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Old 10-22-2014, 07:41 PM   #101
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In repeated previous polls in this forum, many posters were of the INTJ type, and the percentage was significantly higher than that in the general population. It of course is not a deciding or sole factor.

I also had a friend engineer, whom I would think to be of the INTJ type. He was a good engineer, and made very good money, but could not save any, and often contemplated declaring bankruptcy to get out of debts. That's how bad it was.

.
I do think personality matters a lot. I imagine that INTJ generally have above average intelligence. I am not sure if delayed gratification is characteristic of INTJ or just the early retirement in general. Once you really understand the power of compound interest stuff just falls into place.

I know that being able to retire a 39 was way more luck than skill, right time right place. On other hand, I am hard pressed to imagine directions my life would have taken that wouldn't have allowed to me quit in the 55 to 60 range. I suppose if I had married badly twice, or had gone through a series of failed startups. But, I really think it would have taken bad luck to make it happen.
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Old 10-22-2014, 08:19 PM   #102
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I do not disagree that there might be a strong correlation, as the multiple polls here in this forum have shown. But I don't think it is a deciding factor.

One of my BILs retired early, though he's far from an INTJ. But he was a risk taker, and plunked all of his 401k into his company stock when it faced financial hard time, and there was talk of it going bankrupt. It pulled through, and he retired in around 2007 with $1.8M just in that 401k, as he had other money.

PS. And he pulled all that money to cash too, before the Great Recession crash! Son of a gun! Luck or skill? Man, I don't know.
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Old 10-22-2014, 08:21 PM   #103
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PS. I forgot to talk about intelligence. This friend of mine got 4.0 GPA. Straight. For his BS as well as MS.
There is a guy we see from time to time at social gatherings and he is never shy telling people about his brilliant IQ. But he is my age, no where near able to retire and very worried about getting outsourced. The expertise studies show knowledge is generally domain specific, so someone indeed can be brilliant at a techy type career and not be good with personal finances or even seeing the writing on the wall about outsourcing starting a decade or two ago.

Maybe above average IQ doesn't hurt but for most households it is not enough without financial sense and the ability to lay out and plan the future, too.

Many of the traits of the Millionaire Next Door types are laid out in that book and the later ones by one of the authors. My husband and I match a lot of the general traits pretty close, from education to careers to shopping habits.
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Old 10-22-2014, 08:47 PM   #104
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I would say it's mostly determination. But you also have to have one other characteristic: IMAGINATION. I think there are many folks who simply don't imagine it's possible.

Just caught up and read this entire thread. Really enjoyed the thoughts from everyone. Obviously FIRE comes in different ways for different folks. I wanted to 2nd Audrey's point about imagination. I've known several folks who actually could FIRE but the idea literally never occurred to them to actually do so. Taking the leap requires faith. But also the imagination to even consider it.

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Old 10-22-2014, 10:50 PM   #105
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I was told by an Indian engineer that was retiring that many Indians and Pakistanis culturally want to show off their success with fancy cars and houses.
In my experience this isn't limited to recent immigrants or to particular ethnicities. I see plenty of people from all backgrounds and at all levels of salary and job success, living up to the max their means can support as a general habit. Whether it's desire to show their success or lack of planning for the future (or maybe deliberate decision to maximize immediate spending in the here and now) doesn't affect the outcome. Without savings to build for the future they are stuck needing income from their immediate labor to pay for their immediate expenses and never get ahead.
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Old 10-23-2014, 12:23 AM   #106
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I do not disagree that there might be a strong correlation, as the multiple polls here in this forum have shown. But I don't think it is a deciding factor.
I mostly agree. Do you think there is a deciding factor?
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Old 10-23-2014, 01:49 AM   #107
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Here are 8 key common traits of economically successful households from a blog post by a co-author of the Millionaire Next Door book:

8 Key Elements of the Economic Success Equation
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Old 10-23-2014, 02:46 AM   #108
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Does this guy still have the money? We keep reading about lottery winners squandering the winning in a matter of a few years. See how if luck gets you the money, now you need more luck to keep it.

And if you use up 110% luck to get the jackpot, check my math but you would now be 10% in the red, as far as luck is concerned.
As far as I know he still has most of it left. His wife is kind of a nut. She had cosmetic surgery and her stomach tied for weight loss right after he won. She paid for one of her friends to get the same procedures.

The guy loves poker and bets on football so I have always wondered about their bank account. He is a smart guy so I imagine he invested it properly.

