for me. Yes, it was *ME* who did all the hard work. But I could have ended up at Enron, or some small business with no growth prospects, or the local school district... and the comp would have been fundamentally different.

I also think it's about vision, focus, and commitment. Some people are not able to visualize their life on a long-term basis. Or maybe they just don't want to. They live in the present. Nothing wrong with that. But I've always been wired differently. I had a vision of being retired in my 50s. That resulted in concrete plans and actions at a very early age. Then comes focus and commitment. There are so many distractions during the accumulation phase. Kids, career, set-backs, dot-com bubbles, family issues, health issues. The focus required to navigate through all this and stay committed to the vision is, I believe, the key to success.

Intelligence is a minor part. I would say, FIRE success requires a certain kind of analytical mind-set. You almost have to ENJOY solving problems and figuring things out. You have to be willing to read, learn, track, adapt, and pay attention to things that others have no patience for. I don't think any of this requires above-average intelligence, but it does require patience to figure it all out.
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Old 10-20-2014, 12:17 PM   #34
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Intelligence is a minor part. I would say, FIRE success requires a certain kind of analytical mind-set. You almost have to ENJOY solving problems and figuring things out. You have to be willing to read, learn, track, adapt, and pay attention to things that others have no patience for. I don't think any of this requires above-average intelligence, but it does require patience to figure it all out.
This is true. All that extra income would have been a lot less effective if I just handed it over to an unscrupulous financial advisor.

That said, we keep our investments pretty simple, but you still have to know how to take that first step. I would argue that it's a lot easier now with the web. I remember when I first started working, I had some company stock I wanted to sell. I had to search the yellow pages for a local broker, then had to make an appointment to go to his office over my lunch hour so he could sell it. I later received a paper check with my proceeds. What a hassle compared to today.
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Old 10-20-2014, 12:37 PM   #35
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Intelligence or determination? Neither!

Nope, it's pure luck. This has been proven time and time again by experts and columnists who said that people can't possibly retire, let alone early, on the bitty typical 401k.

If people manage to ER, if it's not by hook, it must be by crook. Something must be done about that!
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Old 10-20-2014, 12:43 PM   #36
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I think it may have something to do with a personality that is accustomed to "being on the outside looking in." What this means is that many folks here (myself included) were either never the leader of the pack nor a follower when it came to popular social circles growing up. We had our own set of friends, but for the most part were forced to find our own ways to "survive" our growing up years (and perhaps were also less susceptible to peer pressure to conform). This independent streak provided perspective that being a conformist would have denied as an acceptable reality. Unfortunately for those who "followed," the chains of conformity grow even stronger into adulthood.

Again, some folks here may have been the homecoming king/queen, but I wasn't. FYI, many of the popular kids in my high school "peaked" back then or in college.




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heh heh heh - Everyone needs a theory - that's mine. Although I didn't know I was til well along is investing for ER.
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Old 10-20-2014, 01:42 PM   #37
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INTJ

heh heh heh - Everyone needs a theory - that's mine. Although I didn't know I was til well along is investing for ER.
That's me. When I first took the test at a corporate HR event, I was maxed out on INTJ. Looking at those traints make it much more likely someone would tend to save and follow their own path.
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Old 10-20-2014, 03:34 PM   #38
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Anyone born in the US without a major disability starts out on 3rd base if you look around the rest of the world. Somehow, people from the poorest of countries manage to become billionaires. These tend to be from the elite of these countries but it's still a major accomplishment. In the US there are lots of people from poor families that become mega rich. Rich people become poor. The old saying of shirt sleeves to shirt sleeves in three generations is very true.

Where else but the US are the "poor" typically overweight, have smart phones and have cable access with a HDTV.
You could have probably made this "Chase the American dream" point in the 80s.

But in 2014 there is no way the average American starts on 3rd base. Sorry.

Americans as a whole are moving backwards economically.
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Old 10-20-2014, 04:37 PM   #39
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Luck is also a huge factor. Being healthy and working hard at the right place at the right time. In this global economy many people have been screwed.

Life just hands some people a great card. Others are handed a terrible card.
+1, Fired 27 years ago yesterday!
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Old 10-20-2014, 05:26 PM   #40
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... Life just hands some people a great card. Others are handed a terrible card.
I did not even have a card. Nobody invited me to the card game.

So, I went buy myself a lottery ticket.

Just joking...
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