They also adopted 2 kids. Thats not cheap!

It would be easy to blow through $6 million.
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Old 10-23-2014, 05:22 AM   #109
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As far as I know he still has most of it left. His wife is kind of a nut. She had cosmetic surgery and her stomach tied for weight loss right after he won. She paid for one of her friends to get the same procedures.

The guy loves poker and bets on football so I have always wondered about their bank account. He is a smart guy so I imagine he invested it properly.

They also adopted 2 kids. Thats not cheap!

It would be easy to blow through $6 million.
You are a big advocate of luck being a big factor. I'm still of the opinion that we ultimately make our own luck. Your friend winning $6MM may look like luck but it's not much different than being born a Rockefeller. You suddenly find yourself with a pile of money. How you succeed will depend how you have prepared. You're even luckier if you have rich parents in that they may be able to beat some financial common sense into you but you still have to take hold of the message.

People that win lotteries typically blow through it quickly because they didn't know how to manage money when they bought the lottery ticket and didn't decide to figure out how to manage money after winning. Suddenly, you want to be Santa Claus and do all the things you've always imagined rich people do.

You mentioned performing arts and luck. My grandfather was a professional musician during the big band era. He played for many popular bands and had some time with Harry James. He could make instruments dance in his hands. I don't think there was anything he couldn't play well. I saw him in rehersals and saw that everyone was great with their instrument. The real "success" came from forming a band which required a different skill set to make it big or even survive. The best trumpet player may not be the best band leader but it doesn't hurt.

My mother was a singer in the 40s and 50s. I never saw her perform but my grandfather said she was very good. I'm sure that if she would have been "real good" one of the bigger bands would have wanted her. Skills and ability will ultimately win out if a person is dedicated. If the skills and ability aren't at the level it takes to succeed, the best gift is to know when to not keep being dedicated.
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Old 10-23-2014, 05:48 AM   #110
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I guess I am not really a fan of this "race to the bottom economy".

My portfolio is a fan.

I agree you have to get back on your horse and ride when life throws you off.

The sky isn't falling but there has to be real concern about the shrinking middle-class and the working poor in this country.

The wealth gap is widening at a unhealthy rate. Its a problem.
Everything you mention is a direct result of our tax code and regulatory environment. If you want less of something, tax it and regulatory cost is just another form of tax. People will adjust to the environment around them. People that see opportunities to make money typically do so in the most efficient way they can create. Unfortunately in this environment, this doesn't typically include anything that does much for the middle class. Wouda, shouda, couda may make nice political rhetoric but even the people that love to tell other people how to live their lives typically don't follow their own advice.

Since I have not been appointed dictator for life, I find it best to also adjust as well as I can for my own benefit.
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Old 10-23-2014, 08:39 AM   #111
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You are a big advocate of luck being a big factor. I'm still of the opinion that we ultimately make our own luck. Your friend winning $6MM may look like luck but it's not much different than being born a Rockefeller. You suddenly find yourself with a pile of money. How you succeed will depend how you have prepared. You're even luckier if you have rich parents in that they may be able to beat some financial common sense into you but you still have to take hold of the message.

People that win lotteries typically blow through it quickly because they didn't know how to manage money when they bought the lottery ticket and didn't decide to figure out how to manage money after winning. Suddenly, you want to be Santa Claus and do all the things you've always imagined rich people do.

You mentioned performing arts and luck. My grandfather was a professional musician during the big band era. He played for many popular bands and had some time with Harry James. He could make instruments dance in his hands. I don't think there was anything he couldn't play well. I saw him in rehersals and saw that everyone was great with their instrument. The real "success" came from forming a band which required a different skill set to make it big or even survive. The best trumpet player may not be the best band leader but it doesn't hurt.

My mother was a singer in the 40s and 50s. I never saw her perform but my grandfather said she was very good. I'm sure that if she would have been "real good" one of the bigger bands would have wanted her. Skills and ability will ultimately win out if a person is dedicated. If the skills and ability aren't at the level it takes to succeed, the best gift is to know when to not keep being dedicated.
I actually played in alternative rock bands throughout my 20s and early 30s. I can relate to what your saying about moving on.
I was making a decent living playing music and we had some label interest but the deal they offered us was a joke. The band thing is hard work and people don't realize that. Lots of drama.

Many guys I played with years ago are still playing.

A guy I jammed with is now in the current line up of guns and roses.

I miss playing music full time but I am glad I got out when I did.

I have only been working a real megacorp full time job for 20 years. So determination has been crucial saving money wise.
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Old 10-23-2014, 09:02 AM   #112
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Everything you mention is a direct result of our tax code and regulatory environment. If you want less of something, tax it and regulatory cost is just another form of tax. People will adjust to the environment around them. People that see opportunities to make money typically do so in the most efficient way they can create. Unfortunately in this environment, this doesn't typically include anything that does much for the middle class. Wouda, shouda, couda may make nice political rhetoric but even the people that love to tell other people how to live their lives typically don't follow their own advice.

Since I have not been appointed dictator for life, I find it best to also adjust as well as I can for my own benefit.
Your right. You have to look out for number one.

I have a pension at retirement but I am planning on it not being there.

It's unfortunate that there isn't more balance between shareholder value and employee compensation. Not socialism but rewarding employees for time and effort. It used to be part of the business equation. Now it's just a matter of how much can we squeeze out of our workforce to maximize shareholder value.

It's not going to workout well for any economy if you have a weak middle class.
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Old 10-23-2014, 09:45 AM   #113
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Flip INTJ and one gets ESFP. "Portrait of an ESFP" says "they dislike theory and future-planning". http://www.personalitypage.com/ESFP.html
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Old 10-24-2014, 03:47 PM   #114
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Last month I sent some books to a 24-year-old who had just started a new job and said she didn't know what to do about the 401(k). The books I sent were The Millionaire Next Door, The Millionaire Teacher, Your Money and Your Brain, A Random Walk Down Wall Street, How a Second Grader Beats Wall Street, and Predictably Irrational.

This is the letter that I sent to her with the books:

Dear Sarah:

As we briefly discussed I have sent you several books on saving and investing ordered from Amazon. This stuff is important to learn since what you do or don’t do now will dictate your lifestyle when you do retire. And while I know that right now retirement is so far over the hill that you find it hard to conceive, let alone see, trust me (I was once 24 years old) that day will eventually and inevitably come either voluntarily or involuntarily because of health issues. What the financial services industry wants is your money so that they can take as big a chunk of it for themselves as they can. They are running a business, and the sole purpose for the existence of a business is to make money. They don’t give a damn about how well funded your retirement is. Never forget that.

Fortunately this stuff is not rocket science despite what the financial services industry would have you believe. In fact it is so simple that a second grader can do it as the title of the book How a Second Grader Beats Wall Street implies. I have my own portfolio invested in just this manner and it is performing as advertised. I recommend that you first read either that book or The Millionaire Teacher first. Another point not emphasized strongly enough is that the 401(k) with company match at 5% of pay or so is a starting point and is not nearly enough to fund a retirement. To do that you will need to save 15% to 20% of your pay, right off the top. Take any employer match first – that’s free money and anyone is a fool to not accept the maximum offered. After that further investment goes into a Roth IRA or 401(k) up to the legal limit. After that the savings/investment goes into a taxable account. This is called “Paying yourself first”. If you believe that “Gee, I can’t afford that!” I will say this: You can’t afford not to. The retirement clock is ticking, right now, and that clock does not stop for anyone.

I spend about ten or fifteen minutes a year managing our investments. Once you learn how it really isn’t that hard. And again, what you do now in your 20’s will have a huge effect on how your life will be in your 60’s and beyond. Your future self will either pat you on your back or say “What an idiot I was!” You know what it should be.

The other books are about psychology and exploring why you do the things you do with money. I’ve always wondered why people do the weird things they do, and some of the weirdest are with money. The short answer is that human beings evolved to survive on the plains of Africa, not do long-term financing. The result is that while your gut instincts and emotions will tell you to do exactly the right thing to survive for the short term, in the long term, what your guts and emotions tell you to do is the worst possible thing to do with your money. That is very difficult to do and it does take a while to learn to do it. And that, dear Sarah, is the hardest part of saving and investing: ignoring your instincts and emotions. You have to learn to ignore the sinking feeling and near-panic when the stock market drops half its value (and sure as tomorrow’s sunrise, some day it will) and with it half the value of your retirement fund. That’s when investing and staying the course is the hardest.

During the last Great Recession in 2008 when so many people panicked and sold their investments one investment broker said the only people buying stocks were people in their 80’s. “They had seen this movie before and knew how it ended.” You will read that in one of the books, I forget which one.

A mantra we have learned the hard way is LBYM, or Live Below Your Means. Spend Less Than You Earn. Pay Yourself First. The thing about loans is twofold. One is that in taking one out your future options and opportunities are limited by the amount of the loan and the interest you are then committed to paying on it. The other is that you are then funding someone else’s retirement and not yours. Not all loans are bad of course. You do need a car to get to work in and it does not have to be a new one. You also have to have a roof over your head and depending on circumstances buying on credit may be wise. But do make sure that whatever you buy on credit will still be around when the loan is paid off. You have by now been in the position of “paying for a dead horse”. Not fun, is it? Remember how that felt too.

One other thing, and then this already-too-long letter will end. Why am I doing this? Joan and I do care deeply about what happens to you. No child should have to endure what you and your sister did growing up. What we admire about you is what and who you are in spite of it. So many others turn miserable and take to drugs and alcohol and hate the world because of their circumstances and spend their lives as miserable people.

But not you. You got your act together, went to school (the hard way, paying for it yourself). Not many people have the self-discipline to do that. I also think that you are one of the few people who will actually do two things; read those books and then act on what you learn from them. While investing doesn’t take high intelligence or math skills (not to imply that you don’t have those!) I believe that what you do have that so few others do is the maturity to defer immediate gratification for long term gain. That’s another difficult part about saving and investing.

Please do not feel overwhelmed at the volume of material. It digests easily, but slowly, so take your time going through them, and I realize that you do have a life. There is no expectation that you will read them this month or even in the remainder of this year and there will be no quizzes. But understand clearly that what you do or don’t do with your money now will have a multiplying effect on your standard of living in the last half or third of your life.

If you can find a job that has a pension plan remember that every dollar of pension income is one less that has to be generated by investment income. But it is always better to be in a career that you enjoy. Too many people work at well-paying jobs they hate and get sick or die early because of the stress. But as retired employees of Detroit are learning to their dismay that promised pension may not materialize so it is best not to rely too heavily on promises. No one has a clue where the economy is going to be in 5 years, let alone 30. So while an employer that is financially sound now, as Detroit was in the 1960’s ‘70’s and ‘80’s, may not be when you retire. Plan on that scenario as well.

The best to you always,

Walt 34

Walt - may I post this elsewhere
- on FB?


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Old 10-24-2014, 03:56 PM   #115
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Walt - may I post this elsewhere
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Sure, it's already visible to the world anyway, no point in keeping it in one place. And I'm flattered that you asked.
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Old 10-24-2014, 04:05 PM   #116
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Flip INTJ and one gets ESFP. "Portrait of an ESFP" says "they dislike theory and future-planning". Portrait of an ESFP
Excellent observation!

I read further and here's what I found about ESFP personality. I think we have a nephew who somewhat fits this profile.

... lively and fun ... live in the here-and-now, and relish excitement and drama ... dislike theory and future-planning ...

... take great pleasure in objects of aesthetic beauty ... strong appreciation for the finer things in life, such as good food and good wine ...


And because of the following characteristics, when he was in his teenage years, his parents were worried that he might not keep out of jail. He's in the mid-40s now, and so far has not done anything illegal, and is not likely to now.

... tend to become over-indulgent, and place more importance on immediate sensation and gratification ... avoid looking at long-term consequences of their actions ... would love nothing more than for life to be a continual party ... may have difficulty in school ...
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Old 10-24-2014, 05:19 PM   #117
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Reminds me of my ex. When we divorced my sister said "Opposites attract but they can't live with each other". When I read a book about personalty types I realized that was exactly what I had done and why the marriage failed. I had married an opposite.

Did not make that mistake again.
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Old 10-24-2014, 05:28 PM   #118
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Reminds me of my ex. When we divorced my sister said "Opposites attract but they can't live with each other". ....
Perhaps that is why DW is so difficult to live with.
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Old 10-24-2014, 06:31 PM   #119
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Sure, it's already visible to the world anyway, no point in keeping it in one place. And I'm flattered that you asked.
I totally missed that incredibly awesome letter, thanks Seraphim for reposting it and especially Walt for writing it?

What is Sarah's relationship to you?

I've been on lots of forums with smart people, but just never been on one with so many wise folks.
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Old 10-24-2014, 06:39 PM   #120
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I have also been meaning to comment on Walt's letter. It is clear without losing the reader in detail, and it is apparent that a great deal of thought and caring went into it.

Big ups, as the kids say
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